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Balancing books with sport

Date Released: Mon, 29 October 2012 15:00 +0200

“On the night of the [awards] ceremony, it was early morning in New Zealand,” said Natalie Ross. “I was watching the junior triathlon race and preparing for mine, which came later in the day.”

The 2012 Sportswoman of the Year recipient, Ross, was unable to collect her award, as she was competing at the Triathlon World Championships in New Zealand. Her sister Caroline, who also takes part in athletics, collected the award on her behalf.

The build-up to the Sportswoman of the Year award has been steady over the years. “2010 was when I made a breakthrough into the provincial and national teams,” she said.

She went to Scotland for a duathlon (running and cycling) in that year and to Spain in 2011. “I’ve always loved running and I’m very competitive, so I’m very happy to be at these events.”

Ross won a silver medal at the South African senior Biathlete Championships earlier this year, and was selected for the ladies senior team to compete at the Biathlete World Championships in Dubai.

Although her preferred event is duathlon, Ross also takes part in triathlon (running, cycling and swimming), as this is more widely recognised internationally.

Other than competing locally and internationally, she broke the Rhodes Athletics Club record for 4km, 10km, 15km, 21km and Olympic duathlon distance.

She is also the only person to have ever received half colours for road running at Rhodes – a truly wonderful feat.

“Rhodes Sport has been very supportive,” she said. “Sports Admin funds my trips and pays for my equipment. It’s great to be competing here.”

“My training takes precedence over my studies, actually,” she said. “In undergrad I had to work late into the night, but now it’s a bit more flexible.”

Ross, 22, is currently doing her honours in Human Kinetics and Ergonomics (HKE).

By Matthew Kynaston

Photo by: Stephen Penney