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Woodridge first as Edith heads for Olympic Games

Rising hockey star Edith Molikoe, a former Woodridge College pupil and 2019 head girl, is relishing the prospect of testing herself at the highest level after being named in the South African women’s hockey squad for this year’s Olympic Games. The 21-year-old University of Pretoria student says she went through a wide range of emotions when she heard about her selection in a sport she fell in love with when she first made the Eastern Province U13 team.

Reflecting on her selection, she said: “To be honest I knew I had worked hard and there was nothing I could do but to be positive that I would make the team. 

“It wasn’t easy at all because everyone was working hard to make the team, so when it was announced I was in shock the whole day. I just couldn’t believe that what I had been working for most of my life had turned into a dream come true, especially at my age. 

“There were so many emotions and I know I did cry a lot as well,” she added with a smile.

“This means so much to me because it’s something that’s never happened in my family and I have learnt that no matter how old you are your dreams can come true.”

Her selection is a feather in the cap for Woodridge, based at Thornhill just outside Port Elizabeth, a co-ed school which has produced numerous national players over the years. However, Molikoe is the first Woodridgean to be selected for a women’s Olympic hockey squad. College headmaster Derek Bradley and former coach Maxime Bird spoke of the significant impact the young star made in her time at the school from 2015 to 2019. 

"Edith has been an excellent ambassador for the school, the province and the country,” said Bradley. “She was our head girl and hockey captain, was extremely popular and an outstanding role model.”

In her final year, Molikoe, under coach Maxime Bird, helped Woodridge win the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge, one of the many successes she had in the sport during her teenage years.

“Edith expected nothing but the best from her team-mates and was always encouraging and led by example,” said Bird.

“She had an ability to lift the team by her actions and was an inspiration to many.”

Oddly enough, in her early days Molikoe, who attended Charlo Primary, said hockey wasn’t the biggest attraction. Like many South African schoolchildren she said it was all about “fun and games”.

“It was only in Grade 3 when I went to the provincial trials and made the EP U13A team when my passion for the sport started.”

The young star quickly made her mark and played for the national U16, U18 and U21 teams, as well as the women’s indoor side. She feels her strength in the sport is her focus to play for her teammates.

“I believe I’m a player who doesn’t give up on my teammates and I’m willing to give anything for the team,” said the bachelor of education student.

“I have worked hard and I set my goals on what I wanted to achieve, and how much work and effort I was going to have to put in.

“It meant a lot of sacrifices along the way but my family and friends have supported me and motivated me through the whole journey. That encouragement and lots of extra training, I feel, have helped me to reach this level.”

She added that her days at Woodridge provided lessons, not only in sport, but in life as well.

“Woodridge taught me that in class everything you learn and work for will pay off by getting the results you want, and to never leave anything until the last minute.

“On the field, I learnt that giving up is not an option and also that when you don’t enjoy something you will not succeed. I believe if you love what you are doing, then you will enjoy every moment, no matter if things are going your way or not.”

Bradley said Woodridge strived to provide a variety of opportunities for its pupils.

“Like Edith, those who have achieved at a high level and many others will bear testament to the holistic education they received at the school,” he said.

“As much as we are proud of them, we would hope that we guided them to choose to work hard and enjoy all the activities in which they were involved.

“There are many Woodridge past pupils who have been successful in diverse fields and we believe that our approach to providing a real balanced education has much to do with this. “However, as much as we are proud of them, they themselves set their goals and, with the support of the school, went out and achieved them.”

Ends

RELEASED BY:

Neale Emslie
Cell: 071 850 0865
Email: emslien@arena.africa 

On behalf of:
Woodridge College