We love celebrating North Coasters who have been recognised on a national platform! Ballito netball star and teacher Danelle (Dani) van der Linde was recently named the KZN netball sportswoman of the year. We found out a bit more about her.
Ambitious, driven and always super active, Dani does not have an ‘off’ button. Even when she’s relaxing, she says, she’s usually doing something physical.
“My family and friends will tell you the words ‘downtime’ and Dani do not go together,” she laughs. “My downtime still includes being as active as possible. I enjoy trail running and mountain biking at Holla Trails and you will find me most content when I am visiting my aunt and uncle on their farm, where I’m usually horse riding, swimming in the waterfall and doing more mountain biking and running … with the occasional sleep-in!
Originally from Wartburg in the KZN Midlands, 23-year-old Dani moved to the North Coast with her family in 2007. She attended Umhlali Preparatory and matriculated from Ashton International College in Ballito. She is currently completing a degree in foundation phase teaching while working full time as a Grade R teacher’s assistant and coach at Ashton.
Dani has always been sporty. “I have a competitive nature and have always strived to do and be better in sport. I enjoy being outdoors and being part of a team and sport offers me both of those.”
When we asked her to share some of her top sporting achievements thus far, Dani says, “that’s a hard question to answer because my father would say that if it didn’t happen in the last three months it’s immaterial!”
Throughout school she was part of the KZN Outdoor Netball, KZN Action Netball and KZN Outdoor Hockey teams. Her high point during this time, she says, was being chosen to be part of the SA U17 and U18 Mixed Action Netball Team, where she travelled to Australia on two separate occasions to compete in the Tri Nations.
Since completing high school in 2016, she has been on the KZN Netball team in various age groups and her highlight was being selected for the Kingdom Stars Netball Team.
“It was such a great honour to receive KZN Netball Sportswoman of the year award, especially after a tough few months of no sport due to Covid. It was a great reminder that with hard work and dedication nothing is impossible.”
Despite her busy schedule, Dani still manages to train twice a day, mornings and evenings. My ‘happy hour’ since 2011 has been training at Ringside Boxing Gym with Tyron Koen and the team who have played a major role in keeping me in shape and at peak performance. I am also being looked after by Prime Human Performance Institute at the Moses Mabhiba Stadium as part of the Elite Athletes Development Program. They have played an essential role in my rehabilitation from injuries and overall conditioning.”
Dani is also currently part of the Impis Ladies Club Hockey Team and Gilbert Netball Stars Club Team, adding to her overall training.
Her ultimate current sporting goal, Dani says, is to represent her country one day. And her advice to young, aspiring athletes is simple: “You don’t have to be extreme, just be consistent. Like Craig Groeschel said, ‘successful people do consistently what normal people do occasionally.’ Most importantly, the quote I live by is, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.’”
Text: Leah Shone