SUNE WITTMANN IS AN OUTSIDE THE BOX ATHLETE.

Sune Wittman, a gifted 28-year-old athlete, has competed in six different sports, including hockey, netball, cricket, athletics, tent pegging, rugby, and triathlon. And she’s just getting started. There isn’t a sport under the sun that she can’t do. If she puts her mind to it, she’ll make it happen. This is the story of Sune Wittmann, who has excelled to the highest level while representing Namibia.

Thank you for chatting to us, how was your childhood?

Sporty! Haha! No, our parents raised us very strictly but gave us so many opportunities to try as many different sporting codes as possible. Giving us the chance to totally fall in love with what we do. The one thing my parents taught us from day one is that the day you stop enjoying the sport you’re doing, that is the day you stop doing it.

When did you realize your love for sports?

As a little kid already, I’ve been a sports person since the day I could walk, or that’s what I believe.

You have played in different sports codes; what drew you to each of them?

Every sport I’ve done was because I challenged myself to try and do it and to become better every time I went to a training session or had to represent the team that I’ve been playing for. Individual sport codes taught me so much self-discipline; it was lonely days, but every drop of sweat was worth it because I knew it was my hard yards that reaped the fruits. Team sports taught me so much about sportsmanship, respect, and how to be considered towards others, to be a shoulder and to know there is a shoulder when I need one, to be more than teammates but family!

What are the codes you have participated in, and what made you stop or move on to another code?

Tent pegging, netball, hockey, athletics, and cricket Tentpegging, unfortunately, came to a standstill in Namibia. Netball: I only played at school because my best friend asked me to please join the team in grade 5, and since then it has been our bonding time. Hockey was unfortunately one of those sports that I just didn’t find enjoyable, and because of that, I took a step back from it. In athletics, I’ve had two major shoulder operations and just didn’t have the time one needs to put into training, but it is definitely on my agenda to get back on the field in the near future.

When you tell people you are an all-around athlete, what’s their reaction?

Some actually get intimidated by it, while others think it’s pretty impressive.

You have recently embarked on a cricket journey; what made you choose cricket?

Cricket has been a part of my life since primary school, when I played in the school’s league with the boys. I took some time off it when I was going places with my athletics, but after my two shoulder operations, I got back into the game, and since then I have just grown from strength to strength.

You recently reached 50 T20I games; how does it feel to reach such a milestone?

It is honestly a very special feeling. Knowing very few people have reached such a milestone, but also having the opportunity to have represented Namibia with nothing less than my everything for 50+ games has been and continues to be an absolute honor.

Which has been your overall favorite sports code, and do you still find time to play it?

Every sport I did had its ups and downs; they all taught me life lessons and gave me opportunities to grow and make lifelong friendships. They opened and closed doors and helped me develop into the person I am today. So none in particular. Currently, I still play cricket and rugby, but if I had the time, I would do all of them again.

Which strengths do you believe make you a great sportswoman?

My mentality and commitment: I am mentally very strong and equally committed. If I put my mind to a new challenge, nothing is stopping me.

Talk to us about some of your major highlights and achievements in your sports career.

I represented my country in tent pegging, netball, hockey, athletics, and cricket. I’m a Junior World Champion in tent pegging (a horse riding event) and a Youth Commonwealth Gold Medalist in javelin (Isle of Man 2011). At the 2020 Kwibuka Cricket Tournament in Rwanda, I was named the batter of the series, and in 2021, I got the batter of the year award. The following year (2022), on the tour to Germany, I was named the player of the series. In October last year, I also completed a half Ironman in Durban, while playing rugby for the first time saw me get the award for best upcoming player of the year at Wanderers for the 2022 season.

Is there a sports code you have not played and would like to try out and why?

Motocross, I think that level of adrenaline is on a whole other level.

What sports do you regret not playing, and why?

Tennis: I think I have the hand-eye coordination to get the hang of it, but unfortunately, there was just never enough time for that as well.

Rugby, on the other hand, I do wish that I had discovered a lot sooner! Just because I like playing it, and I honestly think other doors could have been opened for me sooner, like possibly being selected to play for the national team.

What keeps you motivated?

The drive to be better than the person I see in the mirror every morning

How do you manage your sports responsibilities and recreational life?

Living a balanced life is very important, but at the same time, it is just as hard. I truly believe that putting in the hard yards is equally important as spending time with loved ones, friends, and family. So the answer is easy: make time for both; one can never be too busy.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge most sportswomen face today?

Personally, having to work to pay the bills while having to put in the hours on the field to be the best you could possibly be for your team is a big challenge, as being physically tired leads to being mentally and emotionally drained.

If you could improve or change one thing for women in sports, what would it be?

Exposure, opportunities, and equality I would like to see women and women’s sports in general get more exposure in the media or in terms of opportunities to further their careers if they so wish to do so. I hope for everyone to be treated as equals; women are just as good at what they do. Yes, we all fall into our separate categories, but in our league, we are just as good.

Who do you look up to as a role model, and why?

I honestly think I am my only motivation; I truly live to be better than the day before, not just in what I do (and in sport), but as a human being towards myself and the people my paths cross with daily.

If you had not chosen a career in sports, what would you have been?

I wish I had the opportunity to have chosen sport as my career, but after school I went on to study education (B.Ed. degree, 2014–2018) at the University of Potchefstroom. Whereafter I also did my Honors in Afrikaans (2019) at the University of Potchefstroom, and then I went on to complete my Master’s degree (2021) in Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria. Currently, I’m a secondary school teacher. I teach Afrikaans, but my dream job is to be a lecturer.

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