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5 leading sportswomen in South Africa

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During this month that's dedicated to women, these five beautiful individuals have kept the national colours flying high in their respective sporting codes. It is sadly shocking to notice that nearly 3 decades after our national teams were allowed to compete internationally, almost all these heroes are plying their trade under the most difficult situations as they are sometimes participating without any sponsorship. 

Despite these challenges the five have proven their resilience and have remained role models both on and off the field. Here is a list of our 5 most outstanding sportswomen.

Desiree Ellis 

Desiree Ellis is a retired South African female footballer, founding member and current coach of the South Africa women's national football team. The Banyana Banyana head coach was named CAF Women’s National Team Coach of the Year for 2018, and became the first person to win the COSAFA Women’s Championship as both a player and coach.

She is also the first individual to lead the South African Women's National Team to qualification for the World Cup.

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Caster Semenya 

Mokgadi Caster Semenya is a South African middle-distance runner who has won the  world, Olympic and Commonwealth Games 800m championship races. Following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, it was announced that she will be subjected to gender testing. 

She was withdrawn from international competition until 6 July 2010 when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) cleared her return. 

In 2010, the British magazine New Statesman included her in a list of "50 People That Matter 2010".

She was also nominated for the coveted women's 2016 World Athlete of the Year. Semenya is also a brand ambassador of Discovery Vitality despite facing risks of being unable to compete due to IAAF’s new rules. 

Image: Instagram

Janine van Wyk

Janine Van Wyk is a footballer who captains the South African women's national team and plays as a defender. She is the most capped national team player of any gender after she had been called up to the women’s soccer team Banyana Banyana for more than 150 times. 

Image: Instagram

Karla Pretorius has become a dominant figure in the South African netball team which recently finished fourth at the Netball World Cup held in Liverpool, in the United Kingdom. 

One of the country’s first fully professional players, 

Pretorius has become widely recognised among the world’s best since making her international debut for the Proteas in 2011.

Karla was one of the Proteas senior members, the 29-year-old defender played a key role in Liverpool and she was later named Player-of-the- Tournament after the Proteas secured a rare fourth place finish. 

The towering Pretorius was honoured during the medal ceremony in front of a pact M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool last month after the Australia-New Zealand final.

Image: Instagram

Dane van Niekerk

Dane van Niekerk is an all-rounder South African Cricketer of the Year, has also been recognised as SA Women's Players' Player of the Year. The 26-year -old has been in phenomenal form whenever she pulled on the Green and Gold t-shirt.  Van Niekerk has scored a century and seven half centuries in 19 one-day and T20 internationals. At the same time, she also claimed 12 wickets, making her the stand-out performer in the Proteas Women set-up.

Image: Instagram

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