Nicole Walraven

Nicole Walraven is a South African Women’s Hockey player, who made her debut in January 2015 against Chile at Senior level. As a Junior she’s won various awards, including Junior of the year and the South african under 21 Player of the year. Nicole was part of the team that won the African Cup Tournament in 2016 and again was part of the set up as South Africa repeated that feat in 2017. She has now qualified for the 2018 World Cup which will take place in London England. This by virtue of a fantastic 5th place finish for the team at World League Semi Final Tournament last year. Nicole is currently playing at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast of Australia.

Nicole had quite a story to tell about her career and began by telling us that she started playing hockey when she was just 5 years old. Remarkably 3 generations of her family, with Nicole one day hoping to become the 4th, had represented in swimming, rowing and athletics in the Olympics. Having grown up with both her older brothers, her parents and grandmother all having played hockey at a high level and with them making the decision to always be there to support and train with her, often giving up their weekends and holidays to do so, it was only natural that Nicole would eventually follow in their footsteps.

That’s not say she had things easy by any stretch. In fact quite the opposite. Nicole had quite a tough career in high school. Despite her pedigree, there were a number of coaches who chose not to believe in her, one coach going as far as to tell her she must ‘let other girls shine’ in certain tournaments, while another coach insisted on playing her out of position for long periods. Then in 2013 just 1 week before she was due to fly to the U21 World Cup she fractured her scapula. It looked like her tournament was certainly over and there was no way that she’d have any chance of even going on the trip to be with the team and support let alone take part in any way. Nicole had it in her heart though that she was supposed to be involved in some way and kept believing. With a lot of faith and prayer she somehow not only miraculously was able to join up with her teammates just 2 weeks later but was able to actually play a part in the games. Nicole not only played though not satisfied with the mircle of actually taking part she went on to finish as top goal scorer for South Africa in the tournament.

Nicole told us that that experience taught her a lot. she said “I realized that anything can happen and that you should enjoy every moment while you can, celebrate every little thing in life. Don’t take anything for granted.”
It also made her realise what her faith meant to her and she summed that up in these words, “Having an amazing God like ours makes life so much easier. He is someone I always turn to in times of need. I’ve gone through a few dips in life where I have drifted away from God but as soon as I get myself back to Him – life just gets better. Sometimes we don’t understand why certain things happen to certain people but God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.”
Her story is definitely one of overcoming the odds and so we asked her what she hoped her story would do for you guys through Fight for the fatherless. Nicole had this to say “I hope that my story inspires you to follow your dreams regardless of what you’re going through or what you’ve been through. If there is someone who is ALWAYS there for you- it is God. He will never leave your side. Through thick and thin.”

Nicole is hoping the team are as successful as possible in Australia and says “It’s a dream come true to be able to represent South Africa at the Commonwealth Games.” Her next goal is to play at the World Cup and then the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Again just another exciting journey for our family to keep track of but rest assured we’ll be watching her journey closely.