Awande Malinga Talks #PowerOfRecognition

The second episode of the gsport #PowerOfRecognition series, on our weekly IG Lives, was an enlightening conversation between 2020 Momentum gsport Award winner Awande Malinga, interviewed by 2021 winner of the same award, Mbali Sigidi.

Sigidi is a journalist and anchor on SuperSport TV on various sporting codes, she kicked things off with Malinga’s squash journey and how it all started.

“Squash is a small sport around the world. I got introduced by my dad when I was 6/7 years old. He taught me how to play the game, usually he’d be playing on court and I’d just be playing around. I enjoyed and started playing I then started my first tournament at 9 years old.”

“I did do athletics for a while but stopped 3 years ago because I want to focus on squash and take it more serious. I stuck with squash because I know there’s a path I could follow there and flourish if I focus.

Born and bred in Pietermaritzburg but now living in Pretoria says explains what gave her “a champions mentality.”

“Loving the sport first, that’s the first thing I had to do. I had to gain confidence despite losing. I also had to figure out why I’m losing, write a list after losing in a tournament I didn’t do well. Focus on fixing my mistakes during the training sessions. Playing more tournaments, I gained confidence, learn and you get used to the court and you get calm and comfortable.”

Malinga continues to dominate on the squash courts, she earned an eighth consecutive NJSA Closed Championship title earlier this year. With so much accomplished already, what’s next for the squash prodigy especially with it being her matric year?

“This year I cut down on a lot of tournaments because of my matric. Sadly, next month I won’t be going to World Junior Championships in Australia. I had to make some sacrifices even though I made the team. I will be playing a few tournaments that have some prominence.”

“It’s honour to be the reigning U19 Champion in the whole of South Africa,” she jokes. “To hold that is huge honour, it has a nice ring to it as well.”

The matriculant has even higher ambitions beyond matric.

“I’ve had a variety of dreams as to where I want to take my life. I’m thinking of going to University or College. Currently, I’ve applied at North West University, Nelson Mandela University and UCT. I’m hoping to be accepted in one of those. But something else I’ d love to do is go overseas to further my career. Not only University there but also to play other tournaments there to improve my squash.”

“I want to see how far I can take squash. I still want to play professional squash. I want to be the number one lady in the seniors.”

To watch the full interview, click here!

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