Award-Winning Tess Petersen Inspired By #PowerOfRecognition

Tess Petersen has followed in the award-winning footsteps of her mother, Natasha Petersen - 2023 Telkom Woman of the Year - by being recognised for her contributions to advancing women’s cricket at the club level. All Photos: Supplied

In a world that challenges women to push beyond acceptable social norms, Tess Petersen has risen to the challenge, pursuing her passion for sport from the cricket fields of the Western Cape to the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2018. 

Following in the footsteps of her mother, Natasha Petersen, who was awarded the 2023 Telkom Woman of the Year at the Momentum gsport Awards, Tess does freelance work in event management. The awards have been a source of inspiration for Tess to do much more for women in the events and sports industry.

“I saw how women were able to literally have it all (a family, a career, and a way to give back to others) and I felt like I needed to do more to give back to those around me, hence helping to start our Women’s cricket team where I am able to make a real difference in women’s lives. Women supporting women!”

She recently won the Women of the Year award at Bergvliet Cricket Club annual awards ceremony. With it being only her second season with the club, Tess made major in-roads not just for herself but for other females within the community. She is the first ever female to serve on the Executive Board of the club and she started the first ever female’s team, which marked an historic moment for herself and the club.

“Winning Woman of the Year was a huge and overwhelming experience, especially after watching my mother win Telkom Woman of the Year at the 2023 Momentum gsport Awards. The moment felt surreal because ‘like mother like daughter’, we were both able to be acknowledged for always striving to be the best role model for other women around us.”

It is always important for women to create and contribute to environments where fellow females can stand up and be counted, where they can have their voices heard.

“Making club history last year by becoming the first ever female elected to serve on the clubs Exco was huge achievement. It gave me extra motivation to get women involved in the club and make our presence felt. 

Bergvliet Cricket Club Women of the Year Award Winner, Tess Petersen

“Women are the future and therefore we need girls to be involved in sport from a young age as it helps to develop so many skills like hand and eye coordination, teamwork, motivation, how to work towards a common goal as well as creating lifelong bonds and friendships.”

Tess attests her strong will and independence to her grandmother Washiela Fisher and whom Tess considers one of the strongest women she has ever met. With a loving and supportive family by her side, Tess has thrived in the event management industry.

Her biggest and most memorable event was having worked at the 2018 Special Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi. It displayed resilience and courage in people from all walks of life and a belief that when you put your mind to something and say yes to opportunities, that one moment can change your life forever.

“Working on such a Globally recognised event and seeing how those athletes put their heart and souls into every movement was so inspiring and truly opened my eyes to making sure I was always trying to help people. That event taught me to give back in any way possible but also to never underestimate anyone, people are as strong as they want to be and if you have the determination, an obstacle can never hold you back.”

Corporate plays a big role in the advancement of women’s sport. The rise of women’s cricket has been emerging as a prominent force recently. The evolution of sport has not only reshaped the game but also opened the sponsorship opportunities, offering brands the chance to align themselves with a growing and influential segment of the sporting world.

“If Corporates would consider encouraging their female employees to get involved in sport, they could partner with the local community cricket clubs, host T10 or T20 exhibition matches or tournaments. It is a way to watch women’s sport, be interactive and to see and experience first-hand the skills and abilities these women have and need to play the game.”

One should not forget that women’s cricket extends far beyond the boundaries of the cricket pitch. Dedicated funding to support and grow women’s club cricket across South Africa, is critical for women’s teams especially when it comes to necessary equipment and kits and transport.

Petersen feels that once more girls’ teams are formed at school level and they are given equal opportunities to thrive especially with a feeder system to local clubs in their areas, “girls are able to play cricket for their school during the week as well as for the cricket club on a Sunday with practices in between. 

“We need to make sure the right coaches and management are in place to help guide the younger ladies in the right direction and to create a wonderful sense of camaraderie and team work. Developing cricket at a grassroots level for women and girls and increasing participation of women in leadership roles is a work should be a priority!”

Having played a major role in starting the women’s cricket team, Petersen was overwhelmed with the response from the local community. Players that form part of the club are working mums, school going girls and even women from the Navy.

“Now taking what you know about the type of ladies I have in my team, combine that with a wonderful environment to learn and grow ones cricketing skills, combined with a passion and determination, my women’s team ended the cricket season 3rd on the log out of 18 other women’s cricket teams.”

With her dad as one of her biggest supporters, Tess does not only manage the team and serve on Exco, but she also plays cricket and scores for the men’s first team matches. Talk about being an inspiration but it is not always easy juggling so much in a very demanding lifestyle. She creates a balance of work and play time that only helps her destress but shows that she can have it all whilst doing what she loves.

Petersen believes that nothing can stop a woman in sport, “We are stronger when we are united and we are uniting to help each other get closer to our goals and bringing our dreams to life. Women are being acknowledged and are finally accessing amazing opportunities especially in the Sports realm; international contracts; sponsorship and broadcast deals If you work hard, keep a positive mindset, and have passion and determination. It is all happening and it is our time!”

Photo Caption: Tess Petersen has followed in the award-winning footsteps of her mother, Natasha Petersen – 2023 Telkom Woman of the Year – by being recognised for her contributions to advancing women’s cricket at the club level. All Photos: Supplied

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About the Author:

Selina Munsamy

Selina Munsamy

I am a sports enthusiast. I am newly appointed KZN Women's Cricket Manager for the 2019/2020 season. My passion lies in cricket, technically I live and breathe cricket. I am a Scorer affiliated to KZN Cricket Scorer's Association. I also coach mini cricket for Tongaat Cricket Union. Live, Laugh and Love with Sport.

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