Thembi Baloyi Urges Women in Sport to Back Each Other

Northern Cape Cricket Club Facilities Coordinator Thembi Baloyi expresses her ambition to see women in sport back and support each other as they take up space in the sporting industry. Photo: Supplied

Northern Cape Cricket Club Facilities Coordinator Thembi Baloyi expresses her ambition to see women in sport back and support each other as they take up space in the sporting industry.

Baloyi says that women need to stand together to ensure that we close the visibility gap which still prevails for many women in sport.

She believes that women are deserving of equal opportunities and remuneration as compared to male counterparts.

Apart from her advocacy to change the scene for women in sport and her love for developing cricket, Baloyi is also a passionate runner.

She says winning the 4km Cross Country Senior Women’s race in 2015 as one of her highlights and reveals seasoned middle-distance runner turned sport administrator, Kesa Molotsane as one of the women she draws inspiration from.

Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Baloyi chats about the importance of athletes furthering their studies and being disciplined and dedicated to growth.

 

Thembi, thank you for chatting to us. Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Thembi Lucia Baloyi. I was born and raised in Soshanguve. I started school at Rhulani Combined School. Then, I pursued my high school at Rosina Sedibane Sports School of Focus Learning on a scholarship. I have a National Diploma in Sport Management which I obtained at Tshwane University of Technology and also an Advanced Diploma in Management obtained at Stadio formerly Southern Business School.

I am a hardworking person who loves adventure. I was raised by a single parent. I never knew my father until he resurfaced in 2015. My mother and my 2 younger brothers have been my support structure since day 1 of my running as they never gave up on me. I am currently working at Northern Cape Cricket as the Club’s Facilities Coordinator.

 

When and where did your love for sport begin?

It all began in primary school as mentioned above then I was recruited to join a running club called Monaco Athletics in Soshanguve.

 

When you started out, who were some of the women athletes that motivated you?

Truly speaking I was always admiring my sister’s teammates at my club because I had no clue about the other women who were running at that time and I was still searching for an event to focus on.

 

Being an athlete needs discipline and dedication. How important is this?

It is very important as you must balance and manage your time, basically, you must sacrifice mostly your weekends and family time as most of the major events need preparation and training camps.

 

Congratulations on your recent graduation! Please tell us about it and how you managed to balance your studies and sport?

All the credit to my boyfriend, he persuaded me to study further after obtaining my Diploma as if he knew that we were going to be on lockdown which kept me busy during that period. I had too much time to focus on my studies as there was no running.

 

You are passionate about athletics (running), how do you manage your time with also being the coordinator at NCC?

It’s all about time management – I train in the afternoon and in the morning on weekends. Which is not easy sometimes with late night meetings. Remember, I’m also tackling my studies as I’m currently studying 3 modules for my Honours Degree in Business Management (distance learning with Stadio).

 

What challenges are you facing?

Balancing my studies and training it was very challenging in the beginning until I started attending leadership and mentorship workshops – that assisted in planning and balancing my studies.

 

What do you think needs to be done to close the visibility gap when it comes to women’s sport?

Equal incentives in all the sporting codes and equal respect for women in the sport industry as women in male-dominated sport are being undermined.

 

What are some of your highlights in your career to date?

Representing South Africa at the World Student games twice in 2015 and 2017. Moments that I will cherish forever includes winning the 4km Cross Country Senior Women race in 2015.

 

Please tell us about the 10km road race you took part in earlier in May. How was it and what did you take from it?

I have been training for 2 weeks since 2019 I just decided to just lace up and go for a run, running is close to my heart. I have been telling myself that I will never run competitively anytime soon but just found myself at the starting line, it motivated me to know that I can still run competitively, so I guess it’s me coming back to the running space. It taught me to never look down on myself because I am capable of still pushing my body to the limit.

 

How is the state of women’s cricket in the Northern Cape and what do you think needs to be done to improve it?

Women’s cricket is currently being revived after Covid as the structure was dissolved. I’m currently working hard with the newly elected task team that consist of only women and the coaches to revive women’s cricket in Northern Cape and we have the full support of the new Board.

 

Which sportswomen do you admire and why?

Kesa Molotsane. I have been running with her for a long time and she has never given up and is one of the strong contenders in the big races. She is studying, working, and serving in various sporting portfolios, but still produces good running results.

 

What’s your advice to women who aspire to be in sport?

It is not an easy journey. It is about discipline and trusting the process but most importantly, further your studies!

 

What’s your greatest ambition?

To see all sportswomen treated equally to the male counterparts and for women to support and back each other.

 

 

Photo 1 Caption: Northern Cape Cricket Club Facilities Coordinator Thembi Baloyi expresses her ambition to see women in sport back and support each other as they take up space in the sporting industry. Photo: Supplied

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