Interview with Umpire, Alana Marais by Haylea Heyns

The winners of the annual SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge are about to be crowned, and 20-year-old umpire from St John’s DSG in Pietermaritzburg, Alana Marais, prepares to blow the whistle at the Grand Finals taking place in Kloof later this month.
The tournament, which is in its seventh year, travelled to 10 regions around KZN and saw almost 80 high school girls’ first teams battle it out on the turf. At each of the regionals an up-and-coming young umpire was selected, and Marais was one of the “Most Promising Umpires” to be invited to referee at the Grand Finals.
Marais has participated in the SPAR KZN tournament for 4 years but this will be the first tournament where she is umpiring the matches. She fell in love with hockey when she first picked up a stick in primary school and has been playing ever since. She appreciates the high level of skill required to control a ball with a stick and says the game “brings an honest sense of joy” to her life. This deep passion she has for hockey drives her to be the best umpire she can be. “Knowing how to play and knowing the rules as well as applying them in a game as an umpire is a big asset” says Marais.
When she is not on the turf, she enjoys reading a good adventure book, listening to music and hanging out with friends. She also takes part in another sport involving hitting a ball with a stick, and plays cricket for the KZN Inland Ladies Senior Side. Items on her bucket list include skydiving, and bungee jumping off the world’s highest bungee at The Royal Gorge Bridge in the USA. It is not surprising that this adventure and sports fanatic has her sights set on studying Physiotherapy at UKZN in Durban in the immediate future.
Catch Alana Marais umpiring at the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Grand Finals taking place at St Mary’s DSG on the 29 and 30 July 2017.

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