Flying high down under

Baitshepi Sekgweng
ACE IN THE AIR: The sky\'s the limit for Hans-Rapoo

Netball star soars in Oz

Local netball export to Australia, Sarona Hans-Rapoo has the world at her feet – or more precisely, 30, 000 metres below her feet!

Five years after leaving for Oz on an elite scholarship, the Brisbane-based 23-year-old is now a licenced pilot, literally flying high Down Under, both on and off the court.

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The brainy sportswoman, who plays primarily in the Centre position, dazzled at the just-ended 2021 Queensland Premier League (QPL), leading her team, Cornubia Park, to the Preliminary Final, where they narrowly missed out on a place in the QPL Open State Finals.

Recapturing the form that saw her shine as captain of the U/21 national team which finished 10th at the Youth World Cup on home soil back in 2017, Hans-Rapoo’s excellent performances have not gone unnoticed.

SOARING STAR: The gifted netballer on court

“We recently completed the season and had awards where I received a Representative Award which is given to the player who contributed most to the team and the season. I played all 18 QPL games for my team,” reveals the high-flyer, explaining QPL is the highest division of representative netball in Australia.

Currently in the off-season, despite her busy schedule away from the game, Hans-Rapoo has her sights firmly set on re-selection to the Cornubia side.

“Trials are coming up in December so I’m hoping to get selected in the same teams I did this year for next year,” the Karakubis native tells Voice Money, speaking to us from Brisbane, a coastal city on the Eastern edge of Australia, home to 2.6 million people and located a cool 12, 000km away from Botswana.

Indeed, distance is the main reason she is not always available for the senior national team.

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Continuing her impressive sporting exploits, Hans-Rapoo proved to be the star of Albion All Stars and was instrumental in the team’s Super League triumph.

The Super League is an indoor tournament played on smaller courts, with a net surrounding the playing surface.

Voted Albion’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), the recognition was all the sweeter considering the team was made up of both men and woman.

FLYING HIGH: Hans-Rapoo in QPL action

“The competition was much more challenging for me because we played alongside men who tend to be more athletic and physical. I also played all the games in the Super League so was privileged enough to win the award. This is by far my best award because this means I gave the boys a run for their money,” laughs the light-hearted leader, a Griffith University graduate with a Bachelor of Aviation.

Armed with a commercial pilot licence as well as a multi-engine instrument rating, meaning she can fly an aircraft with more than one engine, Hans-Rapoo’s netball career is likely to play second fiddle to her profession in the coming years.

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“The plan right now is to come back home and apply for a job but I won’t be turning down opportunities if I do get them here especially if I don’t get initial offers from Botswana. As for netball, the netball community here is the best I have ever been involved with but my career as a pilot comes first! I’m sure there will always be a netball team I can play for wherever I get a job,” concludes the former Dinaletsana diamond.

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