Emma Hardham is a dedicated water polo player. she is able to balance her studies and her training schedule and has become a star player.
Being able to compete at a national and international level while balancing studies is something that Wits’ Sportswoman of the Year is no stranger to.
Emma Hardham, 2nd year BSc Physiotherapy, plays water polo competitively and is not only part of the Wits ladies team but is also a member of the Gauteng ladies team and South African ladies squad.
At the Wits Sport Awards in October 2015, Hardham achieved full blues cum laude and best sportswoman of the year. Hardham has also represented South Africa and participated in tournaments in several different countries.
Hardham spoke to Wits Vuvuzela about the sport she does and what it takes to become a star player. She started playing water polo during her school career.
“My school, St Mary’s Waverley started offering polo as a summer sport. I thought it would be a fun sport to try out as I used to swim and loved being in the pool,” said Hardham.
Hardham said: “I never thought I would play as much polo as I do, but I loved the sport and I loved that it was a team sport.” During her Matric year, Hardham was elected captain of the school team.
In order to be seen as a star player, Hardham said: “You need to be determined. You need to balance your studies with your training. You also need to always be open to learning in the sport as you don’t know everything.”
Of all the countries she has played in, Hardham said her favourite was the Netherlands. “I recently got to partake in the Olympic qualifiers round which took place in the Netherlands. The senior ladies team played at our best level against teams that were at their Olympic level.”
Hardham has a rigorous programme that includes not only training, but varsity classes and homework. Her day starts off with training in the gym pool from 06:00am until about 06:30/ 06:45. From there she has varsity classes from 08:00 until 5 every day and then her water polo training starts at 7pm. Hardham said that varsity work gets done during open times in the day and in the evening after training if she doesn’t get home too late.
The next challenge for Hardham is competing in the water polo Curry Cup with the Gauteng ladies A side in Durban for the national aquatics festival in 2016.