Witsie has been picked to play in SA’s hockey first squad in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.  

A former Wits University hockey player will be taking part in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after being named for the South African women’s team. 

Nomnikelo ‘‘Nicky’’ Veto (24) was selected to play in the first squad of the athletics team, announced on May 27 by Team South Africa on its online platforms.  

“With Olympics being held once every four years, and with us being in South Africa and not sure of even going to the next Olympic games, I feel ready,’’ Veto told Wits Vuvuzela. ‘‘But I am never fully ready to go on the field and play, because I always feel there is something more I could do. But so far I am on the right track.”  

In 2019, Wits Vuvuzela had an interview with Veto when she was selected as part of the 26-player squad for the South African women’s hockey team set to take part in the Olympic qualifiers in Tokyo. Unfortunately, with covid-19 postponing all sporting codes in 2020, she was not able to play in the 2020 qualifiers.  

Veto told Wits Vuvuzela, “It felt like the end of the world when the Olympics were cancelled, but when I look back at last year and how much I have grown as a hockey player, I feel more confident now in my ability going into the team than last year. I got a break to train and mature my hockey skills.”   

She graduated in 2020 with a BA in international relations and political studies. Born in Walmer, Gqeberha, Veto started playing hockey at the age of nine, and made her debut with Wits women’s hockey in 2016 for the U21 team. She has also participated in international tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations in junior and senior teams, and Olympic qualifiers in Spain. 

This year saw Veto focus on developing her sports abilities in time for the Olympics, but she plans to study law in 2022 as a backup plan in case that does not work out for her. Even though she enjoys participating in sports, she said her plan to study will provide her with a long-term solution should she need it.  

The Wits Sports Council chairperson, Grace Taylor, told Wits Vuvuzela the hockey team is proud of Veto’s journey. “She is an incredibly phenomenal athlete,’’ Taylor said. ‘‘She has inspired and built up everyone around her, and I could see her drive to achieve the entire time I have known her.” 

Veto will share on her YouTube channel her entire experience of being in Tokyo.  

FEATURE IMAGE: Nomnikelo Veto dribbles the ball while playing as a striker for the national hockey team. Photo: Provided