International Sportsgirl Insaaf Levy Concentrates On Both Academics And Sport By Cheryl Roberts

23 Apr

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While still a school girl and a junior player, Insaaf Levy represented South Africa at touch rugby in both junor and senior world cups. Cape Town-based Insaaf finished matric end of 2019 and this year enrolled for a degree in medicine at the University of Cape Town. Whilst she knows her academic work will be demanding, Insaaf still wants to be enjoying paticpation in sport and playing touch rugby and netball. In this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ publisher Cheryl Roberts, we get to know more about the phenomenal sportsgirl that is Insaaf Levy from the Bo Kaap in Cape Town.

Q: How did you get introduced to playing touch rugby? And netball?
Insaaf Levy: Touch: My dad plays and coaches and is very involved in touch rugby so he introduced me to the sport.
Netball: I didn’t play any team sports at school till I joined the netball team at school in grade 6. It looked fun and lots of my friends were playing it so I wanted to join.

Q: You played a junior and senior touch rugby world cup before you were out of high school. How did this happen?
Insaaf Levy: The Youth World Cup was restarted again after being stopped for a few years and I was fortunate to be selected for the U18 team which went to the Youth World Cup in 2018. From there South Africa used the junior players as an extended player base and senior selectors scouted from there after which I was selected for the Senior Ladies Open Squad and eventually the team. We played in the Senior World Cup in April of 2019. So I was lucky that the Youth World Cup and Senior World Cup years followed each other and was in my schooling years.

Q: How do you manage your academic and sports life?
Insaaf Levy: I try to plan everything as best as I can. In high school I was quite busy and needed to make sure I scheduled everything properly. Everything doesn’t always go exactly to plan but having a routine is always helpful.

Q: Who are your role-models in sport? And supporters and mentors?
Insaaf Levy: My sporting role-models would include Misty Copeland and Serena Williams. My support system and mentors are definitely my family, specifically my parents.

Q: What have you achieved from playing touch rugby and netball?
Insaaf Levy: Besides the skills required and fitness levels needed, I have learnt about leadership, which I find is a really important skill. I have also learnt how to make decisions, how to allow for flexibility in plans and team dynamics.

Q: What excites you about playing sport?
Insaaf Levy: The strategising involved in both netball and touch. The ability to put plans in place and execute them in the game is really exciting for me.

Q: In the foreseeable future, would you like to be playing pro sport or concentrating on academic work and being an amateur sportswoman?
Insaaf Levy:/ level (Senior World Cup), you’re not going to be paid to play it, so it isn’t considered a professional sport. I play netball for my own enjoyment and even though I’ll try and compete as far as possible, I mostly play it because its fun. For these reasons, and the fact that my degree is going to begin to get extremely difficult and time consuming, I’d say I’ll be concentrating on my academics and remain an amateur sportsperson.

Q: Do you face any restrictions or fears being a Muslim girl in sport in South Africa?
Insaaf Levy: Personally, I have faced no restrictions.

insaaf levy bo kaap

Q: What changes would you like to see for girls and women in touch rugby?
Insaaf Levy: I’d really like to see a growth in numbers of girls playing the game at grassroots level and more exposure of the sport in general but specially the ladies aspect. The more they play the more competitive the competitions will become and it will only improve ladies touch at senior level. Exposure of the sport will increase the number of girls playing at every level.

Q: What is your training schedule for touch rugby and netball?
Insaaf Levy: Touch: Wednesday night leagues and Sunday trainings
Netball: Monday and Tuesday practices and matches are usually played on a Thursday.
I also have my gym and running sessions on my own in between official sessions and classes.

Q: What would you like to achieve in sport over the next 3-5 years?
Insaaf levy: For touch there are many opportunities to make the SA ladies open and SA youth side over the next few years as there is a European Championship (Euros Tour), 2021 Youth World Cup and 2023 Senior World Cup.
I was selected for the South African Ladies Open to play in the Euros Tour this year. However due to COVID-19 the Euros has been postponed to 2021. I also plan to focus on making the above teams while still carrying on with netball at university and hopefully make a provincial team next year again.

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