Durban’s Reyanka Kisten catches a breather on a ‘snow court’ in the Dolomite Mountains in Kronplatz in Italy, where she is participating in the FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour.
Durban - It’s not often a national volleyball champ plays in soccer boots, much less on the snow, but Reyanka Kisten is bringing some Durban heat to Italy’s snow volleyball tournament.

Kisten, a third year BComm student at UKZN, and volleyball coach at Danville Park Girls’ High School, is competing at the international FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour in Italy.

Having left sunny and hot Durban shores at the end of last month, Kisten, who captained the Under 20 team at the BRICS games last year, said this was the first time a South African team had been invited to play in the snow tournament.

The team played in Austria at the Fly Mozart ski resort in Wagrain and are now on the Dolomite Mountains in Kronplatz in Italy.

“South Africa had the privilege of being invited to the first ever FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour.

"Four females from SA were chosen to play in the first two tournaments. Playing in these conditions is very different and the weather is nothing like South Africa, let alone our hot and humid Durban. The snow we play on is slippery, that’s why the soccer boots help,” she said.

Kisten, who started playing volleyball in primary school, said being chosen for the KZN team in her matric year was a major highlight, and spurred her volleyball career.

“I also captained Danville Park Girls’ High first team volleyball.

"After matriculating I joined the UKZN Volleyball Club. My passion for volleyball just grew as I developed as a player. I saw how much there was to volleyball and I wanted to learn more and threw everything I had into the sport. Volleyball is one of the most challenging things I have taken on.

"There are so many skills and techniques. What instilled my passion for volleyball was the challenge it brought and I could see results in my personal growth over time when I put in the time and effort.

"I train twice a week with my UKZN Club at the Westville university sports centre,” she said.

Kisten said snow volleyball was similar to beach volleyball, and was a great combination of beach and indoor volleyball, with a three-player structure on court.

In the coming years, Kisten said she wished to contribute to the development of the sport.

“I would like to open up my own sports academy in the Phoenix area for children who don’t have access to facilities. They can get involved in something constructive like sport, which can open up so many opportunities. For a sport to grow and develop you need players.

"Once a generation of players phase out, you need a new generation to take their place. Without this the sport will never succeed,” she said.