Cape Town - Tazmin Brits may have missed out on going to the Olympics, but she will now have the opportunity to show off her sporting prowess at the Commonwealth Games later this year in Birmingham.
Britz, 31, was, of course, in a previous life a Junior World Champion javelin thrower. However, a horrific car accident, on the day she qualified for the London 2012 Olympics killed off that dream.
The accident changed Britz’ course, and after recovering from severe internal injuries, she found a new passion: cricket. The powerfully-built athlete has since forged a new sporting career, where she performs the role of a hard-hitting top-order batter for North West and the Proteas Women’s team.
She fulfilled a lifelong dream earlier this year when she was part of the Proteas’ team that reached the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup.
Although her tournament in New Zealand was not much of a personal success, Britz had done enough in the lead-up to the World Cup to earn her first professional contract with Cricket South Africa. It was an immense achievement, especially as she had worked as a waiter at a restaurant in Potchefstroom for many years to supplement her income while trying to make the grade as a cricketer for North West.
“When I received (the news) about my first contract, I almost rolled my bakkie,” Brits. “Firstly, I am very grateful. I am blessed to have that (contract). It’s something that you work for a long time towards and it actually paid off, so it's a bit of a reward if I can put it that way and I am definitely thankful for it.”
Britz believes she has certainly benefited from being at the World Cup in terms of experience gained from competing against the best players in the world like Australia’s Alyssa Healy and Racheal Haynes.
"It would have been great if we got to the finals but just the overall learnings from the top players in our team and even playing against the likes of Australia, seeing people I have never played with or have never seen in real life,” Brits said.
“I might be a Protea, but it was definitely something to be grateful for to be in their aura and to be around them, so I learnt a lot.”
She will finally, though, get the opportunity to join the Athlete’s Village when the Proteas compete in the inaugural Commonwealth Games cricket competition in Birmingham later this year. The Commonwealth Games forms part of a hectic period for the Proteas Women’s team, who are also set to face World Cup finalists England in a full three-format series prior to global jamboree in the West Midlands.
“Since getting the contract, my work ethic hasn’t dropped, it has actually raised my game. I am a lot more excited; you want to do better to possibly maintain that contract,” Brits said
“I am very excited about the Commonwealth Games, I have never played in the Commonwealth so that is something to look forward to, as well as the T20 (World Cup). Having it at home, I think it will be an advantage and hopefully we won’t lose in the semi-finals, and we can actually win this T20 World Cup.”
Brits, along with left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba, are the two new faces to make the Proteas’ Women’s 2022/23 contracted list.