Severn Stars shooter and South African international, Maryka Holtzhausen, has announced her retirement from professional netball.
Holtzhausen has played for the Club for the last two seasons and captained the Stars side last season. She brings to a close a stellar international career, with more than 100 caps for South Africa, including her last match against England for the bronze medal in the recent Netball World Cup.
“I have quite mixed feelings to be honest,” said the 32-year-old goal attack. “Although I have a real peace in my heart about my decision, it doesn’t make it easy to say goodbye to such a big part of my life. I think every athlete gets to a point in their career where it feels right to let go and move on. It just feels right to start focusing on other things in my life.”
Holtzhausen, originally of Bloemfontein, Free State, competed for South Africa in the Commonwealth Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018 and Netball World Cup in 2011, 2015 and this year. She captained her national side from 2013 to 2016.
She said: “There are definitely many highlights in my career, but I wouldn’t want to single anything out because everything was really special – all the memories, all the people and all the life lessons I will carry close to my heart forever.”
Holtzhausen said her decision had been made by the end of the Superleague season. “I knew in the last Netball World Cup and in my last Stars match that it was the final time,” she added. “I remember so clearly pulling those dresses over my head for the final time. I think it was just a whole rush of emotions, but all those emotions means it really was a very special time in my life.”
Holtzhausen said she would miss playing for Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire.
“Being part of Stars has been a great highlight in my career,” she said. “Being part of a new franchise and building a culture has been special. The Stars family welcomed me with open arms and it became my home away from home. I will miss the netball, the enthusiastic supporters, a team environment and the friends I made, on and off court.
“At the moment I do not have any definite plans. I’m just looking forward to a break and endless opportunities in the future – no matter where they lead.”
Holtzhausen will continue her role as a Sports Administrator at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.
Severn Stars Co-Director, Anita Navin, said: “Maryka is truly one of the best athletes I have had the privilege to support and work with. She is a first class ambassador and leader both on and off the court, who has contributed immensely to the development of our performance culture at Severn Stars, and I am grateful our paths crossed in high performance netball. Maryka has been an outstanding member of the South Africa squad too and we wish her well in her future career. She has superb leadership skills which I am sure will be utilised well in her career ambitions that lie ahead.”
Photos courtesy of and Andrew Taylor