Zalika Methula is one of two black divers to first represent South Africa at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships.
Diving sensation Zalika Methula walked away with the Most Promising Athlete of the Year prize at the annual Gauteng Sport Awards on Saturday, 18 February 2023. Picture: zee_diving/Instagram.
JOHANNESBURG – Zalika Methula is taking the diving world by storm at just 16-years-old.
Eyewitness News caught up with the star diver who was crowned Most Promising Athlete of the Year at recent the annual Gauteng Sports Awards, to learn more about how she has achieved such success.
Speaking about winning the coveted award, Methula is characteristically humble.
“I was honestly in shock because I was up against amazing and talented athletes who also deserved to win this award. I had to reassure myself of how hard I’ve been working and that it’s all just paying off. I could barely walk because I was full of excitement and shock. That award was dedicated to all the young athletes who have a dream. A dream to be the best and go far in life,” says Methula.
Let’s get to know our #GautengSportAwards finalists for the Most Promising Athlete of the year category.
– Ofentse Matsise
– Zalika Methula
– Benjamin Richardson
– Chloe Badenhorst pic.twitter.com/Ot2pMW6V1L
‘ #GPSportAwards #GautengSportAwards (@GPSportAwards) February 9, 2023
2022 was a big year for the diving sensation, representing South Africa at the World Junior Diving Championships in Canada, and the FINA World Championships in Hungary.
This followed her success at the 2022 SA Diving Championships where she placed first in the 1 metre and 3 metre springboard dives.
“I would definitely like to see more women attempt dives that people think only men can do. And also just to see women be more confident in themselves which is something I’m still working on,” says Methula.
The athlete who hopes to fly South Africa’s flag high at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, started diving when she was 9-years-old and currently specialises in springboard diving and synchronised diving.
We join the rest of S Africa in congratulating Keratile Manaka and Zalika Methula in becoming the first Black divers to be selected to represent the country at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships, to be held in Montreal, Canada from 25 November to 4 December 2022. pic.twitter.com/C9VLTXOsoB
‘ Dept of Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities (@DWYPD_ZA) November 17, 2022
Diving as a sport requires participants to launch into water from a platform or springboard, usually while performing acrobatics.
It’s said divers possess similar characteristics to gymnasts and dancers which include strength, flexibility, kinaesthetic judgment and air awareness.
“Diving is a sport that requires a lot of patience, so it’s better to start when you’re young to get the basics set so that when you’re older you will be more confident, and it will be easier to grow your dives. With hard work and determination, I can assure you that you will reach your goals.”
Methula and 15-year-old Keratile Manaka made history by being the first black divers to represent South Africa at last year’s junior diving world championship.
And even though Methula is a junior she competed in the 1m women’s senior event while in Canada, finishing in the top 12. This competition saw 250 divers from over 40 countries competing.
Well done Zalika Methula!!! Most promising athlete of the year – Gauteng Sport Awards🤍👑🎉 pic.twitter.com/KNfWm1QaeH
‘ Swimming South Africa (@SwimSouthAfrica) February 20, 2023
“Diving is a mental sport and I’m so happy to have my sports psychologist who helps me with my mind and is always there for me whenever I’m struggling with something. Whether it’s getting me prepared for a major competition or just simply helping me to be the better version of myself.”
The young athlete says the support of her family and her friends has kept her going even during the toughest of times.
“I’ve also recently started a strength and wellness programme to help with enhancing my performance and getting the right food in my body to ensure great performance. I’m grateful for my coach [Coach Danilo Cogrossi] who never fails to see the potential within me and his unbelievable dedication to take me to the highest level possible.
And also everyone who has helped me and continues to help me reach my goals. Whether it’s through funding or helping me through this journey.”
Finally the day has arrived. Help us wish our Divers all the best as they head off to Canada to compete in the FINA Junior World Diving Championships @Keratile Manaka @Zalika Methula @Grace Brammer and @Gemma Weyers 🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/MFFqvMykDJ
‘ Swimming South Africa (@SwimSouthAfrica) November 20, 2022
Methula says she is motivated to work hard in silence “where no one can see how hard you work, and then letting your success be the noise”.
She will compete at the upcoming SA National Championships in April.