Sunday, February 25, 2024

‘Meant to stay broken’: Fat-shamed cricket star to retire after 2km cut-off controversy

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International cricket star Dane van Niekerk is set to retire at the age of just 29 after her shock fat shaming saga last month.

The former South African captain was sensationally overlooked for their Women’s T20 World Cup for failing to meet team fitness standards.

Van Niekerk missed the 9:30 minute two-kilometre time trial cut off by just 18 seconds, after coming back from a serious ankle injury.

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Remarkably, the time trial was a personal best for van Niekerk, but she was overlooked for the World Cup regardless.

Despite the condemnation of that selection policy that followed, van Niekerk was forced to watch on from the sidelines as the Proteas fell to Australia in the final.

On Saturday night, van Niekerk posted a cryptic message on social media before her partner Marizanne Kapp all but confirmed the retirement.

“You have to accept that some chapters in our lives have to close without closure,” van Niekerk posted.

“There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.”

Dane Van Niekerk celebrates a wicket.Source: AAP

Kapp later posted a photo of the duo in South African playing kit and wrote: “End of an era” – complete with a heartbreak emoji.

It’s not the first time South African cricket’s fitness requirement has led to a premature retirement, following Lizelle Lee’s decision to step away in 2022.

Lee announced her abrupt retirement after admitting being “afraid” of weight testing measures taken by staff.

By retiring, Lee was able to take part in T20 competitions without the no-objection certificate required from CSA.

“I made the fitness, the running, but not the weight. So you’re dropping me because of weight? So as a woman that breaks me,” she said at the time.

Van Niekerk, who was named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year last year, has long been regarded as one of South Africa’s leading players as a top-order batter, leg-break bowler and respected captain.

After making her international debut in 2009, van Niekerk became South Africa’s most successful ODI captain and the first South African player to take 100 ODI wickets.

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Just last week van Niekerk, who is currently in India for the Women’s Premier League, said she hoped to “find the Dane” she had lost “with all the ups and downs”.

“When you go through these tiring times, you don’t like the game as much,” she told ESPN.

“As a cricketer, everyone says if you don’t enjoy it it’s probably time to call it [off].

“I want to find that love and that fun factor again, find the Dane that I missed, to be honest.”

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