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LTS: Loughborough Lightning – Zanele Vimbela


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Meet Zanele Vimbela, a rising star in the world of netball hailing from South Africa. With her exceptional talent, dedication, and spirit, Vimbela has become a true inspiration for aspiring netball players worldwide. Despite facing setbacks, she has displayed resilience, emerging as a force in the sport.

In this blog, we’ll look into Vimbela’s journey, her comeback from injury, and the passions that drive her on and off the court.

Zanele stands tall at 6’0″.

3 words to describe yourself

Reserved, sarcastic and quiet

When did you first start playing netball? How old were you?

I started playing netball in primary school, I was around 11/12, so it’s been quite a long time now.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

As for now i would say get up in the morning head to the gym and work out, go in to the programme then afterwards recovery snack and meal in-between, then some work and admin a lot of recovery stuff during the day and some reading if i have the time. If I have coaching i coach in the afternoon and training in the evening. Allow time in-between to have time as a team as well and then finally some supper.

If you were not an athlete, what would you do?

I would of become involved in Forensic Science as i love to solve problems and watching crime and investigation shows. I’m very obsessed with it and intrigued by that profession as well.

Are there any other passions or interests you pursue outside of your career?

I’m still quite involved in sports, basketball is another passion of mine, if not football, always a team sports. Apart from that pursuing a career in sports science along with some coaching.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself that most people might not know?

I can’t think of an interesting fact, but I can think of an incident some people might not know about me. I actually caught chicken pox at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in Australia and had to isolate a week before – not a fun incident haha. Other than that I am the only person in my family that actually participates in sports. I’ve gone completely different direction to them, I’ve gone one way and they’ve gone another.

2022 was your first year back from injury. Did you face any challenges and how did you overcome them?

My first year back after injury was a challenge, as i knew in some aspect my physical self looked different to what i was used to playing. Obviously I had to stay disciplined and focused on improving myself and getting back on the court as well. I was able to overcome some of them, i’m all about improvement and was determined to just keep improving in areas and get back into a good condition. All in all i’m grateful I had no more issues with my injury and that specific part of my knee. At the minute i’m just focusing on taking care of myself mentally and physically.

Any advice for young girls trying to get into netball?

Really try to be the best that you can in whatever you do, especially in netball, if you have a passion for it follow it fully and enjoy it freely.

Shop tall jeanstall t-shirts, and tall suits seen on the Loughborough Lightning girls.

If you would like to know about the girls, make sure you keep up to date with our blogs. You can find our exclusive interview with the team here. Next week i’ll be talking with Emma about her life as a professional netball player. You can also check out our landing page which will keep you up to date on everything Loughborough Lightning.

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