“Miss Everywhere”, Natasha Lawson talks to Frontrowzim about playing sport for Zimbabwe in three different disciplines (hence us calling her Miss Everywhere). Natasha takes us back to nursery school where she started competing in sport. The Hellenic International Academy student also talks to us about her aspirations and like everyone of our interviewees she shares her views on discipline in youth sports.
Frontrowzim.com: Who is Natasha Lawson?
Natasha Lawson: I am in Lower 6 at Hellenic Academy. I was born August 20 1996 and I belong to a family of five, my dad, my mom and my two older brothers.
Frontrowzim.com: What are your earliest memories of competing in any sport?
Natasha Lawson: I remember coming near the back in my nursery school swimming race. We had to swim a length, keeping a hat on our heads and I found it extremely difficult.
Frontrowzim.com: You have represented Zimbabwe in three different sporting disciplines. Which would you say is your favourite?
Natasha Lawson: Cycling is a very new sport for me, so I haven’t yet grown to love it to the degree that I love swimming and water-polo. My best is probably water-polo because all successes and failures are shared between a team, and not left solely on an individual.
Frontrowzim.com: Any other discipline, we can expect to see you taking part in at national level?
Natasha Lawson: That’s an interesting question to answer because I have always wanted to try triathlon. Since I can already swim and cycle, I would pay special attention to the running, however, I have not managed to find the time to start a new sport. I hope that I will represent Zimbabwe in triathlon, sometime in the near future.
Frontrowzim.com: We never quite knew you as a cyclist but you represented Zimbabwe on the world stage earlier this year. How did you take up mountain biking?
Natasha Lawson: The Head of Zimbabwe Cycling set up a meeting with me, expressing her interest in me taking up mountain biking. After that, it was a lot of hard work and many hours of practise as well as excellent coaching.
Frontrowzim.com: Were you surprised when you qualified for the biking world championships?
Natasha Lawson: I was incredibly surprised. I had only been cycling for a few short months and I was still getting used to the sport.
Frontrowzim.com: How would you best describe your experiences in Pietermaritzburg at the MTB world champs?
Natasha Lawson: I have never been faced with such fierce competition. It was amazing to meet Olympic champions and ride among them. Next year, the competition is in Norway, so hopefully I will qualify for that as well and I will be more prepared.
Frontrowzim.com: Where do you see yourself at, say in the next 3-5 years?
Natasha Lawson: I am dead set on studying law. Hopefully I will be accepted into the university of my choice, preferably in America and doing my law degree.
Frontrowzim.com: Any short term goals?
Natasha Lawson: I was recently awarded with “Sportsgirl-of-the-year” at Hellenic and my goal is to win this again next year. Hopefully and with hard work, I will be able to achieve this.
Frontrowzim.com: Who are your sporting role models?
Natasha Lawson: I would have to say my two older brothers. Matthew (20) took part in the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City and James (18) participated in the Senior World Champs in Barcelona for swimming.
Frontrowzim.com: Multiple national colours, four subjects to tackle at school. How do you keep yourself motivated?
Natasha Lawson: Knowing the possible results at the end is enough to motivate anyone.
Frontrowzim.com: And how do you manage to maintain a balance between the two?
Natasha Lawson: It is always hard trying to figure out how to distribute your time. The balance is hard to strike, so far I think that I have created quite an even balance but I could spend more time on my studies.
Frontrowzim.com: Do you think discipline is of any particular importance in youth sport?
Natasha Lawson: Discipline is very important. Zimbabwe has the talent, it just takes discipline to shape us into the best that we can be.
Frontrowzim.com: Any words you live by?
Natasha Lawson: I have a big piece of paper stuck above my bed with three words written on it. “Discipline Determination Devotion.”