My life in sport: Laura Langman

By Dana Johannsen

It seems a long time since Laura Langman and her iconic long socks first burst on to the netball scene, so much so you forget the talented midcourter is still only 22.

Blessed with dazzling athleticism and a great competitive temperament, Langman's rise has been swift. She first made headlines in 2003, when she was named in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic team while still at school. The same year, she was selected for the NZU21 side at 16, before being elevated to the Silver Ferns squad a year later.

At the age of 19, Langman displaced New Zealand's most-capped netballer - Lesley Rumball - in the Silver Ferns test side, winning her first test cap against England in 2005. That same year, she led New Zealand to victory in the World Youth Championship, and in 2006 won a Commonwealth Games gold medal with the Silver Ferns.

In the Magic environment she added another string to her bow by taking over the reins at centre to go with her undoubted prowess as a quality wing defence. She has taken her credentials to new heights by adding wing attack to her resume.

Langman has returned for the Magic for this year's ANZ Championship and hopes this will be their year for transtasman glory.

What are your goals for the season?

Definitely to win the ANZ Championship, that's a big driver for us.

What inspired you to embark on a career in sport?

Pretty much just the opportunities and the people you meet. Not many people get the opportunity to play the sport they love as a possible career and it's just awesome for me to be able to do that.

When you were 13 years old, were there any other sports you fancied yourself as a future star in?

I was definitely one of those kids that just played anything and everything. It didn't matter what it was, if there was sport going I would have played it. I would have loved to have been a top tennis player or soccer player, but netball just stuck with me from high school so I just ran with it.

Describe your job ...

It's pretty awesome, we train twice a week with the Magic team and every other day we're doing our individual training, whether we're in the gym or doing runs or speed sessions. When I'm not doing that I'm at university doing a bachelor of business analysis, which I'm overdue to finish.

What's the best thing about your job?

Netball is what I'm really passionate about and I just love getting to play it sort of week-in, week-out. We had our first game on Monday [a 51-38 win over the Northern Mystics] and there's nothing better than training hard for months on end and then being able to put it all together out on court like we did on Monday.

And the worst thing?

Endless beep tests and fitness tests. They're not a lot of fun, but it is part and parcel and we just get on with it.

Proudest achievement of your sporting life?

I've been really lucky, I guess - I have three that sort of spring to mind. Firstly, World Youth Champs in 2005. We beat Aussie in the semifinal by one and then went on to win gold. And then being named in the Silver Ferns was a huge event in my life and then going on to win gold in the Commonwealth Games.

And I hear you're about to be reunited with your gold medal? (Langman's Commonwealth Games gold medal, which was stolen in a burglary last year, was found last week in an abandoned Auckland home.)

Yeah, I pick it up tomorrow, I'm very excited. You never expect things like that to happen and I'm just so excited to have it back.

And what would you say was the worst moment of your sporting life?

Oooh, probably getting beaten by the Aussies. Any time you didn't perform the way you would have liked is not a nice feeling. Obviously, in that world champs final, as a team we just gave absolutely everything we had but it still wasn't really enough. And you train so long and hard for events, such as the world champs, and to just fall short is really gut-wrenching but at the same time it's motivation to stick with it and come back better next time.

If you weren't a netballer, what would you be doing?

I would love to have studied to be a vet, I don't know if that's being a bit ambitious, but it's always something I've been interested in. Also I'd love to be a pro-surfer - dreams are free, I guess.

Who in the world do you most admire as well?

I really, really admire Roger Federer. I think he's just absolutely amazing, he's dominated the male tennis scene for so long. He's just a complete athlete, he's very well spoken, he's calm under pressure and, man, he delivers some pretty polished performances. Although he's been beaten quite a bit recently, I'm sure he'll come back bigger and stronger.

Who was your childhood hero?

I would probably say my Dad. I spent a lot of time with my Dad when I was growing up and I really do admire my Dad and what he does.

What do you do to get away from netball?

I love going home to our family in Te Pahu, which is a very, very small country town in the Waikato. My dog stays with Mum and Dad and I can go milk the cows and rove about on the farm. I also like to do a lot of wakeboarding or surfing, so just something different, with lots of space around me.

What's the one career ambition you'd like to realise before you retire?

I'd definitely love to achieve gold at a world champs, that would really be the icing on the cake for me.


2003 Named in the New Zealand Under-21 side at just 16 years old

Selected in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic team for the National Bank Cup

2004 Earnt the call-up to senior level when she was selected in the wider Silver Ferns squad

2005 Selected in the Silver Ferns test team, won her first cap against England in the third test of the series.

Captained the Under-21s to gold at the World Youth Cup in Miami

2006 Was a member of the Silver Ferns team that won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

2008 Awarded co-captaincy of the Silver Ferns for their final test series against Australia after regular skipper Julie Seymour was forced out due to injury

- NZ Herald

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