Lesley Rumball (née Nicol) has certainly packed in numerous sporting and career achievements since leaving St Hilda’s. Lesley attended St Hilda’s in 1991, having come from Southland Girls’ High School. She became a Silver Fern in 1994, which was the beginning of a 12-year international career, going on on to captain the side from 1996. Born in Invercargill, Lesley began playing senior club netball at age 11, in the same team as her mother, and rose rapidly through the ranks of representative teams. The Netball NZ website describes Lesley as ‘a quality performer in a range of midcourt positions, she was a natural standout at wing defence. An intelligent player, her height, athletic ability, off-the-ball work and relentless harassing of attackers made her a classic wing defence. Rumball’s Southland roots were embedded in her personality which showed no bounds to her reliability, dedication and work ethics in pursuing sporting excellence.’
A netball career highlight for Lesley is winning the World Netball Championships in Jamaica in 2003. Her enduring services to Netball were acknowledged when she was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (NZOM) in the 2004 New Year’s Honours list. In 2016 she was inducted into the New Zealand Sport Hall of Fame at the Halberg Awards.
In addition to her netball success, Lesley completed a Physiotherapy degree at Otago University and then went on to complete a degree in Medicine. She practised as a doctor while competing at the highest level in sport – an impressive achievement indeed. Lesley completed her fellowship in Sports and Exercise Medicine in 2015. This speciality requires an additional 5 years of study/final exams after completing a medical degree and house surgeon years. She did a year at the Australian Institute of Sport as the first part of her speciality training. She had spent two years in the UK prior to that, while her husband Chris studied at Cambridge. Then she moved back to Christchurch just in time for the earthquakes!
Lesley is a member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Selection Panel and recently completed three terms on the Board of Drug Free Sport NZ. Being passionate about athlete empowerment, she has been on the NZOC Athlete’s Commission and the Commonwealth Games Federation Board as an athlete representative.
Lesley now works at SportsMed Canterbury and has a contract with High Performance Sport New Zealand to look after the high performance athletes in Christchurch. Lesley and her husband Chris have three children Henry, 10; Lily, 7; and Theo, 2. She now enjoys chasing her children around the sports fields!