SPORTS

Fijian Women In Sports: Vuadreu Urges More Women to Play Cricket

At the age of 41, the Nadi mother of one still plays cricket along with her daughter. She said Nadi was formerly known to be a district where cricket was popular and was played in most villages including Nawaka and Nakavu.
15 Aug 2020 09:46
Fijian Women In Sports: Vuadreu Urges More Women to Play Cricket
Lanieta Vuadreu during the Cricket T10 Bash at Albert Park, Suva on August 8, 2020. Photo: Sereana Salalo

Former national cricket rep Lanieta Une Vuadreu wants more women to be involved in the sport.

“Many think cricket is too tough to play but once you get the hang of it, it is interesting,” Vuadreu said.

“We need more women to be involved in cricket; there are not many women who like to play it.

“They say it’s tough, but when they come to learn more about cricket.”

At the age of 41, the Nadi mother of one still plays cricket along with her daughter. She said Nadi was formerly known to be a district where cricket was popular and was played in most villages including Nawaka and Nakavu.

“However today, it is not common practice,” she said.

“We hope to develop more young women, to experience the sport, know more and play better cricket in the future.”

She hails from Namotomoto Village in Nadi and is married to Meli Benuci Vuadreu from Galoa, Tavuki, Kadavu. Vuadreu spoke to SUNsports about her cricket journey.
SUN: When did you start playing cricket?

VUADREU: I began my cricket journey in 2009 when women cricket came into existence. When growing up I never dreamt that I would represent Fiji in cricket.
SUN: What other sports were you involved in as a child? What made you play cricket and not any other sport?

VUADREU: During primary and secondary school, I was more into athletics and netball. After I left school I represented Nadi in netball and rugby and also played touch rugby with Denarau Dodgers.

The reason I chose to play cricket was that I was more interested in how it was played, it’s a non- contact sport but most importantly everything is paid for by Cricket Fiji.
SUN: What is one thing that you love the most about cricket?

VUADREU: What I love most about cricket is that it gave me the opportunity to represent my country and also took me to places.

When women’s cricket came into existence in 2009, I was really excited because I knew that I still had the opportunity, strength and ability to achieve anything that no one would imagine achieving.

Especially when you’re in your 30s and a fulltime housewife and mother.

I had represented Fiji to the Samoa Games in 2010, Vanuatu 2011/2012: Women Tri-Series in Vanuatu and the Samoa Pacific Games in 2019.
SUN: What is your motivation, what inspired you to play cricket?

VUADREU: What really inspired me to play cricket is my family, I am married to a family that plays cricket. I used to go with our village men’s team to all their games to support them. And it became more and more interesting to watch and know how to play. Those that motivated me were my husband and my brothers-in-law.
SUN: Were there any other Fiji reps in your family?

VUADREU: My late brother-in-law Kitione Vuadreu was a Fiji rep in the 1982 World Cup tour where he was the youngest player at the age of 18.

Meli Vuadreu, was a national trialist, Nadi rep from 1982 to 2020.

My uncle Mervyn Mcgoon was a former Fiji rep also and is now an international cricket umpire and also uncle Iliesa Navatu was a former Fiji rep.
SUN: What are some of the challenges for you being a mother, a player and a coach?

VUADREU: I have more responsibility; I am always doing my best to balance my schedule so that I don’t miss out on all my responsibilities
SUN: What do you think about the development of cricket for women in Fiji?

VUADREU: I am very grateful that Cricket Fiji is doing a marvellous job in providing more competition for women and developing cricket from the grassroots level
SUN: What is your advice to young women who would like to pursue a sports career, in particular cricket?

VUADREU: Nothing is too difficult to achieve if you put your mind into it.

Let no one or anything stop you. You’re stronger than you think. You’re capable. Always learn the basics of cricket, and start at an early age because you will gain more knowledge about the sport.
SUN: Why do you think that women’s participation in sports?

VUADREU: Most of the sports are male-dominated and I believe women participation will help us get more active and healthy. It assists us to pursue our dreams and achieve anything we want.
SUN: Being a coach and a player, what areas of cricket would you like to develop in Fiji?

VUADREU: There are a lot of things like:

  • Developing the sport in outer islands and rural areas.
  • Start at an early age from a grassroots level
  • Making sure that men and women are treated equally, and provided the same respect
  • Have more involvement with communities, more cricket outreach programmes.
  • And lastly with the words of cricket great Sachin Tendulkar: “Enjoy the game and chase your dreams. Dreams do come true.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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