Netball | SPORTS

Soldier Sunaki Called Up To England Thorns Team

Army men’s net­ball (London Knights) mid-court player Lance Bombardier David Ca­benauli Sunaki has re­cently been called up to the England Thorns team for their summer matches.
03 Jul 2022 14:25
Soldier Sunaki Called Up To England Thorns Team
David Sunaki

Army men’s net­ball (London Knights) mid-court player Lance Bombardier David Ca­benauli Sunaki has re­cently been called up to the England Thorns team for their summer matches.

Despite only start­ing his netball career eight months ago, the former rugby player (LBdr) Sunaki has seen a rapid rise large­ly thanks to the Army creating a men’s team in sport late last year.

The Fijian is the first player to be called up to England who says his love of the sport came from watching his mother play when growing up in Fiji.

His sister who is also in the British Army no longer plays netball.

 

His major support is from Army head coach Lieutenant Colonel Laura Ellis.

As well as his England appearances, LBdr Sunaki hopes to be a major part of the Army’s men’s and mixed netball teams as they feature in a new national competition this summer.

Sunaki is the second youngest of six siblings. He is origi­nally from Naiviqiri, Navakasiga in Bua with maternal likes to Tiliva, Nakasaleka, Kadavu.

Kneeling fourth from left, David Sunaki, with his team.

Kneeling fourth from left, David Sunaki, with his team.

His sister who is also a member of the British Army in­troduced him to the local netball completion.

He was called into the England Thorns (men) 24-member squad three months ago; early last month that squad has been trimmed with Sunaki named in the national team.

The England Thorns have a few big names this summer.

“I am lucky enough to be chosen in the England men’s netball team and we are called the England Thorns. I have been training with them ever since and we have a few big games coming as well in our calendar.”

Sunaki has been following the Fiji men’s netball per­formance that played against Singapore and the women Pearls last month.

He had attended Veiuto Primary School then Suva Grammar High School.

After completing high school in 2009 he enrolled at Training and Productivity Authority of Fiji as he had wanted to be an electrician.

He worked for seven years before he applied for the Brit­ish Army. He has been there for five years now.

“I have fond memories growing up at 23 Church Road Cunningham Stage 1, they are the best childhood memo­ries playing touch rugby at the roundabouts, swimming at the waterfall near our house, playing tag (or as we Fiji­ans know as hee) to mention a few.

“I first started playing rugby when I came over, I also played volleyball. Then there were posters for army men’s netball trials. I attended and got in. I have just been playing for eight months now.

“To be an England rep now is an honour and priviledge especially when I am from a small Pacific island country.

“I plan to stick with netball – train hard, play harder and see where it takes me.

“There is a lot of stereotyping – many say it is a female sport and that is not true.

“Women are now playing rugby and football. I am pro­moting the sport to change the mindset of men and my making it into the England men’s team, has caught the attention of men in the army and they now want to also play hearing what I get up to, the travels etcetera.

“Netball is aggressive and competitive, to manage with seven players on the court takes a lot of discipline, team effort, good mindset and controlled footwork.”

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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