Big, Happy Friday For Akosita

It is not even Christmas yet but Akosita Ravato had two reasons to celebrate last Friday. The 23-year-old not only graduated from the University of the South Pacific (USP) but
07 Sep 2014 11:46
Big, Happy Friday For Akosita
From left: The late Patterson Shipping Director Trevor Patterson, Prominent Suva lawyer Graham Leung and Patterson Shipping Director George Patterson. Source: Graham Leung FB Page.

It is not even Christmas yet but Akosita Ravato had two reasons to celebrate last Friday.

The 23-year-old not only graduated from the University of the South Pacific (USP) but she was also named in the Telecom Fijiana 7s squad which will be aiming to make history when they play the qualifying tournament for the 2014-2015 IRB Women Sevens World Series in Hong Kong this weekend.

Originally from Vuaki, Yasawa, she attended Yat Sen for both her primary and secondary education where she fell in love with science.

“I found science amazing and fun especially to know how things are made or develop and grow,”she said.

“I decided to take up biology and chemistry which I was interested in from Year 11 and 12.

From Yat Sen, Ravato headed off to USP to further her studies. She, like many other iTaukeiwas offered a fulltime scholarship pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

She could not express enough how important getting this scholarship was.

“I am so thankful to have been given a scholarship to attend USP by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, I was really happy because it helped my parents out financially,” she said.

“The scholarship also helped me keep the standard and to work hard so that I could maintain the scholarship for the whole three years that it was given to me which covered my school fees and book allowance.”

Being the eldest in a family of five, she has had the extra pressure of being a good role model to her younger sisters, Lyanne, 9, and Wilona, 19 and her parents could have been any more proud of her.

“It is a big relief to finally graduate, my parents were very happy and proud of me especially being the eldest in the family and being a good role model to my sisters.

“Completing my degree is a huge achievement especially for my dad because he always stresses about excellence in school and academic studies as it will take you throughout your whole life.” she said.

“Now that I have my degree, I have applied to a few places and I hope to become a lab technician or lab assistant in schools if I am given an opportunity to do so, maybe something in bio-security or diversity and conservation.”

Not only did Ravato have the brains but also the drive and energy to train hard to stay on in the Fijiana team and that tough period has finally paid off as she was announced as a non-travelling reserve for the Telecom Fijiana 7s team.

However, rugby did not come natural to her as she only played it as a hobby.

“I started playing rugby in 2011 as a hobby, it wasn’t a passion of mine. It was just a way to keep fit and a childhood sport that I played at Draiba Fijian School,” she said.

“My neighbours were all boys and I was the only girl back then, so that’s how I got involved and it was fun growing up playing that sport with my neighbours.”

Although it was for recreational purposes only, Ravato realised the seriousness of the sport when she was selected for the Pacific Games but it was not easy balancing her academic career and sporting career.

“I finally took it seriously when I was selected to be a part of the Pacific Games extended squad.

“Being in school and playing rugby was not easy because they would clash and so I had to sacrifice rugby for my schooling, so that tour to New Caledonia in 2011 I had to stay back to focus on my studies. But then I was given another opportunity in 2013, I made my debut in the Oceania qualifiers in Noosa, Australia.” she said.

She has been picked for the Fijiana team for the second time and she said with everything she had gone through with school and training, being named in the squad was a great achievement.

“I was expecting to be picked for the squad because I had been part of it previously but it was hard for me especially balancing school and playing sports,” she said.

“Most of the girls in my team are all fulltime rugby players but I got a lot of support and I trained hard to be a part of this team.

“Even though I am a non-travelling reserve I was told by my coach Iliesa Tanivula that he needed an experienced team to go and he had to choose the best and for me not to give up because there would be more opportunities to come and I accepted that and I will just support the girls when they leave for Hong Kong.”

“I would like to thank the Lord, I would not have the knowledge and perseverance because without Him I would not have got through juggling my academic and sporting life because it is not easy.

“I want to thank my parents as well for supporting me in my academic and sporting career as well and I thank the girls for always having my back covered and my coach and manager, I want to thank them because they have a lot of trust in me and believe in me.”

When asked about where she sees herself in five years it was no surprise she had rugby in her mind.

“Firstly I am looking forward to getting employment as a lab technician in an organisation and also I want train hard to be part of the team going to the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.”



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