Setting Pace For Future

Team captain Episake Kahatoka applauds Fiji’s support for Baby Pearls The Baby Pearls outstanding performance in the Netball Youth World Cup in Botswana will hopefully set the standard for the
18 Jul 2017 11:00
Setting Pace For Future
Fourth in world: The Baby Pearls in Botswana for the Netball World Youth Cup on July 15, 2017. Photo: Episake Kahatoka / Facebook

Team captain Episake Kahatoka applauds Fiji’s support for Baby Pearls

The Baby Pearls outstanding performance in the Netball Youth World Cup in Botswana will hopefully set the standard for the upcoming netballers in the country.

Despite losing to England 70-35 in the bronze medal playoff, Fiji placed fourth overall which is a huge achievement for the young netters.

Team captain Episake Kahatoka said the experience in Botswana was overwhelming for her and the girls and is hoping that their achievement will motivate young netballers in the country to strive to be the best they can and reach that level.

“Finishing fourth in the whole tournament is such an exciting moment for the girls and also an overwhelming one,” Kahatoka said from Gaborone yesterday.

“I am humble and blessed to lead these girls. Before we left for Botswana we had set a goal to finish in the top eight.

“Being in the top four is a bonus and I couldn’t have done it without our coach and the players and the team management and supporters.

“To be playing against different countries who we have never even played against and who had their different style of plays, it was a challenge but also a learning experience.

“I think now the girls have a better idea of what it is like to play different countries and what to expect from them.

“We learnt a lot in every game which I know will help us move forward and become the best athletes we can be.

“We played for the children and family back at home and we set a standard where the next players could attain and reach that level.

“With new netters coming onto the scene, this will be standard the next lot of players will need to reach and hopefully go beyond.

“It doesn’t matter if you have facilities or a good training venue. If you have a heart to represent your country and the sports you love and have God in control everything will fall into place.”

Kahatoka had a lot of people to thank for the Baby Pearls success in Botswana:

The Government of Fiji and the Fijian National Sports Commission: for the funding to be in Gaborone. And  also for the funding provided for the qualification rounds in NZ last year, and the two international series that we hosted in Jan (U21) and May (Secondary Schools) that formed part of the crucial build-up for this tournament.

  • Digicel and Punjas: Our sponsors who invested into our national tournaments that provided these girls the opportunity to develop and improve their skills.
  • Past coaching staff that have been part of this journey: (1) Alevina Waqa, Seruwaia Vonolagi; who were there for this team when we initially formed the squad. (2) A/Coach Filo Korovulavula: we acknowledge her dedicated and committed contribution towards the Baby Pearls over the last 18 months
  • Strength and Conditioning Coaches: Henry Elder and Makelesi Bulikiobo. Both their support is acknowledged and appreciated.
  • The Baby Pearls squad members who did not make the final 12 (Elenoa, Asenaca, Lani, Laisani and other members of the training squad): we thank you for pushing the final 12 to their limits.
  • The parents and guardians of our players: thank you for your support and for providing for these girls throughout the last few months. Home support has been key to the team’s prep. And we cannot thank you enough for your financial, spiritual and mental support. We also acknowledge the Henry & Della Elder and Chris and Myrtle Molia and their families for boarding our Western/Auckland based players whilst they were training in Suva.
  • Donors/sponsors from Brisbane (friends of our coach): We acknowledge your donations/sponsorship of toiletries sets, compression socks, uniforms, professional consultation/guidance and many more.
  • We also wish to acknowledge Valerie Nainima and the Fordham University athletics department and the Fiji Police Force for clearing two of our athletes for this tournament/and providing leave support.
  • The Saioni Methodist Circuit Minister Rev Cema and your congregation in Kalabu Housing, Nasinu – thank you for your spiritual support for this team and the continuous prayers over the last few weeks. God has definitely been the lamp to our feet and the light to our path.
  • Primary Care team: We are indeed fortunate to have had physio John and Luke Fitzgerald and team doctor, Qalo Sukabula. Thank you for volunteering your services, time and resources to be part of this team.
  • Our Manager: thank you Sera Vakaloloma for your unconditional support and love for the Baby Pearls; and for carrying out your duties diligently.
  • Coach Vicki Wilson: Your guidance, coaching and mentoring continues to shine through. The results speak for themselves. Edited by Osea Bola





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