Kahatoka’s Rise In Netball

Growing up in Fiji all her life, Fijian netball rep EpisakeKahatoka has travelled to places she never thought she would ever get the chance to. The 21-year-old spent her whole
19 Aug 2017 13:44
Kahatoka’s Rise In Netball
WEDNESDAY 12 AUGUST - Fiji (FJI) v Barbados (BAR) in a Pool H qualification round game on Day 6 of the Netball World Cup 2015 SYDNEY. Photo: Murray Wilkinson (NWC2015 Media)

Growing up in Fiji all her life, Fijian netball rep EpisakeKahatoka has travelled to places she never thought she would ever get the chance to.

The 21-year-old spent her whole childhood growing up in Batiri village and going to school in Nadroga.

At the age of 10, Kahatoka took up netball in Tuva Primary School not because her family and friends wanted her to but because it was a women’s sport that was slowly thriving in the country at the time.

“Netball is a sport that most women are interested in and it is a sport that women played at the time, not rugby or anything else,” Kahatoka said.

“I wanted to take part in netball because I wanted to make more friends but I never thought that it would take me this far.”

Travelling to Suva to pursue her netball career, Kahatoka attended trials for the Oceania Games in 2015.

“When I attended trials I only thought that I was there just to make up numbers because there were so many talented girls,” she said.

“There were names such as Mere Qovu, Matila (Waqanidrola), Reijieli Daveua, Sera Dakuitoga and Losa and I honestly thought that I would not have stood a chance.

“I think the only thing that kept me going was my faith in God. I kept praying to God to help me get through and give me a chance and he did.”

Kahatoka’s resilience on the court got her recognised quick and she was soon wearing the national colours and travelling abroad for the first time.

“I had never been overseas before but netball has taken me out of the country to compete in places I never dreamed of,” she said.

“Playing in New Zealand for the qualifiers for the Netball Youth World Cup and then playing in Botswana was an amazing experience for me.

“I truly thank God for bringing me this far in a sport that I love.”

But all this could not have been achieved without the support from her family through her incredible journey.

“It’s been an overwhelming and exciting journey for me, especially when you got the support from your family,” Kahatoka said.

“I’ve been living in Nadroga all of my childhood and moving to Suva was not easy, especially when you have to find a place to stay and money for your food.

“So I’m thankful to my parents for supporting me financially throughout until the time I joined the police force.

“Also to my grandmother Julia Tamani for allowing me to stay with her till now, she has been wonderful to me and supported me non-stop.”

Kahatoka is encouraging upcoming netballers to focus on what they are most passionate about and set their goals high.

“Netball always makes you smile that’s what I usually hear from my coach, for me personally it does,” she said.

“Playing with your sisters, laughing and making little jokes and having my coach pat me on the back and tell me I did a good job is very satisfying.

“Being part of a team is about unity, so I believe if you are already part of a team then keep pushing your limits until you give 100 percent.

“If you are an upcoming netballer, set your goals high that you feel uncomfortable everytime you wake up because when you keep pushing yourself you will get the hang of what you need to do.”

Five Square

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