SPORTS

Women In Sports: Elesi Ramoa Ketedromo’s Love For Sports

She was well known on the court as Elesi Ramoa – “The Flying Centre”. Not only had she represented Fiji in netball but also in volleyball, track, field and beach volleyball as well.
19 Jul 2020 10:10
Women In Sports: Elesi Ramoa Ketedromo’s Love For Sports
Elesi Ketedromo

Elesi Ramoa Ketedromo might not be a familiar name in the sports arena now.

But she was in the last three decades.

Originally from Nasigasiga, Dreketi in Macuata, but spent most of her life in Sorokoba, Ba, where she shared her maternal links.

She was well known on the court as Elesi Ramoa – “The Flying Centre”. Not only had she represented Fiji in netball but also in volleyball, track, field and beach volleyball as well.

She represented Fiji in two Pacific Games (which was formerly known as the South Pacific Games (SPG)) in four different sports.

She was also a hockey player but had opted to represent Fiji for netball at the 1979 SPG in Suva.

The Fijians won the gold medal after beating Cook Islands in the final at the Gospel High School grounds.

She played alongside Vicky Tuxson, Elizabeth Freeman, Lisi Bonaveidogo, Arieta Rokowaqa, Luisa Nansen and Luisa Pesamino.

Her passion for sports and pride for her country had taken her to places.

She started playing active sports while growing up in Ba.

Unlike many Pacific households where girls were expected to cook after returning from school or work, Ketedromo was allowed to train by her mother.

However, her dad would always remind her that she should learn to do female chores around the house.

He realised later that she could bring fame and glory to the nation and their family through her participation in sports.

“I usually use my second name (Ramoa) and not my surname and when I was a national rep I used my dad’s surname.

“It was a way to honour my family and I carry it with me wherever I play.”

Overview of her work

Ketedromo had spent decades in sports administration in Fiji. She was a former president of the Fiji Volleyball Association.

Ketedromo had previously worked at the Ministry of Youth and Sports since she started representing Fiji way back in 1975.

She was one of the few that worked for the Fiji National Sports Commission when it was established.

She took a break in 2017 and was approached by Fiji National Rugby League to be an advisor.

“I was taken on board by FNRL to work on the policy and governance and that is of course been encouraged by those in power.

“I love working there, being a male-dominated sport even though I am not directly involved or close to the national team.

“But the administration and what we can do to keep to a level where it can be respected in many ways.

“This is because I still have the passion to work around what we can do to get sports going on.”

Role of women

“Back then it was much easier, women were free with not so much harassment. We were free to join several sports.

“Choices were given to us women back then.

“Now there is still a lot of choices for women we have to make and the same time the trend to play the women sport.

“But then it is slowly changing, I mean volleyball was male-dominated, there were no problems with that back then.

“Now it is really changing, I think people have come to realise that women can also bring fame and glory to the country through their participation in sports.

“It should be given a lot of recognition because women can be good leaders, managers, captains, and administrators.

“More opportunities should be given to them to showcase themselves and the talents, knowledge that they have.”

Motivation.

Being a daughter of a former national cricket rep, has always motivated her to work hard and achieve her goals, especially in the sports that she loves.

“Because I was still in the world of a single person when I was playing, it was a lot of support from my parents.

“And I think as I grew up it is always been the passion to play sports. I understood and believed in myself that I can participate in any sport.

“What motivated me was my dad. He was a person that I looked up to.

“When I came to realise the importance of my country and what I can do for my country in the sports that really pushed me.”

She would always ask herself: “What can I do for my country? What can I do to bring glory to my country?

“During my national debut I was approached by a lot of people (internationally) to play for their club, especially netball.

“But the decision was mine, I’d rather represent my own country. Not that I did not want to go and live elsewhere but I think my country came first, my family  and what I can do for them.

Sports values

“Sport has changed me in the way that the value what sport can give us– respect is one of the values that I stood by.

“Respect that I have for people, respect that I have for the sport.

“I was not above the sport but the sport was above me or in what way can I respect the sport that really took me long in representing my country. The pride that I have for my country is something that really took me along.

“And I also believe that in believing in yourself can take you a long way.

“The dedication one has to achieve whatever you want to be in life.

“There were times that I would be away from my family, my parents living in Ba and I was here but that did not stop me. Cause with words of encouragement that I receive from them.

“Those values that I treasured took me a long way.

“Dedication in my work and commitment to the sport.

“People will recognise you as an icon or as a role model because of the values that you adhere to.”

Advice to women

Ketedromo who was often challenged by her male counterparts would remark that women would not be able to do certain things, as a comparison.

She advises young women that anything would be possible when you have the passion for a sport.

“There is nothing difficult in life if you put your whole heart into something. And the most important thing is your passion.

“Without that passion I don’t think  one can go far,  with passion you will keep moving.

“Anyone, or any young woman or any woman for that matter can become a sport administrator or manager or whatever role there are in sports that we women can take part in.

“It’s just your dedication. Despite all this or whatever comes your way, it is you, believe in yourself.

“Have the passion to do that, the dedication to be there, your commitment.

“There is nothing difficult. Sometimes when you don’t believe in ourselves that is a barrier.

“Most men in male dominated sports are very supportive.

“You can do it, a lot depends on us as individuals.

“People would say remarks, if you put those remarks before you, then you would be able to go far.

“ I would always brush those aside because of the pride that I have to represent my country,” Ketedromo concluded.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper