Drikibau Eyes Fijian Pearls Spot

She plays Goal Attack for the Punjas Thunderbirds, one of the four teams of elite players.
26 Oct 2020 08:55
Drikibau Eyes Fijian Pearls Spot
Punjas Thunderbirds Goal Attack, Elina Drikibau, looks for support during their match against Digicel Lightning at the FMF Gymnasium, Suva, on October 24, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Elina Catherine Drikibau may not be a familiar name in netball right now. But she will be in a few year’s time.

The Year 10 student of Suva Grammar School is the youngest member of the national training squad, participating in the Digicel Punjas Netball Reset Championship.

She plays Goal Attack for the Punjas Thunderbirds, one of the four teams of elite players.

And it was her sister, Akanisi who introduced her to netball.

The Toki, Ovalau, Lomaiviti, native shares maternal links to Urone, Vanuabalavu, Lau.

She aims to be the first Fijian Pearl from her village.

And being named in the training squad at 15 is a great achievement, yet challenging, for the young shooter.

Drikibau got selected into the training squad from the Suva Netball Association League games, where she played for Grasshoppers.

“It is a great challenge for me, going against experienced Fiji Pearls players. It is really tough but I have learnt a lot of things training with them,” she said.

“I always supported my sister, Akanisi, when I was in Year 3. She plays for the Nasinu team. And from there I started to get into netball.

“No one in my family has represented Fiji in netball, or from my village and I aim to be the first,” Drikibau added.

Drikibau attended Veiuto Primary School where she represented her school and Suva at the Interdistrict Championship in the Under-10 and U13 grades.

She was also selected into the Fiji Lewa Sewa squad, the national U13 side.

As a young shooter, she looks up to Silver Ferns ace shooter, Maria Folau and Fijian Pearls’ Unaisi Rauluni.

“Growing up and seeing them through the years, I’ve always wanted to be an accurate shooter like them and their shooting skills have always pushed me forward to be better.

“Playing with Una, I have learnt a lot of skills from her, and when she advises me on things to work on really pushes me,” Drikibau said.

Besides making it to the Pearls side, she also has her eyes set on the World Youth Netball Championship next year.

“It will be a big milestone for me to go through and be part of the under 21 as well.

“And I’m also aiming to get a scholarship abroad for netball.

“So I will just do my best.”

She indicated that one of toughest opponents is Lightning’s defender and Fijian Pearls captain, Episake Kahatoka.

A 25-member squad will be selected at the end of the Reset Netball Championship.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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