Women In Sports: Doing A Double For Fiji

“I graduated from high school in Australia last year and 2021 will be my first year in university,” she said.
09 Jan 2021 13:48
Women In Sports: Doing A Double For Fiji
Kalesi Tawake at Yat Sen Secondary School in Suva on January 8, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

From being an ordinary high school girl to playing two sports, Kalesi Tawake should be an inspiration to young women.

The high school graduate from Australia is the daughter of the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Naval Division Captain (Navy) Humphrey Tawake.

The Mualevu, Vanuabalavu, Lau native is one of the upcoming stars in the basketball arena.

“I graduated from high school in Australia last year and 2021 will be my first year in university,” she said.

“I’ve been playing basketball ever since I attended Yat Sen Secondary School in 2016.

“It’s been six years now and I also play netball.

“When I was in Australia I played netball throughout the season. But basketball is more rewarding because you get to score as for netball you have to stick to certain parts of the court.

“If you’re a tough person then basketball is for you but if you’re physically fit then both sports should be good for you.”


The 18-year old has set her sights on donning the national colours in basketball.

“If I don’t get into the Fiji Netball U21 team for the Netball World Youth Cup then I will stick with basketball aiming to make it to the Melanesian Cup in June,” she said.


“My sister Bitila Tawake got me into netball in primary school and then introduced me to basketball in high school. I was nervous at first when I played basketball because of the fact that it would change the way I played and it would affect my netball.

But it has been a good experience playing both sports.

“At the 2019 Pacific Games, we were both battling for the same positions and I wasn’t sure that I will make the team. Bitila has been playing the sport longer than I have so I really didn’t know that I would be given the opportunity but I did.

“Her achievements motivate me to be better than her. I’m always training hard to beat her.

“For my Dad, education comes first if don’t do well in my studies, then sports is off the list.”

Australian Experience

“I really saw the gap in sporting facilities and how they organise tournaments and competitions over there.

“The standards and the competitions are very high.

“Behind the scenes stuff, like programmes that will help in developing a basketball and netball player.

“In Australia they have development programmes from age groups, youths and the senior teams. We don’t have those kind of opportunities compared to Australia.

“I would probably play club games overseas to get experience and exposure, then come back and play for Fiji if I get an opportunity.”


“In trying to keep fit and juggling studies and training, I have to really tough.

“I have to work hard in training and making sure I’m always fit and I make sure my diet is proper and healthy.”

Basketball Fiji 

“It has really improved over the years, my last national representation was in 2019 and the standards of basketball has really improved.

“I believe Basketball Fiji should form a partnership with the Zodiac team to provide more competition for young players.”


“If you really want to be a professional,your attitude and character will determine your progress.

“Your diet should be on point to help you physically and setting your priorities right.”

Edited by Osea Bola


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