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Rotuman Sports

From Harieta Vilsoni in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (20 March 2008)

Competing at the Inter-Gulf Netball Championships in Bahrain

Noa'ia 'e mauri and Salaam Malekum to all netball players, fans and kainaga. It's great to read about the Teamhanua concept mooted by Bernie and Lisa. To our netball sisters in Suva, do grab the opportunity and enjoy it! I shuttle to Abu Dhabi from Al Ain on Wednesday evenings (that's about a 220km return trip) just to play club netball. Sometimes I take along my homework and do my readings on the highway.

Earlier this month (7-8 March) I competed at the Inter-Gulf Netball Championships in Bahrain. We flew from Sharjah Airport on Gulf Air and the flight was just an hour long. I was in class that Thursday morning until midday and when our Manageress buzzed to say that my Bahrain visa was finally procured, I cheered.

The tour was an eye-opener! Our club subsidized the airfares and hotel expenses. We were all given an equivalent of $Fiji 320 pocket money. All the teams were accommodated in the Crowne Plaza in Manama.

On the court, we played 9 games on Friday and were relegated to the Bowls competition. On Saturday, we made it to the finals but came second best to the Doha Senior team (the Qatar champs). I played GA in the final.

Teams came from as far as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and an invitational side flew in from England. The current tournament format began in 1986 and it was good to have the Hucclecote Netball Team from England.

Harieta at Netball Competition

As we gathered for the medal presentation, I flashed back to my childhood in 'Ahau and remembered those carefree days watching the village netball competition from the rickety pavilion; it seemed then that our burly aunties took no heed of the "no-contact rule." Some of the scramble ball situations were more rugby-like then crisp-passing netball.

I continued this love for netball at Yat Sen and one Saturday competing against Marcellin Primary at the Laucala Courts a Rotuman mother shouted to her daughter "Re te maf 'ep 'o la 'ol!" She forgot that there was a kai rotuma in the Yat Sen team. Of course, I replied with a choicy Malha'a-Faguta expletive and my dad threatened to ban me from the competition.

Here are a few shots of my Bahrain netball weekend to share with viewers. Shukran and God bless!

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