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Rotuman Sports

From Fiji Times Online (29 March 2010)

Sorby aims high

Cecelia Sorby

Cecelia Sorby aims for the net as coach Una Rokoura looks on during a training session.
NATIONAL netball training squad member Cecelia Sorby is on the fast lane to netball stardom.

In just four years after joining the sport, she made her debut in the under-21 national netball team and then this year -- by a stroke of luck and finesse -- she was able to make her way into the national team.

The 19-year-old recently developed a great hidden talent towards netball after being introduced to the sport by her aunt four years ago.

"My aunt thought I would be great in netball and so I joined her Rotuman team but I was always more interested in athletics where I took part in high-jump," said Sorby.

The six foot-one inch goal shooter is really hard to miss when playing or training because she is normally a head taller than those around her.

Humble, sweet and friendly she will always be seen smiling while training or totally concentrating on her shooting.

"It really is a good experience for me because I get a lot of help from the senior national players and they are very helpful," said Sorby.

"My shooting is getting better and our coach has been showing me a new style of shooting that is very different from my own because I have a different way of shooting and I have to change this."

Shooting is the most important part of the netball game. Although the defenders and attackers are getting the balls down the court to the shooters, which is quite difficult especially during a tough game, the shooters are the last man down for the points scoring.

"I have a lot on my shoulders and I have to really work hard and train hard at being the best because everything will come down to my abilities to get the ball into the hoop," said Sorby.

However, her rise to fame could be easily shattered by her not making it to the final squad. This is because she has a lot of competition to consider. There is Maria Bereso, Lani Tuisasa, Seruwaia Vonolagi, overseas-based Matelita Shaw, Afa Rusivakula, Monika Navunitali and 14-year old Leba Korovou.

"It is really going to be tough, especially since I didn't think I would make it this far but then anything is possible and I hope for the best," said Sorby.

"I really want to make it especially for this June game which will be the most important since they will only be choosing two of the top teams in the Pacific region."

This is the Oceania Qualifiers to the 2011 World Championship in Singapore. Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, England and Malawi have already secured the coveted top five spots as per their final results in the last World Netball Championships in 2007.

Team Singapore has also been awarded a slot as the host nation.

The other 10 teams will be selected through qualifying rounds conducted in each region in the second half of 2010. The two best teams from Africa, Americas & Caribbean, Asia, Europe and Oceania will compete in Singapore for top honors.

"This is the most important match for our team and our nation because if we won't be able to make it, then that is the end of it. We really have to win this," said Sorby.

Other than these constant worries, Sorby has her supportive family to thank for getting her to where she is right now.

"My mum has been really supportive because we live in Davuilevu and she drives me for training every morning and also picks me up in the afternoons. It really hasn't been easy for her too but she really wants me to be the best and that is what I am aiming for," said Sorby.

"My family has been sacrificing a lot and I am happy that it is starting to pay-off."

She is the eldest of three children, her brother and sister will no doubt turn to sports in the later years after seeing their big sister's great success.

Sorby is studying at the University of the South Pacific where she is taking a Bachelor of Science program and hopes to work in a forensic lab or something that involves science.

"My ultimate dream is to become a dentist but since this netball calling came my way I really don't have the heart to let go and the thought of attending the Fiji School of Medicine really wasn't appealing. I would have to give up my netball career and I am not so willing to do that," said Sorby.

She said that such studies would keep her away from what she loves and that is her netball. She sold her dream for her love.