18-year-old Elina Drikibau is the youngest member of the Fiji Pearls team to the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
Drikibau shared how excited she was to be selected to represent her country at the World Cup.
“I’m honoured and privileged to be part of the final twelve to South Africa, I am also a bit nervous since it’s my first World Cup.”
Elina hails from Toki in the old capital of Levuka, Ovalau and shares maternal links to Vanuabalavu in the Lau Province. The youngster began her netball journey early in her primary school days and began to excel from there. She impressed her school coaches in secondary school competitions and later attracted the attention of national selectors.
At just 16 Elina was selected into the Pearls Squad following exceptional performances in the post Covid Punjas Digicel Reset Championship. This continued dedication and performance led to her selection in the Immersion netball program last year, where she traveled to Australia for two weeks of high-performance training and education.
Elina made her debut for Fiji later last year at the Pacific Aus Sports in Australia at just 17 years of age.
The Toki, Ovalau lass recognizes that by representing Fiji, she is also representing her family, school, friends, and club, which adds to the importance of this opportunity for her.
“I’m not only representing my country, I’m also representing my family, my school, my friends, my Lomaiviti club so this means a lot to me.”
Elina knows that her selection will also encourage her friends, team mates and other youngsters around the country that hard work and dedication drives you to achieve what you want.
“There’s been a lot of hard work and sacrifice in reaching this stage, I’ve been learning a lot from the experienced players going along the way.” She adds that while she didn’t get to enjoy going out with friends and being part of activities friends her age were involved with she says making the sacrifices has paid off with her selection in the final 12 to go to the Worlds.
Elina expresses gratitude for the guidance and support from her parents and family and from experienced players along the way and she looks forward to continuing her learning journey and making the most of this invaluable experience at the World Cup.