From playing club games to representing Fiji in netball on the global stage, Naviniya Sivo has come a long way in her netball journey, and she is just 19 years old.
The Nasolo, Bua lass is part of the Fiji Pearls side to the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands next month.
Born and raised in central Auckland, New Zealand, Sivo has been playing netball since her childhood days and is now one of the key members of the Fiji Pearls side.
“I started playing netball when I was around nine years old, and I continued playing right throughout until high school,” she said.
After moving to Australia in 2016, Sivo has played netball for Brisbane at club and state championship levels.
She made her debut for the Fiji Pearls last year during the PacAus Sports Series in Australia where it all started for the former Wavell State High School student.
“I joined the Fiji Pearls last year in October in the PacAus Sports Series in Sunshine Coast on October 28.
“I was lucky enough to get a call from coach that was regarding a position to train with the Pearls while they were in Sunshine Coast because two girls weren’t able to make the competition.”
To her surprise, Sivo’s name was called out before the Pearls were to play their first match against Tonga, which marked her debut.
“I believe it was just the first team meeting before we were about to leave for our game against Tonga.
“Coach had read the first seven who was starting, and I honestly had a shock when she read my name and said ‘Vineya congratulations, you will be starting in gold defence’.
“I ended up playing the full four quarters, and it was an amazing experience for me because my family was there as well.”
Since then, Sivo has represented the Pearls at the Singapore Nations Cup last year, and the PacAus Sports Series this year.
And as she prepares with the Pearls for the Pacific Games, Sivo is hoping to gain as much game time and experience as she can.
“I’m very excited for the games, and my aim is just to get as much game time and experience as I can.”
With less than three weeks until the games, Sivo says she has been training tirelessly as she hopes to put out her best performance.
“I have been training very hard over the past few weeks, and I am looking forward to the games.
“Ever since I was named in the non-traveling reserve for the netball world cup, I made it my target to be in the final team for the games.”