Netball has been the centre of attention during the second week of the Pacific Mini Games because it is a discipline that celebrates the strength and athleticism of women in sport.

This year, netball featured some outstanding athletes in the Van2017 games along with two dual national athletes from Vanuatu.

Meriel Kenni and Selina Solman are both Vanuatu National cricketers who have now made their debut in the National Netball team making them two of the few athletes from Vanuatu who are dual national sport representatives.

Both women, who are of Tannese descent, hold leadership roles in the two respective sports with Solman as the captain of the National Women’s cricket team and Kenni as the National Netball captain.

Kennihas led the netball team into this Games which has proven to be a challenge as they faced off against some of the more highly ranked netball teams in the Pacific.

Team Vanuatu lost all its matches but not without a fight and Kenni said that she could not be more proud of the team because all the women played to the best of their abilities.

“Vanuatu has never been this strong before in netball and it has been an honour to captain the girls who fought really well in every single game,” said Kenni.

Solman, understanding the pressures of being the captain was very supportive of Kenni and said that she is an outstanding captain and has enjoyed every moment of playing with the team under Kenni’s leadership.

Playing one sport discipline at the national level takes a large amount of skill and commitment but being a dual national player requires even greater skill, determination, commitment and maturity.

The Vanuatu national netball coach, Vanessa Laloyerunderlines the fact both women possess these characteristics.

“It’s wonderful to see them multitask the sport they play. They came on willing to learn and sponged everything in then took on the court with full might and that is something to be very proud of,” said Laloyer.

While both women are skilled in both disciplines, Kenni said that it is a blessing to be able to play two outstanding sports.

“It is a great honour to be trusted as an individual to play two different sport at the national level and playing with Selina is great because we understand each other’s game and we have a connection for both games.”

Solman and Kenni both spoke very highly of each other’s leadership and have both said that they are honoured to be dual nationals and are looking forward to what next year has in store for them be it in Cricket or Netball.

By Melissa Fare