Change of plan for Miri

Miriama Naiobasali (left) with Raijieli Daveua at Nadi International Airport. Picture: MACIU MALO

FORMER sprint queen Miriama Naiobasali is still trying to come to terms with her selection in the Fiji Airways Fijiana 7s team for the Rugby Sevens World Cup.

The former Jasper Williams High School athletics captain who guided her school to win the Coke Games girls title in 2014 is humbled to be part of the Fiji 7s team at this pinnacle event.

The 22-year-old said her childhood dream was to be an architect but her dream changed after being approached by Fijiana head coach Iliesa Tanivula to try out 7s rugby some three years ago.

And she didn’t regret her decision after being selected to represent the country at the HSBC World Rugby Women 7s Series and also for this year’s world cup.

“Growing up I didn’t imagine playing rugby let alone playing at the world cup,” said Naiobasali.

“Butterflies in my stomach but I thank the Almighty Lord for his plans.

“As a young girl growing up I wanted to be an architect until rugby 7s crossed my path.

“I thank the Almighty Lord for his blessing and his protection to be selected for the world cup.”

She said she first played 7s at JWHS but didn’t take sport seriously then until she left school.

“My athletics coach always told me that 7s training is similar to athletics training and I am used to hard training.”

She said the achievement of her cousin Ifereimi Rawaqa would inspire her to play her best for the country. Rawaqa was a member of the 2005 team that lifted the Melrose Cup.

Naiobasali hails from Waisiga in Naitasiri while her mum is from Viseisei, Vuda.

The world cup will be held in San Francisco on July 20-2