Fiji Time: 11:06 PM on Tuesday 1 December

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Visit brings smile

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, May 18, 2014

NETBALL is not Usma Wati's favourite sport.

She has never played netball and may stand no chance of trying the sport in the future.

The 46-year-old from Narere, Nasinu is diagnosed with cervical cancer and is in the final stage of the disease.

Wati is admitted at Suva's Colonial War Memorial Hospital Lancaster Ward, which was visited by the members of the Fiji Pearls netball team yesterday.

The team's visit brought smiles on the face of ailing Wati who was happy to meet the national reps.

"I feel happy to have been visited by the netball players. I wish them the very best in their games," Wati said through her daughter who related the comments to Times Sport.

Netball Fiji president Wainikiti Bogidrau said the visit to the exclusive women's ward was part of their social responsibility as the biggest women sport in the country.

"Of course, our Fiji Pearls are ambassadors and role models to thousands of girls and young women all over the country," Bogidrau added.

Fiji Pearls manager RubyAnn Sorovaki said the players were thrilled to learn the patients at the ward supported the side in the Digicel Tri-Series Plus One competition held in Suva about a week ago.

The Julie Hoornweg-coached Fiji won the series overcoming opponents Papua New Guinea and Northern Ireland.

Sorovaki added the visit would boost the morale of the players preparing for the Pacific Netball Series and World Netball Championship (WNC) qualifiers early next month in Cook Islands.

Twenty-year-old Deborah Delana, who earned her first cap for Fiji in the Tri-Series, was touched by the visit.

She is inspired to do better for the national side in the upcoming competitions.

"To come out of our comfort zone and see people going through this is really emotional for me," the University of the South Pacific student said.

"But at the same time it also feels good to be able put smiles on their faces.

"It's very humbling to know there are people who are suffering but still supporting us.

"This will motivate me to perform better for Fiji."

The Fiji Pearls will leave for the Cook Islands later this month in their attempt to qualify for the WNC to be held in Sydney, Australia next year.

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