Carrying on the legacy

ILISEVA Ratudina is carrying her family’s legacy at the 2018 Commonwealth Games after her uncle Nimilote Ratudina, represented Fiji in rugby.

The Beqa lass doesn’t have the luxury of helpers, who could help the team’s coach Todd Edwards and her mates collect equipment at their training venue in Pacific Harbour, Deuba.

“It is all about carrying the family tradition forward as my uncle Nimilote Ratudina had represented Fiji in rugby,” she said.

“It is a proud moment for me to follow in his footsteps and represent my nation.

“I’m the only one from my family representing Fiji at any international sporting competition.”

When a team from this newspaper visited the team, the players were seen setting up and fixing the voleyball net and other equipment before training and also collected them after training, and store them away safely for another day.

“We do not have luxuries like most overseas teams enjoy and people helping them around training,” she said.

“For us, we do not have any problems and we don’t complain. We see it as our duty as we have the passion for beach volleyball and there is no regret.

“We are used to it and it is part of our daily rituals. It motivates us and boosts our Commonwealth Games preparations.”

The 29-year-old’s first international outing was at the 2015 Pacific Games and since then, Ratudina is pressing forward with her dream of competing at the Commonwealth Games.

Her dream has not ended yet — just like any other common girl who dreams of getting married and settling down — she has set her goal to play at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She was a crucial member of the Team Fiji to the 2017 Pacific Mini Games where she helped the side qualify for the Commonwealth Games, beating Solomon Islands.

“We need to have a right mind-set,” she said.

“I was never into volleyball during my childhood days as I was more into rugby and athletics.”

Ratudina had represented Fiji at international athletics competitions and also represented a few clubs in the domestic rugby competition.

“I played for Marist Seahawks and Central Chiefs rugby clubs and then I competed in athletics while I was at Suva Grammar School and later competed at the Pacific Games in 2015.

“My event in athletics was long jump as I also competed for Suva Grammar School in the Coca-Cola Games in 2000 and 2001 competitions.

“I have been enjoying my sporting career. I studied sports science at the Fiji National University, but later dropped the program and concentrated full-time on volleyball.”

Ratudina was very shy when approached for an interview but with the help of Laite Nima, her teammate, she agreed to share her story.

“I always like to be on my own, and seldom mingle and socialise with my friends,” said the shy Ratudina.

During training, her home island — Beqa, could be seen clearly from where she was training in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

“I am grateful to my families in Beqa for visiting us and bringing in food such as coconuts, juice, fish and other root crops.

“They would come to Navua Town bringing with them food and spent time with me before they returned home,” she said.

She challenged other young girls to follow their dream and represent Fiji as only the fortunate ones get to serve the country.

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