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Netball talent goes worldwide

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The year 12 student from St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove has had a momentous year in netball. And it’s only June! Photo: Supplied/SCS Sports Team
The year 12 student from St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove has had a momentous year in netball. And it’s only June! Photo: Supplied/SCS Sports Team

Monika ‘Otai is a shining example of the kind of athlete that continues to find the determination and self-discipline to work hard alongside their natural flair and strengths.

The year 12 student from St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove has had a momentous sporting year in the Netball arena—and it’s only June.

Monika traveled to Darwin in April this year to compete at the national netball championships as vice-captain of the U19’s NSW team, in which she had a highly successful campaign, leading her team to the bronze medal.

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“I loved it. My own individual athletic development was aided by exposure to the competition and playing against the country’s best netball players” she said.

From this competition, an Under 19’s Australian squad was named, selecting the best players from all the states across the country.

Monika was selected for the second year in a row, making the U17’s squad after her debut at the championships last year.

She’ll also head to the Australian Institute of Sport for their July training camp, and is excited to get started.

The achievements don’t stop there. Monika was most recently chosen to compete at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August of this year, alongside just nine other athletes.

“Because everyone is from different states and still in school, training is too difficult. I anticipate that we will hold a camp before we depart,” she said.

Stepping up into the open division in premier league netball at just 17 years old, Monika has dominated the competition so far as a versatile and consistent goal shooter.

She’s also been named in the Suncorp Super League GWS Giants Academy team for the second year.

Playing against defenders almost double her age, she doesn’t just have athletic capability, but maturity and smarts far beyond her years, making her a force to be reckoned with in the seasons to come

“I think the most important thing is staying organised for school. I always try to prioritise upcoming assessment tasks as well as important tournaments and games—and my amazing support network at St Ursula’s!” she said.

Arguably the most incredible fact is she play netball until the age of 12, five to six years after most young athletes typically begin.

However, her grit, work ethic and overall passion for the game has opened up many opportunities over the past three years.

She’s become a prominent young gun to watch out for in the netball world, a significant achievement considering it’s the third most popular sport in Australia, where only a very small handful can cut it.

Monika’s first representative netball coach David Bulmer said the talented young athlete “worked hard for all her success.”

“Early on she didn’t always make the teams she wanted to make, but she forged a path ahead,” Mr Bulmer said.

“Her humility, gratitude and team-first mentality highlight her as a young lady of strong core values and she is such a credit to the environment her family, school and netball teams have provided for her over the years.”

We look forward to seeing what she can do in the future, and to cheering her on at the Commonwealth Youth Games later this year.

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