The National, Thursday 3rd May 2013
By KYMLIE KARANI
SHE says that returning as part of the Pacific MMI Pepes is something she has put her body on the line for.
Adding on to her excitement of making the final squad Kapu Kapi said her determination and passion to make her comeback has pushed her to lose more than 15 kilogrammes to get into top condition for the rigours of international duties.
Hailing from Keapara and Kalo in the Central province, daughter of the late Justice Sir Guria Kapi, Kapu told The National yesterday that she was feeling her best in terms of her game and was looking forward to taking a senior role in the side that will play in the upcoming Pacific Series in Samoa next month.
The 32-year-old attributes that sense of ease partly to a revamped diet and a new focus in training.
“I basically cut out my unnecessary meals. I’m feeling a lot better than how I used to feel.
“I even play a lot better compared to my performances from past games and tournaments and with the intense training we do, its complementing well,” she said.
The dynamic Mermaids defender said that it was her goal to make a come back.
“I always wanted to hang a gold medal right next to my mother’s,” she said.
Kapi’s mother, Lady Tegana Kapi is a former PNG basketball representative who played alongside women’s basketball greats like Veitu Diro and Pilu Baldwin, in the team that won gold for PNG in the 1971 South Pacific Games.
“It feels like it’s my first time again. It is such an exciting feeling to know that I’ve made the national team after a long but hard road,” Kapi said.
“It’s been a tough ride to get to where I am now but I am grateful.”
Kapi made the final PNG Pepes squad amongst 11 others who will be competing at the Pacific Netball Series in Apia in the first week of June.
She said that the team will have to defend better to beat pre-tournament favourites Fiji, home side Samoa and Cook Islands but said she was confident in the team.
“We’ve been training together for a while and the girls have gelled so well and regardless of what people may say, I really believe that we will bring back good results. At the end of the day, it is the individuals in the team that will make it work,” she said.
Kapi started as a junior netballer at the age of seven under coach and former PNG basketball representative Veitu Diro with Telstars.
1997 was when she made her transition to current club Mermaids.
“I learnt a lot during my time with Veitu. That’s was when I learnt how to pass the ball, catch and other basics,” Kapi added.
Come 1998, at only 17, Kapi’s talent was identified and she was called into the national team to compete in a tournament in Fiji.
By 2003, Kapi’s netball career started to wind down.
2003 was the last time Kapi played in the national team at the Pacific Games in Fiji when PNG won the silver medal.
“Winning silver that year was a great achievement for PNG netball and I believe we can repeat the same come 2015 on home soil,” she said.
However, Kapi also had to put her netball on hold because of her studies and family commitments.
“It was a tough risk to take but I knew netball would always be there and some day I’d come back.”
Kapi praised her family, husband and two daughters Nosamoan- Faith and Deborah for being very supportive.
Kapi and the rest of the team will depart for Brisbane on May 30 for two lead up matches before heading to Samoa.