Ruci Kaiwai - Fiji National Women's Cricket Captain

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I am originally from Moce Island in the Lau Group in the beautiful islands of Fiji. Fiji is known around the world for their amazing skills in the sport of rugby. But in Moce Island, we only play the sport of cricket. We have only two Koros (true village) in our community. This is the villages of Nasau and Korotolu. A Koro is our identity and growing up, we had some wonderful memories. When we were young, we used to go with our mum and support the men in their competition. Just like most communities at that time, females were prohibited from playing with the boys but that did not stop me. I used to hide and punch the boys if they were going to say anything to my parents.
The most difficult challenge being a woman playing cricket is that we did not have access to cricket grounds. And if we did, there was not enough ground available to play on as it was already in use. But I knew cricket was an enormous part of my life. I was made vice-captain for the Fiji National Women's Cricket team in 2009. In 2015, I participated in the Women's International Cricket League in New Zealand which will rank together with becoming the first Fijian woman to represent our nation to the East Asia Pacific team in 2019 in the Australian Country Cricket Championships. I would like to see women's cricket in the Pacific grow.

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The International Cricket Council has a huge role to play in the development of cricket in the Pacific. Currently only nine players get selected from one country and the rest of the nations in the Pacific make up the other five spots. The prime reason why they introduced East Asia Pacific concepts was to create competition. I believe that every women in the Pacific region should be given the opportunity to be a member of that team because that is the only opportunity we get to experience cricket in such competitive arenas. I also believe that a women's team should be coached by a female. These opportunities empower the women in our region. 

The International Cricket Council has a huge role to play in the development of cricket in the Pacific. Currently only nine players get selected from one country and the rest of the nations in the Pacific make up the other five spots. The prime reason why they introduced East Asia Pacific concepts was to create competition. I believe that every women in the Pacific region should be given the opportunity to be a member of that team because that is the only opportunity we get to experience cricket in such competitive arenas. I also believe that a women's team should be coached by a female. These opportunities empower the women in our region. 

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Shakti Gounden