MAREEBA punches well above its weight on the state’s sporting landscape, and local 13-year-old netball player Akaysia Boyle is further evidence of that after she was recently selected in the Under 14 Australian Indigenous netball team.
Otherwise known as the Budgies, The Australian Indigenous team was selected from the Australian Indigenous Schoolgirls Netball Carnival that was held in Melbourne in January of this year, and it is a team Akaysia said she didn’t expect to make.
“I was really surprised to have made the team,” she said.
“I didn’t think I was going to be picked but I’m so happy that I was.”
Akaysia’s selection means she will travel to the Gold Coast in July to compete at the International Netball Festival on the Gold Coast.
Akaysia noted that not only was it great to make a national side, but that her selection is all the more special as it gives her the chance to represent her heritage.
“I’m so proud to get the opportunity to represent my people,” she said.
“At the same time it is really nerve-racking, it’s a lot of responsibility to represent my culture so I’m hoping I do well.”
Akaysia also took time to thank those who have contributed to her enormous success she has had in the junior ranks of the sport.
“First of all I want to thank my mum and dad and the rest of my family, they have been so supportive since I started playing netball three or four years ago,” she said.
“I also want to thank Michelle from Mareeba Netball, she has helped me so much when she’s been my coach and I’ve improved so much because of her.”
Akaysia’s mother Kienwyn Daniels spoke about the excitement and emotion that was felt when they heard of her selection, particularly for her father Ross.
“Her father is extremely proud that she has made the Indigenous team,” she said.
“That’s the highlight from her father’s point of view since she’s started playing netball – he was crying when he found out on the phone.
“He is so happy to see her representing our people and our family.”
Ms Daniels said she wanted to recognise those at Mareeba Netball who have developed Akaysia into the player she is today.
Mareeba Netball Association President Michelle Cifuentes has had plenty to do with Akaysia since she first picked up a netball, and she noted just how enormous of an achievement making a side of this calibre is.
“For a girl from this area to be selected in a national side is amazing,” she said.
“She has been selected out of a group of thousands of other players which just proves how great an achievement it really is.
“Akaysia is such a talented and hard-working player that gives her utmost every time she takes the court. She’s also supportive, helpful and friendly to all of her teammates.”
In addition to Akaysia’s national selection, she was also chosen to compete at a state-age tournament in Singapore in June as part of the Marlin Coast Netball Academy.
Akaysia’s accomplishments on the netball court are to be celebrated, and her success as a young Indigenous woman in the sport will hopefully act as a source of inspiration for other young Indigenous men and women throughout Mareeba.
For those wanting to help Akaysia and her family financially in her upcoming tournament, you can do so by contacting the Mareeba Netball Association.
In addition, the Mareeba Netball Association are taking two state-age teams away that require sponsors. If you can help please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.