Pupil in Thai squad
A Porirua College girl’s love of smashing a volleyball has scored her a trip to Thailand to battle among the world’s best junior sportswomen.
Camilla Time-Taotua, 16, is the youngest member of the 12-strong New Zealand women’s under-19 squad, which is heading to the Asian Junior Women’s Championships in Nakhon Pathom tomorrow for a fortnight, facing the world’s top volleyball teams.
The 1.85 metre, year 12 student visited Australia last year with the national under- 17 team, but says Thailand will be a different league. ‘‘It’s way up there.’’ Time-Taotua, who plays outside hitter and opposite, was selected for the under 19s at a secondary schools’ tournament in Palmerston North in March, where she was named player of the tournament and best spiker – her favourite part of the game.
‘‘You get to really smash it,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s a passion for me. Sometimes I just want to hit the ball.’’
Time- Taotua is also a netballer and basketballer. She took up volleyball in year 9, and aims to represent New Zealand in senior grades. She gets a real kick out of putting on the New Zealand uniform and can’t wait to don it in Thailand.
‘‘ It’ll be like wearing Cory Jane’s top.’’
Making the under-19 squad in Palmerston North wasn’t easy for her – and she was awed by the talent surrounding her.
‘‘It was really hard, the girls from Tauranga were all talented and it was hard for me to stand out for the coaches.’’
Former Kiwi coach Jonita Maufua has been boosting her performance for Thailand, and the squad is working well in practices, Time-Taotua says.
Aside from training hard for her school team, her Wellington central league team and the under-19s, as well as schoolwork and coaching Porirua College junior basketball, Time-Taotua has fundraised a large chunk of the $4000 needed for her trip.
Porirua College sports coordinator Rachel Falemaka says coaches at selections were amazed at Time-Taotua’s skill and her attitude.
‘‘The coaches found her to be a very thoughtful girl, very easy to work with.’’
Net worth: Porirua College volleyballer Camilla Time-Taotua, 16, heads to Thailand tomorrow to represent New Zealand beside players two years her senior.