Netballer gets first national call-up after working on her weaknesses
Training partner gets first national call-up after improving on her weaknesses
Over the last year, Siti Nurshawallah Rashid often missed the final cut for the national netball squad, either due to a lack of fitness or keen competition for her wing-defence position.
But the 24-year-old school programme executive was so determined to make it that she took on extra training and even ventured into a new position as a centre.
Her hard work eventually paid off. With her improved fitness and new-found versatility, Siti impressed national coach Natalie Milicich, who gave her a long-awaited first call-up.
Siti is set for her international debut at the Mission Foods Nations Cup, which takes place from tomorrow to next Saturday at the OCBC Arena.
It will be a proud moment for her after being just a training partner previously.
Siti told The New Paper: "Back then, my coach always told me that I'm not in the final squad because of my fitness. I really wanted to prove them wrong, and I knew that to do that, I had to step out of my comfort zone."
Besides the usual training sessions with the team from Monday to Thursday, she put in extra hours on Fridays to work on her fitness.
The result? She exceeded expectations in the yo-yo test, an intermittent shuttle run which gauges athletes' endurance levels.
This year, having played well in the National Super League with SRC Barracudas, a fitter Siti thought she stood a chance of representing Singapore at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
But she was to be disappointed again as, this time, she faced tough competition for her position.
"The coach was telling me that my position (wing defence) was critical and there were a lot of people who can play in my position, which was why I didn't get the spot.
"I was quite upset and I started to question myself, as I wasn't selected because of the position, and not due to my showings."
Somehow, that was the boost she needed. Siti took an unconventional route and ventured into a new role as a centre, which requires an even higher level of fitness.
Siti, who got engaged this year and will be married next month, continued to work on her stamina and improved on her skills to show versatility in both attack and defence.
While playing as a centre, she did enough to impress Milicich during the Nations Cup trials, and she made it this time.
"I was very happy when I got chosen because I didn't expect it at all," she said. "It gives me the confidence that the coach believes that I can play in the centre position."
Siti believes that the team, who went on a training stint in New Zealand last week, will improve on their performance at August's SEA Games, where the Republic lost to Malaysia in the final.
She said: "We really want to prove that we're coming back strong and we won't repeat the same mistakes.
"We are coming with a lot of cards in our pockets and we want to play those cards during the tournament."
What: Mission Foods Nations Cup
Where: OCBC Arena, Sports Hub
When: Tomorrow to next Saturday.
- 3pm — Singapore v Ireland,
- 5pm — Malaysia v Cook Islands,
- 7pm — Hong Kong v Swaziland.
Ticket details: Prices start from $5 for children aged three to 12, $7 for students and senior citizens, and $14 for adults. For details, go to www.apactix.com