Mereseini Marau, In New Delhi
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
NATIONAL rep Losana Tadu has been playing hockey for more than 20 years.
This is just her second chance to represent Fiji overseas, the first one was way back in 1997 when she went with the U21 team to Sydney, Australia.
Married with five kids, Tadu left Fiji for the Hockey World League in India without a single cent in her pocket.
The release from home didn't come that easy
Her children were the ones who convinced their dad to let her go and represent her country.
Reliving the challenges she faced, Tadu said that she was humbled that the team management gave her the opportunity to come even though she hasn't paid her $3500 levy.
"Play your best mummy," was the sentence that keep ringing in her ears, the words of her children when they farewelled her to come to New Delhi.
"I'm here to play for my country and for my children."
"It's my children who push me to play."
Unlike the rest of the team who were able to do their own personal fundraising, it was the circumstance at home that made it impossible for her to go the extra mile collecting funds.
After 20 years of marriage, this was the first time she got separated from her kids, her eldest (daughter) is 20 and her youngest (son) is 5.
"I have to be home right after training," she said.
Coming home late would have its consequences on the family.
For a goalkeeper, Tadu doesn't even have her own playing gear.
"This is the team gear that I'm using," she said.
It was her younger sister and dual international Soko Salaniqiqi who helped support her back home.
"She's the one supporting me and my children," said Tadu.
"I'm really grateful to be given the opportunity to come and represent my country," she said.
The two sisters love for hockey began when they were growing up in Levuka.
They are originally from Lomaloma in Vanuabalavu but were born and bred in their mum's village in Lovoni, Ovalau.
Salaniqiqi, a pool attendant at the Fiji Sports Council said her employers had paid for her levy and it would be deducted from her pay.
While they might not be enjoying the support that they wished to have, it was their love for hockey that enabled them to come this far.