HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 597: 05 January 2012

Maria Tanner Spends 5 Minutes with .... Jordina Katu
This week The Cook Islands Herald spent five minutes getting cozy with the basketball all star Jordina Katu, who is currently here in Rarotonga for the Vano family reunion. Getting started with the sport at a young age the passionate Katu has had more than her fair share of 4am training sessions, countless try outs and iced joints, which she swears by as being, “good character building. ” Travelling to Oklahoma, , home to the NBA Thunders, with the opportunity to represent New Zealand and the Cook Islands on a scholarship Jordina Katu spent the next 2 years throwing down her impeccable basketball skills and showing up her international counterparts and now she’s here to talk scholarships, New Zealand Tall Ferns and putting the Cook Islands back on the sporting map.

The Herald: Jordina, you have an impressive basketball career can you tell us how you got started with the sport?
Jordina Katu: It all started from those good old Ponsonby Church days, when I was younger, sitting down and watching all the older people playing and just asking if I could play too. Even though then my skills weren’t up there.

H: So that was your starting point, did you continue to play during school?
JK: Definitely, it carried on right through especially onto High School and that’s where it all went on from there. I went to ASDA (Auckland Seventh Day Adventist College) and during that time I represented Auckland Basketball under 19’s and Under 21’s. Then when I had finished at college I was asked to play for North Harbor first division women’s team and that was pretty big!

H: Woah that’s a pretty huge achievement at such a young age too, how did that feel?
JK: That’s was pretty awesome, but that same year I was picked to go on two year basketball scholarship in Oklahoma, and that experience was very independent, but it really helped that everyone was friendly.

H: So your 18 years old and just landed a 2 year scholarship to play the sport you love at an international level, that’s amazing. How did you find the change?
JK: Well the first day that I arrived there it was training straight away, and I was still in the farewell mode from Auckland!! We would have to do things like stadium runs, 4 am training sessions where if you were late you were punished so we would all make sure that we got up at 3.30!

H: That’s intense training!!
JK: Well pre season training was probably the hardest and most intense training. On top of all of that we would endure swimming 10 laps in Olympic sized pools. There were a few other international players on scholarships there, we were pretty much the starting five, so we had to work even harder to keep our spots so together we would do our own personal training after training!! We won the state championships, for the two years that I was there, so hard work does pay off.

H: Training on top of training, that’s determination!! How did you cope with the pressure?
JK: Well that’s just how it went if you wanted to play you had to work your butt off in training, every time. But when I was feeling like I couldn’t move and covered in ice packs it helped to have my other team members being there to push me along. It was an awesome experience and I wouldn’t regret it at all.

H: So you’re currently post scholarship and back in New Zealand how have things been treating you?
JK: Well I took a break because I missed my family and needed my mum’s support around me to keep me going but before I left I was offered a placement with North Carolina, so that’s something for me to think about. But at the moment I’ve been involved with coaching New Zealand College teams, last year I coached ASDA college girls basketball team and the year before that Mangere College’s team and they won their Southern Zone Championships, so you know it’s about me sharing what I know with other people who are passionate about the sports too.

H: What do you have in the pipelines for 2012?
JK: Well before I left for Rarotonga I participated in the Tall Ferns try outs, there’s generally a vetting process that takes place, and I when I arrived here I got the phone call to say that I made It through to the second try outs.

H: So if things go well then that could mean representing New Zealand, and the Cook Islands, in the Olympics?
JK: Hopefully, because you know there’s quite a few of us Cook Islanders who are really good basketball players and you know it’s just about putting us back out there on the map.

H: What advice can you give to youth who are interested in pursuing a sports based career?
JK: If you have potential then go out there and push it because if can do it and your hearts with it, then just go. But you have to chase it, you have to go out there a get it because if you never do you’ll never know.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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