After announcing its national teams, the Vanuatu Basketball Federation is proudly introducing you the players that will fly Vanuatu’s flag in Samoa to the 3x3 basketball competition.
You will take him for another well-known player. Today let’s find out more about Rickie “Rookie” VIRA, the Kawhi twin, that will be participating to his first Pacific Games.
Rickie joined the National Squad this year after being identified during last year’s Efate 5x5 championship by the National coach
“I started training with the national 3x3 team this year 2019 with 23 other players, I was very fortunate to be a part of this very talented group of individuals each with their own style of play and with their own contributed effort to the foundation of the team."
The Federation launched earlier on this year a 2-year project, and Rickie was put down on that list of potential players to be part of the National Squad.
“We started this journey aiming for Pacific Games and the Olympics as the main goals to try and get a medal and perform at a high level but overall is to seek improvement and growth in the Vanuatu basketball as a whole. The journey to Pacific Games has been challenging and very tough, train 5 times a week most sacrifices are made ; time with family and loved ones and work duties. But training wise it's been tough challenging seeking improvement on a daily basis fighting against 23 very talented players on their own right for 8 spots in the national team composed of 4 men and 4 woman that own its own speaks challenging training fighting consistently daily.”
“Having the honour to represent the country at the 2019 3X3 Asia cup as a prepping weapon for Pacific which is been a big learning step for us as a team and me as a player. It was also my first time ever with the national team hence I was nicked name by my teammates as "Rookie ". I've never thought of playing basketball to this level but playing it has always been a passion of mine, playing with fun and spreading the smile both on and off the court is always my aim.
And the Kawhi Leonard sosie remembers where he comes from, and the long journey he has followed so far, alongside people that I have helped him to reach such a level
"I represent a lot more than my country Vanuatu : I represent my journey too and those who have been with me to this day. To wear that uniform, I owe it to all of those who've helped me basketball wise from friends and families starting from humble beginnings playing ESSSA basketball games in Vanuatu to playing and competing at Fiji university competition, being part of Fiji basketball association tournaments, USP Laucala tournaments, Rai-Waqa tournament. To all my coaches and players teammates who taught me the game. Much love and appreciation for them and also to my family and friends and my partner girlfriend for their support, and to Vanuatu as your player I will uphold the values we stand for when representing both on and off the court."
A legacy that will bring him and his team mates far in their conquest for the male's team first ever medal at the upcoming Pacific Games