Senior airman doubles as international netball player

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
Alisi Taka, a senior airman assigned to the 81st Medical Support Squadron logistics flight as a medical material technician, recently returned from an international netball tournament in Singapore.

A member of the U.S. National Netball Team, she joined seven other women in the six-country competition held Dec. 1-7 in the Asian nation. The U.S. team played squads from Ireland, Singapore, Uganda, Papua-New Guinea and Sri Lanka. Singapore also fielded an under-21 team. The USA placed sixth overall and the squad named her their MVP.

"Teams normally consist of 12 players, with seven on the court and five reserves," Taka said. "Due to financial constraints, our team went there with eight girls."

She said she was very happy to have this opportunity.

"This was the first time the U.S. team had played in this event and I'm looking forward to more U.S. participation in future international tourneys," she added.

Taka explained the team had trained together for about three years and that she had rejoined in December 2012 after a two-year break.

"I had been selected for the team in 2010, but learned I was pregnant with my daughter and was unable to play with them," she said. "I rejoined the team a few months after having my son in September 2012. I trained with the team for a year and learned I had been selected to participate in the tournament in November."

Taka said most of her teammates are from Florida, with some from New York and the rest from Missouri.

"Most of the time I work out on my own and then we have scheduled training as a team based on a schedule sent out by the netball association manager. Training is held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Brooklyn, N.Y., and Atlanta. I usually drive to the closer locations for training."

At 24, Taka is the youngest member of the team; the oldest is 48.
She said she pays "out of pocket" for the travel, with occasional assistance from her family.

Commenting on her selection, Taka said, "It was a long time coming. It was personal achievement that I've always dreamt about. This was a great experience. As an Air Force member, I serve our country and I was proud to represent the U.S. in the tournament."

She added, "I didn't get where I am today by myself. I have a lot of people - family, friends, and my flight and squadron leadership - to thank."

Taka, who will mark five years of Air Force service in April, has been assigned to Keesler for four years.