After overcoming a series of setbacks in recent years, local netballer Kyah Vaeila will get the chance to represent her state for the first time this April.
In 2017, during a school netball carnival in Wollongong, Kyah fractured her ankle and tore multiple ligaments in the very first match of the day.
Kyah would then spend the next four to six months rehabbing her injury, which also meant missing out on captaining the Penrith District at the State Age Championships.
Now, three years on from her terrible injury, the 16-year-old wing attack has proven the comeback is far greater than the setback after she was selected to represent NSW at the 2020 U17 National Netball Championships.
To be held in Hobart from April 18-23, teams from each state and territory will battle it out for gold in the U17 and U19 age groups.
Last year NSW took home silver in both age groups and will be looking to go one better in 2020.
Speaking with the Weekender, the St Marys Leagues Netball Club junior said she was very excited when she was informed of her selection in the team.
“Last Monday, following a recent competition in Orange, I received a call from the coach saying I made it,” Kyah recalled.
“It was so exciting… I was in the lounge room at the time with my mum and we both started jumping around.
“It’s been an interesting journey especially after some of the setbacks I’ve endured and where I’ve come from, but it’s all very exciting now.”
Kyah began her netball journey at the tender age of four after being inspired by her older sister to play the game. After dabbling in touch football for several years, she eventually decided to pick just one sport to pursue full-time.
“I’m so grateful I chose netball because look where I’m at now,” Kyah said.
“I’ve never been to Tasmania before and I think it’ll be great to play against other girls from around the country.”
While she’s not wearing the sky blue, Kyah is also a valued member of the Panthers U23 Premier League team and hopes to one day be just like her hero, fellow local Paige Hadley.
“I’m a big Swifts fan and my idol is Paige Hadley, who comes from Penrith as well,” she said.
“I just love her grit and never give up attitude – she really inspires me.”
Kyah and her fellow NSW teammates will now train twice a week at Netball Central in preparation for Nationals.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.