BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
A 32-year-old man from Lau Lagoon, Malaita province is set to represent the Solomon Islands in basketball after starting to play the sport at the age of 17.
Timmy Toata Magi is set to be part of the Solomon Islands training team that will take part in the 2022 Melanesian Cup held in Fiji in October this year.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Melanesia Cup, which will serve as a qualifier for the next Pacific Games, has been delayed until 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fiji had been due to stage the event in July last year, but organizers have chosen to move it to October 2022.
Timmy is set to represent the Solomon Islands after 8 years with the county’s national basketball team.
“I would say making it into the Solomon Islands national basketball squad for the first time back in 2015. Ever since I started playing basketball, I have always wanted to represent the Solomon Islands so that was a highlight for me.
“Honestly, it is kind of exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. This will be my second time representing the country, so I am very excited about the possibility of representing the country right here in Honiara in front of the local crowd,’’ he expressed.
Meanwhile, said that the driving force behind his career was his family members, especially during his days in high school at Betikama Adventist College.
“I have had a few uncles and cousins who have represented the country in basketball back in the day, so, I was more determined to carry on the legacy.
“Secondly, Bryce Masaea (Betikama’s Basketball Coach). I do not know why he picked me to play for the Betikama School basketball team back in 2005, but that was when I fell in love with the game and I have been playing ever since,’’ he said.
He said that representing the country at the Pacific Games 2023 XVII in Honiara would be an exciting moment for him.
Now that the Melanesia Cup tournament looks set to go ahead, Timmy said that he needs to work more on his weak areas to help improve his performance on the court.
“I think I need to work hard on my strength and conditioning and also my agility and more shooting,’’ he said.
When asked if he is confident to become a medal winner in Pacific Games 2023, Timmy said that it will be a challenging task however for him he believes in the saying that ‘anything is possible.
“For us Solomon Islands basketball it will be very difficult because we haven’t had much basketball development in the last decade, while everyone else was moving ahead.
“However, that being said, as they say, ‘anything is possible the boys are working very hard at the moment so rest assured we will certainly be playing for a medal in 2023,’’ Timmy assured.
The Solomon Islands Basketball Men’s training squad is now conducting their scheduled training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Holy Cross Basketball court in their preparation for Melanesian Cup to be held this year.