Shina Teo was a little disappointed when her name was missing from the 21-strong South-east Asia (SEA) Games and World Cup training squad in February, at the end of the Netball Super League season.
But, at just 19, she knew she would have more opportunities.
Then, Shina, along with three other players, received an invitation to join the squad as sparring partners.
Following that, she was asked to undergo trials for one of the 14 spots in the squad that was slated to travel to Fiji for training matches from April 14 to 22.
She worked hard, and got in.
On Thursday morning, the day after returning from Fiji, the national Under-21 defender received the call from national coach Ruth Aitken - she had made the Singapore netball team for June's SEA Games, after all.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Shina said: "When I heard the news I was very happy. I just joined the team not too long ago and now I am one of the 12 at the SEA Games.
"It was really unexpected."
"I know there are experienced defenders ahead of me, so I will cherish whatever court time I get and take it as a great learning experience," she added.
Shina, who will soon make a decision on her university destination, is the only uncapped player in Singapore's 12-strong squad for the Games, which will be held here from June 5 to 16.
QUEENS OF ASIA
Eight of the players are from the team that were crowned queens of Asia on home soil last year.
The team will again be led by captain Micky Lin, backed up by co-vice captains Chen Huifen and Nurul Baizura, and veteran stalwart Premila Hirubalan.
Said Aitken: "The entire squad have been outstanding in the build-up to the SEA Games. They have been so motivated and driven in training and on the final tour.
"The selectors had difficult decisions to make in selecting the final 12 but we are confident that we now have the best possible team at this point in time to meet the challenges of the opposing teams in the SEA Games."
The netball team are chasing a historic gold on home soil, after finishing second to Malaysia in 2001, the only other time the sport featured at the SEA Games.
Hirubalan, 32, owns 97 international caps, and she said: ""It would be special for me as I was in the team that got the silver in 2001. "It would be special winning it with this team, and to win it at home, in front of all Singaporeans.
"It would be a treasured moment for the rest of my life."
Six countries have confirmed their participation at the Games - Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and hosts Singapore.
The Republic will start their campaign at the OCBC Arena against Brunei on May 31, and are likely to play in the final on June 7.
The training squad from February will reconvene after the SEA Games to prepare for the World Cup in Australia in August, with the final selection to be announced in mid-June.
This article was first published on April 25, 2015.
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