Davu has last laugh after Vili-fication

Last updated 10:04 23/03/2008

Relevant offers

Netball

New gym and netball coaching role for Central Pulse's Frances Solia Laura Langman hopes Sunshine Coast Lightning can stand the test of time Central Pulse announce pre-season match against Taranaki Invitational team Noeline Taurua feeling the heat with her new Sunshine Coast Lightning team Talented twins hone skills at netball camp Experience over results for Southern Steel in two losses against Sunshine Coast Christchurch to host Silver Ferns test after missing out in 2016 Kapiti College netballer Julia Law makes NZ Secondary Schools' squad despite foot injury Emphatic second half sees Silver Ferns crush Wales Silver Ferns net 92 v Wales in post Quad Series walloping in Cardiff

The player Netball New Zealand never wanted is about to become inescapable.

Towering defender Vilimaina Davu has forced her way past Netball NZ's eligibility committee to link with the talent-packed Northern Mystics, and will be the face of weight-loss franchise Jenny Craig in an advert that starts screening in about two weeks.

Davu, who stands 1.90m, was the subject of stinging criticism when taking the court as player-coach for injury-hit Fiji at last November's world championships in Auckland. She was obviously overweight and unfit after retiring from netball in 2007.

After that tournament her father died. He collapsed at the airport when welcoming home the Fiji team.

"I'm glad I'm a strong person," Davu, 31, told the Sunday Star-Times.

"I have to get on with my life and move on and I know my Dad would be proud of me. He always told me that you'll be put down, you'll be disappointed at some stage but it's a matter of getting up and keeping going and I did."

She said the criticisms "made me a better person and grow an inch taller . . . you have to have a strong personality to get over things like that. You have to have obstacles to overcome in life and I've done that."

Davu, the most intimidating defender in world netball when at her peak, said Jenny Craig's programmes had enabled her to shed the unwanted kilos, but laughingly declined to put a figure on how much she had lost.

"I'm looking great now compared to last year and I feel good about that.

"It's all about eating healthy and training hard. I'm about 75% fit at the moment. When I'm 100% I'll be firing. I had been an elite athlete for six years so when my body started to change I knew I had to do something about it."

Netball NZ had major concerns over Davu's weight and fitness, arguing that a Kiwi under-21 international should be considered first as the Mystics already had incumbent Silvers Ferns defenders Leana du Bruin and Sheryl Scanlan, plus former Auckland Diamonds skipper Stephanie Bond.

"Watch out for the Mystics defence, it will be hard to break in this competition," Davu said.

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who should play goal shoot for the Silver Ferns?

Bailey Mes

Catherine Latu

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content