There are busy times ahead for Malua Bay’s volleyball maven, Kateia Barenaba.
The 18-year-old will fly to Italy this weekend with the U19 Australian team for the Cornacchia World Cup.
It is the first time Australia has entered a team in tournament, which brings together the best players in the world.
Kateia has previously travelled with the team to Asian Championships, which were held in Thailand last year.
She said being chosen to represent her country in the sport still took some getting used to.
“It’s nerve racking because you are not just taking on players from the other teams, but you are also competing against your own teammates for places on the court,” she said.
“We are playing a game every day we are over there, so it’s going to be pretty intense.”
It’s nerve racking because you are not just taking on the players from the other teams, but you are also competing against your own teammates for places on the court.- Kateia Barenaba
The Batemans Bay High student has become accustomed to a busy schedule, having juggled her year 12 studies with regular trips to Canberra and Sydney since the beginning of last year.
There is no rest for Kateia once the World Cup is over, with the teenager spending a week at home before flying out to Myanmar as part of the Lending a Hand initiative.
Unlike Kateia’s Venice adventure, the program is more about compassion than competition, with Volleyball Australia partnering with Myanmar Leadership project, Girl Determined, to conduct a tour with an all-female team of athletes to promote cultural exchange between the two countries.
After submitting an expression of interest for the trip, Kateia went through a phone interview selection process, before being named as one of two athletes to take part.
She said she was immediately drawn to apply when she saw program as a post by Volleyball Australia.
“I remember thinking it would be interesting how things are done over there, and how they play volleyball,” he said.
“It’s such a different culture to what Australia is, and a lot of the women over there aren’t even allowed to play sport.
“I didn’t think I would get chosen, because they were picking people 18-25, and I am just old enough to go.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing everything I can over there.”
The program will run from May 11-May 20.
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