Paris Lokotui has just completed a stellar year in three sports. On Friday she scored 19 points and nine rebounds as New Zealand defeated Thailand 80-52 in their quarter-final game to qualify for next year’s basketball U17 Women’s FIBA World Cup.
Making this team and helping them finish fourth at the U17 Women’s Asian Championship in India, the Queen Margaret College, Wellington, Year 11 student on a Fuji Xerox scholarship completed her involvement this year in her third international team in as many different sports. The other two sports are netball and water polo.
Paris (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kuri, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Tonga) has been involved in athletics, hockey, touch, volleyball, swimming, under water hockey, water polo, netball and basketball. Two years ago, in Year 9, to balance sports and school work, Paris decided to focus on water polo, netball and basketball and that decision has paid off.
Paris’s year got off to a great start with her being named in the Aotearoa Māori Netball International Secondary School team that competed against ten teams in the International U19 Schools Challenge in Fiji in May. Paris was part of the winning team which went undefeated throughout the rounds and beat the All Australia Netball Team 40-28 in the final. "It was amazing to play in the final and the atmosphere and support from within the team and from the crowd was amazing. I felt so proud to be on the court that day."
In July this year Paris had a really busy month. Goal keeper Paris was a member of the NZ Water polo U16 team that competed in at the inaugural Sydney Water Polo Youth Festival and played against Australian state teams and Thailand.
Paris was also in the Wellington U17 Netball team that won the New Zealand U17 National Championships in Counties- Manukau and made the tournament team. Paris then represented Wellington Basketball in the U17 National Championships and made the tournament team. Making the New Zealand U17 Women’s Basketball Team that competed in the just concluded FIBA Asia Cup in Bangalore was terrific reward for hard work.
Paris was proud to be part of the Queen Margaret College Senior A Basketball team that qualified for the Wellington Secondary School Basketball Premiership in 2018 for the first time ever.
Paris was equally proud to be part of the QMC Senior A Netball team that placed fourth at the Lower North Island Secondary School Netball tournament and qualified for the NZSS Netball Nationals in another first for the school. Paris made the LNISS tournament team but was unable to attend due to a clash with her NZ U17 basketball commitments.
Paris has a strict training schedule and most days is either at the pool, gym or down at the basketball court. She is also focussed on making sure that she gets good grades and she is very grateful to Queen Margaret College for working with her to ensure that she keeps up with her school work when she is away. Paris says she loves everything about sports, the competiveness, the environment and the friendships she has made.
Sports run in the family. Paris’ father Lua Lokotui is a professional rugby player recently retiring from International rugby with Tonga having played at the last two Rugby World Cups and representing Hawke’s Bay and Wellington in recent years
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