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Wini credits basketball as part of success

HONIARA (Solomon Islands) - Lysa Wini is trailblazing a path for women in the Solomon Islands with her burgeoning career and she credits her basketball experience as one of the keys to her success.

Wini, currently a consultant for the Sky Islands Coordinator for Islands and a Ph.D. Researcher for One Ocean Hub of Strathclyde University in Glasgow shared that her passion for basketball is a driving force in her growth as a person and as a professional.

"I have played basketball since I was young and it has always been my passion. The sport of basketball has given me so much that's why I will always be grateful and put effort into giving back to the game," said Wini, who represented the Solomon Islands in international competitions from 1999 to 2015.

Photo: 2016 FIBA Oceania Women's Empowerment Program participants

After retiring from international competition in 2015, Wini assumed the Secretary position for the Solomon Islands Basketball Federation and joined the FIBA Oceania Women's Empowerment Program in 2016.

"The Women's Empowerment program by FIBA Oceania was a life-changing experience for me. At that point, I was at the crossroads of my life trying to find myself because I have been playing basketball my whole life. The group of women I was able to interact with taught lessons that gave me the confidence I needed to grow and be confident with my capabilities," shared Wini, who has a postgraduate certificate in Diplomacy & International Affairs from the University of the South Pacific.

"The stories shared by the participants and mentors certainly did the right job in empowering the women in the program and has inspired me to push forward and be bold with my dreams and ideas," she added.

Since 2018, Wini has traveled all over the world as a speaker or a panelist in conferences including the 2018 European Society for Oceanists Conference in the United Kingdom, 2018 World Oceans Explorers Club in the United States of America, 2018 UN Nippon Foundation Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Kenya and the 2019 Preparatory Phase of the UN Decade of Ocean Science in Denmark.

Photo: D-fenders Team Building Activity - Hike at Barana Nature Park

Wini, a mother to two kids shared the context of basketball's male-dominated culture in their country and how she believes that the sport can be a good platform to promote equality with their ability to play the sport.

"Solomon Islands basketball is male-dominated society but having the experience of playing in the national team, I was able to command respect from other players because I can do what they do," Wini said. "

It's given me the confidence to interact with people both on and off the court." she added

Photo: Wini coaching the U19 Women's team in FIBA U19 Oceania Championship in Fiji 2014

The former coach of the Solomon Islands U19 Women's team has repeatedly attributed her success to her experience with basketball and hopes to provide the same chance for young girls in the Solomon Islands through the D-Fenders youth program, which she started with Debbie Sade, Willie Sade, and Kellington Simeon

"The D-Fenders program invites youth players to have an opportunity to play under the club and also for us to provide mentorship to young kids. I want to be able to empower kids at a young age and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams if they believe in themselves," Wini said.

"We started this in 2008 and have continued to volunteer our efforts for the program to be able to provide a safe space for learning for our youth. It's been a great journey and I will continue to help out as much as I can," she added.