Samoa enters this year’s F.I.B.A. U18 Oceania Championships aiming to improve on a promising performance in the 2014 tournament, and a lot of their fortunes will be placed on the shoulders of Linda Kelsall
In 2014, Kelsall led the Samoan squad to the semi-finals in the U18 Oceania Championships. Her dominance on the court, impressive rebounding skills and shooting averages makes her a vital member of the team.
Now, the women’s squad is raring to surpass their previous performance as they prepare to take off for Fiji for the Oceania Champions with Kelsall at the helm. Not only is she a superstar athlete, but also the newly appointed development officer for the Samoa National Basketball Association.
She spoke to the Samoa Observer yesterday about her journey to the top and her new appointment.
Kelsall’s cited her passion for basketball came from her father who introduced her to the sport at a young age. She stated, “My dad taught me how to play when I was young, that’s his sport. I made a goal to follow his footsteps and he trained me when I was young. “
As a proud member of the L.D.S. Church, Kelsall was a regular participant in the church basketball tournaments and was stand out player on the court. At only 14 years old, selectors pushed Kelsall out of the comfort of her church and boosted her onto the National Stage to represent Samoa in 2012 Oceania Championships. This was her first taste of competitive basketball on the international stage and since then she’s never looked back.
“ Until now, I’m the only girl that’s still around from the 2012 team that went to Australia and Melbourne,” she said.
After graduating from Pesega College , Kelsall found the perfect opportunity to integrate her passion for basketball into her work as the only development officer for the Samoa National Basketball Association.
She commented on her experience , “It’s really amazing for me. I’m grateful for this opportunity to be the development officer, especially when it comes to basketball. I’m really passionate about basketball and being the development officer and helping others and also getting involved with the girls to play and train together. It’s so amazing for me. I love playing basketball and I love my job. It goes together with what I’m passionate about. “
The tournament is set for the 5th-10th of December in Suva, Fiji.