No looking back for Queensland Firebird Romelda Aiken
Ever since Romelda Aiken made her debut for the Queensland Firebirds netball team in 2008, she has never looked back.
With a successful professional netball career spanning over 10 years, Romelda has played in huge tournaments for Jamaica including the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup, and she has also been part of the Queensland team to win three ANZ Championships.
“It has been the most surreal and unreal experience,” she said.
“I’ve gone leaps and bounds over what I was doing in Jamaica, I’ve reached the international stage, and if you’d have said to me five or six years ago that this would be my life, I would say you were joking.”
These experiences would not have been possible without her introduction to netball during school in Jamaica, when she was fourteen years of age.
Despite not being the best, Romelda was quick to learn the game and improve on her hand-eye coordination, and was soon selected to play as a shooter in her club netball team, a position she still plays to this day.
“It’s a lot of pressure being a goal shooter, but with that pressure comes a lot of glory and success and being a part of something so amazing, so it’s got it’s pros and cons,” Romelda explained.
Growing up in Jamaica meant Romelda lived a carefree life with her mother and siblings, and sport seemed to always be in her second nature.
“I would always be out playing with the boys, playing soccer and cricket and getting up to a lot of mischief with my brother, but it was pretty easy flowing,” she said.
Growing up in Jamaica, we learn to stay humble and to use as much of the resources we have around us to make ourselves the best versions of ourselves that we can be.
“You’ve got to rough and tough it out to get to where you want to be, you really don’t have the luxury of having all the resources you would have here in Australia, and people would have to travel hours to get to training and then go home to get to school the next day.”
Romelda also said it is the natural drive and talent of the players in Jamaica that keeps them coming back to training, as well as the prospect of netball giving the players opportunities to play overseas, which would allow them to support their families back home.
Plus, with the growing number of players being scouted to play in countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, there is now a greater understanding of the needs of young professional netball players in Jamaica.
“More players are getting more exposure, which means when we go back, we try to implement what we’ve learnt into our training schedule,” she said.
“So, I think we are getting more professional in what we’re doing in terms of the time we are putting in and how we get to the next level.”
Having now played netball for well over ten years, Romelda said she feels her time with the sport is drawing to a close, and her next challenge is figuring out what she will be doing after retirement.
Follow Romelda on Instagram HERE to keep up with her Netball journey.