Indy Howell from Wauchope Hockey Club wins silver at Oceania Cup

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Indy Howell, who is a member of Wauchope Hockey Club, celebrates helping Solomon Islands win silver at the Oceania Cup. Photo supplied.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Indy Howell, who is a member of Wauchope Hockey Club, celebrates helping Solomon Islands win silver at the Oceania Cup. Photo supplied.

Indy Howell has made Wauchope Hockey Club proud by winning silver at the Oceania Cup.

The 19-year-old moved to Australia in February this year from her home in the Solomon Islands, between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

"It's very, very hot and humid. It's a developing country. It's way smaller than Port Macquarie, and very different, and it's been amazing living in the Hastings so far," she said.

She finished high school back home but wanted to go to university in Australia, so she moved here and is doing tertiary preparation at Port Macquarie TAFE to be able to go further.

"Hopefully, I will do something science-based at university. I'm leaning towards environmental science or marine science.

"I've been playing hockey since I was 14 or 15 when I was at boarding school. One day the hockey association came to the school, and I saw my friends playing out on the field and I had a try and it was the sport for me. It was so different and so new.

"Soccer and rugby are really popular, but I like doing something different. I was given the opportunity to try out for the national under-18 hockey team in late 2017. I moved to Australia and heard about hockey here and I joined the Wauchope Hockey Club and it has been amazing," she said.

The Solomon hockey association contacted her and asked her to play for them at the Oceania Cup for the national team at Rockhampton earlier this month.

"I'm so thankful. I wouldn't have done it without the Wauchope Hockey Club who have helped me improve my skills, and helped me grow so much as a person as well. It's been a hectic ride, but amazing, and my team-mates here and back home are fantastic."

The big game at the Oceania Cup was between Australia and New Zealand. In the Hockey 5s Women's, Papua New Guinea got the gold medal, Solomon Islands won silver, and Tonga got bronze.

The teenager plans to keep playing hockey. She had a tough time at a Christian boarding school in the Solomon Islands but said it was a great experience.

For some years, she has been volunteering for a medical charity back home, and there met a Scottish-Australian couple from Beechwood, Ian and Jen MacLeod. They invited her to their home, and finally she was able to come.

"They are absolutely lovely people. They've provided so much for me, and made me feel so at home, and helped me so much. They are so kind, and selfless and giving. They are like my parents here. They are always there for me," she said.

"It was always my dream to come and do my tertiary education in Australia, and they've given me that opportunity and I'm so lucky and privileged to have it and I do really appreciate it," added the young hockey champion.

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