Veteran Kiwi volleyballer Pogai Falema'i has made a dramatic comeback after four years out of the sport and is switching allegiances to represent Samoa at the Pacific Games.
Pogai is no ordinary player, she’s was once a NZ schools MVP and was previously voted the country’s best setter four times in a row at the NZ club nationals.
In 2015, Pogai fell pregnant and gave birth to her daughter Sia. It was at this point she decided to take a break and a return to volleyball seemed unlikely.
“Ever since I had her I just kinda lost interest in volley and playing any other sports,” she told TVNZ 1's Tagata Pasifika.
But thanks to family and friends and a six-week challenge, Pogai’s managed to shed 30kg in half a year.
The 28-year-old recently joined those in Auckland proving their mettle in front of national selectors at the annual South Pacific Challenge.
She’s now received the call-up to represent Samoa at the Pacific Games, to be held in Apia in July. While she owes this to the success of her weight loss journey, she says it isn’t volleyball that keeps her going.
“Just doing it for myself and my daughter was probably the turning point. I didn’t really do it to play volley but just so I can be around my family.”