Melissa Maino – By passion and motivation

I like to help out when and where I can, so in my spare time I like to help out the ultimate women’s fitness group called Break a Sweat. I help with women’s training because I love playing sports and staying healthy and fit.

I represented Papua New Guinea in rugby union and canoeing. In 2015, I participated in the Pacific Games. After that, I lived in Adelaide, South Australia for almost 2 years, and played there as well.

When I came back to PNG, I was playing rugby as an inside centre, representing PNG Palace. Now I play with Casowari at 15.

Growing up, I always enjoyed playing sports and always tried to motivate myself to try new things. My cousin introduced me to dance and asked me to join a wonderful dance group. I had just come back from the Wewak 7s challenge when my cousin asked me to join the group. As an athlete, I’ve always been up for something new. The dance sparked a connection I didn’t know I had inside.

The sport has taken me to play overseas and locally and it’s been an amazing time in my life because I’m doing what I love.

Now with a group of talented young people, my newfound talent will take me to the world’s tourist destination, Dubai, where I and other ambassadors will represent our country.

When I was a kid, I had a bucket list that I swore to myself to follow. Growing up seeing Dubai on TV and in magazines, I never imagined traveling there, not just for myself, but to represent my country and its diverse cultures and traditions.

I encourage our next generation to never stop believing in you, your dreams and your goals because you never know where they will take you in the future.