Kayna: Chuuk’s Wonder Woman

Chuuk’s Kayna Kanemoto, dribbling in her team’s first victory over Marshall Islands, 47-46, also competed in volleyball and athletics, where she won a silver medal in javelin. Photo: Hilary Hosia.

HILARY HOSIA

Kayna Kanemoto is probably the only athlete that competed in three different events in the just-completed Micronesian Games in Majuro. The Wonder Woman from Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia barely turned 18 at the beginning of the month prior to her arrival for the Games.

Kayna was a star athlete in all three events: basketball, volleyball and track and field. Her hard work paid off when she earned a silver medal in javelin — the first medal for Chuuk at the games.

Kayna’s parents are from Weno and Udot in Chuuk even though she was born and raised in Guam, where she had been playing for her school in a variety of sports.

“There’s a huge difference between playing for your school and your country,” Kayna told the Journal. “This is why I gave 110 percent in all the sports I played,” she said.

“Kayna was the heart beat of all three sports,” Coach Timothy Ruda told the Journal. “She proved herself in all three sports to the point where she used every ounce of her strength in the last game (basketball bronze match versus RMI) and had to be carried out on a stretcher to the medical center by Marshall Islands Red Cross Society and health staff at the Educational and Cultural Center gym.”

What most observers didn’t know is that Kayna had already played in Chuuk’s bronze medal volleyball game against Kiribati at 11am Sunday, which finished just a couple of hours before Chuuk’s bronze match up with RMI women at the ECC gym.

Her colleagues from Chuuk refer to her as the hot-shot athlete for the Chuukese delegation.

Kayna also felt proud for competing alongside her younger sister, Hope Kanemoto, considered to be the best player on the Chuuk basketball team.

“We are the youngest in our family and we are grateful and proud to represent our country,” Kayna said.

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