REASON TO SMILE: The goalshooter celebrates another triumph. Below, with Bernard and her young daughter.
Following her remarkable debut season playing professional netball (for the Southern Steel) in the ANZ Championships in Australia/New Zealand, which only served to cement her ranking as the world’s top goalshooter, Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler recently sat down with Profile’s Ian Boyne to reflect on her stunning success and open up about what the future holds for her.
“The main thing I think is necessary is to have someone to push you,” says the towering athlete, citing the likes of JNA boss Marva Bernard and veteran coach Patrick Brissett among her mentors-motivators. “Having them in my life doesn’t give me the opportunity to give up.”
At the end of this year’s nearly seven-month-long ANZ tournament -- the most competitive professional netball league of its kind on the planet – Fowler was the immediate pick for such accolades as Most Outstanding Shooter (for her record-setting 665 goals for the season), Most Outstanding New Talent, and best of all, Tournament MVP. Fowler waxes nostalgic about her path to the top. “I think I was born to play netball. I have the built. I have the athleticism in me, and the JNA pulled that out of me. They helped to develop the skill and made me who I am today.”
Unsurprisingly, these days Fowler has little tolerance for excuses. And her resolve is all the more admirable, given her heart condition, for which she is on medication. “That was a challenge,” she admits about the early years, “but I don’t even think about it sometimes. It’s in the back of my head, but I ask for guidance a lot and that keeps me focused. I’m not going to use my condition as an excuse for not doing what I can do.”
So what does the talented starlet see in her future? “I see myself being greater than I am today,” concludes Fowler, also a mother with a fiancée she describes as “strong” and “understanding.” “And I want to offer back to Jamaica what I can.”