WATCH: Silver Fern shooter Cat Tuivaiti opens up on her battle with critics and on her tragic loss, in a new series of Pure As, telling stories of those who’ve overcome challenges to realise their netball dreams.

Throughout her netball career, Cat Tuivaiti struggled with almost relentless public criticism about her weight. She had to endure the frustration of a four-year stand-down from international netball, and then the heartbreak of being in and out of the New Zealand team. 

All of that made her resilient. 

But nothing, she says, could have prepared her and husband, Jimmy, for losing a baby while in Covid-stricken Italy in June last year.  

The couple, already parents to son Bash, were trying to return home from locked-down northern Italy, where Jimmy had been playing rugby. They were on a family getaway at a seaside town when Tuivaiti had a miscarriage. 

“Of all the disappointments I have had through my netball career, and all the heartbreaks… they are nothing compared to that,” a tearful Tuivaiti reveals in the opening episode of Pure As, the mini documentary series made by Netball New Zealand. 

“To know that we had each other was the only thing that saved us.”

The 54-test shooter, who represented both Samoa and the Silver Ferns, also talks about her early rivalry with Maria Tutaia, and trying to deal with the criticism she faced for not being a “typical athletically shaped” netballer.

“I knew that I needed to get fitter; I knew I needed to lose weight in order to take the strain off my knees and my ankles. It was about my longevity and not about what some dick thinks about my stomach or my hips,” she says. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t piss me off.”

The 2021 edition of Netball New Zealand’s highly successful Pure As series takes fans on a new journey, with five episodes showcasing the incredible stories of individuals from across netball’s wider high performance system.

Last year’s inaugural series was an instant hit with fans, with more than 1.5 million organic video views and a global reach of four million.

All episodes will be launched with an exclusive first watch through shown on LockerRoom every Tuesday and Saturday.

Suzanne McFadden, the 2021 Voyager Media Awards Sports Journalist of the Year, founded LockerRoom, dedicated to women's sport.

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