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Netball - 31. March 2011.

Netball News from around the world

With 97 days to go to the start of the 2011 World Championships, Netball Singapore today (Friday) unveiled the mascot for the competition.
Netalia the lion club

With 97 days to go to the start of the 2011 World Championships, Netball Singapore today (Friday) unveiled the mascot for the competition.  Netalia the lion club was named by Jody Harris of Australia after a competition which prompted more than 100 suggestions for a name from all over the world, and the mascot will now tour schools across the country to generate interest in the competition.  Netball Singapore also confirmed this week than more than $S1million (£US795,000) has already been raised in sponsorship for the Championships, which get under way on 3 July.

The umpires for the World Championships have also been announced this week.  Those appointed by IFNA to officiate are:  Rachel Ayre, Paula Ferguson, Sharon Kelly, Clare McCabe, Kate Wright (all from Australia), Marion Johnson Hurley (Barbados), Gary Burgess, Judith Groves, Louise Travis (all from England), Dalton Hinds (Jamaica), Liz Boon, Jonathan Bredin, Bobbi Brown, Bronwyn Meek, Mandy Nottingham (all from New Zealand), Theresa Prince (South Africa), Joel Young Strong (Trinidad and Tobago).

The venue for the 2015 World Netball Championships has been announced, with Sydney edging out Manchester for the right to host the event.  Netball Australia has vowed to work with IFNA to further develop netball among the emerging nations in the run up to the championships while IFNA delegates considering the bid were impressed by Sydney's facilities, a legacy from the 2000 Olympics.  The city last hosted the competition in 1991, the first time that the Championships were held in an indoor stadium, when Australia defeated New Zealand 53-52 in a thrilling final.

South Africa's selectors have this week named their squad to compete at the World Championships, with six changes to the line up.  Former captain Lizel Wium and vice captain Precious Mthembu have both been ruled out of the competition through injury, so Amanda Myndhardt has been named as captain, with Nthabiseng Moabi as vice captain.  The full squad is: Claudia Basson, Christina Anna Bootha, Erin Burger, Zykelwa Cwaba, Nosiphiwo Goda, Maryka Hotzhausen, Tsakane Mbewe, Nthabiseng Moabi, Karla Mostert, Amanda Mynhardt (capt), Nokuthula Qegu,  Carine Terblanche, Vaness-Mari Du Toit, Leigh-Ann Zackey.

The government of Tanzania has confirmed this week that it will work to iron out problems with the contract of new national coach Simone McKinnis, after she encountered problems on arriving in the country late last year.  Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi has presented a car to Chaneta, the governing body for netball in Tanzania, to be provided to McKinnis on her return to the country, and he has committed the government to fulfilling the terms of her employment in full.

Fiji's netballers have enjoyed mixed results on their Australian tour, losing to Sydney University 40-48 and 38-52 to club side Eastwood Ryde before notching up their first win with a 38-37 victory over the New South Wales Institute of Sport.  The week-long tour aims to provide the squad with high level competitive experience as well as giving the country's selectors the chance to view players in pressure situations ahead of naming the Fiji squad to take part in the World Championships, and Pacific Series later this year.

The Canterbury Tactix will play their postponed ANZ Championship game against Northern Mystics in Auckland on 7 April, with all proceeds from admission fees to benefit the Tactix and Canterbury Netball.  The game, originally postponed after it was scheduled to be played five days after the February 22 earthquake, will be layed at Auckland's Vector Arena, after its owners offered the venue free of charge for the game.

This weekend sees the ANZ Championship's Rivalry Round, where each match features a trans-Tasman match up.  Scores will be totalled at the end of play, with the country netting the largest number of aggregate goals taking the 2011 Rivalry Round trophy, currently held by Australia.    Undefeated league leaders the Queensland Firebirds will travel to Auckland to face the LG Mystics while Melbourne Vixens host the Mercury Energy Tactix.  The Haier Pulse will hope to repeat last week's winning ways when they welcome the NSW Swifts to Wellington, while the final two matches of the competition match the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel against the Adelaide Thunderbirds and West Coast Fever against the First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.

Northern Thunder remain undefeated at the top of this year's Fiat Netball Superleague in the UK, after a 69-39 win against Leeds Carnegie to make it eight games without loss.  The league leaders now face a busy weekend with fixtures against Celtic Dragons tonight (Friday) and Mavericks on Monday.

For more information about netball around the world, visit the IFNA website at www.netball.org
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