NETBALL AROUND THE WORLD: 30 JUNE 2011
With the start of the Misson Foods World Netball Championships 2011 (WNC2011) in Singapore only three days away, the competing teams are putting the final touches to their preparations. Teams arriving at Singapore airport have been greeted by the championship mascot, Netalia (pictured greeting the Australian team), and all of the squads have now settled into training routines, with pre-tournament matches being played by several countries.
Malawi's Australian-based shooter Mwayi Kumwende met up with a new look Queens side on arrival in Singapore, with four veterans – Peace Chawinga, Sylvia Malenga, Esther Nkhoma and Mary Waya – not named in their competition squad. However Chawinga did travel with the Malawi side as assistant coach to Edith Kaliati. The full Malawi squad for the World Championships is: Ellen Chibokho, Florence Chirwa, Joana Kachilika, Tina Kamuyambeni, Bridget Kumwenda, Mwayi Kumwenda, Beatrice Mpinganjira, Caroline Mtukule-Ngwira, Joyce Mvula, Grace Mwafulirwa, Sindi Sumotowe and Towera Vinkhumbo.
Samoa lost all three of its warm up matches against Australian youth sides, but coach Linda Vagana has been in upbeat mood, highlighting the opportunity which these games have provided for her new-look side to settle into combinations. Meanwhile, Fiji defenders Mere Rabuka and national captain Matila Waqandrola have announced that this will be their last World Championships. Both made their international debuts at the 2003 competition.
Host nation Singapore will open the competition on 3 July against Botswana, and are aiming to improve on their world ranking of 19th. Meanwhile, lowest ranked nation Malaysia have set their sights on not finishing bottom of the nations competing, taking many positives from their recent week-long training camp in Australia.
As part of the WNC 2011 Outreach programme, reigning world champions the Australian Diamonds have conducted a netball clinic at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) school which, established in 1854, is the oldest of the 11 CHIJ schools in the country . Schools across Singapore took part in a ballot to be involved and officially “adopt” a country as part of the programme. The Diamonds spent an hour with the 40 pupils, running drills and training matches, as well as answering questions about their training programme and the World Championships itself.
The Mission Foods World Netball Championships 2011 gets under way on Sunday, 3 July, with the final programmed to take place a week later, on Sunday 10 July.
photos Janos Schmidt