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Netball News from around the globe by Rona Hunnisett
Netball has been in the news in Fiji this week, with CBM Netball Club scooping the Suva Netball Association championships in both Premier and Senior grades. It has also been announced that national coach UnaisiRoukoura is to hold coaching clinics for school teachers at the National Netball Centre on 4 May, to improve teaching standards and build stronger development pathways for emerging players across the country. Meanwhile, as a break from their training for the upcoming Pacific Netball Series and World Youth Netball Championships, the country’s U21 and senior squads took part in the Westpac Morning Walk and Zumba for Health event, which aimed to increase general participation in and awareness of the need for health and fitness – the players are pictured after a particularly physical session of Zumba! Fiji’s squad which will defend its Pacific Netball Series title will be named this weekend.
Congratulations to Anna Kibira, who has been elected as the new chairperson of the Netball Association of Tanzania (CHANETA). Ms Kibira, who defeated her closest challenger Shy-Rose Bhanji by 30 votes, has committed to regenerating the game from the grassroots up, with new structures to be implemented nationwide which will improve corporate governance and increase opportunities for sponsorship of all regional leagues.
In Sri Lanka, Royal International School Kurunegala took two titles - at U17 and U19 level - at the Inter-International Schools championships played in Matale this week. With international schools from across the country taking part in three age groups, the U15 title was won by Royal English School Matale, overcoming Westwood International Kandy 7-5 in the grand final.
In Australia, Cairns Netball Association welcomed its newest club, Indamu to competition this week in a move which is hoped will encourage more indigenous athletes from the north of the country to take up netball. Short for Indigenous and Multicultural, Indamu debuted in the Association’s division one competition and aims to provide opportunities for players of all backgrounds and ethnicities. In addition to on- and off-court training, the club also has its own pastor to provide social and emotional support for the girls who have, up to now, lacked opportunities to participate in netball within their own communities.
The ANZ Championship table was thrown wide open this week, with the Melbourne Vixens losing their unbeaten record after a 39-38 loss to the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Former premiers the Thunderbirds moved into equal first place with the Mission Queensland Firebirds, now the only unbeaten side in the competition. However the Thunderbirds were forced to win without their club and national captain Natalie von Bertouch, who was forced to the bench early in the second quarter after a thigh injury. West Coast Fever defeated the NSW Swifts 71-51 to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive, with shooter Caitlin Bassett scoring her 2,500th career ANZ championship goal, making her the third player to achieve this milestone. After their heart-stopping double extra time loss to the LG Tactix in the previous round, the LG Northern Mystics regrouped to take their first win of the season in another extra-time thriller, 69-68, over the Central Pulse. Meanwhile, reigning champions the Waikato/BOP Magic moved into third place in the table with a 65-45 win over the EasiYoTactix, with veteran shooter Irene Van Dyk in scintillating form, netting 38 goals at 100%.