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Netball - 05. March 2015.

Netball News from around the World By Reporter Rona Hunnisett

Brunei claimed the first Borneo Cup Championship after defeating Sabah 50-40 in the final at Berakas this week.  The Malaysian National School Sports Council U17 took third place, ahead of Sarawak.  Brunei, under the watchful eye of head coach ThilakaJinadas, used the competition as part of the side’s preparations in anticipation of an invitation to take part in June’s South East Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore.  The country is currently without an international ranking, but it is hoped that this situation will change following the Games and the increased competitive opportunities which should be presented as a result of participation.


300 netballers from across the Gulf have travelled to Bahrain for the two day DHL Inter-Gulf Netball championships, which get under way today (Friday).  24 teams from across the region will take part in the competition, which is being staged for the 29th time, with six trophies on offer, including the Championship trophy, plate competition and U19s Youth Cup. 


Meanwhile, some of the Gulf’s emerging netballers will take their first steps on the international stage this weekend.  Dubai’s U17 squad will attend its first international tournament, when they travel to the UK to compete in the Netball Europe Championships.  The tournament will see England, Scotland, Wales and Nrothern Ireland contest the Championship, while Dubai will face Switzerland, Gibraltar and Malta in the Development section.


Looking to capitalise on the growing interest in netball sparked by the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Netball Scotland has enlisted UK tv personality Carole Smilie as an ambassador for its Bounce Back to Netball campaign.  The initiative, which aims to encourage women back to the game after taking a break to raise families or establish a career, offers “pay as you play” opportunities for women looking to ease themselves back into a competitive environment.


Gibraltar, currently ranked 33rd-equal in the world, achieved a significant milestone this week.  Nadine Pardo-Zammit was named as the country’s first successful A-grade umpire.  Gibraltar already has more than 20 ‘C’ grade umpires, as well as several who have achieved the ‘B’ standard, and it is hoped that more will join the ranks of qualified players in the next few months.


The Fiji Netball Association has signed a sponsorship agreement worth $350,000 with Punjas and Digicel Fiji for the next three years.  In addition to support for the country’s national teams, the new deal will also see the launch of a new competition, called the DigicelPunjasSuperleague, which gets under way this weekend in Lautoka.  Teams from Suva, Nasinu, Navosa, Lautoka/Nadi and Tailevu/Naitasiri will take part in the tournament, which aims to improve the competitive opportunities available to elite and emerging players. 


Finally, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls are constantly looking for new challenges in their training regimes, and clocked up another first this week.  Four of the squad which is currently in training for this summer’s World Cup swapped their trainers for running spikes and took part in the island’s Gibson McCook Relays athletics competition.  Shooter Vangelee Williams, centre Adean Thompson, defender Malysha Kelly and defender Shanice Beckford, lined up for the women’s clubs and institutions  4 x 400m competition, and despite finishing well behind the rest of the field in 4:07:94, received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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