Friday, 20 August 2010

Netball Around the World

Scottish netballers are celebrating this week, after the decision by IFNA to award the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships to Glasgow. The competition, which will be held from 22-31 August 2013, will take place at the city’s new National Indoor Sports Arena, a venue which will also play a central role in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. IFNA President Molly Rhone is thrilled by the opportunity that these championships present for future netball growth in the region: “These two high profile netball events will not only showcase the sport but will also promote long term development and leave a lasting legacy, not just in Scotland but across the whole region of Europe.” Pictured above the Scotland youth team on their way to the Cook Islands for WYNC2009.

European netball received another boost this week with the news that Switzerland has been upgraded from Associate to Full Membership of IFNA, while Belgium has been added as a new Associate Member. Zambia and Zimbabwe have also been upgraded to Full Membership while the Solomon Islands are also new Associate Members. Welcome to you all.

Australia completed its international series against Jamaica undefeated, after a crushing 71-40 win in the final match on the Gold Coast. Jamaica, without captain Simone Forbes and veteran defender Althea Byfield, strugged to contain the pace of a Diamonds team which welcomed back GA Sharelle McMahon, who had recovered from a thigh injury.

The Sunshine Girls then travelled on to New Zealand, where they face the Silver Ferns in a two match test series. After a slow start in the first match, New Zealand finally found their range and pace to defeat Jamaica 58-35 in Christchurch. Struggling to find links in midcourt, the Ferns were only 29-21 ahead at half time, before pushing ahead to take the win. Jamaica coach Connie Francis was critical of the performances of her veteran players in this match, and has called for more intensity and commitment in the second test, which takes place in Napier on Saturday.

Following the conclusion of this series, the Ferns will travel across the Tasman to face the Diamonds in a three match series, starting on 29 August in Adelaide as preparations for the Commonwealth Games continue. Meanwhile, England will travel to Jamaica at the start of September to play a two match test series against the Sunshine Girls, who expect to welcome back Forbes, Byfield and Casey Evering, missing from the current Southern Hemisphere tour.

Gauteng North scooped South Africa’s Spar National Netball Championships title this week, with a 38-21 victory over Free State Motheo in the grand final. Led by national squad member Leigh Ann Zackey, who celebrated her birthday on finals day, Gauteng North was too strong defensively for the opposition and safely secured the side’s 19th national title. Another South African international, Erin Burger, was named player of the tournament.

Finally, following successful trials during the ANZ Championships and a vote by all member countries, IFNA has announced that its members have voted to dispense with the rule, introduced in 2007, which prevented coaching during stoppages. Bench players are also to be allowed to approach the sideline if coaching is taknig place. These changes will come into force from 23 August 2010. Urvasi Naidoo, Chief Executive of IFNA, said: “Feedback received from the trial identified this as a positive experience with no negative impact on the game. Netball is constantly evolving and the performance of the best teams in the world will be enhanced by amending the rules to allow coaching during stoppages.”

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