Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Singapore Netball is celebrating this week, after securing its biggest sponsorship deal to date. NTUC FairPrice Foundation has announced an $S80,000 ($60,000US) title sponsorship deal for the Nations Cup tournament, funding which will be used to develop the six-team Cup, to be played at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall from 6-12 December. Pictured above some of the national team players in front of the sponsor's promotional bus. Seeing netballers on the side of the bus - terrific.

Singapore has hosted the annual tournament since its inception in 2006, attracting 12 different countries over the years. The new sponsorship agreement is part of the Foundation's efforts to cultivate Singapore's sporting talent and promote greater interest in sports. This year's Cup will see the hosts face favourites Scotland (ranked 16th in the world), Tanzania and new entrants Wales, India and Namibia. The Scots lost to Northern Ireland in last year's final. And in a move which is certain to broaden the appeal of netball across the continent, the final will be broadcast live across 26 Asian countries for the first time in 2010.

With only ten days to go until the start of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and despite concerns from some quarters about security and the facilities on site, the twelve netballing nations competing are finalising their preparations. Host nation India received a welcome boost this week with the news that 17 year old star player Megha Chaudhary has been exonerated of all doping charges which forced her withdrawal from her country’s squad and has rejoined her team. Meanwhile, South Africa’s Proteas will face Samoa in a friendly warm up game on arrival in India at the start of next week and the Australian Diamonds are on their way to Malaysia for a pre-tournament training camp. The Barbados squad has broken its journey to India in England, playing friendly matches against leading club side Academy as well as the England Excel squad. The Commonwealth Games netball competition is scheduled to start on 4 October, when Samoa takes on Australia.

Standard Bank Malawi will once again sponsor the country’s national netball championships, which launches its 19th season on Saturday with a high profile parade and celebration event in Blantyre. The competition, which will run nationwide, will be co-ordinated with Malawi’s national football championships to encourage participation in sport in general across the country.

In Jamaica, defending champions St Hugh’s High and the Queen’s School started this year’s ISSA/Digicel-sponsored Urban Schoolgirls netball championships, which started this week. St Hugh's are the defending Senior League champions while The Queen's are the National All-Island and Urban Junior champions.

With preparations already under way for the 2011 ANZ Championship season, New Zealand’s Southern Steel franchise has some unexpected planning headaches to contend with, after a heavy snowfall caused part of the roof of Invercargill’s Stadium Southland to collapse last weekend. Early estimates suggest that the stadium could be out of action for up to 18 months, which means that the Invercargill-based side will be looking to play home fixtures in Dunedin next year. These disruptions come after the Canterbury provincial championships team was forced to find a new home court, following damage caused by the recent earthquake in the region.

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