With less than a month to the start of the competition, all teams participating in the netball competition at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi are in final stages of preparations. The 12 teams have been split into two pools: Australia, Jamaica, Malawi, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago and India make up one group, while New Zealand, England, South Africa, Cook Islands, Barbados and Papua New Guinea comprise the other pool. The competition starts on 4 October, with the final scheduled for 14 October.
Following its success at the African qualification competition for the 2011 World Championships, The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has appealed to companies across Africa for sponsorship to enable the side to compete in the Six Nations tournament, to be held in Singapore in December. Funded by the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), BONA does not have sufficient funds to participate in extended overseas tours but needs to increase its players’ exposure to international competition as they look to improve the country’s world ranking of 18.
The Fiji netball team will not be able to defend its title at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia, following a decision by the host country not to stage a netball competition as part of the programme. Despite the fact that netball is one of the biggest sports played across the Pacific, it is an optional sport within the Games programme: instead, netballing nations in the region will use the Pacific Series, to be held in Papua New Guinea, as preparation for the 2011 World Championships.
England defenders Sonia Mkoloma and Geva Mentor have this week confirmed that they will not represent their country at the 2011 World Championships, after committing themselves to next year’s ANZ Championships. This decision rules them out of selection for the England team for next year’s competition, after England’s national selectors agreed to only consider players competing in the UK for the World Championships side.
As the ANZ Championship starts the build up to its fourth season, teams have already named their squads for the 2011 competition. Mkoloma will return to line up with the NSW Swifts for the second year in succession, while Mentor has been a controversial signing for the Melbourne Vixens. A new ruling, allowing each side in the competition only one import player, meant that the Adelaide Thunderbirds could not sign the English star as well as 2010’s shooting revelation, Jamaican Carla Borrego, despite making an appeal to the competition’s organising committee. Meanwhile, West Coast Fever has signed the youngest ever player for the competition, Courtney Bruce, and another 16 year old, Madeleine Proud joins the reigning champions, Adelaide Thunderbirds. For full team lists and player movements, please visit www.anz-championship.com. The 2011 Season starts on 13 February 2011.
Finally, netball continues to extend its influence in Asia, with a group of expats now involved in coaching and playing in Korea. Introduced to the country in 2001, the game is now played in many schools, but with the arrival of a number of Australian and New Zealand players, the Korean Netball Association now has the ability to co-odinate training sessions and a Tuesday night netball league has been introduced for the first time. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org