Friday, 14 January 2011

Netball around the world

Congratulations to Ruth Aitken (pictured here) who reaches a coaching milestone this week, when she becomes only the second person to have coached New Zealand in 100 Tests. Aitken, who will pass Lois Moir's record of 108 tests in charge at this summer's World Netball Championships, will reach her century milestone at this weekend's Test match between New Zealand and England in Manchester.

Aitken will need all her coaching skills to hands after late changes to her squad: on the eve of the Silver Ferns' departure from New Zealand, mid-courter Grace Rasmussen failed to recover from an ankle injury and was replaced in the squad by Central Pulse's Camilla Lees. On arrival in England, the Ferns faced further problems, with Liana Leota pulling up with a calf injury during the Ferns' first training session: having battled similar injuries in the past, Leota is a risk for the first Test between the two countries.

Reigning world champions, Australia, opened their build up to the 2011 World Netball Championships with a 63-51 victory over Jamaica in the first of a three match Test series between the two nations, in Kingston this week. Diamonds captain Sharelle McMahon once again led her team from the front, ably supported by an impressive performance by young centre courter Madison Browne. The second match in the series will be played this evening (Friday), while the third and final encounter takes place on Sunday (16 January).

South Africa's head coach Carin Strauss and assistant coach Cecilia Molokwane, have both resigned this week for personal reasons. Strauss, who took over the role in 2008, has decided to focus on her career in school netball as well as her own netball academy. South Africa's ranking improved from 9th to 6th during her time in charge. A panel of nine coaches, under the leadership of head coach Benny Saayman, will now take charge of the country's national programme in the run up to the World Netball Championships in Singapore.

Tanzania's governing body Chaneta has announced a week-long seminar for local coaches at the start of April, which aims to update coaching skills and provide guidance on youth development programmes. Tanzania is aiming to qualify for the 2013 World Youth Championships in Glasgow in 2013 and Chaneta secretary general Rose Mkisi believes that these new techniques will be crucial in realising this ambition.

Congratulations to the winners of Pakistan's 31st National Games, held recently in Peshawar. The Army defeated the Police for first place in the women's section of the competition, which was organised by the Pakistan Olympic Association and KPK Olympic Association, while the Army defeated Sindh to take the top spot in the men's tournament.

Botswana's netballers go into camp this weekend as their preparations get under way for the World Netball Championships in Singapore. National coach Seipeng Galesiwe aims to hold two training sessions a month ahead of the country's second appearance in the competition, after the 18th ranked nation made its debut at the 2007 competition.

The Swaziland National Netball Association has announced a one day “Netball Spectacular”, to take place in Lobamba at the end of January. Teams of juniors, seniors and male players will be involved in the competition, which aims to encourage increased participation at all levels, as well as generate interest in umpiring and coaching.

Finally, our thoughts are with all in the netball family who have been affected by the devastating floods in Australia and Sri Lanka. Hope this damp start does not affect too many netballers 2011.

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