Friday, 18 February 2011
Netball around the world
Netballers in Botswana are in mourning this week after the sudden death of national squad player Gonewamang Mosalakatane, aged 32, after a short illness. Mosalakatane, known affectionately as “Killer”, represented club side BDF Cats as well as her country at U17, U19, U21 and senior levels and was considered one of the country's finest Goal Attacks. Most recently, she was part of the Botswana squad (pictured above she is the smallest player right in the centre) which qualified from the Africa Zone to take part in the World Championships in Singapore later this year. A memorial service was held for Killer this week, attended by many of Botswana's leading netball names, and her funeral will take place this weekend. Sincere condolences to all those involved in netball in Botswana and to her family.
With less than five months to the start of this year's World Championships, tournament organisers in Singapore have announced that the top level season ticket packages, offering access for the whole tournament or for the final three days, have sold out. More than half of the 3,000 Gold and Platinum packages were sold to buyers from New Zealand and Australia, and organisers are confident of crowds in excess of 8,000 for the last three days of the competition, with a sell-out 10,000 audience expected for the final.
Netballers in the Solomon Islands will have increased access to the game in the coming months, thanks to a $60,000S (approx $7,000US) grant from GRM International, which will be used to upgrade courts in Honiara, as well as to support the country's ongoing umpire development programme. Netball is the most popular sport for women in the Solomon Islands, and the fourth most popular sport across the country as a whole.
Fiji's national squad also received a sponsorship boost this week, with an award of $2,000F (approx $1,100US) by the country's national newspaper The Fiji Times towards the side's participation in the upcoming World Championships. Fiji Netball, which requires $600,000F to take part in the competition, has already raised more than $200,000F and will be staging another fundraising drive this weekend in Latuoka.
The Sydney Swifts got off to the best possible start in the 2011 ANZ Championships, breezing past reigning champions the Adelaide Thunderbirds 60-40 in the first round of matches last weekend. Australian Diamonds shooter Susan Pratley was in dominant form, netting 27 from 27, as last season's minor premiers and pre-season favourites for this year's title brushed aside the Adelaide team. In the other first round match, an all New Zealand encounter saw the Northern Mystics breeze past the injury-hit Southern Steel 51-34 despite the return to elite netball of former Silver Fern Tania Dalton. Dalton, 39, took to the court during the second half for the Steel, and managed six goals from seven attempts before being substituted.