Thursday, 7 April 2011

Netball Around the World

Vanuatu's youngest netballers will benefit from a new sponsorship agreement signed this week, between the Vanuatu Netball Association and Westpac Bank. In addition to providing financial assistance with development programmes for the youngest players across the country, Westpac's new sponsorship package includes prizes for junior competitions as well as advice for young players on money management from Westpac's financial experts. Moana Korikalo from Westpac is pictured signing the new agreement with members of Vanuatu's Development team. Meanwhile, additional funding through the Pacific Netball Partnership has enabled the Vanuatu Netball Association to extend its outreach programme across the country, and this week the country's Netball Development Officer has implemented the first activity of the year. Along with two scholarship winners, Beverley Ligo has travelled to the provinces of Santo, Ambae and Malekula to implement a series of training programmes, encompassing coaching, umpiring, management and bench official duties.

Netball Fiji has received a timely boost for its preparations for this summer's Mission Foods World Netball Championships, with an award of $F3,000 (approx $US1,600) from the country's Social Welfare Ministry. Having completed a successful training tour in Australia, Fiji's netballers hope to tour both New Zealand and Papua New Guinea ahead of the July competition.

Netball Australia confirmed this week that Diamonds captain Sharelle McMahon will not be available for the World Championships in July. McMahon, who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the ANZ Championship last week, has undergone surgery and is now recuperating at home while she considers whether to attempt a comeback at international level when her recovery is complete.

October will see four of the world's top seven teams taking part in two international matches to be held in Perth, Australia, in the week leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). It was announced this week that world number six, South Africa, will face world number seven, Malawi, as a curtain-raiser to the planned Australia v New Zealand trans-Tasman clash, which will form part of the Constellation Cup challenge for 2011.

Irene Van Dyk, the world's most capped netballer, made her 100th appearance for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic franchise this week. But the shooter's celebrations were cut short as her team failed to overcome ANZ Championship leaders the Queensland Firebirds, with the Australia side running out 53-49 winners over the league's second placed side. At the other end of the table, the Central Pulse recorded multiple wins for the first time in the competition, after pulling out a gritty 63-61 extra time win over the West Coast Fever. More than 5,000 supporters attended the Northern Mystics / Canterbury Tactix game in Auckland, which was played as a fundraiser to help rebuild the Canterbury Netball headquarters damaged in February's earthquake. However, the Mystics were not so charitable on court, taking the game 58-45 to move level on points with the Magic.

Finally, IFNA President, Molly Rhone, together with Vice President, Kereyn Smith and CEO, Urvasi Naidoo, this week attended the SportAccord in London, to represent the interests of netball. The SportAccord Convention is a 6-day gathering of 1500 leading representatives from international sport. The annual convention is held in a different country each year and encompasses the Congress and General Assemblies of over 100 International Sports Federations (IFs) and their related Associations.

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