With the start of the Mission Foods World Netball Championships less than a week away, participating teams are now putting the final touches to their preparations and starting their journeys to the host country Singapore.
First to arrive in Singapore were the South African Proteas, who met with South African president Jacob Zuma last Sunday before departure at the President's official residence in Pretoria (pictured). President Zuma wished the team well at the championships and promised that he or Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula will visit the competition to watch the South African side in action. However, South Africa will be without their experienced vice captain Nthabiseng Moabi for the competition, after she was removed from the South African line up: Zanele Mdodana takes over the vice captain's role and Bongiwe Msoni, captain of South Africa's U21 side, has been added to the touring squad.
The Malawi Queens completed their preparations for the competition, defeating the Botswana Chicks 41-28 and 33-27 in two friendly matches. Malawi faces Uganda in a final warm up game this Saturday (25 June) before leaving for Singapore, although it look unlikely that veteran shooter Mary Waya will be included in the Queens line up, after she failed to attend a training camp this week. However, Malawi will be boosted at the World Championships by the return of shooter Mwayi Kumwenda, who has been in sparkling form for Australian club, Penninsula Waves, in the Victorian Netball league – this week she scored 66/71 as her side defeated UB Ballarat Pride 81-44.
Samoa's squad assembled in Canberra, Australia yesterday ahead of the journey to Singapore, but will be travelling without their most experienced international. Frances Solia, part of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic side in the ANZ Championships, was unavailable for Samoan national selection in April and was therefore left out of the squad for the world championships. Samoa will play practice matches against the Australian Institute of Sport across the weekend before leaving for Singapore.
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls are set for a huge send off on their journey to Singapore, after it was revealed that a trans-island road show is planned for them on Sunday as they travel to the airport in Montego Bay. The roadshow caps a successful week for the Jamaican team off the court, after they unveiled a four year $J20.6million (approx $243,000US) sponsorship deal from Best Dressed Chicken, part of the Jamaica Broilers Group. The package will cover not only Jamaica's participation in the Singapore competition but will also fund preparations for the 2015 World Championships competition in Australia.
Reigning world champions Australia have arrived in Hong Kong for a four day training camp at the world renowned Hong Kong Football Club, where they will be holding an open training session for all of the principality's netballers on Saturday afternoon (25 June). Madison Browne has been forced to withdraw as a training partner to the Australian Diamonds due to emergency dental surgery, and her place as a training partner has been taken by Sydney Swifts' Vanessa Ware.
The Mission Foods World Netball Championships get under way on 3 July – for further information, socres and live updates, please bookmark www.wnc2011.com.