Gibson debut for Sunshine Girls
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls will swap the netball courts for the running track today.
The girls will, for the first time, be among the competitors at today's Gibson McCook Relays at the National Stadium.
The squad will field a team for the 4x400m Invitational Relay as part of an overall training programme to improve their on-court fitness for this year's Netball World Cup, which will be held in Sydney, Australia in August.
Roy Thomas, the team's strength and conditioning coach, said the Sunshine Girls' fitness programme includes road races and weights training mixed with lighter activities like soca exercise classes.
"It's a great opportunity to incorporate speed work into our programme while giving support to an event that honours the memory of a sporting legend like Teddy McCook," said Thomas.
"The fitness programme is personalised for each athlete and their progress is being tracked, with special attention paid to developing netball-specific strengths while improving flexibility and minimising injuries," explained Thomas.
Among the six players who will be vying for spots on the 4x400m relay team are Shanice Beckford, Nicole Dixon, Malysha Kelly, Vangelee Williams, Adean Thomas and Anna-Kay Griffiths.
Beckford was among the top performers in last weekend's Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run where she finished 17th out of 6,403 females in 25:38 seconds, and first in the 17-19 years old age group.
The Sunshine Girls are also down to compete in a number of upcoming road races. This includes Everyone's a Winner Best Dressed Chicken 5K Road Race Series in March, April and June at Hope Gardens.
Head coach Minneth Reynolds said she has seen a lot of improvement in the fitness of the Sunshine Girls over the past year.
"We've seen marked improvement in the Sunshine Girls' fitness since Roy joined the coaching staff leading into last year's Commonwealth Games and, without a doubt, this contributed to us winning the bronze medal," said Reynolds..