Jamaicans seek glory at World University Champs
NETBALLERS representing teams from local colleges and universities left the island on Monday and will be seeking glory at the second staging of the Federation Internationale du Sports (FISU) World University Netball Championships.
Competition begins today and ends Sunday at St Thomas University, Miami Gardens, Florida.
Up to last Friday, there were doubts surrounding the team's participation as several members - who were in training since May - did not secure a United States visa. As such, it was a last-minute effort by management to secure the services of other players, including some who were on holiday in the United States.
The Jamaicans won bronze at the inaugural championships four years ago in Cape Town, South Africa. England captured the gold medal then, after beating hosts South Africa in the final.
The team includes several players who have represented Jamaica at the senior level, including Shanice Beckford, Nicole Dixon, Stacian Facey, Khadijah Williams and Malysha Kelly. The coaching staff is hoping that the experienced Vangelee Williams of Mico University College will join the team, after acquiring her visa yesterday.
Eight teams have entered the competition and are divided into two pools, with Jamaica in Pool B, where they will play alongside Uganda, Australia and the University of Worcester. Pool A comprises South Africa, Namibia, United States and Trinidad and Tobago.
The opening match today will begin at 10 a.m., with South Africa playing the United States.
Jamaica will open their campaign at 2:30 p.m. against Australia. Other matches on the opening day are: 11:30 a.m. - Namibia vs Trinidad and Tobago; 1 p.m. - Uganda vs University of Worcester; 4 p.m. - Namibia vs South Africa; 5:30 p.m. - Trinidad and Tobago vs United States.
Preliminary-round matches will continue tomorrow, with the quarter-finals on Friday, semi-finals on Saturday and finals on Sunday.
SQUAD: Shanice Beckford (UTech), Kaneila Riley (UTech), Khadija Williams (UTech), Nicole Dixon (Mico University College), Abbeygail Linton (Mico), Priscilla Thomas (Mico), Jamila Tulloch (Mico), Malysha Kelly (UWI), Stacian Facey (G.C. Foster College), Deneen Taylor (G.C. Foster), Adean Thomas (G.C. Foster).
Management: Dalton Myers (UWI), head of delegation; Annette Daley (Mico), head coach; Conrad Parks (UWI), assistant coach; Beverley Bogle (UWI) manager; and Sophia Brown (Mico) physiotherapist.