'I am not aware of any choking' - Pitterson-Nattie denies accusations in Grenada of physical abuse
Former Sunshine Girls head coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie has denied accusations that she choked a member of Grenada's national Under-21 team.
The incident reportedly took place in St Martin in August last year during the qualifiers of the World Youth Championships. It's alleged that the Jamaican attacked Kerissa Thomas - a defender who plays for the Queens Park netball team that she coaches.
Speaking to Grenadian journalist Michael Bascombe on Thursday, Pitterson-Nattie, who was last year appointed to coach the Caribbean island's Under-21 team, said she was made aware of the accusations after the team returned to Grenada from St Martin.
"We went to St Martin for the qualifiers and we have had incidents where Kerissa (was) being rude, not doing what she was told to do by the trainer and by myself. I pulled her out of the training and I asked her why she was being disrespectful," explained Pitterson-Nattie, who is also a former Jamaica senior team captain.
"She turned her face away from me and I said, 'Kerissa, I am speaking to. You need to look at me'. She refused to. I held onto her chin and I turned her face to me and I said 'I am tired of it, and that is disrespectful to her coaches and her teammates'."
According to the coach: "There was nothing after that. We had Trinidad that day. That was the last day of the tour, and we lost. We went back to Grenada and that was it, and the next thing, I heard that I choked her. I am not aware of any choking," she said.
Pitterson-Nattie added that following the incident in St Martin, Thomas did not show up for training and so she was not selected for next month's Netball World Youth Cup in Gaborone, Botswana.
"There was never a doubt that Kerissa is a good player. She is one of the best defenders, and that makes my job a little more difficult because I am losing one of my best players," Pitterson-Nattie said.
Meanwhile, the Queens Park Rangers netball team, the club which Thomas represents in Grenada's domestic competition, have accused Pitterson-Nattie of ill-treating its player in a letter that was posted on the club's Facebook page on May 23.
"What is happening to Grenada Netball. It has been taken over by a Jamaican," the post read. "Can a Grenadian go to Jamaica and have them leave out their most valuable player and best defender?
"The child has been victimised for speaking out about the harsh treatment meted out by the Jamaican," the post continued. "We have asked our children to speak up and speak out and she is now being victimised by the Jamaican."
Meanwhile, efforts to get a comment from the Grenada Netball Association proved futile as calls to its office number went unanswered.