Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Aiken-Pinnock sets sights on fourth C'wealth Games

Published:Sunday | January 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey
Nicole Aiken-Pinnock

She represented the Jamaican team in 2016, but former captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock is now eager to start playing again for the Sunshine Girls.

The vastly experienced defender and older sister of top goal shooter Romelda last wore the national colours at the 2016 Fast5 World Netball Series. Jamaica finished fifth in the tournament held at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

Aiken, who now plays professionally in the United Kingdom, where she represents the Scottish Sirens in the UK Super League, recently returned to training with the Sunshine Girls and is aiming at getting a place on the national squad for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The lanky def-ender, who will leave the island this week, told The Sunday Gleaner that she has indicated to Netball Jamaica that she is available.

"I am definitely available for selection, and I have made that known to Netball Jamaica," Aiken-Pinnock said late last week.

"The association should be in dialogue with my club during the league season," added Aiken-Pinnock, who was voted the top goalkeeper in the UK Super League last season.

The 32-year-old, who made her national debut at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, added that she missed representing the country.

 

NATIONAL PRIDE

 

"It's an excellent feeling and an honour when you put on the national colours and go out to represent your country. And so, if I am given the opportunity again, I will do so with pride and dignity," said Aiken-Pinnock. "It is just something exceptional and not many persons get that opportunity."

Aiken-Pinnock, who will be aiming to represent Jamaica at her fourth Commonwealth Games, will face stiff challenges from fellow defenders Malysha Kelly, Stacian Facey, Vangelee Williams, Kadian Dehaney, and Shemera Sterling.

While competition for spots in the Sunshine Girls defensive unit is going to be hot, Aiken-Pinnock is confident that her experience and hard work will help to secure her a spot on the team.

"I know it is going to be a challenge in terms of defence because there are a lot defenders in the national programme now, but for me, once you do the work, then you will be rewarded, and I will do the work," she said.

"If I make this Commonwealth Games team, it will be my fourth, and for me, that would be an accomplishment and I am looking forward to being given the opportunity to represent Jamaica again," Aiken-Pinnock said.