Fri | Nov 27, 2020

Bernard backs Sunshine Girls’ medal push

Published:Sunday | July 14, 2019 | 12:33 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Members of Jamaica’s national senior netball team, the Sunshine Girls, huddle during the Sunshine Series against England Netball at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Saturday, October 13, 2018.
Members of Jamaica’s national senior netball team, the Sunshine Girls, huddle during the Sunshine Series against England Netball at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

LIVERPOOL, England:

Having presided over Jamaica’s last medal at the Netball World Cup in 2007, Marva Bernard, former president of Netball Jamaica (NJ), said she is highly confident that the Sunshine Girls will end their decade-long medal drought at this year’s championships.

The Sunshine Girls, who are now ranked second in the world, behind world champions Australia, finished a disappointing fourth in the previous two championships in 2011 and 2015.

However, having retained six players from the 2015 squad, Bernard pointed out that the girls are poised to do great things this year.

“Our chances are very good,” said Bernard. “Our chances were good in 2011, our chances were good in 2015, but this year, our chances are even better. The girls are hungrier. They know how disappointed they were in Australia in 2015.”

Previous championships

“These are the same set of girls who were in Australia, and they are now back in Liverpool, and this time, with the addition of Shamera (Sterling), Jodi-Ann (Ward), and Rebekah (Robinson), they are determined to win a medal,” Bernard pointed out.

Bernard, who was NJ president from 2005-2015, emphasised that the Sunshine Girls have learnt a lot from their disappointment at their two previous championships, and, therefore, are determined not to make the same mistakes this time around.

“I believe that this time around, and with the experience that they have, and they are a united bunch of ladies, it will happen for them, and the medal will come because this is our vision and that is our dream,” she said.

“Twelve years is certainly a long time, but we are a small country that is playing against the bigger countries with a lot more resources ... . Success is a journey that you are on and sports can be cruel and anything can happen on the given day,” Bernard said.

“I think if these girls remain focused and all twelve of them remain healthy, and the management and coaches are supplementing their efforts, then we should do very well,” she said.

Bernard, who is president of the Americas Federation of Netball Associations, is currently in Liverpool attending the Internat-ional Netball Federation Congress.