Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Aiken doubt for Sunshine Girls

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2020 | 2:30 PMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Aiken
Aiken

Netball Jamaica (NJ) is now sweating over the possibility that goal shooter Romelda Aiken may not be available for their upcoming three-Test series against England, if they fail to secure the necessary funds to pay for a required quarantine when she returns to Australia.

Aiken, who is a citizen of Australia, is required to stay in a quarantine facility for a period of 14 days upon her return ‘Down Under’ from overseas travel, as the country tries to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In July, the Australian Government imposed a quarantine fee of US$3,000 ($436,000) for Australians returning from overseas.

The Gleaner has been reliably informed that NJ has approached several of their sponsors as well as the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for assistance in covering the fee.

Several attempts to get a comment from president of NJ, Tricia Robinson, proved futile as numerous calls to her mobile phone went unanswered, while president of the JOA, Christopher Samuda, said he will not be commenting on the matter.

FOWLER PULLS OUT OF TEAM

The 31-year-old Aiken, who last represented the Sunshine Girls at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, was drafted into the squad after Jhaniele Fowler reportedly pulled out of the team due to personal reasons. Locally based Shantal Slater, Gezelle Allison and Shanice Beckford are the two readily available and recognisable shooters in the national set-up, with Australian-based Shimona Nelson currently unavailable.

Aiken, who is one of the top scorers in this season’s Suncorp Super Netball League, recently re-signed a one-year extension with the Queensland Firebirds for the 2021 campaign. The former Jamalco shooter finished second in the scoring chart in the Suncorp league behind Fowler with 583 goals.

Fowler, who plays for the West Coast Fever, topped the scoring chart with 910 goals. However, Aiken tops the chart for the most offensive rebounds for the season with 110.

The highly anticipated series will be held at the Copper Box Arena in London from December 1-6.