Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) received a much-needed $2-million boost from Scotiabank which will go towards assisting their Under-21 team to prepare for the Youth Netball Championships, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in August.
Shelly Sykes-Coley, sponsorship manager of Scotiabank, whose company is the main sponsor of the Under-13 and -16 teams, said her company is committed to the development of the sport.
"Marva (Bernard) came to us with an appeal. She needed funds to send the Under-21 to the World Youth Championships in Glasgow this year, and being the sponsors for the Under-13 and -16 teams, it was very easy for us to do," said Sykes-Coley during yesterday's graduation ceremony of seven junior umpires. The function was held at Scotiabank Sports Club on Old Hope Road.
Sykes-Coley added: "I am sure that we will continue to support the development of netball in the country because we have our own netball team and a couple of our girls also play for the Sunshine Girls ..."
JNA boss Bernard expressed delight at the sponsorship, but said her association still needs a further $5 million to send the junior Sunshine Girls to this year's championships.
"We are very grateful to Scotiabank for what they have done for us," said Bernard. "They have increased the amount of resources that they have allocated in their sponsorship of the Under-13, Under-16 and Under-21 programmes."
"This has taken a huge burden off the JNA and we really would like to thank Scotiabank for all that they have been doing to help the development of grassroot netball in the country," Bernard said.
Scotiabank now joins 3M Limited as the main sponsors of the Jamaica's Under-21 team.
Meanwhile, Kerry Smith was the lone male graduate amongst the seven junior umpires who received their certification at yesterday's ceremony.
The other junior umpires who collected their certification were Zolla Thomas, Priscilla Thomas, Natalie Richards, Tavia Porter, Danae Phillips and Camara Douglas.
Bernard noted that she had high expectations of the JNA's newest panel of umpires.
"I am very proud of these junior umpires because this programme is our pride and joy," Bernard said. "We are as proud of this programme as we are of our national teams."