Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Junior Sunshine Girls prepping for 2021

Published:Monday | September 28, 2020 | 12:13 AM
Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in a training session at the Leila Robinson Courts on Wednesday, June 5, 2019.
Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in a training session at the Leila Robinson Courts on Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

Netball Jamaica president Tricia Robinson says that despite the challenges presented to local netball by the COVID-19 pandemic, the break from games will be used to start prepping the Junior Sunshine Girls for their international competitions next year.

Netball has not been played since the Ministry of Sport announced the cancellation of local sporting events in March.

Robinson described this as a bump in the road, but it has not stopped the Under-21 squad from preparing for its upcoming events.

“They were scheduled to have a series with England’s Under-21 squad in August, but because of COVID and the restrictions, that had to be cancelled,” Robinson told The Gleaner. “We had to be creative, and they currently joined the senior Sunshine Girls in their virtual training, so as we await the approval for our return-to-court protocols from the Government, we will have them train along with the senior squad.

“The International Netball Federation (INF) postponed the Youth World Cup scheduled for June 2021 because of COVID. However, they have proposed a new date, which will be December 1 to 19 in Fiji, so the squad is now in training.”

National senior team head coach Connie Francis said she is pleased with the ladies’ performance at this time. However, she said that she cannot assess the team fully without the use of courts.

“Online training is going pretty well, and in terms of strength and conditioning, I’m very impressed with that,” Francis said. “We need to be on the court now because we need to get the other aspects of training together in order to be a real challenge to our opposition in December.

“I am really impressed with their commitment to what is happening, but I really hope we can be given the green light to play.

“England players are in the Suncorp tournament in Australia, so they are way ahead of us. Even though we have six of our players over there playing, we do have the rest here who need to complement the squad.”

Robinson is encouraging sponsors to support the team as it is scheduled to leave the island in December for its Test against hosts England and for a Quad Series in January.

-Athena Clarke