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Harwood fit and ready for Glasgow impact

Published:Thursday | July 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

A third-place finish and Most Valuable Player honours at last year's Fast5 World Netball Series, as well as a Prime Minister's Award already to her credit, sharp-shooting Jamaican netballer Thristina Harwood heads to her first Commonwealth Games full of confidence.

Ahead of the team's departure yesterday to Glasgow for the July 23-August 3 championships, Harwood said she is looking to have an impact on the team's attempt to return to the Commonwealth Games podium - a feat they have only managed once, in 2002, with a bronze medal.

"We will be on the podium at the Commonwealth Games," predicted Harwood.

working hard

Bulging with assurance, the 20-year-old has been working hard with her teammates over the past few weeks on techniques, mental preparation, shedding pounds; actual pounds as in her words, she is in the shape of her life.

This is good news for netball fans, who will need the University of the West Indies student to be at her best if she is to truly add another dimension to the twin-tower Jamaican attack of ANZ stars Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.

"Even at this young age, I am expecting to do well, go out there and play like a senior player; as in go out there and demonstrate what I have been working on in training," said Harwood. "I know I have the skill and ability to have an impact and I am heading to Glasgow to execute."

Harwood, who has developed a bit of a reputation for her accuracy when shooting from a distance, is excited by the prospect of pairing up with one of the taller shooters, with the 5' 10" goal attack also noting the importance of other experienced members of the team.

"I know I will be playing goal attack with one of the taller shooters, so it won't be too difficult lobbing the ball to them, but if I am away from the basket and the opportunity is there to shoot, then that is an element that I bring as well. However, if there is a good pass closer to the basket, then I will always look to make that play for the easier shot," Harwood said, before turning her attention to her preparation and the work of fitness trainer Roy Thomas.

"My preparation was challenging, but rewarding. We did a lot of training in terms of fitness - especially on our core and for the shooters, we take shots every day. But I am confident that this will pay off in the end," Harwood said.

"I believe that I am ready to go, our fitness trainer is really good. We have a great fitness trainer who helps us to enjoy the hard work and my fitness level is really good right now," she added.

The Kingston Hummingbirds attacker, who also represented Jamaica at the World Youth Netball Championships last year, also in Glasgow, highlighted the importance of more experienced members in the team such as Paula Thompson, Sasher-Gaye Henry and Kasey Evering, all returned to the squad fairly recently.

"They will all give us an extra boost to pull through and do well at the Commonwealth Games," noted Harwood.