Netball

Jodiann Ward: Destined for great things

Friday, May 19, 2017

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Jodiann Ward has a sense of belonging and confidence that she will make it to the very top.The 22-year-old is a member of Jamaica's netball team for the first time ever, having been selected for the tri-Test series against Barbados, which gets underway at the National Arena today with a 7:00 pm encounter.

A self-confessed caregiver, Ward, from St Ann, is committed to achieving her goals as a scholar, Sunshine Girl and netball professional.

A talented athlete, she made her first advances in the sport at Moneague Primary.

“I used to see the girls running around on court and I said I want to do that,” said Ward. “I was doing track and field at the time, but I didn't really like track and field because I said track and field takes too much training.

“But when I went into netball it didn't take much training at the time because it was at a minor level, but eventually you develop and you see that the training is hard, but you have to manage it.”

The additional development came while playing at Marcus Garvey Technical, then Moneague Teachers' College, Ravens Club, and now at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech).

She also attended Dinthill Technical — after Marcus Garvey — but never represented that school.

At UTech, where she is currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, Ward has won the Inter-Collegiate title and recently the St Andrew Major League crown in the Netball Jamaica's JN Bank League.

Her performances as a goal defender caught the eye of the selectors and thrust her into national reckoning.

“I think it's a privilege to be playing for the national team. This is my first time, so it's a new environment for me. I'm just pushing, pushing, doing my best, because only the best is good enough,” she admitted.

“It feels pretty good to know that you're representing the country. You're not just representing the country, you're representing yourself and your former teams. It's a good feeling,” the lanky defender continued.

“In terms of the Barbados series, I'm really privileged to be part of that team, that selection, and on that day I will go on the court and give my best.”

Interestingly, Ward never envisioned a Jamaica selection.

“No, I didn't really see myself there when I started. But after getting in training and playing a lot of matches and I realised that yeah, I'm good, I said I can be part of that, and here I am,” she said.

Ward also has to be good at her studies, which fits her persona.

“I have a care and passion — caring for people, educating them about health care, and giving them the best care possible,” she said about choosing her course, adding, “my mom is a nurse”.

Balancing sport with that is challenging.

“Now time management is not easy for me because nursing takes a lot of time and to be in training here three times per week and on Saturday mornings and at UTech twice per week, I'm having a full week of training except on Sundays,” she observed. “Now it's exam time, it's taking a lot.”

All this is a sacrifice. And it is for a reason.

“I am looking to get a contract to go overseas so I'm working towards that. And yes, I will get a contract. It might take some time, but I will get there,” Ward affirmed.

“It is very important, very important,” she reinforced about playing professionally overseas. “Once I finish my nursing here, after finishing I want to do netball. And I don't want to just stop here, I want to go all the way.”

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