Young Sunshine Girls carry hopes of medal prospects as they depart for Botswana

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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With at least seven of the 12-member Under-21 Sunshine Girls team having senior level experience, the coaching staff and management team are optimistic of securing a podium finish in their Netball World Youth Cup campaign in Gaborone, Botswana.

Those players — Captain Kadie-Ann Dehaney, who is currently playing in Australia, and Vice-Captain Carlalee Tingling, as well as Shimona Nelson, Simone Gordon, Hasana Williams, Abbi-Gail Linton, and Latanya Wilson — will be charged with achieving that feat at the tournament set for July 6-16.

With Jamaica's best ever performance at the tournament being a second-place finish in 2000, followed by consecutive third-place finishes in 2009 and 2013, the Under-21 Sunshine Girls will be carrying the hopes of matching of bettering those performances when they depart the island tomorrow.

There will be some history in the making for the young Sunshine Girls, as this is the first time the International Netball Federation (INF) is hosting an international event on the African continent and they will be aiming to win the country's first gold medal at the event.

The young Sunshine Girls are drawn in Group C alongside the host nation, Cook Island, Malaysia, and Uganda.

Head Coach Janet Guy, who was at the helm when the team won silver in Wales in 2000, underlined that the girls will definitely give of their best to make Jamaica proud.

“We have tried to get the best group of ladies together, and we are now in the final stages of preparation to ensure that we get all the fine-tuning done. We are going to take it one day and one match at a time, because once we do that then success will come, but expect good things,” Guy told the journalists during a media briefing to announce the team and a sponsorship deal with Dairy Industries Limited at their Washington Boulevard plant recently.

Guy outlined that the preparation phase of the team has been built around fitness and strategic movements on court, but added that the focus will now be geared around strengthening their mental capabilities.

“Like I said, we are still doing some fine-tuning. Now that they are in camp we have more time to train and more time to do specialist work so that we will be ready,” Guy noted last month.

“I am not going to tell you how we will finish, but I am telling you that we are going to do well, because the girls have been well-prepared, so we should get good results from them. I see them coming up and they are much better than they thought, and with the constant motivation I think they are going to give a good account of themselves,” she added.

And if the confidence exuded by Tingling is anything to go by, then the young Sunshine Girls already have the gold medal in the bag.

“Jamaica can expect nothing but a first-place finish. That is what we are expecting; our hard work and dedication will speak for itself, and we are definitely coming back with a medal.

“Most of us have been coming from the Under-16 level and a few have played with the senior girls, so we do have experience, we do have a little cleaning up to do, but we are basically ready to go,” the confident vice-captain stated.

Meanwhile, Paula Daley-Morris, president of Netball Jamaica, pointed out that the players and team at large have made a huge leap in terms of their understanding and maturity of the game.

“I have seen them because I make it my duty to visit all the training and they have made great strides. I think the fact that we have had some of them playing with the seniors and the Berger Elite League has assisted in that, as we have exposed them as best as we can.

“So when I compare what they looked like a year and a half ago with how they look now I am very comfortable. I just want them to go out there and compete to the best of their ability and we will see the results,” said Daley-Morris.




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