Tricia Robinson, the president of Netball Jamaica, says the country’s hosting of the Americas World Cup Qualifiers late this year could play a big role in boosting the growth of the sport in the region.
The tournament will determine the two regional teams which will join automatic qualifiers Jamaica at the 16th edition Netball World Cup to be staged in the summer of 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa .
“In 2020, Netball Jamaica, in a bold move, raised its hand, bid for, and was awarded the hosting rights for the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifiers,” she said at the tournament launch at the NCB Wellness and Recreation Centre on Wednesday.
“Our successful bid will mark the first time since 1990 that a senior regional championship will be held in Jamaica,” Robinson said.
“Significantly, this is also the first time that the World Cup will be held on the African continent.”
Based on their fourth-place ranking in the world, the Sunshine Girls have already qualified for the World Cup, but they are down to compete in the October 15–22 Americas championship to gain valuable practice.
“There is no coincidence and surprise that our regional counterparts have reacted with enthusiasm and we look forward to hosting them and adding our usual Jamaican flair.
“As the highest-ranked team in the region, it is important for us to work with our Caribbean neighbours and Americas Netball to continue to lift the quality of the game in our region,” Robinson said.
“The more netball we play, the greater our ability to improve the growth and opportunities for all practitioners of the sport,” she continued.
So far, the countries down to compete alongside Jamaica are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.
The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange will serve as patron of the event.
Some of Jamaica’s top netball administrators are providing administrative support to Netball Jamaica.
— Dwayne Richards