President Robinson basks in Sunshine Girls' rise
Jamaica's Jhaniele Fowler (centre) overpowers Wales' Christina Shaw (left) and Suzy Drane in their recent netball match during the 2022 Brirmingham Commonwealth Games in England. Jamaica won 72-43..

Netball Jamaica President Tricia Robinson says that it was no surprise that the Sunshine Girls moved up to third in the latest World Netball rankings released on Monday.

The rise follows a silver medal performance earlier this month at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where the team beat world numbers one and two, Australia and New Zealand, respectively, on their way to the final.

"The Sunshine Girls have always been a force to reckon with," Robinson told the Jamaica Observer.

"The team itself, performing the way it did in Birmingham, showcases that. We got bronze the last time. The aim was to improve on the colour of the medal. We have done extremely well as a unit. We knew what it took to be at the top, to be in the final. They were focused, disciplined and they were rewarded for it."

Robinson says the ranking is a result of being on what she describes as the "right path" as the team continues to get ready for the World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, next year.

But that path Robinson mentioned had its challenges for the team. The COVID-19 pandemic meant many cancelled preparation camps and players having to turn to online conference calls to complete training sessions. The pandemic also resulted in the team's trip to England for a Test series in January last year being cancelled. When COVID-19 cases declined and the team attempted to gain some normalcy in its operations, its two buses used to transport players were stolen. But Robinson said that those challenges only made this accomplishment better.

"They say when things like that happen, something good is in the making," she said. "We're really seeing the good coming from it. The team has persevered. The team behind the team has done exceedingly well. We are number three, we are looking to always be consistently in the top tier of world netball, ensuring that Jamaica remains a staple in the sporting diet of the world. I think the girls are doing extremely well."

Robinson says that the association hopes that these achievements will now aid in gaining new sponsorship partners as the team looks to Cape Town.

"Everybody loves a winner and our girls have proven over and over that we are the best performing team sport in the island," she said.

"We are very consistent when we go out to play and so, when our partners come on board, it is a good relationship that is normally forged between the entities."

Robinson says the Sunshine Girls will travel to New Zealand next month to take part in the Taini Jamison Trophy. They then return to Jamaica to host the region in the Americas Championship in October, before returning to New Zealand in November for the Fast5 Netball World Series.

— Rachid Parchment

ROBINSON... they were focused, disciplined and they were rewarded for it (Photo: Dwayne Richards)
Rachid Parchment

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