Netball Jamaica launched the Netball World Cup qualifier for the Americas region at the NCB Wellness and Recreation Centre in Kingston, on Thursday.
The qualifiers, which will take place at the National Indoor Sports Centre October 15-22, will see two countries from the region battling to join already qualified Jamaica at the Netball World Cup which will be played in Cape Town, South Africa, July 18 to August 6, 2023.
Jamaica are automatic qualifiers for the World Cup as they are currently ranked fourth in the world.
Eight countries — Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA — will compete over six days for the two available spaces.
Sports Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange said she was delighted to be the patron for the event, and as patron, her Government committed $12 million to Netball Jamaica to help with the hosting of the event.
President of Netball Jamaica Tricia Robinson was delighted that Jamaica will be hosting a senior regional championship for the first time since 1990 and believes that competion of this nature will help to sharpen the Sunshine Girls who have a number of tournaments to play as they build up to the World Cup.
President of Americas Netball Marva Bernard, who is a former Netball Jamaica president, promised full support to the local organising committe even as she basked in the fact that her own country will be hosting such a massive event for the sport in the region.
Bernard is expecting that there will be fierce competition from the eight teams hunting the two spaces that will allow them to participate in the sport’s largest event.
Molly Rhone, the former president of the world governing body, the International Netball Federation, was also in attendance at the launch and will be offering her expertise to the local organising committee to ensure that the qualifer meets international standards.
Annette Daley, who is a coach with the Netball Jamaica Development Programme, said that a number of girls who fall under that programme will be given the opportunity to play in the qualifiers to gain valuable experience and give some of the senior Sunshine Girls an opportunity to “rest”.
The Sunshine Girls have set a minimum target of a podium finish in Cape Town next year.
— Dwayne Richards