ISSA netball competition ready to roll, says official


ISSA netball competition ready to roll, says official

Thursday, July 16, 2020

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The organisers of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) netball competition says they are ready and raring to go, if and when they get the go-ahead to stage competitions under COVID-19 conditions.

ISSA, the organisers of high school sports, is awaiting word from Government whether or not they would be able to stage any sporting competitions when school restarts in September. ISSA, at a virtual meeting of high school heads of departments and coaches held last week, is expecting a decision by July 24.

Erica Ewbanks, the chairman of netball at ISSA and principal of Garvey Maceo High, said her sport was ready to go, but the only issues they were seeing were that there could be a reduction in the number of participating schools and ensuring safety of players and spectators at games.

The possibility of the coronavirus being transmitted with players using their hands on the ball in netball and basketball, and to a lesser extent football, was also discussed.

Football, netball, basketball and swimming are the sports that are expected to be contested in the Christmas term. Netball, both junior and senior level comptition, is expected to start in mid-October, the same time as basketball and boys' Under-16 football.

“We are comfortable based on what is happening as it relates to netball; we are raring to go and get things up and running,” Ebanks told the meeting.

“We might have to cut down on the number of zones we have now,” she added.

Given the precautions that are expected due to the high rate of the virus being transferred from one person to the next, Ebanks said: “In the instances where we don't think it is safe to play games, we hope the coaches will cooperate [as] some sites might not be ideal as we can't control the crowds.”

Keith Wellington, president of ISSA, said in the instance of football where they are considering safe venues for the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions, “We have to identify safe venues where we are having our students compete, protect them from spectators and spectators from each other.”

Ebanks had shared concerns from netball coaches that there was fear of the virus being able to be spread during netball and basketball games with all the players and officials handling the ball.

“The idea is to keep a sanitised ball in a container which would be sent back in to play at every break in play, just like basketball,” she told the meeting.

Pawsey Lyn, the head of the Physical Education department at DeCarteret College, said his research had shown “given the texture of balls that are used for football, netball and basketball, there is no proof that the coronavirus can be transferred from ball to person”. He added that was the basis on which football was able to resume in Europe.

— Paul Reid

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