Netball Americas looks to Caribbean Games for practice ahead of postponed 2021 World Youth Cup

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Netball Americas looks to Caribbean Games for practice ahead of postponed 2021 World Youth Cup

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

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MARVA Bernard, the administrative head of netball in the Americas, is hopeful that next year's Caribbean Games will provide a development boost for some regional members hit hard by the postponement of the 2021 Netball World Youth Cup.

Last week the International Netball Federation (INF) announced that the global youth tournament to be held in Fiji from June 10-19 was postponed due to the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

The world governing body has not yet given new dates for the tournament which features netballers aged 21 and under.

“It [the postponement] is disappointing, but it's the best decision that could be made at this time when the COVID-19 pandemic is not under control in the way that the Government of Fiji would like it to be for the championship to happen in June next year,” Bernard, the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) president, told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday.

“Here in the Americas region there is to be the Caribbean Games, which is another development tournament to be held between the end of June and early July next year.

“So members who are disappointed still have the opportunity to play. It is for Under-23 players, so there is something to rock back on for developing talent,” the long-standing Jamaican netball administrator added.

The regional games is a multi-sport event sanctioned by the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC). With organisers closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic, it is scheduled to be staged in Guadeloupe from June 30 to July 4, 2021.

AFNA has not yet confirmed the netball nations set to compete in the Caribbean Games but Guadeloupe, as hosts, were expected to field a team.

The inaugural CANOC-organised championships were to have been held over a decade ago in Trinidad and Tobago, but were put aside because of the outbreak of swine flu.

Bernard, who sat in on a recent INF board meeting, said Fiji reaffirmed its pledge to stage the Netball World Youth Cup.

“We discussed it at the board [and] we spoke to the Government of Fiji. They really are committed to the championship but priorities had to be shifted, and the World Youth Cup was [affected],” said Bernard, a former president of Netball Jamaica.

Four teams from the Americas — including automatic qualifiers Jamaica — are expected to feature at the next global netball youth tournament.


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