Sunshine Girls inspire backing for local netball leagues

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) highlighted netball's success as a major catalyst driving its influence to secure sponsorship of Netball Jamaica's Major and Minor League competitions.

Two of the JOA's partners, Lasco iCool Water and Starlight Productions, put up a $3 million sponsorship package for both competitions, which got underway last Thursday at Leila Robinson Courts.

At the launch, JOA general secretary Ryan Foster pointed to recent good results achieved by the Sunshine Girls and the fact that with a global ranking of number three “our netballers are without a doubt our most successful national sport team.”

Foster further noted: “The successes of the girls leave us feeling encouraged and it is against this background that the JOA felt compelled to assist with the identification of sponsors for the Major and Minor Legue competitions being organised by Netball Jamaica.

“These leagues attract over 40 teams, who will engage in spirited competition over a period of 10 weeks. It is from these leagues that players are developed to participate in the national programmes.”

Continuing, Foster said: “We have identified two of our partners, top performers in their own right — Lasco Distributors and Starlight Productions — who have consented to come on board to inject $3,000,000 for the execution of the leagues. Both partners are admirable corporate entities, who have a vested interest in the development of our nation through sport. Lasco will use this venture to promote two of its products: iCool Water and Curves.”

The JOA executive also encouraged players to bring honour to the sport by conducting themselves as “true sportswomen”.

“Though not yet an Olympic Sport, we hope that in your conduct netball will in the true spirit of Olympism contribute to building a peaceful and better world through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play,” Foster expressed.

A total of 17 teams will contest the Major League and 26 will play in the Minor League, with the top four in each preliminary competition advancing to the semi-final play-offs, which ultimately decide the finalists.

During her presentation on the leagues, Dr Paula Daley-Morris, president, Netball Jamaica, expressed confidence that both Lasco and Starlight Productions would be happy to demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility through sports, by engaging in this partnership.

She said the value of the leagues to brand Jamaica is extremely high, given its role of facilitating the skill development of players, many of whom transition into the national team.

“The leagues also have a strong tradition of facilitating social, emotional and economic development of the players, thi]us playing a significant role in transforming the lives of our girls and young women, who are of diverse backgrounds and socio-economic status,” added Daley-Morris.

Arjune Bewley, CEO, Starlight Productions, shared his vision of support, noting that Starlight is a family-owned business that has been involved in the entertainment business for over a decade.

“In 2018, we became a part of the JOA family because of our passion for sport development in Jamaica. Today, we stand proud to assist what is undoubtedly the most successful team sport in Jamaica,” said Bewley.

“We recognise that this league is one of the feeders to our national programme and realise that despite the numerous and sustained successes of our girls locally and internationally, the support of corporate Jamaica has been less than required to encourage the girls, the coaches, the management and board as they continue despite the challenges to make us proud.”

Bewley added: “We at Starlight are proud of your accomplishments and thank you for providing this opportunity to serve you. We are pleased to be on board and wish every team, player and official success as they participate in this competition.”

Lasco has previously supported Netball Jamaica, with a $3 million sponsorship for the association's 60th anniversary Sunshine Series against Trinidad and Tobago and England last year.

This time they have put up $2 million of the amount to cover costs for the Major and Minor Leagues.

“We are proud to be associated with this series, which seeks to nurture our future Sunshine Girls through our flagship iCool Water brand along with iDrade isotonic beverage and Curves feminine napkins,” shared Omar Palmer, LASCO Distributors' Consumer Division manager, at the launch.

“We believe that the LASCO iCool/Starlight Production Major and Minor Leagues will transform our talented young ladies and ensure that Jamaica not only take the number one spot in the world of netball, but keep it for years to come,” added Palmer.

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