19 Mar 2021

Fiji hopeful Netball World Youth Cup can still go ahead

12:24 pm on 19 March 2021

Fiji remains hopeful it can still host the Netball World Youth Cup at the end of this year.

Fiji Pearl's coach, Jenny Brazel, hits the ground running in Suva.

Fiji Pearl's coach, Jenny Brazel, hits the ground running in Suva. Photo: Facebook / Netball Fiji

The Under 21 Championship was originally scheduled for June, with Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands set to represent the Pacific, but the event was postponed by six months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

President of the Fiji Netball Association, RubyAnn Sorovaki, said they've been in touch with all qualified countries and speak regularly with the International Netball Federation.

"There's been good interaction since we deferred it in June. There's a monthly update, discussions, surveys and feedback, so INF have been pretty good in terms of correspondence and communication with the qualifying countries, and with us as the host country as well, so I really appreciate that," she said.

"There's a board meeting happening soon to reconfirm some of the information and feedback with the countries that are taking part in have gone back to INF on. Until such time, following this March board meeting, yes we're all still systems go here so ready to hit the ground running in December."

She said the roll out of the vaccination in Fiji was also encouraging.

"One of the conditions was the vaccine roll-out when we last spoke in December with the INF so that's happened, so we're just encouraged here in the sense as well that in the region and here in Fiji, our Covid numbers are non existent so there's been talk about hosting tournaments, regionals and qualifiers here over the next couple of months."

"Them talking about hosting events here is quite encouraging for us in netball given that if they do host it, and it's successful, then we can use that as learning ground for us going forward through to the December Championship."

It would be a huge boost for Fiji's economy as well, she added.

"You know how heavily we rely on tourism and so all of those things will open up and would be a ripple effect with flights, hotels having to cater for the numbers, so I guess that's what's encouraging for us as well."

The new Fiji Pearls head coach, Jenny Brazel, is settling into Suva after spending two weeks in quarantine, holding her first training session over the weekend.

No caption

Photo: Facebook / Netball Fiji

"We're pretty stoked that Jen's [Jenny Brazel] arrived and out of quarantine and safe in Suva and she just hit the ground with the girls on Saturday."

"Out of the squad that met, there were about 16 under 21-year-old girls in there which is good for us because with other countries having named their squads, we will sort of get in that space now with Jen sorting out her calendar of events over the next couple of months."

"We're rearing to go and Jen has already identified a number of things she wants to work on with fitness being the number one priority and she's happy just with catching up with the girls in general and it's been well so far.

Sorovaki said while a travel bubble between Fiji and New Zealand or Australia, would help lift the competition of netball in the country, she's happy with the progress being made.

"There might be an opportunity to talk to the other counties that have qualified or maybe with Australia and New Zealand and look at opportunities for us to play and bubbles to open up, but I think now it's just a matter of us focusing on the under 21s, on getting an opportunity to play some high level competition."

"It probably won't be the same intensity as if we were to travel, but the opportunity just to have games at league level or in our series that we had last year, this is helping us with the foundation and looking at how we can work internally."