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EDITORIAL:Baby Pearls Show Us The Way

EDITORIAL:Baby Pearls Show Us The Way
Baby Pearls
July 16
12:22 2017

They deserve recognition for finishing in the world’s top four.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was the first to tweet the ‘excellent’ performance after they reached the semi-final of the inaugural Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC) in Gaborone, Botswana on Friday.

And Members of Parliament also gave an applause after being notified by Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa of their achievement.

This is a significant breakthrough for netball as it is the first time that Fiji has ever reached the knockout stages.

To finish in the top four out of 20 countries is a remarkable feat for our small island nation.

Despite going down 28-79 to New Zealand in the semifinal yesterday, the achievement is something we should all be proud of.

And even if we lose to England in the third place playoff today, just like our rugby teams, our Baby Pearls have already made the world of sports take notice.

It definitely augurs well for the sport in future as we look forward to compete in the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England and hosting the second 2021 NWYC at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.

The NWYC, previously known as the World Youth Netball Championship, is the pinnacle of competition for emerging players who are Under-21 years and the International Netball Federation (INF)  has held the event every four years since 1988.

Fiji was the second country to host the event in 1992 in Suva.

The significance of that event was it unveiled a star in 15-year old Vilimaina Davu.

She went on to become one of the formidable goalkeepers of the game, remembered for on-court toughness representing both the Fijian Pearls and the Silver Ferns.

The previous time our netters made a significant breakthrough was under Davu’s leadership.

This was during the 1999 World Netball Championships, now called the Netball World Cup,  in Christchurch, New Zealand where Fiji was placed 6th – the best ever for a Fijian Pearls team to date.

But the 4th placing of the Baby Pearls is a good sign that netball is in for good times ahead.

This would not have been possible without the support of the Fijian National Sports Commission on behalf of the Government.

Fiji edged Samoa in the bid to host the 2021 NWYC after strong representation to the INF in Australia in February by the Minister for Industry Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Siddiq Koya.

Government support tipped the balance in Fiji’s favour.

IFN president Molly Rhone said: “We considered two excellent applications from Netball Fiji and Netball Samoa.

“It was a tough decision but Fiji’s bid was particularly strong, demonstrating a good state of readiness and real potential as host nation for our flagship youth event.

“We have every confidence that Netball Fiji will deliver a thrilling world class event and are grateful to the Government of Fiji for their strong support.”

The work starts now and the Baby Pearls have shown us the way forward.

 

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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