Monday, March 23, 2015

Netball's Chances Vague If No Gold In Singapore

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- The chances will be very slim for netball to be listed in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur if the national squad does not return with the gold medal at the biennial meet in Singapore in June.

National Sports Council (MSN) director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail said it was not overly high to use the gold medal as the yardstick because Malaysia is a netball giant in the Southeast Asian region.

He said although the performance of the sport was worrying last year, MSN still had high hopes because other than being the winner of the gold medal, Malaysia were also champions for five consecutive years at the Asian Youth Netball Championship.

"The SEA Games this time is a very important championship to the Malaysian Netball Association (PBJM). I hope the netball squad can boost efforts to ensure their participation this time is not merely to participate in the SEA Games but to ensure the gold medal is brought back.

"If they still fail, I am very worried this will make it difficult for PBJM to justify the need and importance of netball to be contested at the 2017 SEA Games," he told reporters after the closing of the 31st National Youth Netball Championship at Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara here, Sunday.

On the preparations of the national netball squad, Ahmad Shapawi said he was satisfied with the preparations carried out since last year when the national squad made preparations to take part in the World Netball Championship in Australia.

He said MSN would help the association to solve several problems in terms of training including getting the release of players and having more intensive training programmes to ensure the national squad was truly prepared to face the challenges especially from host team Singapore.

"MSN will try to help in getting releases so that the players can focus on the final preparations for the SEA games," he said.

In the final today, the Selangor youth squad emerged champions after taming Johor 47-38 in a stiffly-fought match while the Federal Teritory of Kuala Lumpur were third after beating Pahang 57-45.

Selangor striker Nur Fariha Abdul Razak was named Player of the tournament while Sabahan Dayang Raflizawati Mohamed was top scorer with 154 points.

-- BERNAMA

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