St. John’s Antigua- President of Antigua & Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA), Fitz Braithwaite, has hailed the just ended Cool & Smooth National Netball Competition a success, saying that it has served its purpose of getting the sport back on track following a long hiatus.
The competition, according to Braithwaite, is also the first of many to come throughout the course of the year.
“The competition was very good in my (estimation). We had 14 participating teams and that was a pretty good start for our netball coming back and we are hoping to keep it going; not only for the league, but we are hoping to have netball throughout the year in different stages like vintage, men’s team, mixed teams and things like that, so we will have a brand of netball going through the year,” he said.
“We are also hoping to go around the villages and help the people develop the areas they need to develop so we can get much more. One other thing we are going to do is have seniors coming back and playing games so they could identify with netball because a lot of people have been asking why is it that we are not having anything for them. But yes, we are going to have something for them and because of our late start this year we are not putting everything is place at the same time but between now and November we are going to have at least two more sessions of netball,” Braithwaite added.
The businessman, who was elected head of the association at a time when netball had been dormant for years, showered praises on a number of individuals who assisted in getting the recent programme off the ground.
“I want to give thanks to Olena Knight who (has) accepted the second VP position in the plight to help us bring it back the way we really wanted it, and I think that Daphne Simmons has put a tremendous amount of effort into it and especially two umpires in Morris Lennox and Mr Eric Francis. They really did a lot plus the sponsors that came out and helped out. So quite a lot of people really put something into the netball. The spectators that were there were very nice so we have quite a lot of stakeholders involved,” he said.
The netball head hinted also that his association would be making a bid to host one of two OECS tournaments next year.
“Right now we are in dialogue with the Sports Department and we just need to finalise the resurfacing because what we want to do is, when we go to Grenada, we want to know that we can make our proposal and tell them that we would be ready to host the OECS because the OECS is hosted east and west. So now that it is in Grenada, then it must be coming to either Montserrat, St Kitts, Antigua or Anguilla; and if we go with a good proposal then we would be able to host it,” Braithwaite said.
The 2012 netball competition concluded last Thursday with a closing and awards ceremony at YMCA Sports Complex where a number of teams and players were rewarded for their performances during the comeback tournament.