Australia’s ambition of winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast received a further boost today with the announcement of funding support for Netball from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA).
Funding has been provided through the ACGA’s Australian Junior Commonwealth Games Squad (AJCGS) program which has been supporting the development of Netball’s junior squads since 1996.
Aimed at providing junior athletes with invaluable international competition experience, the AJCGS program will be supporting the Australian 21/U team to attend next month’s World Youth Netball Championships.
The World Youth Netball Championships provide aspiring players 21/under with their first major international competition every four years before going on to senior representation.
“Netball Australia’s High Performance pathways continue to produce world-class athletes and the funding from the ACGA allows us to provide our underage athletes with vital international development opportunities,” Netball Australia’s Head of High Performance Carol Byers said.
“We’re grateful for this support which will assist our ongoing work in producing athletes capable of winning world championships and Commonwealth Games gold medals.”
Australia has a proud history at a 21/U level, winning four of six World Youth Netball Championships and will head into August’s tournament in Glasgow, Scotland, as defending champions following their victory in the Cook Islands four years ago.
After winning the sport’s first two Commonwealth Games gold medals in 1998 and 2002, it’s been over a decade since Australia last won a Commonwealth Games gold following consecutive silver medals in 2006 Melbourne and 2010 New Delhi.
Australian Commonwealth Games Association Chief Executive, Perry Crosswhite AM, said, “Since Netball was first added to the Commonwealth Games program at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Australia has played in every final.
“On each occasion the margin between gold and silver has been incredibly small. We hope that the juniors we are investing in now will go on to play a key part in assisting Australia to win gold when the Games are hosted in Australia on the Gold Coast in 2018.”
The Australian 21/U team for next month’s World Youth Netball Championships have gathered at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to continue their title defence preparations. The 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow run from August 22-31.
Junior Squad funding from the ACGA is provided to assist junior athletes gain international competition to help develop Australia’s future Commonwealth Games athletes. It is in addition to the $8 million provided by the ACGA through its ‘Go Glasgow’ preparation funding to help the 18 sports on the program, including Netball, prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow from 23 July to 3 August.