AUSTRALIA SHOOTING FOR GOLD AT WORLD YOUTH NETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Defending champions Australia will settle for no less than the gold medal at next week’s World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, according to Australian 21/U Head Coach Carol Byers.

u21strain

Since the competition’s inception in 1988, Australia has won four of six World Youth Netball Championships, including in 2009 in the Cook Islands, but have only successfully defended the title once in 2000.

“We’re all there to win for Australia,” Byers said.

“That’s why we’re going and certainly why these athletes have made the decisions and sacrifices to ensure that they not only make this team but now they’re all vying to get those starting spots.”

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link and that’s one of the fantastic things about this team, we have incredible depth in Australia with the number of athletes that play but also this particular group are very strong so they’ll be pushing each other all the way.”

The 12-player Australian team departed for Glasgow on Wednesday to continue their preparations for the 10-day tournament in Scotland before the competition kicks off at Emirates Arena on Thursday August 22.

The team will use the pre-tournament camp at Stirling Sports Village to further develop combinations and strategies after coming together for the first time last weekend since selection camp following the ANZ Championship Finals Series.

“It’s very exciting for all the athletes because we had our first real weekend together since the team was selected in May so lots of excitement and a real buzz in the team when we played Australian Netball League (ANL) on the weekend in Tasmania,” Byers said.

“It was great to have everybody together, given that it’s so close (to the tournament) and to be able to work together and put a lot of the strategies and tactics in place that we want to do.”

The World Youth Netball Championship has launched the careers of many of Australia’s best netballers include Liz Ellis (1992), Catherine Cox (1996), Laura Geitz (2005), Kim Green (2005), Caitlin Bassett (2009) and Madison Browne (2009).

Australia will open its World Youth Netball Championship title defence against Israel on Friday 23 August, followed by Namibia (24 August), Fiji (25 August) and South Africa (27 August) during the group stage.