You only need to look at the Sri Lankan team competing at this year’s Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 to appreciate how important events like the annual Waverley International Schools Netball Championship (WISNC) are in providing valuable experience for young players.
Like it’s done for the past 15 years, the Sri Lanka Schools Netball Association has sent a senior girls team across to compete in the four-day tournament taking place this week in Melbourne, where they compete against schools from around Australia.
According to team manager Shyaman Vithanawasam, around 80 per cent of players who have competed at the tournament over time have gone onto represent the Sri Lankan national team on the international stage.
Pictures: Courtesy of SchoolPix and Netball Samoa
Vithanawasam said the Ministry of Education believes sending a team to Australia every year is a fantastic opportunity for young girls to develop not only their netball skills, but also forge friendships with their teammates and other competitors.
Samoa’s under-19 squad has made the trip along with the Kuala Lumpur Sports School (KLSS) junior girls’ team.
Netball Australia promotes such opportunities through its role in helping to develop netball throughout the International Netball Federation’s Asian Region, and its One Netball Pacific program.
The benefit is clear for participating teams; the Waverley International Schools Netball Championship has inspired netball officials in Malaysia to host an inter-school tournament in Kuala Lumpur. It first started in 2007 and now caters for 120 teams from a range of local schools.
They have been able to apply these skills to the tournaments they now run.
Assistant Coach Tan Choo Zen said they recognise the championship is “good exposure” for their athletes to an elite pathway system as well as different styles of netball played around the world.
“There are a few players that travelled with the team last year to this competition,” Tan said.
“They have been sharing their experiences with the new players. Last year they were scared. This year they are moving around and meeting people and enjoying themselves.”
For the first time, the KLSS have brought along an umpire as part of the touring party while another Assistant Coach, Hana, has been extensively involved in establishing a NetSetGO program at her school after taking part in clinics run by Netball Australia for teachers in Malaysia in 2013.
Samoa under-19 coach Seraphine Mataia, pictured below with Netball Australia’s International Development Manager Olivia Philpott, recently undertook a coaching accreditation course run by Netball Australia through One Netball Pacific and the team enjoyed a one-on-one session with Karen Worland organised by the Waverley Netball Centre.
Mataia said the tournament has been a fantastic vehicle to develop their athletes. “From the team that was selected to travel to Australia last year, only two players played at A Grade level back in Samoa,”
“When they returned, most were picked to play in A Grade teams. All of this (2015) group, back home, now they play A Grade.” Mataia said.
“Hopefully what they learn from here they can take back to their clubs and their schools and improve their games as individuals. You see the development of the young ones and at the same time you develop as a coach.”
Click here for all the scores and ladders from the tournament. Finals of the WISNC will be played from 9.30am this Friday.