In a statement Sport Minister Hon. Olivia Grange said “it is important that these young girls challenge themselves and push for a spot on the team that will go to Botswana to compete in the World Youth Netball Championship next year. Next year, they’ll be one year older, stronger and wiser than today”.
Grange, who is also the Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs and Entertainment, then added: “Christine Salmon and Romelda Aiken in recent times; and Janet Johnson in the 1970s all represented the National Under-21 or senior team when they were still in high school. Therefore they should not allow their age limit such ambitions if they believe in their God-given ability and are prepared mentally and psychologically to do the hard work in training.”
Yesterday Jamaica claimed their 11th hold on the Jean Pierre trophy following a 35-21 win over the host country Barbados in the final game.
Grange said it was important that the girls push themselves further in a sport which has developed lucrative leagues in the top playing nations.
“Netball is developing into a sport where you can earn a decent living from as it is in the present case of Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler – both big stars in the ANZ Championship in Australia and New Zealand,” she said.
“Last October, Shanice Beckford and Nicole Dixon were signed by Team Northumbria to play in the Vitality Netball Super League in Great Britain where they’ll also be studying. This is telling us that the top netball leagues are looking at Jamaica for talent, so it is left up to our girls to realize their dreams and aspirations,” she added.
“I have been told that some of the world’s best netballers – and Jamaica have some in its team – command between US$50,000 to US$100,000 per season. So you do the math. A season last for about five months during which you can earn over J$10million,” the Minister said.
“Some sporting stars are motivated by the gains to be derived while others are motivated to be the best there is. Whatever your motivation, with hard work, you can achieve your dreams.”
The Caribbean champions arrived home close to noon today and were met at the Norman Manley International Airport by Dr Paula Daley-Morris, president, Netball Jamaica among other netball officials, sponsor representatives and Ali McNab, who represented the Minister.
Jamaica’s success was led by Latanya Wilson, Zandria Cohen, Denay Thomas, Shadine Bartley and captain Abigale Sutherland, all of whom have been selected to the Caribbean All Stars team.