Netball Australia Aims to Create Pathways for Emerging Pacific Athletes

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Working with PacificAus Sports, Netball Australia will support netball organisations in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

Netball Australia has taken the next step in its commitment to delivering positive outcomes in the Pacific, announcing a new-three-year agreement as part of the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports program.

Working in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Netball Australia will support the development of pathways for athletes from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The PacificAus Sports program also aims to create pathways for emerging Pacific athletes to benefit from high-performance coaching and training, leadership development and education opportunities. There will also be opportunities for Pacific athletes to participate in high-level Australian competitions.

Key activities across the three-year period will include helping Pacific teams to qualify and prepare for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Netball Australia will also assist the next generation of talent in the Pacific with an athlete immersion program, which will see athletes travel from Fiji and Samoa and join the Northern Mendi Rays team in North Queensland.

Athletes will take part in Netball Queensland’s state league competition, the HART Sapphire Series, and live in Townsville for the duration of the season and be immersed in the semi-professional environment.

Netball Australia interim CEO Ron Steiner said he was delighted the organisation could continue to lead the charge in helping to develop netball in the Pacific.

“Netball Australia is pleased to extend our support for the growth and development of netball internationally, particularly given that netball plays such an important role in strengthening communities and providing opportunities for girls and women to shine,” Steiner said.

“The PacificAus Sports program will have a significant impact in supporting performance outcomes for netball in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea as they begin to look to the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup.”

“The program builds on Netball Australia’s ongoing commitment to the Pacific region, where we have been working for the past 10 years as part of the Australian Government funded Pacific Sports Partnership Programs and the new Team Up initiative. This includes working with communities at the grassroots level to address physical inactivity, as well as inequalities experienced by women and girls.”

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja said he was looking forward to seeing Pacific athletes take on Australian and International teams on the court with the support of this program.

“This is another great example of PacificAus Sports building closer ties with our Pacific family,” Minister Seselja said.

“We know the Pacific is bursting with female sporting talent, especially when it comes to netball, which is almost exclusively played by women and girls. By investing in netball, Australia is unlocking the great potential of women and girls across the region and helping them take their place as sporting champions of the Pacific.”

Netball Australia’s support will also include increasing the coaching capability in the Pacific by traveling to each country, once safe to do so, and running train-the-trainer style courses.

Given the current challenges faced around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, Netball Australia will work with the Australian Government on alternative activity and creative ways to be able to support remotely if required.

Read more about the PacificAus Sports program here.