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BARBADOS - netball Under-16 2005
THE BARBADOS UNDER-16 netball team is still basking in the glory of being crowned the new champions of Caribbean netball.
Two days after returning from St Kitts with their first-ever Caribbean Under-16 title, all but one of the team's members assembled at the Netball Stadium for a look back at the tournament which has catapulted them into the limelight, and the history books as well.
The girls were all smiles as they reminisced on being unbeaten throughout the tournament, but the laughter was at its loudest when they spoke of victory over Jamaica in the penultimate match.
"We've been waiting for this win for a long time. We have worked long and hard and we are overwhelmed," said a smiling Shakira Springer, the captain.
She was voted onto the tournament's Best Team, along with Samantha Browne, Jalissa Lovell and Shanise Banfield.
The 16-year-old Queen's College student said she was motivated after a poor performance with the senior team.
"We did not do well in the Under-21 team to Florida and I was determined to lead the Under-16 team to the title in this tournament," she said.
Browne, a versatile player with experience at both the junior and senior level, said the title was well deserved, and that playing in senior competitions prepared her for the Under-16 tournament.
"We all played well. It was a team effort and we deserved to win," she said.
"Being a member of the senior team which played Jamaica and New Zealand earlier in the year made me realise that I needed to work on my fitness and agility. I therefore did a lot of skipping and running over the last few weeks, which has paid off."
Coach Sonia Banfield was full of praise for her history-making girls, and was already thinking ahead to next year.
"I am happy for them. It is the first time that a Jamaican netball team has been beaten by any Barbadian team. It's great.
"Next year, if I'm the coach, I will start working early to replace those players who are moving on."
Browne will meet up with her captain at the trials for the Commonwealth team this week, and both are eager to force their way into the senior team once more.
"We intend to work hard, and hopefully make the team to Australia. When we get there, I'm sure we will do our hardest to win," said Springer.
Springer, who is in her last year at the junior level, also remarked on the lack of opportunities available to senior netballers.
"There are no netball scholarships offered here in Barbados, so even though some of us may want to continue our studies and play the game, nothing is available. I would really like to see some scholarships for us netballers," she said.
Compliments of the Nation News
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