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National Selectors name 14 players for tour of Fiji
Netball Singapore today officially announced the names of those selected into the team of 14 players to travel to Fiji from 14th to 22nd April. Following the tour, National Coach, Ruth Aitken will name the final 12 players to represent Singapore at the 28th SEA Games, which begin for the netballers at the OCBC Arena on 31st May.
Captaining the side to Fiji will be Lin Qingyi (Micky) who currently has 82 International Caps to her credit and led the team to victory in the Mission Foods Asian Championships last year. Supporting her once again in the leadership role will be Chen Huifen and Nurul Baizura who have been named Co-Vice Captains.
Joining the touring team, are Shina Teo and Yasmin Ho. Both players performed particularly well during the recent Netball Super League and were invited to join the squad as additional training partners and ultimately trialled for the Fiji tour. They impressed the selectors enough to secure a place in the Opens Squad and also to be given an opportunity to show what they can offer against international competition.
Teo played for M1 Sunfish during the NSL Competition and is currently in the 21&U squad as a defender. Ho was part of the victorious Sneakers Stingrays side as a shooter. At the conclusion of the competition, both were named Most Valuable Player for their respective teams.
National Coach Ruth Aitken explained the rationale behind the selections saying,
“We had a very tough decision to make with all our available players working very hard to put themselves into contention for the 12 places on offer for the SEA Games, so this tour to Fiji is the final stage of that selection process. Those that have made the cut bring with them a wealth of experience and have shown their value at the recent Netball Super League and during the major competitions last year. We have decided to bring Shina and Yasmin to Fiji as an additional two players, to give them the same chance as the others to show their merit and push for final team selection.
“I know how much it means to have netball back in the SEA Games and for the team to be playing in front of our home crowd. The hard work continues over the next two months to get that final team as best prepared as it possibly can be and this includes giving them important match practice so they are fully fit and ready to play at game tempo when they step on court for their first match.”
The team will travel to the Pacific Island of Fiji to play a series of matches against their hosts – who are currently ranked 7th in the world – and Papua New Guinea (PNG), who will also make the journey over and provide additional match practice. PNG were in Singapore last December for the Nations Cup and currently sit two places behind Singapore on the World Rankings at 19th. Fiji will turn out two teams to create a four-team competition. Aside from the matches, Premila Hirubalan will run a coaching clinic for talented young players and Aitken will conduct a coach development seminar to assist the club coaches in Fiji.
The final Singapore team for SEA Games will be announced on their return and the following month Singapore will welcome the Hong Kong Football Club netball team – the top expatriate side in the country, for two friendly matches (8th and 9th May) to give the team experience against a different style of opposition.
Following the SEA Games conclusion, the Opens squad of 23 will regroup and will go through another series of selection trials with the team for the World Cup to be selected and announced in mid-June. The Netball World Cup takes place in Sydney, Australia from 7th to 16th August.
Final Opens Team for Tour of Fiji (14 selected players):
– Micky Lin (Captain)
– Chen Huifen (Co-Vice Captain)
– Nurul Baizura (Co-Vice Captain)
– Ang Shiqi
– Chen Li Li
– Premila Hirubalan
– Yasmin Ho
– Shelby Koh
– Pamela Liew
– Kimberly Lim
– Natalie Long
– Charmaine Soh
– Anna Soo
– Shina Teo