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Spotlight On Sport - Netball

Athlete Interviews  |  Netball at Glasgow 2014  |  What to expect  |  Guide to Netball  |  Netball Quiz


Athlete Interviews

This summer 12 national teams, including New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, the Scottish Thistles and the Australian Diamonds, will be showing off their athleticism, skill and tactics in Glasgow 2014’s netball competition. Netball is a fast exciting sport, constantly shifting as the game shifts quickly from defence to attack. This is a truly Commonwealth sport where World Championship titles have been in the keeping of Commonwealth nations since their inception.

Competition will take place at the SECC Precinct where a single Gold medal will be up for grabs amongst the 12 competing nations. To date the netball gold has only ever been held by Australia and New Zealand, but this time there are strong challenges from England, Jamaica, South Africa and the emerging netball powers of Malawi.

All this week the CGF will be taking an in-depth look at netball, and we start  by interviewing England’s Stacey Francis, Scotland’s Lesley MacDonald and New Zealand' Casey Kopua.

Stacey Francis

  1. Stacey FrancisYou previously represented England at Delhi 2010. What does it mean to you to represent your country at a Commonwealth Games?
    The feeling of representing your country at the commonwealth games is a unique one and my fondest memory from netball that I have so far.

    The CWG's is the biggest multi-sport event that netball participates in which creates a unique environment and then the added magic of being in Delhi made it an unforgettable experience.

     

  2. What do you enjoy most about Netball?
    My favourite part about netball is honestly the training. I love being an athlete and pushing my body and my team-mates to be the best that we can be.

     

  3. What are you looking for from the organisers in terms of what makes a Games great for an athlete?
    Knowing that everything has been taken care of makes life super easy for an athlete. When you don't have to worry about any organisational or logistical issues, you are free to focus on the reason why you are there - to win a medal! it always helps to have friendly people working there too. A smile goes along way :)

     

Lesley MacDonald

  1. Lesley MacDonaldThis will be the first time that Scotland has participated in Netball at a Commonwealth Games, what do you see as the main goals for the team?
    We are currently ranked 12th in the world, and with the top 12 countries competing at the Games, we know where our starting point is.

    We have had a great preparation to date, with good competitive matches and wins against teams that are in the top 10 in the world. Our target is to achieve a top 8 finish, which will be our highest ranking position for 20 years.

     

  2. What does a home games mean to you and the team?
    The ticket sales have been amazing, selling out all for all sessions and with the change of venue for the Finals to the Hydro, more than doubling spectator capacity, shows there is an awesome support for our Team and for Netball. Having the home support means so much to the Team, the atmosphere will be absolutely electric, hearing the crowd roar will lift us knowing we have their full support - and what better way to be introduced to the Commonwealth Games with it being on home soil.

     

  3. How are the team痴 preparations going?
    The preparations have been going really well. In January we had an exhibition test series against the best in the world, New Zealand. As you can imagine playing against the best was an amazing experience. We were disappointed with the performance in our 1st match, but we learned very quickly how to adjust to their phenomenal speed, agility and accuracy, and our 2nd match was a much improved performance. We were competing as equals from start to finish, putting all that we had practiced out on court, and with a fantastic crowd behind us supporting us right to the end, we knew we had put in a really good performance.

    The Nations Cup in February was a turning point for the Team. Beating Wales for the 1st time in 4 years, who are ranked above us, has shown that all the hard training and hours spent in the gym and on court, is starting to pay off. This has given the Team a new found belief and confidence, that will take us forward and into our next test series against Trinidad and Tobago in April, as our preparations for the Games continues.

     

Casey Kopua

  1. Casey KopuaThe squad visited Glasgow in January this year, what are you looking forward to the most at Glasgow 2014?
    We were really fortunate to be able to visit Glasgow just six months out from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because it gave us the opportunity to check out where we値l be playing our games, the training venues and the accommodation - where we値l be spending a bit of time.

    It was pretty cold when we were there in January, so I知 sure it値l be a lot different when we arrive in July.

    I知 looking forward to staying in the Athletes Village which is always a lot of fun. On days where we池e not playing, I知 hoping to see some of the other kiwi athletes competing and cheering them on. My aim is to be at the Closing Ceremony wearing a gold medal!

     

  2. What inspired you to first get involved in the sport?
    I’m a farm girl from Waikato, near Matamata so have been involved in physical activity from a young age, helping Mum and Dad on the farm from as far back as I can remember. I played a heap of different sports growing up like basketball and volleyball but I was always pretty good at netball and I’ve always played in defence.

    I think it’s the challenge of trying to get the ball away from the opposition that I love the most. That’s when my competitiveness comes out. I’d never captained a team before in life before the Silver Ferns, so that was a big step up for me, but I’m loving the challenge.

     

  3. How would you sum-up netball for somebody who has not seen it before?
    Well, I would say that netball is similar to basketball but with more people playing in set positions and you can’t dribble the ball! Netball is a fantastic team sport and can be played by people of all shapes and sizes, it’s great for overall fitness and at the top level, is played at an intensity which is second to none.

    It’s the number one sport for females in New Zealand, so if you grew up where I did, playing and watching netball is just a way of life and I love it.

     

CGF Spotlight on Sport