Netball’s the sport

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The National, Tuesday, June 7th 2011

OCEANIA representatives to the next month’s World Netball Championships (WNC) in Singapore, Fiji and Samoa, will use the Pacific Netball Series (PNS) as a warm-up.
Both Fiji and Samoa won the qualifiing round in the Cook Islands during the mini-South Pacific Games in 2009.
Fiji captain Matila Waqanidrola, who will play her second WNC next month, said her mission was to win the tournament and defend their title and prepare for the World Cup in Singapore.
Defender Waqanidrola, a veteran of Fiji netball squad, said they were hoping to give their best during the week-long tournament to prepare themselves for the world championsips.
Fiji Netball Association president Milika Munivai said she was confident the squad chosen would take the country to the world championships.
“We are the Pacific netball champions and we’re confident with the team we have,” Munivai said.
Samoa captain Opheira Karatau shared similar sentiments with Waqanidrola about their aims in the Pacific series as a good warm-up  for the world championships.
She said Fiji would be stronger in the event but they were expecting strong challenge from hosts PNG and Cook Islands as well.
According to  the International Federation of Netball Association’s (IFNA) ranking as of yesterday, Fiji ranks 5th, Samoa 9th and Cook Islands on 11 while PNG is 17th.
Karatau said they had set their sights primarily on beating Fiji as they were the defending champions and the highest ranked nation at this tournament.
Cook Islands’ Paula Te Huna said, like PNG, they were using the tournament to improve their ranking.
The Cook Islands and PNG are outside the top 10 in world ranking and will use the tournament to improve their positions.
Fiji take on Samoa in the first match today followed by PNG and the Cook Islands at the Sir John Guise Stadium.