By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
THE Newcrest 2018 National Netball Championships tipped off smoothly in Lae with a total of 12 junior teams from nine provinces battling out for the top honours.
Lae Netball Association president Shirley Lung said 12 associations welcomed the teams at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium and netball courts.
The Southern region, who are expected to feature prominently at the national titles, have Port Moresby, Togo, Abau, Kairuku-Hiri, Alotau, Gulf, and Motu-Koita West.
Mamose region is represented by Lae and Madang; the Highlands by Goroka and Jiwaka; and New Guinea Islands have Kimbe as the lone representative.
All associations are fielding teams in the Under-13s, U15s, U17s and U21s in junior divisions and one team each for the A, B and Masters in the senior division.
The senior competitions will take place over the weekend (Sept 22-23).
The finals of the junior competition are tomorrow.
Lung thanked Newcrest Mining Ltd for provided more than K118,000 in sponsorship to host the championships.
PNG Netball Federation director Emily Taule said during the official opening ceremony that the participation of associations in the federation was important.
“There are a lot of associations trying to take part but the costs are high, making it difficult for netball associations to train properly and participate in the competition,” Taule said.
“There is one new team that will be joining the federation and it is the Chimbu Netball Association; who are in Lae to observe the competition.
“It is good for the federation of netballers because we want to get more participation from the Highlands region apart from Goroka and Jiwaka,” she said.
Taule said the national federation was committed on upgrading and up-skilling the umpires and coaches as well. “Unlike before, the competition today is very competitive and the level of games must be improved,” Taule said.
Meanwhile, Lae MP John Rosso welcomed the teams to Lae and gave them K10,000 to support the Lae Netball Association in hosting the championships.
“We must encourage our young girls to take part in sporting activities so they can learn about discipline and team work,” Rosso said.
By EREBIRI ZURENUOC