FAST5 netball was included in the Commonwealth Youth Games for the first time this year as the event was hosted in Trinidad & Tobago from the 4th – 11th August.
Unlike the Commonwealth Games, where netball is a regular, being included in the Commonwealth Youth Games was a first for netball, with the eight countries competing in the FAST5 discipline at the event.
Australia, Botswana, Canada, England, South Africa, Scotland, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago were the eight countries that took part.
Canada’s inclusion was particularly special as they have not competed in netball in a Commonwealth Games event in over 20 years.
We spoke to the captain of the Canada team, Janelle Yang, about just how important it is to be competing in an event like this.
She said: “When I found out that I was selected, I don’t think I stopped smiling that day and I was very excited to start the journey.
“I felt proud to have the opportunity to represent Canada and play in a high level of competition in the Commonwealth Youth Games.
“Before the Commonwealth Youth games, I had only competed in provincials for my High School, so this was a big jump in the level of competition for me.”
Yang and her teammates were not phased by the competition they faced though, and instead embraced the opportunity with open arms recording two victories during their time in Tobago against the hosts, Trinidad & Tobago, and St Vincent & the Grenadines, before eventually finishing 6th.
“We knew that every game at this competition was going to be tough, so coming out with these two wins made us proud to be there.
“The team and I also felt that we earned this for Canada’s growing netball program.”
Not only did the netball live up to their expectations, the vibe, camaraderie, and professionalism of the event also left the Canadian team feeling inspired to keep working hard when they returned home.
In closing Yang said: “Playing against England (in a warm-up game) was an amazing experience because they are a top country when it comes to netball, and we took it as a learning opportunity.
“England and many of the countries that we met were all very kind through the Commonwealth Youth Games and we made sure to show our support as well.
“The opening ceremony was a great way to start the event.
“The team and I got to meet the rest of the Canada teams as well as other countries.
“The acts and music were also fun to watch and dance to because all the countries were there to cheer for the same thing.
“I have left the event feeling inspired to continue playing netball.
“I am looking forward to continuing to improve in the game and to take on new opportunities that arise.”
To find out more about Netball Canada, visit their website here.
To view the Commonwealth Youth Games results, click here.