The Cook Islands U21 side prepare for the NWYC2017

U21s working hard for Netball World Youth Cup

The Cook Islands National U21 Netball squad held its 2nd camp recently in Auckland, as they continue to build towards the Netball World Youth Cup, held in Botswana in July.

15 year old Daimzel Rongokea, is one of 12 girls from across Australia and New Zealand that have been selected in the final squad that will head to the African continent later in the year. These camps have been vital in bringing their determination and enthusiasm to the court. In addition to the squad, two other local girls were invited to join the camp: Nicole Marurai and Christina Areai. Both girls hail from the Tupapa Maraerenga Netball Club, and are currently on netball scholarships at One Tree Hill College in Auckland, New Zealand.

Skills and knowledge play a major role in any sport to develop an elite athlete competing in today’s international sports arena. The Rarotonga-based players have learned much from their New Zealand and Australian counterparts at these camps, experiencing a higher level of play. Nicole and Christina were grateful for the chance to experience first-hand what was expected, in order to meet the standard of play at that level. Coach John Glassie, with his wealth of experience and knowledge, can see their natural talent and potential, and is working with the two on basic skills ranging from court structure, attacking and defending, and finding space. Nicole and Christina will participate in the next two camps to continue their development with the team.

Exposure at this level would give our local-based players the opportunity to become strong candidates for future national squads. It is very important that Netball Cook Islands (NCI) and Rarotonga netball clubs continue to engage and support our junior players throughout their netball development. NCI has a multi-pronged approach, with plans to support and upskill the coaches in Rarotonga and the Pa Enua, with a goal to raise our level to that comparable of New Zealand and Australia. They also want to upskill our umpires to international standards, and provide netball equipment to schools and clubs. Grassroots support is essential for success, and NCI is looking forward to working with the community to raise our standard of play.

For the U21 team, there have been many other challenges since qualifying for the Netball World Youth Cup in September 2016. The team lost two squad members due to serious injury, and also lost numerous players to the New Zealand and Australia pathways, which prevent them from playing for another country. In addition, commitment and financial burden are also contributing factors in reducing the number of Cook Islands squad members available. Nevertheless, the management team consisting of Coach John Glassie, Manager Mary Patutama, Physio Talia Rout, and Assistant Physio Ashleigh Iro have been instrumental in keeping our dedicated girls together and going onward in continuing to make our small nation proud on the world stage.

Netball Cook Islands is pleased to announce the 2017 team travelling to Botswana in July:

Alex Iro (Auckland) – Titikaveka
Ashley (Cope) Dixon (Auckland) – Takuvaine
Celeste Patutama (Auckland) – Arorangi
Chantal Tikitau (Cairns) – Titikaveka
Daimzel Rongokea (Rarotonga) – Arorangi
Hinemoa Mehau (Perth) – Arorangi
Maria Milani (Auckland) – Aitutaki
Mary Tuaana (Brisbane) – Arorangi
Moana Glassie (Brisbane) – Aitutaki
Nina-Tai Roberts (Auckland) – Aitutaki / Mangaia
Rochelle Teiri (Auckland) – Arorangi
Tetania Oaariki (Auckland) – Arorangi


Article Source: Netball Cook Islands Facebook

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