WITH just six days to go before the commencement of the 2018 Caribbean Netball Association Jean Pierre Youth (Under-16) Championships, it is still unclear as to how many teams will travel to Saint Lucia when the championship serves off on Friday 6 – 12 April.
To date seven teams have confirmed participation; powerhouse Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago along with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts, Grenada, Dominica and host Saint Lucia.
A total of 16 countries are eligible to participate.
A twelve member team has been selected to represent Saint Lucia and leading the charge will be the 2017 netballer of the year Meggan Nestor; Megan along with Dasha Eugene are the only two returning players from the 2016 squad when the tournament was last played in Barbados.
The remainder of the squad reads: Pricilla Ambrose, MelikaDestang, SyanneAllain, Kereser Augustin, JermiaSonson, Mai Peter, Bernet Joseph, ShernikaDupre, Renala Francis and Racquel John.
Senior national netball captain and coach attached to the Department of Youth Development and Sports Shem Maxwell takes charge of the team as Head Coach; she will be assisted by Verne Alexander, while DeselvaFlorton will assume the Team Manager responsibilities.
Saint Lucia last won the championship in 2011 in Saint Kitts and based on the final results, the team demonstrated determination and high quality performance by getting past the traditional powerhouses Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to be crowned regional under -16 champions.
The current squad has been in training for a few months now and in the process has gone through a series of rigorous training to include anaerobic, resistance, biometric sessions, game and tactical sessions both at the Vigie Multi-Purpose Sports Complex and the Micoud Court. Despite finishing fourth in Barbados in 2016, the new kids on the block seems poised to turn the fortunes around on home soil.
The one week tournament will see the various teams engaged in a number of activities including a welcome reception, a church service, an opening netball rally and skills display, a shooting competition for teams and individuals and an event dubbed “Breakfast with the stars”.
The event is also used to groom officials for higher levels of officiating.
Jamaica has won the tournament record ten-times.
The youth championship named after the renowned international netballer, the late Jean Pierre of Trinidad and Tobago, has been staged annually since 1998.
Meanwhile, the SLNNA has made a request to the sporting public to come out and support the local girls in their blue, gold/black and white attire as they look to capture the championship for the second time.