TRINIDAD and Tobago’s participation in netball at the Commonwealth Games in July will be confirmed on January 31.
If the Calypso Girls remain within the top 12 International Netball Federation (INF) ranked nations by the end of January, they will automatically qualify for the quadrennial meet. They are currently ranked tenth in the world.
Australia, New Zealand and England are the top three respectively with Jamaica (fourth) being the only Caribbean nation in the top 12. Barbados are 13th.
The Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8.
As it stands, the INF is still calculating qualification points for the games since there are nations who would be competing this month. However, TT are not scheduled to compete locally or internationally before the end of January. TT Netball Association (TTNA) president Sherry-Ann Blackburn said she remains hopeful TT would qualify owing to their relatively “safe” ranking.
“Based on international teams playing and participating this month, and because of the ranking system utilised by the INF, TT’s confirmation for the Commonwealth Games will not be done until January 31. So we have to wait and see,” said Blackburn.
Additionally, a national Under-23 team is currently in training for the sport’s inaugural feature at the 24th Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador, El Salvador in 2023.
Initially, this meet was carded to be held in Panama in 2020 but owing to the pandemic, it was rescheduled to be hosted in El Salvador last year. For similar reasons, it was again rescheduled and will now be hosted in 2023.
For CAC, Blackburn said, training has already begun under interim coaches Joel Young-Strong and Simone Moore, TTNA vice-president.
“The Under-23 team will be participating in an event in July as they prepare for the 2023 CAC Games. They need to train and sharpen themselves a lot because only national teams are allowed to train locally.
“Right now, we’re actually puling people out from doing very little to nothing, to get them ready. So it’s going to be very intense preparations. The team though, started training before 2021 closed off,” Blackburn added.
Blackburn said the association is currently finalising official national coaching and management roles to get the teams going in full stride. Young-Strong and Moore have opted to stand-in until this process is completed.
Blackburn however, expressed confidence in the pair during their stint as coaches in the interim.