The Jamaicans will be joined by captain Malysha Kelly and Vangelee Williams, from Australia and England respectively, where they play club competition. A full-strength Jamaican team is expected for the traditionally fierce match-ups and national coach Minneth Reynolds said she is expecting a much better performance this time around. “We are going out there to compete at our best, and if our best is good enough, then we can be victorious. Our shortcoming was in attack and with the inclusion of Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Paula Thompson we should be able to compete much better than we did in New Zealand,” she assessed. Other squad members include; Stacian Facey, Adean Thomas, Shamera Sterling, Khadijah Williams, Shantal Slater. Under-21 players Hasana Williams and Carla-lee Tinglin are also included in the squad. “I am hoping to take my time and play the ball, and play my own game and prove myself on the court,” said Williams, 17-year-old from the Queen’s School. Tinglin, an 18-year-old University of the West Indies student is also looking forward to the experience. “I have always had this dream, didn’t know it would come so early though, but the Lord knows best and I will be giving it my all,” Tinglin said. NEW ADDITIONS Netball Jamaica President Dr Paula Daley-Morris is expecting the Sunshine Girls to put recent disappointments behind them and fight to defeat hosts England in their three-match international test series, slated for November 29 to December 4. Ten members of the national team, their management and coaching staff departed Netball House, located in Barbican, yesterday for the Norman Manley International Airport. According to the president, the team is targeting improvements following their recent 3-0 loss to number two ranked New Zealand. The Jamaicans also had a dismal Fast5 World Netball Series showing in Australia, winning two games against lower-ranked teams and losing four. “Well, we are hoping to improve on our performance from the other tours. We definitely need to improve, so that’s the plan,” she outlined. Daley-Morris, describing her team as a mix of youth and experience, feels they will be equipped to take on third-ranked England at home. The Sunshine girls are ranked fourth, behind Australia, New Zealand and England, respectively. “I am confident that it’s going to be fierce in terms of competition,” said the president. “Higher-ranked England? Listen, that is a matter of which year you are talking about, we are equally ranked, no fears, no. I am sure they are more fearful than we are, they have a lot more to lose,” she reasoned. Jamaica will be bolstered by the return of senior ace shooter, Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Paula Thompson, while goal shooter Shanice Beckford will be hoping to continue her good run from New Zealand.
Jamaica’s top-rated female martial artist, Subrina Richards, who notched a triple-double of international gold medals last season, has been pointed at four major world championships this season by her handlers, setting an unbelievably high bar for 2017. The lanky 20-year-old will start her international season by defending double gold medals, starting with June’s International Sport Kickboxing Association (ISKA) Amateur Member Association World Championships in Greece. In July, she takes her show to the International Sport Karate Association’s United States Open in Orlando, Florida, again defending continuous and points sparring gold medals won last year. It gets tougher in October when Richards travels to Ireland for the International Taekwondo Federation World Cup and even more so a month later when she debuts at the World Association of Kickboxing Organisation’s (WAKO) World Championships in Mexico. Despite facing a gruelling campaign, Richards said that she wants to set the bar so high that “whoever is behind will have a far way to top that”. “I want to raise the bar, do something nobody has ever done. I won four international world titles last year – the double at WAKO Pan Am Champs, ISKA World Champs in Germany, and US Open in Orlando,” she pointed out. Richards’ coach, Jason McKay, described her 2016 run as perfect, pointing out that it was the first time any Jamaican fighter, of any gender, had won six gold medals in three major tournaments in one year. “She has been on a run of four straight double gold, 2015-16. She had also won two gold medals at the 2015 US Open. This year will be tougher. Let’s see what she’s made of,” he said. GRUELLING CAMPAIGN