Aaliyah and Hailee want U21 props

The Cayman Islands Netball Association wants to get the public more familiar with top junior talent.

The association will be highlighting prospective members of the national Under-21 team. The girls have made it past the second roster cut with the last cuts expected to occur in the coming weeks.

Aaliyah Webb, 16, started playing netball in primary school back in 2004 and states the sport represents a big commitment.

“I love the team camaraderie of netball,” Webb said. “Like many other sports, one cannot play the game alone. I also like the fact that through netball, I have made new friends and have reconnected with friends from my younger years. Netball can be intense but also fun and is very beneficial to a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s very hard for me to choose one main personal quality that I have learnt so far; for netball has helped me to develop in a number of ways, such as becoming more disciplined, focused and self confident. I’m also growing in the area of learning the importance of having a positive outlook and attitude.

“These qualities have undoubtedly aided my level of perseverance and commitment to training, playing league matches, school work and yes chores at home. The opportunity to represent my country through netball is indeed an honour. Doing so with the unique yet similar group of young women I train with makes it all that more special.”

Cayman’s top players are preparing for the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland this August. The world championships, happening 22-31 August, take place every four years with the last event on the Cook Islands in 2009. Australia are the reigning champions and some 20 countries will be participating this year.

The girls have been training at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts since September. Tryouts initially attracted 25 girls and all have been under the guidance of technical director for Cayman netball Gillian Lee.

Hailee Robinson, 18, is studying in Canada and was among the girls involved in the tryout process. Robinson turns 19 in March and started playing netball when she was about eight-years-old at George Town Primary School. She spoke about her willingness to play.

“I love the way netball has given me a community of passionate young people to relate with,” Robinson said. “When I moved to Montreal to study at McGill University, I found that, through netball, I was able to connect with my Caribbean community thousands of miles away.

“My dual nationalities has also afforded me the ability to represent Canada on the Quebec Provincial netball team as well as the Cayman Islands. I am globally minded and enjoy travelling to culturally diverse places and I have found that netball can connect me to any community that I may find myself in.

“I have learned to strive for excellence in not just netball, but in my academic pursuits as well. Learning to balance my rigorous academic programme at university while also training for hours, both on and off the court for netball, has taught me that I am able to show dedication to the many things that I am passionate about.

“I have already had the honour of representing my country in the Under-16 national team at the Jean Pierre Netball Tournament in Jamaica and I hope that this new experience in Scotland will allow me to demonstrate the pride I already have in my nation.

“We may be small and not as globally recognized as some of the other countries that will be represented at the tournament, however we expect to make an impact with our large Caymanian heart and spirit.”

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