Ladies score financial stability

Some of the best netball talents in the Cayman Islands finally have the funds for a major trip.

The national women’s team has raised roughly $50,000, which is enough to confirm its attendance at the 2014 Americas Federation of Netball Associations Championship on Aug. 19-29. The Calgary tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2015 World Netball Championships in Australia, with the top teams earning automatic berths.

According to Onicia Mitchell, who had served as the Cayman Islands Netball Association secretary, a total of $60,000 was needed and leading up to the summer months, approximately $22,000 had been raised through events such as fish fries. Over the last three months, the association hosted food sales and other initiatives, with the biggest impact coming from a raffle which raised $24,000.

Katherine Gow is part of the squad and has been one of the most vocal team members. Gow, 30, said the remaining thousands will go towards playing equipment.

“We’re excited that we’re representing Cayman at the tournament in Calgary, we’re very excited to be going,” she said. “We’re looking for an extra kit over there, we need to be training as well as playing the games. We need water bottles, bags, all of the usual things that sports teams need.”

Cayman will be catching up with its Caribbean neighbors. As of July, Jamaica is fourth in the world while Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are ninth and tenth, respectively. St. Lucia is 18th and Bermuda 30th. Grenada is in the process of gaining a world ranking. The Barbadians, Grenadans and Trinidadians will compete in Calgary, along with Argentina, Canada and the United States. Cayman plays its first game against the Canadians on Aug. 19 at 3 p.m. Cayman time.

Gow is among 13 girls on the roster, the others are: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Marsha Campbell, Alexis Carias, Kayon Clarke, Nickesha Lynch, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson and Teneisha Wilson. The group, which represents the first women’s team Cayman has fielded in years, has been training since January.

Carias, 16, is one of the youngest team members but among the select few to have international experience. She was part of Cayman’s national Under-21 team at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland. Carias said the Calgary tournament will be a starting point for more competitions.

“It, funding, is important because we still need $10,000 to go so we need everyone’s help,” Carias said. “I think every sports team’s goal is to win and we’re hoping to place first or second so we can go to Australia next year for the world championship. But, if we don’t, we still plan to go to Australia to play in the next tournament that they (the federation of netball associations) are doing so we still need more fundraising to go to Australia next year.”

The group recently got a financial boost, via funding from Deutsche Bank. According to Deutsche director David Dyer, the bank is motivated to support local players.

“We are delighted that Deutsche Bank is able to make this donation to the association and support our local sports women in their pursuit of excellence,” Dyer said. “The bank shares with them a real passion to perform to the best of their ability. Opportunities like those afforded to local athletes through the work of the association are so important in terms of developing new skills, gaining self-confidence and building relationships with others with similar interests. It is absolutely right that we should invest in their future in this way.”