Exposure is the key: NZ netball duo

New Zealand netball legend Irene va Dyk (left) having a chat with Ms Jessica Tan (right), president of Netball Singapore, and Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua (centre) at the M1 Corporate Challenge.
New Zealand netball legend Irene va Dyk (left) having a chat with Ms Jessica Tan (right), president of Netball Singapore, and Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua (centre) at the M1 Corporate Challenge.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Singapore's netball team are currently the best in Asia, but they are constantly looking to make strides on the world stage.

To improve their international ranking of 15th, the national team need to have greater exposure to tough competition either through overseas tours or inviting teams over, said New Zealand netball legend Irene van Dyk.

She and fellow two-time Commonwealth Games champion Casey Kopua are in town for a five-day visit to conduct netball clinics in schools and with the national team.

The duo were speaking on the sidelines of yesterday's M1 Corporate Challenge exhibition game.


New Zealand netballers Irene van Dyk (right) and Casey Kopua in action during the M1 Corporate Challenge yesterday. They are in town to conduct netball clinics in schools and with the national team. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The game saw Senior Minister of State (Culture, Community and Youth, and Finance) Sim Ann, Minister of State (Education, and Communications and Information) Dr Janil Puthucheary, Parliamentary Secretary (Education, and Trade and Industry) Low Yen Ling, and MP Jessica Tan, the president of Netball Singapore, face off against several M1 senior executives. Three Singapore national players also participated.

As an appreciation of the MPs' participation, M1 donated $50,000 to underprivileged children and youth-at-risk causes of their choice.

"It's pretty much just exposure and getting tough competition week in and week out, to learn to deal with really tough situations, physical builds," said van Dyk, who is also the most capped international netball player with 217 caps.

Another area that Singapore can work on is having strong youth development where everyone is involved in supporting the young talents.

Van Dyk shared that in New Zealand and Australia, kids as young as four years old would start playing netball. As the kids enjoy playing together, when mini competitions are held, the children get their weekly exposure. "Get everyone - schools, clubs, parents all involved, and that's the key to building a strong netball community," van Dyk added.

Both van Dyk and Kopua believe Singapore are on the right track. Silver Ferns captain Kopua said: "Every time we play against them, they are getting better and better. The more exposure they have, the better."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Exposure is the key: NZ netball duo'. Print Edition | Subscribe