Kiwi netball greats bound for S'pore

New Zealand's Irene Van Dyk (right) making a shot while England's Eboni Beckford-Chambers looks on at the World Netball Championship 2011 (WNC) held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 9, 2011.
New Zealand's Irene Van Dyk (right) making a shot while England's Eboni Beckford-Chambers looks on at the World Netball Championship 2011 (WNC) held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 9, 2011. PHOTO: ST FILE

Two of the most storied names in netball, Irene van Dyk and Casey Kopua, will be in Singapore next month on a week-long visit.

The duo, here mainly for the Nov 14 M1 Corporate Netball Challenge, will be part of a meet-and-greet session and question-and-answer event open to the public that day.

They are also expected to play an exhibition game against senior management from the telco and possibly with some Members of Parliament.

In the lead-up to the one-day event at the Kallang Netball Centre, van Dyk, 43, and Kopua, 30, will both conduct clinics for national age-group players and in schools as part of the M1 schools programme.

Meanwhile, they will attend and conduct training sessions with the national Under-21 and Open players.

Kopua, better known as Casey Williams before she married, is the captain of the Silver Ferns and played in three editions of the World Cup. Van Dyk, who recently retired from international play, is widely regarded as one of the world's best shooters and has played in five World Cups.

This will be the second time that Netball Singapore is bringing in some of the world's best players for similar visits. Shooter Maria Tutaia, 28, who also plays for the world No. 2 New Zealand team, was in town late last year as part of the build-up to the Netball Nations Cup.

The association has been able to bring in the Kiwis thanks in part to the connections of national coach and New Zealander Ruth Aitken, who coached the Silver Ferns before taking up her position here.

Said Aitken: "It is about us bringing to life some of the legends of the game, allowing our young players especially to get up close and personal with world-class netballers.

"Last year, with Maria, there was a huge interest level. It's great that it also helps broaden Singapore's view of netball in terms of a world sport and the international game.

"They'll pass on some really good tips along the way and it's really more about just engaging someone who has made netball their profession and is giving back as well."

Netball Singapore's chief executive officer Cyrus Medora said the association will continue to explore more of such possibilities in future.

Foreign players are regularly brought in to play in the Netball Super League, exposing local players to their styles of play, while Perth-based West Coast Fever, who feature in the trans-Tasman league ANZ Championship, were in Singapore for a training trip last year and are slated to return in February.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2015, with the headline 'Kiwi netball greats bound for S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe