Netball: S'pore netballers begin Asian defence with big win

The national netball team competing at the 10th Asian Netball Championship, which will take place at the National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand from July 30 to August 7.
The national netball team competing at the 10th Asian Netball Championship, which will take place at the National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand from July 30 to August 7. PHOTO: NETBALL SINGAPORE

Holders Singapore got their Asian Netball Championship title defence off to a promising start with a 57-14 defeat of Chinese Taipei in Bangkok last night.

It was the national team's first major tournament since the retirement of the three centurion veterans - captain Micky Lin, vice-captain Chen Huifen and defender Premila Hirubalan - in May.

"It's a good starting point for us, but we still have a long road ahead," said coach Ruth Aitken.

"Chinese Taipei played with a lot of heart and we were well challenged - it wasn't a walk in the park.

"We managed to field all 12 players today. Many of the players have been in the squad for a while, and today they've stepped up and really shone. Now we need to recover well for the next match."

Singapore next play hosts Thailand this afternoon, the third-strongest team in the five-team rotation after the Republic and Hong Kong.

Aitken's charges will need to finish in the top two to advance to the semi-finals of the 10-team tournament, where they are likely to face old rivals Malaysia or Sri Lanka, who are in the other group.

The win also marked an encouraging return to the international scene for first-time captain Vanessa Lee.

"It's exciting leading the team and I'm happy that we came out with a win," said the 32-year-old, whose last international appearance was at the 2012 Asian Championship.

"I'm hoping that we make the top two. We might be the defending champions, but we're a new team, and other teams have gotten stronger."

Nicola Chew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore netballers begin Asian defence with big win'. Print Edition | Subscribe