SINGAPORE - The Republic's netball squad will receive a boost at the Sept 3-11 Asian Netball Championships (ANC) after stalwart Charmaine Soh confirmed her return to competition after giving birth to her first child in June.
Soh, 32, was selected alongside 11 others for the tournament at the OCBC Arena, organisers announced on Wednesday (Aug 10).
Midfielder Kimberly Lim will also make her first appearance in a major international tournament since tearing her Achilles tendon at the 2019 Nations Cup.
Soh, who plays shooter, is relishing the chance to play in front of a home crowd, which gave her extra motivation to prepare well and be ready for the tournament.
The 32-year-old said: "It's not often that we get to host major tournaments like the Asian Netball Championships. Experiences like these are so special...
"I've missed practising with the team, so it's been great to be back in training with them. Competing on home soil in front of your friends and family is an experience like no other, and I can't wait to walk out on court again, this time with a new addition to my family in the audience."
With 122 and 94 international caps respectively, Soh and Lim are the squad's most experienced international players.
The squad will be led by co-captains Toh Kai Wei and Khor Ting Fang, with Khor and four others ( Tan Yi Jie, Amandeep Kaur Chahal, Miki Ng and Yew Shu Ning) competing in a major tournament for the first time.
Yew was honoured to be part of the team and is looking forward to earning her first international cap.
The defender, 24, said: "I can't wait to experience the atmosphere of competing in front of a home crowd. There will be some nerves for sure, but the seniors in the team have been sharing advice on how to handle that and they've also been very encouraging.
"We've put in the work over the last few months and we hope to do Singapore proud at the ANC 2022."
Toh, 26, recalled the nerves and excitement she felt while preparing for her SEA Games debut in 2017 but had help from seniors in coping.
"It feels surreal that I'm now in that position myself, and it's a privilege to get to mentor the younger players and lead the team. We're also very happy to have experienced players like Charmaine and Kimberly back.
"We've all been working hard together to improve our techniques and our communication on court, and we've seen good progress throughout our training tours and friendly matches."
As part of their preparations, some players were part of a team that competed in the PacificAus Sports Netball Series in Sydney in March, while a training tour was also held in Perth last month.
Head coach Annette Bishop said the team's preparation has been good and that her players are ready to put on a good show at the ANC.
She added: "The team has been training hard, and we've spent the past few months fine-tuning our set plays and techniques while also continuing to improve our fitness.
"The newer players have impressed with their hunger and dedication, while those who have a bit more experience have really stepped up both on and off the court to guide their team-mates. "
Singapore will compete against 10 other teams at the ANC: defending champions Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Japan, India, the Philippines and Maldives.
The top two finishers will attain automatic qualification to the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town.
At the last edition in 2018, Singapore finished second. The biennial event was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Singapore's squad at the ANC 2022
- Toh Kai Wei (co-captain)
- Amandeep Kaur Chahal
- Lee Pei Shan
- Charmaine Soh
- Khor Ting Fang (co-captain)
- Kimberly Lim
- Angelina Lim
- Tan Yi Jie
- Sindhu Nair
- Jamie Lim
- Miki Ng
- Yew Shu Ning