SINGAPORE - Singapore's M1 Asian Netball Championship hopes have been given a boost with key defensive player Chen Lili being given the all-clear to join the squad.
The 1.96m tall player had been on a six-month injury layoff after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament during last year's Mission Foods Nations Cup.
However, she has now recovered sufficiently from the knee injury and will join the 14-member squad for their July 7-14 New Zealand training tour, Netball Singapore announced on Wednesday (July 4).
Chen's height will be crucial to Singapore's charge for the title as she will be key to countering taller goal shooters during the tournament, such as Sri Lanka's towering shooter Tharjini Sivalingam, who stands at 2.06m.
NS also revealed that after impressive performances in the M1 Netball Super League earlier this year, Lee Pei Shan and Khor Ting Fang have earned their spots in the squad. Both Lee and Khor were an integral part of the winning 2017 Asian Youth Championship team.
Sindhu Nair, a 22-year-old defender who earned her first international cap during the team's training tour to Sri Lanka earlier this year, also received a call-up.
"Key to the development of the national squad is strength with rigorous gym sessions a weekly part of the training approach. To assess how we are progressing on the court, we have organised a second training camp in New Zealand to test the players' capabilities against stronger-bodied, often taller players that are accustomed to playing at a high intensity," said national coach Natalie Milicich in a statement.
"The training tour in New Zealand presents the opportunity to trial our structures and combinations with the 14-member squad in tough match conditions, which will ultimately help prepare the team for the upcoming M1 ANC, where we hope to do Singapore proud."
Singapore last hosted and won the Asian Netball Championship in 2014 and this year's event will take place from Sept 1-9 at the Singapore Sports Hub.
This tournament is the regional qualifier for the Netball World Cup, where top two teams will travel to England to compete next year.
Singapore squad: Vanessa Lee (captain), Nurul Baizura (co vice-captain), Charmaine Soh (co vice-captain), Kimberly Lim, Nur Aqilah Andin, Melody Teo, Toh Kai Wei, Siti Nurshawallah, Sindhu Nair, Lee Pei Shan, Khor Ting Fang, Chen Lili, Shina Teo, Zhang Ailin.