Netball: Vanessa Lee comes out of international retirement to captain Singapore national team

Vanessa Lee, the new captain of Singapore netball team.
Vanessa Lee, the new captain of Singapore netball team.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Four years after her international retirement, Vanessa Lee has returned to the national netball team and has been entrusted with the captaincy.

Lee's appointment was announced by Netball Singapore on Wednesday (June 29).

The 32-year-old takes over from Micky Lin Qingyi, who was part of a trio of stalwarts to call time on their international careers last month to make way for new blood. The other two who stepped down were Chen Huifen and Premila Hirubalan.

Lee will make her debut as skipper at the Asian Championships in Bangkok from July 30 to Aug 7. Singapore had won the last two editions in 2012 and 2014.

Coincidentally, the 2012 Asian Championships in Sri Lanka was the last competition when Lee donned the national colours.

Lee, who had played in two Asian Championships, two World Cups and four Nations Cup, said: "I'm leading the team this time, I'm not just a regular player anymore, so the responsibilities are different now and it's a bigger challenge for me."

On her comeback, Lee explained: "I miss showing the competitive side in me. I like to compete. I don't think I can play until I'm 40, so I'd better do it now."

National coach Ruth Aitken felt that Lee, who plays as a goal keeper or goal defender and has 57 international caps, has the experience needed to lead the team, especially after two main defenders Lin and Hirubalan's departure left a hole in the team's defence.

Aitken said: "She's calm and measured and consistent. I felt that's what our group really needed at this moment. She gives people confidence, she has experience on the courts, and she's one of the reasons for our success over the years. It's a way for her to blossom and grow... I feel that there was still something left in her which Singapore still need to see."