SEA Games: Netball final squad named, Hirubalan set for century of caps

Netball Singapore released the names of its final 12-player squad for the 2015 SEA Games on Friday after a lengthy training and selection process.

A preliminary team of 21 players and four training partners were chosen after the Netball Super League (NSL) ended in February 2015. The selectors trimmed the team down to 14 players for the team's final training tour in Fiji from April 14 to 22 before deciding on the final 12.

National coach Ruth Aitken admitted that the selectors had "difficult decisions to make in selecting the final 12" but Ms Jessica Tan, president of the Singapore Netball Association, said: "I'm confident that under Ruth's guidance, the team will outdo themselves and perform at their very best in front of our home supporters."

The final team certainly possess the skill and tactical nous required to win, with eight players selected from the team that won gold at the 2014 Asian Netball Championship.

Squad members and younger players were also given chances to stake their claim for a regular place. For example, Yasmin Ho got her opportunity to represent Singapore after strong performances for her club in the NSL and Shina Teo earned her first call-up from the Under-21 side to the national team.

The charge for a long-awaited SEA Games gold will be once again led by captain Micky Lin Qingyi and co-vice-captains Chen Huifen and Nurul Baizura.

Veteran Premila Hirubalan, 32, has 97 caps and will be looking to become Singapore's second netball centurion after former national captain Jean Ng during the SEA Games. Having won the silver in 2001, she admits winning the gold on home soil and achieving 100 caps for her country would be particularly "special".

Six teams have confirmed their participation for the netball competition - Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and hosts Singapore.

Singapore open their campaign on May 31 against Brunei, before taking on their fierce rivals Malaysia on June 2, with the top four entering the semi-finals.

Final SEA Games team: Lin Qingyi Micky, Chen Huifen, Nurul Baizura, Ang Shi Qi, Charmaine Soh, Chen Lili, Yasmine Ho, Kimberly Lim, Pamela Liew, Premila Hirubalan, Shelby Koh and Shina Teo.

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