HomeNetballElite League set to return after three-year absence

Elite League set to return after three-year absence

FOLLOWING A three-year hiatus, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and financial issues, Jamaica’s top-flight netball competition, Elite League, is set for a return, come March 10.

The return of the league will also see a new sponsor of the competition, with Marathon Insurance Brokers announcing a partnership worth $1.5 million.

Joseth Brown, sales manager at Marathon Insurance Brokers, described the partnership as the organisation’s way of supporting the sporting community.

“This tournament is just one example of our commitment to supporting the sports community, and we look forward to seeing the impact it will have on the participants and the wider community. We believe that, through sponsorship such as this, corporate Jamaica is playing its part to maintain the shine on Brand Jamaica,” said Brown.

Vice-president of Netball Jamaica and former national captain Simone Forbes said the return will see a reduction from the usual six teams to four, because of the inactivity of players over the last three years.

“When it was conceptualised, it was for six teams. However, this year, because we haven’t had it for three years, we had to cut the teams to four and the reason behind that was we didn’t believe the ladies were at the level that we wanted them to be at for this year,” said Forbes.

She disclosed that discussions were being had to invite overseas teams to participate in the league, which will be equally beneficial to both hosts Jamaica and the invitees.

“The better the other countries in the Americas become, the better Jamaica will be. So, if we’re now able to have a league where we invite players from Trinidad and Barbados to play our talented players in Jamaica, it means those countries will get better and Jamaica will get even better,” said Forbes.

The 2023 competition will be held using a home-and-away format up until the semi-final stages. National representative and vice-captain of the Sunshine Girls, Shanice Beckford, welcomes the restart of the league.

“It’s been like three years that we’ve been out, so having the sponsorship on board and getting the opportunity for it to be played over the next six weeks, we are really happy, excited and can’t wait to get out on court and play some intense games,” she said.

Beckford believes the restart has come at a good time, bearing in mind the Netball World Cup in South Africa will take place right after.

“As a Sunshine Girl, it helps us to be match ready and match fit for the World Cup in South Africa, come July.”

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