Netballers win Under-16 title

We are the Champions! Government officials with members of the triumphant Under-16 Netball Team following their arrival at George FL Charles Airport Saturday afternoon.

While it may not be the cure that ends all, the Under-16 side capturing in glorious fashion the Jean Pierre Memorial Championship held in St Kitts speaks volumes when it comes to heightening the interest in local netball.
Following their arrival at George FL Charles Airport Saturday afternoon, the young ladies and officials received a hero’s welcome and rightly so, having beaten teams like mighty Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, St Vincent and then clobbering Dominica 51-7 in the final game to win the tournament, based on a superior goal average than second place Barbados. St Lucia lost only one game in this double round robin competition posting a 7-1 won loss record with 36 points.
It was a reversal of form for St Lucia, who won the tournament for the first time after placing fourth last year. Along with winning the championship, Team St Lucia won the Best Defensive Team award. There’s more. Catherine Edmund (St Joseph’s Convent) received the prestigious President’s Award.
After touching down at the airport, team members were greeted by several officials including Prime Minister, Stephen King; Minister of Sports, Lenard Montoute; Permanent Secretary in the Department of Youth and Sports, Donovan Williams; and Director of Youth & Sports, Victor Reid, escorted them to the VIP Lounge where hugs and kisses were exchanged with excited parents and well wishers.
In welcoming everyone, Master of Ceremonies Teddy Francis put into perspective their monumental achievement.
He said: “A historic occasion is indeed a mild term to describe what we are celebrating here today. Having discussed with persons who have been involved with covering and following sports, I can boldly say that never before have young ladies in any tournament from marbles to dominos, football, track and field has any St Lucian team in one tournament beaten Barbados, St Vincent and Trinidad & Tobago.”
During her brief remarks, President of the St Lucia National Netball Association (SLNNA), Rufina Paul, spoke proudly of the team’s achievement and while hinting that things did not go smoothly all the time, attributed their success to “determination, focus and knowing what you want.”
The team consisted of the following players and officials: Chattany Justin, Lisa Casimir, Cevelle Huggings, Antonia Jn Pierre, Ianna Hippolyte, Chenna Prospere, Catherine Edmund, Tonya Tobiere, Jeanique Etienne, Valencia Classe, Joann Anderson, Nena Joseph and  Racquelle Peaches Wilson. Officials: President of the SLNNA, Rufina Paul; Manager, Mary Ann Martial Montoute; Coach, Shem Maxwell; Assistant Coach, Michelle Rogers.
Minister Montoute congratulated the team on behalf of the Government and people of St Lucia. He expressed his gratification for the demonstrated support for the team by parents and noted that this augurs well for the development of the sport.
Montoute congratulated the five members of the St Lucian team selected to form part of the 17 member Caribbean Netball squad. The five players are: Valencia Classe (Team Captain), Antora Jn Pierre (Vice Captain), Ianna Hippolyte (top shooter with an accuracy of 78.45 percent), Joann Anderson (accuracy of 62.34) and Chattnnay Justin (defensive player).
Prime Minister King who had the final word, pledged his government’s commitment towards supporting the growth of the team which he referred to as “a future St Lucian team of world standard.”
The Prime Minister received a thunderous round of applause after announcing he would approve the financing of an international coach from New Zealand or England, to work with the Champion St Lucia Under-16 team.

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