Games buildup

Members of the Fiji Pearls netball side at the Nadi International Airport yesterday before flying to New Zealand. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Members of the Fiji Pearls netball side at the Nadi International Airport yesterday before flying to New Zealand. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Lusiana Rokoura-captained Fiji Pearls team flew out to New Zealand yesterday to participate in a Quad Series against hosts NZ, Malawi and Jamaica in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

The national side had to be rushed to their Fiji Airways flight to Auckland after arriving late from Nausori in the morning.

Fiji has participated in two Commonwealth Games with their best finish being seventh at the 2002 Manchester Games.

However the bigger picture after the Commonwealth Games is the Oceania qualifiers which will see two nations from the region qualify to the 2019 Netball World Cup in England.

It is a hectic schedule for the Fiji Pearls with the Quad Series to be held in Auckland from March 21-24, the Commonwealth Games from April 5-15 on the Gold Coast and the Oceania qualifiers from April 17-22 in Auckland.

Fiji Pearls manager Ruci Nasemira said the Quad Series would be high level competition.

“It is basically our preparation for the Commonwealth Games but most importantly the World Cup qualifying which will be played after it,” Nasemira said.

“The girls are well prepared for that and we will be expecting tough games.

“We are in a strong pool during the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

Fiji will face Australia, South Africa, Jamaica, Northern Ireland and Barbados in Pool A at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Nasemira said they would return to the country after the Quad Series before going to Australia.

“After the Commonwealth Games we will head straight back to New Zealand.

“The girls have been doing great at training and are ready for the three trips,” Nasemira said.

The Fiji Pearls will battle with Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Samoa in the Oceania qualifiers.

Fiji was placed 11th at the 2015 World Cup in Australia.