THE number of participants in the Fiji Primary Schools Netball Tournament has increased significantly from 18 districts last year to 27 this year.
Speaking at the start of tournament at Lautoka's Churchill Park yesterday, Fiji Primary Schools Netball Association president Susana Liga said preparations for the tournament had been carried out well by the Lautoka City Council.
"The girls have felt at home in the Sugar City," she said.
"Netball Fiji has gone out to the districts and we're here to develop netball at the grassroots level.
"Also in our strategic work plan, one of the key areas we will focus on is developing our teachers.
"This is to make them qualified coaches and umpires, so when we have tournaments in future we won't have to go to Netball Fiji for assistance."
Liga said there would be qualified umpires officiating throughout the two-day tournament.
"Suva is the defending champion but I know Lautoka has come out in full force this year."
In addition, there are 2300 young netball players from all over the country, including Kadavu and Lau, along with 560 officials.
Liga said the association had yet to secure an official sponsor for the event but C K Ezybuy, Blue Gas and LCC had donated essentials for the tournament.
The tournament ends today.