Irene aims to develop grassroots netball

Irene van Dyk, left and a young netball player yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FORMER Silver Ferns player Irene van Dyk is in the country under the NetGo program, an initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand through the Pacific partnership to help in the development of young netball enthusiasts in the country.

The program is to help in the development of the sport from the grassroots level as the main objective is to increase participation of netball in Fiji.

The South-African born New Zealand netball rep said she was passionate about being an ambassador in spreading the netball gospel.

“This is not my first time here as I came last year and I am happy to be back to conduct clinics and engage with the children,” said Dyk.

“I believe that we should get more teachers involved in this program, because the more teachers you get involved, the more students we can get.

“It is the awareness of the sport at the development level that will gather as much children into playing netball,” said Dyk.

Fiji Netball assistant coach Unaisi Rokoura said the program had developed since it was first introduced last year and there had been many great feedbacks from schools.

“We are very fortunate that the government of New Zealand and Netball New Zealand are working with us in terms of the development of the sport in the country,” said Rokoura.

“Through this program we have been able to train the teachers into being certified coaches, so far we have accredited 2367 teachers in 13 schools and 19 junior umpires in the country.”

“These are just some of the things the NetGo program has helped us to achieve,” said Rokoura.

New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr said the New Zealand government was keen on promoting the development of sports in the country.

“It is great that Irene could make it to Fiji and meet the kids again as we are very keen to support sports in the Pacific countries like Fiji,” said Curr.

“Not only are we promoting sports but this is a way of promoting healthy living in Fiji.”

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