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Hubert Lawrence: New era in netball

first_imgPaula Daley-Morris has a big job ahead of her. As the new head of Netball Jamaica, her task isn’t just to maintain existing standards of performance but, if possible, one day to exceed them. It won’t be easy. Under the erstwhile Marva Bernard, Jamaica kept its time-honoured position in the world’s top four. Most recently, Jamaica was fourth at the 2015 Netball World Cup and third at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which is a virtual world championship. Daley Morris’ mission and that of her Netball Jamaica team will be to move the Sunshine Girls up to the top step of the podium. Astute as she is, the new president will already know the obstacles that lie ahead. Unlike Australia, New Zealand and England, Jamaica plays most of its netball outdoors. The open air makes the ball act differently and the preponderance of hard concrete court surfaces lend themselves to knee and ankle injuries like the one centre Paula Thompson seemed to suffer from at the World Cup. At the same time, the rest of the Big Four have professional leagues at home which allow their netballers to focus on the game, while ours juggle timetables that include school and/or work. Therefore, the edge Jamaica might have with talent is covered by extended practice time by players in Australia, New Zealand and England. One worry is that other teams who go professional and indoors can catch up. A semi-pro league was recently started in Jamaica. In its first season, it was contested outdoors. Hopefully, it will simulate world- level competition and go indoors next season. If it does, it would stretch candidates for national team places and be better preparation for international play. The solution to both going indoors and going professional is money. As with Bernard, the new president will have to do a major marketing job to convince the public and sponsors to contribute to netball. Existing programmes to raise new talent and more qualified coaches should be retained and strengthened. New ones will no doubt be conceived, too, as the need arises. With the next Commonwealth Games set for 2018 and the next Netball World Cup coming in 2019, it would be great if financial solutions could be found early on. With more full-time players practising and competing indoors and with a wise choice of national coach, Jamaica could step up in 2018 and 2019. This year, despite the 2014 Commonwealth bronze medal, Netball Jamaica had to make a public appeal for funds to cover its Netball World Cup expenses. The new president will have seen that and will know the hurdles that lie ahead. Everybody who wants Jamaica to be world number one in netball will wish her the best of luck. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at court side since the 2003 Netball World Cup. Local leagueslast_img read more

This is the Netherlands you have to answer questions Dutch reporters confront

first_imgTopics Since you’re here… Read more Shares1,1561156 Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Play Video Last modified on Thu 11 Jan 2018 15.26 EST Share on LinkedIn Share via Email US foreign policy Dutch reporters tell US ambassador: ‘This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions’ – video Staff and agencies Share via Email Share on Facebook The new US ambassador to the Netherlands – in trouble over a fake news scandal – clashed on Wednesday with Dutch reporters who told him: “This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions.”On his first official day in the job, Pete Hoekstra was taken to task over controversial comments he made in 2015 in which he said that the “Islamic movement” was creating chaos in Europe and suggested that extremists were burning politicians and cars in the Netherlands.At a press conference shortly after presenting his credentials to Dutch King Willem-Alexander at a palace in The Hague, Hoekstra was repeatedly asked about the comments he made at a 2015 conference, which made headlines last year when he described his own words to a Dutch reporter as fake news. Hoekstra later denied using the phrase fake news. news Share on Twitter Netherlands … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Ambassador Pete Hoekstra clashes with journalists on first day in the jobIn interview last year Hoekstra described his own words as fake news Share on Facebook Share on Messenger US foreign policy US ambassador to Netherlands describes own words as ‘fake news’ This article is more than 1 year old In a statement last year, Hoekstra said: “I made certain remarks in 2015 and regret the exchange during the Nieuwsuur interview. Please accept my apology.”Hoekstra said in 2015: “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt … and, yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”Hoekstra said on Wednesday he did not want to revisit the issue – but that did not stop Dutch reporters from pressing unsuccessfully for a clarification.One reporter told him: “This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions,” while another asked if the ambassador could name a politician who had been set on fire in recent years.Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from Michigan, was born in the northern Dutch city of Groningen before his family emigrated to the United States. He told reporters he would work to build on existing strong links between the Netherlands and the US. Support The Guardian This article is more than 1 year old Share on Twitter Europe Thu 11 Jan 2018 08.52 EST ‘This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions’: Dutch reporters confront new US envoy 1:24 Reuse this contentlast_img read more