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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

Etihad Airways marks growth in India with record passenger figures

first_imgEtihad Airways marks growth in India with record passenger figuresEtihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today announced a 63 per cent increase in full-year passenger traffic with partner Jet Airways to and from India reinforcing the strength of the equity tie-up and the airline’s commitment to one of world’s largest travel markets.Together, the airlines carried a record 3.3 million passengers between Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub and India in 2015, representing a sharp rise on the 2 million flown during the previous 12 months.Etihad Airways became the first foreign airline to invest in an Indian carrier under the current Indian Foreign Direct Investment Rules when it invested USD 750 million in Jet Airways for a 24 per cent equity stake in 2013. Etihad Airways today operates 175 flights each week to and from 11 Indian gateway cities. The combined networks of Etihad Airways and Jet Airways offer over 250 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and 15 cities across India.Together, both carriers are the market leader in terms of travel between India and the UAE. In terms of the overall international market, they fly between them approximately 20 per cent of all worldwide travellers to and from India representing a large share of the country’s booming air travel industry.In addition, Etihad Airways Cargo operates 14 weekly freighters to four cities in India and flies around 120,000 tons of cargo each year in and out of the country – representing around nine per cent of the total international market.The figures underscore the importance Etihad Airways places to the Indian market – one of the airline’s largest sources of business – to its close partnership with Jet Airways, and reaffirm the strong ties between the UAE and India.It is the growing bilateral relationship enjoyed between the two nations that was the focus of joint government discussions in Mumbai and Delhi last week which resulted in a raft of new agreements across various sectors to further boost strategic ties and economic trade.Trade between the two countries is estimated to grow by more than 60 per cent in the next five years from the current level of around US$60 billion, with investments and imports/exports in a variety of sectors, including energy, defence, manufacturing, aerospace, health, education, tourism, science and technology. The UAE is the 10thbiggest foreign – and largest Arab – investor in India.James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Bilateral relations between the UAE and India continue to grow based on years of friendship and deep commitment to strengthen economic, cultural and trade ties.“With Etihad Airways and Jet Airways together offering over 44,000 seats each week between Abu Dhabi and India, we are clearly are a key contributor to India’s dynamic economy. There is further room to grow and we are looking at the many opportunities that exist to develop our operations.“Our investment in Jet Airways was aimed at being part of the Indian success story. Before the Jet deal, Etihad Airways carried only two per cent of the international traffic to and from India. We have helped bring Jet Airways back to profitability. Today, Jet Airways is our number one equity partner for revenue and passenger contribution on Etihad Airways, and India is Abu Dhabi’s number one source market for international visitors.”Etihad Airways’ hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport serves as a primary connector of air travel between India and rest of the world, offering consumers ease of transfer and more travel options through multiple frequencies from across India to Abu Dhabi and beyond.” Fly Etihad AirwaysSource = Etihad Airwayslast_img read more