Fiji’s Netball World Cup preparations have been handed a welcome boost with Australia to offer financial support as part of its Pacific Sports Partnership programme.

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced the extension of the Pacific Sports Partnership (PSP) programme to include Fiji, with a high-performance focus on netball and rugby league.

Fiji Pearls coach Vicki Wilson, a former Australian Diamonds captain, said with the World Cup just six months away every bit of help is extremely valuable.

“It means, first and foremost, that we will be able to engage the services of support staff such as a performance analyst. It’s really important that we work with a performance analyst to be able to not only analyse our performance…but also the opposition,” she said.

Fiji netball coach Vicki Wilson.

Fiji netball coach Vicki Wilson. Photo: Netball Fiji

“It’s a really steep learning curve for the girls to be able to do that, but it’s also an amazing resource to have at your fingertips so our support services, such as the performance analyst, a mental skills coach, medical services – being able to take a doctor with us on tour – so just being able to tap into all those important services are just so so important.”

Netball Fiji worked closely with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which administered the PSP programme, and Netball Australia on what was required for the Pearls’ World Cup preparations.

Vicki Wilson said the additional staff will be on hand to help the team during a series of training camps in the coming months and tests against Singapore in April and New Zealand and Samoa in June.

Netball Fiji president Wainikiti Bogidrau said the funding would help with to establish a high-performance focus.

“The rest of the Pacific it’s a development focus – grassroots with fitness, with healthy living, and gender equality and all that. For Fiji, it’s elite athletes,” she said.

The Fiji Pearls are building towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Fiji Pearls Photo: Fiji Netball

Other Pacific nations in the PSP programme include the Cook Islands, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Samoa.

(Source:Radio New Zealand)

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