The City of Ballarat will welcome the world’s most promising netball stars in August when the Victorian regional city hosts the first ever underage international netball series outside a world championship tournament.
The ten-day tournament will feature five of the top six netball nations with Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa and Samoa to contest the 21/under tournament commencing on 20 August .
Australian 21/U coach Carol Byers says the tournament provides an opportunity for teams, coaches and athletes to come together and prepare for next year’s World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Nothing can replicate the speed and intensity of international netball at training so this tournament against the best underage teams in the world provides a unique opportunity for the athletes to experience the variety of international playing styles,” Byers said.
“While an Australian team won’t be selected for the World Youth Netball Championship until next year, this tournament in Ballarat will offer the five teams a chance to benchmark themselves before arriving in Glasgow.”
Victorian Minister for Sport, Hugh Delahunty, was on hand at Ballarat High School on Friday to announce that the Victorian Government has committed $60,000 towards a package of netball events, including the Constellation Cup Test Match in Melbourne on 16 September, and the21/Underinternational netball series in Ballarat.
"It is great to be in Ballarat today to announce that the Victorian Government is proud to be providing $60,000 towards a package of netball events ,” Minister Delahunty said.
"Sport plays a vital role in Victorian communities, especially in regional areas. That's why the Victorian Government continues to invest to attract and support the best events, to not only Melbourne, but to regional Victoria.”
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Mark Harris expressed his excitement at hosting the tournament.
"We are delighted to host the first ever 21/U international netball tournament outside the World Youth Netball Championships. Ballarat is renowned as a premier host city for national and international sporting events and we are pleased to welcome sportswomen from England, New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and around Australia to the our city," Cr Harris said.
"The 10-day competition is a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to watch netball played at the highest international level, and a wonderful chance for local netballers to train and learn from the world's rising netball stars."
Ballarat Regional Tourism Chair Stuart Benjamin said Ballarat's ability to attract and host international events like this was a credit to the city’s sporting groups, great facilities and the tourism industry that is able to offer visitors a quality Australian experience.
"Ballarat is proving increasingly popular as a venue for these types of events because we can offer the complete package: a unique, regional Australian experience, quality service and accommodation, world class facilities and a friendly welcoming community,” Benjamin said.
“This tournament will provide Ballarat with international media exposure, emphasising our city's ability to host world class events while bringing significant economic benefit to the local community."
The 21/U international netball tournament will be held at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre from Monday 20 August – Thursday 30 August 2012, with tickets available at the door.
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