Debutante Indian netball team hopes to make a mark in CWG

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2010, 13:09 PM IST

New Delhi: For a country that will make its netball debut at the Commonwealth Games, medal hopes are not too high for India but the hosts would look to give a fight and cause a few upsets when they take the court during the October 3-14 mega-event.

Indian netball team has never featured in Commonwealth Games and since out of the 12 countries which play the sport, India figures at the bottom and it would take more than a miracle to achieve a medal.

But when the unheralded group of young girls from India step out at the Thyagaraj Stadium, they are game for a good fight and create an upset or two.

"The team has put in a lot of hard work in its preparation in the last two years and we are hoping to create some upsets and improve our rankings in the Games," said Chief coach Panchali Tatke, who took over the reins from Sri Lanka`s Mary Mercia Lourdes Jayasekera.

The Indian team went for a three-week exposure tour to Australia during February-March this year but could not play against their national side.

In July, India settled for the fourth position in the seventh Asian Youth Netball Championship after losing the play-off to Singapore and Tatke hoped Indians will perform well against powerhouses such as Australia, England and New Zealand during the event.

"We had finished eighth in the 2008 Youth Asian Championship but this year we were fourth. Even last year in senior Asian Championship in July, we didn`t do well but this time in India in June we won the series 5-0," she said.

"So we are improving as a team. The team lacks in exposure and experience as they have never played big teams like Australia. So I feel the Games will be a challenge as well as an opportunity.”

"A good performance will hopefully translate into more exposure and more support from the federation, government and sponsors, which will help netball grow in India," she added.

The core group of 16 players are currently conducting their morning training sessions at the Genesis Global School in Noida. The venue has a wooden court on which the game is actually played.

The evening sessions are conducted at the Thyagaraj Stadium, the competition venue.

"We are now concentrating on team combinations, tactics and also watching the team`s videos to train the girls for real match-like situations," Tatke said.

PTI