Netball makes its return to SEA Games in grand style
31 May, 2015
Netball made its long-awaited return to the SEA Games on Sunday, with Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand all enjoying big wins at the OCBC Arena Hall.
Netball has only been included on the SEA Games schedule once before - at the 21st edition in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 - so players from all of the six competing teams were keen to make up for lost time.
As the host-nation and reigning Asian champions, Singapore have high hopes for the tournament and got off to a flying start on Sunday with a 72-21 win over Brunei.
Brunei’s Athiyyah As'Ad Mohd Jaafar (C) in action. Photo: SINGSOC/Action Images via Reuters
With goal shooter Charmaine Soh and goal attack Pamela Liew combining for 39 goals in the first half, coach Ruth Aitken had the luxury of making wholesale changes in the second half.
"It was a great team effort. To get all 12 players out there on court and to keep the score line ticking over was really good," she said. "There were some wonderful passages of play, some great defence."
Malaysia, who won the netball gold medal 14 years ago, made a great start to their title defence, romping to an 84-22 victory Myanmar.
Malaysia's Izyan Syazana Mohd Wazir (L) in action with Myanmar's Kyaw Kin Sandar. Photo: SINGSOC/Action Images via Reuters
Norashikin Kamalzaman netted 47 goals from 57 attempts but like, Singapore, Malaysia were able to bring on some fresh legs in the second half and allow more players court time.
Thailand beat the Philippines 62-22 in Sunday's other netball match, courtesy of a dominant third quarter.
Thailand led 24-14 at halftime but pulled away from their rivals with a 20-2 third quarter. Yada Bookong top scored for Thailand with 43 goals while Ana Thea Cenarose made 19 off 22 for the Philippines.
Remia Benacosa (L) and Ana Cenarosa (C) of the Philippines in action with Thailand's Paweena Khamwan. Photo: SINGSOC/Action Images via Reuters
All six teams will be back on court on Monday with Myanmar and Brunei playing each other first followed by Malaysia against the Philippines then finally Singapore and Thailand.
Netball and football are the only two sports to have been played so far at the SEA Games but a third - table tennis - joins the fray on Monday.
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Gallery for today: https://www.seagames2015.com/news/multimedia/28th-sea-games-in-photos-may-31