Fijian netballers seal seventh place
02 August 2002
Fiji, on Commonwealth Games debut, finish a credible seventh after an impressive 80-42 victory over Sri Lanka on Friday.
Fiji in action earlier in the tournament
After losing their four preliminary round games, Fiji finished the competition strongly to win both of their classification playoffs (they defeated Canada on Wednesday).
Fiji, who leapfrogged from 11th to 6th at the 1999 World Championships, were disappointed to be in pool B – by far the tougher of the pools based on world rankings.
Fijian captain Unaisi Rokoura said: “We had a good finish. I am really happy with the girls.
“We brushed up on all the things that we haven’t been doing well in the last few games and we did it today.”
Despite continuing to make numerous unforced errors, Fiji, took the initiative and forced Sri Lanka to play catch-up. They led 20-9 at quarter-time.
Sri Lankan, team manager, Chandra Pathiraja: “They played very well but Fiji were very fast and strong.”
“We are learning from the international competition, it has been very helpful.”
Fijian captain and centre Rokoura led by example and successfully made 30/30 centre passes in the first half.
Goal attack Matelita Shaw, one of Fiji’s standouts throughout the competition, provided a strong target in goal and was a reliable scoring avenue.
Shaw (22/26), along with shooters Paulini Tora (25/32) and Taraima Rara (22/27), put Fiji in a commanding position to lead 38-22 at half-time and 56-28 at three quarter-time.
Goal attack Sashika Samarasinghe top scored for Sri Lanka with 24/31.
Info News Service/vh/mb/nt/pjt