A total of 12 girls of different nationalities have been selected in the first ever UAE Under 17 (U17) Netball team, which will be representing the country at the European Championships 2018 in Dublin, Ireland in March.
The Head Coach is Deb Jones, who is also the Deputy Head at Dubai College.
There's an Open Squad as well for seniors, where two JESS Dubai teachers have been selected.
Ms. Olivia Flanagan has been selected to represent the UAE in the Open (Senior) squad and Ms. Olivia Mason has been appointed as the Head Coach for the UAE Open team.
The UAE Open Squad will be heading to Gibraltar in May for the Netball Europe Open Championship where they aim to take the first step towards obtaining official INF international ranking.
The UAE Netball Association (UAENA) was established in May 2017, and its chair Dr. Omar Shams said:
“This is a momentous occasion for the UAE, the UAENA, netball in general and the families of the participants of the U17 team. To be part of the first ever netball team selected to represent the UAE is in itself a privilege for us all. We are proud of the schools that have been able to demonstrate such sporting prowess of this calibre on a National level.”
The U17 squad includes Georgia Allen, Lara Begley, Libby Borley, Breeya Davies, Michaela Dunlop, Millie McMurray (C), Alienor Prevot (VC), Chloe Russo, Zoe Stapley, Ava Warren, Katrina Webb, Elanor Wright.
There's no Emirati currently on the team. But there is a development programme for the sport that will be launched.
Susanne Skelding, National Squads Manager said: "We are launching a Netball development programme next month for Emirati schools and we hope to have more students participating not only in the sport but also in our teams. Currently we only have 1 school from Abu Dhabi and with this development work, we aim to have an even representation of schools from Dubai and Abu Dhabi."
The UAE Netball Association (UAENA) comes under the UAE Basketball Authority. The team was decided based on the parameters of the governing body.
"There are parameters for representing the UAE, which is the residency of the player has to be 2 year and 8 out of our 12 girls were born in the UAE and the others have lived longer than 2 years," explained Susanne.
The UAENA is an official member of Netball Europe, which provides UAE players a permanent place against international competition, playing against the best in Europe, including England, Ireland and Scotland.
It will be the first time that an Arab country will participate in the Netball Europe Championship.