World University Netball Championship gets off to thrilling start

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South Africa 117 USA 4

Zimbabwe 44 Sri Lanka 31

Singapore 39 Kenya 38

Uganda 102 USA 16


10am Uganda v Kenya

12pm South Africa v Sri Lanka

2pm Zimbabwe v USA

4pm Uganda v Singapore

The third World University Netball Championship got off to a thrilling start at Makerere Monday.

Defending champions South Africa and hosts Uganda commanded the spotlight as they both thrashed netball new comers USA.

Uganda’s university students turned up in big numbers at Makerere’s new indoor arena.

Good atmosphere

The students like the Spar Proteas, as the South Africans are popularly known, and the Uganda team were equally in good form as the cheered the teams on.

South Africa were the first to overwhelm the Americans whom they whipped 117-4 in the day’s first game.

The hosts then also outclassed USA 102-16 in the third match of the championship that attracted seven countries.

Two horse race

Right from the start it was clear that the title battle will be between South Africa and Uganda. Uganda’s goal shooter Mary Nuba made their intentions very clear.

“It is an interesting start. I hope we maintain this form. We would to win the title in front of our home fans. Our only worry is South Africa. My prayer is that we keep our nerve when we face them.”

South Africa goal shooter Alicia Pulen was the day’s heroine with a record 44 score from 53 attempts. She made the bast of her towering frame to keep her side in the lead.

USA’s fighting spirit

All USA’s goals in this game were from Amara Mbionwu. The Americans came back a much better team in their second match. Their ball handling, passing and shooting were vastly improved.

Mbionwu had to be switched to goalkeeper in  USA’s second match as Uganda ran riot.

Despite the double defeat USA were still upbeat.

“Uganda were good but we also showed real fighting spirit keeping up the fight up to the end,” stated Mbionwu.

Nail biting affair

Zimbabwe also had an easy run in their opening game as they beat Sri Lanka 44-31. Goal shooter Letwin Ncube was Zimbabwe’s star with a score of 36.

There was, however, some nail biting in the Kenya versus Singapore game. Both sides seemed equally strong though the Asians had a small edge in teamwork.

This small difference at the end of the day proved crucial as Singapore edged the Kenyans 39-38.

The teams were later in the day treated to a colourful opening ceremony at Freedom Square. A march past and musical displays involving several artistes lit up the night at one of Africa’s oldest universities.