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Netball: Netballers learn lesson, set top-two Asian target

The Straits Times by NICOLE CHIA

More than six months on, Charmaine Soh still remembers the sting of losing their SEA Games netball title to hosts Malaysia, so much so "it still gives me nightmares now and then", Singapore's joint vice-captain said with a chuckle.

The determination to avenge that loss is one of the driving forces for the Republic this year, who are aiming for a top-two finish at the M1 Asian Netball Championship starting on Sept 1 at OCBC Arena.

Singapore, the 2012 and 2014 champions, were third at the last edition in 2016.

Soh felt the team are better prepared this year after increasing the frequency of their fitness training and making minor adjustments for better control in passing under new coach Natalie Milicich. Assistant coach Yeo Mee Hong led the team as national interim coach at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

Soh, usually the goal shooter, said: "That loss was a lesson learnt, that nothing comes easy. We were disappointed but from that disappointment, we are working harder than ever towards being the dream team that we want to be."

The Asian championship squad will be announced at the end of the domestic Netball Super League on May 12, and the 28-year-old Soh said the players are working hard to earn their spot.

Telco M1 was yesterday announced as the title sponsor for the tournament, which will see the likes of reigning Asian champions Malaysia and four-time winners Sri Lanka compete here.

M1, whose sponsorship of Netball Singapore started in 2009, will also be the title sponsor for next year's Nations Cup.

Said M1's director of corporate communications and investor relations Ivan Lim: "We look (to give) sustained support.

"That has been our initiative very early on because we know that would have greater effect and impact as you can't churn out champions overnight.

"We've been quite involved with Netball Singapore over the years and we saw the good work that they have been doing, so we decided to put in more and support them this time round."