Jamaica Gleaner / Wayne Lewis, communication director of Netball Jamaica, has confirmed that the association has appealed the United States Embassy’s decision to deny visas to three members of the Sunshine Girls team, which is preparing for the Fast5 World Netball Series in Melbourne, Australia.
He added that the administration is looking into several alternatives, including rerouting the affected players through another country.
The trio of Shantal Slater, Shamera Sterling, and Jodian Ward, were all denied visas by the United States Embassy in the Kingston two weeks ago, creating a major setback to the local netball authority ahead of the Fast5 championship, which will be held from October 28-29.
Lewis told The Sunday Gleaner that Netball Jamaica had also reached out to Minister of Sports Olivia Grange for assistance with the matter.
“After talking to the president (Dr Paula Daley-Morris), it is my understanding that they have appealed the decision of the girls, and they have also reached out to the minister of sports for assistance with the matter,” said Lewis.
LOOKING AT ALTERNATIVES
“However, outside of that, we are looking at other alternatives in trying to get the girls to Australia. We are very confident, and we are very positive and hopeful that our efforts will come to fruition,” he said.
“We are very confident that things will work out for us because we want the best team in Australia, and so we are working assiduously to get them there,” Lewis added.
He pointed out that the girls were very disappointed and saddened by the US Embassy’s decision to deny them the visas to travel to the championships.
“These girls would have been gutted by the decision by the US Embassy not to grant them a visa because they have been working very hard in preparation for this tournament, and, of course, we are trying to keep their spirits up,” said Lewis. “We are trying to let them know that they should not lose heart because we are working on trying to get them to Australia,” he noted.
The Fast5 World Netball Series presents an opportunity for the Sunshine Girls to regain some confidence after their disappointing 1-1 draw in their last international series – a three-Tests contest with minnows Barbados back in April.
The team will be led by coaches Sasher-Gaye Henry and Marvette Anderson, who are both appointed until the end of this year, following the sacking of head coach Jermaine Allison McCracken in July.