Nepal’s 1st National Netball Team – After the Game

by | September 23, 2012
filed under Feminism

by Matilda Branson

Just a quick update on Nepal’s National Netball Team, which I wrote about in August. A quick word with the coaches revealed it was a crazy, fun-packed, intense, sporty and amazing week spent in Sri Lanka at the 8th Asian Netball Championship.

Some of the highlights included:

The girls seeing new things for the first time – including taking photos of vending machines in Delhi Airport on the way to Sri Lanka, seeing trains for the first time (and apparently a few close calls, as there was the assumption made by the girls, as with most traffic in Kathmandu, that the traffic, including trains, would go round them), going to the beach and seeing the sea, having McDonalds and having a good shop along the way. Remember – these were all firsts – seeing the sea for the first time, let alone everything else. Definite sensory overload.

After an Opening Ceremony attended in both sari and blazer, the games began. The games, they were tough. Remember, these girls went from zero, learning about netball, to becoming as professional as possible in six weeks and were in Sri Lanka playing the best in Asia.

For most of the week, they were up against some tough ‘uns. The Sri Lankan team, for example, has the tallest netballer in the world standing at 6 foot 10 inches – if you can imagine someone this size pitted against these – well – short Nepali girls (they were the shortest team by about a foot each compared to other players). Safe to say they had a tough gig that game.

I think the most touching thing I heard from the coaches, was that throughout the week, despite losing sometimes by large amounts, the girls were not dispirited by final scores or game outcomes.  Instead, they would come off unhappy if they hadn’t played well themselves, if they had committed errors induced by nerves or lack of concentration. Over the week, playing against experienced teams and playing and training intensely built the girls’ confidence to no end as well as tightening their sense of being a team.  And it paid off!  In their last game, against Pakistan, they won! A definite morale booster and a great way to end the tournament.

Nicknamed the “Little Dolls”, the Nepali team was hugely popular with everyone at the tournament, a ‘loud and happy’ bunch affectionately teased for playing in make-up and eye liner and admired for really having a go.

The tournament itself had a high profile in Sri Lanka; men on trains could be heard talking about the game played the night before, all games had live coverage and one of Nepal’s games against Japan was being replayed a week later after the tournament still.

So this is a well done to Nepal’s first national netball team, and its coaches Tarli and Mike. I’ve got no doubt the girls will be back to attack again on a netball court again very soon.

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