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Fun5 ready to go

A new netball initiative designed by youth for youth will hold its inaugural season this year, with ANZ Premiership players in town for the opening day.

Ariana Cable-Dixon from Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and past Silver Fern and newly named Magic player for 2021 Temalisi Fakahokotau are coming to Gisborne to celebrate the launch of Fun5 Beach Netball on October 22.

The competition was created by Gisborne Netball Centre's Youth Activation Group, who conducted a survey this year to find out what people wanted in a social netball league.

Group members were surprised to learn that the majority of respondents wanted a mixed league.

Youth Activation Group member Fariha Fatema said they decided to go with the consensus, and create a mixed league.

It will be five-a-side beach netball for secondary-school-aged boys and girls.

Fatema said the beach format was a popular choice because anyone could shoot and there were no positions, which made it easier to learn.

Fatema had never played netball before joining with the group. She said she didn't feel confident to play netball because she didn't have the same level of skills as other girls.

“Before moving to New Zealand I lived in Bangladesh and it was not played there. There were not as many opportunities for girls to play sport the way they can here in New Zealand.

“This social league welcomes players like me who are completely new to the game so I don't have to worry that I'll be judged.

“I am really excited about doing something that I have never done before and being part of a team and trying a sport that is popular in New Zealand culture.”

Jordan Albert joined the activation group because she wanted to get back into the sport after she left it behind to try different sports.

She said she was excited about the new format, which was “something different”.With its being a social league there was less pressure to win.

“I think if you want to have some fun and feel good, this will be a great way to do it,” she said.

“It's been a real privilege working alongside the Gisborne Netball Centre. Their guidance and support have helped us get to this point and now I'm just looking forward to having some fun.”

Gisborne Netball Centre youth development officer Monique McLeod said she let the girls from the activation group guide the process.

“At the end of the day, this is a celebration of young women in sport,” she said.

Sign-ups for the league close tomorrow. More information on how to join is available on Gisborne Netball Centre's Facebook page.

Fun5 Netball: Jordan Albert (left) and Fariha Fatema are looking forward to the start of Fun5 Beach Netball in Gisborne. Picture by Liam Clayton