from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – BY successfully hosting the Netball World Cup, South Africa has added another feather to its cap to match England in terms of hosting World Cups of all major sporting events.
The curtain came down on the tournament in Cape Town on Sunday as Australia beat England 61-45 in the final.
The Diamonds dethroned the Silver Ferns of New Zealand as the champions. In fact, since the tournament’s inception in 1963, these are the only two teams to win it. In 1979, they were jointly crowned champions alongside host country Trinidad and Tobago as no finals were played.
On Sunday, having lost out to New Zealand by just one goal in the last Netball World Cup final in Liverpool four years ago, Australia ensured there would be no repeat scenario when they defeated England 61-45 in the final in Cape Town.
England were playing in their first ever Netball World Cup final after beating New Zealand in the semifinal while the Australians were contesting their ninth consecutive gold-medal match, having never finished lower than second in the tournament’s 60-year history.
Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls capped off a good tournament with a bronze medal after defeating New Zealand 52-45. Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler finished the tournament as top scorer, with 213 goals.
Joyce Mvula of Malawi (194) and Zimbabwe’s Nalani Makunde (161) were the only Africans in the top ten.
Also on Sunday, an inspired Ugandan side stunned the hosts 49-47 to secure fifth spot at the tournament.
In the playoff for seventh place it was Malawi who got the better of Tonga by 64 to 54.
Wales finished ninth, ahead of Scotland, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe, Barbados, Singapore and Sri Lanka, in that order.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was among the dignitaries at the conclusion of the tournament at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
He defied the atmosphere as electric.
He had the opportunity earlier to meet and personally thank the hosts, Proteas, who he said made the country proud despite them failing to secure a podium finish.
“Our girls put on a solid performance and put up a really good fight,” he said.
South Africa has previously hosted the Cricket, Rugby and Football World Cups.
– CAJ News