Hong Kong are ‘internationally competitive’ despite Tri-Nations netball final defeat by Zimbabwe

Hosts lose 42-28 to world number 17 at Kowloon Sports Park Centre on Sunday having earlier beaten Asian champions Malaysia

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 March, 2017, 5:50pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 March, 2017, 11:34pm

Hosts Hong Kong have proven their international netball pedigree despite losing Sunday’s Tri-Nations final 42-28 to world number 17 Zimbabwe at Kowloon Sports Park Centre, according to local Association president Sherryn Hancock.

Hong Kong beat world number 19 and Asian champions Malaysia 30-26 on Saturday to earn a place in the final after earlier losing 46-30 to Zimbabwe on Friday.

But after ending the first quarter of the final tied at 8-8, Zimbabwe slowly pulled away from the 26th-ranked tournament hosts over the remaining quarters to seal the win with a 100% record after earlier also recording a 52-29 win over Malaysia.

“We are very proud of the whole tournament and the girls’ performance was beyond expectation having beaten the Asian champions Malaysia by four goals,” said Hong Kong Netball Association president Hancock.

“Having Zimbabwe at this tournament has not only raised the profile of netball in Hong Kong, but it has more importantly shown that Hong Kong are internationally competitive.”

Saturday’s win over Malaysia was a significant achievement for Hong Kong having lost to the eventual champions by a single goal at last year’s Asian Netball Championships in Thailand.

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“It was not the result we hoped for, but we are immensely proud of how our girls stepped up to the challenge and held their own on the court,” said Hong Kong coach Robin Manihera.

“The experience playing the 17th in the world is a stepping stone for Hong Kong netball.”

And with next year’s Asian Netball Championships offering the top two finishers qualification for the World Cup, previously known as the World Championships, Hong Kong are set to mount a challenge having finished fourth in the last three editions.

“This weekend was a real positive for the girls. We beat the current Asian champions and the experience of this tournament has given us a real boost in confidence,” said Hong Kong co-captain Anna Pinder.

“We have a highly skilful team who are getting stronger with each competition we play in. The growing support Hong Kong netball is receiving is exciting and we are looking forward to a bright future ahead.”