New Zealand's young netballers will not have the opportunity to defend their Youth World Cup title this year, after December's tournament was cancelled amid concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The International Netball Federation (INF) announced its decision to cancel the tournament, which was scheduled to take place in Suva, Fiji.
The decision was made by the INF Board at their meeting on March 12 after taking into consideration all the risks related to hosting the event during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the safety and wellbeing of participants and the Fijian population at the heart of the decision, it said in a statement.
Netball New Zealand CEO Jennie Wyllie said it was a tough decision but one that is understandable given the current global climate.
“This was a very tough decision for INF to make, but one that is ultimately the right one to ensure the safety of all players and management, as well as the population of Fiji,” she said.
“We know our New Zealand Under 21 squad are hugely disappointed that they won’t have the opportunity to compete at their pinnacle age group event and we will continue to support them.”
The New Zealand Under 21 team are defending Netball World Youth Cup champions, and will now get their next opportunity to defend the title in 2025.
INF President Liz Nicholl said the decision was made with a heavy heart.
“Our U21 athletes represent the emerging talent at an international level, and we recognise this announcement will be a significant disappointment for them, for our members, our fans and indeed for all the netball family,” Nicholl said.