Northern Ireland netball have qualified for a third consecutive Commonwealth Games.
The Warriors’ participation has been confirmed by World Netball (WN) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).
The 12 best teams in the world will face off in Birmingham and the Warriors have been confirmed as the 11th ranked team.
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The top six teams Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, South Africa and Malawi were announced in October 2021 and are joined by Uganda, Scotland, Wales, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados as well as Netball NI.
Warriors head coach Elaine Rice, who led the team to an eighth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games four years ago on the Gold Coast, believes Birmingham will be a great opportunity for players to test themselves against the best in the world.
“We are very excited and delighted to be competing at our third Commonwealth Games, which is a testament to the hard work of our players,” enthused Rice.
“We look forward to being part of the larger NI team and supporting all of our team members in their efforts.
“Netball continues to grow with publicity, coverage and sponsorship, so it is fantastic that our players complement with the other top nations. It gives us a boost as we continue to train in the aim to move up the rankings.
Alison Moffitt-Robinson, NI Team Chef de Mission, added: “It’s great to hear that Northern Ireland are 11th in the latest world rankings and have thus secured an invitation to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.
“Netball’s powerful teams come from the Commonwealth, so the Games will be truly world class.
“Excitement is guaranteed as the teams compete for the precious medal places and having Northern Ireland in the mix will be fantastic.
“In the first-ever Commonwealth Games where women’s events outnumber men’s, it is particularly fitting that Netball is our first team to qualify for an invitation to compete through a ranking position.
“I wish the team, under the leadership of Elaine Rice, every success as they prepare for the Games and in the exciting months ahead.”
The Warriors face a tough task in Birmingham after being drawn in Group B with hosts and defending Commonwealth champions England.
Current world champions New Zealand are also in the group along with Malawi, Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago.
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