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By Carlena Knight

Antigua and Barbuda have once again moved up the ranks of the International Netball Federation (INF) World Rankings.

The list, which was published on July 1, saw the twin island claim the 31st spot a few spaces ahead of their last ranking of 42nd in the world.

They are now 8th in the Caribbean region with Jamaica topping that list.

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) Karen Joseph was excited about the new position.

“As a netballer, you know how pleased and excited I am when I saw the email from INF because initially I was kind of arguing about it about three weeks ago, because what I found out from a Zoom meeting is that the scores from St Maarten were not added as yet, and we did very well in St Maarten, we came second but after the rules were changed it moved us to 31 and I am really pleased. Netball is going places and I must compliment the national team that went to St Maarten, they played their hearts out,” Joseph said.

She believes if not for the Covid-19 pandemic this new ranking could have been bettered.

“Because of Covid, we could not host the OECS tournament and we were looking forward to it because from that tournament and even the one we were supposed to go in October we would have seen a vast improvement in our rankings in the future, but we are still hopeful and I must say netball is going places for Antigua and Barbuda,” the ABNA president said.

Matches played before July 2017 are no longer included in determining the INF world rankings. Matches played between 1st July 2017 and 30th June 2019 now have a 50 percent weighting, while those played from July 1, 2019 onwards have a 100 percent weighting.

This year, considering the cancellation and postponement of matches due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the INF Board decided to reduce the number of matches required to obtain a ranking from eight to six. This allows some countries who have not been able to play eight matches in this period due to the suspension of international play to maintain their ranking.

Australia remain on top the world rankings with neighbours, New Zealand second, England third and Jamaica fourth.

Argentina rounds off the list.

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