Team Singapore

Netball Singapore wants Aitken to stay till 2017 SEA Games

Netball Singapore wants coach 
to stay till KL SEA Games but 
New Zealander has family concerns

Netball Singapore's signing of coach Ruth Aitken at the end of 2014 had been a massive coup for the sport here.

After all, the New Zealander won the Netball World Championship - now known as the World Cup - as a player and guided New Zealand to the world title as a coach in 2003.

After she started work in 
August 2013, Aitken has led Singapore to an Asian title in 2014 and the SEA Games gold on home ground last year.

The 60-year-old's future, however, is uncertain, after her contract with Netball Singapore ended in June.

She had originally signed a two-year deal in 2013, and had inked a year's extension last year.

Aitken is now on an "open-ended" contract, which allows her to leave after giving one-month's notice.

She said: "After the Nations Cup, I will sit down with my family because that's the big thing for me.

DESIRE

"As you know, I love this team and my desire is for the best to happen for them. And if that can be with me, I would love that."

Top of her concerns is family - the world-class but amiable coach lives in Singapore with her husband, but has family back home in New Zealand that she misses dearly.

Netball Singapore chief executive officer Cyrus Medora hopes that the coach will see the team through to the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur next August, when they are aiming to defend their title.

He said: "We would like her to stay till then, but we are not pushing her because of her family situation - she has ageing parents and two grandchildren.

"We are just taking it month by month and we will support whatever decision she makes in the end."

When asked if she could stay till the KL SEA Games, Aitken said, voice slightly breaking: "Well, yes, that'd be great, but my family (situation) is fluid and, in the end, they need to come first.

"They've been put on the backburner while I've continued to do this and then we'll just have to see.

"I am very appreciative of Cyrus' understanding because it's been three years, which is amazing, it's really great.

"I really do love this place, but it's hard not being with your family. What will be, will be." 
- LIM SAY HENG

SingaporesportsSINGAPORE ATHLETES