Two newbies to boost netballers' attack in title defence
Playing in the South-east Asia (SEA) Games wasn't even on netballer Toh Kai Wei's mind at the start of the year.
"I was just aiming to make the teams for the Asian Youth Netball Championships (in May) and the World Youth Cup (this month)," the 20-year-old told The New Paper on Friday (June 30).
But the SRC Barracudas shooter impressed interim national coach Yeo Mee Hong during the local Netball Super League competition, and was named in the provisional 24-strong squad at the end of the season.
Toh, an associate at a microbiology lab, made the cut for the 14-player team which travelled to Belfast, Northern Ireland, late last month for the Quad Series, and was named in the 12-strong squad for next month's SEA Games.
"Mee Hong sent me a text message past midnight on Thursday and I was already asleep by then," said Toh, who earned her first two international caps from the Belfast trip.
"I found out when I woke up the next morning. I am very excited and nervous at the same time, it's going to be my first major competition with the senior team."
Another fresh face in the squad is Jocelyn Ng, who plays as a wing attack or goal assist.
Vanessa Lee, Nurul Baizura, Charmaine Soh, Chen Lili, Jocelyn Ng, Kimberly Lim, Melody Teo, Nur Aqilah Andin, Parveen Nair, Shina Teo, Toh Kai Wei, Zhang Ailin
"I feel very proud and very excited... it's been my goal (to make the team) since last December and we have been nervous (about selections) but taking it one step at a time," said the 25-year-old executive at Deloitte Singapore.
"My family, along with my cousins, are going up to support the team in Kuala Lumpur, so I won't just be doing my best for the country, I would be playing for them too."
Vanessa Lee, 33, will skipper the team. She is assisted by co-vice captains Nurul Baizura and Charmaine Soh, both 27.
On the selections, Yeo said: "All of us, including the new members, have been stepping up and I believe that the team have the right mindset for the upcoming SEA Games."
The team will bring in former New Zealand Silver Ferns coach Yvonne Willering early this month to work on their defence.
Lee and Co. will also travel to New Zealand from July 21-29 to link up with former national coach Ruth Aitken.