Sport View: Sunshine Girls Tame The “Rainbow Nation” 57 46.
As the Sunshine Girls, the nickname for the Jamaican netball team, were marching on as if possessed. they left the Rainbow Nation, South Africa, licking their wounds. It was the fourth quarter that did it for Jamaica. Their defense was tight but the South Africans breached their defenses repeatedly. At the end of the third quarter we were 38 37 in favour of the South Africans. The South Africans privately saw a glimmer of hope of a possible upset. The Jamaicans had the ascendancy but the going up to that point was too close to call.
The Olympic Games at the Gold Coast, Australia (down under) the venue. Can anything good come from down under, yes. …. the Sunshine Girls are proving this to be so by their splendid feast on the netball court.
The South Africans are reeling from the passing of Winnie Madilkizekla- Mandela who transitioned on Monday last. She was 81. The anti-Apartheid activist died after a protracted illness. The net ballers from all appearances were as valiant as the “Mother of the Nation” Winnie, who they are currently mourning. The Rainbow Nation did not show any signs of a people in mourning. They put up a valiant fight and may have scared the lanky Jamaicans at the end of the 3rd quarter with a slim lead of one point 38 37.
The fourth quarter was when the Jamaicans showed their real class and stamina. Outscoring the Rainbow Nation 20 8.
Did the South Africans run out of gas on the runway or the stamina of the Jamaicans was too much for them? From the few seconds of the start of the 4th quarter the one goal deficit was obliterated. It was now 38 38.
The South African Captain Bongivine Msomi had this assessment: “Today’s errors let us down … overall it was a great effort in our first game.”
Coach Norma Plummer was full of praise for the Sunshine Girls. “Congratulations Jamaica. They were certainly able to bring it out at the end bit because of their experience. They have eight players playing in the international arena now. That’s what I’m trying to build with South Africa. We’ve only got three.”
The Sunshine Girls were ecstatic at the end of a well fought contest off the netball court. The announcer was heard saying: “The Jamaicans were celebrating as if they had won the gold.” I may be biased, but as a proud Jamaican, from my perspective the celebration appeared, as reflected on TV, to be quite dignified. Is this a slight to black people? Are we not allowed to be euphoric in victory. We have all seen footballers, athletes, and even swimmers celebrate at times, appearing to be uncontrollable when they are victorious. I have never heard these celebrants being put down before. You be the judge. We have no evidence that the comment was a racist one. Was it?
It is all ironic. The South African nation is 82 percent black and or coloured at home, yet their netball team was 82+ percent white. Is apartheid still alive in sport in South Africa? The verdict as usual is yours.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.