So, how did the netball sport come about in Jamaica? Dr. Toles introduced netball to England in 1895 from the USA at Madam Ostenberg’s College. It was brought here to Jamaica by English women who came to Jamaica to teach in our girls’ secondary schools such as Wolmer’s Girls School. Jamaican netball has been a part of the physical education programme at Wolmer’s Girls School, which is located on Marascaux Road in Kingston, since 1909.
In the early years following 1909 the game was played mainly in schools and teachers’ training colleges, but after a while, the alumnae of these institutions started teams, and began to play friendly matches among themselves.
The Jamaica Netball Association became affiliated to the West Indies Netball Board in 1959, and was invited to send a team to the West Indies Tournament in Montserrat in August 1959.
Jamaican netball has evolved beautifully in Jamaica and is one of the island’s best performing sports on the international scene. Despite our love for football and athletics, the netball sport has been Jamaica’s best world ranking in team sports. We owe this splendid performance in team sports to the Jamaican netballers or the “Sunshine Girls”. Consistently, Jamaica’s netballers have ranked in the world’s top four behind New Zealand, Australia, and interchanges third position with England from time to time. As of January 2011, Sunshine girls are ranked in 4th position in the world.
The island played host to more than 30 countries who took part in the World Championships in Kingston in 2003. They finished played extremely well, and topped it off in third place.
In October 2009, the Sunshine Girls played the inaugural “Fast Net” Championship. The girls finished in silver, beating England and Australia, and narrowly losing to New Zealand “the Silver Ferns”.
Jamaica’s Molly Rhone holds the prestigious title of President of the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) which is the governing body for netball. Molly Rhone has served for over five years and is still the current President.