Naida waiting to take on the world
KILBURN’S Naida Hutchinson has endured a year of injury hell – but the England netball star insists she can be a World Championship winner this summer.
Hutchinson has been out of action since March with a cruciate knee ligament injury and missed out on England’s bronze medal success at the Commonwealth Games three months ago.
The former Preston Manor High School student will be no more than a jealous onlooker when England kick off their 2011 season this week with a three-game series against Commonwealth champions New Zealand.
But she is determined to return and play her part when the national squad travel to Singapore for July’s World Championships.
“I have been injured before, the usual shoulder and ankle injuries, but this was different,” said Hutchinson (pictured), who plays her domestic netball for the Hertfordshire Mavericks.
“I found it really hard because it was coming to the end of the season for the Mavericks but I went along to all the games and the team rallied around to cheer me up.
“I also missed out on going to the Commonwealth Games and that was depressing, but I am using that as motivation now and working really hard.
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“Hopefully I can get fit again and then play a part at the World Championships. My aim is to get that red and white dress back on in time for that, but I know I need to keep my knee right and not rush things.”
The three-match series, which gets under way in Manchester on Saturday, moves to Nottingham on Monday and finishes two days later at London’s O2 Arena.
Although she will miss the showdown with the Silver Ferns, the 24-year-old says there has been a silver lining to her injury nightmare – the scheduling of the 2011 netball calendar.
“Because I play for England as well I have been given the best care possible so, within two and half weeks of injuring myself, I was having an operation,” added Hutchinson.
“If the season started in September the girls going to the Commonwealths would be away, we would be finishing in April and the national squad wouldn’t then have any matches for three months.
“And for me personally it has been a good thing – it has given me that last mental push to get back, whereas in previous years I would have missed half of the season.”
n FOR tickets to watch England vs New Zealand in the FIAT International Netball Series on January 15, 17 and 19 at the MEN Arena Manchester, Capital FM Arena Nottingham and the O2 Arena London, please visit http://www.englandnetball.co.uk/