Rekindling the love for the sport

COMEBACK: Ex-national player Vanessa Lee (GK) in action in the Netball Super League. She returned to the sport after a two-year absence and is in the provisional list for the SEA Games

She ended her netball career on a high with Singapore's victorious 2012 Asian Netball Championship campaign in Sri Lanka.

Though her love for netball was still strong, Vanessa Lee was feeling tired and burnt out.

More than two years later, the 30-year-old has returned to the court, featuring for the Sneakers Stingrays in the Netball Super League (NSL).

She may also feature in the South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil in June, with her name among Netball Singapore's provisional list of 25, submitted to the Singapore National Olympic Council for preliminary selection.

After the Stingrays' 56-36 defeat by the Tiger Sharks yesterday at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Lee said: "Honestly, I haven't thought about the SEA Games yet. I've been out of the game since I retired in 2012 and I am just coming back in."

"But I am enjoying the game and my body feels all right so far, after playing two games in two consecutive days," added Lee, who works for Sport Singapore as a liaison officer for national sports associations for the SEA Games.

While she was deployed as a centre or a wing defence at the Asian championship and the World Netball Championship in 2011, Lee has been playing as a goalkeeper for the Stingrays this year.

Smiling, she said: "It is based on the team's needs. I started out as a circle defender when I was with the Under-17s, but I got pushed forward when everyone around me started growing taller than me."

The provisional SEA Games team list includes current national players, up-and-coming players, as well as ex-internationals such as Lee and Jean Ng.

National coach Ruth Aitken said: "The long list is about us ensuring that we cover all our bases in terms of possible selections. However, at the end of the NSL, the squad for 2015 will be known, and that would be a group of up to 22.

"At the end of March, the team of 12 will be named for the SEA Games. It's a bit about crystal ball-gazing, so as to see who is coming back into the game and who is coming up in terms of our youngsters."

"However, through the NSL, there have been a few names who have also put their hands up, which is good too," said the New Zealander, who added that the association can include names in the final squad that were not in the initial list.

This article was first published on February 2, 2015.
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