England Netball: Vitality Roses set to return to training

Jess Thirlby is “hopeful” the Vitality Roses will be back playing competitive netball before the year is out and welcomes the positive steps they are about to make in order to return to training.

England’s elite netball team do not have any fixtures currently confirmed for 2020 due to COVID-19, but Thirlby’s positive perspective comes as the governing body are able to plan their route back to training together.

“We are really pleased to be able to begin preparing for some on court activity, this is a really positive step for netball’s gradual resumption,” Thirlby said.

“Whilst no fixtures have yet been confirmed due to the continued impact of COVID-19, we are hopeful that we’ll be able to get the Vitality Roses back in the red dress before the year is out.

“There are lots of moving parts to this so nothing has been confirmed yet, however in the meantime we are putting our focus on getting the team back together and training to full capacity again.”

The Vitality Roses’ return to training plan comes after the government has outlined a five-stage return to elite sport and guidance regarding the conditions which need to be in place for athletes.

Athletes, defined as individuals who derive a living from competing in a sport and are in the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body, must follow specific phases.

Return of Elite Sport – England Netball

As a result the Vitality Roses will be returning to individual-based training, which is Stage One, at two Elite Training Centres in Bisham and Manchester on July 21.

The team will then advance to training in Loughborough for Stage Two in early August.

“Our athletes have been itching to get back on court so this news is very much welcomed,” Thirlby said.

“Despite our eagerness to begin training together again, we have to be mindful to start small, get the environments right and then grow our training groups from there.

“Whilst we have big competitions, like the next Commonwealth Games, on the horizon, the health and safety of our players, staff and the netball family is our main priority.

“With this in mind, we are following the government’s guidance and that of our medical team, as well as speaking to venue staff throughout this process to ensure the Roses’ training environment is optimal.

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