Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Girls, girls, girls, ladies do not raise their voice.

Well they do if they are Netball players preparing to play at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games , Melbourne 2006. Manufacturer Puma had planned to release the Puma Netball Gold Attack shoe, which is limited to just 100 pairs. The limited edition Puma Netball Gold Attack is exclusive to Melbourne and will go on sale tomorrow. Puma-sponsored Australian netballers, captain Sharelle McMahon and defender Bianca Chatfield , will wear the shoes at the Games. But the Australian Commonwealth Games Association banned the launch because adidas is the official apparel brand of the Games. Contractual obligations mean the athletes need to wear adidas footwear before and after the game but can wear anything they prefer to compete. This situation is becoming more common in professional sport as the corporate world overtakes field activities. So far many codes have resisted team contracts for playing shoes, wisely leaving choice of competitive footwear to the athletes themselves. Now missed revenue lost to signature shoes and other sponsors has become a sensitive point to company sponsors eager to get an edge in the very competitive market. Irene van Dyk (New Zealand) is no shrinking violet at the 190cm. She may have met her match with 19-year-old Susan Fuhrmann (196 cms), who is the only elite netballer in Australia taller than van Dyk. But girls enjoy being tall but have always found it hard it is hard finding clothes and shoes that fit. A problem many sports women face is good fitting sport shoes made for women’s feet. Until comparatively recently womens’ shoes were downsized mens’ shoes and did not take into account the anatomical differences between male and female feet. Women tend to have a narrower heel and broader forefoot than men. Shoe companies have realized that if they are to be closely associated with the sport these critical aspects of fitting are essential and must be address. Hopefully the new adidas netball shoe will give Susan no worries. An advantage of the Games is people come from all four corners of the Earth some more well off than others but all is equal on the playing field. Swimming in a pool, riding a racing bike and competing in proper running shoes were all but a dream for three young Solomon Islanders, Wilfred Bosa, Stanley Ofasisili and Marcus Forau. The triathletes flew to Brisbane in January with limited money or equipment. The Solomons is the poorest country in the Pacific and is only just emerging from five years of ethnic tension with the help of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI. In preparation the girls raced barefoot on coral roads and rode 20-year old bikes made from a patchwork of donated parts. All change however and thanks to the Hatlar Group the triathletes will now be able to complete their training with the right equipment.

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