Gina Haughton: The face of western Jamaica's netball
When Gina Haughton entered Herbert Morrison in the early 1980s, she knew nothing about the game of netball. However, by the time she graduated five years later, she was being called up for national trials.
“At that time we never had netball at the primary school level in St. James so I never got introduced to netball until I entered Herbert Morrison High School,” said Haughton, whose athleticism make her a much feared opponent. “Once I got to understand the game, I fell in love with it.”
"While at Herbert Morrison, I also played club netball for African United in the St. James domestic league,” said Haughton, who skills also extends to track and field. Despite being a gifted centre court player, Haughton never donned the national colours.
“I really had ambitions of representing Jamaica and got invited to trials on a few occasions. However, the demand of travelling to Kingston on a regular basis was an impediment, so that aspect of my dreams never materialised," said Haughton.
In addition to representing Herbert Morrison, Haughton played netball at GC Foster School of Physical Education, where she did tertiary studies. In addition to teaching, playing and coaching, she has served as an umpire as well as a member of the St. James Netball Association (StJNA) administration, which she now leads.
“We have a vibrant netball programme in St. James ... have competitions from the primary level right through to the masters and business house level,” said Haughton, who now coordinate ISSA run netball programmes in western Jamaica. “We have many fine young players, but unfortunately because of the ongoing violence in St. James, some of the players are reluctant to leave their communities.”
“However, we are soldiering along ... Netball has done a lot for me and I feel I have an obligation to give back to the sport in all the ways I can," she said.