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Johannesburg, South Africa – Netball is the latest South African sport to join the #HandshakeChallenge – an initiative devised by former South African Davis Cup player and captain, John-Laffnie de Jager to improve sportsmanship and foster good relations between opposing sports teams.

Players at the SPAR National Netball Championships at the University of Johannesburg sports grounds, players shake hands before and after every match.

“These days, we focus so much on winning at all costs that we forget about the process, and that sport can develop not just champions, but champion people,” said De Jager.

He said he was working closely with prominent figures in South African cricket and rugby to get this made into a tradition at all levels in both sports.

“When your playing days are done, you will be remembered not only for the titles you have won, but for the way you played the game and the character you showed on and off the field,” said De Jager.

The SPAR Proteas are no strangers to the concept of shaking hands before a match.  It is an established tradition in netball that players shake hands before every international match.

Netball South Africa  (NSA) President Cecilia Molokwane said NSA was delighted to accept the #HandshakeChallenge.

“Netball aims to instill respect for ourselves and our opponents.  The #HandshakeChallenge fits in perfectly with  our philosophy,” said Molokwane.