April 23 - Wales' Commonwealth Games netball preparations have been hit with three months to go until Glasgow 2014 by coach Melissa Hyndman, once described as the Sir Alex Ferguson of the sport, temporarily leaving her post due to personal circumstances.
Mike Watson, chief executive of Welsh Netball, has confirmed to Wales Online that Hyndman, a 45-year-old from New Zealand, is currently not at work and that this was due to personal reasons.
He has not elaborated on when stage Hyndman is likely to return, adding only that the Commonwealth Games squad, players and management will be ratified by Team Wales and announced no later than July 7.
Since becoming the first full time coach of Welsh Netball in 2010 after previously being head coach of Fiji, Hyndman has gained a reputation for a no-nonsense approach and this, along with colourfully worded team talks and a complete overhaul of the sport in Wales, has led to comparisons being drawn with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex.
Among other radical changes, Hyndman has imposed curfews on her players, banned them from taking nutritional supplements and rigorously controlled their extracurricular activities.
But by doing this she has engineered an impressive upturn in fortunes for the national team from also-rans to outside medal contenders on the world stage.
The team has risen from 19th to eighth in the world rankings, their highest ever, and qualified for Glasgow 2014 after missing out in a similar bid to qualify for Delhi 2010 four years ago.
Hyndman led the team to an unprecedented ninth place at the 2011 World Championships as well as a historic first gold at the 2013 Europe Open Championships.
All being well, the national team were hoping to upset some of the powerhouses of the sport in Glasgow, including neighbours England as well as Australia and New Zealand, but at this crucial late stage the absence of Hyndman will be a crucial blow.
The Glasgow 2014 netball competition will begin on July 24 at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Precinct and will last for 12 days before concluding on August 3.
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