When it comes to the future of netball, it’s hard to have a discussion that doesn’t involve the Olympic Games and how to get the sport there in time for Brisbane 2032.
Netball Australia yesterday announced its intentions to work with World Netball to have the sport included by the time the Games arrive in the Queensland capital.
Many see Brisbane 2032 as the ideal Games to introduce the sport to the globe and World Netball’s stance of ‘waiting for a strong netball’ nation to host seems to have been realised.
Many pundits cite the perceived lack of a men’s game and global presence for the sport.
Despite this, Netball America is working hard to bring the game to Americans as a co-ed sport as EMMNA staged its first ever Nationals Tournament.
England Men’s and Mixed Netball Association president Ryan Allan is supportive of the campaign though he warns there are significant challenges involved, and time may not be netball’s side.
“It’s not going to be easy. It’s a bigger challenge than many recognise. If you look at the sports added recently, all have been individual sports, and introducing team sports means increasing the accommodation required on-site, increasing costs on the home nation, and taking up a greater share of venue space,” he said.
“Netball is played by a lot of Commonwealth countries, but we need to engage a lot of the larger countries like China, Russia, and the USA – they need a lot of support to put infrastructure in place before they’re ready to present to the IOC.”
“Everyone says it’s eleven years but its not. It’s actually only a few years because the Olympic villages get made a lot earlier, planning starts soon, applications go in… The time to be doing something is now and I think we’re starting behind 8 ball.
“In my opinion, if we want it to be the traditional game, I think mixed netball is the way forward. If we don’t, perhaps we need to look at Fast 5.”
Netball America is already working hard to bring the game to as many Americans as possible through the US Open Netball Championship.
The event is set to bring together 16 countries and 14 states to play the tournament in Las Vegas from November 12 to 14.
Netball America CEO and Co-Founder Sonya Ottaway said her organisation was determined to keep growing the sport and reaching the same heights as the 2019 US Open.
“Our [media team] said to me that there was 100,000 watching on Facebook Live,” she said after at first not believing the number of viewers watching the netball competition.