When children take up a sport, they like to dream of the future. Young guys become Test Cricketers, AFL and NBA stars. In 1995 young girls could finally aspire to the Olympic dream. It took over 25 years of lobbying the Olympic IOC for this recognition but in granting it, an important formal requirement for recognition has now been met. So now young Netballers can truly aspire to become Olympians.
Still it is a slow process. In 2016 Rugby Sevens and Golf, games primarily played by men, were included before Netball. Netball has to date never been played at the Summer Olympics. Predominantly a game played in Commonwealth countries, Olympic recognition provides impetus, and more importantly funding for faster global growth of the game.
According to some pundits, the slow acceptance of Netball is in line with the overall slow acceptance of women’s sports or sports predominantly played by women. As late as 1996, 26 countries sent no women to the Olympics. Olympic recognition opened up funding through the International Olympic Committee (IOC), national Olympic committees and sports organisations through State and Federal Governments.
Currently Nellakir is contracted on a number of Victorian State Government Private Public Partnership projects which see new high standard sprung timber sports floored Netball courts supplied and built in many new Primary and Secondary schools. These Netball courts are also used by the local community for weekend and weeknight competition and by the schools themselves as Assembly Halls and as Gymnasiums, with other competitive sports such as Basketball and Volleyball also being played on these superb surfaces.
Netball has become a permanent Olympic recognised sport as of 1995. Recognition has ensured that Netball’s national associations worldwide can become full members of their nation’s national Olympics committees. The All Australian Netball Association is one of these national organisations and it has become a full member of Australia’s national Olympic committee.
The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) recognition by the IOC was renewed in 2004. IFNA has made Olympic recognition part of its long term strategy to grow the game.
Netball remains the most popular women’s spectator sport in Australia, but recently this has been challenged with the emergence of the AFLWC. Needless to say that whilst a young girl from Mill Park or Belmont in Geelong can dream of donning her country’s National colours at the Olympic Games, the game of Netball has now created a solid foundation. Let’s look forward to some more Aussie Glory in 2020 in Tokyo – in Netball!