Following the Superleague semi-final, held at Warwick Sport’s new wellness hub, the incoming and outgoing executive committees of University of Warwick Netball Club have decided to reflect on how far the sport has come in the last 12 months, following the success of the Roses at the Commonwealth games in 2018.
We think it’s important to look at how far netball has come and reflect on what a successful year it has been for netball during our time at UWWNC, as we as a club have been able to enjoy seeing the sport. Saffron Stay (outgoing League Captain) perfectly summarises, ‘Netball being streamed by Sky Sports is the beginning of true recognition for netball and female participation in sports.’ We are hugely proud to see netball leading the way in taking a step in the right direction towards gender equality in the world of sports. Xanthe Blain (outgoing Tour Secretary and incoming President) states, ‘Women's sports have been consistently overshadowed by men’s throughout history, so it's great to see Netball trailblazing a way to revive interest in female sports.’
Everyone agrees that it is about time netball receives the recognition it deserves. Sport England, in December 2016, revealed that over 180,000 people in Britain aged sixteen and over were taking to a netball court at least once a week, as a result of campaigns launched by England netball, such as ‘Walking Netball’ and ‘Back to Netball’; this saw a 16.4% increase in people taking to netball at the same time in 2016. Along with campaigns led by England Netball, since the commonwealth games, 130,700 adult women started playing netball or more netball, whilst 77 percent of the adults who paid attention to the netball at the games agreed that the Roses are an inspiration to girls. Farrah Vogel (incoming League Officer) pertinently states that, ‘allowing little girls to see such positive role models on the screen and be able to share that passion with their family means that SKY is helping shape a generation of strong empowered women!’. Catherine Welsh (Incoming Treasurer) believes that Sky’s coverage of the Superleague won’t only elevate netball’s status as a leading sport, but it will also ‘reignite the hype and support seen for netball and the Roses during the Commonwealth Games, but this time focussed on the British teams participating in the superleague.’
Izzie Lowson (outgoing Publicity Officer) believes, ‘'It's been so exciting to see how much netball has taken off in the last year since the Commonwealth Games! I think before the Roses showed everyone how exciting and fast-paced matches can be, everyone thought it was just a sport you play in secondary school PE. It's been so good to see so many more people of all ages getting involved in the sport! Sky sports live streaming the super league matches makes the sport so much more accessible, and gives the athletes the recognition they deserve.'
And we think it’s about time women athletes in a team sport, in our case especially netball, are promoted as inspirations for young women across Britain. Georgia Goddard (Incoming league captain) highlights that, by televising the super league on Sky matches are more accessible to a wider fan base and most importantly, ‘it’s great to see a woman’s sport being publicised! Hopefully it will inspire more girls to play netball, get involved in sport, and get sweaty’. Of course as a club we feel especially proud of all netball has achieved in the past year and we cannot wait to see where it goes in the future. Lydia Johnson (Incoming BUCS Vice Captain) sums it up for us all, ‘I can’t wait for the same atmosphere of a football match to start developing for the professional athletes training hard in netball. Whether female or male, netball is the ultimate team sport.’
In summary, the increase of participation and interest in the sport that Warwick Netball, unsurprisingly, hold very close to their hearts has reached a popularity that has allowed our Super league to be streamed via arguably the most recognised sport streaming system in the UK. This means our sport is on the way up on the International stage and we couldn’t be more excited about it.
Roses are Rising, and with them so is British Netball.
Updated 19:00 - 14 May 2019 by Charley Rogerson
The executive committees of University of Warwick Women’s Netball 2018/19 and 2019/20.
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