Read our President’s New Year message.
The past year in netball has been one of great success and impact at every level of the game. We continue to grow, welcoming new members to the netball family, and we continue to make important strides in all our three key strategies – Governing with Integrity, Empowering through Netball and Thrilling World Class Events – achieving a number of ‘firsts’ along the way.
In July, we held our first Netball World Youth Cup, following on from eight World Youth Championships, in the wonderful country of Botswana – the first time the INF had held an international event in Africa. New Zealand were crowned winners and youth netball was championed to fans all over the world via a ‘digital first’ strategy attracting an audience of over three million viewers via social media, YouTube and TV.
Fast5 in Melbourne was also a crowd-pleaser, with the six best teams in the world showcasing our shortened and dynamic version of netball. England won their first international tournament, showing that competition at the top is not only exciting and fierce, it’s also increasingly unpredictable, which is fantastic for the game.
This has been demonstrated further down the rankings too with Uganda rising up to earn a place in their first ever Commonwealth Games, to be held in Gold Coast, Australia in April. This is testament to the amazing growth of netball within Africa and the impact it is having on its status in world netball.
Uganda’s Captain, Peace Proscovia, created an impact when she came to address our successful Congress in Botswana, demonstrating that she’s not just a fantastic role model for netball on the court but off the court too. Her moving story of her journey through netball and her mission to empower women in developing countries moved delegates to tears. She truly is a powerful, yet humble, ambassador for our sport and in her words, ‘a voice for the voiceless.’
Netball continues to nurture and produce leaders who make a significant impact in the world of sport. I was delighted to hear that former INF Board Director and Netball New Zealand CEO, Raelene Castle, has just been appointed CEO of Australian Rugby Football Union, the first woman ever to take up this role – a significant step forward in a sporting arena in which men historically dominate.
Netball’s leadership development opportunities continue to grow throughout all areas of our sport and I am thrilled that during the past year the INF appointed four newly qualified International Umpire Award (IUA) and six new umpires have been given ITID Status.
Netball continues to strengthen and thrive at the grass roots, with many amazing development schemes creating opportunities all over the world. We are so grateful to all our volunteers who give so much energy, skill and time to ensure netball is active and buoyant in their communities and regions – they truly are the lifeblood of our sport.
2018 is set to be another exciting year for world netball as we celebrate the top 12 teams in the world at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. For netball to be seen at, and be such an integral part of, a huge global multisport event which will be watched my millions the world over, is our chance to showcase just what an amazing sport we have, and to demonstrate that netball truly is a force for good.
I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved in 2017 and I know that 2018 will create even more impact than last.
I wish you a very successful and happy year ahead.
With my very best wishes
The Hon. Molly Rhone OJ, CD
International Netball Federation