I keep banging the drum, year after year, i know it can be boring repeating the same message but one day someone might listen. Why is Netball not at the Olympics?
Once again the Commonwealth Games have reinforced the popularity of netball on a world wide scale. As the top 12 teams compete in the qualifying stages, we regularly see crowds of up to 6000 attend the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. The top 2 in each group will progress to meet in the semi finals at the larger, 7500 capacity Coomera Indoor Sports Centre.
One of the years biggest shock results occurred in game 8 of pool B when Malawi beat world number 2 - New Zealand, 57 - 53. This result gained a huge amount of coverage on TV, radio and the written press. In the England, it was welcomed with delight as New Zealand are in England's group.
The top 4 teams - Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica are head and shoulders above the other competing teams but the gap is getting smaller as Malawi have shown.
In the UK the growth in Netball continues at a pace and we understand this is repeated across many countries in the world. GB Netball and the INF are regularly in contact with the Olympics organisers to lobby for netballs inclusion. For now this falls on deaf ears but, less popular sports continue to be included. Maybe the Olympics make less money from netball and this is the main reason for it stay out of the games. Coupled with the fact that USA do not see this as a major sport and are currently ranked on 28th in the world may also have an impact on the Olympics inclusion.
Their loss though as we continue to enjoy the enthralling closing stages of the Commonwealth Games netball program.