Should Golf Step Aside and Allow Netball To Join The Olympics?
2 min reading time
Golf was 1st played at the Summer Olympics back in 1900 and 1904 and in 2009 it was finally allowed back into the fold for the 2016 Rio Olympics. This was a controversial decision that also allowed professional golfers the chance to compete for the medals. Tennis has also been criticised for allowing the top players who earn millions from the game to ply their trade at what was supposed to be an amateur event.
The Zika virus has caused much concern around the world with the World Health Organisation issuing weekly updates on the spread of the virus, carried by mosquitoes. One of the 65 countries to be affected is Brazil, hosts of the 2016 Olympics. Now many athletes have to make a decision on whether to attend the games after all. Some are suggesting, many didn’t want to attend in the first place and this gives the highly paid sportsmen a golden opportunity to drop out and save face.
Colin Montgomerie has made his opinions quite clear saying “First time back in the Olympics and we don’t show up. It’s a shame that the top 8 male players have decided not to go, if there were as many women not going, you might have thought ok. However, only one woman has pulled out. There you go. How many men? It’s very disappointing”.
How this affects golf’s participation in future Olympics, time will only tell. This could be good news for Netball though, who have tirelessly lobbied to gain entry to the Olympic sports list. With women’s sport high on the agenda to try to increase participation around the world, the International Olympic Committee may look favourably on one of the biggest sports in the Commonwealth.
The International Netball Federation will need to convince the IOC that they can meet their broad entry criteria which include potential ticket sales, costs to host the event, athlete’s health, popularity around the world and how the sport can increase it’s global reach. With netball’s rapid growth across Africa, as well as huge increases in participation in Europe and South America, it may be time for Golf to step aside and allow Netball to show the world what it can offer the world of sport. If netball could crack the American market it would be guaranteed a place in the 2024 Games.