Leaving long-term legacy vital to sport’s future

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Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer said the foundation for netball’s future was laid this year and 2015 will be about ensuring the Netball World Cup leaves a long-term legacy for the sport.

The Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 in August will be the biggest netball event to come to Australia and Palmer is confident the sport is ready to capitalise on a successful tournament and build on the momentum from Australia’s Commonwealth Games Gold Medal triumph in Glasgow this year.

“They are the sorts of things that unite the sport and actually can set the scene for the future because the power of a united sport, a sport that is aligned strategically, is something that can move us forward,” Palmer said.

“Even though we’ve celebrated that (gold medal), patted ourselves on the back and said `job well done’ it’s about how do we now prepare to take the next step into 2015?

“Not just into next year but beyond that time. It will test the resilience of our sport; need to go again and we need to go harder because we’ve set the benchmark on the court and also off the court.

“We need to win a gold medal at our home Netball World Cup and we will do everything that we can to do that.

“But most importantly it’s about engaging with the community around Australia because a World Cup will come and go – and it’s really important – but what will sustain us and strengthen our sport is a commitment to making sure we deliver on what’s important from our strategic priorities.

“That’s everything from our ANZ NetSetGO program through to NetFest to our umpiring and coaching programs, and our major events. It’s actually being a thriving, healthy community sport that everyone in the community values.”

Palmer was courtside in Glasgow when Australia defeated arch rivals New Zealand to win the nation’s first netball Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in 12 years.

She said while it was a triumphant occasion for the 12 athletes involved, coach Lisa Alexander and her support team, the moment was also special to the entire netball community back home in Australia and the fans watching on TV.

“It was a highlight because it was so powerful to see the whole sport unite with one purpose and everyone contributed to that,” Palmer said.

“The work that the ANZ Championship coaches did to prepare the athletes, the support teams around the ANZ Championship teams, the State and Territory CEO’s and the work they did to really reinforce the need for everyone to play their role.

“From the top down, the directors of Netball Australia, everyone was on board. Our mantra was that to win a gold medal everyone needs to contribute.

“Everyone celebrated because they actually felt part of it – and they felt part of it because they were.”

_DSC3913This year’s launch of the Australia Post One Netball program was another highlight for Palmer and she’s enthusiastic that it will deliver on its objectives to make netball more accessible to the diverse needs of Australia’s population.

“This is one of the most exciting things that we’ve done and the legacy from Netball World Cup will be to strengthen those objectives,” Palmer said.

“For us to remain relevant we need to make sure everyone in Australia feels part of our game.”