Karen’s world dream

Lo­cal net­ball coach will take Team Scot­land all the way

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Mur­ray Spooner

A Ruther­glen net­ball coach in­sists Team Scot­land will im­prove their world sta­tus in the next Com­mon­wealth Games.

Burn­side’s Karen McElveen has been tasked with lead­ing the na­tional net­ball squad to glory at the Gold Coast games in 2018.

And with less than 286 days to go be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony in Queens­land, Aus­tralia, 44-year-old team man­ager Karen is hope­ful her girls can go a few steps fur­ther than last time.

At Glas­gow 2014, Scot­land fielded a net­ball team for the first time hav­ing jumped up the rank­ings in pre­vi­ous years and fin­ished in ninth place. They also per­formed well at the 2015 net­ball world cup where the Scots tabled 12th.

How­ever, play­ing in the na­tion where net­ball is the most pop­u­lar sport for women, Karen knows it was never go­ing to be that easy down un­der.

“We’ve got our own tar­gets for our sport and as Team Scot­land we are look­ing for it to be the best away games ever,” she told the Re­former.

“We are num­ber 10 in the world right now and we’re look­ing to con­tinue go­ing up those world rank­ings as we have done in the past cou­ple of years.

“Our tar­get was to be in the top eight in Glas­gow and we want to im­prove our po­si­tion this time around. It’s all about im­prov­ing in the world rank­ings.”

Karen, who has stayed in Ruther­glen for 14 years, was cho­sen as team man­ager for the na­tional net­ball side back in Fe­bru­ary - fol­low­ing a pre­vi­ous stint in 2014 - to lead the team to the 2018 games.

Af­ter be­ing capped 39 times for Scot­land, she led the na­tional team, the This­tles, for over seven years, in­clud­ing at two World Net­ball Cham­pi­onships.

Now fran­chise di­rec­tor for the Sirens, Scot­land’s brand new net­ball Su­per­league team, the for­mer King’s Park Se­condary pupil is en­thu­si­as­tic about tak­ing on her role again in less than a year’s time.

With train­ing fully un­der way, Karen is feel­ing op­ti­mistic. She said: “It feels fan­tas­tic [to be named team man­ager again]. It will mean this will be my tenth year in­volved in the sport and hav­ing been for­tu­nate to have been in­volved in Glas­gow 2014, which was Scot­land’s first ex­pe­ri­ence in a mul­ti­sport en­vi­ron­ment, it was just amaz­ing.

“To be in your coun­try never mind home city for the 2014 games was just phe­nom­e­nal. Now we have the op­por­tu­nity to go to the Gold Coast in Aus­tralia where net­ball is the num­ber one sport for women so it’s go­ing to be ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic.

“The squad for net­ball has been for­tu­nate enough to get a fran­chise for a semi-pro­fes­sional net­ball league.

“We’ve just fin­ished our first sea­son so train­ing is un­der way and it’s a chance to re­cap and get the na­tional squad to­gether at the end of this month.”

Team boss Karen McElveen

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