Western Suburbs Weekly - - Westernopinion -

NET­BALL: the most in­clu­sive sport go­ing round. Fe­males, males, peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity, openly gay women, mums… they are all chuck­ing on bibs and giv­ing net­ball a go (and ex­celling) at all lev­els.

In 2016, the Aus­tralian Sports Com­mis­sion (ASC) re­leased its Aus­play par­tic­i­pa­tion data that found 562,698 adult women par­tic­i­pated in net­ball be­tween Oc­to­ber 2015 and Septem­ber 2016.

There were 324,177 girls play­ing and ju­nior pro­gram Net­setgo had more than 80,000 par­tic­i­pants. This month, Net­ball WA re­vealed that 11,950 young­sters played Net­setgo in the west, in­clud­ing 213 boys. Net­ball WA has recog­nised the boost in in­ter­est from males and has two boys di­vi­sions in the an­nual As­so­ci­a­tion Cham­pi­onships tak­ing place on the June long week­end.

There are also seven teams in the No Lim­its com­pe­ti­tion for play­ers with an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity that be­came part of the Cham­pi­onships in 2016 after be­ing launched in 2014. West Coast Fever re­cruit Jhaniele Fowler, from Ja­maica, is one of the most talked about play­ers in the Su­per Net­ball league at the mo­ment and is one of sev­eral play­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion with a young child or chil­dren. Elite net­ballers have rarely shied away from hid­ing their sex­u­al­ity too, act­ing as role models for their fans.

I chal­lenge some­one to prove that an­other sport as pop­u­lar as net­ball gives ev­ery­one a chance to shine. Denise S. Cahill


Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d483192

Net­ball play­ers and of­fi­cials Rose­mairy Oven­den, Jenni Stawell, Maddie Wood, Liz Booth and Brit­tany White­head.

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