A week of success for Gibraltar women’s sports
Women’s sports has once again underlined its continued rapid progress, especially through its youth participants as a string of successes this week sets the tone for Gibraltar’s feats abroad.
Whilst a handful of Gibraltar’s top female basketball players guided the La Linea team to more regional success behind the scenes, Gibraltar’s new breed of female cricketers captured the headlines with a string of victories in what was their first competitive outing.
After only just a few months coming together, a select team from Gibraltar cricket notched their first victories in a women’s festival of cricket in Spain.
Cricket’s success was closely followed by Olivia Letts cycling performance in La Linea which was to earn her praised from the Andalucia cycling federation as the best performer in this weekend’s event. Highlighting the quick progression women’s cycling has seen in recent years in Gibraltar as the sport starts to build up its exposure and attraction with greater interest as the number of participants continues to rise.
The successes for women’s sport was not to end there this week as both netball and women’s futsal was to once again capture the imagination with determined performances in just the first days of competition.
Women’s futsal was to see Gibraltar attempt a comeback and close the gap against UEFA Women’s Futsal qualifier group favorities Slovakia in a second half which saw a full house at the Tercentenary Sports Hall give the players a standing ovation after a 4-2 defeat.
The young team many still in their teens and only playing their second full competitive futsal international match went on to thrill the crowds once again and raise expectations as they led against Moldova 3-1. Only to see fortunes turn against them and finish with a 3-3 draw from an unfortunate deflection. A result which in other occasions would have been hailed a success had seen faces of disappointment with Gibraltar women’s futsal setting a new tone as they bid for success and qualification into the next round and not just make up the numbers as the minnows now entering competitions.
With hearts and minds now broadly standing in support and filling the Tercentenary Sports Hall, Gibraltar women’s futsal once again showed that there was a new determination and spirit which women’s football was aiming to provide after years in the doldrum. Their first stints in international football starting to provide the foundations which now sees young players looking up at the upcoming young players as icons for the present-future.
Futsal’s success was, however, eclipsed on the day by Gibraltar netball, one of the main protagonists in inspiring women’s sports to raising their game through their successes internationally.
Gibraltar Netball’s senior squad once again underlined the determination and never-give-in spirit which is being seen across Gibraltar’s elite women sport. Facing hosts Isle of Man in the Europe Netball Open Challenge, and less than a year since having been defeated by the same in the same competition and knowing that the IOM had taken them to the wire before and won, Gibraltar was to outgun the hosts on their home ground.
A spirited start to their first quarter saw Gibraltar lead from the start with a 7-1 lead before they were to see a respond from the hosts. Gibraltar was to maintain its momentum into the third quarter and only found themselves behind at the end of the third quarter going behind by two points.
Gibraltar was to turn things around in the fourth quarter and provided the performance and grit which has inspired many sports people in Gibraltar as they once again took the lead to beat the hosts 36-39 on the day.
Importantly Gibraltar’s successes came about with a mix of young and experienced players merging through a strong development programme which has seen netball lifting the levels of preparedness among its players and delivering a new elite level as it progresses into the future. With its youth wings with a pool of players in can now filter into its senior ranks.
Similarly Gibraltar’s successes in the women’s game, especially in areas such as football, has been due to the increased investment into the development of the sport providing new resources and elite training as it sets its aims towards the international stage.
Cricket and cycling also investing into the promotion of the sport among women and providing new platforms for development and grassroots recruitment. Hockey, also this season seeing how the women’s game has started to establish itself as a fast developing sector of the sport with the game see more of a balanced field rather than the two-team horse race of the past. This bringing a new impetus in the sport which has seen more younger players maintaining the momentum as it sets a new tone towards its future prospects.
Volleyball, which these past years has seen its president Emma Labrador filling the role of Vice President in the European governing body, at the same time has seen a greater development and investment into the development of its female players attracting new blood into the sport as its does.
The successes seen across women’s sport this week, although fast becoming a norm, underlining the rapid progress being made as investment into women’s sport takes a new tone and provides greater exposure to its participants at the same time.