Netball : 'Going from strength to strength'
Talking to GNA President Moira Gomez - Would you agree with that Moira? You must be happy at the end of another phenomenal year.
"Yes I would, extremely happy and I think it is all down to the GNA's 'no nonsense' committee. We tend to meet over coffee and cakes
but the work gets done. We rely on each other and work as a team - that's one our strengths.
"We like to think of it as the 'three Ps' - Plan, Passion - and look for 'the People'. We are lucky to have volunteers - new people joining us.
"We, and I always mean 'us', include all our members even the younger ones in our plans- we listen to them. What do you want to achieve?
We have over 600 members from young to senior.
"But we have to decide on a structure, qualify umpires and coaches and want successful netball to continue even if some of us have to leave. After all , we are women, working mums, caring mums with a lot of domestic pressures. We have to empower the youngsters to carry on where we may have led.
There will come a time when some of us will step aside and others take over; we have already identified some of our leading coaches.Several of our leading players go on to University where they continue playing and learning new techniques for the modern game.
"I have no particular favourites. My favourite is the one who wants to achieve."
"We have created 'a pathway' to increase knowledge of the game.The GNA has been concentrating on qualifying our officials , umpires at the higher levels. Nadine Pardo Zammit is a classic example. She has qualified at Netball Europe 'A' level through her own efforts - with many hours on the Rock and having to travel to officiate in senior matches away from Gib. She is the one official that everyone looks up to and others are following. Not only on the court but all the administrating table officials.
"We are hoping that some will be recognised by Netball Europe when we host a tournament in March. Also at the World Championships which will be held in Liverpool in the summer.
"Now we are concentrating on the coaching side of the game. We already have several good coaches and they are trying for the higher levels.
Netball in Schools
"Our Development programme has been running for over ten years. With netball on the curriculum at Westside Comprehensive, the GNA can teach the teachers and the girls can learn about the game, its umpiring and administration.
"We have always been well supported by the Middle Schools and this year we have introduced 'High 5s' for years 4 / 5 ( the 8s and 9s), then follows competition at years 6/7, 8/9 and into the 'Superteens' - the girls love that title - because they are 'Super'. We have four teams coming up from there.
"It would probably be a good idea to host a 'School's festival' as we have so many schools visiting us at 'their' half-terms, which are different to ours. Although the visitors are often in Spain they come to the Rock because we offer such good netball (and other sports). A new 'sports hotel ' might be a good idea.
"We've built a good friendship with Gail Holland from Northern Ireland who has been bringing schools here for over ten years. This year we will be hosting the ladies of the first team which she brought who will be playing their old friends on the Rock.
"We mustn't forget the support we receive the menfolk in our lives who look forward to the annual 'Machotes' tournament. They're surprised with the speed of the game and the skills required. I have been asked to provide a 'Machotes' league - but that's not for me!"
Gibraltar to host 'Netball Europe' in March.
"Next March, Gibraltar will be hosting the Netball Europe under 17 competition , featuring seven nations and Gibraltar - England, Scotland,
Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Wales, Switzerland and Malta. Isreal couldn't make it this time. From my position on the Council of Netball Europe we proposed and it was accepted that there would be two competitions - a 'Challenger' leading up to a 'Championship'. I argued that there was no point
in the small nations facing the big ones from the start."
"Our Senior International side will also be involved in an 'Open' Ranking championship at Newcastle in May which will include Granada and the USA."
"Of course, none of this would be possible without the support we receive from our sponsors and successive Governments without which we would able to travel, compete and develop the local game."