Dan Ryan exclusive: Leeds Rhinos' coach speaks on Netball’s future in the Olympics

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The Olympic Games were set to take place last year, but were postponed until this summer, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s an event that attracts millions of viewers due to its array of sports on display and is arguably one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

However, there is one sport not currently being contested at the Olympics, that being netball. The sport is the most played amongst females in the UK and Australia, but men also play it too. Despite this, it’s not enough for the Olympic Commission to regard it a place in the Games.

Nevertheless, with the statistics to back it up, surely the inclusion of netball will be at the Olympics in the near future? Leeds Rhinos’ head coach Dan Ryan thinks there could be a chance for the sport to be contested at the Games in the near future.

Speaking exclusively to GiveMeSport Women, the 36-year-old said he feels the best chance netball has on being an Olympic sport in the future is if Brisbane win the right to host the 2032 Games.

“Well, I think netball's one and only chance to break into the Olympics will be if Brisbane gets the rights for 2032,” he said.

“I think the host country can put in a sport of choice and [with] netball being one of the biggest participation sports in Australia, I think that it's the only time I believe the door may open for netball at the Olympics.”

Ryan went on to mention that one problem the sport faces is that it’s only seen as a single gender game.

“The challenge with netball and it's always been the challenge, is when it comes to the Olympics, it's a single sex sport. It's not seen as a mixed sport or a sport that both genders have teams in play, although we know there is mass male participation around the world.

Ryan continued by outlining another key problem netball faces in its quest to be an Olympic sport, predominantly being played by Commonwealth countries. He said:

“And the other element too, is it’s only really played in Commonwealth countries. So powerhouse nations like the United States, Russia, China, other European nations, don't play the game.”

However, he still thinks there is hope for the sport eventually getting into the Games, but only if it’s supported enough from the International Netball Federation.

“I really do think that Brisbane is the opportunity, if the Olympics are awarded to Brisbane that is netball's time. If not, I think the International Netball Federation really needs to look at the way they [can], I guess, position their sport globally, to ensure that they give themselves the best possible chance in other Olympic Games and other Olympic cycles.”

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