Interview with Hon. Molly Rhone OJ CD, President of the International Netball Federation (INF).

“…that one day the Argentina team will be one of the best in the world.”

It was the message from Hon. Molly Rhone, OJ, CD, President of the International Netball Federation (INF), for Netball Argentina, during the Women and Sport Conference organized by ODEPA (Sport Pan American Organization) with the support of Olympic Solidarity of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in the city of Lima (Peru) in November. During the event, our president Mabel Roca, had the possibility to talk and share three days with Molly, both of them delegates of their corresponding National Olympic Committees.
Meeting Molly in Lima was not by chance. This woman, apart from being a former International player, is the president, since 2003, of the International Federation of the sport with 20 million of women in the world. She was also the president of the Netball Association of Jamaica (JNA) and the American Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA), and, at present, she is a member of the Anti- doping Commission (JADCO) and the Jamaican National Olympic Committee. With a life devoted to Netball and with the same passion and intensity, she encourages with every word to keep on working on the development of the sport.

When she was asked how she felt taking part in an International Conference that promotes the empowerment of women in sport, she answered: “I feel very good about taking part in the Conference because I am very interested in the empowerment of women and actually, that is one of the pillars of the strategic plan of the INF. I am also able to share my experiences with other women”. Regarding the empowerment of women in sport, in 2014, Molly received a prize from the IOC, “Women with Spirit in Sport”, owing to her national and international path with Netball, which is a sport that values and promotes the presence of women in all fields of action.

-And how does Molly see women in America in roles of leadership in sports and especially in Netball? “Women in America are not in the most senior positions in sports. They have the lesser positions and a lot has to be done to get some amount of equity. I think, in Netball, it is a bit different because Netball is primarily a female sport so most of its leaders are women. It is unique in that way but it means that most of the role models are women”, she answers.

Regarding the IOC’s demand on gender equity in sport, Molly maintains her own position with a clear reflection and message: “I think gender equity in sport is important but as the INF has contributed repeatedly, equity should not be seen as sport by sport but across the entire games or championships. This means that each sport does not have to have both men and women because certain sports are more suitable to men or women”.

-In this context, which will the prospects of Netball be and, what actions are being taken by the INF and its associations worldwide?
“The INF tries to be present at as many forums as possible. We are members of ARISF, World Games, World University Games, SPORTACCORD. We meet with the Sports Department of the IOC each year. The INF President is on the Board of ARISF as well as the World Academy of Sport so we try to get our voices heard”.

Considering the following answer key to our development as Argentina is the first Netball Association in Latin America, Molly says: ”I am extremely pleased to see that the President of the Argentina Netball Federation, Ms. Mabel Roca is a delegate for the Argentinian Olympic Committee and I must thank the Committee for selecting her. Netball is pleased to get the support of the Olympic Committee”.

-Molly, is INF pleased with the work done by the Argentina Netball Federation in all these years ?
“The Argentina Netball Federation has done tremendous work to start and spread the game in Argentina. The President Mabel is passionate about the game and she has some dedicated persons working with her (referring to Ms. Adriana Oria and Ms. Graciela Dondi). I know it is their aim to spread the game through South America would be a very good thing. They are very special to me and I hope the INF will be able to give them more assistance in the future. It is good to see them taking part in the International events”.

– Finally, what words could you tell the players, coaches and managers of Netball in Argentina?
“I would like to encourage all the players, coaches, managers of Netball in Argentina to keep trying. You belong to a massive family with 20 million players worldwide and an army of volunteers. Netball is recognised worldwide as a force for good and we have won many awards for our good work on and off the field of play. Our administrators continue to move onto bigger jobs, the CEO of Netball Australia was just appointed the CEO of the Australian Sport Commission, the biggest sporting organization in Australia. There are many examples”.

-And nearly at the end of the brief but productive interview and with the smile that characterises her, she told me: “Let us continue to work together so that one day the Argentina team will be one of the best in the world. Together we can!!!”

Nota: Agradecemos la colaboración en la confección de la nota de la Dra. Patricia Sangenis, presidente de la Comisión Mujer y Deporte del COA, y delegada asignada junto a Mabel Roca en el Congreso.






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