Greenway calls for netball's Olympic inclusion
ENGLAND'S Tamsin Greenway believes it's high time netball was awarded a place at the Olympics after admitting her disappointment at missing out on the London 2012 Games.
OLYMPIC DREAM: England's Tamsin Greenway believes it's high time netball was given a spot on the Olympic programme
The 28-year-old goal attack has been part of the England set-up since 2004 and has won two Commonwealth Games bronze medals - most recently in Delhi last October.
She also featured for England at the 2007 World Championships but has not yet been afforded the chance to strut her stuff on the Olympic stage.
In 1995 the International Olympic Committee paved the way for netball's potential inclusion, recognising it as an Olympic sport, but efforts to gain a spot on the schedule for London 2012 and Rio 2016 failed to get off the ground.
Gender equality has become synonymous with Olympic sports now that women's boxing has been added to the London 2012 programme and netball's reputation as a primarily female sport not doubt hinders their bid.
While it's played in more than 70 countries across the world, netball is also still regarded as a sport dominated by imperial countries - as shown at Delhi 2010 where all the strongest nations were in attendance.
But netball has gained support from a number of high-profile backers including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes and former Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis.
And Greenway is keeping her fingers crossed the wait will soon be over.
"Netball is an amazing sport and it was very sad for us for it not to be in the Olympic Games so it would be amazing if we could get it in next time round," said Greenway.
"It would be brilliant for the girls coming through to get that opportunity to play at the Olympics because it is the sporting pinnacle if you can achieve that goal."
Both rugby sevens and golf were added to the Olympic schedule for Rio 2016 but the IOC have confirmed there is room for the addition of one sport for the 2020 Games.
And Greenway believes a spot on the Olympic schedule would see netball gain professional status in the UK.
"It would be really great for netball to be in there and for us also to try and get a professional league as well where we could actually get some money and make a living out of what we play and love," she added.
"All the girls who play netball are very passionate about it, we have to be because it is not a full-time job so we do what we do because we love it.
"So anything that happens in the future would be fantastic because I know for me I will always be involved whether it is playing or coaching when I get a little bit too old.
"It would be really nice to build a future out of that, whether that be in the Olympics or in a professional league would be absolutely amazing."
For tickets to watch England vs New Zealand in the FIAT International Netball Series on January 15, 17 and 19 at the M.E.N Arena Manchester, Capital FM Arena Nottingham and the O2 Arena London please visit www.englandnetball.co.uk/