Thursday, August 27, 2009

Equality for Women in Sports

In Papua New Guinea, the media, be it by design or accidentally, simply gives little or no attention to women in sports.

Netball, which has to the most prolific sport played by women in PNG just does not rate a mention against what happens in sports that men are involved in. Netball together with other sports played by women receives very little funding compared to Rugby League and Rugby Union despite it being played by all genres of women in society, in schools, casually and in both on and off season competitions.

Internationally, the senior national team is ranked just outside the top ten nations playing netball from a rft of over 70 nations. Affectionately known as the "Pepe's" (which means butterfly in the Hula language of the Central Province) they are highly regarded despite the amateur background from which the team is selected.

Domestically, all the main urban centres throughout the county have a netball presence and run their own weekly competitions from about March to September each year.

The nations capital Port Moresby, has the biggest netball presence more because of its urban community and facilities and also because the region has a historical association with the sport even from as long ago as colonial times. In Port Moresby two competitions are played during the year the first is the main town competition from which this blog will be deriving much of its stories and two off-season competitions, the first called the "Private Companies Netball Club" PCNC and the "Public Service Netball Association" PSNA. These two competitions are played from about September to April each year.

The amazing raw talent is inspirational ensuring the game continues to progress. It is healthy, competitive, promotes good skills and teamwork and a excellent social point for women, family and friends.

The normal town competition includes a junior and senior division and encourages young girls to join and participate in a community spirit somewhat lacking in society itself.

The finals are now in full swing in Port Moresby and the six main teams, the Esco Telsars, City Pharmacy Rebels, Monier Paramana, Sparrows, Snax Mermaids and Veupunama have staked their claims in that respective order.

City Pharmacy Rebels this week fight for the right to play Esco Telstars who after a scare in the opening exchange last last week with the the ladies in blue, managed to book a berth in yet another premier division grand final. The Rebels play a determined Paramana team who made hard work of their game against the Sparrows. The winner of this game will go on to meet the Telstars next weekend.

Similar outcomes were recorded throughout the competition which includes Division 1, 2 and 3 competitions as well as U21, U17, U15, U13 and U10 in the junior competitions.

This first blog is dedicated to the juniors from which the future of netball rests so be there early this week to watch the kids play. The images I have added here are a random selection of images from throughout the season. Near the Hoop is a weekly newspaper providing information, news and trivia on netball to all that follow the sport in the country. I hope you enjoy this small contribution to the sport in PNg and hopefully provide those outside PNG to appreciate the complexities of promoting the sport in this country.

It's finals time so see you all at the courts.