World Netball and the Commonwealth Games Federation have announced the first six nations that will participate at the Birmingham 2022 Games.
Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, South Africa, and Malawi were officially invited by the Commonwealth Games Federation with all six teams accepting the invitation to compete in Birmingham next July.
A total of 12 teams will compete in netball at the Games.
The host nation England and top five Commonwealth Games Associations on the World Netball world rankings at 28 July 2021 qualified for the event. That date marked the one-year-to-go milestone to the opening ceremony of the Birmingham Games.
The teams ranked 7-12 according to the world rankings on 31st January 2022 will be invited in February 2022 to participate at the Games.
During the remainder of the qualification period many Commonwealth countries such as Uganda from Africa and Wales from Europe will be involved in rankings matches that could secure their qualification for the Commonwealth Games.
— Commonwealth Games Australia (@CommGamesAUS) October 25, 2021
Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist and newly minted Diamonds captain Liz Watson believes the side is ready for the challenge the Birmingham Games will present.
“The Commonwealth Games is the biggest stage for our sport, and we are excited to represent Australia in Birmingham,” Watson said.
“We have waited four years for the opportunity to win back Commonwealth Games gold and we are incredibly determined to bring it home in 2022.”
Australian Diamonds Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich is preparing her side for the months ahead leading into the Commonwealth Games.
“Our preparation is already underway, and we will continue to build our on and off the court connection over the next nine months as we firmly set our sights on the 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
“We are currently working through upcoming opportunities for international matches, which will be crucial in the lead up to Birmingham.”
Australian Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM said it was exciting to see team qualifications beginning to take shape.
“We welcome the formal announcement of the qualification of our netball team for the Games,” Thomas said.
“Our diamonds join the Australian women’s T20 cricket team in having their qualification confirmed and we are also beginning to see athletes setting individual qualification performances for the Games, which is all bringing the countdown to the Games into a sharp focus.”
“The history of netball at the Games and the performances of the Diamonds show that close, thrilling and sometimes heart-breaking results eventuate, and we know our team is keen to head to England’s home court to reverse the result from the Gold Coast which was a superb win for Team England.”
World Netball President Liz Nicholl CBE congratulated the teams on securing qualification for the Games.
“Congratulations to the top six on securing their place at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Nicholl said.
“World Netball will continue to work closely with the CGF and the CGA’s on the announcement of the remaining six teams.
“I look forward to seeing all 12 teams compete on this world stage in Birmingham next year and watching the athletes embrace this opportunity to compete at this important multi-sport event.”
Netball at the Commonwealth Games:
Netball was first played at the Commonwealth Games as a demonstration sport at the Auckland 1990 Games and has been on the sports program since the 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
Some titanic battles have ensued, firstly between Australia and New Zealand and most recently England’s triumph over Australia in the gold medal match on the Gold Coast.
Australia has won three gold (1998, 2002, 2014) and three silver medals (2006, 2010, 2018).
New Zealand has captured titles in 2006 and 2010 and England in 2018 to go with their bronze medals in 1998, 2006 and 2010.
Jamaica has also featured on the podium with bronze medals in 2022, 2014 and 2018.
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A twelve-member netball team will be announced in 2022 and Commonwealth Games Australia is planning to send its largest team to compete in an away campaign with an expected team size of 425 athletes across 21 sports.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August.
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