By Neto Baptiste
Former national goal shoot and president of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) Karen Joseph believes that as a nation we have not fully embraced the ideology of women in sports and as a result, fail to give it the attention it both deserves and need in order to advance.
Speaking recently on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, the former #2 internationally ranked goal shoot said it is time to start investing more in women sports if we are to reap rewards like so many other countries across the globe.
“We have to put more value in our females and that, I think, is lacking in Antigua. When you think of, for instance, we sent athletes to Tokyo [2020 Olympic Games] and they did well [but] most of our athletes did not qualify. I am not blaming the athletes but when you look at the different sports, people categorise, in Antigua, certain sports more than some and you respect that, but it is okay for you to go to Tokyo and not qualify, but you go to St Maarten and play against a team and people have say whatever but I don’t look at it that way,” she said.
Having served as head of the association for almost five years, Joseph said it has been a rough road when it comes to getting support for netball, mainly because it is a female dominated sport here.
“To me, when it comes to female sports in anything in this world you get a beat down and that’s how I feel. Sometimes, I feel like I just want to tell the ladies ‘just don’t bother with it’. Sometimes you just get a negative vibe, but I would tell the girls that even if we have to walk, beg ride we are going because it is not about me now, we have to market the players,” the netball boss said.
The country’s senior netball team recently returned from St Maarten where they dominated the Battle of the Saints ranking tournament to claim the top prize. However, only hosts St Maarten and Antigua and Barbuda took part in the tournament after a number of other teams pulled out just hours before the event.