The national netball championships for women with an intellectual disability, the Marie Little OAM Shield, will head to Perth for the first time in 2017 with the support of Netball Australia’s national community inclusion partner, Australia Post.
The Marie Little Shield will take place from the 1-3 September at the State Netball Centre, Perth. The announcement was made on Saturday, coinciding with a clinic run by the Diamonds for the players of the West Australia Marie Little Shield Team and newly appointed Australia Post One Netball Ambassadors, Caitlin Thwaites and Courtney Bruce.
The Shield, named after disability netball pioneer Marie Little OAM, is now in its fifth year and provides women with an intellectual disability the chance to compete and represent their state at a national level.
The event is an important feature in the annual Australia Post One Netball calendar, alongside other national diversity and inclusion programs.
Following their inaugural appearance at the Shield in 2016 and the growth of their ‘No Limits’ program for players at club level, Simon Taylor, CEO of Netball WA sees the opportunity to host the event as a chance to showcase the skills and enjoyment players with an intellectual disability can experience at all levels.
“We’re incredibly proud to be granted hosting rights of this wonderful tournament,” Taylor said.
“The exponential growth of our ‘No Limits’ program and the establishment of our first Marie Little Shield team last year is testament to the inclusive pathways our game prides itself on and we look forward to showcasing the passion, dedication and commitment of these athletes here at the State Netball Centre in September.”
While the Shield will be fiercely contested come September, the event’s reach extends well beyond the court, says Australia Post spokesperson Michelle Skehan.
“Like any national tournament, athletes prepare months in advance and take their representative duties very seriously. The sense of community and friendship amongst players, family and carers reminds us all why it’s so important to ensure everyone can get involved in the game.”
Netball Australia is committed to providing players with disabilities with opportunities to play netball. For competitions and specific programs for players with disabilities in your area, get in touch with your State/Territory netball inclusion contact.
Australia Post One Netball is Netball Australia’s national diversity and inclusion program. To meet the One Netball Ambassadors and learn how your Club or Association can create a more inclusive environment for all, go to onenetball.org.au.