New Zealand’s Sportswomen

At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, New Zealand selected more women than men, and by the end of the Games, eleven women claimed medals compared to the men’s eight. In a society where that national team is the All Blacks it is still reassuring that women are still producing world class performances.

Rugby Union

The Black Ferns – the picture says it all

The Black Ferns have won five out of the last six world cups and are the 2017 champions having beaten England in the final 41–32. Since they started playing international matches, they have won over 90% of their fixtures. The players are selected from their domestic sides who play in their provincial championship which is known as the Farrah Palmer Cup. Eleven sides compete for the trophy and the most successful is Auckland with 15 wins.

Netball

Netball is the most popular women’s sport in New Zealand with over 300.000 people playing it annually. The national side is called the Silver Ferns and are currently ranked second in the world behind arch rivals Australia. New Zealand have won 3 world championships in 1967, 1987, and 2003.

The club Netball is strong with the National Championships being contested by the regional teams. The six top teams in New Zealand compete in the ANZ Premiership with all of the matches being televised live on the Sky television. This is a semi-professional league and has replaced the ANZ Championship, and should continue to provide the national side whit a large talent pool for selection. Players start to learn netball from an early age (5–7) in both clubs and schools. There is an annual New Zealand Secondary School Championship for teams in the U15 and U17 age brackets. There is the New Zealand Secondary School Championship Team plus the U19s and U21s. All of these development sides lead to eventual selection to the Silver Ferns.

Hockey

The New Zealand national side is currently ranked fifth in the world and had their best ever result at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games finishing 4th. The team is known as the Vantage Blacksticks, and the New Zealand Hockey association runs both the men’s and ladies’ games alongside each other. Hockey is both popular at school and the Junior Club level. Many educational programmes have been introduced to help players progress into senior sides.

Cricket 5

Suzie Bates with the next generation of cricketers

The White Ferns are currently ranked No. 3 in the world. They have reached the world cup final on 4 occasions winning the cup in 2000. They are led by the inspirational Suzie Bates who has played for the national side since 2006. In 2015, she was named by the Wisden as the leading female cricketer in the world. She has played over 190 times for the national side scoring over 6000 runs and taking 110 wickets. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she represented the New Zealand Basketball team. With five full time professional women playing the game cricket is popular at both school and the Junior Club level.

Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko became the number 1 ranked golfer in the world in 2015 at the age of 17, and in winning the 2015 Evian Championship in France in 2016, she became the youngest player to win a major at 18 years 4 months and 20 days old. Having won the Evian, she also won the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California as well as coming 2nd at the PGA championship and 3rd at both the US Women’s Open and the Open. She is still only 19 years old, but has already won 14 LPGA titles.

Many other outstanding sportswomen have been written about in the other articles. This clearly shows that New Zealand is continuing to produce ladies who perform well on the international stage.

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