International Netball Federation President Molly Rhone says she is "extremely proud" of what the sport has achieved this year ©Getty Images

The President of the International Netball Federation (INF) Molly Rhone said she is "extremely proud" of what the sport has achieved in 2018 in her Christmas address to members.

The Jamaican, who has been President since 2003, said netball continues to grow "in many ways".

She highlighted England's surprise win at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the re-introduction of teams including Thailand to the world rankings system and the appointment of new members to the INF's Coaching and Rules Advisory Panel.

"When I reflect on 2018, I am filled with great pride for everything that has been achieved throughout the year," she said.

"Netball continues to grow in many ways; welcoming new officials, gaining recognition and continuing to make important strides in all our three key strategies - governing with integrity, empowering through netball and thrilling world class events."

Rhone congratulated England, both on their Commonwealth Games win and their subsequent success at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, at which the side won both the Team of the Year and Moment of the Year titles.

"This is fantastic recognition for the team and our sport," she said.

"Congratulations to coach Tracey Neville and the England team."

Rhone also noted the success of the Fast5 World Series, which was won by New Zealand.

Molly Rhone congratulated England Netball on their historic Commonwealth Games win ©Getty Images
Molly Rhone congratulated England Netball on their historic Commonwealth Games win ©Getty Images

"Fast5 is really taking off with competitions happening worldwide," she said, noting the event is free to watch on YouTube.

Also congratulated were St Vincent and the Grenadines, the United States, Thailand and Argentina for regaining a spot in the world rankings.

"We finish the year with 39 teams in the INF world rankings and a further 11 countries well on the way to playing the requisite number of games," she said.

In further areas of development, Rhone drew attention to the recent announcement of five regional officiating coordinators who will start in January.

"In 2018, four newly qualified International Umpire Award holders, seven new international talent identified umpires and one new International Umpires' Award testing panel cadet have been awarded," she added.

"Netball continues to grow from strength to strength at the grassroots, with many amazing development schemes creating opportunities worldwide.

"We are so grateful to all our volunteers who give so much time, skill and energy to ensure netball is active within their communities and regions, delivering benefits to the health and well-being of our participants.

"I am extremely proud of everything that netball has achieved over 2018 and, in what will be my final period as INF President, I am excited to see what 2019 holds for netball.

"I wish you a very happy festive season and a successful year ahead."

Next year's big event will be the World Cup in English city Liverpool.