England Netball has seen record growth in participation and engagement in the year since England won Commonwealth Games gold for the first time with a 52-51 victory over Australia.
A match decided by Helen Housby’s last-second score was watched by 1.8 milllion people live or via the re-run on BBC, and according to figures established by England Netball, the performance prompted more than 130,700 people to play or play more.
England Netball’s annual Big Netball Conversation survey found that 77 per cent of members, programme participants, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators who completed the survey believe the “Vitality Roses” are an inspiration to young girls.
It emerged that 96 per cent of respondents said they were proud to tell people they were netballers.
Some 80 per cent of people taking part in Back to Netball – England Netball’s flagship participation programme – since the Commonwealth Games were new to the scheme.
In addition, Walking Netball saw a 106 per cent increase in participation since April 2018 compared to that in March 2017-2018, with 81 per cent of those being new to netball.
Following their triumph at the Games, England players secured a number of prestigious accolades, including team of the year and greatest sporting moment at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, and team of the year at the Sports Journalists’ Association's British Sports Awards and the BT Action Woman Awards.
Ama Agbeze, who captained England during the Commonwealth Games and was recently named sportswoman of the year at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards, said: “I can’t believe it’s been a year since we competed for that gold medal.
“It has been an exhilarating 12 months and what is amazing is that we still get people coming up to us to congratulate us on our success and to tell us about how they have been inspired to take up netball or get back into it because of that final game.
“It is a privilege to see this sport grow and to know we have encouraged people to get active and participate.
“The excitement and buzz from the Commonwealth Games has never died down and I’m sure netball fever will only continue to spread as we gear up to the Vitality Netball World Cup which takes place in Liverpool this July.”
Joanna Adams, chief executive at England Netball, said: “Winning gold at the Commonwealth Games has brought netball to the attention of the masses and encouraged many to get involved.
“That moment gripped the nation, changed perceptions of netball and inspired thousands of people to hit a netball court.
“It is fantastic to see that more women than ever are playing netball because we know it can make such a positive difference to people’s lives.
“The Commonwealth Games result had a huge impact on the country, even though it took place all the way out in Gold Coast, so I can’t wait to see what effect the Vitality Netball World Cup will have since it’s on home soil.”
The Vitality Netball World Cup is due to take place from July 12 to 21.