Photo credit: Gibraltar Netball
INF World Ranking: 31st
A tiny British enclave situated southward of Spain, the overseas territory of Gibraltar is a popular tourist destination steeped in history and heritage.
While the matter of its sovereignty is cause for contention between Spain and the United Kingdom, its iconic red telephone boxes and “chippys” (fish & chips vendors) leave little doubt as to where its allegiances lie.
It is thus unsurprising that netball has amassed a strong following in Gibraltar for the past 30 years - boasting 7 divisions, 32 teams and over 700 players. Pretty good going for a population of 30,000.
Ranked 31st in the world, the national team find themselves heavily involved in European competitions.
Having recently played host to the Open Challenge which saw reigning Four Nations champions Republic of Ireland clinch gold, they are set to welcome the likes of Malta, Isle of Man, Switzerland and Ireland for the Netball Europe U17 Challenge in March.
At a mere 2.6 square miles (6.8km^2), Gibraltar come into the competition as the smallest by landmass and population, but not necessarily in terms of ambition.
“I don’t want to give too much away about our preparations, but we have a very close bond. Gibraltar being a very small place actually counts to our advantage, as we get to train together 4 times a week,” said Bryony Rovegno, Gibraltar Captain.
Photo credit: Gibraltar Chronicle
“We’ve been analysing our opposition to see what their strengths and weaknesses are- they are tall, athletic and will definitely bring a fast-paced game!”
In addition, Rovegno believes that a winning performance in Hong Kong will help pave the way for the future of Gibraltarian netball.
“We want to be ambassadors and role models to our younger generation and inspire them so that they too can enjoy opportunities like this,” she said.
“While we’re proud of our ranking, we’re always looking to improve and cannot wait to put everything we have been working on into practice!”