Young Women in Sport by Melinda Madgwick

Posted: May 29, 2014 by ivoburum in AFL, Deakin University, Sport
Tags: , , ,

Melbourne leads the way for creating sporting opportunities for young girls.

Most girls around the world would dream of having the opportunity to play and use the same facilities as their favourite sporting heroes such as Raphael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.

Here in Melbourne, girls have access to exactly that. They can rub shoulders with Casey Dellacqua and Jelena Dokic while training at the National Tennis Centre. They can use the star’s facilities to get changed, play on the same courts and have access to international coaches for their tennis lessons.

Eleven year old Jennifer Madgwick is part of the National Tennis Centre’s Development Squad and trains there after school. “I really enjoy tennis, it’s a very social sport and I can train here after school as it’s only a short drive away for my mum”, she said.

AFL is also a huge part of Melbourne’s sporting culture and it’s not unusual for kids to be overly passionate about supporting their favourite team. Some kids start playing AusKick at five years old. Although AFL is traditionally played by men, the local footy clubs usually try and cater for the girls who have a passion for the sport. “I can kick a footy as well as the boys at school. My teacher asked me to join the school AFL team and he put me straight into the full forward position because of my kick. The boys didn’t mind, as I scored a few goals,” Jennifer said.

Chris Pearce, who has been involved in the local community for many years, has enjoyed working at local sporting clubs. “Australia’s known throughout the world for its sporting excellence. I think in Australia, girls have the same opportunities as boys to participate actively in sports, all the way through to the highest level, where all our most wonderful champions have represented Australia”, he said.

Melbourne offers girls a huge range of representative and local sporting opportunities, in basketball, netball, athletics and AFL, that cater for girls at all levels. “Most clubs have teams at every level, and as you learn the game and the rules, you can progress into the development squad if you really like the sport”, Jennifer said.

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