Netball: S'pore captain Charmaine Soh appointed World Netball's athlete ambassador for Asia

Charmaine Soh is excited to see how she can contribute to developing netball in Asia.
Charmaine Soh is excited to see how she can contribute to developing netball in Asia.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Charmaine Soh is a SEA Games champion, a two-time Asian champion, Singapore's captain and the country's most-capped netballer.

On Tuesday (Aug 24), she added another accolade to her illustrious CV as she was appointed World Netball's athlete ambassador for Asia.

The appointment came as a surprise to Soh, who said: "It's a great honour to be able to work together with fellow legends around the world because those ambassadors are names you would know if you play netball, so to be part of a team that's helping to grow the sport is something that would've never occurred to me.

"I'm very keen to help and get young girls to take up the sport because sport itself teaches a lot of values in life that we can pick up."

Soh joins Jamaican netballer Shamera Sterling, a 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, as one of World Netball's athlete ambassadors.

World Netball, which was renamed in June as part of a rebranding exercise, began unveiling its team of ambassadors as it aims to grow global participation in the sport.

Locally, the 31-year-old Soh has been involved with initiatives to grow the sport and last year launched a netball academy - Stellar Netball Academy - as a way to create a pathway for younger players.

She is now excited to see how she can contribute to developing the sport in Asia, although she admitted that it may be challenging in a region where few countries play netball.

Netball Singapore has launched several initiatives over the last two decades to raise the profile of the sport in South-east Asia and Soh hopes to be part of similar efforts in the future.

She said: "You have other sports like football and basketball that are more popular in Asia and we are more traditional in our thinking, where some believe thatwomen shouldn't play sport.

"There are different mindsets, preferences and cultures, so those might be the challenges.

"There are a lot of rules (in netball compared to something simpler like football), so it really boils down to people being more open-minded to learning a new sport."

World Netball president Liz Nicholl said: "We recently confirmed Australia as hosts of the 2027 Netball World Cup and with this came a commitment to implementing a significant legacy programme to develop the game in the Asia-Pacific region.

"At the top of the sport for over a decade, Charmaine is the ideal role model for young girls in the region to aspire to and I am looking forward to working with her to grow the game further in the region through her role as World Netball Athlete Ambassador for Asia."