Liz Nicholl hopes Australia's strong netball heritage will aid a bid for Olympic inclusion at Brisbane 2032 ©Getty Images

World Netball President Liz Nicholl has insisted that the governing body is "looking at it seriously" in pursuit of a place as an additional sport at the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.

Netball has never featured at the Olympic Games, but announced last year that it would work with Netball Australia to seek inclusion at Brisbane 2032.

International Olympic Committee vice-president and former Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates recently warned that one of its main stumbling blocks was that it is predominantly played by women and "not enough countries" participate at elite level.

However, Nicholl told insidethegames that World Netball is actively considering ways to overcome those hurdles, and believes that given Australia's prowess in the sport, Brisbane 2032 represents its best opportunity to date.

"Every sport would have an ambition to be included in the Olympic Games, it is the biggest multi-sport event in the world," Nicholl acknowledged.

"We've always known that if we were ever to have a chance of getting into the Games, it would have to be when it was hosted by a very strong netball nation, and of course Brisbane 2032 is in Australia.

"The Australians are top of our world, and they are very supportive of our ambitions to actually seek inclusion.

"We know that's a challenge for us, but we are looking at it seriously, we are mapping the timeline of decision making, and we're very clear about some of the areas of challenge for us, which could be perhaps the equal opportunities, the number of athletes because team sports bring additional athletes, and a cap on athletes means some other sports might have to lose numbers.

"So we know that there are some challenges, but what we are doing is ensuring that we align the opportunity with our own strategy so that everything we do in the context of seeking to secure a place at the Games is good for netball anyway.

"It's not doing things that are going to draw on resources that are outside our sport-specific focus, it is about perhaps fast tracking some of our strategic developments, particularly raising the profile of the number of men and boys in the competitions and the competitions for men and boys in our sport, looking at our different products.

"Our sevens game is well known, we have a Fast5 game as well which we use for innovations, so we are looking at how we align the opportunity with our current strategy to make sure that we use every possible opportunity to be heading in the right direction and enhancing our case for inclusion.

World Netball President Liz Nicholl said the governing body would
World Netball President Liz Nicholl said the governing body would "value the opportunity to showcase our sport" at the Olympics ©Getty Images

"It would be massive if we were included in the Olympic Games, but we're also realists, so we know for example that if you are one of the additional sports, then there is no share of the income that is shared between International Federations as a result of that.

"There is always a possibility it's a one-off.

"There is no guarantee of securing future inclusion, so we're realistic, but it's in Australia, Australia are world champions.

"If ever there is going to be a possibility of us being included, then we will value the opportunity to showcase our sport at the biggest world event."

Organising Committees for the Olympics are able to propose additional sports to the International Olympic Committee for potential inclusion.

Baseball and softball represents an example of a team sport added to the programme for Tokyo 2020, but it was left off it for Paris 2024.

Brisbane 2032 marks the third time that Australia has been awarded the Games, following Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000.

World Netball is a member of the International World Games Association, but has not featured at its flagship multi-sport event the World Games since 1993.

Nicholl explained that scheduling issues had prevented netball from featuring at recent editions, but did not rule out a return to the Games.

Brisbane is set to become the third Australian city to host the Olympic Games in 2032 ©Getty Images
Brisbane is set to become the third Australian city to host the Olympic Games in 2032 ©Getty Images

"The World Games is always there as a possibility for us," she said.

"We have been included in the past, we haven't been in recent editions, and often it's a matter of actually how it fits within our calendar.

"Each edition we will consider on a case-by-case basis, but we are part of that movement, and it’s a great event."

Netball is set to return to the African Games in Ghana's capital Accra next year, and Nicholl said that the sport is targeting a place at all continental multi-sport events.

"All of our regions aspire to be included in their regional competitions, and there's a growing number that we are already included in which is fantastic, so the trend is very positive," the World Netball President declared.

"Multi-sport Games provide a very different environment to your sport specific competitions, and it's fantastic for your athletes to feel part of a bigger team, to be competing alongside those amazing athletes in all those other sports.

"It's very special, and it's part of our strategy to support our nations and regions in seeking and securing inclusion."

World Netball rebranded from the International Netball Federation last year, and revealed details of a strategic plan "to grow, to play, and to inspire".

It is featuring at the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for the seventh consecutive edition dating back to Kuala Lumpur 1998.