Netball

Outgoing INF president Molly Rhone regaled as visionary leader

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
@ The Netball World Cup
In Liverpool, England

Sunday, July 14, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — Jamaican Molly Rhone was described as a pioneer and a visionary during Thursday's function to celebrate her time as head of the International Netball Federation (INF).

Rhone, an iconic figure in global netball, is to demit office on July 21, coinciding with the final day of Netball World Cup action.

Due to illness, Rhone was unable to attend the event in her honour but her work for over a decade and a half at INF did not go unnoticed.

“I have huge admiration and respect for what Molly has achieved. If I can achieve just a small portion of what she has achieved then I know I'll be taking netball forward,” said president elect Liz Nicholl during an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.

“It's a massive privilege to pick up this responsibility after Molly has served for such a long time as such an amazing president who has taken the sport forward.”

A former national player, Rhone presided over the country's netball from 1993 to 2003, and has served also as president of the Americas region.

Nicholl is an ex-Wales player, who was chief executive officer for England Netball for 16 years, and more recently served as CEO for the government-run UK Sport.

She said Rhone has contributed significantly to breaking down barriers for women in sport.

“At its heart netball makes a huge difference to young women and girls and empowers them to achieve amazing things in life. I think that's what Molly has really emphasised in her tenure.

“It's a sport I love and over the years that Molly has been president the number of countries playing netball has grown, the sport has grown, and the number of fans has grown. There's greater publicity and greater broadcast coverage, so it's much more visible as a sport,” she said.

Nicholl recalled that she and Rhone have history dating back over 40 years.

“I played in the World Cup in 1975 and 1979 for Wales. I still have the programme from the 1975 World Championship, and I still have the autographs of the Jamaica netball team and Molly was in that team. So our paths crossed then, and little did we know that they would cross again, now, and also over recent years,” noted the veteran British sport administrator.

Marva Bernard, a former president of Netball Jamaica and currently running the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA), told the Observer that Rhone's stamp on international netball has been immense.

“That woman is a visionary… I don't think our Jamaican people understand how much influence Molly has,” Bernard said.

“Molly Rhone has been a great influence in my life. She actually brought me into netball and I've served with her at various levels. She's my personal friend, she read the lesson at my wedding and I owe my service in netball and whatever I have learnt to do to Molly,” said Bernard, an accountant by profession, said.

Dr Paula Daley-Morris, current president of Netball Jamaica, also stressed Rhone's influence on her.

“The honourable Molly Rhone has been president of Netball Jamaica and she has been president of the international federation since 2003. She's approaching the end of her tenure, but she has impacted the sport so much. She has been an inspiration for me and many others in netball. We still have a lot that Molly could do in the sport, and as long as she is willing to do so we will welcome her,” Daley-Morris, who has doctorate in information technology, told the Observer.


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