As president of Netball America Sonya Ottaway is working to make the sport as popular in America as it is in Australia and she is getting support from such people at Oprah Winfrey (inset) and First Lady Michelle Obama.
As president of Netball America Sonya Ottaway is working to make the sport as popular in America as it is in Australia and she is getting support from such people at Oprah Winfrey (inset) and First Lady Michelle Obama. Allan Reinikka

Sonya aiming up in the US

ROCKHAMPTON'S Sonya Ottaway is looking to be at her best this weekend when she takes centre stage at the MCG.

After moving from Rockhampton to the US, Sonya is now the president of Netball America and is back in Australia to speak alongside the CEO of Fox Sports and the CEOs of various Australian sporting associations at the Asia Pacific World Sport & Women Conference.

Focused on helping individuals succeed in their sporting endeavours, Sonya said the women attending the conference have been given government grants or are starting up their own organisations, similar to what she has done in America.

"I started with a blank piece of paper, having some glasses of wine at a restaurant in New York and just sitting around and jotting down ideas," Sonya said.

Sonya conveyed how in America, netball was as foreign as Vegemite, but she is determined to change that and with the support of people such as Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, the introduction of netball to the youth of America is well on its way to success.

"Over in America there are various netball groups that have been there for about 30 years so in a way netball has been there for 30 years," she said.

"But Americans just haven't heard of it and I was thinking, well why is that?"

Working with Oprah Winfrey to introduce netball into her famous Leadership Development Academy for girls in Johannesburg, Sonya described the immense generosity of the star, and how she has gone out of her way to help the underprivileged.

"It was amazing working with the Oprah Academy," she said.



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