Karen Anderson: Sports is her passion

By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 13, 2013

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IT’S quite a task, but newly appointed general manager of the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA), Karen Ander son is adamant that she will not drop the bal l in carrying out her mandate to get the sport to be as widely appreciated as track and field, football and cricket are in the Jamaican lands cape.


"That is a major goal. I don’t think right now that we are seen along those lines. We have the best record worldwide in any team sport for Jamaica, but I don’t think we get the same recognition as football or as cricket," said Anderson who was appointed three months ago.


Anderson does not disguise her passion for the sport, which she got involved in at preparatory school and continued with in high school where she became the caption of the netball team. She eventually got involved in the Business House Netball Competition when she became a member of staff at Air Jamaica in 1990.


"I have always been involved, have always been interested in it and I love the game because I think it’s a great game," she shared with Al l Woman.


But while her involvement in the sport made her a good netballer, it was the six years spent as the vice-president of the local squash association that helped to equip her for the administrative role of her current position.


Anderson started playing squash at 11 years old and within no time, was recruited to become a member of the under-12 girl team for the Caribbean Junior Championships.


"I just developed this love ever since and played squash throughout all of my teen years and most of my adult life," said Anderson, who has been as far as Australia and India to play and referee the game.



"So I have a lot of facets that I think can help with netball. It will help me guide the way forward in terms of the coaching, in terms of the officiating, and then with the administrative end of it too," she said.


The sports enthusiast finds both sports endearing, although they are different in team structure.


"They are actually pretty similar in terms of the discipline and dedication required as all sports have; however, they are two totally different things where one is definitely a team sport and the other is an individual sport that has a team component," she explained.


Currently, Jamaica is ranked fourth internationally in netball, but Anderson is confident the association can help to get it at least into the top three ranking. As an administrator, she also wants to streamline the association’s methods of communication and strengthen the corporate structure of the organisation.


"We are going from a sporting body to more of a business. We are really taking on the aspect of becoming a corporation and so we have to start working as a business and so that is one of the areas I am working on," she explained.


More than anything else, however, Anderson hopes to see more women become empowered through the sport. She is pleased with the fact that some local netballers are already part of international bodies that govern the sport.


She believes this is a good thing, because it helps, "to ensure that everybody can see the way forward with netball and that we are a successful entity that is developing young women, to empower young women." Although Anderson has her first degree in tourism marketing and a master’s in international business, she has no plans to join the corporate world, because she doesn’t want to venture too far from sports.


"I am a big sports fan. I love all sports out there and I watch every sports out there," she said before declaring, "Sports is my passion".

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