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Vicky Gomersall meets netball supremo Melissa Hyndman

Features Posted 30th January 2014 view comments

Vicky Gomersall meets netball supremo Melissa Hyndman - coach of the Wales and Celtic Dragons sides.

This week on Sportswomen, the Wales and Celtic Dragons Netball Coach Melissa Hyndman joined me in the Sky cafe. She's quite a character - dubbed the Sir Alex Ferguson of the netball world thanks to a no-nonsense approach to sport that has always seen her succeed.

Melissa Hyndman:

Melissa Hyndman:

Her current teams are no different. Celtic Dragons came second in the netball Superleague last season - narrowly losing out to Team Bath in a thrilling final. That wasn't enough for her - Hyndman also elevated Wales to eighth in the rankings. Very impressive considering they were 18th when she took over.

What struck me about Melissa is her passion for the game - which she has in abundance. Before she made the move to Wales, she was coaching in Fiji when she decided to look for a new challenge. As she explained to me - she applied for the job in Cardiff without really knowing where Wales was! Wales was a place ironically she had no idea of - not even where it was!

So she arrived ready and determined to make changes.

And those changes paid off. She has nothing but respect for her teams and the support they get from her is certainly taking them places. For the Dragons, she's hoping again for a top four finish whilst with Wales she wants them to succeed at the Commonwealths this year and rise to at least five in the rankings.

But it's not just on the court Melissa wants to see change. I was really interested to hear that New Zealand's national netball side "The Silver Ferns" are revered in their country as much as the All Blacks. She told me the women are household names over there, the publicity and press attention equal to that of men's sports.

She admits the UK are behind in this respect. One reason she blames is the lack of grass-roots facilities on offer in the UK. As she explained to me, in New Zealand they have dedicated Netball facilities that are used all the time and this is something she wants to change here especially in Wales.

Her dream, before she departs these shores, is to have a "Netball home" filled with ten courts all under one roof and once that happens she feels Wales will make a massive impact on the world in netball. She's making herself heard too, admitting "most of the councillors in Wales know me!"

Rarely have I met a more determined, driven and passionate individual. I've a feeling her dreams will fast turn into reality and that will be great news for all netball lovers in this country.

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