Armidale’s first NSW netballer uses state selection to re-energise rural athletes

As large parts of NSW are left battered by years of flood and drought and exhausted rural families are spending the holidays cleaning up, one Netballer is using her recent state re-selection as a call to encourage young rural athletes to stay inspired.

Charlotte Raleigh, the first Armidale netballer to be picked in a NSW team, was days ago announced as part of the 2023 QBE NSW Swifts Academy Program in Sydney.

Now, she’s using her state selection to inspire rural athletes from the region she spent many years in.

“I’m so excited and grateful to be back in the QBE Swifts Academy for another year,” Charlotte shared. “I hope this announcement acts as encouragement to aspiring netballers, especially all the rural netballers, to see the pathways available to them.

“Growing up in the remote region of North Star near the NSW border, I spent many, many days training alone on our property and know how hard life on the land can be.

“Rural athletes face many disadvantages at the best of times… but we also learn the importance of hard work, sacrifice, perseverance and grabbing opportunities with both hands when they arise.”

Charlotte said she wants to make sure rural athletes are aware that there are opportunities, pathways and support available to them through organisations such as NIAS.

“Regional academies provide athletes with incredible opportunities, but it’s important to remember that it’s a choice,” Charlotte said. “You choose to be an athlete, you choose to be there and with that choice comes commitment and sacrifice.”

NIAS, the Northern Inland Academy of Sport, which Charlotte attended from 2011 – 2016, is an elevator organisation dedicated to identifying regional talent and preparing talented sportspeople to reach their maximum potential, on and off the field.

NIAS CEO Shona Eichorn, said NIAS provides the opportunities, pathways and development programs for regional athletes to thrive and transition to higher levels of competition and performance.

“NIAS is committed to helping local athletes overcome major regional disadvantages such as the tyranny of distance, lack of access to regular quality coaching and high-quality competition,” Mrs Eichorn said.

“It’s truly inspiring to our current athletes and coaches to watch Charlotte, an exceptional regional athlete who put in years of hard work, to be re-selected into the NSW Swifts Academy. And it’s even more inspiring to watch her circle back to re-energise our athletes after another challenging year.”