By: Tom Degun

July 18 - Urvasi Naidoo, the chief executive of the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA), has claimed that her sport is still hopeful of inclusion at the Olympic Games in the long term future despite missing out on a place at the 2020 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed on a shortlist of eight sports to be considered for inclusion in 2020 during their Session in Durban earlier this month, with baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu chosen.

Netball - along with dance, bowling and surf - was considered for the 2020 Olympic programme by the IOC but failed to make it onto the shortlist - a decision that came as somewhat of a surprise given the stature of netball compared with roller sports and sports climbing - but Naidoo remains upbeat despite the blow.

"It is a long term aspiration for netball to be in the Olympics and we will continue to work with the IOC to achieve that," Naidoo told insidethegames.

"We have annual meetings with the Sports Department of the IOC and we are very pleased with netball's progress to date.

"We are encouraged that netball made the long list and we will continue to work harder over the next five years to achieve our goal of seeing netball in the Olympics in the future."

Netball has been on the sports programme at the Commonwealth Games since 1998 and has featured at every addition of the competition since, proving highly popular with the spectators.

Naidoo believes this growing popularity will help the sport achieve its ultimate goal of featuring at the Olympic Games.

"We continue to grow and expand globally with new member countries joining us this month, including Austria, Ethiopia, Brunei and Nepal," she said.

"We will hold an inaugural FISU University Championship in Netball next year.

"Our recent World Championships in Singapore was a huge success and is a showcase for how great netball can be in terms of broadcast, sponsorship and ticketing."

The World Championships at the 12,000 capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium were won by Australia, who claimed their tenth world title.

New Zealand picked up the silver medal while England claimed bronze.