We love to give a voice to grassroots sport, and those sports not yet fully embraced by the mainstream. The likes of netball, hockey, archery, women’s sport and others are played and enjoyed by millions nationwide, and yet still find themselves inadequately represented in the mainstream media. Bit by bit, however, it feels like those underrepresented sports are finally making some headway – and 2017 has seen some real triumphs.

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS

For women’s sport in particular, 2017 has felt like a watershed moment. The stunning, World Cup winning success of the England women’s cricket team garnered massive exposure, transforming the lives of not only the team members themselves but future generations of female cricketers. It cannot be transformed overnight, but on-field success leads to success off the field – changes in perception, greater momentum and a groundswell of interest and engagement in women’s sport.

Women’s football continues to grow at an exponential rate, aided by the much greater exposure afforded to England’s ‘Lionesses’ and initiatives such as The Gameplan for Growth. A cursory glance at some of the comments on social media serve as a grim reminder that there is still a way to go in transforming some of the draconian and patronising attitudes that remain, but progress has to be acknowledged.

Earlier this year, we spoke to Tammy Parlour of the brilliant Women’s Sport Trust, who told us:

Progress over the past few years has been immense. Some trailblazing broadcasters, for example, the BBC and Sky are making significant, sustained, and coherent efforts to cover women’s sport. They are deliberately doing the work it takes to go out and secure the rights to leading events, to film them brilliantly and to engage new audiences. There is much still to be done – but we also need to acknowledge progress. These broadcasters are showing what’s possible, responding to an appetite for great sport and demonstrating the value of new markets. We hope that this stimulates a competitive instinct across the media. Tammy Parlour

WE WILL CONTINUE TO SHOWCASE GRASSROOTS SPORT AND GIVE A VOICE TO THOSE OFTEN DENIED ONE

Netball still finds itself in the Olympic cold, but record funding is going into the game. £16.9m – with £13.9m going to grassroots development and £3m for the national team – is being pumped into the sport, investment that will allow continued development of new and exciting initiatives. Archery, meanwhile, suffered funding disappointment, but that hasn’t done anything to stop the emergence of a glut of talented young British archers winning medals on the international scene in 2017.

We will continue to passionately extol the virtues of sporting activity, of sports on the fringes and grassroots club sport – to showcase thriving local sports clubs and to promote sporting initiatives that encourage greater participation. In supplying kit for so many grassroots sports clubs and sports on the edge of the mainstream, we are inextricably linked and refuse to act merely as passive bystanders. Grassroots sport is quite literally our business, and it is vital we all play our part in keeping these sports visible.

KUDOS PASSIONATELY SUPPORTS GRASSROOTS SPORT

KUDOS loves to encourage people of all ages and from all backgrounds to take part in grassroots sporting activity.

KUDOS SPORTS – A LEADING SUPPLIER OF CUSTOM SPORTS KIT

KUDOS is proud to supply kit to a range of sports clubs up and down country – custom teamwear and bespoke custom kit that is built for performance and worn with pride.

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