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The Hot Steppers will be featured on Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun. SUR
Netball with a difference offers fun way to exercise on the Costa del Sol
Keeping fit

Netball with a difference offers fun way to exercise on the Costa del Sol

The Hot Steppers were the first team of their kind in Spain and their coach is now aiming to start a local league

Tony Bryant y Jennie Rhodes

Costa del Sol | Axarquía

Friday, 19 January 2024, 17:57

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A retired special needs teacher who moved to the province of Malaga in 2013 has set up the first walking netball team in Spain with the hope of starting a league on the Costa del Sol. Jill Wilson, who lives in Casares with her husband, came up with the idea after being asked to join a team in Chesire while she was in the UK, although she declined the offer seeing as she was returning to her home in Spain.

However, the 70-year-old was fascinated with the idea of starting up something similar in Casares, and began researching the sport. She soon realised that walking netball, which is similar to netball, with the most obvious difference being that players cannot run, did not exist here.

"I watched the team in Cheshire practise and I enjoyed it so much I thought it would be good for people with hip, back or knee problems. I thought it would appeal to older ladies who wanted to exercise and have a bit of fun, and also to socialise. It seemed to me this would be perfect in Spain, so when I returned, I looked for a team, but there were not any here," Jill explained to SUR in English.

Jill, who has had a hip replacement and suffers with arthritis in the knees, said she was "well over weight" at the time, so this made her even more determined to get her idea off the ground, although she was forced to do this much quicker than she had planned.

"I had previously been approached by the Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun team, who wanted to interview us. They asked me what interests I had, so I explained about the walking netball, and they were really interested to include it in the programme. I managed to get some girls together with just three hours' notice to talk about it and play a little. It was hard work, but we did it, and so then I decided to really get the ball rolling," Jill said.

She says that the response to her appeal for like minded people was "immense" and she now has more than 20 players, who call themselves the Hot Steppers.

The town hall has given the women the use of the municipal basketball courts on Thursday mornings, although as Jill points out, these courts are slightly different to netball courts due to the height of the nets.

Jill, who has been asked to set up a team in Marbella also, is hoping to organise a game against the recently formed Gibraltar team.

One of Jill's friends has pledged to start a team in Alcaidesa in the near future; while Torre del Mar will start up in February.

Axarquía women warming up for new netball teams

A new walking netball group is starting in Torre del Mar on Tuesday 6 February. Behind it is Costa Women Axarquía member, Michelle Conner, who started a normal netball group in the town before the Covid pandemic struck. Now, with the help of Deborah Cater, who played the game for Berkshire county during the 1990s and continued to play until she moved to Spain 13 years ago, there is new impetus to start again.

Deborah, 53, will be coaching both the walking netball group, which will meet at the tennis courts by Torre del Mar lighthouse at 9.30am every Tuesday and the normal netball group which will meet on Wednesdays (starting on Wednesday 7 February) at 6.30pm at the same place. Speaking to SUR in English, Deborah said that "women of all ages and abilities are welcome". To find out more about the Torre del Mar groups visit Facebook: Costa Women Axarquía Costa.

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