Vitality Rose Geva Mentor collects CBE

Vitality Rose Geva Mentor has collected a CBE due to her distinguished contribution to international netball.

Mentor, who presented Princess Charlotte with a netball, was honoured by the Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 5 November.

A CBE recognises the contributions and achievements to those in a prominent role at national level.

“This is very humbling, but one thing I remember is it’s not just about me or for me, it’s symbolising where netball is at and hopefully there’s many more of these wonderful awards to follow,” she told the Press Association.

“I guess my contribution has been over almost two decades now and I realise the position I’m in to be able to inspire and engage with people out there. Not just the fans but people across the world and get them into, not just netball, but sport to keep healthy and socialise.”

The award caps off another great year for the Commonwealth Games winner after being a key part of the squad that secured bronze at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

Mentor started all ten games at the M&S Bank Arena and put in some characteristically brilliant performances to keep some of the world’s best at bay within the shooting circle.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 5: International netball player Geva Mentor with her CBE medal, presented by the Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, on November 5, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Geva Mentor with her CBE medal at Buckingham Palace in an Oasis dress – Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty.

The tournament was said to encourage more than 160,000 women to start playing netball or more netball while 5.1 million people that followed the event agreed that Mentor and her teammates are an inspiration to all girls, according to YouGov.

Mentor also guided Australian side Collingwood Magpies to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) league semi-finals as co-captain.

In her debut season with the club, the 35-year-old won the Players’ Player of the Season and the Best and Fairest awards.

Mentor tallied the second most deflections (86) and defensive rebounds (33) for goal defenders in the league.

The former Team Bath and Surrey Storm player has enjoyed a stellar international career since making her debut for the Vitality Roses in 2000 as a 16-year-old.

Mentor has since amassed 146 caps for her country and has become a stalwart in defence due to her admirable athleticism and coveted knowledge of the game.

She has played in five Vitality Netball World Cups and five Commonwealth Games, winning gold for the first time in 2018 after beating Australia in a momentous final on the Gold Coast.

The ground-breaking victory saw the Vitality Roses win Team of the Year and Greatest Sporting Moment at the 65th BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards in 2018.

Her ability has seen her become one of the most revered names in world netball and particularly in Oceania where she has won ANZ Championships with Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens, an SSN player of the year award in 2017, and a SSN goal keeper of the year awards in 2017 and 2018.

Due to her down-to-earth nature, Mentor has the ability to positively influence her colleagues and the wider netball community.

Her success has inspired an entire nation of young girls to take up the sport including the likes of Vitality Netball World Cup teammate Francesca Williams and Yasmin Parsons, who both met their idol at a young age.

Williams, 22, said: “When I was growing up, Geva [Mentor] was someone that I’d definitely watch and think ‘she is the all-round best defender’. I just loved her athletic power and strength, but she’s got such good ability and speed around that circle too so I admired that a lot when watching her.”

Parsons, 26, said: “My first role model was definitely Geva Mentor. When I got to the Hampshire Youth Games, I remember Geva Mentor being there in her England kit. I remember thinking that I really wanted to be like her when I was older.”

Mentor was named in the New Year Honours list at the start of 2019 and joins Ama Agbeze MBE and Tracey Neville MBE to be recognised of late.

The Royal Family have been previously involved in netball with the Duchess of Cambridge playing the sport at school. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also enjoyed a netball shootout at Loughborough University in September 2018.

Mentor was seen wearing a dress from England Netball partners Oasis at the ceremony. As part of the collaboration all England Netball members can receive 15% off all its fully priced items online and in any Oasis store. For more information, click here.

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