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The Net England

Ama Agbeze named MBE

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Former England netball captain Ama Agbeze has been appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

She led the squad to a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year and has more than 100 caps for her country.

In May, Agbeze told the BBC her career had been “a rollercoaster” after she was dropped from the World Cup squad.

The 36-year-old from Birmingham, who made her England debut in 2001, said her MBE was “definitely another high”.

“I look back at so many times I could have walked away from netball,” the defender said. “But I persisted and now have an MBE.

“It’s another honour that comes with representing your country.”

England’s victory at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is credited with encouraging an estimated 130,000 people to take up netball in the UK last year.

“Even if it was just one person I’d be happy,” she said.

Agbeze has spoken out about problems facing female athletes who want to start a family.

She called on sports’ governing bodies to do more to enable women to feel “more comfortable” having children during their sporting careers.

Agbeze hopes to use her platform to further the position of women in sport and also plans to establish a charity to develop the work she does in schools.

“When I go into schools, it’s mainly girls and I’ve seen a shift in how they see themselves and what they think they can achieve,” she said.

Teaching girls about mental health and body confidence is “one of the biggest things I want to do,” she said.