Sport in New Ingerland
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New Ingerlanders are avid sports players. A culture of healthy living has emphasised the importance of exercise and outdoor activity, and so most people participate in some form of sport and recreation. There is no fully professional sporting competition in New Ingerland, with players paid as semi-professionals at best, with the majority being entirely amateur. Most of New Ingerland's national sports teams carry the name of the Stallions, or other like terms.
While New Ingerlanders love sport, they are not as driven as their antipodean compatriots in Australian and New Zealand to win a sporting contest at any cost. New Ingerlanders on the whole do not see victory as the sole outcome of any sporting contest, but rather prefer the simple enjoyment of having participated and played to their very best. The vast majority of New Ingerland's sportsmen are semi-professionals, and the country has always shied away from professional competitions and the glitzy commercial circus that surrounds them. Furthermore, the government allocates very little in the way of funding to New Ingerland's elite athletes, which has led to a number of leaving this country to play for other nations. However, local sporting bodies do receive considerable support from both central and local government.
Administration and funding
A 2008 opinion poll conducted by Lassiter-Kettering surveyed the number of people who watched and/or participated in a number of sports in New Ingerland. In addition to the raw audience and participation numbers, the survey a large number of people both watched and played multiple sports across the year.
The vast majority of able bodied New Ingerlanders participate in a sporting competition of some kind, whilst sports of Australian or British origin are the most popular, almost any sport imaginable has at least a small presence in this country. The semi-professional sports have all established male, female and mixed competitions, and are played on well prepared and funded venues in all the villages, towns and cities.
Association football (soccer)
A minor sport, soccer has always been the poor cousin to the rugby codes and Australian rules. The code also suffers from a talent drain, which young players showing any promise snapped up by clubs in Australia, Europe, and North America by lucrative playing contracts. Despite this, a small amateur national competition flourishes in the form of the National Soccer Cup, which has been played by eight teams since 1998. The game is regulated by the New Ingerland Soccer Association, which is in turn a member of the Asian Football Confederation and the International Federation of Association Football.
In terms of playing numbers and match attendance, the Australian game is easily the most popular sport in New Ingerland, and is especially popular amongst men. The New Ingerland Australian Football Association is the controlling body for the code. Most large towns have at least one team and compete in one of the hierarchical league competitions every winter. The elite level of the code is the National Football Premiership played between twelve club sides between April and October.
The game of gentlemen is the most played sport over the summer months, and is the second most popular overall. The sport is controlled by the New Ingerland Test and County Cricket Board. New Ingerland has been an Associate Member of the ICC since 1989, and has enjoyed some success against much stronger cricketing nations. The domestic competition is divided into limited over (Millennium Electric Cup) and first class (National County Championship) games, with each county represented by a team in both forms of the game. At the junior level, there are teams in most towns and villages, playing in competitions all through the summer.
In terms of attendances and the wagers placed, Thoroughbred horse racing is among the most popular sports in New Ingerland. Whilst they come nowhere near to the gambling exploits of the Australians, New Ingerlanders still manage to wager more than £12 million annually on Thoroughbred races through the Totalizator Agency Board Corporation and bookmakers on the track. Most horse races are flat races held on turf surfaces, with the horses racing in a counter-clockwise direction around the track. The horse racing industry is also major employer and income earner for a number of New Ingerlanders, providing full or part time employment for almost 5,000 people. In addition, 26,000 people have a direct interest as owners, or members of syndicates in race horses trained through the various stables located in New Ingerland.
Public interest in Thoroughbred racing peaks the local winter racing carnival. Interest has been growing in recent years with over 100,000 spectators attracted to the running of the Williamsdene Cup in July and the Corfe Harbour Cup a month later.
The game of lawn bowls enjoys considerable popularity across all age groups in New Ingerland. Since the turn of the twenty-first century the game has grown in popularity, leaving behind its fusty image as a game played only by the elderly. The governing body for lawn bowls in this country is the Royal New Ingerland Lawn Bowls Association, which was established in 1872. Today, there are a large number of lawn bowls clubs in New Ingerland, which be easily identified in nearly every city and town by their distinctive well-watered greens and immaculate facilities.
The fifth most played sport, lawn tennis in New Ingerland is controlled by the Lawn Tennis Association of New Ingerland. There are six professional tennis players from New Ingerland who complete on the ATP circuit. New Ingerland also competes in the Davis Cup and Hopman Cup competitions as a national team.
Once played only by women, Netball is today a unisex sport in New Ingerland, having supplanted Basketball. The game is run by the Netball Association of New Ingerland. It is third most popular sport in New Ingerland. The female team, which are unofficially known as the Ewes, compete on an international level with some success.
The third most popular men's sport in this country is Rugby league. With a history dating back to the 1910s, League is particularly popular amongst the working class and in Ngati Mōri communities. The sport is controlled by the New Ingerland Rugby Football League, who are responsible for the national team and the semi-professional New Ingerland Rugby Football League premiership, which is contested by twelve teams each year from March to September.
Rugby union is the second most popular team sport amongst men in New Ingerland. The sport is controlled by the New Ingerland Rugby Football Union. The national team usually plays between three and five home games a year from Kings Park in Kingsbury, with he most popular opponents are Australia and New Zealand. The premier domestic competition is the Rugby Union Championship, which is made up of twelve teams that play from July to October every year.
Most sports are played by at least some New Ingerlanders, albeit in some cases by only a handful of people.
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- Equestrian sports
- Modern pentathlon
- Swimming is a compulsory school subject, and is taught to all children as public safety initiative. As a result, almost all New Ingerlanders have learned to swim and enjoy the water is some form.
- Table tennis
- Team handball
- Water polo
- Whitewater slalom
- Billiards, Snooker, and Pool
- Hunting on horseback is also reasonably popular, with fox hunts always drawing a strong turnout every year.
- Ice hockey
- Royal tennis is a very minor sport in New Ingerland, and is played on just one court on the Royal Estate, Warmford Regis by members of the Royal Family. As of 2014[update], it is thought that just 30 people in New Ingerland play the game with any sort of regularity.