24 teams to vie for basketball championships crown

Sports Tuesday 27/February/2024 20:56 PM
By: Times News Service
24 teams to vie for basketball championships crown

Muscat: The Omani Basketball Association revealed details of hosting the tournament for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab U18 Basketball Championships for girls and boys, which will be hosted by the federation from March 1 to 4, 2024, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth, and Al Mouj Muscat and Oman Sail.

Thirteen teams will participate in the Gulf tournament and eleven teams in the Arab tournament, representing teams from Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, and Iraq. Some Gulf and Arab teams will participate with two teams (A, B) according to the proposed schedule by the organising committee of the GCC Basketball Federation and the Arab Federation of Basketball, which oversees the two tournaments.

The press conference was attended by Eng. Khalfan bin Saleh Al-Naabi, President of the Omani Basketball Federation and Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Tournament, Dr. Ali bin Salam Al-Yaroubi, Vice President, and Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Hasni, Secretary-General of the Federation and Tournament Director, as well as committee presidents, media representatives, held in the conference hall of the Omani Olympic Committee building and sports federations in the Wilayat of Bousher.

At the beginning of the conference, the logos of both the Gulf and Arab Championships were unveiled, reflecting Omani identity and the characteristics of the sport of 3x3 basketball. Following this, Eng. Khalfan bin Saleh Al-Naabi, President of the Omani Basketball Association and Chairman of the Organizing Committee for both tournaments, delivered a speech welcoming representatives of various press and media outlets, commending the role played by the media in highlighting events as a reflective mirror of any tournament's success. He emphasized the importance of media as a partner in developing any sport, working alongside sports institutions to enhance its profile.

Al-Naabi affirmed that all preparations for hosting both tournaments had been completed, with the Omani Basketball Federation forming organising committees and preparatory teams to ensure precision in organising the event and a distinguished presentation of the tournaments in all technical, administrative, and organisational aspects.

He explained that 3x3 basketball is a format where two teams compete on a single hoop, each consisting of three players, and highlighted its global popularity, stating that it has become widespread in parks and recreational areas worldwide. He detailed its journey from inception in the late 1980s in the United States to being included in the Olympic Games, with the first tournament held during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Regarding the technical committee's preparations for the tournament, Dr. Ali bin Salam Al-Yaroubi, Vice President of the Omani Basketball Federation and head of the technical committee, explained that preparations had begun early, covering all technical and administrative aspects. This included setting up the main court for matches and its facilities, providing training courts for participating teams, arranging various rooms for operational committees, changing rooms, and other logistical services. He also mentioned the international referees participating from Oman and other Gulf and Arab countries.

Al-Yaroubi also mentioned the training course for 3x3 basketball coaches held alongside the tournament, with approximately 20 participants. He concluded by expressing gratitude to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth for continuous financial support, to Al Mouj Muscat for providing the venue for the tournaments, to Oman Sail for logistical support, to Dali Petroleum Company for purchasing the mobile basketball courts, and to Aster Hospital for providing medical support along with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth's Sports Medicine Centre.

He added: "3x3 basketball tournaments are among the popular games that have started to spread globally, and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) seeks to promote and expand its practice to all segments of society, including men, women, and children, in various countries worldwide. The game is now played in open-air environments under any circumstance, fostering healthy competition, entertainment, and enjoyment. It is hoped that these tournaments will be another successful milestone added to Oman's successful hosting of sports events."

Mohammed bin Nasser Al-Hasni, acting Secretary-General of the Federation and Tournament Director, and head of the Relations Committee, stated: "Thank God, the committee has completed all administrative procedures related to the participation of Gulf and Arab teams. The Public Relations Committee is making significant efforts to receive passport photos of the delegations to issue identification cards and visas for accompanying personnel from non-Gulf Cooperation Council countries and visas for Arab teams."

According to the proposed schedule by the Gulf Basketball Organising Committee, the Gulf tournament will feature 13 teams, including 8 youth male teams and 5 youth female teams representing Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar (with some countries having two teams labeled as A and B). Meanwhile, the Arab tournament will involve 11 teams, including 5 male teams and 6 female teams representing Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. Matches will take place at Al Mouj Muscat, and sincere thanks were extended to Al Mouj and Oman Sail for their support of the tournament.

The Tournament Director affirmed that Gulf delegations will begin arriving in the Sultanate on Wednesday, February 28, with the Saudi Arabian team and members of the Gulf and Arab Basketball Committees being the first to arrive, followed by other Gulf and Arab teams gradually. The Omani Basketball Federation has extended invitations to several sports figures and federation presidents. The organising committee has designated the City Centre Hotel Al Khuwair as the accommodation for players and technical and administrative staff of participating teams. The City Seasons Hotel Al Khuwair has been chosen as the headquarters for the Gulf and Arab organising committees, while the Muscat Waves Hotel will serve as the accommodation for heads of organising committees and sports federations.

On the technical side, Zuhair Ayashi, coach of the national youth team, affirmed the team's readiness for the tournaments, stating, "We started preparations two months ago through intermittent and continuous camps, taking into account player studies and holiday periods. Training sessions witnessed a lot of enthusiasm and sincere desire from the players to make the most of training times." He emphasized that 3x3 basketball matches rely on simple details, and those who concentrate and capitalise on opportunities will succeed. The players are capable of achieving good results in the tournaments, God willing.

Coach Wafa Zaghdoud, coach of the women's youth team, said, "Thank God, preparations are going well, and there is great discipline in training sessions where the girls are keen to actively participate in all training sessions. The players are determined to contribute their experiences to achieve honorable results in the tournaments." She explained that 3x3 basketball is a game of last-second decisions, and the team is in high spirits and has a sincere desire to make an impressive appearance.