By JACK AMI
THE FIBA Oceania board recently selected Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to host the 2018 Oceania Youth Under-15 Championship.
This opportunity is a new concept of FIBA Oceania to promote, market and develop the level and standard of basketball in the region, especially in PNG.
The dates for the Oceania Youth Championships will be confirmed and released soon by FIBA Oceania.
According to Basketball Federation PNG chief executive officer Joel Khalu, an expression of interest was submitted for the hosting rights of the event in March and the endorsement was received last week.
FIBA Oceania executive director David Crocker, who witnessed the successful completion of last year’s Pacific Games, said the game was now gaining momentum in the country and region.
Crocker said with the world-class facilities in Port Moresby and with excellent management in the federation, FIBA was enthusiastic to return in 2018.
Khalu added that this international event would grow the sport in the country.
He also hoped that playing at home would help lift the levels of the competing PNG representatives, the same way it did during the Pacific Games.
“There’s no better feeling for athletes than competing in their home country, in front of their home crowd.
“We’re hopeful that when our U15 national teams take the court in 2018, that support will be a major benefit that helps push their play to a whole new level,” Khalu said.
“Oceania is such a diverse and expansive region,” FIBA Oceania president Burton Shipley said.
“To have applications from a range of federations from across the region willing to host our youth events is very pleasing.
“To be able to assign championships for the next three years is reassuring of the strength of basketball here in Oceania and the commitment of our national federations to continue offering opportunities to their players, officials and supporters to be a part of international basketball.”
By JACK AMI