|20 November 2006|
Year of Women’s Basketball Project Manager Esther Wender visited Luxemburg last week to analyse women’s basketball in the country of only 450,000 people.
Her first stop was at the Mersch basketball school for girls.
Hermann Paar, coach of the team, gave a guided tour through the boarding school where the girls stay from Monday morning through Wednesday evening.
During their stay in Mersch, the girls, aged 14-16, practice at least twice a day.
"It is a very good development that in a small country, such a substantial effort is made to improve the quality of women’s basketball," said Wender.
Wender talked briefly with the girls, who then resumed their normal day by going back to the gym for another practice.
The next day, Marion Grethen, President of the FLBB (Federation Luxembourgeois de Basketball), took Wender to the Ministry of Sport.
|Luxembourg players show of their Year of Women's Basketball t-shirts.|
For an hour they discussed women’s sports and particularly women’s basketball with Mr. Robert Schuller, Mr. Guy Fusenig and Miss Karin Schank, all of whom are ministry officals.
The trio declared their support for the effort by FIBA Europe to promote women’s basketball through the Year of Women’s Basketball.
Wender's next stop was a meeting with former basketball player Marlyse Pauly, who currently is the Secretary General of the Luxemburg Olympic Committee.
"It was great to see a woman and former basketball player in such a high and important function," said Wender.
"Once again, the Year of Women's Basketball project was explained and an interesting conversation followed."
In Luxemburg, the funding for the basketball federation comes from the IOC, the government and sponsorship.
"It was important to be able to speak with these parties in order to keep women’s basketball fresh in their minds. Hopefully this will eventually lead to more funding in the future," said Wender.
Wender capped her visit by watching Luxembourg club Lëtzebuerg face Tarbes in EuroCup Women action.
The game was played in an amazing facility in Luxembourg city called La Coque.
The French-based team was way too strong and won 106-57.
However, there were some very talented young players on the team of Lëtzebuerg. A witness to the improvement of the level of women’s basketball can be seen through their 11th place in the U16 Championship last summer.
"In a country where almost the entire federation relies on the excellent work of volunteers, this is quite an achievement," Wender concluded.