EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Yelena Leuchanka has spoken of the importance of International Women's Day in her native Belarus|
Basketball federations and individual players across Europe have shown their support on Friday for International Women's Day.
As hosts of EuroBasket Women 2013, France chose this appropiate date for women around the world to initiate ‘Femmes sur tous les terrains' (‘Women in all fields') initiative.
The project will see French basketball and its' partners, including FIBA Europe, encouraging more effective women's personal development and fulfillment in sport, through sport and beyond sport.
The main objective will be to recognise women who contribute to the development of basketball and use it as leverage for their personal development. A series of awards will also be introduced in recognition of those who contribute to the development of women both on and off the court.
French Basketball Federation (FFBB) President Jean-Pierre Siutat commented: "Both the Federation and the Organising Committee of EuroBasket Women 2013 have consistently been associated with this day for many years and initiatives are popping up all over the country.
The Federation and its' various components, want to go even further in the coming years since women's basketball and influence continues to grow."
"After all, the role of women has always been prominent in the landscape of French basketball.
"We are the first team sport with as many as 181,167 licensed female members (37.36%), and we are regularly cited as an example for our actions.
"International Women's Day has always given the FFBB an opportunity to showcase our players, our technicians, and our leaders."
Meanwhile Yelena Leuchanka, a player known for her powerful female image which manifests itself through her involvement in previous work as a model, fashion initiatives and other promotional campaigns, also threw her weight behind International Women's Day.
"International Women's Day is one of the main holidays in Belarus," she explained, with the day becoming a recognised event on the calendar throughout the former Soviet bloc, and now continues to grow in importance throughout the remainder of Europe.
"Men celebrate us as women, some women get presents, perhaps flowers and a lot of compliments!" she smiled.
"But, it's also important not to forget that it is a day to celebrate the achievements that were made by promoting gender equality.
"It's a day that changed the role of a woman in society.
"So it's very important for us to celebrate and especially for us as women athletes," continued Leuchanka.
"Especially when we play what society sometimes calls ‘a man's sport' and so it is important we are able achieve our goals and dream - it's definitely inspirational!
"So, happy 08 March to everyone and I hope all the women will appreciate every day how amazing, talented and incredible they are and not just today!"
In Turkey, leading sports club Galatasaray has also leant their support to Women's Day, producing a campaign video with leading players from both their women's and men's clubs calling for an end to violence against women.