|18 June 2009|
Latvia has showcased some of the brightest talent in women's European basketball, but off the court the FIBA Europe Referee department has also been working hard to ensure that teams have benefited from officiating at the highest level.
Following on from the pre-tournament meeting for the referees, the work with the officials has continued during the tournament, and the results shared with all of the other international referees who are not in Latvia.
"We have worked every day with the referees, first in Liepaja and Valmiera, and now here in Riga," commented FIBA Europe Referee Co-ordinator Miguel Betancor.
"We are very satisfied with the team of referees, commissioners and instructors we have assembled for this tournament. We have worked hard to keep the standard of officiating consistent and at a high level, but we have also debriefed the referees each day and worked with them physically as well as mentally.
"In the preliminary rounds we had Tomislav Jovancic, Richard Stokes and myself all working with the referees on the technical aspects of their officiating, but we have also worked with them on the psychological aspects with Chema Bucetta, and our physical preparation coach Alejandro Vaquera has also been working with the referees each day to ensure that their level of fitness is maintained and that the referees are well prepared and injury free.
"This has meant individual and group fitness sessions depending on which referees are officiating, and which ones are free on any particular day
Betancor believes that this kind of preparation must be the minimum standard from now on for FIBA Europe competitions.
"We have made many improvements in the last few years in our approach to officiating, but tournaments such as this are more intense than any one single game, and the preparation before and during the competition is very different. We have, with Chema and Alejandro, developed different preparation programmes for the club season as compared to those for the EuroBasket and youth tournaments in the summer.
"Most importantly, we have a very strong team now, on the court and off the court", summarised Betancor.