The Year of Women’s Basketball in Ireland was officially launched yesterday in Dublin with a ceremony attended by Irish Sport Minister John O'Donoghue, Year of Women’s Basketball Project Manager Esther Wender and Basketball Ireland CEO Debbie Massey.
Concrete plans were announced by Basketball Ireland for obtaining greater recognition for female basketball and carrying out the objectives of the Year of Women’s Basketball at a national level.
“Basketball Ireland is delighted to take the opportunity provided to us through the FIBA Europe initiative of the Year of Women’s Basketball, along with the necessary financial support, to bring a strong focus onto the women’s basketball game,” said Massey.
|Year of Women's Basketball Project Manager Esther Wender participated in the launch in Ireland.|
These opportunities will come through various outlets.
Basketball Ireland will appoint a coordinator who will be required to organise and run all designated initiatives throughout the year in conjunction with the newly appointed Basketball Ireland Regional Development officers.
This coordinator will work on a national and local basis and will liase with Wender to ensure the realisation of proposed events.
Basketball Ireland will also be taking steps to increase participation in basketball at the educational level.
In light of a statistical report indicating that many girls quit playing basketball after the primary school level (at age 11), Basketball Ireland will be work within the existing school network with teachers and coaches to identify an agreed number of girls who are not connected with a club and provide them coaching back-up, participation opportunities and basic administrative support. The initiative is proposed to target 500 senior girls each school year.
As well as post-primary, Basketball Ireland plans to target primary level schools with a campaign in an effort to generate an interest in basketball and physical exercise in general. The campaign is intended to target 3,000 primary schools over the next three years.
Basketball Ireland is providing substantial support at the club level this year and also will be holding a Women’s Conference which will provide a foundation and a basic level in training for all females who are interested in coaching, refereeing and table officiating.
“Sometimes, along with the euphoria of the many great sporting occasions we enjoy as a nation, we can easily lose sight of the fact that our three principal sports are all male-dominated,” said Dr. Tony Colgan, President of Basketball Ireland.
“And no, we are not forgetting the exploits of our great individual athletes such as Sonia O’Sullivan and Derval O’Rourke, but where team sports are concerned, we have a long way to go before we can compare favourably with other nations.
"We in Basketball Ireland are taking one small, but very important step in redressing the balance.”
"We are absolutely delighted with Basketball Ireland's commitment to the Year of Women's Basketball and its goals," added Wender.
"We have seen today that they have concrete plans in place in order to raise both the profile and participation of women's basketball in Ireland.
"This project will not only help the women's game here in Ireland, but is a fantastic example for other European federations who plan to participate in the Year of Women's Basketball."