PARAMARIBO – The Suriname Basketball Association (SBA) has seen in the 3×3 discipline the opportunity of granting continuity to their efforts to develop sports in the nation.
Because of its easiness, both in equipment and in regulations, 3×3 is a formidable option for federations that are attempting to take basketball to the masses. For this reason, there have been several tournaments organized by SBA and its president, Conrad Issa, in recent months.
“Our goal is to start our project this year in fundamental areas, and reaching low-income communities, and schools, to move new players to try out 3×3,” said Issa to FIBA.basketball.
“We’ve seen that the tendency is that basketball players currently play both 3×3 and 5on5, something that we really wish to start doing with our young players – boys and girls. I must say that the biggest challenge has been that the community in Surinam get into the 3×3 mentality,” stated the President.
Masters of the Streetz U18 is the most recent initiative of the program. This is a tournament for youth under the age of 18, where 16 teams participate to crown “the best team of Suriname.” The competition also counted on a version for girls and boys up to the age of 10, where dozens of young players participated.
Suriname also celebrated a 3×3 tournament called the Streetz Ambassador’s Cup, for men from the age of 16 onward. Twelve teams occupied the Willows Sports Hall to fight for the championship in the month of February. During the tournament there were also Mini-Basketball activities for younger participants.
The Association also has an amateur league and a local tournament that lasts from November 2018 to June 2019 and has 68 teams in several categories that include adult men and women and range the U19 to U8 age categories.
“When we started with this idea of developing 3×3 basketball, no one was interested,” explained Issa. “We had a limited time and effort, but after visiting Istanbul for the extraordinary FIBA meeting, our team and myself left very motivated by the late Patrick Baumann. He really made us understand what the reason and importance of developing 3×3 basketball in small countries like Suriname was.”
“From that moment on we started to promote 3×3 in schools and we organized some tournaments, but we needed more. Finally, in 2016, we had a project approved and we received the funds to buy equipment. Since then we’ve been celebrating competitions and formative events, going to the communities with 3×3,” he added.
Likewise, from February 16 to 23, Suriname started their referee refresher course program. This program has been taking place since 2012 and this year featured experienced FIBA official Edwin Wallaart.
The efforts by the South American tournament took them to host the Caribbean AmeriCup Prequalifying Tournament, where Guyana were champions and Suriname were fourth.