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IBF Journals: Naike Durand of New Caledonia

The IBF Youth Leadership Seminar (YLS) in Singapore on May 24-26 witnessed a successful gathering of 17 Youth Leaders from 17 different countries. The workshop’s aim was to give the young leaders the tools to run 3x3 Tournaments linked to a social component as well as develop their leadership skills.

Singapore - The New Caledonia Basketball Federation selected the soft-spoken but determined Naike Durand to represent New Caledonia in the second edition of the IBF Youth Leadership Seminar.

Durand, despite being shy in the first few sessions, quickly endeared herself to her peers with her enthusiasm and apparent drive to effect change in her country.

"At first I was really scared to attend the seminar because I don't have many friends outside of the country, but everyone was welcoming and we all became very close quick," she said.

The 21-year old proudly shared that she is from a "basketball family". Durand is the daughter of proud parents Thierry Durand, New Caledonia Basketball Federation's President, and former New Caledonia Women's national team member, Yolande Durand.

"I came from a basketball family and I have been around basketball my whole life, so it has been a passion of ours ever since. My mother played for the national team and my father is the president of our basketball federation," Durand shared

"I started playing when I was as young as five years old and have been involved with the game ever since," she added.

Durand's affinity to helping young children is even more apparent with her work as a coach for the "Baby division" basketball clinic (4-5-year-olds) while also supporting her mother in their day-care business.

"Our country is small, but we take care of each other, and the best way we can do that is by being there for each other," she shared.

During the workshop, it was apparent that Durand is driven by a more personal experience in changing the landscape of youth lifestyle in her country.

During her presentation of her 3x3 tournament plan, Durand tearfully but bravely shared the death of a close friend because of drunk driving that led to a tragic accident. The camaraderie formed by the youth leaders became apparent after everyone cheered her on while holding back tears of their own. It was a powerful image of people with different cultural backgrounds and upbringings supporting each other.

"Alcohol is a big problem in our country, especially with teenagers. Our government is doing everything they can in fighting this struggle against alcoholism and I want to do my part and help in this battle," she proudly shared.

"I am determined to incorporate social lessons in the 3x3 tournament that I will organize in preparation for Bali. Hopefully, we can get younger people to play basketball rather than drink alcohol."

The shy and quiet demeanor of Durand might mislead you but underneath the unassuming youth leader is a drive to be a difference maker that is buoyed by a genuine love for her country.

Equipped with newfound leadership capabilities, 3x3 basketball technical knowledge, and Basketball For Good awareness; the young Durand is set to make a positive impact in her own community.