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Ryu relishes European adventure
UDINE (Officiating) – FIBA European youth championships offer the opportunity for friendships to be forged between players, something that also stands true for Korean referee Su Hee Ryu.
Ryu recently officiated at the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship in what was not only her first experience refereeing in Europe, but in fact her first time on the continent.
"Coming to Europe for the first time and also participating in this competition, I was so nervous," reflected Ryu on the penultimate day of competition. Despite the obvious trepidation, Ryu has taken full advantage of Italian life.
Ryu in action in Udine at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship
"Having coffee, eating gelato and shopping and meeting with the other referees has been fantastic," she smiled. "At first, it was a little awkward with the referees as I was afraid to talk.
"But they were all so kind and showed a lot of consideration towards me. We became close very quickly. I don't think I will ever forget it and will have this as a great memory."
When comparing the difference between basketball in Korea and Europe, one major difference springs to mind: height.
"This is a high level of basketball compared to Korea. The skill is good and the height is much greater."
As for officiating, there have also been some key differences. "In Korea, in most competitions it is only two referees," Ryu explained. "It is only at U20 level that we begin working with three referees.
"So for me this has been a good experience and a good apprenticeship. Getting to work at international level with three referees has been really valuable."
Ryu was one of nine referees from other FIBA regions to come to Europe this year to officiate at summer youth events.
"This project targets young up-and-coming referees with the aim of giving them new refereeing experiences which they can then take back to their own countries," explained FIBA Referee Manager Europe Davorin Nakic.
"This year we sent two referees to the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Chile. Both came home energized and excited by the opportunity. It is a fantastic incentive from FIBA and one that proves very productive."