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Daroa reminisce on what basketball has achieved over the years

PORT MORESBY (Papua New Guinea) – After 7 years as President and 2 years as Executive Officer, Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG)’s Nick Daroa finished up in an official capacity with the National Federation in November.

“Nick has been a stalwart of the game in PNG for several years. He has helped bring international events and build the foundations of the Basketball For Good program. BFPNG has grown from strength to strength under his leadership” commented FIBA Oceania President Burton Shipley.

Daroa, started his journey with BFPNG in 2012 when he was elected President of the Federation. But his history with basketball stretches well before this, as he shared that he was the PNG team manager of the U18 teams that traveled to New Zealand and Guam in 2006 and 2008 and the Arafura Games in 2009.

"I have worked my blood, sweat, and tears for the Federation for the last nine years and every single drop was worth it," shared Daroa.

Since 2012 basketball has grown by leaps and bounds in the country, with BFPNG hosting the Basketball competition during the 2015 Pacific Games, hosting and winning the first-ever FIBA Melanesia Cup for Men and Women, along with hosting the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships in 2018 and the FIBA U17 Skills Challenge in 2020 despite the challenges of the pandemic.

"We were very proud hosting international competitions of that level in the country, it was what we needed at the time to further promote the game in the PNG," he stated.

But when asked what he was most proud of during his time with BFPNG, the amiable Daroa shared that Basketball for Good is the program that made a huge difference for many lives and his own.

"The introduction of Basketball for Good by FIBA’s Foundation, IBF and Team Up in 2016 is a great initiative involving males and females of all ages participating to enjoy and learn the values of discipline, respect, teamwork and must be taken as a value add to Nation-building in terms of positive human character and lifestyle development," he explained.

The Basketball For Good strategy introduced various programs to the PNG communities including Twilight Basketball, Hoops For Health, Mum's a Hero and Pikinini Hoops. The programs focus on different social and health messaging while promoting the sport.

Since 2015 the federation's participation numbers have grown by more than 30,000 participants. A remarkable achievement during Mr. Daroa’s time in the chair.

Joel Khalu, the Executive Officer during the launch of the Basketball For Goor programs under the leadership of Daroa as President, credited Nick and his leadership.

"My work with BFPNG was very enlightening and fulfilling, especially starting the foundation for the Basketball For Good programs with Nick. It grew into something special and exceeded all of our expectations. We did not realize how much of a positive impact it would make in the communities and we are extremely proud of all the things Basketball For Good has achieved since it started and how it has grown to what it is today," he shared.

These efforts paid off when BFPNG was recognized by FIBA and received third place in the Basketball For Good award in 2019 and 2021 when awarded the PNG SP Sports Awards “Community Sports Initiative” and “Sports Photo of the Year”.

"We are grateful for all the contributions Nick has done especially laying the foundation for our Basketball For Good programs. We are committed to building that foundation and continuing our work with our communities. Basketball For Good programs are important to BFPNG’s goal of creating positive social impact with the people involved in basketball,” shared BFPNG President Karo Lelai.

Nick’s hard work over the years means BFPNG enters the post-pandemic period in a strong position, with grassroots programs expanding out to more communities and BFPNG national teams attending age group and senior FIBA events regularly.

"I wish to acknowledge the tremendous support from all Program Partners, Administrators, Officials, Players, and their parents, supporters, sponsors, and everyone who has been involved in this journey,” Daroa added.

Despite Daroa moving on, for now, he mentioned that his heart will always be with basketball.

“I will continue to offer any help that I can to BFPNG especially to the Operations team. I will always be available for basketball, it is a passion that will never die and I will continue to love it forever," he ended.

“BFPNG is a leader within Oceania and we thank Nick for all his efforts over the last few years whilst working in an official capacity for the Federation. We are sure this will not be the last we see of him around the courts, and we know that BFPNG is in a strong position moving forward” Mr. Shipley continued.