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Development opportunities in Fiji shaping basketball communities

SUVA (Fiji) – Basketball Fiji officials ranks received a boost prior to the Fiji Cup with a dedicated workshop empowering local participants to facilitate basketball competition in the region.

Building professional capabilities and enabling national federations to organise FIBA events, are two core pillars in the FIBA strategic objectives which include empowering national federations.

Debbie Keirs, worked for Basketball New South Wales in Australia for 13 years and still volunteers for them, Basketball Australia and the NBL.  As an accredited FIBA referee instructor and FIBA accredited score table official, Keirs travelled to Fiji to deliver this workshop and firmly believes that development opportunities such as this play a valuable part in shaping basketball communities.  “There are so many ways that people can contribute to and be a part of the basketball family,” Keirs said.  “Development of officials is an area where many people can have a positive impact on participation and growth.”

Having been involved in basketball since the age of 15, Keirs enjoys inspiring and educating the next generation of officials across Oceania.  While acknowledging the challenges of officiating, Keirs sees the potential for officials to develop valuable skills on and off the court.  “My hope is that the ongoing education, development, support and mentoring that each official instructor can provide helps improve individual resilience while supporting the growth of basketball in the region.”

Keirs commented on her experience with Basketball Fiji as a positive step with highly engaged participants a great reflection of basketball growth in the country.

“It was a pleasure to work with everyone that attended the Fiji Cup,” Keirs said.  “All the officials, that attended the pre competition workshop, some of whom were players and score table, were very engaged and actively participated in all sessions.  All participants were encouraged to ask lots of questions, embracing the opportunity to seek further comment and information.”

“The range of officials was diverse, some with minimal experience, some with more extensive experience.  Everyone was open to learning and developing and it was a pleasure to work with all the participants.  Basketball Fiji are very keen to support officials’ education and grow their referee community.”

Keirs contribution to the region also supports FIBA’s strategic priority of Women in Basketball to develop and leverage female coaches and officials.  Executive Director – Oceania, Amanda Jenkins, said that the growth of female engagement on and off the court across the region is positive.  “All 22 federations in Oceania are striving to include and develop female basketball participation on and off the court.  With increased opportunity for female players, officials, and volunteers to be involved in basketball, we look forward to seeing this upward trend continue.”

Basketball Fiji are supported by FIBA, the FIBA Foundation and the Australian Government through Team Up.