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FIBA European Women’s Basketball Summit opens new horizons for young female coaches, referees
POSTOJNA (Slovenia) - Young women from 19 different European countries who are taking their first steps as either basketball coaches or referees received an enormous career boost in July, at the FIBA European Women’s Basketball Summit in Postojna.
The six-day event which concluded on July 10 is a central pillar of the 'Empowerment of female coaches and referees' project that FIBA Europe devised and implemented with the support of the European Union's Erasmus scheme.
Serbia national team head coach and newly-crowned FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 champion Marina Maljkovic and FIBA Hall of Fame inductee Natalia Hejkova headlined the list of instructors for the coaches.
"I believe this camp is a great opportunity for young coaches to improve, it is a special program to really get deep into basketball issues, to talk every day about them," coach Maljkovic said during her address to the young participants.
"All my life, I have been looking forward to places and opportunities like the one you will go through. It is a great opportunity to develop yourself as a coach and to learn new things and share experiences.
"As women, you should have the opportunity to make a change in the countries you come from. But please, don't wait for someone else to give you an opportunity, you go out and create the opportunity for yourself. At the end of the day it's about how much you know, knowledge is the key and that's why you are here," the Serbia head coach urged participants.
Silvia Font of the Spanish Talent Center, Janez Drvaric of the FECC and former Canada and Bulgaria youth national teams assistant coach Albena Branzova were the main FIBA instructors on the coaching side.
Guests included Kenya head coach Liz Mills, who recently made history as the first female head coach at FIBA AfroBasket, and Anna Montañana who was the first female assistant coach in Spain's Liga Endesa.
On the referee side, the main instructors were Jasmina Juras from Serbia, the one of only two female FIBA referees to hold a black license, and the vastly experienced Chantal Julien from France and Kati Nynas from Finland.
"This project is something amazing that happens in order to help us grow as referees, as a group, and as a women's group," Jasmina Juras commented.
"Personally, as an experienced referee, I have some ideas to share all my experience with young referees and to help them to step into their job and careers in the future.
"I am so happy that I had this opportunity from FIBA to be a mentor to these young referees and to work with them. I will also learn a lot from them, and it's a great opportunity to be part of this amazing adventure. I think this will produce great results and a great experience for all of us."
A total of 28 participants, comprising 16 young coaches and 12 young referees, attended a underwent a rigorous selection process during the Postojna Summit in order to identify the top prospects, who will benefit from a truly unique mentoring program in Europe.
Seven of the coaches and six of the referees were ultimately selected to participate in the FIBA Europe Mentoring Program, under the auspices of Marina Maljkovic, Natalia Hejkova and Silvia Font.
The selected coaches are Mireia Capdevila Choy and Marina Fernandez Royano from Spain, Irene Otamiri from Sweden, Martina Gargantini from Italy, Constanze Wegner from Germany, Dragana Svitlica from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dace Cinite from Latvia.
On the referee branch, the selected mentees are Yasmina Alcatraz Moreno from Spain, Laure Coanus from France, Ariadna Chueca Moreno from Finland, Marta Malczewska from Poland, Sara Mansson from Sweden and Kristine Simanovica from Latvia.
During the year-long program, the selected mentees will benefit from six virtual webinars and individual mentoring, will they will also travel in pairs to various events to work hand- in-hand with their program mentors.
In October, the mentees will travel to Prague to shadow Natalia Hejkova and Jasmina Juras during EuroLeague Women and Czech league games.
In January 2022, they will work at the Girls Talent Center in Barcelona with Silvia Font and Jasmina Juras while in April 2022 they will travel to the EuroLeague Women Final 4 to benefit from the mentoring of Marina Maljkovic.
In line with its long-term strategic goals, FIBA Europe has also put a significant emphasis on promoting women's and girls' basketball across Europe with the FIBA Europe Girls' Program (Her World, Her Rules), as well as giving great importance to supporting eligible youth basketball projects and participation of youth national teams of the National Federations via the FIBA Europe Youth Development Fund.