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Hoops for Health inspiring local Youths to officiate basketball games around PNG

MADANG (Papua New Guinea) – The Hoops for Health program aims to promote health and well-being across communities but sometimes triggers participants’ desire to explore new horizons.

Hoops For Health in Papua New Guinea is a Basketball For Good initiative which consists of running clinics during P.E. classes in various schools of the country.  The program allows participants, usually aged 5-16 years but not only, to develop a healthy lifestyle through basketball drills and is also an opportunity for people to get introduced to every part of the game such as refereeing.

It was the case for 26 years-old David Teddy, who experienced basketball for the first time in 2022 during an invitational tournament in Walium, PNG. The young man was there to observe but was hooked by the game which has positively impacted in life since then.

Basketball is a very significant game that has an impact on people’s lives through the discipline it requires. Bit by bit, week in, week out, I saw change in my life thanks to basketball.

 Teddy has now become a junior referee and hopes to further develop his knowledge with the support of the Papua New Guinea Basketball Federation.

Ivan Wapuan shares a similar path with Teddy as he is also 26 years of age and recently discovered basketball in Walium. He was first involved in the game at the opening of the newly built state-of-the-art facility which offered new opportunities for locals. Since he started the program, he qualifies himself as a healthy citizen whose life was changed thanks to basketball.

The most significant for me was to learn that the key message from FIBA is to do with attitude and a healthy lifestyle. I'm really grateful to be part of this and experience the goodness of life.

On another hand, individuals such as Peggile Nema have discovered the “other side” of the game. Despite having played basketball since his childhood, the 21 years-old man has never really understood the calls system and all the decision-making processes behind it. The referee clinic opened him the doors to a new world as he expressed:

“This program has taught me the fundamentals of basketball and it gave me the confidence to become an official”.

Aligning with FIBA’s strategic priority, empowering National Federations, and boosting grassroots basketball through Basketball for Good initiatives, Hoops for Health programs in PNG contribute significantly to the success of this strategic priority and facilitate the FIBA Foundation’s mission to use the power of basketball to initiate a positive change.

This initiative is supported by the Australian Government through Team Up, and delivered by FIBA and its partners including the PNG Olympic Committee, PNG Sports Foundation, and Business for Health.