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MIBF, Australia and US Embassy vow to help promote basketball in the country

MAJURO (Marshall Islands) - The Australian and US Embassy partnered in giving the new basketballs to the Marshall Islands Basketball Federation for a shared goal of enriching the country’s basketball programs.

Australian officials met with the counterparts from US and MIBF to kickstart the roadmap on how they could help the country cover all the bases in its basketball development with youth and girls empowerment as among the top priorities.

“With a common passion for basketball, Australia and RMI will look for opportunities to cooperate and promote the benefits for sport such as teamwork, discipline, respect, and leadership. The Australian Embassy and MIBF will discuss options, including through programs such as Australian volunteers,” said Brek Batley, Australian Ambassador to the Marshall Islands.

With the rousing success of their initial discussion, more conventions are in line soon that will involve practical and on-site projects for players, coaches, and officials approaching the country’s hosting of the 2022 Micronesia Games.

The partnership was also backed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

As a warm start, the basketball donation to MIBF included a free throw shooting contest among the officials.

“The Federation was very thankful for the basketballs. With basketball competitions coming up next year, they will be ready for that with all the basketballs. It will help them gain more participation in basketball, including girls,” Batley added.

More than the development of the sport, the Australian Embassy, and the MIBF are in for a bigger picture with their sights locked on the health and wellness aspect in the communities – especially for the youth.

Creating platforms for the girls for their continuous empowerment through the sport is also in the pipeline.

“Basketball plays a key role in the Marshall Islands when it comes to health. Basketball is the main sport and physical activity in both the capital Majuro and the outer islands. You will see basketball hoops everywhere, including remote islands. In a country with some of the highest diabetes rates in the world, ensuring people to play sport for as long as possible can have important health outcomes,” Batley beamed.

“Australia and RMI have a shared love of basketball. The Australian Embassy is pleased to work with FIBA to help promote the benefits of sport, including for girls. We see basketball as a valuable way to reach young people, promote equality, improve health outcomes, enhance girls' empowerment, build future leaders and promote a sense of community.”

MIBF’s partnership with the Australian Embassy came just months after the federation’s election of new board members in their Annual General Meeting as a kickoff to their hosting preparation of the 2022 Micronesia Games that they have considered as ‘biggest basketball event in the country’s history.

Led by president Candice Guavis, the MIBF introduce new officials in Senior Vice President Christopher Makiphie (Majuro Atol Local Government Director of Sports), Treasurer Molly Murphy (former national team player) with Member at Large Faiga Tagoleilagi (from Ebeye and former national team player) and Member at Large Daniel Jieta (Malgov Police Admin) – making up a diverse board to oversee the year-long work ahead.

Apart from new board additions, the MIBF with MINOC and Micronesian Games committee and FIBA Oceania has also launched renovation and in the national gym, which will serve as the basketball main venue as part of its long MG preparations.