TIME-OUT 2.0 Graduation Ceremony, Mies Sept. 10, 2021
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TIME-OUT 2.0 project celebrates graduates at ceremony at House of Basketball

MIES (Switzerland) - FIBA Europe's TIME-OUT 2.0 project celebrated its successful participants with a graduation ceremony at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball on Friday.

The project consisted of three parts, with 47 graduates in the section dedicated to active and retired players. WiLEAD, an all-female group of National Federation members to promote Women in Leadership, had 30 participants while a further 30 National Federation members participated in SWISH and took part in Integrity Officer training.

There were two representatives from outside of Europe in the group of players, Paola Ferrari of Paraguay and Gabon's Geraldine Roberts. All 47 players attended a three-tier education program that included the FIBA Manager Business of Sport course, Leadership & Management CPD from Northumbria University and an athlete lifestyle advisor program from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).

FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 MVP Sonja Vasic, of Serbia, was among the players graduating while other illustrious graduates were Greek legend Evina Maltsi , Belgian internationals Axel Hervelle and Kim Mestdagh, Hungary's Zsofia Fegyverneky, Turkey's Muratcan Güler, Italy's Giorgia Sottana, Slovenia's Sani Becirovic, Giedrius Gustas of Lithuania and FIBA Players' Commission member Yahor Meshcharakou.

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis met and conversed with the graduates at the ceremony with Northumbria University's Vincent Robson (Business Development Manager, Business & Enterprise) present, alongside German Sports University of Cologne's Stefan Walzel (Senior Lecturer, Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management) and TASS lecturer Emma Vickers. 

The project followed the successful TIME-OUT initiative with an online tip-off in June 2020 amidst the global pandemic, having been co-funded by the European Union's Erasmus+ Sport program.

FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel said: "I would like to congratulate all graduates and reassure them that they have acquired a unique set of skills in preparation for their new careers. We are certain of that, because we followed closely the successful professional transition of the graduates of the first edition of TIME-OUT. I would also like to reassure them that, regardless of whether their next steps take them outside the field of basketball or they stay linked to our sport, the board of FIBA Europe and myself will be supporting them during this exciting period, proud in the knowledge that TIME-OUT 2.0 helped them develop their potential. I look forward to meeting in their new capacity those graduates who choose employment within basketball, and I am eager to see the contribution they will make to the growth of the sport and their national federations."

FIBA Executive Director Kamil Novak said: "Congratulations are in order of course to every single proud graduate today, but our project partners also deserve a big round of applause. They had the foresight and capacity to see the tremendous potential of TIME-OUT since its inception and they have joined us on this journey, which of course would not have been possible without the European Union's Erasmus+ scheme. So, I would also like to thank both our academic partners in Northumbria University, the German Sports University Cologne and TASS, as well as the Dutch basketball federation, the French federation of basketball, the Italian basketball federation, the Czech Basketball Federation and the Hungarian basketball federation."

Guy Taylor, National Director, TASS said: "TASS has been privileged to work alongside FIBA Europe on the TIME-OUT 2.0 project. It’s a perfect fit! FIBA are committed to the personal development of their players and TASS have a wealth of experience and are ideally placed to deliver this learning. The importance of athlete development is now recognized worldwide, and this is borne out by the number of different countries joining this project. The positive engagement has exceeded all expectations, it’s particularly pleasing to see current and former players keen to gain the knowledge and skills to support the younger ones to optimize their lifestyles."

Graduate Sonja Vasic said: "I first joined the TIME-OUT 2.0 program because I knew I was going to stop playing soon and I was really torn between two choices, continuing in the basketball world in the future or getting out completely once I finished my playing career. But this program opened so many new views to me and gave me so much knowledge. I realized that as a player you are only aware of just a little bit of the basketball world, of just small parts. The program was really helpful not only to gain knowledge and see what my options, my possibilities are to continue my life in basketball, but also to see some roles or jobs that I would not like to do.

"It was a truly eye-opening experience for me, not only because I feel that I expanded my knowledge of basketball organizations but also because of meeting so many executives and former players and hearing their different stories about how they found their own path. I think it is, honestly,  an experience that everybody should try and I would recommend it to all players. It is obviously more suitable to players who are near the end of their career, because they can focus more and make better use of everything the program has to offer but, in my opinion, everybody should go for it if they have the chance. Hopefully the program will continue and many more players will go through it," the MVP of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 added.

Previous TIME-OUT graduates Nadia Mossong, of Luxembourg, and Kieron Achara, former Great Britain captain, hosted the ceremony which saw graduates both attend in person, as well as some virtually.

Player graduates present at the ceremony

Marsel Aliaj Jesper Andersson Gregor Arbet Camille Aubert
Edin Bavcic Sani Becirovic Ekaterina Curculosse Zsófia Fegyverneky
Paola Ferrari Andreas Glyniadakis Alexandar Gruev Giedrius Gustas
Mohamed Kamal Hachad Axel Hervelle Davor Lamesic Evina Maltsi
Yahor Meshcharakou Marc Mulholland Chioma Nnamaka Sofia Ramalho Gomes
Geraldine Robert Granit Rugova João Pedro Santos Žygimantas Šeštokas
Taru Tuukkanen Sonja Vasic    

Player graduates unable to attend the ceremony

Kees Akerboom Baiba Eglite Muratcan Güler Danielle Hamilton Carter
Sofie Hendrickx Vojtech Hruban Shawn Huff Aija Jurjane
Kristjan Kangur Tuukka Kotti Marina Kress Moritz Lanegger
Manuchar Markoishvili Kim Mestdagh Vlad Moldoveanu Lukas Palyza
Maria Lucila Pascua Suárez Maria Pina Giuseppe Poeta Siobhan Prior
Giorgia Sottana      

SWISH participants present at the ceremony

Giannis Andriopoulos Inês Antunes Henri Ausmaa Irmantas Birbalas
Andreas Christofi Belen Cocero Mora Elvira Dushku Yagiz Kaba
Ulla Karlsson Todor Kolev Andrej Kuffa Olle Lundén
Jan Mastalka Conor Meany Emanuela Munaretto Louise O'Loughlin
Shalva Oniani Gerald Osmani Agnes Sarkadi Nagy Nikita Stirbu
Okke te Velde Jaume Tomàs Vilana     

SWISH participants unable to attend the ceremony

Vasso Beskaki William Bond Francesca Rosa Colaiacomo Chris Dentzer
John Kerray Anna Korotkina Elvijs Mičulis Gorazd Trontelj

WiLEAD participants present at the ceremony

Denisa Bishqemi Nino Guruli Tessy Hetting Paula Juhlin
Kristina Kuklytė Edita Medunjanin Cátia Mota Louise O'Loughlin
Agnes Sarkadi Nagy Ana Sesto Blanco Susanna Strömberg Andrea Valero Gonzalez
Sandra Valles Fernández Lisa Van Ranst    

WiLEAD participants unable to attend the ceremony

Lenka Bartakova Vasso Beskaki Kinti Sona Camara Tuvana Denizci Tinaz
Emma Edwards Alexandra Fitosova Juliet Fransen Clàudia Guri Moreno
Sofia Kligkopoulou Rosina Krasimirova Anna Maklakova Catherine Melain
Edina Musa Maja Repež Arta Vecvagare Branka Vukičević


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FIBA (fiba.basketball) - the world governing body for basketball - is an independent association formed by 212 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognized as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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