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Slam dunk for Auckland

Basketball New Zealand
Auckland City Council
North Shore City Council
Joint media release
29 April 2008

Slam dunk for Auckland

A successful joint bid from Basketball New Zealand, Auckland City Council and North Shore City Council has seen New Zealand win the rights to host next year’s FIBA Men’s U19 World Championships.

The tournament is the most important basketball event ever held in this country and will take place in Auckland from 2 to 12 July 2009, bringing 16 teams from the five FIBA zones.

Scouts from all over the world will attend and many of the players on display will go on to become international and NBA stars.

Pool games will be spread between the North Shore Events Centre and ASB Stadium, while the finals will be played at Vector Arena.

Basketball New Zealand chief executive Dale Stephens says the partnership between the national body and city councils has been crucial to the success of the bid.

“Establishing partnerships with central and local government was an aspect of our bid that really impressed basketball’s international body, FIBA,” says Mr Stephens.

Auckland city mayor Hon. John Banks says he is thrilled Auckland has won the bid to host the 2009 championships.

“A team effort has allowed us to secure this international tournament,” he says. “This is a great opportunity to demonstrate Auckland’s ability to host major events.”

North Shore city mayor Andrew Williams says his council is pleased to be working closely with Auckland City and Basketball New Zealand on this major sporting event.

“It’s a great example of regional cooperation, using excellent facilities provided by both cities,” he says. “We look forward to welcoming basketballers from all over the world to enjoy outstanding competition and excellent hospitality.”

The three organisations will now work together with other key partners to deliver a memorable event for players, officials, fans and spectators.

“FIBA regard this competition as the most exciting on their international calendar,” says Mr Stephens. “Raising funds for any sport is tough, but the international reach of this event should prove appealing to sponsors.”

The tournament will provide a significant challenge for the local basketball community. As the host nation, New Zealand gains automatic entry for the NZ Junior Tall Blacks, who got their first taste of international basketball at the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Germany last month.

The juniors won just one of their six outings to finish 14th and now know they must improve dramatically to be competitive at that level. They will spend eight weeks based at the NZ Breakers facility and playing in the Conference Basketball League as they prepare for the Oceania Championships against Australia in August.

The championships should prove to be an invaluable stepping stone for the next generation as they aspire to full Tall Black status.

Local administrators will also have to raise their game to provide the infrastructure for an event of this magnitude.

“This event gives us the chance to raise all aspects of basketball to the highest international standards,” says Mr Stephens. “Our referees, officials and event managers will benefit as much as our athletes and our development programmes from such a huge opportunity.”


Ends

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