BUENOS AIRES (FIBA Women's AmeriCup 2017) - FIBA President Horacio Muratore visited the Obras Sanitarias Stadium to closely follow the events of the FIBA Women's AmeriCup 2017.
At halftime of the host nation's game against Colombia, the native of Argentina's Tucumán region shared his impressions on the tournament and provided his analysis on the current state of women's basketball worldwide.
What are your thoughts on the tournament?
I want to congratulate Argentina. This is a 10 for the Argentinean Basketball Confederation (CABB). I am happy that it is being held here. The confederation has been fighting for a long time to be among the top three teams on the continent and to host this event represents an important step towards a new process for women's basketball within the organization to reach the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 in Spain. And then overall, today for example was an incredible day in this tournament with historic wins for Virgin Islands, Paraguay and Puerto Rico. It is tremendously important that a tournament like this serves as a platform for great emotional and unforgettable moments like these and as proof of the growth that various women's national team programs have had prior to this tournament.
How important is it to celebrate and promote more tournaments like this?
This tournament has a great ripple effect and so I hope it will be used a lot. The event is being broadcast on television and streamed on social media in many parts of the world. I saw (Argentina's) first two games on TV and the quality is fantastic. It's good that many people watch. From a sporting perspective it has already registered the importance of giving continuity and both an equal and relevant platform of a level that these players can aspire and deserve to have. We have seen great performances with important repercussions in their respective countries.
What is the current state of women's basketball worldwide?
Women's basketball is a topic of great importance for FIBA's Central Board. We have appointed women with excellent track records and legacies to our Commissions and Working Groups, always focused on the growth of our sport. We want there to be more activity and we are always thinking up, developing and implementing strategies for this to happen. As President of CABB and then as President of Consubasquet and of FIBA Americas, support for the growth of women's basketball was always among my objectives and achievements. Now, as President of FIBA, it is one of my goals and I am happy to see tournaments like this one, as well as FIBA Women's Eurobasket and the FIBA Women's AsiaCup prove to be successful in their respective continents. Next week we'll have FIBA Women's AfroBasket tip off in Mali and I'm sure it will also be a great event.
How do you see the situation at the national level across the region?
What I see are similar efforts at the national level in each country. This here (Argentina) is a good example. There is the new National League with the incorporation of foreign players, greater competitiveness and the search for more and more teams to participate. With all of these initiatives, it's no accident that we immediately see positive effects. The same situation has been going on in Puerto Rico. There are several national federations and national leagues promoting more activities which, as I mentioned before, are key to enabling development. You can do even more, but it is important to have examples like Argentina to promote and emulate in those countries that want to follow that path to success.
How important is this Women's AmeriCup for the growth of the women's game in the region?
Very important. CONSUBASQUET (the South American Basketball Confederation), for example, has already created a women's commission at our request. There are also plans for club competitions to happen in different age groups. To see this tournament and have it be as exciting and competitive as it has been gives excellent motivation for the participating national teams' programs and the rest of our national federations to, in most cases, continue or begin their work towards the growth of women's basketball throughout the continent.