DOHA WITH four teams, including world-ranked eighth China, pulling out due to ‘short notice’, the women’s field was left with 10 teams to be battling it out in the inaugural FIBA Asia 3x3 Championship.
The two-day event, which is a part of a world-level strategy to have the discipline included in the Olympic Games roster in future, is due to begin at the Villaggio at 4 pm on Wednesday.
Besides China, Thailand, Philippines and Syria have decided not to figure in the event.
Apart from the women’s teams, 16 men’s teams are contesting for the top honours.
FIBA Asia Secretary- General Hagop Khajirian, QBF Secretary General Mohammed Ali al Houbash and QBF Executive Director Saadoun al Kuwari held a press conference to disclose details about the event.
Houbash welcomed the teams and officials, besides wishing them good luck for the event.
Khajirian praised the Qatar Basketball Federation for making grand arrangements for the first meet.
“When Qatar or a Qatari federation hosts something, there is no doubt about the success of the event.
It is a world-renowned place for its high-level organisation.
As my colleagues have told me about the way the QBF has planned to hold the FIBA Asia event, we’re very pleased and grateful to the QBF,” added Khajirian.
He also informed: “The initial plan was to organise only the men’s championship.
But when we proposed to include the women’s event, the QBF readily accepted even though there was no enough time.
We really thank Sheikh Saoud and the federation for this gesture.” The IOC delegates were earlier expected to visit Qatar and prepare a report on the event for the future reference when the evaluation is done whether to include the event in the quadrennial sports extravaganza.
“Qatar was one of the options but the IOC delegates are going to a different place now. We’ll send a complete report later,” added the FIBA official.
The men’s teams have been divided into four groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals and the winners will then play into the semi-finals and the final.
The women’s draw had to be made again as four teams chose to stay away. It is reported that the time was not enough for China to complete formalities and send the team. The Philippines team members are away on a vacation, while the situation is Syria is not good enough. Thailand is hosting the under-18 event, which led it to pull out! “The women’s event would have certainly been stronger if all the teams had come.
But this is a good chance for other teams to grab and make their mark,”said the FIBA Asia secretary-general.
“But in future, we’ll certainly take adequate measures to ensure a full-fledged field,” he hinted, adding: “The men’s contest is quite strong and you never know what can happen in this format of the game.” On the opening day, the matches will begin at 4 pm and will continue till 9 pm.
As many as 44 matches will be gone through to spot the teams in the knockout stage.
The women’s final is scheduled at 8.30 pm on Thursday and the men’s title-clash is slotted at 9 pm.
Qatar manager confident Qatar women’s team head Salah al Naimi is pleased with her players getting a big opportunity to showcase their talent.
The Qatari team had won the GCC Championship in Bahrain in March and she feels this can lift her players to achieve the first target of the team - to qualify for the knockout stage.
“We won the GCC title for the third time. We are really boosted by it and hope to move into the quarter-finals, which is our prime objective now.” “We just got three weeks to prepare the team and I’m quite optimistic that my girls would make it to the next round,” added Naimi.
“We’ve worked hard and would try to push other teams as much as possible,” said Naimi.