GAME NEVER STOPS FOR GROWING MASTERS BASKETBALL MOVEMENT
The growth of Masters Basketball in Britain and across the world is opening up opportunities for players and teams to connect across countries and continents, according to British Masters Basketball Association Chair Bill McInnes.
The former player and team captain, who represented Scotland and Great Britain on 175 occasions during his playing career and is Chair of the British Basketball Federation, told The World Masters Games that the scene is growing in popularity.
“The game never stops. In Britain, basketball has a high level of ‘street’ credibility, and international Masters Basketball is definitely expanding,” McInnes said.
“We are encouraging our members to tell us about where they are going around the world, as individuals and teams, so that further links can be established with a wider network of players and groups.
“Teams regularly travel abroad from Britain, and they have a great time from a playing and social perspective. That side of the sport is only going to grow, and there are Masters teams and tournaments in many countries now.”
The flagship GB Masters Basketball event, which was established in 1995, is underpinned by a committed team of volunteers and provides opportunities for basketball participation for women over the age of 35 and men over the age of 40.
McInnes spearheaded the recent 2015 GB Masters Basketball tournament in Leeds on June 20-21 which attracted a record number of teams – up from 52 to 59 year-on-year.
“It was very informal when it started out 20 years ago with just a handful of teams at the first annual tournament, but it has expanded over the years,” he added.
“This is a team sport that allows people to carry on playing and promotes wellbeing and activity. As we saw in Leeds again, the players have not lost their competitive edge, but it is also a great social event.
“There is a mixture of players now. A lot of them used to play internationally, but there is also a range of other abilities. Many of the players at our annual event also play in local leagues.
“People who are interested should have a look at our website – www.gbmasters.org – for more information.”
The countdown is on for the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand where basketball will be one of 28 sports taking place across 45 competition venues.
In Auckland, the basketball tournament will be split into three grades of premier, competitive and recreational competitions for men and women, ranging from over 30s to over 70s in the competitive category.
At the recent Leeds event, participants competed in seven different age categories and about 600 players, officials and staff took part.
The ability to accommodate different age group competitions – and the increasing interest in the Masters Basketball scene – is a challenge as well as an opportunity for the movement’s advocates.
“Next year we are in Brighton, and obviously if too many teams apply, we will have to find a way of coping,” McInnes said.
“Whereas in the beginning we had to go out and cajole cities to host the event, now we are contacted by interested parties, and that is helping us to plan for the future. We look for good rates for playing facilities as well as a major hotel and function area to host our social event.
“We have discussed possible qualifying competitions, but we also don’t want to lose the social aspect of our annual event, so it’s a difficult challenge. However, it’s a good problem to have and it is a sign of growth.”
Visit www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz for further information about the 2017 World Masters Games.
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For further information please contact:
Carolyn Johnson, International Marketing, World Masters Games 2017
Tel: +44 (0)207 036 8088
About World Masters Games 2017
The World Masters Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world. In terms of athlete numbers, it is bigger in scale than even the Olympics. Auckland will host the event from 21 to 30 April 2017 during which time 25,000 athletes will compete in 28 sports across 45 competition venues. The Games are regarded as the largest event New Zealand will host in at least the next decade. For more information visit www.worldmastersgames2017.co.nz
About Barfoot & Thompson:
Barfoot & Thompson is the presenting partner for World Masters Games 2017. It is New Zealand’s largest, privately owned real estate company and is still run by the Barfoot and Thompson families after more than 90 years. Barfoot & Thompson consistently sells around one in three homes in the Auckland region and manages more than 11,000 rental properties, well ahead of competitor brands.
For more information visit www.barfoot.co.nz
About World Masters Games 2017 valued partners:
World Masters Games would like to thank its valued partners: Barfoot & Thompson, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), International Masters Games Association (IMGA), Air New Zealand, SKYCITY Auckland, Pita Pit, NZCT