With the end of the year fast approaching, basketball across Oceania is in overdrive with development programs and events being coordinated.
Basketball for Good has been on the road in Kavieng in Papua New Guinea (PNG) along with numerous other development programs across Oceania. Samoa is becoming a force with international basketball success which is translating to significant development opportunities on island. Similar in Tonga, FIBA 3×3 competitions are providing an alternative development pathway for the community to get active and be involved in basketball.
International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated in style across Oceania with female specific basketball programs engaging and inspiring the next generation of female leaders. The Northern Mariana Islands produced a wonderful video celebrating all things women in basketball with Fiji, PNG, Tonga and Samoa all hosting female-specific programs. Australia has also launched a new female basketball platform, She Hoops.
Basketball events have been aplenty across Oceania over the past few months with more to come before the end of the year.
The FIBA Women’s World Cup was decided in Sydney, Australia, with USA winning gold, China taking silver and Australia finishing with bronze. During the event, the FIBA Oceania Board met in person for the first time in three years for the regions quarterly update.
Four nations have qualified for the Pacific Games 2023 with the FIBA Melanesian Cup and FIBA Polynesian Cup both deciding the top two qualifiers from each event.
The FIBA Melanesian Cup wrapped up in Suva, Fiji with New Caledonia winning gold in the men’s competition, Papua New Guinea taking silver and Fiji bronze. In the women’s competition, the host nation, Fiji, won gold, holding off the defending champions Papua New Guinea who settled for silver with New Caledonia in bronze.
In Suva, Fiji, the FIBA Melanesian Cup was a huge success with volunteers from across the island contributing significantly to the coordination of the event. FIBA also provided valuable referee and development opportunities in conjunction with the event to further upskill the basketball community across Oceania. The Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) also had a pop-up activation with Fiji Association of National Sports Committee (FASNOC) Voice of the Athletes program, educating participating teams on leadership opportunities on and off the court.
The men from Tahiti and women from Cook Islands made it back-to-back gold medals at the FIBA Polynesian Cup in Kaitaia, New Zealand. whilst Tonga took silver in the men’s competition, and Samoa finished with bronze. In the women’s competition, Samoa won silver with Tahiti settling for bronze. For the first time, Tonga took part in the FIBA Polynesian Cup with a women’s team who performed amicably and will provide strong competition in the region over the coming years. Similar to the FIBA Melanesian Cup, the FIBA Polynesian Cup provided valuable opportunity for referee development and volunteer engagement.
With the end of the year in sight, the Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers 2025 will feature men’s teams from Tahiti and Guam while Australia and New Zealand men’s teams will also be in action during the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers. The New Zealand and Australian men have also already qualified for the World Cup.
The FIBA Under 15 Oceania Championships will be hosted by Guam at the end of November with participating nations from Australia, Guam, Micronesia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa across the men’s and women’s competitions.