The first edition of the 3×3 Arab Women Basketball Tournament commences today (Sunday) at Sharjah Ladies Club’s (SLC), with an inaugural match between the Emirati Sharqiya Women Team and Bahrain’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Team. The Tournament will see 64 matches over 30-31 October that will determine the champion of the region’s first 3×3 basketball competition
Held under the patronage of the wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Chairperson of SLC, the first pan-Arab women 3×3 basketball competition is taking place under the theme ‘Above the Rim, We Score’ and features the participation of 16 teams from eight Arab countries.
Speaking about the start of the tournament, Nada Al Naqbi, Director of the Women Sports Department (WSD) in Sharjah, Chairperson of the Women’s Committee at the Arab Basketball Federation and Head of the Higher Organising Committee of the Tournament, said: “The Women Sports Department and the Tournament’s Higher Organising Committee wish the Arab female athletes all success in the first 3×3 Women Basketball Tournament, for which we have worked hard to ensure is a major technical and organisational success. This is the first competition of its kind in the region and is accredited by both the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Arab Basketball Federation.”
Held in partnership with the Sharjah Sports Council, the 3×3 Arab Women Basketball Tournament is being organised by WSD at SLC, with the competition hosted in collaboration with the Arab Basketball Federation and the UAE Basketball Association.
In 3×3 basketball competitions, each club can participate with more than one team. Each team comprises four female players, three players on the court and one reserve, with one professional foreign player allowed in the side. The basic rules of the tournament are the same as the original game, but 3×3 games are played on one half of the court and use only one hoop. The winner is the team with the most points scored after 10 minutes, unless one of the sides scores 21 points, which automatically wins them the game. Teams participate in the competition without a coach and without breaks during the 10-minute matches.
The 3×3 Arab Women Basketball Tournament’s Higher Organizing Committee held a meeting with the participating teams on Friday, during which the competition rules were explained to the players. The 16 teams were then divided into four groups.
The UAE Sharqiya Women Team, Bahrain’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Team, Jordan’s Orthodox Team 2 and Iraq’s Halabja Team are in the first group, while the second group comprises the Algerian Olympic Team, Jordanian Al Fahees Team 1, UAE Central Region Team and the Lebanese International University Team.
The Algerian G.S. Petroliers (GSP) Team 2, Jordan’s Orthodox Team 1, Egypt’s Sporting Team 2 and the Palestinian University Student Team came in the third group, while the host team from the Sharjah Ladies Club will lead the fourth group, which also includes the Algerian G.S. Petroliers (GSP) Team 1, Jordanian Al Fahees Team 2 and Egypt’s Sporting Team 1.
While the Sharqiya Women Team and Bahrain’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Team play at SLC’s gymnasium in the first group, the University Student Team from Palestine will play against the G.S. Petroliers (GSP) Club from Algeria in the third group at SLC’s Playground 2. Al Sharqiya Women Team’s opening fixture is regarded as a tough one, as they are up against powerful Bahraini players who have vast experience in international tournaments and have already obtained FIBA’s recognition as professional international players.
The UAE is participating with three teams and the Emirati fans pin much hope on the expertise of the SLC Team, which comprises Amal Bin Hayder, Sara Al Muhairi, Rawdha Mohammed and professional player Nina Nintovic. The UAE Central Region Team is made up of Zainab Lehdairi, Aisha Mohammed Al Kitbi, Latifa Saeed and Hessa Al Amiri, while Al Sharqiya Women’s Team consists of Alia Al Naqbi, Mariam Al Kaabi, Ruqiya Al Dhanhani and professional player Dorothy Torres.
“Through this tournament we aspire for our Arab athletes to obtain the title of professional players via official recognition from FIBA. The competition was also devised to give the participants the opportunity to gain experience and develop their skills by playing with professionals, which helps improve the performance of the Arab female players,” Al Naqbi added.
The Highner Organizing committee of the tournament organized a workshop entitled “Arbitration of rulers and regulations” Yesterday (Friday), with the presence of technical committee members and referees participating in the tournament to go over 3×3 technical conditions and standards. Joloku Mataolli, international FIBA lecturer gave the workshop with the assistance of International lecturer Qassim Daadouch of UAE Basketball Fedration.
WSD was established in 2008 under a resolution issued by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. WSD is the first of its kind initiative in Sharjah and strives to promote women’s sports on the local and regional level. The department is dedicated to building a distinguished athletic women’s community that can compete successfully in regional and international competitions. It does this through the creation and supervision of women’s sports teams and ensuring the establishment of an infrastructure that helps achieve the desired goals.