A stellar performance in 2018 in both 5on5 and 3×3 formats of the game. Set to achieve great heights in 2019. Now, included in the long-term development plan initiated by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Sri Lanka Basketball, there is no better time.

5on5 basketball in Sri Lanka was virtually dead. The 2018 South Asian Basketball Championship (SABA) changed that. New hope blossomed. The community rallied to support the island nation. Sri Lanka went on to win their maiden title in the SABA Championship and made it to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers after a decade.

Read: Sri Lanka, 2018 South Asian Basketball Champions  

Whilst the 5on5 was hitting those high notes, 3×3 started matching them. Sri Lanka`s qualification to the Youth Olympics, 3×3 representation could not have come at a better time. The youth girls’ team beat Egypt for the first time in the history of the sport then lost to USA, by a small margin.

Today, Sri Lanka Basketball is ready to go even higher. Sri Lanka has been chosen by the international body of the sport, FIBA and included in their long-term development plan of national federations for 2019. The partnership will continue up to 2023.

Listen to the full interview with the FIBA Officials below;

Out of 213 nations under the FIBA umbrella, 13 countries have been drafted for the initial phase. The happy news, out of the 13, Sri Lanka is the only Asian country. FIBA visited 181 federations out of the 213, where the authorities compiled a complete assessment from governance to marketing, communications, competitions, 3×3, youth and senior national teams.

Apart from the primary factors that were assessed, FIBA also looked into the economy of the nation, the popularity of the sport, the role of the National Olympic Committee in the particular nation and the support of the government to the sport.

Andrea Paoli, NF & Sport Manager, FIBA Asia, speaking to ThePapare.com said, “Last year we had a lot of chances to work with Sri Lanka. We have had a lot of positive interaction with the federation in Sri Lanka. This a very special project, we will work very hard and it will be a center of focus from the Asian office”.  

With the project, FIBA will focus not only on 5on5 and 3×3 basketball development but all the aspects of the game which includes administration and infrastructure necessary to maintain a stable administration in the sport within the country.

Andrea Paoli speaking further with ThePapare.com said,We have done an assessment of the country and in the first year we are looking at quick wins. In that sense, one of the priorities will be to get permanent staff, which the federation does not have at the moment. Then a well-equipped office. We will also work closely with the coaches and referees bringing in development programs. Furthermore, we will assess the need for basketball equipment and see what we could handle. All this will be in addition to the strategic development and based on these we will build on to the four-year cycle

Florain Pasquet, NF and Sports Manager, FIBA spoke on the reason behind establishing a partnership until 2023, to ThePapare.com, “as you know 2019, we will have the World Cup in China and then we are going to move back to a four-year cycle, so, until 2023, we will have four full years to work with the federation on this particular project 

It will be an interesting phase for Sri Lanka Basketball up to 2023. While the development projects will continue with the FIBA partnership, the national team will participate in a lot of international events in both 5on5 and 3×3 formats. It will determine the country`s position at the FIBA Asia Cup, 2020 Olympics 3×3.

Sri Lanka Basketball, you were asleep. Today, you have woken up, and in style. Now’s the time to decide, sleep again? Or get on the bandwagon and strive for greatness. It is now or never, you ready?