Non-profit organisation, Female Basketball Action (FemBA) will launch its inaugural youth development programme at the UWI-SPEC outdoor court, St Augustine on March 7.
This initiative focuses on girls between ages five and 20 and is designed to encourage continuity among female basketballers and motivate new athletes to join the sport. The event serves as FemBA’s fifth instalment of a long-term plan constructed to change, grow, develop and provide opportunities for TT’s junior and senior female basketballers.
The organisation’s vision is to promote a culture of participation and competition of women in sport. Since inception in 2016, FemBA has played host to four developmental meets.
This year the group will place emphasis on increasing female participation to over 200 athletes. Olympism goals (national team), health and wellness, youth crime prevention, inclusiveness of regional teams are some of FemBA’s other main objectives.
Additionally, FemBA is planning to invite high school coaches to scout talents at its exposure camps, which would aid youngsters in attaining scholarships. They also plan to host a weekend female basketball league in Tobago.
“Our theme this year is We Got Game,” said FemBA vice-president Alicia Joseph.
“We’re hosting another female tournament (under-15, under-17 and open) from June 19 to August 23. We want more youth involved because we have a bigger vision for basketball, especially for females.”
In 2019 FemBA hosted its most successful league, The Rebirth, which featured eight full-female teams competing in the under-15 and open divisions. One year prior, the organisation was unable to host any events due to financial difficulties.
FemBA held its first successful two-week Open Female Basketball League in 2016. Over the Easter vacation the following year, it held its first Under-21 Female Tournament at Tacarigua Indoor Facility.
Throughout the years, these competitions have captured the attention of Ministry of Sport and other corporate entities that have assisted. FemBA has also aided, with co-sponsorship from Liqui Moly TT, in allocating five young athletes to The Lab, a developmental programme for one year.
Looking back, Joseph said the idea to create a platform for young female basketballers in TT came after her performance with the TT women’s team at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mexico in 2014.
“After CAC we knew when we returned to Trinidad, there was no sustainable league or anything for us to come back to. I questioned myself and wondered about the youth because most of them started to gravitate to other sports as there were no opportunities in basketball since we’ve started, though we’ve seen a welcomed influx of participants, so we’re on the right track.”
FemBA is led by Keon Joseph (president), vice-president Alicia and secretary Allison Young. All tournaments hosted by the trio are sanctioned by the National Basketball Federation of TT.