In the heart of Xi’an, China, the enthusiasm for basketball was palpable during the Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament. FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis couldn’t help but express his admiration for the fervor of Chinese fans.
Basketball’s Rising Popularity in China
Zagklis attributed the high attendance rates to the growing popularity of basketball in China, a trend he believes is here to stay. The legacy of the 2019 FIBA World Cup has undoubtedly played a significant role in this surge of interest.
“The passion we’ve seen from Chinese basketball fans is truly remarkable,” said Zagklis. “It’s clear that basketball has a bright future in this country.”
The city of Xi’an and the Shaanxi Provincial Gymnasium were also praised by Zagklis for their exceptional hosting of the tournament.
Women’s Basketball: A Strategic Priority for FIBA
During his visit, Zagklis emphasized that women’s basketball is a strategic priority for FIBA. This focus is evident in the organization’s plans to expand the Women’s World Cup to 16 teams in 2026.
“We’re committed to promoting women’s basketball on a global scale,” stated Zagklis. “Expanding the Women’s World Cup is just one of the ways we’re working to achieve this goal.”
Zagklis also highlighted the ‘Her World, Her Rules’ program, which aims to create role models for the next generation of girls in basketball.
The Importance of International Exposure
Recognizing the need for Chinese referees and players to gain more international experience, Zagklis stressed the importance of increasing their appearances in global competitions.
“International exposure is crucial for the development of Chinese referees and players,” explained Zagklis. “We believe that by providing more opportunities for them to compete on the global stage, we can help improve their performance and raise the profile of Chinese basketball.”
As the Women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Xi’an drew to a close, it was clear that the future of basketball in China is brighter than ever. With FIBA’s continued support and the unwavering enthusiasm of Chinese fans, the sport is set to reach new heights in the coming years.
Note: This article was written on 2024-02-13.