Ballarat Basketball has been selected as the host for the 2015 National Under 18 Championships.
The Championships will be held in April next year and bring to Ballarat the very best young men and women basketballers in Australia, and will also showcase Wheelchair Basketball.
Representing the Victorian Sports Minister, Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay MP said attracting the U18 Championship was a sporting and economic coup for Ballarat.
“The eight day National Championship will attract players and spectators from across Australia. It will be a significant boost for businesses and accommodation providers”, Mr Ramsay said.
“On court, Ballarat will be lucky to witness the best junior basketballers in Australia, many of whom will be vying for future NBL and WNBL teams and, from that, Australian representation during events such as the Olympics.
“I congratulate the team at Ballarat Basketball for their fantastic efforts in securing the 2015 Under 18 National Championships and Kevin Coombs Cup,” Mr Ramsay said.
Ballarat Regional Tourism (BRT) CEO George Sossi said attracting events such as National Championships is an integral part of Ballarat’s tourism market.
“All in all, this major event will generate 11,000 bed nights meaning close to $1.6 million will be injected into the economy with this tournament.”
Mr Sossi went on to say that a key initiative from BRT’s recently launched Destination Management Plan was the proposed expansion of the Wendouree Sports & Events Centre.
“Ballarat has fallen behind other major regional centres such as Bendigo and Geelong; it will begin to miss out on significant basketball championships such as these if this is not addressed. At present Ballarat is attaining these events through the great reputation of Peter Eddy and his team at Ballarat Basketball but this will not be sustainable into the future as most Major Championships require a minimum of six courts in one location.”
Ballarat Basketball Administration and Events Manager Mark Valentine was extremely pleased to receive the nod from Basketball Australia for these Championships.
“We staged the Under 14 National Girls Club Championships in 2013 and although I believe we always have a well prepared tender and strong case for hosting such events, I wasn’t really expecting to get two Nationals 18 months apart.”
“What this is saying to us at Ballarat Basketball, and to the Ballarat community, is that we have the volunteer base and the backing of the City and Ballarat Regional Tourism to manage such important championships.”
Ballarat Basketball CEO Peter Eddy was equally enthused by the announcement.
“Ballarat’s reputation for hosting Nationals continues to grow and the potential for the future would be limitless if the proposed expansion for the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre can become a reality,” said Eddy.
“If our facility base can match our behind-the-scenes work we will have the complete package for staging not just Nationals in Basketball, but a whole range of major indoor sport and community events.”
Ballarat hosted the Under 18 Nationals in 2008.
The star player at that tournament was Patrick Mills, who last month, was part of the San Antonio Spurs team that claimed the coveted NBA Championship for 2014. Since then, Mills has signed a very lucrative three-year playing contract with the American team.
Emerging local Ballarat Rush star Abbey Wehrung has previously played in the Under 18 National tournament.
“Playing in this tournament against a range of quality players taught me the value of working hard no matter the opponent’s reputation and no matter what the state of the game.”
The Under 21 Wheelchair Championships will also feature throughout the week adding another dimension to the tournament.
“It further demonstrates that Basketball is one of the leading sports in Australia celebrating inclusiveness,” said Mr Eddy.
“Local wheelchair athletes who have recently commenced in the Ballarat program will be inspired to achieve dreams and it would be the icing on the cake if one of them could gain State representation and compete for the Kevin Coombs Cup,” he said.
The Championships will be staged from April 11-18 at the MARS®MINERDOME and Wendouree Sports and Events Centre.
For further details contact:
Mark Valentine, 0418 310 125