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Muratore: "This has been a great year"
Fibaamericas.com spoke with Horacio Muratore, President of FIBA Americas and Vice President of FIBA, about this great season for FIBA Americas Championships in 2012, starting with the Centrobasket for Women in Morovis, Puerto Rico, the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Sao Sebastiao do Paraiso, Brazil, the South American Championship in Chaco, Argentina, the Centrobasket in San Juan, Puerto Rico and culminating in the organization of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas Venezuela.
The manager was pleased with the growth of basketball in America and the wide diffusion of FIBA Americas events this year.
FA (Fibaamericas.com): This has been a great year of activity in America’s basketball and for basketball in FIBA Americas. What is your opinion?
HM (Horacio Muratore): It was spectacular. We started with what was undoubtedly our best and most widely seen FIBA Americas League, which for the first time had a Mexican club (Pioneros of Quintana Roo) as champion. And now in these last months with the Centrobasket, the FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the South American Championship, FIBA America’s basketball has been on display and the response from people has been excellent so I am very satisfied.
And of course, the confirmation of all this great work, which was the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas.
FA: You looked very pleased in Caracas ...
HM: Well, the fact is that the OQT was a great example of the organizational capacity that exists in our continent. As president of FIBA Americas and past president of the South American Basketball, for me it was a pleasure to see the excellent work accomplished by the Organizing Committee with the support of the Venezuelan Federation of Basketball, by its President Mr. Carmelo Cortez and of course with all the great support of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its President, Mr. Hugo Chavez.
The event was a success in all its facets. Organizationally it was excellent. The level of basketball was high, exceeding expectations and is something that FIBA has documented when talking about the parity in the tournament. Furthermore, in my opinion the most important thing was to see how the basketball lovers in Venezuela showed their true passion for our sport. It was impressive to see 5 thousand to 8 thousand people at a game like Nigeria and the Dominican Republic, in which the local team did not participate. That does not happen in tournaments, but the Venezuelan people attended and were fully involved in the game ... a magnificent thing.
FA: Speaking of the tournament with various journalists and others, you referred to the Vision 2020 Plan. What is the connection between this Plan and a tournament like the OQT?
HM: As we have been reporting through this website, and by other mediums, the Vision 2020 Plan is a plan of massfication of our sport. Mr. Alberto Garcia, our Secretary General of FIBA Americas, has personally undertaken the task of presenting this plan to all national federations, beginning with Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, with Venezuela included in the ones that will be presented to in this coming year.
But, most importantly, through those first visits and all the press and the publicity, the message of this plan that we have for the growth of basketball, is creating a culture of thinking focused on these changes .
And then, a tournament like this OQT in Caracas, is a confirmation of the potential for growth and development, because in the end, all these tools and focus on the Structure, Construction, Competition and Promotion, are all there looking for the same result: to have more children playing basketball. And I do not doubt, that in Caracas, after this tournament, the amount of future players of our sport will increase considerably.
FA: We learned that you were accompanying Jenaro "Tuto" Marchand, while he received the Edward S. Steitz award from USA Basketball. What does the figure of "Tuto" Marchand mean for basketball in America?
HM: Obviously, to talk of "Tuto" Marchand is to talk about the history of basketball in America, and as Secretary General Emeritus of FIBA Americas, he is still part of what happens in the daily life of our sport.
For all of us it is an honor to have "Tuto" in our family, since he is the architect of many of the achievements that FIBA Americas have today. And seeing a national federation, as large and important as USA Basketball, that knows its history and understand everything he has done for this sport is just inspiring. Everyone, starting with its President, Mr. Jim Tooley, the director of Women's National Teams, Ms. Carol Callan and our friend of the FIBA Central Bureau and past president of USA Basketball, Ms. Val Ackerman, really focused in treating "Tuto" and me with great respect, organizing a beautiful presentation of this important award, was a great thing. Congratulations to "Tuto" and big thank you to USA Basketball for the entire event.
FA: Anything you would like to add?
HM: No, I just thank everyone who is involved in basketball, from Directors to the fans of our sport for all the work and support that have made this a great year in FIBA Americas.
And the best thing is that it is not finished. We still have the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, the South American League, and the 3x3, which last week began its World Tour in Sao Paulo, Brazil with a very successful event.
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