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Moves afoot to grow basketball in the region

About 40 children participated in the Capital Basketball training camp at Chanel College. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Wairarapa may be a “blank canvas” when it comes to basketball, but Capital Basketball are working to revive the sport in the region.

According to the New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council figures released earlier this year, basketball is now the third largest sport in New Zealand secondary schools.

Should the trend continue, it will become the number one New Zealand secondary schools sport by the year 2020.

But the sport has struggled to gain a foothold in Wairarapa, with a lack of associations and clubs meaning there are limited opportunities for those with dreams of following in the large footsteps of New Zealand’s NBA player, Steven Adams.

A training camp was run by Capital Basketball at Chanel College during the school holidays, and community development officer Scott Richardson said it was a solid foundation to build on.

“We brought over some great young coaches and looked to provide a great experience for the players – we wanted to help them to understand the game, learn the game, and love the game.

“Hopefully we planted that seed in a few of those kids, to grow to love the game.”

There were sessions for children in Years 6, 7 and 8, and separate sessions for junior secondary school pupils.

About 40 children from 10 schools attended between the two age groups.

There was an aim of putting together an Under-17 Wairarapa boys’ team this season, but that had to be put on hold for the time being.

“After running the camps, we decided it wouldn’t be right at that stage, so we pulled the pin on that,’ Richardson said.

“It’s something we’re looking to do down the line, to create a pathway for kids in Wairarapa to play rep basketball and compete with other association rep teams.”

With the sport growing so quickly across the country, Richardson was sure there would be a market for it in Wairarapa, if the right people were involved.

“Kids want to play so it’s about making the game accessible to those kids in Wairarapa.

“These sorts of initiatives are great – it allows them to get coaching and we wish we could do more.”

Top level coaches and referees were also brought in for the camps, keen to pass on their knowledge to those in the community who might be keen to coach here.

“The fact Wairarapa doesn’t have a local association or strong club supporting the growth of the game, means they’re missing out,” Richardson said.

“With Wairarapa being part of our catchment, it’s a big project for us to build some local capability and support them to continue providing basketball there.”

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