It has been an astonishing rise to prominence for the blossoming sport of 3x3 Basketball in Jordan.
Just a year ago, and following the announcement that the short sided version of the game would be included in the next Olympic programme, Jordan saw an opportunity.
A committee was formed under the umbrella of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) and under the supervision of the Jordan Basketball Federation.
It set to work quickly in implementing a plan that would see the Kingdom catapult itself into the higher echelons of the world rankings, and give itself the best chance of qualifying to the big events. Few could have predicted its meteoric rise and success.
Only this week, Jordan was notified by the world governing body that it would be included as one of the teams for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina this summer, a significant stepping stone in its question for a full Olympic spot in two years’ time in Tokyo.
As the first and only Arab team to qualify, it has sent a clear message to the world that the sport is booming in Jordan after the committee tirelessly organised competition after competition over the past 12 months to promote the sport and discover its best talent. Ramez Qawar, a member in the committee, summed up how the 3x3 Basketball community is feeling this week.
“It’s tremendous news for the sport here,” he said.
“And it comes as a reward for the hard work that has been put in since we got things moving a year ago. “We knew that qualification depended largely on how much effort you put in to spread the sport in the country, and that’s why we set a plan to target each and every single player from schools and universities.”
Jordan booked their Youth Olympics place after ranking 10th in the world, and second in Asia, after China.
They will join countries including Argentina, Venezuela, China, Ukraine, USA, Italy, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Magnolia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Holland, Russia, Georgia and Brazil.
It’s the first time that a Jordanian team of any sport has qualified for an Olympics as well.
“We have been involved in the U18 World Cup and the Asian Indoor Games where our players gained the experience they needed to press on,” added Ramez.
“But this will be a whole new ball game this summer!” Trial tournaments will be held over the coming weeks as Jordan bids to select the best possible team.