The Burger King 3X3 Quest Basketball Tour will be bursting at the seams this weekend in Christchurch with nearly all starting spots taken with a record number of registrations.
Basketball New Zealands 3x3 Manager, David Huxford, says Christchurch had the record number of participants with 55 teams last year. This year has already gone beyond that with 56 teams currently.
"Unfortunately teams are going to miss out. We have eight courts and each one will be packed. Today Im carefully monitoring the final few registrations, but all age groups are now closed and Im only taking applications to go on the waitlist. Only the Senior Womens and Under 15 boys grades have a few spots left to fill. This event will be the first time in three years that I havent been able to take on-the-day registrations."
Chief Executive of Basketball New Zealand, Iain Potter, says the huge uptake of the sport is a great problem for basketball associations to have, but with a lack of funding and facilities, the sport will continue to struggle to take the next big step.
"Appreciation must be given for Burger King and the support they have given the 3x3 Quest Tour. Without them, this national event, with 14 stops around the country, would not be able to exist. Basketball is the fastest growing major sport in New Zealand. It is the number one ranked pastime for boys, and number five ranked pastime for girls, across all interests, sports, recreational pursuits and for something to do when mucking around. Its also one of a few sports across most of the ethnicities that make up New Zealand, for both genders. So sponsors of basketball realise that it is truly a sport that represents all of New Zealand, and the more support we can get, the more playing opportunities we can offer."
This summer season is the fourth time the Burger King Quest Tour has travelled to provinces throughout New Zealand. The Tour is for anyone who wants to play, male and female, from the junior player through to the elite, and Huxford says New Zealand representatives play in the open mens grade events.
"The Burger King 3x3 Tour has official Quest status, which means that the winner of the Open Mens grade at each regional event will compete at the World Tour Qualifier Final. We will host it at The Cloud in Auckland on 25 March. Whoever wins the Open Mens grade at The Cloud will win an all-expenses paid trip to Asia and the right to represent their city at a FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters in Asia," says Huxford.
3x3 is on the rise and Huxford says the basketball community is eagerly awaiting the International Olympic Committees announcement in June as to whether or not 3x3 will be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
"Weve been directing our 3x3 programme towards this announcement in the belief that it will happen, by building our 3x3 events, sending our best 3x3 players to international events, and working closely with FIBA that we are doing everything we can to ensure we have a good 3x3 programme. Were strong in that event. Weve won the u18 mens world champs twice, in 2011 and 2015, so despite the lack of high performance funding in basketball, we have the talent and proven our ability to stand on a truly global podium. So yes, were waiting for the announcement with baited breath."
Burger King Quest 3X3 Tour Schedule:
DATE LOCATION VENUE
Sat 26 Nov 2016 Whangarei Whangarei Netball Courts
Sat 03 Dec 2016 New Plymouth Waiwhakaiho Netball Courts
Sat 10 Dec 2016 North Shore (Auckland) Westlake Girls High School (covered netball courts)
Sat 17 Dec 2016 Rotorua The Energy Events Centre (carpark)
Sat 14 Jan 2017 Mangere (Auckland) Otahuhu Netball Centre, David Lange Park.
Sat 21 Jan 2017 Tauranga Blake Park Tennis Courts, Mt Maunganui
Sat 28 Jan 2017 Henderson (Auckland) Trusts Arena (indoors)
Sat 11 Feb 2017 Nelson Tahunanui Beach Tennis Courts
Sat 18 Feb 2017 Christchurch Hagley Park Netball Courts
Sat 25 Feb 2017 Invercargill Invercargill Netball Centre, Surrey Park Road
Sun 26 Feb 2017 Dunedin The Octagon
Sat 05 Mar 2017 Palmerston North Waldegrave Street carpark
Sat 11 Mar 2017 Wellington Odlins Plaza Wellington Waterfront
Sat 18 Mar 2017 Hamilton Garden Place Hamilton
Sat 25 Mar 2017 Auckland Central- The Cloud, 89 Quay Street, Auckland
- This event will be both a normal Burger King 3x3 Quest Tour event (minus Open men's grade) plus the World Tour Qualifier Final for eligible Open Men's teams from throughout New Zealand.