A delegation of the Netherlands Basketball Federation visited Saba last week for several basketball clinics and to establish lasting relations with the island.
A four-member delegation came to Saba: Head of the Education Department of the Netherlands Basketball Federation Jorrit Beerens, Head of the Referee Department of the Netherlands Basketball Federation Antio Sinterniklaas, Director Sports Participation Juliet Fransen, and intern at the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports VWS Ron Bongers.
During their 5-day stay on Saba, the group facilitated three clinics: one for girls 12-18, one for boys 12-18 and one girls/boys 6-12. In total, some 70 children participated. Also, a referee clinic was organized. The group brought sport materials, such as t-shirts and small stress balls, which were distributed among the participants of the clinics, and professional basketball balls.
On Saturday, November 6, a 3×3 basketball tournament was held at the Juliana’s Sports Field. In the presence of the Netherlands Basketball Federation and many enthusiastic onlookers, 13 teams competed in what can be called a very successful tournament.
During the week, the representatives of the Netherlands Basketball Federation had meetings with stakeholders, including the schools, Commissioner of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Affairs Rolando Wilson, the Volleyball Association, and other local organizations that engage in healthy lifestyle activities. Saba does not currently have a basketball association.
“We strongly feel that we have a social responsibility to share our experience and knowledge. So, the request of the Ministry of VWS to get engaged in the development of sports in the Caribbean Netherlands fits exactly in our objectives. Basketball is one of the most important sports on Saba. Inclusivity is very important for us and Saba is a part of the Netherlands basketball community,” said Juliet Fransen.
“We looked at the facilities for basketball on Saba, what is needed to further develop the sport, the developments that have taken place so far. We spoke with shareholders to get information and to get a better view of how basketball is organized on Saba. But we were not only here to talk, but to share and engage in activities with the youth and the coaches,” said Fransen.
This was the federation’s first visit and it will not be the last, assured Fransen. “This is just the start, the first step in continued collaboration with Saba together with the Public Entity Saba and the Ministry of VWS. Continuity is important when you want to build something. We noticed a great enthusiasm and eagerness to learn on Saba, and we want to continue building on this, to give further impulse to the organization of basketball and to sport in general.”
“It immediately felt like home. We were received with much enthusiasm. Playing basketball has many advantages. The children have something positive to do, they learn to engage with each other in a natural way, they have perspective, work towards a shared goal. During the clinics you could see the children develop and grow in a natural way, with drive,” said Jorrit Beerens.
The visit of the Netherlands Basketball Federation is part of the broader approach to promoting sports on Saba. Through the Saba Youth Council and with the funding of the Ministry of VWS, the Netherlands Soccer Federation and the Netherlands Volleyball Federation visited Saba during the summer. While in the Netherlands in September for a training, Joelyn Robinson and Lauren Risley of the Sports Department of the Public Entity Saba met with the Netherlands Basketball Federation to discuss the upcoming visit. Robinson and Risley also met with the Netherlands Basketball Federation while on the island.