MIES – They may be one of the smallest nations in the FIBA Family, but the Andorra Basketball Federation has one of the biggest appetites for 3x3.
It was inevitably the main topic for discussion when Manuel Fernandez, the President of the Federation and Secretary General Beatriz Soldevila, both visited the House of Basketball earlier this week.
The tiny European country has been punching way above its weight in 3x3 during the last couple of years and the duo were determined to ensure they can continue taking the discipline forward in their homeland by tapping into the expertise and support offered by FIBA.
"It was very useful for Andorra to start our 3x3 programme," confirmed Soldevila.
"3x3 is very important because we can play against anybody in the world, including nations from Asia such as China and the Philippines, as well as the likes of Brazil, Russia and the United States.
"This is important because it is impossible for us outside of 3x3 as we play in the Division C level of the European Championship.
"That means we only ever get to play against the same teams such as Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta and Cyprus."
With modest resources at their disposal due to their size, 3x3 is proving to be an exciting and effective way to get the message across about the vibrancy of basketball in Andorra.
"We are a very small country so we don’t have a very big league, although we do have a league with all of the clubs," said Soldevila.
"Our infrastructure is very good with the quality of the Arenas and the hotels, but as it is now cheaper for us to travel and to manage with 3x3 which only needs four players, we can promote basketball in Andorra.
She added, "We are maybe the only small country who participates quite so actively in 3x3, but nobody is interested in it as much as we are!"
Meanwhile Fernandez is fiercely proud of his country’s impressive 3x3 record which is growing all of the time.
Indeed Andorra has participated in the 2013 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships, the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Championships and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
He said, "We expect to be competing at both the men and women’s 3x3 European Championship, the World Championship and Mediterranean Games.
"We play in a lot of competitions for a very small country."