IOC official to observe Wizz Air Sport Arena Streetball

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Programme Commission member Walter Sieber has been confirmed to attend an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Europe 3×3 EuroTour event in Bucharest next month ahead of the discipline’s Rio 2016 inclusion review.

Sieber (pictured left), a Vancouver 2010 Board member and former Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) vice-president, will attend the World Tour qualifier as part of the IOC’s observers programme – which was first put in place ahead of the Sochi 2014 programme review – to examine disciplines and events for the Rio 2016 Olympic sports programme.

The tournament, known as Wizz Air Sport Arena Streetball, is Romania’s flagship 3×3 basketball competition, each time attracting more than 1,000 teams, 4,000 players and 15,000 spectators since its inception in 2005.

This year’s event, due to take place on June 21 until 23, will take place at Constitution Plaza in front of the Palace of Parliament – Europe’s largest building – and is expected to draw in some of the sport’s Olympic greats, including Lithuania’s Seoul 1988 champion Šarūnas Marčiulionis and Spanish Beijing 2008 silver medallist Jorge Garbajosa.

Sport Arena Streetball 2013 will also be supported by Romanian Olympic medallists, including Sydney 2000 fencing champion Mihai Covaliu, Elisabeta Lipă – the most decorated rower in the history of the Olympics with five golds, two silvers and a bronze medal, two-time boxing bronze medallist Leonard Doroftei and three-time handball medallist Ștefan Birtalan (pictured right).

“It is a great pleasure to support Sport Arena’s 3×3 event in Bucharest as part of FIBA’s 3×3 worldwide competition network,” FIBA general secretary and IOC member Patrick Baumann said.

“Sport Arena’s 3×3 competitions are since 2005 a good example and a great showcase for the top urban team sport and have grown in popularity ever since.

“3×3 is about sports, fun and entertainment for all ages, in the middle of a city.

“In brief, it is an urban festival that makes sports accessible for everybody in a casual manner as well as in a highly competitive way; it also incorporates urban culture and social media habits to the sports community.

“The strength of 3×3 is that in an event like Sport Arena’s one, amateurs can play a recreational tournament whilst having next court some of the best ranked 3×3 players in the world competing for a slot in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour.

“This is where the dream from the streets to the world stage becomes reality and strongly supports FIBA’s vision to further develop and promote 3×3 worldwide.”

FIBA launched its bid to get a 3×3 basketball medal event into the Rio 2016 Olympics last year to help the growth of basketball globally.

The half-court version of basketball for men and women, which is among the most played recreational sports in the world, was introduced to a worldwide audience at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics, where it was a huge success, while the 3×3 World Tour was introduced last year.

The IOC’s ruling Executive Board is set to make a decision on whether to include the discipline at the Rio 2016 Games later this year.


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