Global Sports Partners (GSP) is pleased to share an inspiring story of sport development from earlier this year. We believe it is possible to cross barriers and bring hope in every location and context, and we are proud to partner with local organizations who seek to improve their country's culture of health, wellness, and sport. In many countries women's sport has low levels of participation, and this particular initiative addressed the lack of qualified female basketball referees available for local competition.
For ten-day period in February 2014, ten women gathered for an intensive training camp to raise the level of women's basketball referees in this Middle Eastern country. The training camp overcame numerous obstacles to put on the camp -- venues, security, schedules, etc. -- but the end results were confident referees and many certificates handed out to the participants who endured to the end.
Local GSP reps estimate that the number of trained women's referees in the city doubled because of these sessions. "Respect" was the key theme of the camp and each participant was taught how to command authority and maintain control throughout the games. Each newly certified referee received a copy of the official FIBA Referee Handbook and the Arabic rules of the local basketball federation. Many participants had not previously seen or heard of the official rules, but are now well-trained to enforce them during basketball games.
GSP provided two experts from the United States who were able to engage the camp participants, both professionally and personally. On a professional level, quality training was provided in the classroom and on the basketball court; and on a personal level, the trainers and participants enjoyed meals together and shared about the local culture. We hope similar opportunities continue to be available in this country as women's sport gains support throughout the world -- the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle can be provided to women and girls in schools and in everyday life.
Many thanks to our local partners and sponsors, GSP representatives, GSP experts, and all participants and supporters who made this basketball referee training camp a resounding success!