Jakarta (ANTARA) - In less than 30 days, Indonesia will host the world's most prestigious basketball championship: the 2023 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup.

The government has built the Indoor Multifunction Stadium (IMS), or the Indonesia Arena, in Jakarta for the historic moment when the country hosts the world-class basketball tournament.

Indonesia, along with the Philippines and Japan, will co-host the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which will begin on August 25, 2023.

Indonesia's 2023 FIBA World Cup Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is conducting several activities to promote the global-level basketball competition.

After its success in organizing a Basketball Meet-Up recently, the committee is now introducing the World Cup through activities under the Youth Leader Program.

The program is being implemented as part of the Basketball for Good Movement to spark public enthusiasm around the tournament. The program, which is being held from July 26 to August 2, is targeting a number of schools in Jakarta.

The first stage of the program carries the theme of "recycle," in accordance with FIBA's agenda of promoting sustainability to preserve the environment. Therefore, Indonesia's LOC that will organize the tournament at the Indonesia Arena from August 25 to September 3 applies the sustainability principles.

The Menteng State Elementary School 1 was the first destination to be visited by "youth leaders" and JIP — the mascot of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, whose name has been derived from the initial letters of the three host countries.

During the visit, JIP could be seen carrying a basketball basket on its back into which students threw recyclable objects to "refill" the energy of the mascot, which appears to be a futuristic robot.

As many as 25 students from the fourth to sixth grades participated in the activities organized during the visit, which included games and a coaching clinic, where students learned basic basketball skills and gained information about the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Claudia Natasha, one of the youth leaders, said that the activities were held under the global program of the FIBA Foundation.

The "recycle" theme was chosen to remind Indonesian youths about the need to preserve the environment even when they are playing basketball. To further build awareness about recycling, the youth leaders organized three games, with the first one called Recycle Race.

For the game, students were grouped into four teams and asked to take balls placed in the middle of the court and pass them on to teammates standing in a line. When all the balls had been passed, the students were allowed to steal balls from other teams.

"In addition to teaching them the basic skills of basketball, such as shooting, passing, and blocking, we also disseminated the habit of disposing of trash in its proper place. Wherever we are, we have to be aware of the responsibility to maintain cleanliness," she said.

For the second game, which was called Shooting Around the World, students were again divided into four teams. They were then asked to name the countries they would love to see playing in the World Cup.

The students chose Brazil, France, Spain, and Canada. Thereafter, each team played a second game while bearing the name of the four countries.

The Brazil team faced the France team, while the Spain team took on the Canada team in the first round, which involved shooting from the free throw area.

The first two teams to score five points in the first round emerged as the victors and faced each other in the final round. The Spain team eventually won the game.

Finally, the four teams participated in the third game, which simulated an actual 5x5 basketball game, except that the game was played in only half the court.

Each team had to choose five students for the starting line-up, while the remaining participants had to wait for substitutions before coming on the court.

The teams played for 10 minutes, with the France team emerging victorious. The winning teams in each game received official souvenirs of the 2023 World Cup.

In each game, the students showed high levels of enthusiasm and made great efforts to dribble and shoot to score as many points as possible. Their joy became even more apparent when they managed to score points, which were met with enthusiastic shouts.

Even the parents watching and cheering them from the edge of the court could feel their enthusiasm. Some acted like coaches and shouted instructions, while others chose to simply take pictures and record videos of their children.

The parents also took pictures with the four youth leaders and JIP. One of the parents, Rina Kiwi, said she was glad to see the activities, since her children, Almira (9) and Fira (11), have become basketball maniacs under the influence of their father who, she claimed, is a former basketball player.

"I am happy that such activities are held in the school. I like the games, my children are very happy. Both of them are very competitive children, as they love to participate in competitions," she added.

Kiwi said she and her family are looking forward to welcoming the 2023 FIBA, saying, "The kids and their father are eager to watch the World Cup, since it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The kids will be able to watch world basketballers."

She also expressed the hope that the Youth Leader Program will encourage FIBA and the Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) to collaborate and scout young basketballers.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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