On November 1st, all eyes were on the Facebook live for the 2020 3x3 world ranking organized in Utsunomyia (Japan), where the FIBA 3x3 world tour finals were held during this week-end.
Nations from all around the world witnessed the first Olympics qualification announcement for 3x3 basketball, revealing which nations would directly qualify to the Tokyo 2020 first ever 3x3 basketball competition. And at the same occasion, all the countries active on the 3x3 stage got the chance to see their official ranking for the 2020 3x3 season.
And so did Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Basketball Federation, officially ranked as 75th country in the world. The archipelago Oceania nations is still ranked ahead of some countries like Greece and Croatia Europe powerhouses.
“We are very proud to be the first island country in Oceania, behind Australia and New Zealand. Our 3x3 development programs started back in September 2017, and 2 years later, we have improved our game and developed our competition system” Franck FRACONIERI, VBF President.
And the road is not ready to come to an end yet. Jessie MALVERUS, VBF Competition Director, is already looking forward to the 2020's season
“To see Vanuatu drop in the world ranking from 50th to 75th is not a disappointment but a challenge for the Federation and 3x3 players for the next upcoming season. We are currently working on the competition’s planning for 2020, and we know that we still can do better : less than 30 female players have an official 3x3 profile. Which means that we must find at least 73 others and get them to play in our tournaments to get more ranking points".
Oceania basketball powerhouses such as New Caledonia (100th), Fiji (104th) or even Papua New Guinea (135th) are far behind Vanuatu, and the curiosity about the Vanuatu’s success keeps growing around the Pacific.
But the key success for Vanuatu’s 3x3 development does not fall only on the Federation’s first ever medal.
“When we travel out, people from Oceania ask us what is our secret tip to be ranked at such a level for a 260.000 inhabitant nation : you need to play. 3x3 ranking is not only about your game’s level, it’s about how active you are. The more people are playing, the higher is your ranking. And eventually, you might get to that stage or higher if you perform well. And this is why we developed an annual 3x3 Tour in Port Vila, so the players can play at least 10 tournaments a year, and that we look forward to the upcoming one in 2020”. Some people assume that 3x3 basketball development means that we turn away from 5x5. That’s not the case. You are not asked to make a choice between the two disciplines, but you are given the opportunity to play more basketball all around the year”. Sacha DUTHU, VBF National Basketball Development Officer
This outstanding development among the Oceania nations allows Vanuatu to participate to some 3x3 international competitions, such as the two last editions of the 3x3 Asia Cup.
“For a country like Vanuatu, 3x3 basketball is the game you need to go on the world stage. Just have a look at the Vanuatu’s top athletes : the beach-volleyball girls. Alternative disciplines are the ones where small countries, with lower budget can excel and get exposure. We nearly beat Guam at the last Pacific Games (18-21). We would not even have a chance if we play them on a 5 on 5 game. And no need to remind that Jared’s nutmeg to India at the 2019 3x3 Asia cup, the number one action of the tournament, has been seen by nearly half a million of people all around the word” he concluded.