(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Oman Basketball Association (OBA) has added two new competitions to its domestic calendar for the coming season to accommodate new age categories as it focusses on developing the sport in the sultanate at the grassroot level.
Speaking to reporters about the OBA's plans for the 2013-14 season, Hisham al Advani, vice-chairman of the OBA, said, ''We are focussing on the grassroots and also want to bridge the gap between the U19 team and the senior squad. So, we are introducing two new categories - the U13 circuit and an Olympic league for players above 19, but who are not part of the national team.''
The new tournaments will be played alongside the existing ones - the club championship, age-group events (U15, U17 and U19), the Ministry's Cup and the Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry-Companies Basketball Championship (OCCI-CBC).
The OBA has decided to conduct a training camp next year for youngsters at five clubs - Quriyat, Shabab, Suwaiq, Rustaq and Ittifaq.
It will be held from February 15 to December end. That camp apart, the OBA will also regularly conduct training sessions and summer camps over the next few years to scout for youngsters at its various competitions.
The OBA is also planning to set up a school for young referees. It plans to train those players, who fail to make the cut at the senior level, to eventually take to refereeing. Yunus al Zadjali, the head of the OBA's competitions' committee, said, ''The world basketball body, FIBA, has introduced a new rule that says referees cannot be older than 35 years of age when taking part in FIBA training clinics but they can officiate in FIBA events up to the age of 50. So, we are trying to get a lot of youngsters to join our referees' programme.''
The OBA intends to conduct training camps for referees at the end of every month starting next January, according to Zadjali.
A select few will be hand-picked to attend another camp under the auspices of the FIBA in Bulgaria in May 2014.
Oman will host a similar Asian-level camp in September next year.
Basketball coaches will also find themselves in the thick of things as the OBA, in association with the Oman Olympic Committee (OOC), will conduct a beginners' training course for coaches in March 2014, to be followed by an advanced course in October.
The selected coaches will then attend a coaching clinic in association with the OOC in Dubai, UAE, in June.<