Outdoor court opening a success in London
Ravenscourt Park, the newest Outdoor Basketball Initiative (OBI) project, officially opened on Saturday in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham with a 3 on 3 tournament attended by 33 teams.
The project, which includes a full size basketball court, two half courts plus a unique 360 degree swivelling basket providing a fifth ring, will be the final legacy of the OBI. Since its inception in 1995, the OBI has been responsible for more than 9,000 outdoor basketball goals being built around England.
This outdoor facility was officially opened on Saturday by the Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham, Councillor Belinda Donovan. Joining Councillor Donovan on Saturday was Mel Welch from the OBI and Steve Alexander, London Regional Development Manager for England Basketball.
When the opening festivities were finished it was time to test the new courts with the 3 on 3 tournament, featuring categories for open age men, over 35 men, under 16 boys and open age women. More than 200 people gathered at Ravenscourt Park to watch the tournament.
Councilor Donovan said: “This is the most fabulous Olympic Legacy project for our borough. Both basketball and netball are popular sports, and the project fulfils the council’s objective to encourage more people into a variety of sports. I would like to thank England Basketball and the Outdoor Basketball Initiative for their £75,000 grant and Sport England for their £72,000 grant.”
Mel Welch, chairman of the OBI said: “The magnificent outdoor basketball facilities at Ravenscourt Park are the perfect legacy of the Outdoor Basketball Initiative. We are delighted that the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham have had the foresight to help bring this to completion. We are confident that these basketball facilities will be the focus of major national outdoor basketball events in the future, as well as provided an ideal place for the local community to play our sport.”
England Basketball Liaison Officer Todd Cauthorn said: “The event proved to be a great success and following on from the success of the England Basketball/FIBA Europe 3 on 3 Tournament held in Sheffield in July, it is great to see the Outdoor Basketball Initiative, Hammersmith & Fulham Council as well as Sport England invest resources into an outdoor facility where 3 on 3 basketball can flourish.
“The launch of these fantastic basketball courts taking place one week after the Olympics in London is perfect timing and provides an opportunity for all those inspired by the games to pick up a basketball and play an Olympic sport that is extremely popular all over the world.”
Thanks go to Hammersmith & Fulham council along with Frank Lamptey of London Westside Basketball Club for putting on a great event at a venue which should provide a catalyst for more events at Ravenscourt Park in the future.
Further quotes from players attending the Ravenscourt 3 on 3 opening tournament.
“Great facility, definitely more needed like this in England.”
“An amazing renovation of the Ravenscourt Park basketball facility, this will give people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to play basketball at a great facility.”
“Clean, even floor, much improved, more of the same in England would be great.”
“Ravenscourt Park is an example of something we need more of in London. It’s refreshing to see.”