The recently launched EuroLeague Academy Tournament Istanbul is continuing this week with the tip-off for the group supported by Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
EuroLeague Academy is an innovative series of basketball competitions for boys and girls. The grassroots project has already started with events in Tel Aviv and Istanbul, with similar events in Athens and Vitoria-Gasteiz to follow soon.
Two groups of the tournament are running simultaneously in Istanbul. The first, supported by Anadolu Efes, got underway last week on the European side of the city, and the second was launched on Monday by Fenerbahce on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.
The contestants – in the Under 12 age group – will play a single round robin format during the group phase, with the top four from each of Efes’s and Fenerbahce’s groups advancing to a single elimination quarter-finals and then to the EuroLeague Academy Tournament Istanbul Final Four, a one-day event where the semi-finals and final will all be staged.
The teams participating in Fenerbahce’s group have been drawn from eight local schools: Sev Uskudar Ortaokulu, Eyuboglu Camlica Ortaokulu, Fenerbahce Koleji Ortaokulu, Itu Gelistirme Vakfi, Fmv Isik Erenkoy, Istek Ozel Acibadem Baris Ilkokulu, Istek Ozel Semiha Sakir Ilkokulu and Fb Dereagzi Basketball Schools.
Monday’s opening games took place at Fenerbahce’s practice facility in Kadikoy, and were attended by Fenerbahce stars Baris Hersek and Egehan Arna, in addition to Metin Agirbasoglu, Fenerbahce Basketball Sport Schools Coordinator and Rok Bizjak, EuroLeague Academy Manager.
Hersek had words of wisdom for the contestants as he said: “My advice to the kids at this age is to have fun playing basketball and treat this competition as a sport. Later in life they will have time to decide what they want to be professionally, but for now they need to enjoy basketball as a sport.”
And Arna added: “It was very nice to see a lot of kids here today enjoying basketball and my advice for them would be just to have fun and enjoy.”
Metin Agırbasoglu said: “Euroleague Basketball is the leading European basketball organization, which regards basketball as a whole by caring about the youth teams and social responsibility as much as the senior team level. We are very happy to be cooperating with the EuroLeague Academy initiative and to be able to provide this opportunity to local children. Thanks to this organization, children will have the chance to compete with other children of the same age, and will also take an encouraging step towards becoming healthy individuals with the help of participating in sports.
“Basketball has reached a very high level in Turkey. We are achieving great success with both senior and youth teams. With EuroLeague Academy, we aim to share this interest and success with younger age groups. Along with increasing their interest in basketball, we believe this experience will contribute to the children becoming more social and better individuals. As Fenerbahce, we are proud to contribute to the Istanbul part of EuroLeague Academy. We will gladly make the effort to improve this organization and help it reach as many people as possible.”