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Jordan hosts FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship

By Aline Bannayan - Jun 23,2022 - Last updated at Jun 23,2022

AMMAN — Jordan is ready to host the FIBA U16 Women’s Asian Championship Division B which tips off at the Prince Hamzah Arena from June 24-30.

Jordan starts its matches in Group B playing Iran on Friday at 6pm, before facing Kazakhstan on Saturday and Lebanon on Sunday. Group A includes Syria, the Philippines, Indonesia and Samoa. The top team from each group will advance to Round 2 with the event’s top team promoted to Division A.

Teams competing in Division A are Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand and the tournament qualifies the region’s four teams to the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022, that will take place in Hungary in July. The Championship has been held five times since 2009, with China winning the title three times and Japan and Australia once each.

Hosting the FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women in Jordan marks another milestone for the game, after it previously hosted the Women’s Asia Cup Divisions A and B. Jordan played at the U16 tournament once in 2013 finishing 11th. Jordan also took part in FIBA Asia U18 in 1996 finishing 8th, and hosted the event in 2014 finishing 11th.

Fans filled the Prince Hamzah Arena to capacity in November 2021 when Jordan hosted the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021 finishing second in Division B. A major tournament with leading teams from the continent participating, the tournament marked the first time the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2021 Division A was held in an Arab country.

Although Jordan lost to Lebanon by a double score in the Division B final, it was the fact that Jordan made it to the final, after the national team was absent from Asian competitions since 1995, that was an achievement in itself.

Lebanon were promoted to Division A for the 2023 tournament, replacing India who finished last in Division A. Indonesia beat Kazakhstan for third place, as Syria beat Iran to finish fifth. 

WNBA’s Washington Mystics pro player Natasha Cloud, boosted Jordan’s lineup, as most observers initially thought Jordan would finish in 5-6th positions. Advancing to the final and meeting Lebanon, playing in their 5th Women’s Asia Cup, was not contemplated. Missing the event were Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Thailand and Singapore.

Jordan’s senior team was back to Asian competition after an absence of 26 years when the squad first took part in Shizuoka, Japan, in 1995. That historic participation was the Kingdom’s first ever Asian appearance for a women’s sports team. Jordan then won one match, beating Indonesia, and lost to Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Malaysia to finish 11th.

The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup is an international basketball tournament which takes place every two years for national teams from FIBA Asia region, with teams classified to two divisions. The Asia Cup was known as the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship until 2001, and the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship until 2015. Japan are Division A titleholders and 5-time winners, South Korea 12-time winners, China 11-time winners.

Looking back at Arab teams at the event, the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup saw Syria play twice in Division B: in 1986 (finishing 9th overall) and 2021 (finishing 13th overall), Jordan twice: in 1995 (finishing 11th overall) and 2021 (finishing 10th overall); Lebanon playing four times: 2001 (finishing 13th overall), 2009 (finishing 8th overall), 2017 (finishing 11th overall), as well as 2021 (finishing 9th overall), and once in Division A in 2011 (finishing 5th out of 6 competing teams).

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