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Jordan out of U-16 West Asian basketball tourney

By Aline Bannayan - May 04,2015 - Last updated at May 04,2015

AMMAN — The U-16 West Asian Basketball Championship for Boys was tough on the host team as Jordan lost to Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, with Syria missing the event. 

Jordan lost all Leg 1 matches, making their task of taking one of the top two qualifying spots impossible.

With a short preparation period, injuries and absences plaguing the team, Jordan lost all Leg 2 matches going down 78-56 to Iraq, 97-50 to Iran before losing their last match 101-91 to Lebanon, who joined group leaders Iraq to the U-16 championship in Myanmar in September.

On the last day of the event, Iraq came from behind after losing all three quarters against Iran to tie 64-64 and win 87-82 in double overtime.

Different age groups have been back on the west Asian and Asian scenes with the hope of rebuilding all national teams and bringing back the zeal of competition to the country’s second most popular game.

Last year, Jordan hosted the 22nd FIBA Asia U-18 Championship for Women with China beating Japan in Level 1 to win the title for the 14th time. The top three teams from the FIBA Asia U-18 Championship represent FIBA Asia at the FIBA U-19 World Championship for Women in Russia in July 2015.

Playing in Level 2, Jordan’s sole win came over Kyrgyzstan 62-52 after they lost to Hong Kong 55-45, Malaysia 89-42, Kazakhstan 59-45 and Sri Lanka 54-24. 

Despite finishing 5th in Level 2, Jordan Basketball Federation officials viewed the event as “a platform to jump back and advance the game on the local and regional levels”. 

It was in 2013 and after nearly a 20-year break, that Jordan returned to the Asian women’s competitions when the U-16 women’s team played at the 3rd FIBA Asia U-16 Championship for Women in Sri Lanka, where they finished 5th in Level 2.

With the women’s game having little prominence locally, the national team had not competed on the Asian scene since 1995 when Jordan became the first Arab team to play at the Asian Basketball Confederation Women’s Championship in Japan and the U-18 team played at FIBA Asia U-18 Championship in 1996 in Thailand where they finished 8th.

The men’s basketball team reached the World Championship in 2010 after the junior team qualified in 1995. Official support for Jordan’s second most popular game is seen as below par by most observers, leading to a decline in the game locally and less competitive advantage on the regional and international scene.

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