More than 1200 young basketball players from 72 regional teams are in Albufeira until Sunday to participate in the 9th edition of the Youth Basketball Festival. The first day of competition, on Thursday, was attended by the Secretary of State for Sports and Youth Emídio Guerreiro, who insisted on visiting the Festival, considered the largest national youth sporting event in federated sport.
The arrival of the athletes, on Wednesday, was the first high point of the event. The young basketball players paraded through the city center and profiled in Praça dos Pescadores, where the welcoming ceremony took place.
The 9th edition of the event also brought some news. Blitz is the basketball mascot that comes to represent the Festa. Originally from the Serra da Malcata, this Iberian lynx found its second habitat in the basketball halls and fields.
“We want to raise awareness among young people about the preservation of endangered species, that's why we chose the Iberian lynx as a mascot because it comes from our country. This is a form of social responsibility that we are keen to associate with sport and basketball», stressed Manuel Fernandes, president of the Portuguese Basketball Federation.
For the first time, the games have statistical monitoring, which allows athletes to see their performances online anywhere in the world, and will be broadcast live via live streaming. Another novelty is the creation of a “white card” that rewards knowing how to be in the field, good practices and good conduct.
The reception of the delegations ended with the performance of the SOUL Dance Academy, from Albufeira.
On Thursday, the day the games started, the Secretary of State for Sports and Youth, accompanied by Carlos Silva e Sousa, Mayor of Albufeira, visited APEXA – Association for the Support of the Exceptional Person of the Algarve, the chosen institution for this year to receive the donation raised through the Basket Solidário action.
Through the donation of 1 euro by all participants in the event, 1352 euros were collected for the association.
The delegation also visited the sports pavilion of the Albufeira Basic and Secondary School, in Vale Pedras, where some of the games take place and meals are served to the athletes in the school canteen. After passing by the sports pavilion in Albufeira, the venue for the event, the member of Government ended his visit to the municipality with a reception at the Paços do Concelho.
Until Sunday, March 29, 198 games will take place in five sports facilities: Albufeira Pavilion, Albufeira Basic and Secondary School Pavilion, Albufeira Secondary School Pavilion, EB 2,3 Francisco Cabrita Pavilion and Francisco Neves Pavilion ( Immortal).
The finals of the event will take place on the last day, March 29, at the Sports Pavilion of the Basic and Secondary School, at the Francisco Neves Pavilion and at the Albufeira Sports Pavilion, where the Closing Ceremony and Awards Ceremony will also take place at 12:30 pm .