The Albufeira Youth Basketball Party 2019 kicked off this Thursday, at the end of the afternoon, with regional teams from North to South of the country getting together at Largo dos Paços do Concelho to start another edition of the event.
Blitz, the event's mascot, «has surprised once again with a triumphant entry», highlights Albufeira Town Council. The Iberian lynx slide down the building of the Paços do Concelho «to animate the approximately one thousand athletes, accompanied by coaches, technicians, managers, judges and family members».
The delegations paraded up to Pau da Bandeira, passing by Praça dos Pescadores, Cais Herculano towards Largo Engº Duarte Pacheco, where the real party began.
Portuguese internationals with Algarvian roots, Tomás Barroso, João Guerreiro and Stefan Djukic surprised the youngsters by appearing on stage to speak to them.
“The most important thing is that you have fun, work, help your teammates, take away all the experiences and values that this sport has and that makes it so unique. Have a great week, enjoy what is the best city in the country», advised Tomás Barroso, a player from Albufeira who is part of the National Basketball Team.
"Have a lot of fun playing games, make new friends, win lots of games and enjoy your youth," added Stefan Djukic, senior player at Immortal, who lives in Faro.
José Lima, National Coordinator of Ethics in Sport, of the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth (IPDJ) gave the white card to Blitz and stressed that «this is a fair-play party, of values, of sporting ethics. It is up to you players on the field and your parents in the stands to promote values in sport. I hope that this white card that the judges show when there is a positive gesture in the game will be shown many times at this party».
The Youth Basketball Party always has a moment dedicated to the ethics oaths, which this year were taken by Jorge Rodrigues, athlete of the Porto Basketball Association, Helena Albuquerque, mother of a player of the Aveiro Basketball Association, and the referee Pedro Teixeira.
During official speeches, José Carlos Rolo welcomed "the city of basketball" and said that this is a "feast of youth, sport, family and reunions".
The Mayor of Albufeira recalled that «it is necessary to know how to win and also lose, because what matters is conviviality, sport and values». The mayor wished everyone a pleasant stay in Albufeira, «a city that is always with open arms to welcome you».
The president of the Portuguese Basketball Federation pointed out that "the Festa is the biggest and most rewarding event that Portuguese basketball carries out". Manuel Fernandes thanked “the invaluable support of Albufeira City Council” and greeted associations, clubs, coaches, judges, table officials, referees, players, supporters and parents of the athletes.
«I ask the players to keep the tradition, this unique atmosphere, this healthy atmosphere, of joy, enthusiasm and sharing. Play with passion, team spirit, fair play and have fun!”, he encouraged.
The ceremony ended with interventions by the president of the Albufeira Municipal Assembly, Paulo Freitas, and by Custódio Moreno, regional director of the IPDJ, who highlighted «the friendship, joy and fun that are an integral part of the Festival. Custódio Moreno stated that «Albufeira assumes itself as the capital of basketball, because much of what happens in the region in the sport takes place in Albufeira. Algarve is not just about sun, beach and tourism, it is also about sport and training».
The games, with free entry (limited to the capacity of the pavilions), take place between the 12th and 16th of April, at the Albufeira Municipal Pavilion, EBSA Sports Pavilion, ESA Sports Pavilion, Francisco Neves Pavilion, EB 2,3 Francisco Cabrita Pavilion and the Water Eyes Pavilion.
The finals are scheduled for the morning of the 16th of April, 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 12:00.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Basketball Party program includes a moment long awaited by athletes, the All-Star Games. On Saturday, at 16 pm, the Pavilhão Desportivo de Albufeira welcomes some of the most renowned national players in the sport, who will demonstrate their talent and socialize with the young people participating in the party.
The Men's All-Star Game will be broadcast live on RTP2.
On Sunday, the 14th, at 14:40 pm, a team made up of members of the organization and some guests linked to the sport will face some public figures. Marta Atalaya, Diogo Beja, António Raminhos, DJ Kamala, Diogo Reis, Joana Alvarenga, Pedro Rodil, Mário Carneiro, Vasco Correia and Sabri Lucas will demonstrate their basketball skills in an "animated match", which will take place at the Albufeira Sports Pavilion.
The games can be watched from anywhere in the world on live streaming here. Outside the Albufeira Sports Pavilion is a Fun Zone with a giant screen, which broadcasts the games taking place in the various pavilions.