José María Buceta issues urgent challenge following silver medal at Commonwealth Games

Fresh from earning a historic silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, England and GB Women’s Head Coach José María Buceta took to social media to pen an open letter. Writing on his Facebook page, the player-called asked: “How long for the next medal?” Check out the full statement below.

“Nearly two weeks ago, the England women’s basketball team won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games held in Australia, an achievement that has had a remarkable social impact. This has been possible, in first place, due to the outstanding commitment, attitude, generosity, team spirit and high performance of the players who were part of this team. They have been an inspiring example for everyone and have shown that positive outcome is possible when the appropriate support to help them to succeed exists. This medal is evidence that funding basketball is worthwhile not only for its high impact on developing top educational and social values on a large number of girls and boys of all social backgrounds, which is of course a main asset, but also because it provides the opportunity to develop high level national teams to achieve remarkable sporting results. Thus, to argue that basketball does not produce good results is not valid anymore.

“Besides the contribution of the players, this silver medal is also the result of constructive and efficient cooperation between the GB and England basketball organisations. This helped to organise, build and prepare the team using the best possible resources, and highlights the importance of working together in order to grow the sport. Thinking big is the only way to succeed in elite sport, and this begins by understanding that cooperation is a must; even more in a team sport, where generosity to put the team goals and processes in front of own ego and personal interests is a key factor to obtain positive results. This is true on and off the court, beginning for the ones who have the responsibility of leading our sport.

“Looking now to the future, besides other relevant issues, there is an important and urgent challenge for basketball in the UK that will require strong determination and a shared effort from all of the basketball family, including organisations from England, Scotland, Wales and GB, clubs and individuals. This is to include basketball within the programme of the next Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in 2022. Considering the success achieved by our women in Australia, and the efforts that are currently being made in promoting basketball, getting public funding, attracting private sponsors, etc, it does not make sense that organising the Games at home, basketball is absent. If this finally happens, as plans currently show, undoubtedly this will be a remarkable setback for our sport.

“It may be argued that basketball will be in Birmingham Games with 3×3, but please let´s not fool ourselves wanting to believe that this is an achievement. Although I don´t particularly like 3×3, I fully respect it and understand the will to develop it, but it is not a substitute of real basketball neither will help to growing it. 3×3 may develop besides real basketball as a subbranch of this, but not instead; and at the 2022 Commonwealth Games both should be present. We should not be satisfied with just the 3×3, but fight to have the full version of basketball, one of the most popular sports in the world (and in the UK!).

“In Australia, the Games were held on the Gold Coast, but the first rounds of basketball were played in two other cities. Maybe this formula can also be applied in 2022 if there are not enough facilities and resources in Birmingham (maybe in Manchester), but basketball should be part of these Games. Considering the high impact of the Commonwealth Games, this would bring attention and resources to our sport, and it would make possible a great 3-year plan to develop the British teams: England, Scotland and also Wales. This plan would need the cooperation of all basketball organisations, this being a unique opportunity to grow together on and off the court, develop our sport to a high level and achieve new goals and even more medals, which will be a benefit for everyone.

“In Australia, our women have spoken loudly on the court, sending a clear message of commitment, pursuing of excellence and a top achievement. Now it’s time for our directors to fight wisely off the court for the benefit of basketball, giving our players the opportunity to show everybody again how big our sport is and how much we can achieve if we act as a team and provide them the support they need. How long for the next medal?”

Image: Mansoor Ahmed / GB Basketball