Marshall Islands Basketball Federation
President: Thomas Heine
Secretary General: Deborah Kramer
Basketball continues to be the most popular men's sport in the Marshall Islands. However, there is an increased interest by females due to the year-round leagues and the availability of basketball courts in each community. Marshall Islands Basketball Federation organizes year-round youth, adult and "old-timer" leagues.
There was fierce competition between atolls during the First Annual RMI National Games in May and again in September at the 9th Annual Ratak-Ralik National Tournament. There was an exciting new development during the R/R Tourney: for the first time since the events' inception, two outer island teams won both first and second place. The rural outer atolls of Likiep and Rongelap nudged out urban centers and defending champions Majuro and Kwajelein Atolls for the top two seats. This indicates an expansion of talent beyond the more populated atolls.
Although RMI did not send a basketball team to Samoa for the South Pacific Games, Referee Sailass Kotton officiated 8 games during SPG. He later received a very positive evaluation from Steve Smith, Secretary General of FIBA Oceania, who recommended that Kotton for Level 2 and "would like to see Sailass at another FIBA Oceania International Tournament for consideration for FIBA Oceania Badge."
During the 2006 Micro Games, basketball star Robert Pinho had the honor of carrying RMI's flag in the opening ceremony, celebrating what may be his final international competition as an athlete. The basketball team won the bronze medal on the final day of Micro Games competition.
President Heran Bellu and Officer Daniel Andrew organized the Ratak/Ralik Tournament, which is the Basketball Federation's national tournament. Held August 16-26, 2006, it showcased 12 teams and was well-officiated as the basketball program has benefited from development officer Stuart Manwaring's yearly visits. There is a great officiating team, timekeepers and officials, as well as many coaches, which Mr. Manwaring has mentored.
Charles Abraham and Sailass Kotton are two of those who benefited from past training. They enjoyed Solidarity funding to develop a level-one referee course and coaching clinics on one of the small outer islands, Mejit. MIBF is working to strengthen the outer islands' capacity in basketball coaching and officiating, and this was the first opportunity they've had to do so.
The new development officer, Eddie Calic, was on Majuro August 05- 24, 2006. He conducted Referee Course Level 1 & 2 certification, and also helped re-evaluate our 4-year strategic plan, calendar of event, and other administration work.