It was claimed here today that 3x3 basketball will feature at the next Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, instead of the traditional version of the sport.
The traditional form of basketball, featuring five players on each side, is due to be on the Commonwealth Games programme in 2018, the first time it will have appeared since Melbourne 2006 having not been included at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
But the increasing popularity of the 3x3 form in recent years has seen it become an extremely attractive proposition to hosts of multi-sport events, most notably the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Summer Youth Olympic Games where it was showcased in Singapore and Nanjing respectively.
Speaking to insidethegames here at the International School Sport Federation Convention, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) sports director Kosta Ilievs claimed they and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) are already in discussions about which form of the sport should be played at Gold Coast 2018.
"It's much better event to have 3x3 than 5x5," Ilievs told insidethegames.
"And we have understanding from the Commonwealth Games Committee (sic) to accept 3x3.
"The question mark is if we can start from the Gold Coast because it was already agreed that this will be a 5x5 and they've already built gyms there and facilities and so on."
The CGF is due to take the decision about the inclusion of 3x3 basketball at its General Assembly in Auckland in September, Ilievs revealed.
Iliev also confirmed that the Executive Committee of the Mediterranean Games, next due to be held in the Spanish city of Tarragona in 2017, had accepted 3x3 onto its sports programme for both men and women, and that discussions are ongoing with the Francophone Games, which combines artistic and sporting events predominantly for French speaking nations.
This year's inaugural European Games in Baku are set to include 3x3 basketball, already a regular fixture on the programmes of the Asian Youth Games and Asian Beach Games.
Given its meteoric rise, it is no surprise that the FIBA is vying for 3x3's inclusion on the sports programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to promote a more flexible programme as part of its Agenda 2020 reform process, in which new sports and disciplines are considered, has only served to heighten optimism.
With new disciplines and events within existing Olympic sports, as basketball is, being considered, Iliev admitted the FIBA are "quite confident that things are moving in the right way".
"The procedure to get permission for a new discipline is much easier in the IOC than to enter as a new sport," added the Bulgarian.
"And we believe that we have a really good chance.
"We've established a global competition system with regular World Championships and continental championships.
"And we've already organised two extremely successful 3x3 competitions in the first two Youth Olympic Games, where without doubt this was one of the most attractive competitions in both events."
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