By Tom Degun

youth_basketball_31-08-11August 31 - The world's best young players are heading out to Rimini in Italy for the start of the inaugural International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Invitational 3x3 Youth World Championships in the city from September 9-11. 

The competition was devised by FIBA following the success following the success of the event at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics where the event was called the fast-paced event was widely praised as the highlight of the event.

A total of 40 teams will take part in the event for players under the age of 18-years-old with 16 girls' teams and 24 boys' teams in action.

FIBA has selected the teams for the event but intends to create a selection process for teams to compete in the event at future competitions.

"FIBA intends on subsequently holding this event annually," said a statement.

"In years to come, the selection process to determine the participating teams will be done through dedicated qualifiers as well as the 3x3 individual ranking."

Serbia, Croatia and Greece will be strong contenders in the boys' competition after they claimed gold, silver and bronze respectively at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics, while China, Australia and the United States will be the frontrunners in the girls' event after taking the three podium spots in their competition in Singapore.

The event has received huge praise from a number of major players in the basketball world including USA Basketball chief executive Jim Tooley.

"There's no question that 3x3 international basketball competition has great potential and the success of the 3x3 competition at last summer's Youth Olympic Games in Singapore is a perfect example," said Tooley.

"USA Basketball applauds FIBA for taking another step in developing a worldwide 3x3 competition and we look forward to working with FIBA in expanding 3x3 international competitions and growing the game as a whole."

Basketball Australia chief executive Larry Sengstock added: "FIBA is investing an incredible amount of time and money in developing the three-on-three format globally and this inaugural youth world championship is an important strategic stepping stone towards what is hoped to be the eventual inclusion of 3x3 in the Olympics.

"It is an honour for Australian basketball to be invited to participate in the event and really does demonstrate just how highly regarded we are as a basketballing nation.

"We have chosen four exciting young athletes from the AIS to compete and I am confident they will represent Australia extremely well on the world stage."

The boys teams set to compete at the event are Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Guam, India, Italy, Jordan, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Nepal, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, South Africa, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela.

The girls participating will be Angola, Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, Germany, Greece, Guam, India, Italy, Japan, Netherland, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela.

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