The British Olympic Association has added its full support to calls for Great Britain’s male and female basketball teams to receive a berth at the London 2012 Games.

Following a detailed consultation with British Basketball, the BOA has confirmed that basketball has met and exceeded the performance and legacy criteria laid down for all participating sports in order for a host spot to be accepted.

The backing removes the penultimate barrier to GB basketball’s Games participation and will boost hopes of a positive result when FIBA vote on the issue on March 13 in Lyon.

“Basketball in Great Britain has made excellent progress since the introduction of the British Federation in 2006, with both the men’s and women’s teams qualifying as group winners for the EuroBasket Championships in 2011,” Team GB Chef de Mission and BOA CEO Andy Hunt said.

“They have surpassed expectations and there is no question that they are now capable of producing credible performances at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“British Basketball has demonstrated to us a strong legacy plan for developing the next generation of players and coaches towards the 2016 Olympic Games and beyond, with the ultimate aspiration of qualifying for future Olympic Games by right. In terms of grass roots participation, there has been significant growth in basketball since 2006 and it is now the third most popular team sport played monthly in the UK, after football and cricket. The potential for continued growth and future success is tremendous.”

Several basketball stars have already signed the jersey

Hunt and BOA Athletes Commission Chair Sarah Winckless both signed the giant ‘Say Yes’ campaign basketball vest which has been touring several cities this week.

“This is great news for basketball in Britain,” said British Basketball Federation chairman Bill McInnes said.

“The prospect of Great Britain athletes being meaningful members of the Olympic Team, Team GB, in 2012 is brilliant. This BOA decision also recognises the support of the Home Nation Associations and their commitment to the future development of the sport.

“Our international federation FIBA, which has provided exceptional support during the past five years, will be considering the allocation of the 2012 host country places for basketball at its Central Board meeting on the 13th of March. I am sure that today’s decision will provide an additional boost to the case for the GB teams to be part of 2012.”

Main photo: Courtesy, BB/Warren Little/Getty

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