By Oisín Bradley
NUI Galway has struck an agreement with Basketball Ireland to become one of ten Centres of Excellence for the national basketball association which will be spread across the country.
The University is one of two centres to have been revealed so far by Basketball Ireland, with the other one being fellow third-level institution University of Ulster, Jordanstown.
In a statement from the Association, Basketball Ireland explained that NUI Galway’s Centre of Excellence will provide access to expertise, such as strength and conditioning, sports medicine, sports psychology, diet and nutrition, sports management and administration, coach development and training. It will also have media and meeting facilities.
There are plans that the University’s facilities will be utilized by the international teams as a national training camp, whilst Basketball Ireland will also be availing of the facilities on-campus for a plethora of other events, including Basketball Ireland academies, international fixtures, national senior competitions, intervarsity competitions, along with local schools cups and blitzes.
Mike Heskin, Director of Sport and Physical Activity at NUI Galway said “we are very excited about this new partnership with Basketball Ireland’s High Performance Programme. The University has been developing partnerships with a number of the High Performance Sport programmes in Ireland, involving both domestic and Olympic sports.
“We are certain these partnerships will prove hugely beneficial to our University athletes by providing a clean pathway for them to achieve their athletic goals. We are especially delighted to be in partnership with Basketball Ireland to build on the existing relationship.”
Bernard O’Byrne, the CEO of Basketball Ireland, also expressed his excitement at the new arrangement, stating “we are delighted to be teaming up with NUI Galway who have wonderful facilities and a proven track record in sport, developing athletes for elite competition. This Centre of Excellence is a major infrastructural initiative by Basketball Ireland to deliver world-class facilities and will give our international players and teams the best chance of success when they compete.
“These Centres of Excellence will be geographically spread, meaning there will be top of the range resources available to the local basketball communities in every corner of the country. We want everyone participating in the sport to have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We have seen a surge in interest in basketball in Ireland and we are determined to continue its growth.”