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EuroLeague Academy champions crowned in Vitoria-Gasteiz
 
More than 200 children from schools in Vitoria-Gasteiz enjoyed a competitive but fun basketball tournament during the Final Four as part of the launch of the new EuroLeague Academy.

The games were staged at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague FanZone, with 16 teams competing in a single elimination tournament and Toki Eder 2 eventually becoming the first team to lift the EuroLeague Academy trophy.

KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz's very own Johannes Voigtmann attended the final and was delighted to present the trophy to the winners.

"You can see a little court here, with the stands packed with fans, and for these kids, it feels like they are on the big stage," he said. "It motivates them, and the next time they go in the gym, they will be even more motivated. It is just super fun."

Also in attendance for the title decider were Final Four Ambassadors Johnny Rogers and Michalis Kakiouzis, who handed out commemorative medals and certificates to both finalist teams.

"I think the EuroLeague Academy is a great initiative because it gets the kids out of the house," Rogers said. "They participate in sport together, they learn discipline, they learn how to cooperate with others as a team, and most of all they have a lot of fun doing it. I was fortunate that I was able to coach kids this age, and this is a great age when they are still dreaming of big things. Everybody can do it at this age; everyone is able to participate, which is beautiful."

"This is not only during the Final Four, but Euroleague Basketball tries to get kids involved in basketball throughout the season," Kakiouzis added. "It is organized on a high level and you can see kids are happy to be here, they want to be part these kinds of games, and they really enjoy the game. I made my dream come true. I wanted to play basketball since I was a little kid, and I worked really really hard. It was my dream. But you don't need to be a professional player. The most important part is to enjoy and love what you do."

The organization of the tournament was supported by Fundacion Baloncesto Colegial, the local partner of EuroLeague Academy, and all competing children received official uniforms and certificates of participation, allowing them to truly become a part of the Final Four experience in their home city.

In addition to competing at the biggest basketball event in Europe, the children were also able to enjoy activities at the EuroLeague FanZone. One of them was given the chance to become a junior reporter by interviewing Voigtmann.

For the youngest players and fans, EuroLeague Academy also organized theatrical performances in various Vitoria-Gasteiz squares and parks, entitled "The Superpowers of EuroLeague Kids," bringing the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four to life through entertaining shows.

EuroLeague Academy, the grassroots brand of Euroleague Basketball, is focused on the development of youth tournaments across various cities in Europe. The initiative launched in April and has so far featured tournaments in Tel Aviv, Athens, Istanbul and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The aim of the tournament is to engage children, both boys and girls, in the regular competitive practice of basketball, also promoting the life skills that are integral to basketball by harnessing the power of EuroLeague players, coaches and ambassadors, who represent the member clubs and support the tournaments. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Euroleague Basketball (EB) is a global leader in the sports and entertainment business, devoted to running the top European competitions of professional basketball clubs under a unique and innovative organizational model. Owned and administered by some of the most successful and historic clubs in the world, EB manages and organizes the continent’s two premier men’s basketball competitions, the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the 7DAYS EuroCup, as well as the sport’s premier under-18 showcase, the EB Adidas Next Generation Tournament.

 

The EB competitions bring the elite of European basketball to all five continents and to the entire sports community through the OTT platform EuroLeague TV. EB also organizes a series of community and educational programs. Its ground-breaking corporate social responsibility program One Team features 40 clubs that have already made a difference in the lives of over 16,000 participants. Its Sports Business MBA trains future professionals in sports management.

 
 
 
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