This year’s Bullet Energy Basketball Championship has been scheduled to dunk off next month in Asaba, Delta State.
The challenge will hold in the women category for logistics reasons.
According to the convener, Sam Oguche, the decision to sideline the male teams from the championship was because they have advantage of taking part in more competitions than their female counterparts, adding that the new arrangement is for the best interest of basketball development in the country.
Oguche stated that the cash prize for this year’s tournament has been raised by hundred per cent, as winner of the competition will take home the sum of N2 million as prize money, as against N1 million, which was given at the last edition held in Lagos.
He said that the improved package meant that the runners up in this year’s event would go home with N1 million and the third placed team N500, 000k.
“Initially, we didn’t plan for a competition exclusive of the women; we are just being dynamic. We are looking at the situation on ground around basketball in Nigeria, and responding positively to it.
“If you check closely, you will agree with me that the men have a lot of competitions going on for them, especially in Lagos. Often times, the women’s teams are just squeezed in to participate.
“Even on the continent, it is more of the men’s club playing. And so, we have decided to give these ladies a full platform; like a fill up to their league,” he said.
He added, “It is a part of the reason the prize money was increased. We want something that is very attractive to the ladies; a competition they will give all and make the fans and sponsors feel good. For now, it stays with the ladies.
“Kwara Falcons won the men’s trophy in December, while the First Bank won the women category,” Oguche added.
It will be recalled that the championship, which is being funded by the Oguche Foundation, began as beginners’ camp in Onitsha, Anambra State almost a decade ago.