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Village basketball game to expand nationwide

China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-09 09:28

Players compete in a basketball game in Gujiaxi village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Wednesday, as part of the nationwide "Village Basketball Association" games. [Photo by Dong Xuming/For China Daily]

A popular rural amateur basketball competition will be expanded nationwide this summer, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The "Village Basketball Association" will be held across the country from June to October, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the General Administration of Sport said in the statement.

Based on a preliminary schedule, every provincial-level region can organize its own rural basketball matches during the agricultural offseason. They can select two teams in June and July to advance to regional matches, which will be held in August and September.

A total of eight teams will play in the grand finals in October, which will be held in Taijiang county, Guizhou province.

To ensure that the event will be grassroots, all players will have to be amateurs, and those ever registered in China's CBA or NBL professional leagues are not eligible.

In addition, players have to be rural residents, and all 12 players on the team have to come from the same township.

In August, a prefecture-level grassroots basketball tournament was held in an outdoor court in Taipan village in Taijiang, Guizhou.

The four-day tournament, which took place during a local festival for a good harvest after intense farm work, drew tens of thousands of spectators who cheered throughout matches. Winners of the event received suitably rural prizes including cattle, sheep and piglets.

The event became an online sensation and was quickly dubbed the "Village BA", as citizens hailed the atmosphere and called the event "basketball as it's meant to be".

In March, sold-out crowds packed into the 30,000-capacity stands over the weekend as the Guizhou provincial finals of the village BA returned to the court in Taipan, which has a population of 1,200.

Apart from the hoops, fans enjoyed pre- and post-match parties, markets serving local specialties, and music and dance performances showcasing ethnic culture.

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