Kick-off meeting BIG

Kick-off meeting BIG

Basketball Inclusive Games, 25 January 2024, Sofia

On January 25, 2024, the kick-off meeting of the project took place in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The meeting started with the official opening and welcome speech by Mr. Vladimir Iskrov, Legal Representative of organization and Manager of National wheelchair team and Ms. Ophelia Kuneva- President of Basketball club for People with disabilities, followed by the welcome speech by Mr. Walter Pfaller, President of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation – Europe, and by Mr. Georgi Glushkov, President of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation.Welcome speech by Mr. Kosta Iliev, Sports director FIBA.

“IWBF Europe It’s really proud to be a part of this project” with these words, the president of IWBF Europe, Walter Pfaller, began his opening speech at kick-off meeting. He continued his speech by saying that “This is more than just developing wheelchair basketball. It’s a big step to move wheelchair basketball forward.”

The president of IWBF Europe also stated that it is extremely important and he believes that it’s necessary to train and bring new coaches, referees and classifiers to sport. And last but not least and most importantly, that we need new players. In his closing remarks he wished success to all participants in the project and said that he is convinced that we will be successful.

Shirin Amin, director of Champions Factory Ireland Limited, presented the BIG project.

Project aim – The “Basketball Inclusive Games” project is a 12-month, non-profit European sports event addressing limited accessibility and inclusivity in basketball. By fostering a welcoming environment for individuals with disabilities, the project seeks to empower participants and create a lasting positive impact on the European sports community. The proposed solution combines a main event, co-events, and a strategically designed work plan with three interconnected work packages. The main event is the European Wheelchair Basketball Event, promoting accessibility by uniting able-bodied and disabled athletes. This inclusive event is supported by co-events such as referee seminars, coaching seminars, and volunteer training.

The meeting was attended by the following representatives of the organizations:

  1. (Bulgaria) Basketball Club for People with Disabilities Levski  – Ofelia Kaneva – President; Vladimir Iskrov – Legal representative, head coach of Levski and manager of the Bulgarian national team; Krasimira Banova – Project manager
  2. International Wheelchair Basketball Federation – Walter Pfaller -IWBF Europe President, IWBF Vice-President
  3. (Bulgaria)  Bulgarska Federacia po Basketbol – Bulgarian Basketball Federation – Georgi Glushkov – President of BBF, Member of Board of FIBA – Europe, Member of FIBA – Europe Technical Commission; Eleonora RANGELOVA – International relations and special projects manager of BBF,  Chair of FIBA Technical Commission,   Member of FIBA – Europe Competition Commission
  4. (Cyprus) Kypriaki Omospondia  Kalathosfairas – Christakis Ioannou – Representative Cyprus Basketball Federation
  5. (Croatia) Hrvatski savez kosarke u kolicima – Damjian Liska –  General Secretary of Croatian Basketball Federation wheelchairs
  6. (Greece) Hellenic Wheelchair Basketball Federation – Christos Kaloudis – Hellenic Wheelchair Basketball Federation (HWBF); Georgios Konsoulas – General Secretary
  7. (Ireland) Champions Factory Ireland Limited – Shirin Amin – Director of Champions Factory
  8. (Romania) Federatia Romana de Baschet – Carmen Tocala – Member of FIBA Central Board, Member of FIBA Executive Committee, Chair of FIBA 3X3 Commission, Member of Board of FIBA – Europe, Member of FIBA – Europe Executive Committee, President of FIBA – Europe Women’s Commission; Mariana Schmidt – Chief accountant of Federation; Ioana Stanciu – Competitions
  9. (Slovenia) Zveza za sport invalidov Slovenije – Zarko Tomsic – Representative of the Slovenian Paralympic Association
  10. (Serbia) Regionalni kosarkaski savez Istocne Srbije – Igor Djordjevic – General Secretary
  11. (Turkiye) – Bedensel Engelliler Spor Federasyonu – A Asuman Saltan – Representative of Turkish partners yhan Shaikhin – Representative of Turkish partners.


Project Timeline

The upcoming tasks and their distribution to all organizations were discussed.

Dissemination and sustainability – In order of internal and external communication, including EACEA, the project team will use the following communication channels

The dates for holding the seminars for referees and coaches in the partner countries were indicated and the necessary conditions for their holding were discussed.

Important documents were signed – a contract for the implementation of the activities, a Communication and Dissemination Plan and a Management Plan

At the end of the meeting, all partners expressed their satisfaction with the start of the project and the organization of the event.