The new 2021 basketball year has started. Looking back, BBF traditionally sums up the results of the past 2020.

The past year has become a year of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic that hit everyone destroyed all plans and stopped sports life around the whole world for a while. However, basketball managed to meet the challenges. New conditions lead to the creation of new competition formats. Online and virtual reality has firmly entered everyday life. Such words as "bubbles", "hubs", PCR tests, zoom-meetings, online practices, and quarantine have already become habitual. Masks, disinfectants, and thermometry have become mandatory attributes of practices and tournaments. Now everyone often washes their hands, and even children do not drink water from the same bottle anymore. However, athletes, coaches, managers and fans around the world still cannot imagine their lives without the best ball game.

Well, what, besides the pandemic was the past year of the Belarusian basketball best remembered for?

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Men's National Team of the Republic of Belarus has stepped to the next round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Pre-Qualifiers.

Rostislav Vergun’s team began their qualifying path to the World Cup in February 2020 with an away win over the Cyprus (97: 41) and a home victory over the Portugal (72:56). After such a successful start, the Belarusians began only to keep up. 8 months later, in November 2020, within the Window 2 of the European Pre-Qualifiers games of the Group A in the Portuguese city of Matosinhos, the Belarusian Men’s National Team consistently left no chance to the opponents from Albania (90:50) and Cyprus (89:53). Thus, our team is the only team at this qualification round that has not had a single loss and thus has won a ticket to the next round ahead.

The Men’s National Team debutants were: in the February’s Window – Benjamin-Pavel Dodoo, in the November’s Window – 19-year-old Daniil Barysevich and 22-year-old Uladzislau Mikulski.

– Having solved the task of reaching the next qualification round for the World Cup in advance, we got a certain advantage, – said Rostislav Vergun the head coach of the Men's National Team after the victorious games over Albania and Cyprus. – Now we will have time to prepare the reserve and put into shape the players who will bear the main burden for the upcoming games of more serious round of Qualifiers. Certainly, I assign a task of making the National Team rejuvenate. Despite the fact that we cannot yet boast of an array of new young talents, we still have guys who prove with their work and attitude that they are worthy of playing for the National Team. I would like them to grow up professionally and reach the international level as soon as possible. Our team is not that big but we have a character and a core. Therefore, I think that on the basis of the said above, we have every right to build our future plans and strive for the realization of our dreams."

Let us remind that in February 2021, as part of the Pre-Qualifiers Window 3, which will be held for Group A in Nicosia (Cyprus), the Belarusians will have to hold two more games: on February 18th and 20th against Albania and Cyprus, respectively.

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Women's National Team will continue to fight for a ticket to the EuroBasket in February 2021.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has not spared the Women's National Team. The diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the Belarusian National Team during the training camp for the November’s games against Poland, forced the FIBA Europe Crisis Management Team to postpone this game until the Window 3. Thus, in February 2021 in Riga (Latvia), Natalliya Trafimava's team will play three games at once – two against opponents from Poland and one against Great Britain.

On 26th June, the basketball skills contest took place on the court of the Olympic Arena, the players of the Women’s National Team of the Republic of Belarus competed in dexterity and accuracy.

The National Team members were divided into two teams and competed for the medals of the competition. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was held without fans but they had the opportunity to watch their favorite players live on the and

Generally and not seriously speaking, 2020 was not bad for our team – not a single loss.

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3x3 Basketball

Our Women's 3x3 team is the only representative of team sports in Belarus, claiming to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. In May 2021, tickets for the Tokyo Olympics will be awarded in Austria as part of the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2021. It is no secret that participation in the Olympic Games is a dream and the apogee of a career for every athlete. Over the past few years of playing on the international arena, our National Team has managed to create an image of a battle worthy squad, ready to compete with the top teams. Seeing the potential and desire of the players to get the ticket to the Games and in order to create optimal conditions for this, Belarusian Basketball Federation together with BC "Tsmoki-Minsk" decided to form the first Women's professional 3x3 team. In addition, the athletes did not have to interrupt the game practice in classic basketball: the girls compete in the Women’s Championship of the Republic of Belarus as part of the team and "BDU-Tsmoki".

Earlier, according to the joint adopted in 2019 decision of BBF and "Tsmoki-Minsk", in 2020, the first Men's 3x3 team was also created on the basis of the club.

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3x3 basketball is gaining more and more popularity in the regions. The competition, which was attended by 26 men's and 6 women's teams, was held on 1st August in Novopolotsk. The tournament among women's teams for the prizes of the recreation center "Prival" was held in Grodno.

On 5th September, the final stage of the Palova National 3x3 League took place, where the strongest teams in six categories of the tournament of the 2020 season were determined.

The strongest in the category "Girls" were the representatives of the Women's National Team of Belarus, playing as part of the team "Uskhod" (Natallia Dashkevich, Anastasiya Sushchyk, Maryna Ivashchanka).

The winner of the "Elite" category was the main players of the Men's National 3x3 team"Tsmoki-Minsk" (Tsimafei Paraliou, Maksim Karattsou, Siarhei Vabishchevich, Vitali Lebedev).

In the "General" category, the "Crown Plaza" team (Aliaksei Harchakov, Dzmitri Lapkousku, Yauheni Tsvilovich, Pavel Vilkotski) had no peers. The best players in the "U-17" category were the representatives of the "Big Brothers" team. The championship title in the "U-14" category went to the team "Team Galaxy". "Gomel Wildcats" received the main award in the "U-12" category.

The basketball court, which hosted the practices and competitions of the 2nd European Games 2019, was installed in the capital's Dynamo stadium in the summer of 2020. Absolutely everyone can try his or her hand at 3x3. The project was implemented with the support of the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, the RCOR for Team Sports, BBF and the Dynamo Stadium.

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On 19th January, the winners and prize-winners of the III International 3x3 Basketball Tournament "Palova.Snowball" were determined in the shopping center "Stolitsa". The tournament was held for the third time there. 4 women's and 16 men's teams representing Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus competed for the awards.

In a female part of competitions won team "Horizont", Minsk region, in a male part won Latvian team "Ventspils Ghetto".

On 27th April, FIBA announced that from 1st April the rankings of 3x3 teams and federations in all categories, as well as individual positions in the table of ranks will be "freezed".

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U-17 Men's and Women's National Teams of Belarus took part in the FIBA Skills Challenge

Our youth Men's team entered the top eight teams in the world at the new FIBA tournament, which replaced the World Cup due to the pandemic. Moreover, this was the only youth competition of the year, as all European Championships were canceled.

10 women's and men's teams from the Old World took part in the group stage of the European Qualifiers of the new format competition, which was held on 13th-14th August. The Belarusian boys proved to be successful, throughout the selection, having established themselves as one of the fastest and most technical teams among the participants of all European selections.

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Belarusian girls did not manage to get into the Global Challenge: in the final of the regional selection, they were minimally inferior to their rivals from Luxembourg.

It should be noted that Belarusian Basketball Federation received a letter in which FIBA President Hamane Niang and FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis congratulated the Belarusian U-17 Men's National Team on reaching the final of the competition, and expressed their opinion on the high level of organization and holding of the relay of basketball skills in our country.

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Cyber basketball

With the initiative of Belarusian Basketball Federation and Belarusian Esports Federation together with the Pavaga Gaming’s technical support, the virtual basketball competitions were held in our country for the first time. First, on 28th May, four professional Belarusian basketball players competed in the NBA 2k20 for the Championship cup and money fund: bronze medalists of the II European Games-2019 Maksim Liutych, Andrei Rahozenka and Natallia Dashkevich, as well as the center of the Men's National Team Aliaksandr Semianiuk. Then, on 18th July, the "Summer Cup" competitions were held, where representatives of the Belarusian basketball also fought for the trophy: Valiantsin Nazarau, Jan Marynin, Aliaksei Navoichyk, Roman Rubinsteyn, Raman Hests, Uladzislau Mikulski, Kiryl Chumakou, Tsimur Drukau.

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Step into the future

Within the framework of the BBF and FIBA Europe joint project in 2020, a large-scale festival, 3x3 basketball tournaments were held for young Belarusian athletes at the recreation center "Prival "and "Zeleny Bor", as well as the basketball skills contest "Basketball on Christmas".

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Her world, her rules

As a result of the preliminary selection in the six Belarusian cities 27 most promising girls born in 2007-2008 were invited to the final round of BBF and FIBA Europe joint project, within which in January 2020 we held a training camp and a Grand final of the children's festival. In June and August 2020, three more camps for girls born in 2007-2008 were held on the basis of the capital's Republican State Sports School and as a result athletes were selected to study there in the upcoming autumn.

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Students’ Basketball

For the first time in history, the Republican 3x3 Universiade among Men's and Women's teams of universities was held.

On 10th December, 12 best Men's student teams of Belarus competed in the RGUOR sports complex.

Final position of the teams:


2 – BNTU


Roman Rubinshteyn (BSUIR) was recognized as the most valuable player (MVP) of the Universiade. The prize for the best technique was awarded to Uladzislau Blizniuk (BNTU).

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On 16ht December, the winner and prize-winners of the first Republican 3x3 Universiade among Women's teams were determined in Minsk.

Final position of the teams:

1st place – GrSU

2nd place – BSPU

3rd place – BSUPC

Katsiaryna Karpuk (GrSU) was recognized as the most valuable player of the tournament (MVP). The prize "for the best technique" was awarded to Iryna Venskaya (BSU).

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On 9th December, the winner and prize-winners of the Republican Student Basketball League among Women's teams were determined in the RGUOR sports complex.

Final position of the teams:

1st place – BSPU

2nd place – GrSU

3rd place – BSUPC

Individual awards at the end of the tournament:

MVP - Katsiaryna Rybalka (BSPU);

Guard – Anastasiya Sushchyk (BSPU);

Forward – Katsiaryna Karpuk (GrSU);

Center – Palina Katlinskaya (BSUPC);

Audience choice award – Anastasiya Sushchyk (BSPU);

The best technique – Katsiaryna Yalchyk (BSUPC).

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On 10th November, the winner and prize-winners of the Republican Student Basketball League among Men's teams were determined on the court of the RGUOR sports complex.

Final results:

I place – BSUIR

II place – BNTU

III place – BSUPC

The best players:

Guard – Mikita Dashkevich (BNTU);

Forward – Uladzislau Mikulski (BSUIR);

Center – Vadzim Stubeda (BSUIR);

MVP – Henadziy Zakhar (BSUIR);

Audience choice award – Uladzislau Mikulski (BSUIR);

Best technique - Maksim Karattsou (BSUPC).

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The Championship of the Republic of Belarus

The Championship of the Republic of Belarus of the 2019/2020 season had to be completed only in September. The decisive games were held in Minsk. "Tsmoki" beat "Borisfen" and defended the champions title, and "Grodno-93" was stronger than "Rubon".

According to the results of the tournament, the best players were:

Best guard – Dupree Mc Brayer (Borisfen);

Best forward – Maksim Salash (Tsmoki-Minsk);

Best center – Pavel Karasevich (Grodno-93);

Best young player – Uladzislau Mikulski (Borisfen);

Audience award – Uladzislau Mikulski (Borisfen);

MVP – Maxim Salash (Tsmoki-Minsk).

The BBF Executive Committee decided to allocate teams of the Women’s Championships according to the position in the standings:

1. Tsmoki-Minsk

2. Horizont

3. Olympia

In 2020, BBF and the Federation's partner portal organized broadcasts of all games of the Men's and Women's Championships, the final stages of student’s competitions in basketball and 3x3 basketball and many children's tournaments. In 2020, the instant replay system was used for the first time during the National Championships games.

One of the main goals of the Championships is to create conditions for the development of young athletes and provide them with more competitive practice. Also, in every game of the preliminary stage of the Championships (before the games of the playoffs) throughout the 2nd (second) quarter there must be minimum 1 (one) young player of age to play for the National Teams of the Republic of Belarus: Men's team – born in 1998 and younger, Women's team born 2001 and younger.

In the 2020/2021 season, another innovation was introduced. Now all the referees are divided into three groups depending on the rating. At the end of each game of the Championships, the referees receive ratings,that determine their place in the table. Thanks to the support of the company "5 element", all referees who officiate the Championships will receive sets of special uniforms.

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BC "Horizont" and "Impulse-BSUIR" signed a cooperation agreement; the student team received strong support, including financial support, and performs under the new name – "Impulse-BSUIR, Minsk region".

On 3rd September there was 10th anniversary of the founding of the basketball club "Borisfen". 

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The Basketball Cup of the Republic of Belarus

On 20th September, the decisive games of the Women's Basketball Cup of the Republic of Belarus were held in Minsk. "Horizont" beat "BSU-Tsmoki" in the final, and "Olimpia" won bronze in the game against "Tsmoki".

The best players in the nominations according to the results of the Women's Cup:

MVP - Yuliya Rytsikava (Horizont);

Best Guard - Britney Jones (Tsmoki-Minsk);

Best Forward - Adrienne Nicole Webb (Horizont);

Best Center - Natallia Dashkevich (BSU-Tsmokі);

Best young player - Yuliya Vasilevich (Olympia);

Audience Award - Britney Jones (Tsmoki-Minsk).

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The Men's Cup competition was held on 26th-27th December in Mogilev. "Tsmoki" and "Borisfen" met in the final of the tournament. "Tsmoki" were able to break the resistance of the "Knights" only in overtime and keep the trophy in the Belarusian capital.

The final standings were as follows: 1. "Tsmoki-Minsk", 2. "Borisen" (Mogilev), 3. "Rubon" (Vitebsk), 4."Grodno-93".

The best players were:

MVP - Robert Lowery (Tsmoki-Minsk),

Center - Brooks DeBisschop (Borisfen),

Forward -Viktor Ausepian (Rubon),

Guard - Robert Lowery (Tsmoki-Minsk),

The best young player - Uladzislau Mikulski (Borisfen),

Audience choice award - Ernesto Tkachuk (Rubon)

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Progress of "Tsmoki-Minsk" in the international arena

In 2020, having won two victories in the Qualifiers Round of the Basketball Champions League, the flagship of the domestic club basketball "Tsmoki-Minsk" entered the Regular Season of the tournament for the first time in their history.

Borisfen in the FIBA Cup

The team "Borisfen" has applied and now for the first time will compete in the prestigious tournament FIBA Europe Cup. In the 2019/2020 season, the "Knights"  also made their debut in the Eurasian League Basketball.

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Great transfers of the year

Maryia Papova joined the "UGMK Ekaterinburg" (EuroLeague, Russian Premier League). Maksim Salash and Artsiom Parakhouski from "Tsmoki-Minsk" have moved to the Spanish clubs "San Pablo Burgas C.B. Miraflores" and "Morabanc Andorra" and play in the top division of the Championships of these countries.

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Due to the difficult epidemiological situation, the BBF Executive Committee decided to complete the Championships in the 2019-2020 season without distributing the final standings of the teams. The best coaches and young athletes received valuable gifts from the partner of the BBF - the company "5 element" - TVs and smart watches. The best players were determined in each age category of the 2019-2020 season as well as the most successful mentor in various categories.

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The RKS (Republican Collegium of Referees), headed by FIBA Referee Piotr Ivashkov, has done a lot of educational work in 2020.

From 30th March to 13th September more than thirty young referees were training in the framework of an online seminar organized by BBF. Taking into account the obliged pause in basketball tournaments in spring, which was caused by the pandemic, RKS decided to continue training young Belarusian referees online. 

The head of this project was the Chairman of the RKS and FIBA Referee Piotr Ivashkov, the tutors are FIBA Referees Andrei Sharapa, Lizaveta Famina, Irina Konan, Piotr Ivashkov, and the National Championships referee Dzianis Matsulevich.

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This training program consisted of 3 cycles for 8 weeks. The tasks of the seminar were: improving the knowledge of rules and interpretations, improving the official’s signals, working with video (video cut, processing, creating clips), development of universal criteria for assessing game situations (based on materials of FIBA games and the National Championship), and improving understanding of triple mechanics. Every week the referees take online exams on the knowledge of refereeing terms in English in order to control their knowledge.

On 18th September, Minsk hosted a Republican seminar on basketball statistics, organized by the Belarusian Basketball Federation. On 19th September, national referees were trained under the program of the International Basketball Federation. FIBA Instructor in basketball statistics Yury Vouk was a lecturer at both events.

Also, on 23rd and 25th September , BBF organized two online webinars for the referees of the Youth Basketball League "Slodych" and the Сhampionships of  the Republic of Belarus.

On 29th-30th August, Belarusian Basketball Federation and FIBA Europe with the support of the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture hosted the seminar for referees and commissioners. Three FIBA instructors Mr. Johnny Jacobs from Belgium, Mr. Miodrag Licina from Serbia and Mr. Fernando Garzon from Spain conducted lectures via video conference.

The participants reviewed and studied such relevant topics as the 3PO mechanics, the main interaction of players and evaluation of their actions, changes in the official FIBA rules, individual officiating technique, and many others.

The speakers at the seminar were the Chairman of the RKS and FIBA referee Piotr Ivashkov, National instructor and FIBA Commissioner Henrykh Bekish, the head coach of the Women's National 3x3 Team of the Republic of Belarus and FIBA Commissioner Yury Vouk, FIBA Commissioner Dmitry Lvovich.

On 28th-29th February 2020, theoretical and practical classes were held at the sports complex of BC "Tsmoki-Minsk" as a part of the clinic. FIBA referees Lizaveta Famina and Irina Konan were the head mentors at the event.

The Republican mid-season seminar for referees and commissioners was held in Minsk on 19th January 2020 in the Belarusian State University of Physical Culture. 32 referees and 15 commissioners took part in this event. The lecturers at the seminar were Fedor Dmitriev the Chairman of the Educational and Methodological Commission of the Russian Basketball Federation, Piotr Ivashkov, Dzmitry Lvovich, and Uladzimir Filipau.

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The works of four Belarusian photographers were included in the top-100 best pictures according to the results of the FIBA creative competition "Women in Basketball".

Photos of our compatriots Mikhail Kopychko, Alena Apanasevich, Yulia Gubarenko, as well as the photographer under the nickname "Tanya" are included in a special album released annually by the International Basketball Foundation "Basketball for Good".

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The fourth "Women in Basketball" competition was held in 2020; 300 photographers from 56 countries took part in it. The total number of sent pictures is 900. The jury selected 40 works that will be presented in the FIBA Basketball House exhibition, 10 more best photos, including the works of our compatriots Mikhail Kopychko (7th place) and Alena Apanasevich (9th place) that were awarded in various categories. In addition, 100 of the most outstanding and original images based on the results of the competition, five of which are by Belarusian authors, were included in a special album.

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Do good

Traditionally, on the eve of the New Year, our basketball players join the Republican New Year's charity event "Our Children" and visit the social and pedagogical center of the Central District of Minsk, as well as the children's social shelter, the special education center, as well as the family-type orphanage in Stolbtsy.

Upon an initiative of the Veteran’s Commission, headed by honored coach Rehina Pyshnik, New Year's gifts and congratulations were presented to veterans of the Belarusian basketball.

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In 2020, passed away:

- Coach Viktor Arlou (Gomel);

- Sports journalist, BBF member Aliaksei Suponeu (Minsk);

- Coach Mark Fruman (Grodno);

- Sports doctor Valeri Belan (Minsk);

- Master of Sports of the USSR Mikalai Krasnitski (Grodno);

- Master of sports of Russia on basketball, coach of sports school "Horizont" Alla Kryschik (Minsk);

- Master of Sports of the Republic of Belarus, silver medalist of the Championship and the Basketball Cup of the Republic of Belarus in 1998 Andrei Bykau (Vitebsk);

- The highest national category referee Mikhail Kaufman (Gomel);

- Honored Coach of Belarus Yauheni Katsman (Minsk).

On January 26, 2020, a helicopter carrying former US National Team member and "Los Angeles Lakers" player Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others crashed in California.

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