BASKETBALL Fiji today begins its 100-day countdown to the FIBA Oceania under-19 Oceania Championship.
The event, which will be hosted by Fiji for the first time, is scheduled for December 1-8 in Suva's Vodafone Arena.
Basketball Fiji will stage a celebration from 9.30am to 10.30am at Raiwaqa's Ed's Court today to mark the start of the countdown.
The championship is an international qualifying event for the World U19 Basketball Championships in 2017.
Basketball Fiji's development officer Apenisa Naitini said Fiji would be the first Pacific nation to host the championship outside Australia and New Zealand.
"It will also be the first time for the event to be open to the Pacific nations to contest for a place in the World Championships," he said.
"This is a clear indication that Pacific nations have become a force to reckon with in the game of basketball."
Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea are fighting for a place in the Oceania under-19 Oceania Championship. Fiji will be vying for a spot at the championships as well.
"This will be the biggest international sporting event in Fiji.
"This follows after the elections and as a youth championship, it will feature many of the athletes with their families and friends coming to Fiji to show their support," Naitini said.
"With the full support of the government, Basketball Fiji sees this event as beneficial to not just the sport of basketball but the Fijian nation as a whole."