By James Crook
March 14 - World basketball governing body FIBA have teamed up with Dutch sports equipment manufacturer Schelde Sports, who will become official suppliers of backstop units for all FIBA 3x3 events as the discipline looks set to feature at Rio 2016.
Schelde Sports' "3x3 Basketball Backstop", an outdoor backstop unit which contains an integrated 12-second shot-clock, will be used at all FIBA 3x3 World Tour events and all FIBA 3x3 World Championships.
Schelde Sports will also collaborate with FIBA in developing backstop units for use from grassroots to elite levels.
The Dutch brand, owned by JF International, has been an official partner of the FIBA Venue and Equipment Centre since 1994.
FIBA secretary general and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Patrick Baumann said: "We're very pleased to announce this partnership between our FIBA 3x3 discipline and Schelde Sports for the next four years.
"Our 3x3 is fast-growing and by working together with Schelde Sports – a leading company whose reputation in providing excellent equipment precedes it – we can look forward to achieving many great things in years to come."
Bart Prinssen, Export Manager of JF-International, said: "We are proud to team up with FIBA and become the official backstop unit supplier for the 3x3 World Tour and the 3x3 World Championships.
"The Schelde Sports team is excited to support FIBA and local organisers of 3x3 events worldwide."
3x3 basketball made its debut at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in Macau before making its first competitive appearance at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
The game itself consists of two five-minute halves and takes place on a half-size regulation court with one basket, competed by two teams of four, with three players from each team on the court at a time.
The winner is the first team to reach 33 points, and if neither team does reach this score, the team with the highest score at the end of play is the winner.
FIBA "expects" to see the sport played at Rio 2016.
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January 2013:British Basketball League Foundation announce partnership deal for 3x3
December 2012:Jakarta chosen to host 2013 FIBA 3x3 Under-18 World Championships
November 2012: FIBA launch bid to get 3x3 basketball into Rio 2016 and to increase number of men's teams
August 2012: Miami Beach to host basketball's FIBA 3x3 World Tour final