Basketball-American sport gaining popularity in Azerbaijan
By Laman Ismayilova
Basketball is an enjoyable sport that unites people around the globe. Playing good defensive basketball is a great way to increase muscular endurance and better motor skills and coordination.
Basketball was invented by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith in 1891 as a less injury-prone sport than football.
James Naismith wrote the original basketball rule book that included thirteen rules for the new game.
He divided his class of eighteen into two teams of nine players each and set about to teach them the basics of his new game.
The main objective of the game was to throw the basketball into the fruit baskets nailed to the lower railing of the gym balcony.
As time passed, basketball had begun to explode in popularity and reached many countries including Azerbaijan.
The history of Azerbaijani basketball started in 1920 on the initiative of workers and employees of foreign oil companies who arrived in Baku. In 1926, around 300 basketball teams operated in Baku.
Between 1920 and 1930, the country's strongest basketball team started training in the Railway Sports Club.
Baku's basketball team of the Dynamo Society distinguished itself in many competitions.
In 1931, the men's basketball team became the winner of the championship of Transcaucasia and for the first time won the right to participate with an independent team in the championship of the USSR.
Since this year, the Azerbaijani men's basketball team has been taking a leading position in the South Caucasus for many years.
At the USSR championship (1936), the women's basketball team beat Georgia (41:20), Belarus (30:16), and other rivals ranking third in the competition.
Founded in 1992, the Azerbaijani Basketball Federation (ABF) has played a major role in the development of basketball in the country.
In 1994, ABF became a full member of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that making it possible for national basketball teams to join international competitions.
In 1995, Azerbaijan won an international basketball match held in Baku.
In 2006, men's basketball ranked first at the FIBA European Development Cup in Albania.
Four years later, the national team became first at Novruz- 2010 International basketball tournament.
Azerbaijani basketball players also grabbed two medals at the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games.
The team won one gold and one silver medal for Azerbaijan.
Basketball in Azerbaijan will continue to grow and improve, attracting more sports fans.
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