Basketball: A ‘Giants’ search begins for sport’s tallest talents

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Basketball clubs in South Yorkshire are on the search for ‘Sporting Giants’.

The campaign to find tall children aged between 7-18 is being headed by former Sheffield Hatters coach Betty Codona - who led the club to dominate British women’s basketball since the 1990s.

Basketball players at the Central Venue League at All Saints School

Basketball players at the Central Venue League at All Saints School

It’s a scheme that takes its inspiration from a similar programme which was run before the London 2012 Olympic Games.

On that occasion the sports of volleyball, handball and rowing were targeted to try and attract people who were above average height.

The response was excellent with many of those who came forward going on to represent Great Britain at the Games or in pre and post competition championships.

Gold medal rower Helen Glover was the most notable success as she won the double sculls alongside Heather Stanning.

However, basketball was left off the list so Codona has decided to create her own version for clubs within the South Yorkshire area.

She said: “There are four sports that should have been featured on the original Sporting Giants scheme but unfortunately on that occasion basketball did not get in on the act.

“This is in spite of the fact that basketball is one of the top two sports in the world, is the top team sport in the world for women and has the richest professional leagues in the world for men and women.

“Now South Yorkshire basketball is establishing its own Sporting Giants Campaign. The main difference is we are looking for junior players, boys and girls, from age 7-18.”

The scheme is aimed at children who are tall or who are likely to be tall because of the height of their parents.

Contacts for interested partiers are: Betty Codona (Sheffield girls)

Trevor Fernley (Sheffield boys)

Jackie Woodhouse (Rotherham boys and girls)

Bert Beaumont (Barnsley boys and girls)

Meanwhile at All Saints School last Sunday the final Central Venue League - for players under the age of 12 - of the season was played featuring teams from throughout the area.

Rotherham Hawks rookies and Sheffield Hatters rookies played out an exciting three-match series which the Hawks just shaded while there were several well-contested games in the older age groups.

All of the players were presented with certificates as part of an Olympic Games sporting legacy project.

The Central Venue League was also the first part of a family fun day on Father’s Day at All Saints, which included a very spirited three-legged race between adults and children and an international food fayre.