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Updated: Apr 20

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo hosted a dinner at the Mons Calpe Suite on Friday evening to welcome the members and staff of FIBA and FIBA Europe, who had held a Board meeting in the Sunborn earlier that day.

In his speech he thanked FIBA, led by its President, Sheikh Saud bin Ali Al-Thani (Qatar), and Secretary General Andreas Zagklis (Greece), and FIBA Europe’s President Jorge Garbajosa (Spain) and Secretary General Kamil Novak (Czechia), for having chosen Gibraltar to hold such a high-level event. He also thanked GABBA for having hosted the meeting and once again putting Gibraltar on the map, and congratulated it on its 60th anniversary.

President Garbajosa and Secretary General Zagklis, in their replies, also congratulated GABBA on its Diamond Jubilee. Both thanked the Chief Minister and Sports Minister Leslie Bruzon, who had delivered a speech before formally opening the Board meeting in the morning, for their hospitality, as well as GABBA President John Gonçalves, who is a member of the Board, for the organisation.

Garbajosa, visiting Gibraltar for the first time, highlighted the welcome he had received from everyone he met and praised GABBA for its ongoing development of basketball, especially among the youth. He ended by declaring that there is no better place than Gibraltar to hold events such as the one that had taken place that day.

Zagklis, also on his first visit, said that there are 212 members of FIBA and that although Gibraltar is one of its smallest in size and numbers of members, it is very prominent in its involvement in FIBA events, ever since it became a member in 1986, two years after Gonçalves was first elected GABBA President. He highlighted that this makes Gonçalves the longest serving federation President in world basketball, who he likes to call its Doyen. He pledged ongoing support for its development activities.

Gonçalves, in his speech, thanked the Chief Minister for hosting the dinner, which was greatly appreciated by the visitors and members of GABBA present, and expressed his gratitude for both FIBA, including FIBA Europe, and GABBA for their ongoing support throughout his life, without which he would have never been able to do his job. He also reminisced on his involvement in GABBA’s foundation in 1964, and on his chance meeting with FIBA’s founder, Dr William Jones, its first Secretary General, in 1978, which had led to Gibraltar’s membership.

Suitable mementos were exchanged between the Chief Minister and the visiting dignitaries, and GABBA received an engraved plate from FIBA.

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