The New Zealand Olympic Committee and Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) have today named the men’s and women’s 3x3 basketball teams to compete in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
- Tiarna Clarke (Mid-North Whai, Tauihi)
- Ella Fotu (Mainland Pouakai, Tauihi)
- Jillian Harmon (Basket Landes, LFB France)
- Kalani Purcell (Sydney University Flames, Australian WNBL)
Reserves: Tayla Dalton (St Mary’s College, NCAA) and Sharne Pupuke-Robati (Mid-North Whai Tauihi)
- Jayden Bezzant (Franklin Bulls, NBL)
- Dominique Kelman-Poto (Southland Sharks, NBL)
- Nikau McCullough (Otago Nuggets, NBL)
- Tai Wynyard (Taranaki Airs, NBL)
Reserves: Zach Easthope (Auckland) and Richie Rodger (Taranaki Airs, NBL)
The women’s team will be coached by Justine Reed, while the men’s team will be coached by Piet van Hasselt.
3x3 Basketball will make it’s Commonwealth Games debut at Birmingham 2022, following on from the disciplines inaugural appearance in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Although a relatively new sport compared to its more famous 5-on-5 counterpart, 3x3 basketball has steadily grown over the past several years and is now ranked as the most popular urban sport in the world – with its flashy, fast-paced and physical style endearing itself to fans around the globe.
Both 3x3 national teams have returned to New Zealand yesterday after competing at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Belgium over the past week, with 3x3 Tall Fern, Kalani Purcell saying that was a bonding experience for both squads.
“The World Cup has been a great test for us and a chance for us girls to all play together in preparation for the Commonwealth Games,” says Purcell.
“We’ve been able to talk as a group about what to expect; everyone is really excited for it and we just really want to go out there, play our hardest and have a good time – we want to disrupt the other teams and play our game.”
3x3 Tall Black, Dom Kelman-Poto says it’s an honour to be able to represent his country at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“For me it’s a dream come true, I think I could finally say to my parents ‘mum, dad I made it’ - just to see how proud they’d be at me [representing New Zealand], would be the best thing,” says Kelman-Poto.
“I say this to a lot of my family, that I’m not just representing the front of my shirt, I’m representing the back. My mother was a Tall Fern and she was also a Silver Fern, my sister has been a Tall Fern, so there’s high expectations in the family.
“And at the end of the day, I’ve got a three-year-old boy, and I just want to make him and my partner proud, and my whole family. So representing New Zealand is a true honour, and I’ll be wearing that singlet with pride when I put it on.”
BBNZ Chief Executive, Dillon Boucher, says Commonwealth Games selection is an achievement which the 3x3 players should be immensely proud of.
“This is one of the pinnacle sporting events in the world, so to be chosen to represent your country here is a huge achievement, and is testament to the hard work and sacrifice that each athlete has put into this sport – especially one that’s still relatively young but is rapidly growing both in New Zealand and on the world stage.
“I wish these athletes all the best at the Commonwealth Games; New Zealand will be watching you – and backing you – all the way.”
NZOC Nicki Nicol extended her congratulations to the athletes.
“We're thrilled that 3x3 is debuting on the Commonwealth Games programme,” said Nicol.
“We wish the athletes all the best with the rest of their preparation and look forward to watching you earn the fern in Birmingham.”
The naming is the final athlete selection to the New Zealand Team for Birmingham 2022, with a final team size of 234 athletes.
3x3 Basketball at Birmingham 2022 will begin on July 29th with games to be played at the outdoor urban venue in Smithfield.