Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Challenging, cheerful and charitable

BSLA13 got going in Alexandria Sporting Club, reports Ameera Fouad

Al-Ahram Weekly

For its 13th year, BSLA13 has placed itself as one of the major basketball tournaments across Egypt. With a glamorous opening on Friday that dazzled the audience, this 10-day event celebrated its youth.

The opening was attention-grabbing with an opening dance performed by BSLA’s stunning young organisers, a Bslawy character that astonished the audience with its acrobatic basketball movements and by the singing performance of Hossam Hosni who is famous for being the rock star of the 80s and the 90s.

BSLA is an annual tournament made especially for basketball players and amateurs coming from across the country to share their experiences and to boost their talented gifts.

BSLA is the acronym for Basketball Summer League in Alexandria, taking place in Alexandria Sporting club since 1999. For 12 years the project has been one of the country’s most successful sports tournaments. This year it will be held from 15-25 October with the help of the club’s sports and social committees. BSLA funds are dedicated to medical treatment objectives. Profits will be directed to BSLA’s aim: “Dribble to save a life”.

BSLA has always taken place in Alexandria Sporting Club and organised by LEO Club of Alexandria Apollo as well as Rotaract Club of Alexandria East. The latter two are international non-governmental organisations consisting mainly of youth ranging from 12 to 30 years old representing a wide array of different backgrounds, educational and otherwise.

Every year young BSLA men and women challenge themselves to reach as high as they can in fund raising in order to help more hospitals by dribbling to save a liver and heart or dribble to save a child or blood.

“Each year is different. The aim of this year is to raise more than LE90,000 in order to buy a ventilator for Al-Meeri Hospital in Alexandria. We try our best to reach this amount by holding many activities that will be organised during the 10-day tournament such as the Hossam Hosni concert, a costume party, a ticket cashier for all games attended, the closing ceremony and many more,” said Raneem Bakri, of the BSLA PR and media team.

“Also we charge these booths that are located all around the area to some restaurants, café shops, clothes shops and so on. They range from small café’s to big names, and from the rental fees they pay, plus the other fund raising activities, we could really reach this large amount of money we are aiming for.”

“Definitely, the sponsors played a large part in shaping BSLA13 this year. We have marketing sponsors such as hotels, print and designs offices, chocolate restaurants and a few others,” said Amir Ahmed Taha, head of the BSLA marketing team.

“Certainly, the  media sponsors  helped a lot either in covering the whole event as Al-Ahram Weekly or by taking part in our designs, leaflets and media campaign such as Innovative ideas and Digital Dreams,” added Amir.

Amir also talked about how they handled this huge number of crowds that attended the opening. He told the Weekly that it was “quite challenging” reaching a wide spectrum of both contestants and audiences in and out of Alexandria.

“We used social media to meet this end. We created hashtags, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Instagram accounts only for BSLA .We created the famous ‪#‎ItsThirteen which has become a popular trend and so is #BSLA13.”

“We also created a Bslawy caricature figure which jumps, loops and passes the ball. We always use it for marketing and advertising purposes every place we go in order to let people get familiar with BSLA,” Amir said.

There is also the organising committee which is fully responsible for getting the teams going to play the matches in addition to fixing the match schedules.

“With more than 60 players coming from across the country, we divide them according to age groups and gender: the micro, the mini and the macro. We also have professional and amateur players. We have players belonging to Egypt’s national team and we have those who have just started to play. So we must take into consideration all this while dividing the team members in order to be fair to all contestants,” said Karim Osama, head of the organising committee.

“Of course, it gets mostly heated up here in the semi-finals and the finals with the best teams playing fiercely against each other.”

“We also organised a match for the disabled to encourage more disabled players to play in the tournament and to play basketball in particular. There, we proudly displayed our motto: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude,” Karim added.

BSLA is one of those rare sports tournaments and youth activities whose organisers exceed more than 200, with each member active as a unified soul to interact with others. It has 13 teams, each having a number of organisers with each one doing his or her part.

With two presidents running BSLA, unlike anything else in Egypt, they complement one another, listening to one another and most importantly, paying no heed to frivolous titles, names and posts.

“Why not share with another club its success? We both aim for the same thing, the success of BSLA and we do work with one another to reach that aim. That’s all,” said Mahmoud AlMedani, president of Rotaract Alexandria East.

“Our biggest aim is to purchase this ventilator and even more medical equipment if we get more funds than expected. That’s why we are trying to our best to bring out the best in us in BSLA13.”

“If it hadn’t been for the ASC president, who has really helped us a lot this year, we wouldn’t have been able to do it all on our own,” Mahmoud added. “We still need many sponsors and businessmen to lend us a generous hand and if not this year then the years ahead as the BSLA fund is all directed for the sake of curing a certain illness, including blood cancer, lung cancer and liver failure.”

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