The Wanda Little Champions Program Makes a Mark at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, has witnessed a heartwarming impact on hundreds of children through the Wanda Little Champions Program.
In collaboration with FIBA and Global Partner Wanda, the Local Organizing Committees (LOC) in each host nation have orchestrated a unique experience for these children. This initiative not only lends a helping hand to children in need but also ignites the flames of inspiration in the hearts of the next generation of basketball talents.
In the Philippines, a remarkable total of 384 children had the privilege of participating in games held at iconic venues such as the Philippine Arena, the Mall of Asia Arena, and the Araneta Coliseum. Most of these youngsters hailed from underprivileged backgrounds, with the San Miguel Corporation and the PLDT-Smart Foundation actively involved in the selection process. These organizations, which have partnered with orphanages and public schools, have long been committed to aiding children through various outreach programs.
Additionally, some of the participants were children of the Uniformed Services of the Philippines, including the Philippine Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Even the dedicated volunteers of the LOC had the opportunity to let their children experience the program.
Wanda, in collaboration with FIBA, also brought two groups of children from China to the Philippines. These kids were selected through a nationwide basketball competition, along with children from the Yao Foundation.
The response to the Wanda Little Champions Program in the Philippines was overwhelmingly positive, with glowing feedback pouring in from participants, parents, and support staff.
In Japan, children from Okinawa were given the chance to be part of the program, with selections made through two different channels. The Okinawa Basketball Association chose elementary students actively involved in basketball teams, while a local TV program named ‘Catchy’ promoted the initiative and accepted applications from kids residing in the region.
Indonesia, too, saw 241 children from 12 basketball academies in Jakarta enthusiastically participating in the Wanda Little Champions activities. This experience offered these young athletes a glimpse into the world of international competition, leaving parents and coaches alike inspired by their children’s newfound passion for the sport and their determination to chase their basketball dreams.
The Wanda Little Champions program falls under the broader FIBA Foundation’s ‘Basketball for Good’ initiative, which also encompasses the successful Mascot Education Program. This particular effort educated children about recycling and the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in all three host nations, further contributing to the tournament’s positive social legacy.
Dr. Chenggen Hu, General Manager of Wanda Sports Group International Business Department, expressed pride in Wanda’s sponsorship of the Little Champions Program, emphasizing its role in inspiring the participating children. He also extended gratitude to the Local Organizing Committees for their exceptional collaboration.
Frank Leenders, FIBA Media and Marketing Services Director General highlighted the significance of partnering with Global Partners to provide initiatives like the Wanda Little Champions Program. He stressed that these projects have created cherished memories for hundreds of children, underscoring their substantial contribution to building a positive legacy for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.