CAMP PENDLETON, CA –
Six nations gathered for the opening ceremony of the Conseil International Du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Military Women’s Basketball Championship July 25 at Camp Pendleton, California. Teams from the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, France and Germany will compete July 25 to July 29, while promoting peace activities and solidarity among athletes.
“I say this event is now officially open, let the games begin,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Killea, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Along with hosting the event, Camp Pendleton has organized a cultural trip to Sea World scheduled for July 30, providing another positive way for the players from participating nations to connect.
“I hope that the opportunity to experience the U.S. first hand through this competition will provide a better understanding of not only our culture, but our military culture,” said Killea.
CISM has 134 member nations and is one of the largest sports intuitions in the world, organizing approximately 20 Military World Championships in 30 different sports per year.
“This event in particular is the second edition for women’s basketball,” said Steven Dinote, U.S. CISM Chief of Delegation. “Women in CISM have long struggled to get on the map. Last year France went ahead and hosted the first world championship and we had seven nations. We’re going to keep trying to get women’s basketball up and running.”
As service members and athletes, the participants represent the highest level of military athletic competiveness. It is common for the athletes to also be renowned as Olympians and world champions.
The 12 members of the U.S. women’s team were selected based off of individual performances during the 2016 U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Basketball Championship tournament earlier this month. Players from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are represented on the team.
The Armed Forces Sports program sets up other tournaments to encourage and arrange ways for U.S. service members to engage with CISM member nations. The United States joined CISM in 1951 and is currently one of its most active members, hosting similar events one to two times every year.
“Ultimately, the goal is not only to continue momentum with women’s basketball, but to continue friendship in this positive military-to-military engagement with nations,” said Dinote.