FIBA SecGen Baumann passes away

FIBA lost a key figure in Secretary General Patrick Baumann. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Federacion Internationale de Basketball lost a key figure in its current leadership in secretary general Patrick Baumann.

In a statement on Sunday, FIBA announced that Baumann, at age 51, passed away due to a heart attack while in attendance at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

"Basketball has lost a leader, an advocate and a friend," the statement read.

"This is a great shock which has hit us all very hard. We can hardly believe this terrible news. Particularly since, even today, we have seen him working hard, as we always knew him, for the sport he loved. We lose a young and sympathetic leader full of hope who was standing for the future of sport," added Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, where Baumann is a member of, in a separate statement.

Baumann has been FIBA's secretary general since 2002, succeeding Borislav Stankovic, and during his term, significant changes happened to the international basketball scene.

"Under his leadership, FIBA moved forward by leaps and bounds, with the organization modernizing itself to the extent of becoming a model which fellow International Federations followed," said FIBA president Horacio Muratore. "For all of this and for so much more, FIBA is forever indebted to Patrick. Without doubt we would not be where we are today were it not for everything that he did. His unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball mean he will forever have his place in FIBA's history."

Among the significant contributions of Baumann during his 16-year tenure were the institution of 3x3 basketball that was eventually made an Olympic sport and the current FIBA competition system highlighted by the home-and-away FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

He also became well known for having close ties with many national basketball bodies like the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

"Patrick was a lot more than FIBA's Secretary General and an IOC member. He was a very close friend of mine as well as to countless people in the basketball family and the wider sport community," Muratore's statement continued.

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