WUHAN, China (26th FIBA Asia Championship): Syria might have exited the medal race and confined to play the 9-12 placings but one player standing tall – literally – has caught the imagination of the discerning, and in fact made them look at the future basketball in the WABA nation with confident optimism.
Standing tall at 217 cms is Abdulwahab Al Hamwi the 19-year-old from Al Karameh donning the Syrian NT colors who has made everyone speak.
“I hope I can prove all those people who placed faith me right,” he said in a conversation with this website.
“I have to thank a lot of people for providing me this opportunity to play at such a big stage. It is a fantastic experience,” he gushed.
“Playing basketball to me is a god-given opportunity in life. And playing in this competition makes it even better,” he said adding: “If not for basketball, I am not sure what I’d be doing.”
But a 200-plus person is sure to cause heads turn, in normal society.
“Yes. It used to be funny when people used to stare at me as if something was wrong with me,” he said.
“But now the very same height has become a sign to identify me,” he says.
“But after coming here, I’ve realized being tall alone is not sufficient to do well in basketball,” he says.
“I’ve seen some really great players here. They are all brilliant, and I’m learning something from each of them. I have realized I have a lot to learn and long way to go before I become like any of them. But I am ready to work hard,” Al Hamwi emphasized.
“Like I said, I am yet learning things. And I know this is too early for me to say. But I want to become like Yao Ming before rushing for his training.”
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia
Photo: Milad Payami / FIBA Asia