Monday, May 12, 2014

Basketball in Palestine: Dr. Goerge Rishmawi

   Following the Nakba (i.e. catastrophe of 1948) Egypt administered Gaza Sector. Being under the rule of the Egyptian administration,  Gaza Sector witnessed a noticable growth in many aspects including sports. This resulted in shifting the Palestinian sports movement’s center of gravity to Gaza Sector after 1948. Compared to other Arab countries, Egypt had a prominent athletic prestige. The Egyptian administration established the “Regional Council for Youth Care,” in Gaza Sector which was headed by the General Governor, and included 25 members; most of whom were sports leaders and heads of sports federations (football, volleyball, basketball, handball, table tennis, track and field, weightlifting and wrestling). The Supreme Council of Youth in Cairo supported this regional committee both financially and technically.

   George Rishmawi was born in 1922. He was graduated from Terra Santa School in Jerusalem in 1942, and from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1946 with a degree in pharmacy. In his youth he competed in basketball, table tennis, tennis, swimming and football. During his college years he played on the AUB’s football team. Returning back home, he played with the selected team of Beit Sahour (near Bethlehem) and with Gaza Sports Club. He also played basketball with the Orthodox Club in Gaza.[1]

     In 1962, Palestine Basketball Association (PBF) was founded. Dr. Rishmawi was assigned   head of PBF by the Regional Council for Youth Care in 1962 and 1964. He played a magnificent role in promoting basketball in Gaza Sector (Palestine). The affiliation of PBA with the International Basketball Association in 1964 is attributed to his consistent pursuits. He represented Palestine in several tournaments: The African Tournament in Casablanca in 1963 where Palestine got the third place among 52 countries;[2]Arab Tournament in Tripoli in Libya in 1963 – the fourth place; the Fourth Pan Arab Games in Egypt in 1964. Also, he represented Palestine in the Mediterranean and European branch of the International Basketball Association IBA in Beirut in 1962, then Cairo in 1964, Tunis in 1966, and  Alexandria in 1967. At the same time, he was a member of YMCA in Gaza; he represented it in several conferences in Cairo in 1962, Beirut -1964, Alexandria - 1965, Genève - 1967, and Genève - 1975. Many  basketball tournaments, even to this day, have been organized in memory of Dr. Rishmawi's active role in promoting Palestinian basketball.


[1] Usama Filfel, George Rishmawi , al-Anqa’ al-Riyadi,
[2] The team at that time was combined of the players: Abdel Hamid Mas’ud, Samir Mousa, Basem Mousa, Muhammad Dalu, Yousef Kiriazi, Hanna Saba, Yousef al-Masri, Ya’coub Abu al-Khair, Shaker al-Bawwab, Ibrahim al-Ja’fari and George Mazhar. The coach was Ahmad Mifrij.

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