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Sporting Chance

Sport forms a very strong part of Aramex's community commitment - and Riyadi basketball club is at its core

Sustainability can come in many forms. Education opportunities, upgrading public facilities or distributing aid in times of difficulty all form part of Aramex's contribution to the communities in which they operate. But the company is also quick to recognise the power of sport. All sections of society, they believe, can benefit from sport's teamwork, exercise, discipline and the development of new skills.

Of course, sport is also fun - and Aramex has regular participants who can testify to its attributes. Back in the late 1980s, a handful of basketball players at the company, including Fadi Ghandour himself, thought it could only help Jordan if more young people had the opportunity to engage in sports. As a result, they started to sponsor a basketball club in Amman called Jazeera. In a 13 year association, the success of the club's program, with more youth coaching and age groups, persuaded Aramex to start their own basketball club from scratch. In August, 2001, the Riyadi Club was born - swiftly developing into one the most prominent basketball teams in the country.

"The club has teams for boys and girls at Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 levels, and then the senior team which competes in the Jordanian league," says Iyad Kamel, Aramex COO and Riyadi club president. "Last year, we took four of the five age-groups titles in Jordan."

"But it's not really about winning. A big part of the club is our own superleague programme, in which we coach hundreds of youngsters between the ages of 7 to 13 throughout the year. In the summer, we also have a mini-basketball festival where young players are coached and their teams play in a tournament at the end. The youth is our main focus."

The senior team does have its own social contribution to make, giving opportunities to basketballers from across the country to use the game as a platform for personal growth. Two players from Aqaba were recruited to the team and, with subsidised accommodation in Amman, are now making a living in the game. Other promising players have been given academic support to complete degrees, while at least two players are also now Aramex employees.

The club also has a selection approach that favours players developed in the system over professionals recruited from overseas, thus consolidating the public benefit. As a result, many of the players in the senior team have appeared at every age range - with several graduating to the national team. This further boosts the chances for success. The club has also built a new facility in the Sweifieh district, including a park and public basketball courts.

"It's a whole ecosystem," says Iyad. "There's no separation between Aramex and Riyadi. At one level, the club is providing sporting opportunities for kids while on the other, it is creating a sustainable program for developing the best basketball talent in the country."

 
  Copyright 2011, Aramex International