(ATR) Part of the blame for Argentina forfeiting its women's basketball preliminary match against Colombia could come down to a case of gender inequality.
Argentina women's team was supposed to be in white, not blue. (Lima 2019)
A logistical mistake meant Argentina arrived for the game on Wednesday wearing the wrong color uniform. As the designated home team, they had to change their jersey if necessary but no alternative clothes were available.
Argentina were notified at a meeting the previous day that white was their color to use, as Colombia was going all blue. But that message never went through and for the match Argentina appeared wearing blue as well. To make matters worse, the white uniforms were not brought to the venue.
The forfeit eliminated Argentina from advancing to the medal rounds, though the team can still play in the remaining scheduled games.
But it's possible the whole affair could have been avoided if the women's team had the same support as their male counterparts.
The women's team landed in Lima with four members on their staff: two coaches, one team official and one doctor. No equipment manager, no assistant. They also share that staff of four with the 3x3 women's team, so their total delegation was 16.
By comparison, the men's team had a staff of nine for its 17 players. More people helping out would logically mean fewer details that might slip through the cracks.
But what happened? Who was at fault?
Colombia was wearing the correct colors. (Lima 2019)
“What happened is not our responsibility, and this is something that we have to take as a group and go forward thinking on our future and to teach the following generations on how we should play as a team,” said Debora González, one of the players, after Argentina defeated the Virgin Islands 73-59 on Thursday.
Team leader Hernan Amaya and Karina Rodriguez, the director of women’s basketball development for Argentine basketball, resigned in the wake of the forfeit.
Amaya was in charge of assisting the pre-meeting where the colors were determined, but what is also odd is
that both teams warmed up for 30 minutes before the game and no one said anything about the uniform colors. Only after the national anthems and just before the opening tip did Colombia raise the issue.
No one from the Argentine confederation or the staff decided to talk about the fiasco, leaving the players to come out and express themselves on Thursday.
“I’m not going to talk about Amaya, he is like a father to me," González said. "I think everyone knows what they did and knows their responsibility for what it’s caused. Each one of the staff knows what needs to be done in order to have a better and organized women’s basketball team. We don’t think this was done to hurt us, we take it as a lesson, as something that happened. We have to turn the page and continue fighting, we have more goals to conquer.”
The men’s team came out and showed their support on social media.
Melisa Gretter believes defeating the Virgin Islands on Thursday was important for the team.
“It was difficult what happened but we had to come out on the court and give our best. These mistakes have to be a lesson for us as a team and for the Confederation in order to improve and take women’s basketball through a better road."
Written and reported by Olivia Diaz Ugalde in Lima.
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