Basketball veteran in hall of fame

BASKETBALL Australia inducted its first ever Hall of Fame members last week, and among the elite 11 was Coffs Harbour's own Al Ramsay.

Ramsay, 79, was honoured in recognition of his 40 years of voluntary service to basketball in New South Wales, Australia and the Oceania region.

His induction was warmly welcomed by the crowd of more than 200 at the Hall of Fame dinner in Sydney. Others to be inducted at the inaugural ceremony were players Andrew Gaze, Robyn Maher, Phil Smyth and Jenny Cheesman; coaches Lindsay Gaze and Adrian Hurley; referee Sid Taylor and administrators Dr John Raschke and Dr Ivor Burge.

Among Ramsay's many achievements over 40 years, perhaps his greatest was his lobbying of the world body to establish the Oceania area as a recognised zone of FIBA, the international basketball federation.

This recognition provided automatic entry to the Olympic Games and senior and junior world championships for the Oceania representative, which in most cases has been Australia.

During Ramsay's 40-year tenure as a world basketball administrator, he attended 10 Olympic Games and 10 World Championships.

Of these, the gold medal game at the Munich Olympics is the most memorable for him.

As one of three members of the Technical Commission, he ruled on the last basket of the game, made in controversial circumstances, which gave the gold medal to the USSR team over the USA, America's first defeat at the Olympics.

"That was a very exciting game of basketball. The timekeeper made an error in starting the clock, so we were required to replay the last few seconds, which resulted in the USSR team winning the gold," Ramsay said.

"To this day the USA team have refused to accept their silver medals from Munich."

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