CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Next week’s Marine Forces Pacific Regional Basketball Tournament is the first step on a journey that could lead to competition on the world stage in Sicily.

In addition to crowning a Pacific team champion, the Marine regionals will produce six representatives for the All-Marine tryout camp July 27-Aug. 15 at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

They’ll compete for spots on the All-Marine team playing in the All-Armed Forces tournament Aug. 16-24 at Lejeune. From there, the All-Armed Forces team heads to Sicily for the 3rd International Military Sports Council (CISM) World Games on Sept. 13-23 in Catania, Sicily.

The CISM Games are the world’s second-largest sporting event in terms of participation, behind only the Olympics. In the Second CISM World Games in 1999 at Zagreb, Croatia, 82 nations sent 6,700 athletes to compete.

“It’s a great opportunity, a great honor,” said Mike Walker, director of the Marine regionals, scheduled for Monday-Friday at the Camp Kinser gymnasium on Okinawa’s southwest coast.

The Marine regionals begin Monday at 10 a.m. with the combined round-robin/single-elimination tournament at Kinser.

Entered in the tournament are the usual seven Navy and Marine commands: Iwakuni Air Station of Japan, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Okinawa’s 3rd Force Service Support Group, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, U.S. Naval Hospital Camp Lester and two-time defending champion 3rd Marine Division/Expeditionary Force.

Round-robin play runs through Wednesday, followed by the single-elimination playoffs starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. The championship is at 7 p.m. Friday.

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