This coming year Latvia will host EuroBasket Women 2009 from 7-20 June in the cities of Riga, Liepaja and Valmiera.
The formal kick-off came on Wednesday afternoon in Riga when the 16 teams who will compete to be the best in Europe were drawn into the four groups of four in which they will compete in the preliminary round.
14 teams have already booked a spot at EuroBasket Women 2009 and two more get their ticket in January when they play in the Additional Qualifying Round, which was also drawn.
"We encourage visitors to come to Latvia for the tournament," commented Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia who welcomed participants to the event.
"As you know we in Latvia are very excited about out basketball."
"I would just like to wish good luck to all participants and to congratulate the Latvian Basketball Federation for an excellent organization," said FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos who underlined the presence of Latvian legend Mrs. Uljana Semionova, one of the top women's players in history.
Semionova and Latvia's Minister of Education and Sport Tatjana Koke were on hand to help FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin with the draw proceedings.
For a complete replay of the draw click here.