Kraulins Names Final Twelve

02 September 2003
From PA International, Riga

Latvia coach Armands Kraulins has resisted the urge to include veteran Raimonds Miglinieks in his 12-man squad for the European Championships.

The 33-year-old, who accounted for more than 12 points a contest in the five qualifying games he played, has been slowed by a groin injury and was unable to convince Kraulins that he would be fit enough to play in Sweden.

"Knowing the health status of Miglinieks," Kraulins said, "we do not have any right to risk his health, nor the team's interests."

Miglinieks was one of the players who brought experience to the Latvian side, having played at the Eurobasket in Turkey two years ago where he scored almost nine points a game.

Kristaps Janicenoks, a 20-year-old Skonto Riga player, has also been left off the final squad by Kraulins.

The coach has indicated that his starting line-up is likely to be Roberts Stelmahers, Aigars Vitols, Ainars Bagatskis, Troy Ostler and Kaspars Kambala.

Latvia finished off the friendly season with a victory over the Ukraine and a loss against the Spaniards in Spain last week.

Kraulins has revealed that one of his players, Kristaps Valters, got sick after eating fast-food.

"Even though we lost, we had more pluses than minuses," he said after the Spain game. "The minus is Valters' (food) poisoning.

"The plus is that all players against such strong opponents showed courage and fought until the last minute of the game despite deep minuses (in the score)."

After resting on Monday, Latvia are to gather again on Tuesday for another workout with a particular emphasis on tactics.

Latvia depart for Sweden on Wednesday and open their Eurobasket 2003 campaign on Friday against Baltic neighbours Lithuania in Norrkoping.

Squad: Kristaps Valters, Armands Skele, Roberts Stelmahers (captain), Aigars Vitols; Edgars Snepsts, Arnis Vecvagars, Uvis Helmanis, Ainars Bagatskis, Troy Ostler, Maris Laksa; Kaspars Kambala, Raitis Grafs.

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