Turkish Coach Promises Surprises
The EuroLeague Women is very much on the minds of those present in Samara at the Final Four. But in just a few short weeks, the focus will shift to national team competition and Eurobasket Women, which will take place in Turkey.
The Turkish Basketball Federation took the opportunity to meet the international media in Samara, to present their promotional and organisational plans for the event, which will take place 2-11 September in Izmir, Bursa and Ankara.
The press conference was opened by FIBA Europe Executive Director, Mr. Nar Zanolin.
|The logo was designed by Tokyo-based Turkish artist Cem Ersozlu and represents a basketball and woman's hair|
“We expect a high level of preparation and organisation at Eurobasket Women 2005 and we have confidence that the Turkish Federation will do a great job, as usual,” he said.
“We already saw this at the draw in January, which was the best we have had at FIBA Europe, in terms of attendance, television exposure and organisation. We’re looking for a similar performance at Eurobasket Women 2005 in September.”
The draw featured prominent women in Turkish society, who have excelled in fields such as education, business, sport and arts. It is a concept that will be further developed by the Turkish Basketball Federation during Eurobasket Women to help to promote the event and increase ticket sales.
“The drawing power of women’s basketball is below that of the men,” said the Turkish Federation’s Director of International Relations, Dr. Emir Turam.
“To increase this, we have introduced the concept of powerful women, professors, artists, businesswomen, all of whom have been successful internationally. We want our basketball team to rise to take its place among these other prominent women.”
Hosting international events is something that the Turkish have had success with, most notably in 2001 when Eurobasket Men generated huge national interest as the Turkish team advanced to the gold medal game, before losing in the final to Yugoslavia.
“This event is part of a medium range development plan,” added Turam. “What we did in 2001 really boosted basketball in Turkey, and we want to create the same effect with Eurobasket Women. This is all part of our “2010 plan”, which dictates where we want to be in the year 2010.”
We will host the World Championship for Men in 2010, so we have already achieved many of our goals. We are working hard to increase the popularity of women’s basketball and want to created added value to Eurobasket Women. After September, the event will be over, so we need to create this added value which will live on after the end of the championship.”
Turam recognised that the success of the event is dependent on how well the national team fares, a task which is in the hands of head coach Cem Akdag.
It is a task made all the more difficult thanks to a very difficult draw for the Turkish side, who will take on Spain, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Lithuania and Romania in the preliminary round.
“This is our first appearance in a European Championship,” Akdag told the assembled media. “We plan to finish in the first 4 in our group, but maybe we can do better. You can be ready for some surprises.”