Having just returned from EuroBasket Women in Poland I thought it was the perfect time to share my thoughts with you, looking back to this fantastic competition and also give an outlook on the upcoming EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania, which we are approaching quickly.
EuroBasket Women brought us many surprises, but also one constant that is absolutely worth mentioning. Russia have been in every EuroBasket Women Final since 2001 and their pattern of success suggested that it was their time again to grab the gold medal in 2011.
|MVP Elena Danilochkina was fun to watch throughout EuroBasket Women|
While they might have had their difficulties at the beginning, the team of Head Coach Boris Sokolovsky really picked themselves up and finished the tournament in dominant fashion.
Other than the Champions, I was really impressed by runners-Up Turkey who showed that Women's Basketball is up and coming in this big country.
Of course there were also sad stories at EuroBasket Women 2011, like the injury of the tournament's top scorer Iva Perovanovic in Montenegro's last game or the early exit of previously so successful teams like Belarus or Spain. While it was really heart-breaking for the teams and their whole country, for me this is further proof that Women's Basketball is on a good way. The level of competition is so high that even very talented teams like Spain have to play at their full potential to be successful.
With EuroBasket Women finished we are now turning our focus to the Youth European Championships that will again keep federations, coaches players and referees busy through the summer months. I truly enjoy watching those young women and men play. At the start of their careers they are already so determined and proud to represent their country. Following them through the different age categories is fascinating as it shows clearly how well our development systems work in Europe.
The one thing we are all looking forward to is EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania in August and September. In Lithuania, the whole country is ready to host the best EuroBasket ever and I noticed that also the players of the participating nations are very eager to represent their county and make an appearance at the EuroBasket. As the national teams start gathering for their practice camps, the foundation of future success will be laid with a lot of sweat involved and coaches will have to make tough decisions. All this will make sure we will have the best possible EuroBasket and a real celebration of Basketball.
I wish all of you a wonderful summer of Basketball
FIBA Europe President