|03 December 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|The French men's basketball team sent their country into celebration upon arriving home as EuroBasket champions back in September |
The men's French basketball national team in its entirety has been nominated for the French Athlete of the Year (Le Sportif Français) 2013 award in the Gallic country.
Les Bleus, who conquered the EuroBasket 2013 title in Slovenia, will compete for the award with the likes of footballer Frank Ribery, who won the UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich and Wimbledon ladies singles 2013 champion Marion Bartoli.
The EuroBasket champions and rugby club Castres Olympique are the only two teams to be nominated, among a total of 15 sporting personalities who make up the candidates' list.
The award is presented by Radio France, the national radio broadcaster, in collaboration with Canal Plus and national daily Le Parisien, and its patrons are heptathlon and long jump champion Eunice Barber and former international footballer Fabien Barthez.
Any sports fan, whether they reside in France or not, can cast their vote until 31st December at http://sportif.radiofrance.fr/.
The ceremony takes place on 15 January and Valérie Fourneyron, the French minister for sport, will present the winner with the award.
Basketball monopolised media interest in France for several days last September, following
the national team's 80-66 triumph over Lithuania in the EuroBasket final.
During the 78-year history of the EuroBasket, France had participated in the tournament on 35 occasions before the 2013 edition without ever stepping on the top of the podium, a fact that magnified the importance of the achievement.
"A victory for all eternity," was how television journalist Anne-Laure Salvatico, who makes the case for the basketball team's candidature, described the feat on the Radio France website.
Fronted by captain Boris Diaw and Tony Parker, the EuroBasket 2013 MVP and now all-time second top scorer in the competition, Le Bleus were received at the Élysée Palace by the president of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, upon their return to Paris from Slovenia.
"Vote for us," San Antonio Spurs guard Nando De Colo urged his twitter followers on Tuesday, as the first of the EuroBasket champions to ask for the public's support.