|The spectacular setting for the EuroBasket 2013 Draw in Postojna|
The unique settings of the Postojna Cave provided the background as the Draw of EuroBasket 2013 marked the start of the official countdown to Europe's premier basketball event.
Defending champions and Olympic silver medallists Spain will be starting their campaign against the tournament hosts from Slovenia in Group C to be played in Celje.
France, runners-up from 2011, will play in Group A (Hala Tivoli) against Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Ukraine and Israel while Russia will not have an easy task against Greece, Italy, Turkey, Finland and Sweden in Group D (Koper).
As it usually is the case the luck of the Draw held a surprise and it was all for Group B (Jesenice) which can be described as a "Balkan-Baltics" group with EuroBasket 2011 surprise package F.Y.R. of Macedonia joined by the likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Lithuania and Latvia.
Over 600 guests attended the ceremony in the world-famous tourist attraction, including delegates of the 24 participating teams, special guests, 150 accredited media and... Lipko, the EuroBasket 2013 official mascot.
Assisting in drawing the Groups were seven of Europe's stars of the past - the three official EuroBasket 2013 ambassadors Radoslav Nesterovic, Peter Vilfan and Ivo Daneu, together with Aljosa Zorga, Jorge Garbajosa, Ibrahim Kutluay and Alexander Volkov.
Under the sounds of the EuroBasket 2013 official song ,written by Slovenian singer Zoran Predin, six former and active Slovenia national team members, Roman Horvat, Slavko Duščak, Goran Jagodnik, Sašo Ožbolt, Jaka Daneu and Samo Udrih participated in a 3on3 exhibition game - the first basketball game to ever be played in a natural cave.
|FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson at the official EuroBasket 2013 Draw in Postojna Cave|
Slovenia's Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Žiga Turk in his speech put an emphasis on Slovenia's rich basketball tradition and the country's hospitality tradition: "In 1970 basketball became one the most popular sports in Slovenia when the World Championship was held in Ljubljana, and our team won. We want every visitor to feel at home and hope that at the end of the championship they will have fond memories of Slovenia."
The Slovenian Basketball Federation President Roman Volčič was proud that the the biggest sporting event in Slovenian history is right on track. "Lately, there have been doubts regarding our ability to successfully organize this Championship," said Volčič. "But we have remained optimistic while trying to make this event a reality. The Draw inside the Postojna Cave is the best evidence of our success so far. We will continue to inspire the Slovenian and foreign public, and introduce our glorious country, as well as Slovenian basketball to the world."
FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson voiced Volčič's feelings.
"The location and the whole organisation of the draw perfectly display the willingness of the organisers to provide us with what is shaping up to be an unparalleled EuroBasket next year," said Rafnsson.
Kamil Novak, FIBA Europe's Secretary General, expressed his gratitude to the Slovenian attitude towards the tournament.
"The fantastic Slovenian fans are well respected throughout the [European] continent. My sincere thanks to the Local Organising Committee for setting such a unique stage for this event, which underlines the excitement that basketball is able to create."
EuroBasket 2013 will be played from 4-22 September 2013, with the First Round in the cities of Jesenice, Koper, Celje and Hala Tivoli in Ljubljana. The Second and Final Rounds will take place in Ljubljana's Stozice Arena.
The four First Round Groups are
GROUP A (Tivoli)
GROUP B (Jesenice)
GROUP C (Celje)
| GROUP D (Koper)|
F.Y.R. of Macedonia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
For the complete results or the relive the EuroBasket 2013 Draw or to Relive EuroBasket 2013 click here.