The Slovenia Times

EuroBasket: Preparation Games Raise Hopes for Host Country



Slovenia have won all five matches played since 26 July, beating Ukraine, Macedonia, Latvia, Serbia and Turkey in a run that has raised hopes about the home team's prospects for the tournament.

The final three wins came at a four-nation tournament in Celje at the weekend, which was played exactly a month before the start of what will be the biggest sport competition held by Slovenia since independence in 1991.

The team has impressed with its hustle and team spirit, which coach Božidar Maljković has emphasised as one of the keys to success at EuroBasket 2013.

The victories have also helped to boost expectations for the tournament in which Slovenia wants to show its best side both as an organiser of a major sporting event and nation with extensive basketball talent.

It has also helped raise interest in the European Basketball Championships across Slovenia with less than 30 days to go before the 4 September opening date.

The local organisers are in the midst of making final preparations for the tournament that will be hosted by four Slovenian cities - Ljubljana, Celje, Jesenice and Koper.

They will get a chance for a final rehearsal later in August when the arenas in Ljubljana, Jesenice and Koper host a number of the scheduled preparation games ahead of the tournament.

Currently efforts are focused on ironing out the final details and ensuring that the 1,100 volunteers who will provide for the smooth functioning of various activities ranging from logistics to assistance to the press and fans are ready for the job.

Meanwhile, the four host cities are sorting out the final details of accompanying programmes that will keep the tens of thousands of local and foreign fans busy even when their favourite teams are not playing.

The focus is on providing well-equipped and well-stocked fan zones while also showcasing the tourist capacities of the cities and Slovenia as a whole.

The focus will be on the capital, Ljubljana, which apart from being one of the hosts of the preliminary round will be firmly in the spotlight from 11 September as it hosts all the second round and elimination matches to the final on 22 September.

* Results of Slovenian preparation matches played until 4 August:

- 26 July, Domžale: defeated Ukraine 74-46
- 28 July, Litija: defeated Macedonia 63-54
- 2 August, Celje: defeated Latvia 71-67
- 3 August, Celje: defeated Serbia 67-52
- 4 August, Celje: defeated Turkey 72-53


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