|"Lithuania did a fantastic job, the people, the venues, and all the experience will be remembered for years to come," said FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson of the EuroBasket 2011 host country |
Slovenia is a small country that dares to think and dream Big.
That was the impression the media representatives who attended the EuroBasket 2013 press conference in Kaunas on Sunday were left with.
A sizeable Slovenian delegation had arrived in Lithuania since day one of EuroBasket 2011 to observe, listen and learn.
Sunday, the final day of Lithuania's EuroBasket, came their turn to speak and present to the world their vision for their EuroBasket, in 2013.
‘Slovenia is small but you can get to anywhere without leaving it' was the motto of the Slovenian Tourist Organisation presentation that preceded the press conference and it expresses perfectly the vision of the EuroBasket 2013 organisers.
Living in a country situated between the Alps and the Mediterranean, with plenty of beautiful medieval cities in between, Slovenians find it normal to have everything within their grasp, are convinced that everything is possible and they have the can-do attitude to go with it.
"Our goal is not just to do a good event, our goal is to do the top event, for the teams, the hospitality, the volunteers, the spectators, for everyone involved. We have the knowledge and the ability to do it," Ales Kriznar, the EuroBasket 2013 Event Director, stated.
"I will sum it up in three words - Excitement, Experience and European," he added.
FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson who had opened proceedings earlier: "It's been a long journey, a long process since Lithuania was awarded Eurobasket 2011 and now the time has almost come to close this chapter and move on to Slovenia 2013," Mr Rafnsson said.
"Lithuania did a fantastic job, the people, the venues, and all the experience will be remembered for years to come.
"The way the two countries collaborated between themselves and communicated with FIBA Europe was simply excellent," Mr Rafnsson concluded.
|EuroBasket 2013 Ambassador Radoslav Nesterovic with FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin|
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin expanded on the notion of continuity from one EuroBasket host to the next.
"I'm extremely proud of everything that has happened, is happening and will happen," Mr Zanolin started.
"I have not heard a single complain from anyone about this tournament. Looking into the future, I anticipate a similar kind of relationship with our friends in Slovenia.
"The Slovenian attitude is ‘we're going to do even better'. It's going to be tough because this (in Lithuania) is the highest level, but if anyone can do better then that's Slovenia, where the passion for the game is the same as here.
"The move to a 24-team tournament was a good move, it provided us with many pleasant surprises and we'll maintain this competition system," the FIBA Europe Secretary General added.
"It is long for everyone, but the level of play increased as the tournament went on and the level of injuries decreased, these are the two key stats that we have to keep from this system.
"I would like to thank again Lithuania for such a fantastic EuroBasket," Mr Zanolin concluded.
Slovenian Basketball Federation President Roman Volcic also thanked the Lithuanian Federation and Local Organising Committee for their excellent collaboration and assistance.
"Slovenia is very proud to host the next EuroBasket, it might be a small country in size but it's big in spirit and basketball tradition," the President added.
"This is not a project of the Federation, it is a project of the entire country.
|FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson presents the handing over of the big shoes to fill from EuroBasket 2011 Ambassador Arvydas Sabonis to Eurobasket 2013 Ambassador Rasho Nesterovic|
"The world championship of 1970 was the last big competition to be held in the country (then part of Yugoslavia), and 40 years later we have a new arena in Ljubljana, built last year, very similar to this one in Kaunas.
"EuroBasket 2013 will be a great experience not only for basketball fans, but for anyone who comes to visit the country," Mr Volcic concluded.
This sentiment was echoed by the two Slovenian sporting legends that will act as EuroBasket 2013 Ambassadors.
"I expect to see in 2013 the biggest number of spectators in the history of the EuroBasket," said Peter Vilfan.
Meanwhile, Radoslav Nesterovic urged everyone to visit Slovenia in 2013, not just to watch the EuroBasket games but also to get the opportunity to see this beautiful country.
"EuroBasket 2013 is the biggest event in the history of Slovenia, since the 1970 World Championship.
"The Slovenian fans have proven their loyalty and deserved such a big event," the recently retired Slovenia international concluded.
EuroBasket 2013 will take place from 4th September to 22nd September, in five Slovenian cities with the Second and Final Round in the capital, Ljubljana.
Qualification for the 16 remaining spots (the top six teams in EuroBasket 2011, hosts Slovenia and Olympic Games hosts Great Britain qualify automatically) will take place in the summer of 2012.
The EuroBasket 2013 Draw will take place on 18th November 2012.
Click here to download the EuroBasket 2013 Competition System