ISTANBUL (2010 FIBA World Championship) – Basketball fans around the world believe the 2010 FIBA World Championship is the most competitive in history.
A total of 71 per cent of the 3,000 taking part in a poll on the turkey2010.fiba.com site thought the participating teams were more closely-matched than ever before in the 60 years of the tournament.
Patrick Baumann, Secretary-General of FIBA, highlighted the keenly-fought nature of this year’s World Championship as a clear illustration of how the sport was developing, saying: “The infrastructure of basketball is improving globally. The coaching, facilities and athleticism of the players are improving all the time.
“Teams are better organised with higher defences and greater tactical acumen and this means smaller teams are able to compete on a more level playing field with their bigger rivals.
“Teams from Asia and Africa have all shown big improvements. We have seen many close games and that demonstrates there is still no obvious clear winner even if some are undefeated so far. This is not just my belief but that of fans all over the world, as shown on our FIBA website poll.”
Baumann held out the prospect of an expanded World Championship with 32 teams and a rise in the number of countries taking part in the Olympic tournament from 12 to 16, adding: “The growing parity between teams means there is now a sound case for increasing the size of major competitions to give more nations the chance of winning the ultimate prize.”
FIBA is also delighted with the spirit in which the games have been played so far.
Baumann commented: “Even though games have been extremely competitive, they have been played in a good-spirited and friendly way. The Iran v USA game was a model of good sportsmanship and the Greece v Turkey encounter was an excellent showcase of respectful rivalry between two top nations.”