VIENNA (Austria) - Everyone had one thing in common at the media event in the venerable Burgtheater on Thursday morning: the great joy of the 3x3 World Cup in the middle of the town hall square.
“I am very pleased that this event is taking place in our city. 3x3 is a young and a very urban, popular discipline. The World Cup here at Rathausplatz is a great event for a city like Vienna,” said City Councilor Peter Hacker. The speed with which the game is played is particularly fascinating for him. He will definitely be there for one or the other game. Just like his employees, who – like him – are already looking forward to a full town hall square.
About a month before the start of the tournament, Basketball Austria President Gerald Martens was just too euphoric: "The entire town hall square will be a huge basketball court for a week." Schools, universities, wheelchair basketball - the whole scene will dribble and throw. In the middle, of course, are the national and international superstars.
Martens trusts Austria a lot. But it is at least as important to get people, especially young people, enthusiastic about sport. "Of course it's about gold, silver and bronze, but our biggest trophy will be the many children on the town hall square who want to play basketball and move."
Hacker agreed, emphasizing that this attitude is one of the main reasons why the city made Rathausplatz available: “Top-level sport has to motivate young people, it has to get them excited. It's supposed to be an interaction. The youngsters need top athletes as role models.”
Ignacio Soriano from the international basketball association FIBA described the city of Vienna as a “top city”. One is always looking for the best cities for such major events. "The iconic city center of Vienna, including the beautiful, highly frequented Rathausplatz, is ideal for this," says the person responsible for events on the part of FIBA.
Once again he also mentioned the enormous sporting importance of the tournament. The three best teams for women and men will immediately secure a ticket for the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments before in Paris 2024.
A thought that of course also motivates the local 3x3 national players. "It's not the easiest group, but we want to surprise," said Sigrid "Sigi" Koizar, who recently announced her participation and should be a huge addition to the women's team. Above all, she praised the atmosphere and long-standing friendship in the team. In the group phase, the women have to play against the gold favorites from France and Spain, among others.
Big man Filip Krämer, who is currently working on a comeback and hopes to provide highlights again at the World Cup, is particularly positive about the preparation. They have been training highly professionally in Serbia for months. "I'm optimistic that we'll make it to the quarter-finals. It's a great group, what could be better than playing against the best in the world?” As is well known, the Austrian men have to deal with the basketball powerhouses USA and Latvia, among others.