Xi Jinping declares opening of 2019 FIBA World Cup
Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup open in Beijing on Friday.
This is the first time for China to host the FIBA World Cup, formerly known as the FIBA World Championship. The 2019 FIBA tournament features a record 32 national teams competing in eight Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, from August 31 to September 15.
President Xi met with FIBA President Horacio Muratore in Beijing on Friday night, telling him that basketball is a sport deeply loved by the Chinese people.
China attaches great importance to the development of basketball and supports FIBA's efforts in promoting the sport, he said, adding that he believes this year's FIBA World Cup will be an unforgettable and wonderful sporting event.
Xi said China has made remarkable achievements in sports since the founding of the People's Republic of China 70 years ago. The development of sports is necessary for a country's prosperity and important for its people's health and well-being, he stressed.
China is willing to continue to cooperate with FIBA to promote and develop basketball in the country, he said.
Muratore thanked the Chinese government for its support to FIBA's work over a long period of time and spoke highly of China's outstanding preparations for this World Cup, which he believes will become the most successful event in the history of basketball.
He told Xi that FIBA values its cooperation with China and is willing to make contributions to the development of Chinese basketball.
Muratore is set to be succeeded by Hamane Niang, who was elected new president of FIBA on Thursday.