Turkey eyes medal in FIBA Basketball World Cup

Turkey eyes medal in FIBA Basketball World Cup

Turkey eyes medal in FIBA Basketball World Cup

Turkish basketball team head coach Ergin Ataman (C) instructs his players during a training session before the WorldCup. Turkey is pitted in Group C against the United States, Finland, Ukraine, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic. AA photo

Turkey’s men’s basketball team coach Ergin Ataman has said the team is eyeing a medal in next month’s FIBA World Cup in Spain.

“Our first target is to get a medal,” Ataman said in a press conference during the team’s training camp in Bormio, Italy.

Turkey is pitted against the United States, Finland, New Zealand, Ukraine and the Dominican Republic in Group C, which will take place between Aug. 30 and Sept. 14 in Spain. The draw means that Turkey, the runner-up in the 2010 World Cup, will face the defending champions the U.S. in a rematch of the last championship final.

Veteran player Kerem Gönlüm has said the tournament will be a new start for Turkish basketball, stating he believes the team will succeed in restructuring itself.

Ataman said the team will definitely miss NBA players Enes Kanter and Ersan İlyasova, who opted to skip the tournament, but the remaining players will make up for their absence.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines has rejected reports that they are stepping in to sponsor the Turkish Basketball League after Beko’s withdrawal.

Temel Kotil, the chair of the national carrier, said they have no plans to sponsor the basketball league or arch-rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe.

Kotil made the announcement at a time when Turkish Airlines was extending its sponsorship deals with the Turkish Basketball Federation.