Sao Paulo will be the center of the women's basketball world in September 12-23 when the metropolitan region of Brazils largest city will host 16 teams competing for the world title.
The U.S. national team will arrive in Brazil as favorite to win the title. The United States has won seven FIBA World Championship titles, and five Olympic gold medals, which makes it the worlds basketball superpower.
The U.S. team head coach Anne Donovan, three-time Olympic medalist as a player, has confirmed the names of ten of the 12 players who will compete in Sao Paulo: three-time Olympic gold medalists Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes; two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith; 2000 Olympic gold medalist DeLisha Milton-Jones; 2004 Olympic gold medalists Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tina Thompson; and 2003 FIBA World Championship For Young Women winners Seimone Augustus and Alana Beard.
According to the World Championships organizing committee, the United States will send the largest delegation of the event, with 40 members, as well as dozens of fans to support the team during the competition.
Sixteen teams qualified to the championship are Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Spain (Group A); Australia, Canada, Lithuania and Senegal (Group B); China, Nigeria, Russia and the United States (Group C); Cuba, the Czech Republic, France and Chinese Taipei (Group D).
Besides the United States, Australia, Russia, China and Brazil are seen as the other strong contenders to a place on the podium.
Brazil is one of the only three holders of a FIBA World Championship for Women's title. The United States has won seven gold medals since the first contest in 1953, while the former Soviet Union was a six-time champions. Brazilians managed to break into the events gold medal column in Australia in 1994, led by star guard Hortencia Marcari, who was playing her last world championship.
Brazil hosted womens basketball world championships in 1957, 1971 and 1983. This years event will take place in Sao Paulo and the town of Barueri that is part of the citys metro region. Sao Paulo state government and Barueris town government are the main sponsors of the event, said organizing committee members.
Ibirapuera Gymnasium, located in Sao Paulo city, will host the matches of the national teams in groups A and B for the preliminary and eight-final rounds of the competition, as well as all matches from the quarter-finals on. The gym has 10,000 seats.
Barueri is the first town that is not a federal or state capital to host the championship in the history of the event. Teams of groups C and D will play their matches there during the preliminaries and eight-finals.
They will play at Jose Correa Gymnasium, which can hold 5,000 fans, and has been completely renovated in order to fit FIBAs standards.
Tickets to the preliminary matches are available online at www.ingressofacil.com.br/fiba2006, for relatively low prices that range from 10 reais to 30 reais (4.70 US dollars to 14 dollars).
Over 380 journalists from 18 countries and regions will cover the event, according to the organizing committee. Brazilian top network TV Globo is the events host broadcaster and will provide live coverage of all matches to networks around the world.