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Yao Ming named ambassador for 2019 Basketball World Cup

(People's Daily Online)    14:52, December 05, 2016
Yao Ming named ambassador for 2019 Basketball World Cup
Chinese basketball star Yao Ming is named the first official ambassador for the 2019 Basketball World Cup in Beijing, Dec. 4, 2016. (Beijing Daily/Rao Qiang)

The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Organizing Committee has named Chinese basketball star Yao Ming the first official ambassador for the tournament, China News Service reported. The announcement was made on Dec. 4 in Beijing. This is the first time that China will hold the Basketball World Cup, the world’s top basketball tournament.

On Sunday, FIBA celebrated 1,000 days until the 2019 event in China. Yao Ming, who achieved stardom by representing China's national team at two FIBA Basketball World Cups and three Olympic Games, noted that "many players invest a lot of time and effort to maintain the best conditions and build better teams to win. However, there is much work to be done behind the scenes, such as improving stadiums and advertisements to attract more fans."

As an ambassador for the 2019 games, Yao said he will actively encourage the public, and especially youth, to participate in basketball and pay attention to the Basketball World Cup. The 2019 tournament has already received a great deal of attention, not only because it will select seven qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, but also because it will feature 32 teams for the first time.

"The 2019 Basketball World Cup will start from the qualifying match and gradually approach the climax," said Markus Studer, FIBA's chief operating officer. The qualification process will begin in November 2017 and last 18 months. Eighty national teams will compete for 31 seats, including five African teams, seven American teams, seven Asian teams and 12 European teams. As the host country, China qualifies automatically.

From Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, 2019, 32 basketball teams from all over the world will participate in 92 games in eight Chinese cities.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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