China to host World Cup in 2019

Fri Aug 7, 2015 8:19pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - China will host the men's basketball World Cup in 2019 for the first time, the world governing body has said.

China and the Philippines were the two final countries bidding for the tournament.

"It's such an exciting moment to bring the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to China and I'm sure that millions of fans are sharing this joy with us," China's bid ambassador Yao Ming said in a statement from FIBA, the world governing body.

"I know what it's like to play a top level basketball tournament in front of home fans because I played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Having the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will inspire a lot of people and particularly more young athletes to participate in basketball."

The 2019 tournament will expand from 24 to 32 teams and be hosted in eight cities in China.

The United States won the previous World Cup in Spain in 2014, beating Serbia in the final.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ian Ransom)