The 2022 FIBA Women's World Cup is headed down under in 2022, with Australia awarded hosting rights by the sport's governing body.
Australia won the right to host the event over Russia, with Sydney's Olympic Park set to host 12 of the best teams in the world across 10 days in September and October 2022, including the reigning silver medalist Chemist Warehouse Opals as host.
"The Central Board saw two excellent presentations today from two basketball strong National Federations," outlined FIBA President Hamane Niang in the official release. "I would like to congratulate them on their outstanding work and the effort and commitment which has gone into their bids. There can only be one host country for this event, and for 2022 it will be Australia.
"We look forward to the biggest women's event in basketball taking place in Sydney, and also the 12-month qualification period that will take place to be among the 12 teams playing in Australia."
Australia last played host to the 1994 World Championship for Women in June 1994, with Brazil defeated China for the gold medal. The Opals would fall short to the USA by 5 points in the playoff for bronze, with all the finals played at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
"I would like to congratulate Basketball Australia on their successful bid," added FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis. "Australia really is a powerhouse in basketball, with the women coming in second at the previous FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in 2018.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for the city of Sydney to both promote and take women's basketball to the next level. We witnessed many successes at the last World Cup, and I am sure that in 2022 we will see even more. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation over the next two years in planning for this pinnacle event."
Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter was thrilled for the opportunity to showcase the best of women's basketball at home in Australia.
"We are delighted that Sydney will host the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and that Australian basketball fans will get the opportunity to see some of the world’s best players compete for one of the most prestigious titles in our sport," she said in a statement.
"The fact that Australia was selected to host this incredible competition is a testament to the outstanding calibre of basketball talent in our country, the tireless work of our players, coaches and administrators and the passion Australians have for the game."
Securing the event for Sydney was just reward for the collaboration between Basketball Australia and the New South Wales state government, whose bid defeated that of Russia.
"Sydney will provide a fantastic backdrop for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022, from our world-class sporting facilities to the sights and lifestyle experiences our Harbour City has to offer visitors and viewers from around the globe," outlined Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister For Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney. "This event supports the NSW Government's commitment to secure 10 World Cups in 10 years and will deliver a significant return for the NSW economy through visitation and profile."
Australia are just one of three countries to have tasted victory at the event which has been dominated by the USA since they won the 1986 World Championship. Brazil bucked the trend by defeated China in the final of the 1994 event held in Sydney, while the Opals broke through for gold in defeating Russia in Brazil in 2006.
The Opals have come away with a medal at every World Championship since 1986 with the exception of 2010, and earned silver in Spain at the World Cup hosted by Spain in 2018. Currently ranked number two in the world, Australia have also secured a place at the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.
With the world gripped by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic, Basketball Australia's Head of Women's Basketball, retired legend Lauren Jackson, highlighted the importance of the event, not just for the world, but particularly for Australia.
"In such an uncertain time, this announcement gives us hope and inspires our next generation to know that women’s sport and women’s basketball will not stand still, it will continue to grow and continue to forge pathways and opportunities in this country."
Women's basketball on the court in Australia has never been stronger, with the talent and quality of the WNBL world class. The Women's World Cup in Australia may well provide the boost the sport needs down under to help ensure it can deliver financial stability for the league and its clubs.
Reigning World Champions USA, together with host Australia, are guaranteed their places in 2022.