Finland, in partnership with Lithuania, has been chosen by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to host the prestigious Women's Basketball European Championship in 2027. This decision marks a significant milestone in Finnish basketball, completing a historic series of home European Championships: the Under-18 Men’s in 2024, the Men’s in 2025, and now the Women’s in 2027.
Finland, along with Lithuania, successfully bid to host the 2027 Women’s European Championship, a testament to the growing prominence of basketball in the country. The initial rounds of the tournament will be shared between the two nations, with the final phase set to be held in Lithuania. Espoo's Metro Areena, a familiar home ground for Finland's national men's basketball team, the Susijengi, will be the Finnish venue for the event.
Henrik Dettmann, Director of Coaching at the Finnish Basketball Association, expressed excitement about the opportunity for athletes to compete in a major tournament in front of a home crowd. He emphasized the significance of this event for Finnish women's basketball, providing a tangible goal and motivation for young talents and their coaches. The chance for young players to witness top-level international women's basketball in person is a unique and inspiring prospect.
The event is expected to have a positive impact on Espoo, where basketball has a strong history and cultural presence. Martti Merra, Espoo's Director of Sports, highlighted the city's rich basketball tradition and the significance of bringing the women’s tournament to Espoo. With teams like Tapiolan Honka and Espoo Basket Team in the Women's Korisliiga and a high number of basketball enthusiasts relative to the population, Espoo is a fitting host for such a prestigious event. Merra also noted that hosting the Women's European Championship will strengthen the city's vitality and contribute deeply to the Espoo story.
Finnish women's basketball has been on a steady rise, evidenced by the national team, Susiladies, and the success of younger age groups in European Championships. The Susiladies are currently aiming for a spot in the 2025 European Championship, following a qualifying victory against Bulgaria and a strong performance against Hungary.
Finland's junior teams have also achieved notable success, including a European Championship victory in the Under-18 Women's B Division in 2019 and a seventh-place finish in 2022. Additionally, Finland secured a sensational bronze at this year's women's Universiade and a fourth-place finish in the Under-16 European Championship, qualifying them for the Under-17 World Championship in 2024. The Finnish girls’ world ranking has impressively reached 15th.
Apart from team achievements, several young Finnish female basketball players have gained international recognition. These include WNBA player Awak Kuier, Lotta-Maj Lahtinen, who has transitioned from an outstanding college career at Georgia Tech to Spain's league, and Elina Aarnisalo, the top scorer of the 2023 Under-18 Women’s tournament.
Hosting the Women's Basketball European Championship in 2027 in Espoo will not only celebrate Finnish basketball's achievements but also inspire the next generation of players and further elevate the sport's profile in Finland and beyond.