The Men’s tournament will see hosts Great Britain face 2008 Olympic Silver medallists Spain; while 2008 Olympic Champions USA face world number three Argentina. The Women’s tournament sees Great Britain grouped with Olympic Silver medallists Australia and European champions Russia; while 2008 Olympic Champions USA face Asia champions China
The draws for the London 2012 Olympic Basketball tournaments were made today confirming the Group Stages for the Men’s and Women’s tournaments.
The draw produced some interesting games for the group stages. The Men’s Tournament will include hosts Great Britain against European champions and Beijing silver medallists Spain, while Olympic champions and world number one USA will face Beijing bronze medallists and world number three Argentina. In the Women’s tournament current European champions and Beijing bronze medallists Russia will face Beijing silver medallists Australia, while Olympic champions and world number one USA will face current Asia champions China. Great Britain’s Women’s team will face world number 2 Australia in their first game.
The Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball tournaments will each feature 12 teams. For the Men’s competition, nine teams have already qualified for London 2012 with the remaining three places to be decided at an Olympic Qualifying tournament in Venezuela from the 2nd–8th July. For the Women’s competition, seven teams have already qualified with the remaining five places to be decided at an Olympic Qualifying tournament in Turkey from the 25th June to 1st July.
Today’s draw hosted by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in Rio saw teams drawn into two groups for the Preliminary rounds of the Men’s and Women’s tournament. The confirmed draws for the group stages are:
(The remaining 3 qualifiers for the Men’s tournament will be decided at the Olympic qualifying tournament featuring Angola, Dominican Republic, Greece, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, FYROM, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Russia and Venezuela – a draw on the final day of the qualifying tournament on July 8th will determine which of the 3 qualifying teams join which groups)
(The remaining 5 qualifiers in the Women’s tournament will be decided at the Olympic qualifying tournament featuring Argentina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Korea, Mali, Mozambique, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Turkey – a draw on the final day of the qualifying tournament on 1st July will determine which of the 5 qualifying teams join which groups)
Debbie Jevans, Director of Sport at LOCOG said: “The Olympic Basketball tournaments will see some of the biggest basketball stars in the world come to London to compete for Gold. Today’s draw gives us a glimpse of some of the exciting encounters, world-class players and top teams we’ll see in action this summer.”
Following the draw, FIBA Secretary General and IOC Member Patrick Baumann said: "For every major Championship, the draw is a major milestone. Players begin picturing themselves on the court and thinking about match-ups. Fans start imagining the atmosphere. The 2008 Men's Final between the USA and Spain was one of the greatest Olympic moments. It showed the huge strides international basketball had made in becoming more and more competitive. I expect this year's Olympic Basketball Tournaments will be a great and memorable spectacle for all."
Great Britain Men’s captain Drew Sullivan said: "When you’re involved an Olympic Games, you know you’re playing against the best of the best, so there isn't such a thing as an easy draw. As a nation we are extremely proud of making it this far but that’s only part of the goals we've laid out for ourselves. We'll continue to try and improve with a strong training camp once we are all together. We understand the challenge ahead of us and it is something we are all looking forward to.”
Great Britain Women’s captain Julie Page said: “Now that the draw has been made, it brings everything into perspective and it all feels very real. I am ecstatic by the prospect of the Olympic tournament and cannot wait to take to the court against these teams. The competition are tough but we are looking forward to lining up against them in the summer. We have an extremely strong preparation period ensuring we are fully prepared and raring to go.”
During the London 2012 Games, the Basketball Arena on the Olympic Park will host the Men’s preliminary games and Women’s event up to quarter final stage. The men’s quarter-finals and women’s semi-finals onwards will then move to the North Greenwich Arena.
The Women’s tournament tips-off with the first group game on Saturday 28 July, ending with the Women’s Gold Medal game on Saturday 11th August. The Men’s tournament tips-off with the first group game on Sunday 29th July, ending with the Men’s Gold Medal game on Sunday 12th August.