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  • Basketball to host first qualification event as best female players descend on Sydney


    Sydney, Australia, will play host to the first Olympic qualification event in Basketball as the 2022 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup is set to being. Women's Basketball has twelve places at the Olympics, with the host nation, France, being joined by the World Cup winner.


    Twelve teams take part in this event, with hosts Australia and Olympic champions the United States qualifying directly. The rest of the teams had to come through a sixteen-team qualification event. The teams taking part were the four semifinalists in the 2021 FIBA Women's AmeriCup in Puerto Rico, with the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Canada clinching a spot, the top six teams at EuroBasket Women 2021 in France and Spain, with Serbia, France, Belgium, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Russia advancing; two teams from the 2021 Women's Afrobasket in Cameroon, these being Nigeria and Mali, and finally the top four from the 2021 FIBA Women's Asia Cup: these were Japan, China, Australia, and South Korea.


    The top three per group would qualify, even if they had already qualified for the final event. In Group A in Belgrade, Serbia, the hosts qualified along with Australia and Japan eliminating Brazil, while in Group B in the same city China, Nigeria and France qualified ahead of Mali. In Group C held in Japan, Belarus withdrew due to COVID-19, meaning Canada, Japan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina all qualified, while in Group D hosted in the United States and the Dominican Republic, the United States, Belgium, and Russia qualified ahead of Puerto Rico. However, Russia were then expelled due to the invasion of Ukraine, allowing Puerto Rico back in, while Nigeria then withdrew to be replaced by Mali. Nigeria's basketball federation has been beset by crisis in recent years as different factions vie for control, and the country's President responded by withdrawing Nigerian basketball teams from any international competition for the next two years to revamp the sport in the country: while the national team remains respectable, grassroots and domestic competitions remain dormant.


    The twelve teams were split into two groups of six based on seeding. Group A has the seeded United States, Belgium, and China joined by unseeded Puerto Rico, South Korea, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Group B had the seeded Australia, France and Canada joined by unseeded Japan, South Korea, and Nigeria, with Nigeria replaced by Mali after the draw.


    The majority of matches will take place at the Sydney Super Dome, home of the 21,000-capacity Sydney Kings, reigning men's basketball champions in Australia. Eight matches, including the opener between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Puerto Rico, Canada's match with Serbia, Puerto Rico's game against the reigning champions the USA, Belgium's clash with South Korea, Serbia's match with Mali, France's battle with Japan, China's match with Belgium, and finally Mali against Canada will take part at the 5,000-seater State Sports Centre, a former home of the Kings.


    The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, where a draw will take place to determine the single elimination bracket, with all games in that stage at the Super Dome. There will also be a third placed match, with the winner joining France at the Olympics.


    Patrick Green

    Writer, Totallympics News


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