Austria the new destination for 3x3 basketball Olympic qualifiers
The Olympic qualifiers for the 3x3 basketball tournament will now be held in Austria instead of India next year, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced on Tuesday.
The qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics were due to be held in Bengaluru between March 18-22 this year but subsequently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will now be held on May 26-31, 2021 in the city of Graz, Austria, making it the European nation’s first official FIBA 3x3 competition.
"FIBA is delighted that the road to the Olympics will stop in Graz's iconic Hauptplatz,” FIBA’s Executive Director for Europe Kamil Novak said in his official statement.
“The Austrian authorities have vowed to make it the greenest, most sustainable event to date, which is entirely in line with our concept of reduced ecological footprint of 3x3.”
The nation’s sports federation, Basketball Austria and the local Graz organizers are looking to build a 2000-strong temporary outdoor venue specifically for the 3x3 qualifiers.
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Though basketball has been played at the Olympics before, the 3x3 version of the event is set to make its bow at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
It is set to be an eight-team tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, for both men and women, and the top-four FIBA-ranked teams as of November 1, 2019, from each gender are already eligible to play at the event.
The men’s and women’s teams from Russia, China and Mongolia have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics while the Serbia men and the Romania women make up the fourth team in their respective gender.
The 3x3 Olympic qualifiers in Austria will witness 20 teams from each gender vie for the three spots, awarded to the podium finishers, up for grabs.
The final spot in each gender will be decided by a FIBA 3x3 Universality Olympic qualifying tournament to be held in Budapest, Hungary, the date for which is yet to be announced.