Basketball

Two newcomers as women's Olympic basketball field finalised

The USA are favourites to defend their crown at Tokyo 2020, but a busy final day of qualifiers in Europe has thrown some new rivals into the mix.

By Andrew Binner ·

The pool of 12 teams that will compete for gold in women's basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been finalised.

With 2018 World Cup winners USA having already qualified alongside hosts Japan, the final ten places were decided in three qualifying tournaments, 6-9 February.

In Ostend, home heroes Belgium booked their maiden Olympic berth, alongside Canada.

In the French city of Bourges, France qualified alongside three-time Olympic silver medallists Australia, and another Games debutante in Puero Rico.

Finally in Belgrade, hosts Serbia, Nigeria, China, South Korea, and Spain won the final places for the Olympic tournament.

'Dreams do come true' for Belgium

Belgium's Emma Meesseman won the MVP award at the Olympic qualifying event in Ostend.

Spurred on my the home crowd, the 26-year-old centre lead her team to an impressive comeback victory against Sweden, ensuring that Belgium will play in their first Olympics at Tokyo 2020.

Fan favourite Meesseman, who is 1.93m (6 ft 4 inch) in height, helped her team bounce back from an opening loss to Canada, delivering an average of 20.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Tokyo 2020 basketball format

The draw for the women's basketball event at Tokyo 2020 will take place on March 21.

The 12 qualifiers will be split into three round-robin groups of four teams, where each team will play the other teams in their group once.

The top two finishers in each group and the two best third-place finishers from each group will qualify for the final phase.

The tournament be played July 27 to August 9.