3×3 Athletic Director Stano Stileshammer said the Olympics “is every athlete’s dream”. For men, Austria has a team of ex-Bundesliga players and international professionals in “Thunderdome” on the main square in Graz, which has now specialized in 3×3 for nearly a year.
The selection process is led by local champion Moritz Laniger, assisted by naturalized Fabricio Fay, Philip Kramer and Matthias Lenurtner. According to Stelzhammer, the ÖBV wanted to be a “pike in a carp pond”. “If we’re there at full intensity and our heads are 100 percent, we have a chance to achieve the grand goal of the Olympics,” Laniger said. “The twitch is getting stronger. We’re excited to be starting the tournament soon.”
Surprise cannot be ruled out for the ladies
Austrian players are always “at home in traditional basketball”. Camila Newman plays UBI Graz, Sarah Saggerer and Anya Foxx have recently worked in Poland and Germany. Rebecca Kalidjeev studies and plays at Southeastern University in Florida.
Newman and Fox-Robitten know what it’s like to feel successful 3×3. I came home with the silver medal from the World University Cup in China in the fall of 2019. Sports Director Stileshammer said confidently that the women’s team can “offer surprises”. “We will do our best,” Sakr declared, “We want to work as a team and play on our strengths.” The 25-year-old added anticipation to the event.
Two teams from the top ten in each group
Basketball 3×3 Olympic premieres in Tokyo. In the qualifiers in Graz, there will be 20 teams for both women and men. They fight for three tickets per match. If you look at the current 3×3 rankings, the local teams will be seen as strangers. The group competitions are Italy (seventh), Spain (ninth), Switzerland (16) and Taiwan (20) ahead of ÖBV women (29).
The men of Austria (27) are also waiting for two of the top ten teams in the group stage: Latvia (five) and the Netherlands (seven). Canada is in eleventh place, and Croatia is ranked 26th. From the complexes, the first and second places qualify for the quarter-finals.
The local gentlemen also have to deal – once again – with the best player in the world currently. Latvia, Nauris Miezis, tops the singles standings. Among the women, Italian Raelin Dalí was number six, followed by Spanish women Aitana Cuevas and Vega Gemino. This also shows what ‘caliber’ awaits ÖBV teams.
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