The Australian Boomers have been drawn into Group B for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, setting up a clash with Nigeria, as well as two currently unknown opponents.
As it stands, Australia is the highest-ranked team in Group B, but there are still a pair of yet-to-be decided countries to join them and the Nigerians, with Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in Belgrade, Serbia and Split, Croatia to determine who joins them at the Games.
The qualifying tournament in Split features Germany, Russia, Mexico, Tunisia, Croatia and Brazil, while the Belgrade event will be between the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Serbia, Puerto Rico, Italy, and Senegal. Both of those home countries have the ability to suit up high-quality teams, likely making Croatia and Serbia the favourites to join Australia in Group B.
Team USA was drawn into Group A, which features Iran, France, and the winner of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria, Canada.
The Boomers are coming off a fourth-placed finish at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which came after earning the same result at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
An extended Boomers squad for the Tokyo Olympics is expected to be announced this week. The Boomers’ core – featuring the majority of Australia’s NBA cohort – have all committed to playing in the Olympics, despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the concerns that the event may not even go ahead.
The Australian Opals were placed into Group C during the Draw Ceremony – held in Mies, Switzerland on Tuesday evening (AEDT) – alongside Puerto Rico, China, and Belgium.
As of today, the men’s preliminary rounds are schedule to begin on Jul. 25, while the women’s tournament will commence on Jul. 26.
The New Zealand Tall Blacks have yet to qualify for Tokyo, and will play in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade – set to tip off on Jun. 29 – with the hopes of booking a spot. If they win the tournament, they’ll join Australia in Group B.