Victoria to remain host of FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in 2021

Canada's head coach Nick Nurse gestures during first half FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 exhibition game against Nigeria in Toronto. (Chris Young/CP)

When Canada Basketball resumes its quest for Olympic success, part of the journey will take place on home soil.

Victoria B.C. will retain its role as one of the host sites for the men’s FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament — which was originally scheduled to take place this summer before being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — FIBA announced Thursday. The tournament will now be played from June 29 to July 4, 2021.

“Communities across the Capital Region, Canada and around the world continue to show tremendous resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Clint Hamilton, Chair of Friends of Victoria Basketball, said in a press release.

“If we continue along this positive path we’re on, hosting the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer in Greater Victoria will be something we can all look forward to as a chance to witness world-class sport, celebrate our collective perseverance and the determined spirit shown in overcoming this global crisis.”

The four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will be played in Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia.

In total, 24 men’s national teams are set to compete in these qualifying tournaments, each of which will see six teams square off for a chance to compete in the Olympics.

The six participating teams for the tournament Canada is hosting have been divided into two groups of three teams each: Canada will face Greece and China in Group A, while Uruguay, Czech Republic and Turkey have been drawn into Group B.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals. The two semifinal winners will advance to the Final, with the winner qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

So far, seven teams have already earned Olympic berths from the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, along with Japan, who qualified by being hosts.

“Next summer’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be a much welcomed occasion to realize the power of sport and help unite our country,” Glen Grunwald, President and CEO of Canada Basketball, said in a press release. “Let’s all plan on coming together to cheer on Team Canada to a berth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“Representing your country is one of the greatest honours in sport,” Grunwald said. “I know our players will see the challenge ahead of them next summer as one small opportunity to recognize the daily sacrifices of all the frontline workers who are keeping our country safe and operating during this pandemic.”

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