By Emmanuel Okogba
Nigeria’s basketball teams D’Tigress and D’Tigress have been drawn in group B for both events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
D’Tigers are yet to know all their opponents, but they do know they have Australia for starters and will wait for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to know the two other countries in their group.
D’Tigress on their part will have to best their previous Olympic performances to come out of a group that has basketball powerhouse USA, France and host Japan.
Olympic basketball champions the United States will face France and Iran in the men’s group stages of the Tokyo Olympics following Tuesday’s draw.
Vanguard gathered from world basketball body, FIBA‘s website that host nation Japan will have European powerhouses Spain for company.
The US team are seeking their fourth consecutive men’s basketball gold and 16th in total after seeing off Serbia for the title in Rio 2016 and the Spanish in London and Beijing in 2012 and 2008.
Joining the mighty US, France and Iran in Group A will be the winner of Greece, China, Canada, Uruguay, Czech Republic and Turkey from a qualifying event in Victoria, Canada in late June.
The men’s competition in Tokyo begins on July 25, three days after the scheduled conclusion of the NBA finals.
The draw at the International Basketball Federation’s headquarters in Mies, Switzerland, pitted Spain and Japan with Argentina, bronze medallists in 2008 with Group C completed by the winner of a qualifying event in Kaunas consisting of Lithuania, South Korea, Venezuela, Poland, Slovenia and Angola.
Australia, who can call on several NBA players, are in Group B with Nigeria and two other teams decided by qualifying events in Split (Germany, Russia, Mexico, Tunisia, Croatia and brazil) and in Belgrade (Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Serbia, Puerto Rico, Italy, Senegal).
FIBA Secretary General, Andreas Zagklis, said: “We are looking forward to enjoying the world’s best basketball players performing this coming July in the capital of Japan. FIBA is confident for the smooth delivery of the Olympic Basketball Tournaments based on the close partnership with the IOC and the TOCOG as well as on its own, proven operational capacity during the last seven months. Last October and November FIBA and its Regional Offices managed to have no less than 114 men’s and women’s national teams travel internationally and play safely in bio-secure hubs, performing approximately 12,000 PCR tests.”