COVID-19: Senegal To Pull Out Of Final Olympic Basketball Qualifier

Senegal have been forced to pull out of the International Basketball Federation Olympic Qualification Tournament due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

FIBA has confirmed that the Senegalese team withdrew due to “COVID-19 related disruptions” to their preparations.

It has been reported that three players and a member of staff had tested positive for COVID-19, meaning the team were unable to make the trip to the Serbian capital Belgrade for the final Olympic qualifier, which is set to start tomorrow.

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“Despite continuous effort from FIBA and the German Basketball Federation to support the Senegalese delegation, the team will not be able to travel to Belgrade and take part in the Olympic qualification tournament,” FIBA said in a statement.

Senegal had been due to face Puerto Rico tomorrow and Italy on Wednesday but the matches have now been called off, resulting in their two Group B opponents booking their places in the semi-final without playing a game.

Italy and Puerto Rico are scheduled to meet each other on Thursday in the only Group B match.

Group A comprises Dominican Republic, Philippines and hosts Serbia, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.

The event in Belgrade is one of four Olympic qualifiers being held, with the winner of each securing their place at the delayed 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Lithuania, South Korea and Venezuela are set to meet in Group A with Angola, Poland and Slovenia featuring in Group B in the tournament in Lithuanian city Kaunas.

Split is also staging one of the events, with hosts Croatia due to take on Brazil and Tunisia in Group B, while Germany, Mexico and Russia battle it out in Group A.

Canada will hope to make home advantage count when they take on Group A rivals China and Greece in Victoria, with Czech Republic, Turkey and Uruguay going head-to-head in Group B.

The group phase is due to commence tomorrow and conclude on July 2, with the semi-finals and final scheduled to take place on July 3 and 4.

The four nations that qualify will join the eight teams that already earned their country’s participation at the Olympics, scheduled to open in less than a month’s time.

Argentina, Australia, France, Iran, Nigeria, Spain and the United States all qualified directly via the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019, while Japan will also be in the tournament as hosts.

Credit: AFP

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