Friday, March 1, 2024

Nigeria’s D’Tigress Qualify For Paris Olympics

D’Tigress will be in Paris as they punched their ticket to the 2024 Olympic Games despite their defeat to the USA on Friday.

Despite suffering a heavy 100-48 defeat to the USA on Friday, Nigeria’s national women’s basketball team, D’Tigress, have secured qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

This achievement came as a result of Senegal’s loss to hosts Belgium later that same evening, coupled with Nigeria’s victory over Senegal on Thursday.

With the USA already securing their Olympic berth as reigning world champions, the Antwerp qualification series aimed to allocate two additional spots from the four participating teams. According to the FIBA website, “The tournaments in Antwerp, Belgium and Xi’an, China, will determine the qualification of the two highest-ranked teams, excluding USA and France.”

D’Tigress’ critical comeback victory against Senegal proved pivotal, particularly after Senegal’s subsequent defeat to Belgium. The team’s official X (formerly Twitter) page announced, “Nigeria have clinched qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics and secured back-to-back appearances at the showpiece event, having also featured last time at Tokyo 2020.”

Coach Rena Wakama and Elizabeth Balogun addressed the team’s slow start against the USA, which led to the significant loss. “I challenge my girls every day to play with urgency and fire; I think we lacked that from the start, and this is the wrong opponent to lack that,” Wakama explained.

Despite attempts to rectify the situation in the second half, Wakama admitted that “at that point, it was too late.”

Meanwhile, the FIBA Olympics Women qualifiers continue in Sopron, Hungary, where Canada, Japan, Hungary, and Spain are vying for three slots; in Belem, Brazil, where Australia, Brazil, Germany, and Serbia compete for three tickets; and in Xi’an, China, where China, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico are battling for two spots.

With France (hosts), the USA (world champions), Belgium, and now Nigeria already qualified, D’Tigress aim to improve on their 11th place finish at the 2020 Olympic Games under Coach Wakama’s leadership in France.

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