GENEVA, Switzerland, FIBA Press Release, November 1, 2011: Seven countries from three continents have submitted bids to host the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQT) for Men and Women, serving as further proof of the growing interest in hosting major basketball tournaments.
The FIBA OQT for Men will be held in Angola, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Lithuania or Venezuela (2-8 July), while the Women’s Tournament will take place in Argentina, Czech Republic or Turkey (25 June-1 July). For the first time ever, the list of bidders includes countries from outside Europe.
Following the conclusion of the last continental Olympic qualifiers, the National Federations of the 24 countries qualified for the OQTs – 12 for the Men’s and 12 for the Women’s – were given until 31 October to inform FIBA of their desire to host the respective tournaments. The FIBA Central Board will decide on both organisers of the OQTs during its board meeting to be held on 10-11 December in Madrid, Spain.
Angola, who this past summer failed to win Afrobasket for the first time since 1997, finished runners-up to grab one of the two African OQT places. They have hosted Afrobasket on three occasions, the last of which came in 2007. The country has never hosted a worldwide FIBA Event.
F.Y.R. of Macedonia, who finished fourth at EuroBasket 2011, are bidding to host the first major basketball event in their history. However, they have held two European youth tournaments in 2011, the U20 European Championship for Women and the U16 European Championship Division B for Men.
Lithuania hosted EuroBasket 2011, where they finished fifth, grabbing one of the four OQT places attributed to Europe. In recent years, they have shown a strong desire to host international basketball tournaments, having welcomed the 2010 U18 European Championship for Men and are set to host their first worldwide event in 2012 with the second edition of the FIBA U17 World Championship.
Venezuela secured the last of FIBA Americas’ three OQT places by coming in fifth in Mar del Plata. Having never organised a worldwide FIBA Championship, they did however host the 2006 South American Championship for Men and the 2000 Americas U18 Championship for Men.
Argentina’s women finished runners-up at the FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Columbia last month. The country hosted the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship for Men. Argentina was the host of the FIBA World Championship for Men in 1950 and 1990 but have never organised a worldwide women’s FIBA event.
Turkey claimed an impressive silver medal at EuroBasket Women 2011. After having successfully hosted the 2010 FIBA World Championship and attributed the hosting duties for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, the country’s strong desire to organise major tournaments is backed by the rapid growth of the game domestically.
The Czech Republic finished fourth at EuroBasket Women 2011, a year after taking second place at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, which they hosted with great success. The Czechs were also the organisers of EuroBasket Women in 1995.
FIBA and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments
The Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) was first introduced in 1960. It was played according to a variety of formats until it was discontinued in 1992. It was reintroduced in 2008, and took place in Athens, Greece. Croatia, Germany and Greece booked the final three places on offer for the Beijing Olympics.
The 2012 edition will take place 2-8 July. The top two teams from each group will progress to the Quarter-Finals. The two winning Semi-Finalists will qualify for London alongside the winner of the third- place playoff.
The 12 teams that will compete in the 2012 OQT are: Angola, Dominican Republic, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Greece, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Russia and Venezuela.
The 2012 OQT for Women will be played 25 June-1 July. The 12 teams will be divided into four groups of three teams. The top two teams from each group will progress to the Quarter-Finals. The four Semi-Finalists and winner of the fifth-place playoff will qualify for London. In 2008, Belarus, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Spain and Latvia took the five spots on offer.
The 12 teams that will compete in the 2012 OQT for Women are: Argentina, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Korea, Mali, New Zealand, Senegal and Turkey.