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Ingles, Australia aim to strike gold in Tokyo
SYDNEY (Australia) - Australia are going for gold at the Tokyo Olympics. It's what the Boomers aimed for at recent events and it won't be any different in Japan.
Remembering how close the Boomers were to reaching the Final at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China, the men from Down Under have every reason to be ambitious. Spain, the eventual champions, needed two overtimes to defeat Australia in their Semi-Final, 95-88.
"Patty (Mills) was the first one to say gold is what we need to do," said Australia star Joe Ingles on the NBL's Gibbo Goes One on One podcast.
"We needed to have the goal and everyone has embraced it. It has made us go to the next level. We have been right there so many times now which is so frustrating."
Australia also fell to Spain in the Bronze Medal Game at the 2016 Olympics, 89-88, in Rio de Janeiro. The country has yet to reach the podium at a World Cup or the Summer Games.
Both Ingles and Mills burst onto the scene with the Boomers at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Australia have a veteran team, one that also includes Matthew Dellavedova, Aron Baynes and Andrew Bogut.
NBA superstar Ben Simmons is waiting in the wings to play, too. Unavailable for last year's World Cup, the expectation is that the versatile 24-year-old of the Philadelphia 76ers will feature for Australia in Tokyo.
"The drive is to be the first men's national team to bring home a medal," Ingles said. "Why not make the first one a gold medal?
"Once our age group is done, that next group of younger guys is so good. Gold is what we are aiming for and hopefully whatever has gone on in the world settles down so we can go [to Tokyo] and compete. I'm very excited to play with those guys."
The Tokyo Games were supposed to be played this year but had to be pushed back to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"WE NEEDED TO HAVE THE GOAL AND EVERYONE HAS EMBRACED IT. IT HAS MADE US GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL."
Ingles also said on the podcast, which is hosted by former Boomer Adam Gibson, that he and Mills are not looking at Tokyo as if it will be their last Olympics. The two could feature at the 2024 Paris Games.
"I don't say last chance as you just never know with these things," he said.
"Patty and I have spoken about it a little bit. You just don't know. Playing for Australia, if they told me at 36 or 37 or whatever I'm going to be, that I can go to camp and possibly make a fifth Olympics, then why not?
"We went through Dave Andersen's phase where you just thought he would be done but each year he came back in great shape, would be playing well and playing consistently.
"Tokyo is in the foremost of your thinking. You put everything into that."