11 Vega Gimeno (ESP), 13 Sandra Ygueravide (ESP)
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3x3 Spanish stars Ygueravide and Gimeno overcome painful memories to fulfill Olympic dreams

DEBRECEN (Hungary) - 3x3 stars Sandra Ygueravide and Vega Gimeno jumped for joy and embraced each other after Spain emotionally clinched a ticket to the Paris Games at an unforgettable FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament

It was particularly satisfying for Ygueravide and Gimeno, who had experienced their toughest moment of their careers on the same half-court only three years ago. 

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The victory had helped banish the ghosts of 2021 when Ygueravide and Gimeno were sobbing in the players' entrance tunnel after their Tokyo Olympic dreams had been crushed. 

They were heartbroken after Spain fell in OT to Japan in the fight for the final tickets at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

It was a particularly bitter defeat for the dynamic duo, who had also been part of Spain's devastating exits at the World Cup and Europe Cup in 2019.

As the realization set in, with the agony still raw, Ygueravide and Gimeno were unsure whether they could bounce back. But, eventually, the pain subsided and they rediscovered their passion for the game they love. 

The agony from the trio of gut punches only made them stronger as Ygueravide and Gimeno were on a mission in 3x3. 

It particularly lit a fuse under the brilliant Ygueravide, whose insane talents saw her crowned the No.1 player in the world with her masterpiece being a MVP effort in Spain's title at the Europe Cup 2021


But silverware has been hard to find since even though Spain continued to be a power on the Women's Series. Spain have fallen at the quarters in the past four World Cups, but looked to have rediscovered their best form at last year's Europe Cup. 

With the towering Gimeno a walking bucket, Spain stormed to the final only to fall short against the Netherlands. 

For some time, Gimeno and Ygueravide had circled 2024 because this was their chance to redeem themselves and finally lead Spain into the Olympics. 

Spain only had one opportunity to make the Olympics after not playing in the opening two qualifying tournaments.

But with a determined Gimeno and Ygueravide at the steering wheel, Spain were not to be denied as they took down powerhouse Canada in an instant classic to claim a ticket to Paris. 

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Ygueravide proved why she is one of 3x3's greatest players after submitting one of her best ever performances with 8 points and 6 highlights to dominate Canada.

While Gimeno owned the paint and was unstoppable all tournament long to lead Spain with 35 points in 5 games. 

After realizing they had become Olympians, it wasn't long before these Spanish warriors were once again breaking down and crying in Debrecen.

But this time they were tears of joy.