06 - 21
August 2016
4 Milos TEODOSIC (Serbia)
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Serbia elation after being named host of a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

BELGRADE (2016 Rio Olympics) - Serbia let it be known soon after their 67-64 defeat to Lithuania in the EuroBasket 2015 Semi-Finals last September that they wanted to stage one of the three FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQTs). Their wish was granted on Tuesday when the Executive Committee of FIBA announced the country would be one of the hosts.

Runners-up at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, fourth at last year's EuroBasket and holding a FIBA World Ranking Men of No. 6, Aleksandar Djordjevic's side will now have the advantage of playing Olympic qualifying games in front of raucous crowds at the Belgrade Arena, 4-10 July. Serbia's women qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Games last summer when they beat France in the title game at EuroBasket Women 2015.

Point guard Milos Teodosic, the captain of the men's team, expressed his satisfaction after Tuesday's announcement. Italy and the Philippines were also made host nations of OQTs.

I was very happy with the news that we will host the qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games. I think, therefore, we have a better chance of success, or to obtain a visa to go to Rio. I'm sure we will have great support in a packed Belgrade Arena, and the crowd will be our advantage over the opponents. - Teodosic

"Serbia is a country of basketball and I am confident that we will show that in the stands and on the court," added the 28-year-old. "Thanks to everyone that has contributed as we got the host status of the qualifying tournament."

Serbia are one of the best teams in international basketball. They showed it at the World Cup in Spain, coming out of a difficult Group A that included Spain, France, Brazil, Iran and Egypt, before reaching the Final. They ended up second to only the United States.

Last year, they appeared to have the makings of a championship side but lost to Lithuania, one of the traditional powerhouses in the international game. Only the finalists, eventual winners Spain and second-place Lithuania, qualified directly for the Olympics.

Djordjevic is also delighted. He says that now is the time to pull out all stops to reach Rio.

First of all, congratulations and much gratitude to the Basketball Federation of Serbia, as well as to a country that has stood behind us! This is a big thing for us and our basketball, a tail wind for achieving the set objectives. All together we have to concentrate on only one thing - qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio! - Djordjevic

The teams that will compete in the three OQTs include Angola, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia and Tunisia. In line with the final standings of EuroBasket 2015 and the FIBA World Ranking, Latvia, Croatia and Turkey will be invited to complete the 18-team OQTs line-up.

The draws for the three OQTs and the Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) - which is to be held in Nantes, France from 13-19 June - will take place at The House of Basketball, FIBA's headquarters in Mies, Switzerland, on 26 January.