06 - 20
August 2016
Iziane Castro (BRA)
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Castro welcomes Olympic Torch with eye on medal at Rio 2016

BRASILIA (2016 Rio Olympics) - As Brazil prepares to host the 2016 Rio Olympics, forward Iziane Castro has witnessed the arrival of the Olympic Torch on Tuesday in the capital city of Brasilia.

Castro, who is expected to star for her country at the Games, was among a number of local sporting personalities chosen to welcome the iconic symbol.

The Olympic flame arrived on board a flight from Geneva to embark on a procession across Brazil culminating in the Opening Ceremony on 5 August at the Maracana Stadium.

Despite the euphoria of attending a historic moment, what Castro really hopes is to be able to help Brazil accomplish its first Olympic medal since 2000 when they finished third.

Talking to FIBA.com, Castro recalled that, with the exception of the Olympic champions the USA, "all other teams - including Spain who can qualify [via the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT)] - are very similar to our team."

In Group A, Brazil has been matched up against Japan, Australia and three teams that will reach the Games via the WOQT. 

Our goal is to win a medal. We know it won’t be easy because of the quality of the teams involved but we are focusing a finish on the podium. The USA is favourite, but winning a medal at home - with the support of our crowd - is a possible dream to come true. - Castro

Although Castro has a storied career with the senior national team, which began with her competing as a 20-year at the 2002 FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, the significance of playing the Olympics at home comes at a special moment.

"Regardless of the result, I will be retiring after the Olympics," Castro said. "I am very happy with the opportunity of representing my country in such major event. I hope to give everything I can to hep Brazil succeed in the Rio Games."

Asked what makes her believe in their chances, the 1.81m forward said: "Our team blends young players with others with WNBA experience. So with the support of our fans, I feel that we can do really well in Rio."

Just a week ago, Castro was named MVP of the Liga de Basquete Feminino after sparking outsiders Sampaio Correa to a 3-1 Finals series win over star-studded Corinthians.

Now, the 34-year-old says, there is no time to rest on their laurels. It's time to make the most of the South Americans Championship - to be held in Venezuela later this month - and get ready for Rio 2016.

"The South American [Championship] will measure the team’s potential for the Olympics. We are going there to win it. The tournament will allow us to be hundred percent ready for the Games."

Under head coach Carlos Barbosa, Brazil opened a training camp on Monday in Sao Paulo. They will play three warm-up games against Cuba.