04 - 09
July 2016
15 Hamed EHADADI (Islamic Republic of Iran)
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Haddadi in fine fettle as Iran win Atlas Challenge

SUZHOU (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Iran's confidence will be soaring after clinching top spot in the Atlas Challenge with a victory over a Lithuania B national team in China.

Preparing for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Turin, the Iranians overcame a China B, 80-66, in the Semi-Finals and then beat their Baltic opponents in the title game, 85-70.

Hamed Haddadi poured in 22 points to lead Iran. Haddadi, Iran's center for nearly a decade, played at last year's FIBA Asia Championship. He had been his country's best player at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

In earlier games at the Atlas Challenge, Iran defeated the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MKD), 80-75 and American college basketball team Idaho Vandals, 71-62. In their victory over Idaho, Haddadi shone with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Iran also beat Lithuania before advancing to the Semi-Finals, 78-76. Iran have been in good form of late. They recently won the WABA Championship as the host nation.

At the OQT in Turin, Iran will play in Group A against Greece and Mexico. If they finish in the top two, Dirk Bauermann's team will advance to a Semi-Final and face a team out of a Group B which consists of Croatia, Italy and Tunisia.

Only the winner of the OQT will advance to the Rio de Janeiro Games. Iran played at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing but did not qualify for the event four years ago in London.