Estonian 3x3 teams made it to European Basketball Championship finals
Estonian teams will take part in the 3x3 European Basketball Championship in Antwerp, Belgium in September. Estonia's women's team will play in the Championship for the first time.
Based on the decision of the International Basketball Association (FIBA) and the developments of Covid-19, only the final tournament will be held this year, where only the 12 best countries according to last year's FIBA 3x3 ranking table entered, both Estonian men's and women's 3x3 national teams.
In the men's competition, Serbia, France, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Belgium, Belarus, Latvia, Poland, The Netherlands, and Estonia entered the European Championship finals according to the FIBA 3x3 rating.
In the women's competition, France, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Belgium, Belarus, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, and Estonia will play in the final tournament.
Reigo Kimmel, head of the Estonian Basketball Association (Eesti Korvpalliliit) said: "This is the most important news of this year in Estonian 3x3 basketball. We must now focus on the players who would like to be part of the Estonian national team in the Olympic finals and their preparation, which is the most important decision of taking part of international 3x3 experience."
He added reaching the final tournament of the European Championship in 3x3 basketball is a historic achievement.
"If we have reached the 3x3 World Championships five times with men and twice with women, then we have reached the 3x3 European Championship final tournament only once with men and never before with women," Kimmel added.
He also said all Estonian female basketball players, whose last year's efforts were to reach the Tokyo Olympic Games, including the 3x3 silver medals of the European Games, also helped the Estonian men's team to reach the 3x3 European Championships, should be thanked for this time's final entry.
Head coach of 3x3 teams, Siim Raudla said: "First of all, we must thank all the women and girls who took part in the tournaments organized in Estonia last year to get to the Tokyo Olympics."
As a former indoor and 3x3 basketball player, Raudla knows the autumn time of the tournament can cause problems in choosing the line-up.
"The timing of the European Championships, which is the end of September, is definitely not the best option for us, as it coincides exactly with the beginning of the hall season. But we are glad that the tournament is taking place at all, otherwise, our direct entries would probably have failed.
"I sincerely hope that our basketball community will save and that all Estonian basketball clubs will be ready to make small exceptions for home basketball players at the end of September to allow their club players to participate in the Olympic Championship final. Who knows when and if such an opportunity will come to us," added Raudla.
The 3x3 European Basketball Championship medal guarantees players Estonian Olympic Committee (Eesti Olümpiakomitee - EOK) A or B category support for two years, the victory gives an automatic ticket to the 2021 3x3 European Championships and the 2022 3x3 Basketball World Championships.
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Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein