The official press conference of the 3×3 Olympic qualification tournaments was held in Debrecen. Sixteen teams will compete in both the men’s and women’s events, with three men’s and three women’s national teams competing for the right to qualify for the Olympics.

The press conference of the 2024 Olympic qualification tournament was held in an unusual way in the arena in front of the Reformed Church.

“The fact that we can host an Olympic qualifier in the 3×3 basketball section for the second time is a huge recognition and honour for the city of Debrecen.I am confident that, as in previous years, the stands will be full,” Mayor László Papp said. 

“Since 2015, the cooperation with the International Basketball Association has been unbroken, thanks to which the Kossuth Square arena has become an iconic venue for the sport. Perhaps it is also thanks to us that the international recognition of 3×3 has developed to such an extent. I wish the teams good luck and less rainy weather,” László Papp added referring to the heavy rain in the first minutes of the media event.

“Three years ago, a wonderful journey began when the 3×3 section was represented for the first time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Debrecen was the starting point of that route, just like the current one. The five-ring qualifiers are always special, as you can get a ticket to the most prestigious competition in the world, so everything is set for another successful weekend, ” FIBA 3×3’s Operational Director Maximiliano Palheiro stated.

The chairman of the local organising committee István Becsky reassured the audience that the organisers are prepared even for the harshest weather conditions. He also stressed the role of Debrecen in the rise of the sport.

“I hope that the weather will be kinder to us, but we have also prepared a venue in case it rains, which will be the sports hall in Oláh Gábor Street. I am proud of the fact that we practically grew up together with the 3×3 section, and that we have made it from the streets to the biggest stage in existence, the Olympics. I don’t want to put any burden on our teams, but I sincerely hope that this time we will make it out,” István Becsky said. 

Three years ago, the Hungarian women’s national team was eliminated from the participation at the Olympics with a last-second basket. Klaudia Papp was the only member of the current team who was part of that fight. The controlling basketball player is expecting big games again and has called on the home crowd to help her achieve the desired results. “We were very close to qualification a month ago, but unfortunately we didn’t make it to Paris, but luckily we still have a chance. We have changed our team at one point, so our game will be different, but the time we have had behind us has been enough to prepare us. It’s always good to play in Debrecen, the crowd here is always a great source of strength, but we will need it, as we have to fight for the qualification in the toughest tournament of the season so far,” Klaudia Papp emphasised.

In 2021, the men came close to winning a flight to Tokyo, but in the end, they failed to do so. The team’s centre, Tamas Ivosev, now wants to finish the event without any sense of loss.

“We started our preparations a little later than usual, but overall we are in good shape. It makes a big difference that we all played 3×3 this year, so we only had to fine-tune our game. Three years ago, the qualification depended on one single match, that’s why we have a sense of missing. We will do our best to celebrate this weekend,” the centre player  said.

The women’s national team will compete against the best of Israel on Thursday evening at 7:20 p.m and the Netherlands at 9:35 p.m. The men will face Israel and Puerto Rico at the same times on Friday.


Author: Debrecen4U