Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Murray Wenzel

Opals' Olympic path to Paris goes through Brazil

The Opals must finish in the top three of a four-team qualifying group to reach the Paris Olympics. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Just don't finish last. The equation is simple as the Opals attempt to punch a ticket to next year's Paris Olympics.

Australia's women's basketball team were drawn to play Germany, Serbia and hosts Brazil in a round-robin qualification tournament in February next year.

To earn one of 12 Games spots, the world No.3 Opals must finish in the top three against 10th-ranked Germany, 25th-ranked Germany and world No.8 Brazil.

The Opals were crowned world champions in 2006 and won three silver and two bronze medals between the 1996 and 2012 Games.

But they have been off the pace in the last two tournaments, finishing eighth in a Tokyo campaign disrupted by the controversial late withdrawal of key figure Liz Cambage.

"I'm looking forward to the qualifying tournament, Paris is creeping up quickly and we have a short window to prepare," coach Sandy Brondello said.

"There is so much work to be done to ensure our place in Paris and I know our players all have the commitment and motivation needed to qualify."

Brondello is coach of the WNBA finals-bound New York Liberty.

She will draw players from the WNBL - most of Australia's WNBA talents will return to play in the domestic league - and Europe for the qualification tournament.

That pool will include 42-year-old Lauren Jackson, who has recovered from an Achilles injury and this week committed to the Southside Flyers for the WNBL season from November 1.

Jackson came out of retirement and starred as the Opals won World Cup bronze on home soil last October, the four-time Olympian and three-time WNBA MVP insisting at the time she wouldn't play for Australia again.

"I'm looking forward to the WNBL and European seasons starting so I can watch our players, as always selection will be tough," Brondello said.

"As we always say qualifying for big tournaments is getting harder each year as the competition intensifies but that's the challenge that drives us to stay at the top."

The Boomers, who won bronze at Tokyo's Games, qualified for Paris at the recent World Cup.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.