20 women and men teams from 36 countries come to the Styrian capital and compete in four preliminary round groups for promotion. Since the quarter-finals, the knockout duel has been all three Olympic tickets. ORF Sport + will broadcast the tournament live and matches for Austrian teams will also be broadcast on ORF1.
For the ladies, local hero Camilla Neumann will play for Upper Austrian Sara Segrer and two Viennese Anja Fuchs-Robetin and Rebecca Kalayadjeev Austria. Newman and Fuchs-Robatin were the Vice World champions at the University World Championships in 2019. The preparation team of Austrians running from the end of April was a bit miffed by a positive coronavirus test.
Whatever it is, a difficult period awaits the local quartet in the early stages. The Austrians meet in Group D against Taiwan, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Austrian sports director and coach Stano Stelzhammer was quoted in the APA as saying that Spain was a “clear favorite”, and that the Italians were also highly valued as former world champions. According to the coach, Switzerland is also one of the top ten countries in 3×3. Only the opening rival Taiwan is difficult to analyze. Asians in Pool D are “big strangers”.
Gentleman “can beat anyone”
The men’s team consists of 3×3 professional Moritz Lennager of Graz, Fabricio Way of Lower Austria, Matthias Linortner of Upper Austria and Philipp Kramer of Bergenland. Stelzhammer said at a press conference on Tuesday that he was expecting “an event at the highest level” in Graz. According to the team boss, “the best teams in the world” are in the beginning. In relation to the tournament, the “first goal” is still to be in the tournament on the day of the finals (May 30). “We’ll do everything,” the sports director promised: “We can beat anyone, we’ve already proved it.”
The men of the Austrian Basketball Association (ÖBV) have been preparing for the event since last July, with twelve to 14 training units six days a week. He last came in sixth at the World Tour in Doha. For Lennager & Co. it is in Pool D against Latvia, Croatia, Netherlands and Canada. According to Stelzmer, Latvia is the top favorite for the Olympic ticket. The Netherlands proved how strong they are by winning the World Tour in Doha. Canada has “great potential”, Croatia being traditionally good players. “It will depend a lot on the conditions of the day,” said the sports director.
Spectacle in front of the audience
The tournament in Graz will take place in front of the spectators. That would be 1,000 per day, BV Secretary General Stephen Laimer said on Tuesday. Each has two slots (late morning / afternoon or late afternoon / evening, note). Fans who received tickets by lottery can expect a strict security concept: eight people will be in a box to guarantee better detection in the event of an infection. The “3-G rule” will be part of the security concept, as will the “bubble” solution for players. These are isolated in hotels in Graz – warm-up courts have been set up next to them.
The Thunderdome, which was built specifically for the spectacle, has a diameter of 30 meters and a circumference of about 96 meters. Below, a structure about 60 cm high will be erected to compensate for the slightly bent main square, with a double layer of wooden panels. A carpet is placed on top of it and a basketball floor is placed over it. The court itself will be 15 by 19 meters. After five match days, the construction will be rebuilt for two days for the Sport Austria Final 2021 from 3 to 6 June.
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