Belgium and Italy wrap up the roster in 3×3 basketball as the event is set to make its Olympic debut. The two nations qualified at the 2021 3×3 Universality Olympic Qualification Tournament. Only nations which did not compete in basketball at the 2012 or 2016 Olympics were eligible to compete. The six highest ranked eligible nations competed in the men’s and women’s tournament. The event was held in Debrecen, Hungary from June 4th to June 6th 2021.
The six teams were placed into two pools of three where a round robin was held, the pool winners advanced directly to the semifinals while second and third place played a cross-over match against the other pool teams.
In the men’s event, Belgium won pool A thanks to 20-18 and 19-14 victories over Slovenia and Ukraine respectively. Slovenia finished second thanks to a 21-14 win over Ukraine. Likewise, Hungary won its two matches against Mongolia (21-8) and Romania (21-16). Mongolia finished second by defeating Romania 22-9.
In the cross-over matches Mongolia defeated Ukraine 19-17 while Slovenia advanced against Romania 21-12. Belgium narrowly won against Mongolia 16-15 to advance to the finals where they faced Hungary who defeated Slovenia 19-16. Belgium won the event and Olympic quota by defeating Hungary 21-14.
The women’s event saw Italy win pool A with victories against Chinese Taipei (21-11) and Iran (21-5). Chinese Taipei finished second thanks to a 16-10 win over Iran. Host nation Hungary followed in the men’s team footsteps and won pool B where they scored victories of 13-10 and 14-12 against Estonia and the Netherlands respectively. The Netherlands finished second after narrowly defeating Estonia 11-10.
The Netherlands easily won 20-10 against Iran in their cross-over match while Chinese Taipei defeated Estonia 21-17 to advance to the semifinals. The semifinals were won by the group winners as Italy won against the Netherlands 16-11 while Hungary was victorious against Chinese Taipei 21-9. The event was won by Italy who qualified to the Olympics by defeating Hungary 13-12.
This was the final opportunity for nations to qualify in 3×3 basketball. While Belgium has had rare international experiences, Italy was the 2018 World Cup gold medalists and will be hoping to repeat that success at the Olympics.