Basketball under the radar at the Olympic Test Event, in case you forgot … or knew, Rio 2016 blog

The Olympic Basketball Test Event begins Friday inside building one of the Carioca Arena in Rio. The upcoming women’s basketball event hasn’t received a lot of attention compared to the 2011 edition in London but still preparations are under way.

Women:

VENEZUELA PREPARE FOR EARLY RIO TRIP

Venezuela’s men stunned all by winning the FIBA Americas crown last summer to automatically qualify for the Rio Games, and now the women want to emulate them by advancing to the Olympics, via the Additional Qualifiers.

The women get an early taste of the Rio Games on Friday when they take part in the Olympic Test Event.

Venezuela will open their account with a game against Brazil and then on day two, meet Australia. The third and last game for Venezuela at the test event will be against Argentina on January 17.

“This test event will be of a high level and we want to leave a good impression,” Venezuela coach Oscar Silva said. “But the most important thing is to tune up for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. I am calling up three new players, (Vanesa Candallo, Thalia Garcia and Keysi Ford) to see what they offer us.”

Yvaney Marquez, Luisana Ortega, Cleider Blanco, Waleska Perez, Mirna Araujo, Endrina Bolivar, Edicta Blanco, Marielka Garate, Zenahir Almedia, Vanesa Candallo, Thalia Garcia and Keysi Ford are suiting up for Venezuela in Rio.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR JAPAN?

They have dominated the women’s basketball scene in Asia since 2013 but when given the chance, have failed to impress on the global stage.

Japan wants to change that in Brazil this summer.

And hopefully, they will have star players Asami Yoshida and Ramu Tokashiki on board when they fly out to Rio in August.

Yoshida was out of Japan’s squad for the 2014 FIBA world championship for women in Turkey due to a serious knee injury, and as a result, the Asian side lost their three group games against Spain, Czech Republic and Brazil.

Yoshida returned from injury at last summer’s FIBA Asia tournament for women was made an instant impact, ultimately leading Japan to a second straight continental title.

Will Japan show their true worth at the Rio Games? Photo: FIBA

Tokashiki on the other hand played some of her best basketball at the Asian championships, and there looks to be more on the way for the forward.

“Tokashiki does so much for us,” said Japan assistant Tom Hovasse. “Not even just scoring but her presence on defense. Even if she doesn’t block a shot, she forces them to miss shots. A lot of times, we don’t have to double-team.”

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