Saturday, February 24, 2024

Belgium qualifies for the 2024 Paris Olympics with victory in Antwerp

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Belgium thrilled the home crowd with a 97-66 victory over Senegal in the FIBA ​​Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Sports Palace in Antwerp on Friday night, February 9th. Emma Messeman showed once again why she’s one of the best players in the world with 32 points and seven rebounds.

With this victory, Belgium secured a spot for the women’s basketball team at the Paris Olympics. National Olympic Committees have exclusive authority to represent each country at the Olympic Games, and athletes’ participation in the Paris Games is dependent on the NOC’s selection of athletes to the Paris 2024 delegation. I am.

“There was a moment in the third quarter when our defense was much better. We were able to run, we had open shots and we were able to score,” Belgium’s Antonia Delaire said after the game. Ta. “We never thought we would be able to do this twice. For such a small country. It’s very special to do this with this group. And I think we can still improve. I think I can make my dreams come true.”

The Belgian Cats made their first Olympic appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and have since made a name for themselves in the international basketball world. Belgium finished fifth in the 2022 FIBA ​​World Cup and won the 2023 EuroBasket title. On Thursday, perennial powerhouse United States defeated Belgium with a last-minute buzzer-beater.

This success attracted large crowds to the tournament in Antwerp. On Thursday, fans broke attendance records for a women’s sporting event in Belgium. 13,700 fans flocked to Sport Palace to watch Belgium play the United States. Another large crowd, dressed in the colors of the Belgian flag, gathered at the venue on Friday.

“They’re amazing. Ten years ago we had about 50 people, but yesterday we had a full house. It’s even more special to do this in Antwerp because it’s my hometown. But they’re amazing. They’ve been there since day one, and doing this with them makes it even more special,” Delair said.

The Antwerp team will have Saturday (February 10) off.Belgium will play Nigeria on Sunday, while Senegal will face the United States.

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