2019.10.02 17:00

Lithuania aims to host Tokyo Olympics basketball qualifiers

LRT.lt2019.10.02 17:00

Lithuanian Basketball Federation aims to host one of four qualification torunaments for men’s basketball at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which should cost around 3 million euros.

The government is also willing to cover part of the funds needed, according to Lithuanian Basketball Federation press release.

“The government [is willing] to contribute [for] the Lithuanian men’s basketball team to reach the Tokyo Olympics,” said the Lithuanian Government Chancellor Algirdas Stončaitis.

The Lithuanian men's basketball team needs to qualify for the Olympics, as it failed to win a ticket to Tokyo after crashing out in the second round of FIBA World Cup earlier this summer.

Since Lithuania’s independence, the team has never missed the olympics, but had to compete once in a qualifying tournament in 2012 before the London Olympics.

“It’s important for every Lithuanian sports fan for the basketball team to reach the Tokyo Olympics,” said President of the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania, Daina Gudzinevičiūtė. “The qualifying tournament, wherever it takes place, is part of the preparation for the Olympics, so we will contribute to it as much as the budget permits it.”

Lithuania aims to host the tournament in June 23-28, 2020, at the Kaunas ‘Žalgiris’ arena.

“Our city has the best arena, great hotels – and most importantly – plenty of [basketball fans],” said Kaunas’ Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis.

A total of 24 teams, split into four groups, will compete in the qualifying tournaments. The Tokyo Olympics will take commence on July 24, and conclude on August 9, 2020.