South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, has qualified for the men’s basketball tournament at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

South Sudan cruised to a 101-78 victory over Angola in the FIBA World Cup 2023 Round of 17-32 on Sunday in Quezon City, Philippines.

With the win, South Sudan finished 17th in the 32-nation tournament and qualified for the Paris Olympics, which is awarded to the top-ranked African nation.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in 2011 after decades of civil war.

A National Olympic Committee (NOC) was formed in 2015, and the country competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as part of a refugee team.

The country was awarded one male and one female athlete by the World Association of Athletics Federations for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, marking the first time a men’s basketball team has qualified for the Olympics on its own.

Currently ranked 62nd in the FIBA rankings, the team proved to be a force to be reckoned with at the tournament, defeating China, which featured NBA player Kyle Anderson.

“Qualifying for the Olympic Games is a great achievement that goes beyond basketball,” said Luol Deng, head of the South Sudan Basketball Association and a former NBA player who coached the team at the tournament.

“Most of the South Sudanese athletes are refugees or second-generation refugees,” he told ESPN.

Deng asked his high school friend Royal Ivy to coach the South Sudanese team three years ago.

Coached by Ivey, who is now the head coach of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, the team traveled to Kenya, Tunisia, and Australia to play games and earn ranking points, while also training outdoors on concrete floors.

Wenyen Gabriel, who played for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers last season, was born in Sudan in 1997 and moved with his family to Egypt when he was just two weeks old, and later lived in England and the United States before donning the South Sudanese national team’s colors.

Kaman Maluachi, a 16-year-old who is expected to be a top pick in the 2025 NBA Draft, lived in a refugee camp in Uganda before discovering basketball through the NBA Academy in Senegal.

Japan also qualified for the Paris Olympics with an 80-71 victory over Cape Verde, the highest-ranked Asian nation at No. 19.

This is the first time in 48 years that Japan’s men’s basketball team has qualified for the Olympic Games on its own since Montreal 1976.

It will be the second consecutive Olympic Games for Japan, which will compete as the host nation at Tokyo 2021.

Twelve nations will compete in the men’s basketball tournament in Paris, and so far, four countries have confirmed their participation, including host France, South Sudan and Japan, as well as Oceania’s representative, Australia. 카지노사이트