It was a huge achievement for Iran Basketball team when they qualified for Tokyo 2020 olympics in the qualifiers after their tipsy-turvy performances in the recent years.
Ramin Tabatabaei, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Basketball Federation (IRIBF), has set reaching the quarter-finals as the men’s team’s goal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Our first goal is to advance to the next phase since we want to be among the world’s top eight teams,” Tabatabaei said, speaking to the Tehran Times. “In the Tokyo qualification which was held last year, we showed an outstanding performance against Spain, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, Angola and the Philippines.
“We were the best Asian team in the tournament which was held in China. In Tokyo, Iran will have a chance to defend their credibility and we want to qualify for the next stage for the first time ever.”
Mehran Shahintab was the head coach for Iran at the World Cup, and he has a “good chance” of retaining the role at Tokyo 2020. An IRIBF Technical Committee will choose the head coach, according to Tabatabaei. Iran’s basketball team last reached the Olympics at Beijing 2008, losing all five games and finishing 11th out of 12 teams. Iran’s participation at next summer’s Olympics is a divisive issue and there have been calls for the nation to be banned following the execution of wrestler Navid Afkari.
Iran have qualified for the Olympic basketball tournament for just the third time, following their exploits at last year’s World Cup. Despite losing all three group games – including an eight-point defeat to eventual winners Spain – Iran finished as the highest-ranked Asian team at the tournament. They beat Angola and the Philippines in the classification round to achieve that feat and Olympic qualification, edging out China on points difference.