Korea in Olympics men’s basketball qualifiersKorea has earned a place in the last stage of the Olympic men’s basketball qualifying tournament by moving up in the world rankings.
Korea moved up two spots to reach No. 30 in the latest rankings released by FIBA, the international basketball governing body, on Thursday.
Thanks to the modest climb, Korea has reached one of FIBA’s qualifying rounds for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The qualifying events will feature 24 teams, divided into four groups. Only the winning team from each group will make it to Tokyo.
Those 24 countries are the 16 best teams from the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup that hadn’t already qualified for the Olympics and the two highest-ranked countries each from Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia/Oceania.
From Asia and Oceania, Korea is the fifth-best team after Australia (No. 3), Iran (No. 22), New Zealand (No. 24) and China (No. 27).
But Australia and Iran already have secured spots at the Olympics by finishing as the top two teams from their region at the World Cup. New Zealand was among the 16 best non-qualified teams at that tournament. That left China and Korea as the top two Asia/Oceania teams.
Prior to the World Cup, Korea had been one spot below the Philippines in the rankings.
At the World Cup, Korea played in five matches and picked up one win against Cote d’Ivoire in their final game of the tournament. This was quite a historic win for Korea as the team’s last victory at the world championship was against Egypt in Hamilton, Canada, on Aug. 13, 1994.
Schedules and locations for the four qualifying tournaments will be determined later.