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Russia, Belarus denied entry to Olympic men’s basketball qualifying

The Russia and Belarus men’s basketball teams have been banned from the second-chance qualification tournaments for the 2024 Olympics, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced Tuesday. 

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have faced sanctions from a multitude of sports since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.

As Moscow’s assault on Ukraine stretches into a second year, the International Olympic Committee has recommended allowing athletes from Russia and Moscow ally Belarus to compete just as individual neutrals in upcoming international competitions.

“Following the IOC recommendations on the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions…the FIBA Executive Committee has decided to not allow the registration of the Russian men’s national team in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments 2023,” said a statement on the organisation’s website. 

Russia and Belarus were banned from qualifying for the 32-nation World Cup which will be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia starting August 25 and serves as the main Olympic qualifying event.

For teams that failed to make the World Cup, the pre-qualification tournaments, which start on August 12, offer another opportunity to qualify for the 12-team Olympic tournament in Paris.

In women’s competition, the Russian and Belarusian teams were barred from qualifying for the 16-team EuroBasket final tournament in June which serves as the continent’s main Olympic qualifier.  

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