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China coach Xu sober-minded about challenges at Tokyo Olympic women's basketball

2021-02-02 20:06:00 Xinhuanet

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Xu Limin, head coach of the Chinese national women's basketball team, has a clear vision of what awaits his side at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic basketball tournament.

"We have envisaged huge difficulties," he said after the draw was made for the Tokyo Olympics.

China is placed in Group C with Australia, Puerto Rico and Belgium.

Saying the draw marks an approach of the Olympic Games, Xu emphasized that "every group has its pros and cons."

Despite stunning Australia in their latest encounter at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2019, Xu deemed Australia as a powerhouse that will pose huge difficulties to the Chinese team.

"Our win in that game just arrived on occasion and with a bit luck. They didn't take us seriously, and Elizabeth Cambage didn't play then. Therefore, it didn't show their full strength. We took our chance when playing at a high level."

As for Belgium, which boasts the WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman, Xu thought the team has capability of contending for European championships with Spain, while lacking experience compared with the latter.

"I feel we will encounter less challenge when playing against Belgium than Australia," Xu commented.

"We had few head-to-heads with Puerto Rico in recent years, and we didn't know much about them. They may be an X-factor to us," he added.

"Our goal is to first make to the quarterfinals and then strive for going deep in the competition.

"No matter who we face in the group stage, what really matters is playing to ourselves," he stressed.

Starting from the Tokyo 2020, Olympic basketball tournaments will adopt a new competition system. The group phase will consist of three groups of four teams each. Top two sides from each group and the two best third-placed teams will qualify for the final phase.

"It requires us to fight from the very first game and try to garner as many points as we can, thus bringing more difficulties and uncertainties," Xu noted.

Xu underscored belief and mentality as his side is gearing up for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.

"We will attempt to overcome all obstacles with belief, and show our mentality and strength to the world at the Olympic stage," he concluded.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic women's basketball tournament is scheduled between July 26 and August 8. Enditem

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