Following the Draw for the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024 in Hungary overnight, the Tall Ferns now know where their road to the Paris Olympics in 2024 lies – and which opponents they will face along the way.
Following the Draw, it has been revealed that the Tall Ferns will travel to China from 8-11 February 2024 to play in one of four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments; facing world no.2-ranked China, 7th-ranked France and a yet-to-be-determined fourth team in pool play.
With 10 women’s basketball tickets to the 2024 Olympics still up for grabs, New Zealand is one of 16 nations who will compete in these Qualifying Tournaments; the Tall Ferns earning a spot in the Qualifiers after finishing fourth at the FIBA Asia Cup in July this year. France and USA will both still compete in the Qualifying Tournaments, even though they are already guaranteed Olympic spots; France as the Olympic hosts and USA as the reigning FIBA Women’s World Cup 2022 champions.
The Tall Fern’s remaining group opponent will be known next month, following the FIBA Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in November. This tournament will see Canada, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Venezuela battling it out for the two remaining Olympic Qualifying Tournament spots.
For New Zealand and the Tall Ferns, this means they must finish anywhere but last place to earn an all-important Olympics berth – what would be their first Olympics since 2008 when they finished in 10th place in Beijing. Prior to this, the Tall Ferns achieved their best result at the Athens Olympics in 2004, where they reached the quarterfinals before losing to eventual silver medallists Australia.
BBNZ Head of High Performance, Paul Downes says that a spot at the 2024 Olympics has been the Tall Fern’s primary focus for this cycle – and is a testament to the continued elevation of women’s basketball in New Zealand.
“Paris has been the pinnacle goal for our Tall Ferns programme since 2021, and our showing at the FIBA Asia Cup in Sydney was a huge first step in achieving this goal,” says Downes.
“Women’s basketball is on the rise in New Zealand, as evidenced by our world rankings – we currently sit in 23rd place out of 116 countries – but we need to continue to improve and grow our women in this game to remain competitive. Our domestic Tauihi league has been important in this regard, as is having the opportunity to play in overseas tournaments; especially after Covid had decimated our programme’s ability to compete internationally for two straight years.”
The final draw for the Tall Fern’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in China will be announced at a later date.