Boomers to continue a proud record at Paris Olympics


The Boomers are off to the Olympics again, continuing their proud record of having competed in basketball's marquee event in every Games since 1972.

Australia's increasingly powerful men's team were delighted to book their place at the 2024 Paris Games without having to throw a ball in anger on Wednesday.

Instead, they were able to celebrate becoming only the second team to reach the 2024 men's basketball tournament at the Games thanks to the misfortune of their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

The 'Tall Blacks' were the only other Oceanian team who could have challenged Australia's bid to make it to a 14th consecutive Games - Mexico City in 1968 was the last time they failed to qualify - but their 83-74 defeat by Greece in Manila meant they were knocked out of the initial group stages of the World Cup.

With the Boomers having already booked their place in Japan to make the second qualifying round, it meant Brian Goorjian's side are now guaranteed the chance to shoot for gold in Paris as the first of the 12 participating teams to guarantee qualification beyond hosts France.

Of the other 10 places, Europe and the Americas will each have two while Africa and Asia will have one each. The other four spots will be decided through FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments.

New Zealand would still have been in direct competition with Australia for the Oceanian spot if they had beaten Greece and they must have fancied their chances when holding a 15-point lead in the first half and an 11-point lead at halftime before eventually succumbing down the stretch.

But the Kiwis can still make it to Paris, as they compete in the 17-32 Classification Round.

Over the last half-century, the Boomers have reached five semi-finals and another six quarter-finals at the Games, with their bronze in Tokyo the first time they had stepped on the podium.

But with their formidable line-up now featuring Josh Giddey, Josh Green, Patty Mills and Joe Ingles, with the tantalising prospect of Ben Simmons also throwing his hat in the ring again, hopes are high of them getting to the gold medal game in 2024.

Before Paris, though, there's much room for improvement on their initial performances at this World Cup in Okinawa, Japan, as they now face Slovenia, led by NBA superstar Luka Doncic, and underdogs Georgia in their second round of group matches.