With months to go before the London Olympic Games, some Russian media sources may already be panicking, based on concerns quoted from Alexey Shved vis-à-vis the FIBA qualifying tournament scheduled for July in Venezuela. The CSKA Moscow guard told Russia-based media service RIA Novosti that “Of course we’ll try. But flying for 15 hours changes your whole schedule. It’s very difficult.”
Already, noted Shved, “We’ve had practically no rest since [Eurobasket 2011]. We’ll play out the season, then again training camps and a tournament on the other side of the world.”
The FIBA decision to place the qualifiers in Venezuela was, in Shved’s opinion, “completely mystifying. A long-haul flight, big time difference. Everyone thought that the qualification tournament would be in Lithuania.”
Of course, BallinEurope should note here that among the aspiring Olympic entrants are Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, for whom a trip to Venezuela is not a long-haul flight. Also in the tournament are Greece, Lithuania, Angola, Jordan, Korea, New Zealand, Nigeria and those Eurobasket darlings, FYR Macedonia; the top three finishers go on to London.
Regardless. Jetlag or no, Team Russia could be supplied with Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Viktor Khryapa, Anton Ponkrashov, and Andrey Vorontsevich from CSKA Moscow alone; geez, just look at this prospective roster.
Indeed, looking at the groups, it’s hard to imagine all four European teams not advancing, thereby placing Greece, Lithuania, Russia and FYR Macedonia in the final four…