Olympic basketball qualifiers: Great Britain fail to qualify for Tokyo 2020

By Rob DugdaleBBC Sport
Great Britain women's basketball
Great Britain have failed to qualify in the women's basketball since London hosted the 2012 event

Great Britain will not have a basketball team at Tokyo 2020 after their women's side lost 79-69 to Spain in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

A win against the European champions would have seen GB qualify outright for an Olympics for the first time.

Chema Buceta's team suffered a third successive loss with China, Spain and South Korea qualifying from the group.

GB fell behind early against Spain and rarely looked like closing a double-figure deficit.

With the three previous British basketball squads qualifying for the Olympic Games as hosts - the 1948 men's squad and the 2012 men's and women's teams - Buceta's side were fighting for a first place through qualification.

After finishing fourth in 2019's EuroBasket finals, GB went into the tournament confident but after losing 86-76 to China and 82-79 to South Korea, they had to beat Spain in order to qualify.

Although Spain could afford to lose to GB and still qualify in a three-way tie with them and Korea, the European champions were in no mood to lose a second game in a row after they were beaten by China on Saturday.

Their 12-0 run in the first quarter established the lead for them and after GB's slower tempo settled them, Spain's lead never got out of hand in the first half.

After that, the game looked a lot like Saturday's loss to South Korea, with GB always trailing in double figures and looking for the chance to make the run that would square or win the game.

When the run came, it came too late to offer a chance of a win. Chantelle Handy's three and two and four points from Samuelson left GB 77-69 down with one minute 23 seconds remaining, and Spain showed the composure of European champions to leave GB the non-qualifiers from Belgrade.

'It's an opportunity missed'

GB captain Chantelle Handy:

"We knew today was going to be a tough game. Spain are the champions of the EuroBasket and one of the top teams in the world, I am very proud of my team.

"We came out and we fought to the end and of course we did not get a ticket but I am proud we fought every game, we played hard together and we tried. Some people look at us and don't think we should be here but we are here and we made a statement for GB basketball.

"I think the group in itself, we have come in and we have sacrificed things like times with our family. The funding was not there but it did not matter. We have passion, we are like a family. We did not win but we fought to the very end."

GB's Johannah Leedham-Warner:

"I think it's an opportunity missed. Obviously it is great to be here but I am super disappointed and frustrated but at the end of the day, I gave everything I had, I am exhausted.

"I don't know what the future is for the team. Potentially this is my last game for GB, I am not sure I will suit up again. I need to have some chats with my family.

"I have a husband, I play overseas all the time and it's hard to have a family life. I don't know what's left to achieve. This was the moment to get to Tokyo and we did not achieve that. I don't know what is left for me with GB. It might be the best way to step out."

Other result: South Korea 60-100 China

South Korea*3121882624-74
Great Britain3032242473-23

*Qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC