D’Tigress captain Adaora Elonu says the team is undaunted by the pedigree of Nigeria’s group opponents in the Tokyo Olympics and believes it offers them another opportunity to prove their mettle against the world’s best teams.
Nigeria’s women’s basketball team were drawn against World and Olympic Champions the USA, France (fifth ranked team in the world) and hosts Japan in draws held on 2 February at FIBA headquarters in Switzerland.
Reacting to the groupings which will see Nigeria take on the USA again three years on from a feisty quarterfinal encounter at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain which ended in narrow win for the Americans, Elonu said the girls are pretty excited about matching wits with some of the best teams in the world in Tokyo.
The Uni Girona Basketball Club of Spain forward told NBBF media: “I am so excited as well as the other players and we cannot wait to compete at the Olympics. We are always excited to see who we are going to compete against and I think they really put us in a group that we have to compete against the best.”
Ahead of the Games which is scheduled for July, the Nigeria Basketball Federation has started preparations in earnest, organising a training camp for the women in the USA.
Elonu has been impressed with conditions in the Atlanta camp of the team and praised the preparedness and attention to detail of the coaching staff led by head coach Otis Hughley.
“The mood here in Atlanta is really good and nice. We came into camp where the staff were already prepared. Before we entered the camp, they had instructions for us, they had work outs set out for us so that when we come, we will be well prepared and know what to expect.”
Speaking on behalf of her team mates, Adaora revealed that the camping and a renewed focus on the Olympic Games is a nice break for most of the players plying their trades in Europe and within the United States of America.
“Everyone here is really excited and focused. I think it’s a nice break for us from the teams that we have been playing in Europe and some in the United States. The atmosphere is really nice and one of excitement of what to come when we get to the Olympics in Tokyo”, Adaora said.
The 10 day Atlanta training camp which started on the 31 January will end on Monday, 8 February.