Boomers open Olympic test event in London tonight

Boomers open Olympic test event in London tonight

The Boomers Australian men’s basketball team take their next crucial step towards the 2012 London Olympic Games when they take on China in the opening match of the London International Basketball Invitational at the Olympic Basketball Arena tonight.

The Boomers, who are ranked ninth in the world, take on the tenth-ranked Chinese in the very first game to be played as part of the official London Olympic test event.

Despite heading into the match as the slight favourites courtesy of their superior world ranking and their recent 69-62 victory over the Chinese at the Stankovic Cup tournament in China, getting a first-up win will be a tall order for the Australians – literally.

The Chinese will take a significant height advantage into the game, with an average size of 201cm compared to the Australians’ 199cm.

A key reason for that advantage is the size of China’s giant centre, Zang Zhaoxu, who at 221cm (or 7-3 in the old scale) holds a significant 10cm edge over the tallest Boomer, 211cm AJ Ogilvy.

The Chinese side that will play the Boomers tonight also features current Washington Wizards NBA power forward Yi Jianlian, and former NBA players Wang Zhizhi and Sun Yue.

The match tips-off at 3:30PM London local time (12:30AM Wednesday morning Australian Eastern Standard Time). 

Their current European tour is part of the Boomers’ final preparation ahead of their Olympic qualification series, the 2011 FIBA Oceania Championship, in September which will see the Boomers and ‘Jayco’ Opals take on archrivals New Zealand in a unique double-header event for the right to play in London 2012.

Game One of that series will be in Melbourne on 7 September at the State Netball Hockey Centre (AKA ‘The Cage’), Game Two at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on 9 September and Game Three at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on 11 September.  Tickets for the Melbourne and Sydney games are on sale now through Ticketmaster, while tickets to the Brisbane game are now being sold through Ticketek. 

Click here for more details on the Boomers and Opals double-header against New Zealand.

London International Basketball Invitational - Schedule

16 Aug            Olympic Test Event vs. China – 3:30PM London time

17 Aug            Olympic Test Event vs. France – 6:00PM London time

18 Aug            Olympic Test Event vs. Croatia – 6:00PM London time

20 Aug            Olympic Test Event vs. Serbia – 8:30PM London time

21 Aug            Olympic Test Event vs. Great Britain – 6:00PM London time

Event website: http://www.londonpreparesseries.com/basketball/index.html

FIBA’s Road to London website - http://london2012.fiba.com