‘For safety reasons,’ men’s national team will not compete in preliminary rounds
Safety was more important than basketball. The team’s participation in the preliminary round has reportedly been canceled.
According to basketball officials, the 토토 South Korean men’s national basketball team will not compete in the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Damascus, Syria, from Nov. 12-20.
Syria, where the qualifier will be held, is a travel ban country designated by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Civil war broke out in 2011 and the country remains in a state of crisis. According to foreign media, last month, Israel launched a missile strike near the Syrian capital Damascus, injuring two Syrian soldiers.
In order for South Korean citizens to visit Syria, they must be approved by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to use a passport, visit, and stay in the country for purposes defined by presidential decree, such as permanent residence, interviewing and reporting, urgent humanitarian reasons, and official duties.
The Korean Basketball Association had applied for permission to use a passport to enter Syria, but there were concerns about safety. “We were told that we would have to travel overland from Lebanon, but we are worried that there will be a sudden accident while traveling,” said an official from Team A.
In the end, the team had to withdraw from the preliminary round for safety reasons. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) also named 10 players to watch among the teams participating in the preliminary round on Aug. 8, but none of them were from South Korea.
The national team will be disbanded as soon as possible and will be reassembled for the Hangzhou Asian Games after an overhaul period. Along with the national team, India will not be participating in the preliminary round. Unlike the national team, which is for safety reasons, India’s absence is reportedly due to budgetary concerns.
Meanwhile, the preliminary round of the tournament will feature eight nations divided into two groups. The top two teams from each group would advance to the quarterfinals through pool play, with the winner of the tournament advancing to the Olympic final. Only one team from Asia, Africa, and the Americas would qualify for the final, while Europe would send two teams to the final. The Olympic Final will feature 24 nations, including the five winners of the preliminary rounds, and only four will qualify for the Olympic Games.