Canada in FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup after Belarus pull out of qualifiers

OSAKA, Japan — Canada’s women’s basketball team may have qualified for the FIBA ​​World Cup before their qualifying tournament even started.

Belarus have withdrawn from the four-team tournament which kicks off on February 10 in Osaka, Japan. The Belarusian Basketball Federation announced on its website that it could not travel to Japan as the team had been hit by an outbreak of COVID-19.

With the top three teams from the four-team tournament qualifying for the World Cup next September in Australia, Canada is guaranteed a berth.

The Belarus team said the team could not travel to Japan because: “A significant part of the athletes and coaching staff were diagnosed with coronavirus just before departure, and in addition to the fact that the members of the team are first-level contacts, some players also showed symptoms at the airport, which made it virtually impossible to participate in the tournament given the quarantine restrictions in Japan.

The Canadians, ranked fourth, open the tournament Thursday against Japan. They also play in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The tournament marks the debut of Canadian women’s head coach Victor Lapena.

The World Cup, qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics, opens on September 22 in Sydney

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