Russia’s basketball coach, David Blatt, says his men have good chances to make it to London 2012 through the upcoming qualifying tournament in Venezuela.
The Russian national basketball team needed to become first or second at the last year's European Championship to get a straight ticket to the Olympics.
But Andrey Kirilenko and his teammates finished the tournament just a place lower than required, clinching bronze against Macedonia.
This means Russia now has to take part in the qualifying event, which starts on July 2 in Venezuela.
The first three teams will secure their place in London and Russia’s head coach, David Blatt, is confident his men can achieve their aim.
“I think we have a good team,” he said. “We’ve proven it over the years. Three teams out of 12 make it, so I’m not a mathematician, but it’s a 25 per cent chance. Hopefully we’ll make those chances a little bit better than that.”
While preparing for the qualification event Russia will play friendly games against Macedonia, Greece, Lithuania and Great Britain.
Blatt will have a squad of 17 players at his disposal. However, two players, Kirilenko and Khryapa will join the squad later, as the duo were given time off after a long club season.
While Russia's experienced guard, Sergey Bykov will miss the tournament after picking up a knee injury.
“Sergey played a big role in all major competitions for the last seven years,” Blatt stressed. “So his loss is a problem for us. But we have other talented players and other guys, who stepped in to fill the position. And hopefully they can do the job.”
Andrey Vorontsevich is another doubt after he was taken to hospital with a spine injury earlier this week.
But despite these problems, the team's spirits are high and everybody feels passionate to fulfill the task and book a place for London Games.
Russia's first opponents in qualification will be South Korea, followed by the Dominican Republic, while the final games are scheduled for July 8.
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