Basketball: Nigeria Wins Their First Ever Men’s AfroBasket

Nigeria was able to secure its first African title at the 2015 Men’s AfroBasket. The winner of the 16 team tournament was given a spot to the Olympics. The AfroBasket tournament was held in Rades, Tunisia from August 19th to August 30th 2015.

While no nation is eliminated in the group stage bracket placement is still considered to be important. In Group A Tunisia was able to defeat Nigeria 70-59 in a battle between two of the best teams in the region. Defending champion Angola was shocked in Group B action where a strong fourth quarter comeback gave Senegal the slim 74-73 win. Group C went as expected as Egypt topped the group with little difficulty. Group D showed a possible emergence of a dark horse as Cape Verde topped the group, defeating Ivory Coast and Algeria in the process.

The dark horse tag however wasn’t meant to be as Cape Verde was defeated in the upset of the round by losing in the round of 16 77-67 to Gabon who had yet to win a match. The round of 16 almost played hosts to massive upsets to favorites as Angola was able to squeak a 62-61 win over the Central African Republic while Tunisia required overtime to defeat Morocco 69-68.

The quarterfinals went mostly as expected as Tunisia, Senegal and Nigeria all defeated Mali, Algeria and Gabon respectively, but the match of the round was always going to be Egypt vs. Angola, the repeat of 2013’s final. Despite having a relatively poor performance over the entire tournament Angola finally reached its potential and was never really threatened as they went to win 83-63.

The semi-final match between Senegal and Nigeria was a seesaw event which saw both nations taking multiple leads. A late push by Senegal tied the match and forced overtime. Nigeria however was able to take over overtime to win the match 88-79 and to advance to the final. The other semi-final match between Tunisia and Angola was a very defensive match where few opportunities for either side were available. However, it was Angola that held the lead for almost the entire match and won the low scoring match 58-51.

The final was initially a close encounter, but Nigeria took over the second quarter and by half-time was leading 37-24. Angola was unable to make serious cuts into Nigeria’s lead until towards the end of the match and by then it was too late as Nigeria won its first African men’s championship title by a score of 74-65. Tunisia took the bronze medal by defeating Senegal 82-73.

This will be Nigeria’s second participation in a row at the Olympics as they also qualified to the 2012 Olympics. All is not over for Angola, Tunisia and Senegal as all three teams qualified to the final Olympic qualification tournaments to be held just before the Olympics.

Tournament Rankings

  1. Nigeria
  2. Angola
  3. Tunisia
  4. Senegal
  5. Egypt
  6. Algeria
  7. Mali
  8. Gabon
  9. Cameroon
  10. Cape Verde
  11. Mozambique
  12. Ivory Coast
  13. Morocco
  14. Central African Republic
  15. Uganda
  16. Zimbabwe

References

Field Hockey: Netherlands and England Crowned European Champions

Netherlands and England won the men’s and women’s titles respectively at the 2015 Field Hockey European Championships. The winner of both tournaments qualified to the Olympics. Should the winning team have previously qualified from the 2015 World League Semifinals then the next highest ranked nation from the World League would qualify. The European Championships was held in London, Great Britain from August 21st to August 30th 2015.

In the men’s tournament the Netherlands had full control over Group A by winning all three of their matches by not conceding a goal including a 2-0 win over England who also qualified to the semifinals. Germany had a similar performance in Group B as they also topped the group, but the biggest upset came during the Belgium and Ireland match where a 2-2 tie gave Ireland the berth to the semifinals by goal differential.

In the semifinals an early goal for the Netherlands was all that was needed to defeat Ireland. Meanwhile a penalty stroke goal was needed by England to force a penalty shoot-out against Germany. However, Germany was able to win the shoot-out to advance to the finals. With both the Netherlands and Germany reaching the final the winner’s Olympic spot that was won at the World League Semifinals will be reallocated to the next highest ranked nation, which would be Spain. In the final the Netherlands got to a dream start where they led Germany 5-0 by half-time. Germany played a bit better over the second half, but the Netherlands won the European title via a score of 6-1. Ireland caused an upset against England where they defeated them 4-2 to win the bronze medal.

For the women’s tournament the Netherlands also dominated Group A as they outscored their opponents 22-1 to win the group. A 0-0 tie between Belgium and Spain was enough for Spain to advance to the semifinals on goal differential. England was able to win Group B as they went undefeated including an impressive 4-1 win over Germany.

The semifinals were two close encounters as an early goal by the Netherlands was all came about in a 1-0 win over Germany. England also took an early lead against Spain, but a late third period goal by Spain’s Georgina Oliva tied the game. However a goal in the fourth by Lily Owsley was enough to send England to the final via a score of 2-1. The game was more heartbreaking for Spain as it officially ended their last chance for an Olympic berth. With both the Netherlands and England reaching the final the winner’s Olympic spot that was won at the World League Semifinals will be reallocated to the next highest ranked nation, which would be India. In the final Netherlands went up 2-0 in the third quarter, but a comeback by England in the fourth quarter forced a penalty shoot-out. England proceeded to win the shoot-out 3-1 to win the gold medal. The bronze medal went to Germany as they defeated Spain 5-1.

It’s a bit weird to see India qualifying due to a European championship, but that’s how the qualification procedure was made. Among European nations only Ireland’s men’s team could still qualify to the Olympics. It would require Australia to win the Oceania championships which would cause Ireland to qualify through reallocation via their performance from the World League.

Men’s Tournament Rankings

  1. Netherlands
  2. Germany
  3. Ireland
  4. England
  5. Belgium
  6. Spain
  7. France
  8. Russia

Women’s Tournament Rankings

  1. England
  2. Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Spain
  5. Belgium
  6. Scotland
  7. Italy
  8. Poland

References

Equestrian: Team Japan Wins Group G Jumping Qualifying Tournament

Japan was able to defeat Australia in show jumping at the Jumping Group G Olympic Qualification Event. The top two jumping teams along with the top individual athlete not yet qualified from Group G (East and South Asia and Oceania) will be given spots to compete at the Olympics. The Group G qualification event was held in Hagen, Germany on August 25th 2015.

In total, five nations sent enough riders to be eligible for the team event; Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and Chinese Taipei. However, the Philippines were eliminated from the competition in the first round when Lucas Lorenzo suffered elimination and thus the nation no longer had enough riders to compete. At the end of the first round Australia led all nations with only 8 penalty points with Japan closely behind with 9. With more eliminated riders in the second round only Australia and Japan remained with enough riders for the team event effectively qualifying both nations to the Olympics. Japan won the event with a perfect second round finishing with a score of 9 as Australia finished second with 20 points.

With Australia and Japan winning the team quotas the fight for the individual quota became wide open. New Zealand’s Samantha McIntosh and Chinese Taipei’s Wong Isheau both finished the first round with 0 penalties while China’s Zhu Meimei was right behind them with a single penalty. All three riders finished the second round with 4 penalty points leaving McIntosh and Wong tied on points and requiring a jump-off to decide who goes to the Olympics. McIntosh went first and completed the course without fault and a time of 39.70. Wong also finished the course without any faults, but with a faster time of 36.38 she was able to win the Olympic quota.

This was the final opportunity for teams to qualify in Group G. Individuals can still qualify via the world rankings, but given the rankings of non-qualified athletes riders from this region will have a lot of work to qualify through that method.

Athletes by Nation

  • Australia – 4
  • Japan – 4
  • Chinese Taipei – 1

References

Canoeing: 33 Nations Qualify After World Sprint Championships

Hungary led all nations with 9 qualified boats at the 2015 Canoe Sprint World Championships. A total of 33 nations qualified at least one boat as most of the athlete quotas for canoe sprint were handed out. The top boats from each event qualified their nation to the Olympics with a different number of quotas for each event. The men’s K4 1000m and women’s K4 500m also further stipulate that at least 4 continents are represented in the qualified nations. The world championship was held in Milan, Italy from August 19th to August 23rd 2015.

No nation took over the men’s kayak races as the 15 medals in Olympic events went to 12 different nations. The most successful athlete in Olympic events was Czech Republic’s Josef Dostal who won a silver medal in the men’s K1 1000m and a bronze in the K4 1000m. Canada’s Mark de Jonge and Denmark’s Rene Poulsen won the gold medals in the individual K1 200m and K1 1000m events respectively while Hungary, Germany and Slovakia each won gold in the K2 200m, K2 1000m and K4 1000m events respectively.

In the men’s canoe events Brazil’s Isaquias Queiroz did his nation proud by winning the men’s C2 1000m with Erlon Silva and winning the bronze medal in the men’s C1 200m events. Belarus’ Artsem Kozyr and Germany’s Sebastian Bendel won the gold medals in the C1 200m and C1 1000m events respectively.

For the women’s kayak events it was New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington that showed she is one of the best sprint paddlers by winning both the K1 200m and K1 500m events. Hungary’s women were also impressive as they won medals in three out of the four Olympic events including gold in the K2 500m and overall they qualified to the Olympics in all four events. The Belarus team won the gold medal in K4 500m.

While a single athlete can qualify their nation multiple boats they can only qualify their nation a single athlete quota. For example double gold medalist Lisa Carrington qualified her nation boats in the K1 200m and K1 500m events, however she only qualified New Zealand a single athlete quota while the other athlete quota will be reallocated. In general the reallocated athlete quotas go to the event with the smaller boat or the shorter distance.

For the most part there weren’t too many reallocated spots due to the same athlete winning multiple boat quotas in the men’s events, but the women’s events were another story. An extreme example is Hungary and Poland which won boats in all four events which should give them a total of 8 athletes, but since some athletes competed in multiple events the athlete quotas for both nations ended up being 5.

For the K4 events this was the only opportunity for nations to qualify to the Olympics. For other events nations will get a second opportunity to qualify via the continental qualifiers. An exception is Africa where they will only compete for K1 and canoe boats and not K2 boats due to being the worst performing continent at the world championships.

Boats by Nation

  • Hungary – 9
  • Russia – 8
  • Belarus – 7
  • Poland – 7
  • Serbia – 7
  • Germany – 6
  • France – 5
  • China – 4
  • Czech Republic – 4
  • Portugal – 4
  • Argentina – 3
  • Australia – 3
  • Azerbaijan – 3
  • Denmark – 3
  • Great Britain – 3
  • New Zealand – 3
  • Slovakia – 3
  • Ukraine – 3
  • Brazil – 2
  • Canada – 2
  • Kazakhstan – 2
  • Lithuania – 2
  • Romania – 2
  • Slovenia – 2
  • Spain – 2
  • Bulgaria – 1
  • Cuba – 1
  • Ecuador – 1
  • Moldova – 1
  • South Africa – 1
  • Sweden – 1
  • Turkey – 1

Athletes by Nation

  • Hungary – 15
  • Russia – 13
  • Belarus – 12
  • Germany – 10
  • Serbia – 10
  • Argentina – 9
  • France – 9
  • Poland – 9
  • Australia – 7
  • Ukraine – 7
  • China – 6
  • Czech Republic – 6
  • Great Britain – 6
  • Portugal – 6
  • Romania – 6
  • Denmark – 5
  • Kazakhstan – 5
  • New Zealand – 5
  • Slovakia – 5
  • Spain – 5
  • Azerbaijan – 2
  • Brazil – 2
  • Canada – 2
  • Lithuania – 2
  • Bulgaria – 1
  • Cuba – 1
  • Ecuador – 1
  • Moldova – 1
  • Slovenia – 1
  • South Africa – 1
  • Sweden – 1
  • Turkey – 1

Qualified Boats by Event

* Reallocation Quotas

Men’s K1 200m

  • Canada
  • France
  • Sweden
  • Lithuania
  • Russia
  • Ecuador
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic
  • Argentina*
  • Serbia*

Men’s K1 1000m

  • Denmark
  • Czech Republic
  • Portugal
  • Germany
  • Belarus
  • Australia
  • Bulgaria
  • Slovakia*
  • Serbia*

Men’s K2 200m

  • Hungary
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • France
  • Great Britain
  • Germany

Men’s K2 1000m

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Belarus
  • France

Men’s K4 1000m

  • Slovakia
  • Hungary
  • Czech Republic
  • Australia
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Romania
  • Belarus
  • Kazakhstan
  • Argentina
  • Russia*

Men’s C1 200m

  • Belarus
  • China
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • Lithuania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Hungary
  • Portugal*

Men’s C1 1000m

  • Germany
  • Czech Republic
  • Moldova
  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Poland
  • Hungary

Men’s C2 1000m

  • Brazil
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Belarus

Women’s K1 200m

  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Azerbaijan
  • Cuba
  • Russia
  • France
  • Kazakhstan
  • Hungary*
  • Serbia*
  • Slovenia*
  • Turkey*

Women’s K1 500m

  • New Zealand
  • Hungary
  • China
  • Poland
  • Azerbaijan
  • Slovenia
  • Belarus
  • Great Britain*
  • Portugal*
  • South Africa*
  • Canada*

Women’s K2 500m

  • Hungary
  • Serbia
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • China
  • Denmark*
  • Romania*

Women’s K4 500m

  • Belarus
  • Hungary
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Great Britain
  • Serbia
  • Ukraine
  • New Zealand
  • China
  • Argentina
  • Denmark*
  • France*

References

Modern Pentathlon: Ten Nations Qualify at European Championships

Ireland and Lithuania won gold at the individual events at the 2015 European Modern Pentathlon Championships. The top 8 not already qualified athletes from each gender will be given spots to compete at the Olympics. The European championships were held in Bath, Great Britain from August 18th to August 23rd 2015.

In the men’s event it was Great Britain’s James Cooke which took the early lead after the swimming portion with a very good time of 1:56:16. Though the lead was short lived as he finished 20th after the fencing portion, instead it was Russia’s Maksim Kustov that took the overall lead. However the lead also did not last long as an unfortunate riding portion where Kustov’s horse had a refusal dropped him into sixth place. Instead after three strong performances it was Ireland’s Arthur Lanigan-O’ Keeffe that had a 20 second lead going into the final combined portion. A strong performance by France’s Valentin Prades and Italy’s Riccardo de Luca was enough to place them into the medals, but it was not enough to catch Lanigan-O’ Keeffe as he went on to win the gold medal ahead of Prades and de Luca respectively.

Because Riccardo de Luca had already qualified to the Olympics through the World Cup Final ninth place Jan Kuf of Czech Republic was given the final quota. The other athletes that qualified to the Olympics were David Svoboda (Czech Republic), Robert Kasza (Hungary), Egor Puchkarevskiy (Russia), Joseph Choong (Great Britain) and Valentin Belaud (France).

In the women’s race it was France’s Elodie Clouvel who took the lead by winning both the swimming and fencing portions. Even a relatively poor performance in the riding portion where she finished 19th was not enough to prevent her from having the overall lead going into the combined portion. However a terrible performance in the final portion opened up the possibility of her getting caught. It was Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite that went from 11th place to passing Clouvel right at the end to win the overall title. Germany’s Lena Schoneborn won the bronze medal.

Since Asadauskaite had already qualified to the Olympics through the World Cup Final ninth place Alice Sotero of Italy was given the final quota. Also since continental championships have higher priority than the 2015 world championships Schoneborn’s quota from the world championships has been reallocated to Sarolta Kovacs of Hungary. The remaining Olympic quotas went to Gulnaz Gubaydullina (Russia), Oktawia Nowacka (Poland), Janine Kohlmann (Germany), Anastasiya Spas (Ukraine) and Kate French (Great Britain).

With the end of the continental championships most of the spots have now been filled. The remaining spots will be filled by the 2016 World Championships and the world rankings due to be published just before the Olympics.

Quotas by Nation

  • France – 3
  • Czech Republic – 2
  • Germany – 2
  • Great Britain – 2
  • Russia – 2
  • Hungary – 1
  • Ireland – 1
  • Italy – 1
  • Poland – 1
  • Ukraine – 1

References

Modern Pentathlon: Egypt Wins Both Races at African Championships

Egypt swept the medals in both the men’s and women’s race showing that they still control modern pentathlon at the 2015 African Modern Pentathlon Championships. The winner of each race would qualify themselves and their nation to the Olympics. The African championships were held in Cairo, Egypt from August 21st to August 22nd 2015.

In the men’s race it was Egypt’s Amro El Geziry that won the fencing and swimming portions of the event and while he had a relative weak performance in the jumping portion he was still in the lead going into the combination portion. However, El Geziry’s Olympic bid was disrupted by his compatriot Eslam Hamad who passed him mid-way during the final portion to win the overall title and the Olympic quota. To complete the sweep third place went to Omar El Geziry of Egypt.

The women’s race had Aya Medany of Egypt take the overall lead with a strong performance in the first three portions. The combined event however had third place Haydy Morsy of Egypt pass both Medany and her compatriot Reem Yakout to win the gold medal and the Olympic quota.

Egypt had always been the dominant nation in Africa, but they will be looking to try to translate some of that success into world success. All is not over for the other athletes as they could still qualify through the 2016 world championships or through the world rankings.

Quotas by Nation

  • Egypt – 2

References

Equestrian: Netherlands Win Gold at European Jumping Championships

In an event where the leader changed every day it was the Netherlands that finished with team jumping gold at the 2015 European Jumping Championships. For Olympic qualification the top 3 teams from Group A and B (Western Europe) will qualify to both individual and team jumping. The European championships are currently being held in Aachen, Germany from August 19th to August 23rd 2015.

The speed competition gave Germany the early lead in the team event with only 4.40 penalties. The top three Olympic eligible nations were Great Britain, Spain and Italy. However, a lot changed in the standings after the first round of jumping. France led by the individual leader at the time, Penelope Leprevost took the lead as Germany fell to third while Italy fell from a potential Olympic quota to being eliminated from the final along with a very strong Belgium team. Going into the final five teams were eligible to win one of the three spots to the Olympics; Great Britain, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark and Ireland.

A poor performance in the final round of team jumping for France not only cost them the win, but a medal as they finished fifth overall. Instead it was the Netherlands with two near perfect jumping rounds that ended up taking gold by finishing just ahead of Germany. Switzerland not only took the bronze medal, but one of the Olympics quotas. The other two team quotas went to Great Britain and Spain who finished just 0.380 points ahead of Ireland.

This was the final event for European nations to qualify a jumping team to the Olympics. Individuals can still qualify via the world rankings which will be finalized before the Olympics begin.

Athletes by Nation

  • Great Britain – 4
  • Spain – 4
  • Switzerland – 4

References