How COVID-19 Impacts Australia’s Olympic Hopes

Australian coach Dave Biwer has discussed how he thinks the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) will influence Australia’s women’s 3×3 team.

Australia was set to compete in the OQT in March 2020, but that tournament has been postponed due to COVID-19, with a new date unknown. The Tokyo Games have been rescheduled to July 23 2021-August 8 2021.

So, how do all the changed dates influence the likes of Bec Cole, Maddie Garrick, Alice Kunek, Keely Froling and Kelsey Griffin?

According to Biwer, it simply comes down to the individuals staying disciplined with self-workouts.

“Since the lockdown and postponement of the Olympics, there’s really just been more one on one stuff, there hasn’t been much team stuff anymore,” Biwer said.

“Keely, Maddie, Alice and Bec are in periodic contact with me as well as Basketball Australia. Kelsey Griffin had a great camp for us and the upside of her is unbelievable.

“The reality is, as is everything in today’s age, there has got to be a lot of individual work being done. That’s what is happening at the moment, Bec is doing her thing, Maddie is doing her thing, as are the rest of the girls.”

Kunek finds herself in a unique circumstance, as the postponements will allow her to fully recover from elbow surgery.

“She was a real chance of not being ready for the Olympics, let alone the Qualifiers,” Biwer said of Kunek.

“We have just paused the world and it allows her to recover.”

Biwer confirmed conversations remain fluid with Basketball Australia about how and when the 3×3 team will be able to practice together again.

The coach also thinks a positive element from the postponements is it will allow the squad more time to prepare and gel, on one condition – if the new OQT dates don’t clash with the 2020/21 WNBL season.

If there is a clash of schedules between the OQT and WNBL, Biwer projects some tough decisions will need to be made.

“The only downside I see is if there’s scheduling conflicts with our WNBL girls,” Biwer said.

“If they move it up and get the Qualifiers done in the December, January, February period, it could really put pressures on players to sacrifice their team for the Australian team.

“I know people have opinions on this but I always believe basketball players are team players, that’s why they chose the sport.

“It’s much more difficult than people give it credit for when all of a sudden you have to say, hey sorry Capitals or Flyers or whoever, I’m not playing this weekend because I’m going to do this for Australia.

“Even though they know their teammates will understand, it’s still difficult on the individual player.”

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