TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden watched as their countrymen tangled in the 3×3 basketball court at the sport’s Olympic debut in Tokyo on Saturday , with the Americans getting an annoying victory.
Macron and Biden are among the few dignitaries attending the Delayed Games, with Japan and much of the world still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden stood up and applauded when the clock ran out and the American team won 17-10 against France’s No. 1. Stefanie Dolson, who played in the WNBA’s Chicago Sky in the 2021 season, led the Americans with seven points. Read more
In the first match of the tournament, Japan’s women’s team lost 21-18 against the No. 2 ranked Russian women who, competing as ROC, won both matches.
The Serbian men, another medal favorite, also had a perfect record on the day.
With the surprise elimination of the American men’s team in the playoffs, Serbia and Latvia seem favorites in the medal race.
Serbia beat China 22-13 and then beat the Netherlands 16-15.
“This is the biggest tournament of my life, so you know it will be a pleasure to win any kind of medal, but we want to get the gold,” said Serbian Dusan Domovic Bulut, the first superstar of the fledgling sport .
Latvia beat Poland 21-14 in their first match, but then were upset 21-20 by Belgium with a two-point winning shot from Thibaut Vervoort in the last minute.
Still, the Belgians lost 18-16 against Japan in the last game of the day.
With a debut at the Olympics, the 3×3 wants to improve its overall profile as a faster and more compact alternative to basketball.
The game is played in the middle of the court with three players on each side and a team wins by scoring 21 points or with the most baskets at the end of the 10-minute clock.
DJs play hip-hop music throughout the competition in 3×3 games, in keeping with the sport’s urban roots.
The medal matches will take place on Wednesday after a return tournament of eight teams each of men and women.
Rocky Swift Reports; Edited by Ken Ferris
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