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Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Saturday, 28 August 2010 18:29 UK

Great Britain 'edge closer' to London 2012 places

Great Britain's Luol Deng shoots over Hungary"s Adam Toth (right) during the Eurobasket 2011 Qualifying match at the NIA, Birmingham.
Basketball must have a lasting legacy in the UK, Fiba says

Great Britain's bid to compete at London 2012 has taken a "substantial step" with European qualification, says the sport's governing body, Fiba.

But Fiba chief Patrick Baumann repeated his call for assurances "the whole GB team won't disappear" after the Games.

Both the men and women's teams have qualified for next summer's European Championships, sparking fresh calls for GB's Olympic entry to be approved.

The final decision is expected to be made in 12 months' time.

Basketball is the only sport at the Olympics where the host nation is not guaranteed a place.

Fiba has regularly stated that a team must prove it will be competitive to take part, but has not laid down clear criteria.

Thursday saw GB's men beat Bosnia and Hercegovina 94-85, and the women beat Germany to secure qualification to their respective European Championships next year.

606: DEBATE
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Speaking at a news conference prior to the start of the World Championship in Turkey, Baumann congratulated the British squads for their wins.

"On a sporting standpoint, that's great," he said.

"I think this is a substantial step for the Olympic dream. On the other hand, it has to carry on the Monday when the Olympics are over."

The Great Britain basketball program was founded in 2006, formed by combining the efforts of the home nations teams with the express goal of playing at the Olympics.

Baumann said now work had to be done to ensure the long-term future of the British team.

"I now think it's a matter for those who run basketball in the UK to argue, to discuss how to make the sport a success, how they are going to move forward after the Olympics [so] that the funding won't stop."

A major part of Great Britain's post-Games vision focuses around the "T16" programme which aims to co-ordinate the home nation's youth teams with the senior GB squad - with the aim being to qualify in their own right for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Fiba's final decision on Great Britain's involvement at 2012 is now not expected until next Autumn, probably prior to the men's EuroBasket tournament in Lithuania in September.

The women's event takes place in Poland in June.



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see also
GB qualify with win over Bosnia
26 Aug 10 |  Basketball
GB women clinch win over Ukraine
20 Aug 10 |  Basketball
GB women can qualify, says Maher
14 Jul 10 |  Basketball
GB men stand out in double-header
14 Aug 10 |  Basketball
GB 'must work harder' for 2012
30 Jul 10 |  Basketball


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