Iran Set for Uphill Climb at FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Dirk Bauermann’s men have an uphill task for booking a place at the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (OQT) which will be held in Turin, Italy .
For the Turin OQT, Group A listed Greece, Mexico and Iran while Group B listed Tunisia, Croatia and Italy.
The Iranians, winner of three of the last five FIBA Asia Championships, faltered in its title defence in Changsha-Hunan last year.
A loss in the second round to the Philippines placed the team on the "wrong" side of the Quarter-Final bracket, and it succumbed to a peaking Chinese side in the Semi-Final, FIBA.org wrote.
Still, Iran managed to finish on the podium after besting Japan in the battle for third place. The iconic trio of Hamed Haddadi, Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Mahdi Kamrani will once again be counted on to spearhead Team Melli's attack when they take the court in Turin.
The three have been the unmistakable faces of Iran's golden generation this past decade, and, given their ages, this may very well be their final chance to qualify for the Olympics.
Iran is not expected to have any naturalized players or current NBA talent. It's not like they really need the help, though, as they've proven time and again that they can be very competitive at the world level with Haddadi, Bahrami, and Kamrani leading the charge. Set to inherit the mantle of leadership for Iran are Asghar Kardoust, Mohammad Jamshidi, Behnam Yakhchali, and Arsalan Kazemi. Those young bucks are surely in the mix to don Iran’s colors in the OQT.