The Australian Opals’ quest to climb the world rankings will continue in June and July when Sydney hosts the 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
Fresh off a bronze medal at last year’s World Cup in Sydney, the Opals return to the Harbour City to take on Asia’s best women’s basketballers.
The tournament will see the eight leading nations from Asia and Oceania compete for the title of regional champion at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre from June 26 to July 2.
The Opals, who are currently ranked second in Asia behind China and ahead of Japan, took home the bronze medal in 2021 when the event was last played in Jordan.
This year’s Asia Cup will include a likely eye-watering rematch between world No. 2 and world No. 3, China and Australia.
Opals captain Tess Madgen expects the Asia Cup to be another cutthroat battle between the region’s finest female basketballers.
“The competition will be fierce with China and Japan in the mix so we will have to bring our A-game,” said Madgen, who confirmed she’ll be fit for the Asia Cup despite suffering a season-ending knee injury playing for the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL.
“The fans are in for some intense, physical basketball and I can’t wait to step out on the court and represent the green and gold again.”
It will be the second consecutive year Sydney welcomes international teams and fans to its shores, after successfully hosting the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in September last year – which saw record crowds support the Opals.
Madgen believes the Australians can capitalise on the home court advantage, just like they did at the World Cup to secure bronze.
“The World Cup last year in Sydney was incredible and it’s great to be back here again today announcing that the Asia Cup will be here in June,” she said.
“Playing in front of sold-out home crowds was definitely an advantage and we will be looking to use that again at the Asia Cup.”
Basketball Australia CEO, Matt Scriven says having the opportunity to host another world class even is a major coup for Australia and NSW.
“This will be the first time Australia has hosted the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup and we’re incredibly honoured that the best basketballers from across our region will make their way to Sydney to compete on our home soil,” Scriven said.
“Following the success of last year’s FIBA Women‘s Basketball World Cup, which saw us achieve record crowds in Sydney, we know women’s basketball has a highly engaged audience in NSW and participation keeps growing.
“With our women’s national team currently ranked second in Asia, this will be a fantastic competition and we hope all sports fans from around Australia will travel to Sydney to cheer on the green and gold and help create a lasting legacy for our sport.”
Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said the decision to host the tournament in Sydney is a direct result of the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s track record of successfully hosting international sporting competitions including the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
“Record crowds at the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and a deep passion for the sport has seen Sydney again selected to host another major global sporting tournament,” Mr Henskens said.
“The 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup will see the region’s leading basketball nations battle it out for Gold at Sydney Olympic Park and give Sydney’s passionate basketball fans the chance to again get behind the Opals.
“NSW is Australia’s undisputed premier major events State, and with this tournament and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 commencing in July, it’s shaping up to be a bumper winter of women’s sport.”
About the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup:
The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup is the premier women’s national team basketball competition that brings together the best teams from the Asia/Oceania region. Taking place every two years, 2023 will mark the 30th edition of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
The inaugural FIBA Women’s Asia Cup took place in Seoul, Korea in 1965 with the hosts emerging as the first champions after beating rivals Japan in the Final. To date, Korea has won 12 of the 29 editions, China eleven and current reigning champions, Japan, hold six titles – including the last five in a row.
Originally published as Asia Cup basketball 2023: Sydney to host tournament as Opals brace for tough competition