India's dream run in 2024 Olympics qualifiers halted by last-minute heartbreak
India's men's basketball team lost 70-73 to Kazakhstan in a thrilling match to have their winning run halted in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament Asia 2023. They have climbed to the top of the table, but only temporarily.
India suffered a last-minute heartbreak to lose 70-73 to Kazakhstan in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament Asia 2023 on Monday.
This brings the 82nd-ranked Indian team's dream run towards the 2024 Paris Olympics to a halt. India have temporarily climbed to the top of the Asian zone points table with 5 points from 3 matches, but are set to go down the table when Bahrain play hosts Syria later in the day.
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Arvind Muthu Krishnan (18 points) was the highest scorer for India on a thrilling day of action against Kazakhstan, who are the highest ranked nation in this Asian zone, at 65th.
India took the lead in the match at the end of the third quarter against the Kazakhs, and it looked like they would follow up on the wins against 72nd ranked Syria and 85th ranked Indonesia to make it three wins out of three.
But it was in the last minute of the match that Kazakhstan inched ahead. Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi made one last attempt at a transition which would have taken the match into overtime, but his attempt was blocked with 2 seconds left on the clock.
India next face Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and Bahrain on Thursday.
While progressing to the next round of qualifiers is still not impossible, this defeat puts the Indian team in a lot of trouble. Only the team that finishes on top of the table in the six-team Asian leg of the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament will advance to the final global FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled in 2024.
India are looking to qualify for their first Olympics since 1980.
India vs Kazakhstan Scoring Progression: