Basketball: Marine Johannes returns to Les Bleues for an Olympic qualifying tournament

Basketball: Marine Johannes returns to Les Bleues for an Olympic qualifying tournament

Promise kept: Marine Johannes is back in the French team. Deprived of the European Championship for having favored his arrival in the WNBA and the New York Liberty last summer, the international full-back has regained the favor of coach Jean Aimé Toupane. The latter called her up this January 5 in the France group which will participate in the Olympic qualifying tournament (TQO) in China in February.

The Blues will meet in Paris on February 4 and will immediately fly to Xi’An where they will participate in the tournament from February 8 to 11. We are talking about a TQO on the other side of the planet, a qualifying tournament to participate in the Games while France, the host country, is already qualified. This is indeed an absurdity but it is imposed by FIBA, the international federation. The French Federation has no other choice but to comply in high season. “Although we are already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, this TQO is an excellent opportunity for the French team to come together, work and progress. A little over five months before the Games, and even if we have to travel to the other side of the world in the middle of the season, the three meetings should allow the Blues to continue their work and gain momentum with a view to the “Olympic summer that awaits them” comments Jacques Commères, the director of the French teams.

For this meeting which would still have gone well, Jean Aimé Toupane therefore selected Marine Johannes, player of Asvel, who had promised, on her return from the United States, to take part in all the preparation for games. “I was very clear: my goal is to be at the Olympic Games in Paris. I just want to try to be part of this team, she said in November. A lot of people are talking about the Paris Games. This is an event not to be missed. I missed the last two competitions (the 2022 World Cup due to an injury and, therefore, Euro 2023) but I am very excited to return to the French team. It’s my aim. »

The preparation involves an essential and long trip to China. With Gabby Williams also back, Toupane also called the new nugget of French women’s basketball, Dominique Malonga, who is taking an option for a possible Olympic selection. “We have put together the best possible team for this TQO, taking into account the physical fitness of the players who are in full season with their clubs,” said the coach. Even if the sporting challenge is relative to the extent that we are not playing for our qualification unlike the other nations, we will want to win our three matches. Winning every match is the best way to prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games which are coming up in just over five months from now on.” In China, the Blues will face Puerto Rico, China and New Zealand.

The France group: Valériane Ayayi (Prague), Marième Badiane (Brest), Romane Bernies (Brest), Alexia Chery (Asvel), Alix Duchet (Bourges), Marianne Fauthoux (Asvel), Marine Johannes (Asvel), Dominique Malonga (Tarbes ), Sarah Michel-Boury (Bourges), Iliana Rupert (Bologna), Janelle Salaun (Villeneuve d’Acq), Gaby Williams (Asvel).


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