South Sudan qualify for Paris Olympics at Basketball World Cup

MANILA: South Sudan qualified for the Paris Olympics today after finishing as the highest-placed African team at the Basketball World Cup.

Tournament debutants South Sudan, who played their first official international game only six years ago, beat Angola 101-78 in Manila to claim their third win of the competition.

Nearest challengers Egypt then lost 88-86 to New Zealand to hand the sole African qualifying berth on offer for the Paris Games to South Sudan.

Chicago Bulls points guard Carlik Jones scored 26 points and had 15 assists and 7 rebounds for South Sudan, who are ranked 62 in the world.

Marial Shayok scored 18 points and Nuni Omot, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, where his parents spent three years after travelling more than 400 miles to flee civil war in Ethiopia, scored 17.

South Sudan have won plaudits for their dynamic play and positive attitude on and off the court at the World Cup being held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

They pulled off a historic win when they beat basketball-obsessed China 89-69 in their second game.

Although they were eliminated from title contention in the first round, they beat the Philippines 87-68 in the classification round to move closer to a spot at the Paris Olympics.

The team have captured the South Sudanese public's imagination, with crowds gathering to watch their team on giant screens in the capital Juba. — AFP

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