Basketball: the Australian Olympic team has sent a small cheer squad to the arena in Saitama – 800m hero Peter Bol and swimmer Cate Campbell are among a contingent clad in green and gold. It has been a tight, cautious first quarter so far and may well turn into a battle of attrition. But the Boomers lead 24-18 as the buzzer brings the first quarter to a close.
I’m en route to Saitama Super Arena, about an hour from Tokyo, for the Boomers’ blockbuster semi-final clash with Team USA.
An Olympic medal has eluded the Australian men’s basketball team on so many occasions – they have played for bronze four times in the past four decades and lost in all of them, most recently by one point in 2016.
If the Aussies can beat the Americans this afternoon, they are guaranteed a medal and will play for gold this weekend. If they lose, they will have yet another opportunity to end their drought in the bronze medal streak. As someone who has covered Australian basketball for much of the past decades, I’ll admit I feel a bit nervous right now.