JOHOR BAHRU (2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women/2013 FIBA U19 World Championship) - China captured their 13th gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women with a 66-60 victory over Japan as both finalists and bronze medalists Korea clinched berths to the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
With the three spots being filled, it means that the 16-team fields for both 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships - men and women - are complete.
In Sunday's Final played in the Malaysian city of Johor Baru, Yang Li Wei scored 20 points, Qiang Yi collected 9 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks and Gong Li added 11 points and 2 blocks to secure China’s gold medal win. The result was all the more impressive as the team's leading scorer, Huang Si Jing, was held to just seven points.
Japan, meanwhile, collected their seventh silver medal and second in a row with the help of three players from the country’s team that finished an impressive fourth at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women.
Forward Yunika Nakamura, a member of the U17 All-Tournament Team in Amsterdam, was Japan’s second leading scorer in Malaysia and also grabbed 3.9 rebounds.
Haruka Hatakenaka and Saori Miyazaki both were playing their second tournament of the summer though fellow U17 Worlds All-Tournament Team member Evelyn Mawuli was not included in the U18 side despite making the preliminary roster.
Korea knocked off Chinese Taipei 61-42 to take the bronze medal and the last available spot on offer for next summer’s U19 World Championship.
The Koreans’ U18 team had three players from their squad that played in Amsterdam though none of them – Park Ji Eun (5.7 points), Shin Ji Hyun (3.7), Yang In Young (1.8) – played a major role in Johor Bahru.
The Asian trio fills the 16-team field for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, which takes place from 18-28 July 2013 in Lithuania.
The other teams qualified are hosts Lithuania; the European quintet of France, Russia, Serbia, Netherlands and Spain; reigning champions United States and fellow FIBA Americas sides Brazil, Argentina and Canada; the FIBA Africa representatives Senegal and Mali; and FIBA Oceania champions Australia.
The field for the men’s 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, which runs from 27 June to 7 July, has hosts Czech Republic; the European contingent of Croatia, reigning champs Lithuania, Serbia, Russia and Spain; the United States, Brazil, Canada and Argentina from FIBA Americas; the FIBA Asia trio of China, Korea and Iran; FIBA Africa sides Senegal and Ivory Coast; as well as FIBA Oceania winners Australia.
The draws for next year's FIBA U19 World Championships for Men and Women will take place in early 2013.