ATHENS (FIBA 3x3 World Championship) – Serbia won the men’s gold medal, USA the women’s and France the mixed in a riveting evening’s action at the FIBA 3x3 World Championship in Athens, Greece.
Ukraine and France both had teams in all three events coming into Sunday’s Finals day. France, who took part in the three Finals, would go on to win gold in the Mixed competition, but secure silver in both the Men’s and the Women’s.
In the Women’s Final, it was close until the very end, but the Americans eventually prevailed after a hard fought battle. The French raced off to an early lead, before the USA rallied a comeback that included two key plays by Chiney Ogwumike.
Down by two with as many seconds to play, Sylvie Gruszczynski drew the foul – judged to be intentional – for one free-throw and possession of the ball. Gruszczynski made the free-throw, but on the restart France were unable to release in time what would have been the game winner.
In the Men’s Final, the French again began the better, this time against Serbia. The smaller Serbians were unable to cope in the low post, especially against the mighty Jbam.
However, they suddenly found their range from beyond the arc, and it took all but three plays for them to find themselves level. The scoreboard showed 12-12 with a minute to play, as Serbia’s Marko Savic made a couple of killer twos. A successful free-throw increased the lead to three, a lead they held onto as the final scoreboard showed 16-13.
With a sizeable height advantage, the French opened up an early lead in the Mixed Final. But the score was the least of Argentina's problems as they rapidly got into foul trouble, with Ivan Basualdo fouling out with a couple of minutes to play. The gap was already insurmountable, when a minute later two more Argentinian players - Macarena Durso and Natasha Spiatta - fouled out, leaving Juan Fernandez Chavez all alone on court, for a forfeit French win.
In the individual contests, Estonia’s Pirgit Puu collected gold in the Skills Challenge, Stanislav Votroubek of Czech Republic in the Shoot-Out, while a monster dunk over a motorcycle by Venezuelan Deivi Ananguren gave him the title in the Dunk Contest.