Thu, 23 Sep 2021

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Latvia grabbed its first-ever Olympic gold medal in 3x3 men's basketball, Russian Olympic Committee took silver in both men's and women's events, while China claimed bronze in women's 3x3.

TOKYO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Latvia won its first-ever Olympic gold medal in 3x3 men's basketball after defeating the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team 21-18, while the U.S. team triumphed in the women's event at Tokyo 2020 here on Wednesday.

Hip-hop music throughout the games gave the finals a highly entertaining atmosphere. With switches between offense and defense in a flash, all players went all out for the last victory in the five-day tournament.

The final between the two powerhouses in men's session was nail-biting. The ROC used a 9-4 to get an upper hand in the first minutes. But Latvia took everything to keep the opponents within range and clawed back step by step to even the game 13-13.

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Leading by 19-18, Latvia got the ball back after a challenge with 32 seconds to go and Karlis Lasmanis hit a two-pointer to nail down the victory for Latvia.

This is the first gold medal that Latvia has won at this edition of the Games.

In the women's gold medal game, the ROC team lost as well, going down to the United States.

The Americans scored the first point of the game and the ROC came back with a layup within seconds. The U.S. used an 11-4 run to lead 12-5. The ROC managed to come back to 12-9 but failed to write off the deficit.

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Allisha Gray from the USA team said, "I didn't come all the way out here to win nothing less than a gold medal. So I am glad we were able to finish what we came out here to accomplish."

"From day one, it was tough competition. I mean you couldn't overlook anybody. Every team was great. I mean they are not the same team, even though we beat them the first time. They are a completely different team the second time. So overall, I mean congrats to Russia as well, they are a great team. I am just glad we were able to execute the game plan and came out with a victory," said Gray.

Serbia's men's team brought home the bronze, and China's women's team won the bronze medal after defeating France.

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"We're very excited because we've won the bronze medal for the first time that 3x3 basketball has been in Olympics," China's Wang Lili said.

"The game against France was very tough. It was up and down all game, but we managed to be on top in the end."

As the world's No. 1 urban team sport, 3x3 basketball made its first Olympic appearance at Tokyo 2020.

"You can see the beauty that this urban discipline brings," FIBA general secretary Andreas Zagklis told a news conference during the Games. "It is for us definitely a great moment (to have 3x3 in the Olympic Games)."

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