This is how you write history. Always attacking with an irrepressible fighting spirit, getting up from the ground in pain and still being quick on the ball and, above all, accurate: Satou Sabally from Berlin led the women's national basketball team to the Olympic Games.
Correspondent for sports in Berlin.
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“It was a brawl, it wasn't nice to watch,” Leonie Fiebich commented on her team's 73:71 defeat in the last and decisive game of the Olympic qualification in Belém against hosts Brazil. Sabally scored 20 points and eleven rebounds, Fiebich scored two points more. However, Sabally took free throws twenty times in the Arena Guilherme Paraense in front of 9,000 spectators. Because she was injured, she was the Brazilians' number one opponent.
She had been injured the day before in the defeat against Australia, which followed the opening win against Serbia; For the decisive game, she appeared with a cuff on her left shoulder and, unlike usual, threw a lot with her right. She threw herself into the fray to draw fouls.
The pain that the blows, jostling and movements of her left arm caused her was written on her face - but only until the final siren. Then she cheered with her teammates, untied her braid and, like the entire team, posed with a cap that said: “Et voilà!” The “Here you go” is a special triumph for the players.
“We are at the Olympics. Nobody would have thought that," said Satou Sabally: "For now, I'm enjoying being there and being able to look at the rings in Paris." "Satou was injured, she endured the pain," praised Canadian national coach Lisa Thomaidis: “If you have players like that, you can achieve a lot.”
Association President Ingo Weiss dreams of a surprise like this qualification at the games. “We don’t just want to look at the Eiffel Tower, we also want to meet it,” he says. The German Basketball Association will be competing with two teams. The men, who became world champions in the summer and are therefore favorites to win the Olympics, and the women are starting their tournaments in Lille; only the finals will be played in Paris.
The women's performance is already a huge success. “That’s phenomenal,” said Weiss enthusiastically, “that confirms our work.” Two years ago, the association decided to provide greater support and professional structures for female basketball players. The women's Bundesliga has raised standards.
Over the past year, triggered by the men's European Championships in Cologne and Berlin, more than 30,000 girls and women have taken up basketball. Now the best have followed up winning the European Youth Championships and winning the bronze medal at the 1997 European Championships with Germany's first Olympic qualification.
This is just the beginning. The Olympic Games in Lille, located just 250 kilometers west of Aachen and therefore easily accessible for spectators from Germany, will be followed by the Women's European Championships with a preliminary group in Berlin in 2025 and the Women's World Championships in Berlin in 2026 - opportunities for women in quick succession , to expand their home audience and strive for success like that of men. “They are all doing it with passion,” said Weiss: “I am an absolutely happy president.”