Immediately after landing at Malpensa airport, the Azzurri commented on the wonderful qualification for the Tokyo Games on the Sky Sport microphone. Coach Sacchetti: “My wife is called Olimpia, now she will take all the credit for this qualification for the Olympics”. Captain Melli: “The victory against Serbia was magical, beautiful, a pleasure from start to finish”. Tonut: “It’s a dream come true, it all happened quickly”
The day after the victory in Belgrade and the historic qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, the national team returned to Italy. Landing in the morning at Malpensa airport. Leading the group, just like in the locker room, is there Nicolò Melli. He is one of the first Azzurri to leave the arrivals terminal. The look is inevitably a bit tired, but the eyes shine when it comes to the victory against Serbia: “I didn’t feel the weight of the captain’s jersey, also because with this group it was all simple from day one, since we we have known for a long time. The victory against Serbia was magical, beautiful. Going to the Olympics is something truly unique, not all athletes can say they have succeeded. There are players who have had an extraordinary career, but who never made it to the Olympics. We, on the other hand, will have this possibility, thanks to a perfect match against Serbia: it was a pleasure from start to finish, in a full building like the one in Belgrade. It was a good feeling. “
Sacchetti: “Melli had a fundamental role”
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Melli was a fundamental component of this success, as the Azzurri coach Romeo Sacchetti explains to the microphone of our Pietro Colnago: “The match against Puerto Rico was useful, we understood that we would have to fight to move forward. Little by little we became sure of ourselves, the boys believed in it and made important flashes of the match against Serbia. These players have grown, both in the Italian and foreign leagues. We have tried to enhance everyone’s qualities. Captain Nicolò Melli played an important part in this qualification, outside the sporting aspect: he guided the boys like a hen, he transmitted something positive to them, he helped me in shaping this group. “In addition to Melli, there is another person who according to Sacchetti has had a important role in the qualification of Italbasket at the Olympics. It is the wife of the blue coach, as he himself explains: “My wife is called Olimpia, now she will take all the credit for this qualification for the Olympics. When I met her I went to the national team as a player and I participated in the Moscow Olympics (where Italy won silver, ed). She pointed out to me that if I hadn’t met her, I would never have participated in that Olympics in 1980. This time she said to me: ‘Remember that my name is Olimpia, so you have to go to Tokyo’“.
Tonut: “It’s a dream come true”
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Among the Azzurri who surprised everyone in the Pre-Olympic tournament there is certainly Stefano Tonut, who comments on the qualification in Tokyo as follows: “It was an incredible victory, it all happened quickly. We have a young group that has put a lot of energy into this tournament. It is a dream come true, we still can’t metabolize. We will go to Tokyo to play it, but first let’s try to enjoy these moments. We are lucky, we have given ourselves a dream for us and for the whole Italian basketball movement. We have known each other for a long time and we know what our qualities are, we have made great progress. We have put a lot of effort and concentration. “
FIBA Eurobasket 2022, the national team plays on Sky Sport
After Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Italian national team will be engaged next summer in another great appointment, namely the Europeans. It will be an exceptional event, with Milan called to host group C which sees the blues together with Greece, Croatia, Ukraine, Great Britain and Estonia, in a group that includes the challenge to two-time NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Initially scheduled in 2021, the EuroBasket was then moved to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All the matches of the Azzurri will be broadcast by Sky Sport.