They will see the Place de la Concorde, its obelisk and its removable stands, currently being erected. The French men’s 3×3 basketball team validated its ticket for the Paris Olympic Games on Sunday May 19, by qualifying for the final of the Olympic Qualification Tournament (OQT) in Debrecen (Hungary).

In this “last chance tournament”, which awarded the final three keys to the Olympic high mass, Karim Souchu’s men beat Mongolia to the wire (21-19), reaching the final of the Hungarian competition thanks to to a two-point shot (equivalent to the three-pointer at 5×5) from Timothé Vergiat defeating the Mongols who had been in the lead the entire match.

A few weeks after missing the first possibility of qualification, during a TQO in Japan, the Blues congratulated themselves. They join the French women’s team, already qualified due to their ranking in Paris, and will not have to watch the Olympics at home from their sofa.

A qualification all the more delicious as the French also went through the eye of the needle in the quarter-final. Led and manhandled throughout the game by Germany from a fiery Fabian Giessmann (8 points), the French escaped with a two-point shot in overtime from Jules Rambaut. “It’s incredible, we are 10 minutes [duration of 3×3 basketball matches] from Paris. It’s going to be a fight against Mongolia, and we’re going to give everything,” warned Raphael Wilson, speaking to La Chaîne L’Equipe.

The French team will see the Games in France, three years after missing qualification for those in Tokyo by one step. “This was the objective set two years ago with the coach and the Federation. They put so much money and we put so much work into getting this qualification. Come on Blues, we’re going to the Games! », enthused Jules Rambaut after qualifying.

“We know that we have a mission to fulfill and that it is happening quickly,” declared Franck Seguéla, interviewed by Le Monde in January. For the leader of the Blues, who said that participating in the Olympics “would make one of [his] dreams come true”, there was no question of missing the Parisian meeting, and thus being the only French team sports team not to not participate in the Games at home – even if in most disciplines, the Blues were automatically qualified. “We absolutely cannot miss out on qualifying at home, and for our sport, which is a new sport at the Olympics,” concluded the leader of the French team. Perhaps we will write, in August, that the path to the medal won at Place de la Concorde began in Debrecen. In the meantime, even at the last minute, the 3×3 Blues are enjoying their mission accomplished.