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Wade unconvinced by age restrictions at Olympics

posted 8 Aug 2012, 05:25 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 8 Aug 2012, 05:25 ]

Injured American basketball player Dwyane Wade believes Team USA will bring it home to win gold at the London Olympics despite some indifferent moments in the men's tournament to date. He says plans to impose age restrictions on Games basketball will dash the Olympic hopes of many of top stars.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 8, 2012) (REUTERS) - 
Injured American basketball player Dwyane Wade appeared unconvinced on Wednesday (August 8) by a possible move to put an age limit on playing in the Olympic Games.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) wants to copy the Olympic rules on soccer and impose an under-23-years-old team with three age exceptions for the next Olympic basketball tournament at Rio 2016.


That would leave just the world championships, now renamed the World Cup, as a platform for fully-fledged national teams to battle it out.


Wade, not available for Team USA in London due to recent knee surgery, told Reuters in an interview most players do not peak until after the age of 23, so imposing an age limit would effectively end the Olympic dream of many of the sports' top stars.


"Obviously there's always change and you always adapt so it's not something that, right now, everyone smiles about because so many of us who are older have got an opportunity to play at the Olympics," Wade said.

"Especially when you go through four years of college and you come out and it might take you a few years to really get your legs under you in professional sport. And then now you're ready, you might be too old to play at the Olympics so the window of opportunity is very short and very small."


"I don't know how it's going to effect immediately, but I'm sure in the long run everyone will make the adjustment," he said.


Wade was visiting NBA house in London's Covent Garden but intends to catch some of the action involving his team mates in the Olympic competition.


The US are through to the quarter-finals of the men's competition with expectations high they will go on and win gold, emulating the famed 1992 "Dream Team" featuring greats such as Michael Jordan.


The US have displayed mixed form in the competition to date, thrashing hapless Nigeria but just a few days later being pushed to the brink by Lithuania.


"A lot of people don't really understand this team - there's a lot of new guys that have been incorporated into this team, so they're still learning each other any they're getting better and better with each game, whether it's an 83 point win, or whether it's a close win and they win by 3 points or whatever the case may be," Wade said.


"I think that they're going to be at their best at the end and I believe they're going to bring it home."

Wade added he was backing LeBron James to take his game to the next level with the competition heading to the business end.


"LeBron's been on cruise control and he's been doing whatever the team need him to do each night - he's not out to prove that you know what, I'm supposed to be the best in the league right now, let me go out and show the world. I think everyone knows how good that guy is, and he's very versatile - he does what the team needs and when," he said.


Wade, a gold medal winner with the US in Beijing four years, had knee surgery a month ago and said he was recovering well.


Although he admitted that watching his team mates in action had not been easy for him.

"In one sense I'm a fan and I'm excited about the game and I want the US to do so well. And in another sense, I know I should be on the team and it kinda hurts a little bit that I'm not there and I'm not sharing this moment."


"But I'm excited for those guys. You know, a lot of guys are getting their first time to play an Olympics, they're going to live out their dream come true.


"I've been able to win a gold medal, I've been able to win a bronze medal as well, so I've been blessed," said Wade.

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