UTAH JAZZ

Ingles: ‘I Want To Win A Gold Medal For My Country’

Jul 26, 2021, 12:00 PM
Joe Ingles - Australia vs. Argentina Exhibition...
Patty Mills #5 of the Australia Boomers is congratulated by teammates Nathan Sobey #2, Joe Ingles #7 and Nick Kay #15 after Mills hit a 3-pointer against Argentina at the end of regulation of their exhibition game for an 87-84 win at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Joe Ingles and Australia got off to a good start during the Olympic Basketball Tournament in Tokyo, beating Nigeria 84-67 in the first game of group play.

While the Utah Jazz guard’s numbers didn’t jump off the page, scoring 11 points and grabbing four rebounds on 4-12 shooting, he moved one step closer to his goal at the Olympic Games.

“I want to win a gold medal for my country,” Ingles told KSL Sports’ Jeremiah Jensen.

The trip to Tokyo doesn’t come without its sacrifices for the 33-year-old veteran taking part in his fourth Olympic games. In addition to missing time during the offseason to rest and recover from the Jazz compacted 2020-21 NBA schedule, Ingles is missing important milestones in his family life.

“I’m missing my twins’ fifth birthday tomorrow,” Ingles said. “So shout out to Jacob and Milla.”

Team Australia was locked into a tight matchup with Jazz teammate Miye Oni and Nigeria through the first two quarters of the Olympic opener, though the difficulty didn’t surprise Ingles.

“I think a lot of people underestimate how good they are,” Ingles said. “With Mike Brown coaching and seven or eight NBA players, they’re a really good team and they execute well and they play hard.”

Nigeria surprised the heavily favored USA men’s team in Las Vegas, beating them 90-87 in a pre-Olympic friendly earlier in the month. Unlike Team USA, the veteran-laden Australian roster relied on their previous Olympic experience to pull away from Nigeria in the second half to coast to an easy victory.

Ingles first competed in the 2008 Olympics as a fresh-faced 20-year-old, and along with San Antonio Spurs veteran Patty Mills, has turned the Boomers into one of the most respected international basketball programs.

“Patty and I have been trying to build this thing for 12 years,” Ingles said of his time with the Australian National Team. Since ’08 we’ve gotten better and better.”

Australia will face Italy on Wednesday before wrapping up group play against Germany on Saturday.

Catch KSL Sports full conversation with Ingles Monday night at 10 pm on KSLTV.

Click here for KSL Sports’ exclusive coverage of the Games.

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Ingles: ‘I Want To Win A Gold Medal For My Country’