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Basketball - 17. October 2007.

Back stage interview with Jan STIRLING [Video]

It's been that way since 2006, when Penny Taylor and Lauren Jackson led the talented Opals to the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazil.

Australia, remember, came from behind against the tournament hosts in the semi-final to reach the title game, and then won convincingly over Russia - the national side that had upset Team USA in the other semi.

It was, without a doubt, the signature moment in the career of Jan Stirling, the coach of the Opals.

Now the question everyone from Melbourne to Perth wants answering is this. Can Australia, who qualified for the Beijing Games with that triumph, capture Olympic gold next year?

To help their cause, Stirling flew to Chieti, Italy, to watch the final weekend of the EuroBasket Women and assess some of her team's future opponents.

She saw Russia beat Spain in the final to qualify for the Olympics, while Spain, Belarus, Latvia and the Czech Republic all earned places in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament.

Stirling spoke to Jeff Taylor.

More videos on www.fiba.com & www.youtube.com/fibaworld

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