SYDNEY (Reuters) – Lauren Jackson will finally get to go to her fifth Olympics after being named in the Australia basketball squad for the Paris Games on Sunday, 27 years after she got her first call-up to the Opals in 1997.

The 43-year-old, a triple Olympic silver medallist and 2006 world champion, originally announced her retirement from international basketball in 2016 after a knee injury prevented her playing at a fifth Games in Rio.

She returned to help Australia to third place on home soil in the 2022 World Cup and was part of the Southside Flyers squad that won the WNBL this year, Jackson’s seventh title in the domestic league.

Jackson, four times an MVP in North America’s WNBA, is the all time leading points scorer in women’s Olympic competition having helped Australia to second place in Sydney, Athens and Beijing and third in London.

WNBA players Alanna Smith, Sami Whitcomb, Ezi Magbegor, Steph Talbot, Rebecca Allen, Jade Melbourne and Kristy Wallace will join Jackson as Australia look to get back in the medals rounds after fifth and eighth place finishes in Rio and Tokyo.

The men’s Boomers team, who won their first Olympic medal with a bronze in Tokyo, will again feature Miami Heat point guard Patty Mills and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Joe Ingles, who will both also compete in their fifth Games in Paris.

Former NBA guard Matthew Dellavedova made the cut for his fourth Olympics but there was no place in the squad for defensive standout Matisse Thybulle of the Portland Trail Blazers.

At the Olympics, the Boomers will play Canada and two teams from the final round of qualifying tournaments in the group stage, while the Opals faces hosts France, Canada and Nigeria.

The competitions run from July 27 to Aug. 11 with the preliminary rounds taking place in Lille before the playoffs in Paris.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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