GUANGZHOU -- Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) president Yao Ming said he would take all the responsibility for China's poor performance in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
"Me!" Yao replied after he was asked by a reporter who will be the one responsible for China's performance.
China lost to Nigeria 86-73 to finish second in Group N with two wins and three losses, failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics directly from the World Cup.
"It is me who disappoint the fans," Yao said.
"The fans had great expectation for China at the World Cup, but we could not make it," the 39-year-old added.
Yao took charge of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017. He carried out reforming measures on the professional league and youth academy.
"This (World Cup) is a window for us to look out the world. The gap between China and the world-leading basketball countries has been enlarged,” Yao said.
"We have determination to keep our reform on, including professional league, youth academy and sports education," the former NBA star added.
Iran gained qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a crucial 95-75 victory over the Philippines in the classification round on Sunday (Sept. 8).
With China’s loss, Iran finished the World Cup as the best Asian side on points difference in all games. (Xinhua)