Geethu Anna Rahul: "I want to be a role model for other youngsters."
John Wooden: “It isn't what you do, but how you do it.”
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi: “I never imagined I’ll be leading the national team.”
Pratham Singh: “My teammates are like my family.”

Indian basketball legend R Rajan's verdict on India's qualification to Division A and what it means for the sport

 

 

Team India after their qualification to Division A. Image credits: FIBA.com

What a delightful night for Indian basketball!

Congratulations to all the players, coaches and the entire Indian team management, for returning India to Division A! We are now back among Asia’s top eight teams.

BFI President Shri K Govindaraj immediately announced a cash prize of INR 15,00,000/- to the deserving squad. A wonderful and generous gesture that is sure to motivate and inspire our girls to aim higher in the coming months.

It was a packed audience to cheer the national team and this brought out the best in all the players. Forward Shireen Limaye hit the game winner, while the talented Jeena Skaria was at her consistent best. Seasoned players Raspreet Sidhu and Anitha Paul Durai too impressed, while young guard Kavita Akula was solid, if not spectacular.

Pressure can cut both ways, and playing at home in front of a vociferous crowd, India rose to the occasion. Coach Zoran should be credited for creating a winning chemistry within the unit in just a few months.

The question now is of what next for the Indian women’s team. While returning to Division A in such fine fashion is a laudable achievement in itself, our girls should now look to close the gap with Asia and Oceania’s top teams such as Japan, Australia and China.

It is safe to say that Indian basketball fans were treated to a level of women’s basketball action never before seen in the country. Young girls and boys watching from the stands will surely go back with memories of lightning quick fast breaks, never-say-die comebacks, accurate long range jumpshots and above all, a sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie that all the teams displayed, as ambassadors for their respective countries.

India is proud to have hosted the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2017 and we will be eager to conduct the 2017 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship next, followed by the much awaited World Cup Qualifiers for Men.

These are exciting times to be an Indian basketball fan!

 

About R Rajan

R Rajan was a power forward who played for the Indian national team from 1982 to 1996, including six Asia Basketball Championships. Residing in Bengaluru, he is an integral part of the basketball fraternity in India, and works tirelessly to take the sport to new heights in the country.

 

India hosted the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup from 23rd to 29th July 2017 in Bengaluru.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FIBA Asia Cup 2017

08-20 August, Beirut, Lebanon

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