Even if the politics of India-United States ties sometimes falls short of the hoop, the two nations continue to score slam-dunks in terms of bilateral sport diplomacy.
This week the U.S. State Department announced that the second round of people-to-people exchanges under its Sports Visitor programme will see 14 Indian basketball coaches touring the U.S. for ten days from February 17 2012.
The programme, hosted jointly by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the National Basketball Association (NBA) will begin in Washington, according to an official statement, “where the delegation will meet with U.S. basketball coaches, work with young American athletes, participate in a basketball clinic with Special Olympics athletes, and engage in activities focused on team-building and injury prevention.”
Later, the coaches from India will travel to Orlando, Florida to attend NBA coaching clinics and sessions surrounding NBA All-Star 2012, the State Department said.
The forthcoming exchange programme builds on the first round of basketball exchange in February 2011, when NBA Hall-of-Famer George Gervin and six-time WNBA All-Star Katie Smith travelled to India conducting basketball clinics for thousands of young boys, girls and coaches.