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Updated: May 5, 2010 14:56 IST

Let's play ball

A. JOSEPH ANTHONY
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Basketball coach B. Ravinder
The Hindu Basketball coach B. Ravinder

If a tree is known by its fruit, the St. Patricks Basketball Academy has already produced results in just two years of its existence. Prithvi Reddy, who trained here, played the sub-junior Nationals and is now in the Indian camp at Mumbai, preparing for an open tournament for junior boys in Poland in June. On the distaff side, Monica has also represented the state in the sub-junior Nationals. Vishnu and K. John have turned out for Hyderabad in the recently-concluded Khamman inter district sub-junior championships.

Fr. Marianna and Fr. Alex Albert of the school, located at Sebastian Road, have given a free rein to coach Bana Ravinder to run the show. The children are fortunate to have such a mentor. He is not only gentle and caring with the kids aged between five and 15 years but draws on his rich experience, having groomed several international and national players.

This programme is the brainchild of former Indian basketball captain Mohd. Rizwan and has grown both in quality and quantity. The ongoing summer coaching scheme has a whopping 200 children (a court can have just 10 of them playing at a time!), divided into batches of 80 in the morning and 120 in the evening. What's highly commendable about the programme is that it is open not just to school children but also those who cannot afford education.

“Ravinder found our basketball court and its ambience is conducive to the sport. The number of enthusiastic children, keen to sharpen their skills at dribbling or lay-up shots, has only increased,” notes Fr. Alex Albert, Principal of St. Patricks.

“While we welcome the academy's efforts to promote the sport, what are causes for concern are the dropping standards of the school team itself and its poor performance in recent tournaments,” observed Rizwan, a leading light of the game.

Backing the ongoing summer coaching camp is L.C. Umakanth, who through Shraddha Extension bears all the expenses for the equipment to be used for the nearly two month project. Literally strengthening the children is former junior international and pivot K. Vishal Kumar. The Train Ticket Examiner of South Central Railway conducts endurance training for the children twice a week.

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