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Updated: March 13, 2012 00:58 IST

When Geethu danced to Chhattisgarh's tune

Stan Rayan
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RECORD-HOLDER: Poonam Chaturvedi, the tallest woman basketballer in the country, flanked by Chhattisgarh teammates Seema Singh (left) and captain Anju Lakra. Photo: Vipin Chandran
RECORD-HOLDER: Poonam Chaturvedi, the tallest woman basketballer in the country, flanked by Chhattisgarh teammates Seema Singh (left) and captain Anju Lakra. Photo: Vipin Chandran

Geethu Anna Jose has virtually had a free run in the national circuit the last few years. She has set the Commonwealth Games and Asian Championship stage on fire and has been a top scorer in the Continental event.

And on one magical evening in Kochi, the Southern Railway star went on to score an awesome 53 points in the final of an all-India tournament around four years ago.

So, how does one stop Geethu? Ask Seema Singh.

The former international played a crucial role, along with Jilna Jose, as Chhattisgarh jolted Geethu's Southern Railway in the final and won the Federation Cup last year in Raipur.

“We concentrated only on Geethu, we double-teamed her …and then used the zone defense and succeeded,” said Seema at the Regional Sports Centre here on Monday evening. “Jilna and I kept Geethu in check…and since we were playing at home, the crowd backed us in a big way. And we won.”

Anju Lakra, the Chhattisgarh captain, has planned a similar strategy this time too in the 26th Federation Cup which begins at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Wednesday.

“We'll be trying the same thing here…but this time, our team is a little weak,” said Anju.

The core of the team is from the South East Central Railway.

“We are also the inter-railway champion, we beat Southern Railway by one point in Kapurthala in November.

“And we also have the country's tallest player,” she said and pulled out Poonam Chaturvedi from her room.

Poonam, just 16, is already six-feet, seven-inch and growing.

The shy girl tried to hide behind Seema and Anju but with her exceptional height, it turned out to be a hard task.

“She's from Kanpur, UP…our coach Rajesh Patel brought her to Chhattisgarh,” said Anju. “She played for us in the Senior National recently in Chennai.”

So, will Poonam be able to handle Geethu?

“She's very young, she is yet to settle down,” said Anju.

“In a few years, she will.”

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