Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After two years in the Big Victoria basketball league, Geethu Anna Jose is proving that she is much more than the answer to the trivia question as to who is the first Asian to play in the professional basketball league down under.

She had a dream debut in the Big V League in 2006. The 22-year-old became only the first player from second division to be picked for the first division’s All Star team. Playing for Ringwood Hawks, Geethu was chosen as the player of the month in August 2006.

The new season heralds a fresh challenge for Geethu, who missed the majority of her team’s matches last season as she was spearheading the Indian Challenge in the Asian Championship at Incheon.

“This is my third year with the team and I am excited. I will be playing a full season this year. My teammates are also keen to have me for the full season and they are also excited. Our aim is to win the league to qualify for the first division,” she said.

Tough training

Geethu has been with the Ringwood team for the last two months for their pre-season training. “We train for about two hours daily twice a week. But those two hours are really tough. The emphasis is more on developing set pieces. The game is more physical here. Of course it is a huge advantage when one is six feet two inches tall. What may be called as foul in India is ignored here and the game has fewer stoppages here,” she said.

Ringwood Hawks, which finished sixth last year, begins its campaign this season with a match against Blackburn. Geethu, who plays as a centre forward, is a key member of the team. “But my workload will be less as there are a few players who are equally good, if not better than me. Here we need to concentrate more on the task that is assigned to you,” she said.

Geethu, who was instrumental in India qualifying for the elite group for the first time in the history of Asian Basketball championship, attributes the overall improvement in her game due to her stint in Big V League. “I am fitter and had improved my shooting. I did the basics right and the results were there for all to see at Incheon,” she said.

The Southern Railway employee’s ultimate aim is to play in the WNBL. She is hoping that a sterling performance in Big V league will make her dream come true in the near future.

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