NEW DELHI: The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) is confident that despite the huge popularity of cricket in India, basketball will have its share of fan following.

FIBA President Bob Elphinston, on Thursday, asserted that basketball could become a top sport in India.

“Absolutely (basketball can grow), because basketball is an Olympic sport, cricket is not. For this, we will continue to need more facilities,” Elphinston told reporters at the foundation stone laying function of an indoor basketball stadium at the Azmal Khan Park (Karol Bagh) here. FIBA Secretary-General Patrick Bauman said India had the ability to be among the top six at Asian level.

“But there should be better coaching facilities to achieve that,” he said.

Appreciating the step to build the modern indoor stadium, Elphinston said, at the new venue, he would like to see an international match between India and some Asian team in a year’s time.

The proposed stadium, to be built at an estimated cost of Rs. 6 crore, will be able to accommodate 2000 spectators. It will be completely air-conditioned and will have diffused lights. It’s expected to be completed in 10 months.

The Senior Vice-President of the Indian Olympic Association, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, laid the foundation stone. Among others, NBA great Dominique Wilkins was also present. — Sports Reporter

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