Other Sports

Elite division is India’s aim

Gearing up: The Indian team practising ahead of the FIBA U-16 women’s Asian championship.

Gearing up: The Indian team practising ahead of the FIBA U-16 women’s Asian championship.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Unrelenting rain spoils the home team’s training schedule

As the FIBA U-16 women’s Asian Championship gets underway at the Sree Kanteerava and Koramangala Indoor stadiums here, India’s singular aim will be to get back into the elite Division A.

India is currently placed in Division B alongside countries like Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Division A is where the regional heavyweights like defending champion and three-time winner China, Japan and Australia compete.

“India must be in the top division,” said Zoran Visic, the senior India team coach who is also in-charge of the colts. “It’s a huge country with lots of talented players. So I hope we can do it like senior women’s team [which earned promotion in July].”

However he has his task cut out. The team has been together for barely two months and has seen little competitive action. It has been stationed in Bengaluru for three weeks but the unrelenting rain damaged the prospects of training both indoors — since the facilities were inundated — and outdoors.

“I can say nothing more than that we will do the best,” said Visic. “We played a few scrimmages, friendlies. On the open court I didn’t play 5v5 because it was very slippery. So we couldn’t measure our team. But they are ready to learn and they are disciplined.”

Visic identified Kazakhstan and Malaysia as India’s biggest challengers.

“Kazhakhstan is a very physical side. Malaysia not that much but is very aggressive with the full-court press basketball it plays. But I am not afraid.”

Iran pulls out

In a late development, Iran’s participation was cancelled by FIBA owing to “administrative reasons.” The team had already arrived for its first tournament in three decades, and had even told the media that it was “ecstatic” to be here.

The teams:

Division A: Group A: Australia, Korea, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand; Group B: China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong.

Division B: Group A: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal; Group B: Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Maldives.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:59:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/elite-division-is-indias-aim/article19897787.ece

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