SPORT

A school which nurtures budding hoopsters

Fr. M. Devasia Memorial draws the cream of cagers

If school-level events serve as springboards to higher levels of competition, then the Fr. M. Devasia Memorial basketball tournament conducted by St. Patrick’s School, Secunderabad, has proved a fertile ground for budding hoopsters.

Into its 15th year, it draws the cream of cagers across the Twin Cities, from corporate to corporation schools and significantly without charging any entry fees!

Its most dedicated proponent happens to be the school’s most prominent pupil and former Indian basketball captain Mohammed Rizwan.

Other talents to emerge from its portals are International stars Varun Dev and Gyan Dev. Syed Shahabuddin, Ignatius Michael, Raja Reddy and Gavin Sohail, also old students, are Basketball Federation of India (BFI) A class referees, the last named ‘whistleblower’ even taking his academy team to Malaysia for a schools championship last year.

“With school-level basketball tournaments non-existent, we were the pioneers,” recalls Rizwan, then president of St. Patrick’s Alumni Network (SPAN), which hosted the tournament, supported by the school management and the Hyderabad District Basketball Association (HDBA).

“It was from this annual event that Varun and several girls from St. Pious School went on to play State and National-level tournaments,” he said.

Depending on the days that could be set aside, thanks to a string of religious festivals in July/August, generally free from exams, the tournament dates and formats were decided, after careful planning. Dignitaries invited to give away prizes such as former Indian basketball captain Hari Krishna Prasad, besides internationals Sofi Sam, Srikanth Reddy and L. Umakanth, also added value to the tournament.

“We are indebted to the 1983 batch that has sponsored and conducted the tournament over the past five years and took the lead this time too,” says Fr. Sandanasamy, Correspondent of the latest edition that ends on Monday.

The games, as always, are staged during school hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., which students are encouraged to watch.

Fr. Sandanasamy hoped the high-action matches would catch the fancy of the current crop and inspire them to take up the game of hoops and wits in a big way.

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