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Indian Railways women, Services men return as national champions
Mysuru, 16th January 2016: The last day of the 66th Senior National Basketball Championship here in Mysuru saw the two best teams in each of the men’s and women’s categories compete for the coveted gold medal. The Indian Railways women and Services men captured the gold medal, with Kerala women and Uttarakhand men finishing runners up. Delhi women and Tamil Nadu men sealed third place, going home with bronze medals. The gold medal winning teams were awarded a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh each. Runners up were awarded Rs. 50,000 each and the third placed teams were awarded Rs. 25,000 each.
The final day was graced with the presence of ministers from the Government of Karnataka. Shri Dr. HC Mahadevappa, Minister for Public Works Department, Shri Mahadeva Prasad, Minister of Co-operation, Shri Dr HM Ambarish, Minister of Housing and Shri Abhay Chandra, Minister for Fisheries & Sports took in the finals action.
Navaneetha PU of the Indian Railways was awarded the Most Valuable Player in the women’s section, while Services point guard Joginder Singh was awarded the men’s Most Valuable Player. Each MVP was given a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.
Indian Railways stay perfect to clinch gold
The first final was the women’s game between Kerala and Indian Railways. Both teams entered the final with a perfect 6-0 record and were facing each other for the first time this tournament. Kerala began the game well, with Jeena Scaria (14 points) scoring a bulk of the first quarter points for her team. Kerala ended the first period with a 3-point lead in the game. Railways made a crucial change in their defensive strategy to begin the second quarter, with tight man marking on Jeena and double-teaming her whenever she got the ball. This forced the rest of the Kerala players to step up on the offensive end. But only Kerala centre Stephy Nixon (17 points) was up to the task with little contribution from the rest of her teammates. The Indian Railways teams had multiple weapons from inside the paint and outside, with four of their players ending up scoring in double digits. Veteran Railways point guard Anitha Paul-Durai connected on three 3-pointers on her way to 16 points. Railways centre Rajapriyadarshini had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Navaneeta was efficient off the bench for the Railways with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Coach Aparna Ghosh showcased the depth of the Railways team today with 28 points coming from their bench players. Railways blew the game wide open in the second half to cruise to a 72-55 victory, clinching the gold medal after a gap of two years.
Services topple defending champs
The men’s final between Services and Uttarakhand was expected to be a hard-fought battle for first place. Both teams came into the final on a 5-1 record, after knocking out the more favoured Punjab and Tamil Nadu teams in the semifinals. The defending champions started off well, with their star player and India captain Vishesh Bhrighuvanshi (20 points) leading the charge. Down by 2 points at the end of the first quarter, Services cranked up the heat with their point guard Joginder Singh shooting lights out from long distance. Joginder (26 points) nailed 6 threes in the game to give Services a double-digit lead over Uttarakhand. The backcourt due of Joginder and Narender Grewal (20 points) ensured that Services maintained a 10-plus point lead through the third quarter. But entering the fourth, Uttarakhand made a push for a comeback. Uttarakhand centre Murali Krishna (24 points) was big in the post scoring cruicial buckets down the stretch to cut down the Services lead. Bhrighuvanshi also fought valiantly to bring his team back in the game, but the Services players maintained their composure down the stretch to stave off the Uttarakhand comeback attempt. Services held on to a 6-point lead to end the game with a 73-67 victory and capture the gold medal after a gap of 9 years.
Tamil Nadu men and Delhi women capture third place
Delhi women won the third place
Earlier in the day, the Delhi women edged past Telangana 71-66 to capture third place. Raspreet Sidhu led the scoring for the Delhi side with 21 points, while sisters Pratima Singh and Prashanti Singh contributed with 19 and 16 points respectively. Telangana centre Anusha Anto had 24 points in the loss.
Tamil Nadu men won third place
Tamil Nadu men bounced back from their disappointing semifinal loss against Uttarakhand yesterday to defeat Punjab and secure third place. Tamil Nadu dominated the game in the second half and ran away to an 82-68 victory. Tamil Nadu forward Aravind Annadurai scored a game-high 33 points in the contest.
Results from Day 8 (16th Jan)
5th and 6th place
Karnataka (Anil Kumar 29, Isaac I. 12, Karan K. 11) bt Indian Railways (Himanshu Sharma 19, Somvier S. 15, Palpreet Singh 11) 93-86 (22-14, 25-21, 25-24, 21-27)
7th and 8th place:
Gujarat (Dishant Shah 16, Dhaval 16) bt Kerala (Abhijith 15) 64-58 (19-16, 19-12, 14-18, 12-12)
Women’s MVP: Navaneetha PU
Men’s MVP: Joginder Singh
About the 66th Senior National Basketball Championship
The 66th Senior National Basketball Championship is being organised in Mysuru, Karnataka by the Karnataka State Basketball Association (KSBBA). The tournament is being held at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium from 9 to 16 January 2016. The Punjab Basketball Association is the organising body for the tournament under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India. Matches are being held simultaneously on two indoor (at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium) and two outdoor (at Mysuru University) courts.
Last year’s Senior National Championship was held in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, with Uttarakhand men and Chhattisgarh women crowned champions This year’s tournament is witnessing a high participation of 29 men’s teams and 25 women’s teams. The last time a senior national level basketball championship was held in Mysuru was the 39th edition way back in 1987.
About Basketball Federation of India
The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information atwww.basketballfederationindia.org