Lit­tle hope of ad­vance­ment, less of a medal

Sportstar - - BASKETBALL PREVIEW - ASH­WIN ACHAL

Bas­ket­ball has fea­tured in ev­ery edi­tion of the Asian Games. In fact, the event was re­garded as the de facto con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship un­til the 1960 Asian Bas­ket­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion Cham­pi­onship in Manila. At the Asian Games, China has dom­i­nated, win­ning 12 gold medals (men’s and women’s com­bined). At the 2014 edi­tion in In­cheon, host South Korea tri­umphed in both events.

In­dia, on the other hand, has a poor record. The men’s team’s best per­for­mance — fourth place — came in the in­au­gu­ral edi­tion on home turf in New Delhi. In the last three edi­tions, the coun­try has fin­ished 17th, 11th and ninth, re­spec­tively. Cit­ing this poor record, the In­dian Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion de­cided not to send a team for the 5x5 event to Jakarta­palem­bang. Al­ter­ca­tions and dishar­mony within the team at the Com­mon­wealth Games in Gold Coast ear­lier this year prob­a­bly didn’t help its cause.

That leaves In­dian hopes rest­ing on the shoul­ders of the women’s team — which, like the men’s, is still await­ing a first medal in bas­ket­ball. In 2014, the women’s team placed sixth, marginally bet­ter than the men’s. In Jakarta, In­dia has been grouped with a com­bined North and South Korea team, Chi­nese Taipei, Kaza­khstan and Indonesia, with the top four qual­i­fy­ing for the quar­ter­fi­nals. In­dia can aspire to squeeze past Kaza­khstan and Indonesia to reach the last eight, but fur­ther in­roads will be ex­tremely tough. In­dia has not en­tered teams in ei­ther of the 3x3 events.

Women’s team:

San­jana Ramesh, Pushpa Senthil Ku­mar, Prasan­nan Geetha Anjana, Hem­mige Ma­he­sha Bhan­davya, Palaniku­makalayil Skaria Jeena, Ra­japriyad­harshini Ra­ja­gana­p­athi, Raspreet Sidhu, Shireen Vi­jay Li­maye, Priyanka Prab­hakara, Madhu Ku­mari, Sangeeta Kaur and Stephy Nixon.

R. RAGU

Tough group: In­dia has been placed with a com­bined North and South Korea team, Chi­nese Taipei, Kaza­khstan and Indonesia in the group stage.

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