There has never been a name so apt. ‘Anmol’ Singh is a ‘priceless’ sporting talent. The 18-year-old Punjabi lad is a starter on the u-19 Indian men’s basketball team. The 6ft 10 inch power forward has seen a dramatic rise in his abilities in the last year, despite picking up the sport for the first time at the relatively late age of 15.
“I used to play lawn tennis in the beginning, because my father wanted me to focus on an individual sport.” The green grass soon gave way to brown maplewood floors. “My uncle and aunt have played basketball for India, so it wasn’t really a surprise.” A few months into his hoops training, Anmol tried out for the youth (u-16) Punjab state team in 2011 and was rejected. “The late Punjab Coach Sankaran Subramanium told me I had no chance.” A distraught Anmol looked to the sky for answers, wondering if moving away from tennis was a mistake. It was then that an ‘anmol’ miracle happened.
“I grew almost a foot in less than two years.” Not surprisingly, for a sport that favours height, he was named in the Punjab u-18 team for the 2012 junior nationals in Puducherry. Anmol got the chance to play alongside and learn from junior India players Gurvinder Gill and Loveneet Singh.
“Gary and Loveneet work very hard and give their 100% in every practice.” The very next year it was Anmol’s turn to shine, as he put up scorching offensive performances in the knockout stages of the 2014 Junior Nationals, against strong teams like Haryana, Tamil Nadu and losing finalists Delhi. “We had lost to Delhi in the previous finals, so it was important for us go to all out. We chanted our traditional Sikh battle cry ‘Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akal’, and with the blessings of our Guru went into each match, and won!”
After his recent entry into the Junior Indian team, Anmol now plans to shift to the US for the next few years. “I have relatives in Houston, so I will join a good sports college there, improve my game and come back to India, to be of service to our Senior National Team.”
Anmol has vowed to become India’s best basketball player. “Guru Ki Kripa se (with the blessings of our Guru), pakka (for sure) I will be.”