Teams gather at the opening ceremony of the 66th Junior Nationals

Teams gather at the opening ceremony of the 66th Junior Nationals

Ludhiana, Punjab, 2nd October 2015: The 66th Junior National Basketball Championship tipped off today morning in Ludhiana, Punjab. On the morning of Day 1 of the championship, last year’s boys’ third placed team Tamil Nadu started the tournament strong with a victory against Kerala 80-59. The MVP of the recently concluded Youth National Championship P. Baladhaneshwar is also a member of Tamil Nadu’s Junior team and put up 14 points today. His teammates Hari Ram and Surya contributed 23 points each. Madhya Pradesh boys also started out with a victory in a close game against Karnataka that ended 58-50.

Madhya Pradesh boys (in yellow) and Karnataka boys (in maroon) in action

Madhya Pradesh boys (in yellow) and Karnataka boys (in maroon) in action

In the level 2 games of the morning, Goa and Chandigarh girls picked up victories in one-sided contests against Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry respectively. The girls’ contingent of the Tripura team, the only team from the North-East in this year’s tournament, lost their first game against the Andhra Pradesh girls.

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In the boys’ level 2 games, the Goa boys matched their girls’ team performance with a win against Telengana, while the Puducherry boys pulled off a win against Odisha. The match between the Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal boys was a tightly fought contest with Uttar Pradesh edging past their opponent 67-65.

Haryana (in light blue) and Uttar Pradesh (in white) players in action

Haryana (in light blue) and Uttar Pradesh (in white) players in action

Level 1 girls’ games took place today afternoon with Kerala blowing past West Bengal 59-15, while Uttar Pradesh girls defeated the Haryana team 56-47.

Gatka (traditional Sikh martial art) performance at the opening ceremony

Gatka (traditional Sikh martial art) performance at the opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was scheduled in the early evening period at the outdoor courts of the venue. The chief guest for the occasion was Mr. Ramesh Wadhera, CEO of Feather Line Impex Pvt. Ltd. Other dignitaries included former BFI President Mr. R.S. Gill and Mr. Teja Singh Dhaliwal, Secretary General of the Punjab Basketball Association.

Traditional Punjabi Giddha dancers at the opening ceremony

Traditional Punjabi Giddha dancers at the opening ceremony

The ceremony was filled with traditional performances. The players and the audience were treated to a fiery Gatka performance, which is a martial art traditional to Punjab. This was followed by the Punjabi Giddha dance performed by a troupe led by former Indian women’s hockey player, Sharanjeet Kaur. The ceremony was rounded off with a show put on by the ‘Iron Queen’ Asha Rani, who has set world records for lifting weights with her hair and ears.

Results on Day 1 up to 7:00 pm

Girls: 

Level 1: 

Group B: 

Uttar Pradesh (Shreyasi 18, Vaishnavi 10, Shivani 8) bt Haryana (Bharti 15, Surya 14, Namarta 12) 56-47 (13-15, 20-6, 8-15, 15-11)

Kerala (Nivyaraj P.P. 14, India Nelson 10, Anusha I.P. 9) bt West Bengal (P. Ghosh 6, P. Chakraborty 5) 59-15 (17-4, 18-3, 12-4, 12-4)

Level 2: 

Group D: 

Goa (Gaylemaria Gomes 8, Rachel Raposa 8, Rose Rhea Rebeilo 5) bt Jammu and Kashmir 36-16 (5-4, 14-4, 10-4, 9-4)

Group E: 

Chandigarh (Amrit 30, Tanu 8) bt Puducherry (Uma 9, Radika 4) 48-17 (18-7, 12-5, 16-3, 2-2)

Group F: 

Andhra Pradesh (S.K. Hafijunnisha 18, Nikitha 10, Manisha 6) bt Tripura (Mehrien 8, Jyoti 4, Sonali 4) 40-19 (16-2, 12-8, 4-3, 8-6)

Boys: 

Level 1: 

Group A: 

Madhya Pradesh (Mithun 18, Ashish 13, Rishabh 10) bt Karnataka (Karthikh 19, Mapees 11) 58-50 (8-11, 16-11, 14-15, 20-13)

Group B:

Tamil Nadu (R. Hari Ram 23, A. Surya 23, P. Baladhaneshwar 14) bt Kerala (Antony Johnson 11, Aditya Amady 10, Sugeeth Nath 9) 80-59 (25-16, 18-16, 22-11, 15-16)

Haryana player gets to the rim against Andhra Pradesh (in green)

Haryana player gets to the rim against Andhra Pradesh (in green)

Haryana (Naveen 17, Deepak 15) bt Andhra Pradesh (S. Harsha Reddy 17, M. Afash Khan 6) 89-38 (29-14, 23-0, 26-9, 11-15)

Level 2: 

Group D: 

Puducherry (Baravi 29, Atchuthan 16) bt Odisha (Sumay K. 18, Amit K.R. Sharma 12) 61-53 (12-16, 13-9, 11-19, 25-9)

Group E: 

Uttar Pradesh (Atal Rai 19, Shivan 12, Abhishek S. 9) bt West Bengal (Arka Saha 15, Dhramendra R. 14) 67-65 (16-9, 14-16, 15-16, 22-24)

Goa (Roy Pereira 16, Georre Lobo 10) bt Telangana (S. Sai Kumar 18, M. Uday Kiran 5) 41-35 (10-9, 7-13, 11-7, 13-6)

About the 66th Junior National Basketball Championship

The 66th Junior National Basketball Championship is being organised in Ludhiana, Punjab. The tournament for the ‘18 and under’ category is scheduled from October 2 to October 9 2015 in the basketball hotbed of Punjab, which has produced numerous star international players. The Punjab Basketball Association is the organising body for the tournament under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India. The venue for the championship is the courts at the Guru Nanak Stadium. There is one indoor court and two outdoor courts at the venue.

Last year’s Junior National Championship was held in Kochi, Kerala. Home team Punjab boys were the winners of the 65th version of the tournament; while Delhi came runners up and Tamil Nadu were the third placed team in the boys’ category. For the girls, Chhattisgarh are the defending champions, who defeated the Kerala girls in the final last year. Uttar Pradesh girls achieved third place.

This year’s tournament will witness the participation of 24 states, each with a boys’ and girls’ team. The last time a national level basketball championship was held in Ludhiana was the Senior National Basketball Championship in 2012-13.

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 at www.basketballfederationindia.org

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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