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FIBA ASIA Championship – Can India bring back the glory of 1975?

The FIBA Men’s and Women Asia Championship will be held later this year at Wuhan, Hubei, China. The 2011 FIBA Asia Championship for Men is the qualifying tournament for Asia at the men’s basketball tournament in the 2012 Summer Olympics in England.

The preliminary squad has 25 players, including possibly India’s best player, 20-year old guard Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, high flying Talwinderjit Singh Sahi, former captain Trideep Rai, 6’8″ Center Dishant Shah, and veteran fan favorite point guard Sambhaji Kadam.

The India Women’s preliminary squad for FIBA Asia Championship includes the Varanasi-born Singh sisters, as well as Geethu Anna Jose, who recently became the 1st Indian to receive an invitation to trials from WNBA teams in the US.  The Indian men’s and women’s teams will be led  by foreign coaches who will be named later.

2011-team

The men’s team will first play the FIBA Asia Middle Asia sub zone qualifying tournament scheduled in New Delhi for mid-July in a bid to book their place at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship.

India’s best finish was a 4th place standing in 1975, when they were captained by Indian basketball living legend Abbas Moontasir.  Moontasir grew up in the now-famous Nagpada Neighborhood playground in Mumbai.

Basketball Legend Abbas Moontasir and Hoops founder Neel Pahlajani operating a camp in Mumbai

Basketball Legend Abbas Moontasir and Hoops founder Neel Pahlajani operating a youth basketball camp in Mumbai

More recently, in 2007, India finished a disappointing 15th out of a possible 16 teams.  That year, Iran was led by 7’2″ center MVP Hamed Haddadi, who went for 31 points and 10 rebounds in the finals win over Lebanon for 1st place.  It was a great showcase for his talent, and in 2008 Haddadi was signed to an NBA-contract with the Memphis Grizzles.  Haddadi is a strong role player, earning $1.6 million for the 2011 season.

In 2009, Haddadi was again named the MVP, as he led Iran to their 2nd consecutive 1st place finish.  India slightly improved to a 13th place finish.

While the women’s team has already qualified for the FIBA Asia Championship for Women, the first camp for the men will take place at the Indira Gandhi Sporting Complex in New Delhi on May 20, 2011.

Full Squads:

Men: Yadwinder Singh, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Prakash Mishra, Arjun Singh, Shadab Khan, Kiran Pal Singh (all Indian Railways), Talwinderjit Singh Sahi, Jagdeep Singh, Amjyot Singh (all Punjab), Hareesh Koroth, Dinesh C.V, Abhilek Paul (all Tamil Nadu), Trideep Rai, Riyazuddin (both Uttarakhand), Sambhaji Kadam, Jai Ram Jat, Narender Garewal (all Services), Ajay Pratap Singh, Janki Ram Nath (both Chhattisgarh), Eudrick Perreira, Basil Philip (both Kerala), Dishant Shah (Gujarat), Bobby Singh, Rakesh Yadav (both Uttar Pradesh), Arvind A (Karnataka)

India Women’s preliminary squad for FIBA Asia Championship

Women: Geethu Anna Jose, Pushpa M, Anitha P, Smruthi R.K, Reshma G, Bharti Netam (all Indian Railways), Prashanti Singh, Harjeet Kaur, Akanksha Singh, Pratima Singh, Raspreet Sidhu, Asha Hagde (all Delhi), Jilna Jose, Aruna Kindo, Kavita (all Chhattisgarh), Rajeshwari S.N, Kruthika Lakshman (both Karnataka), Jeena P.S., Soniya Joy, Lizy Mathew (all Kerala), R.Raja Priyadharshini, S. Kokila (both Tamil Nadu), Sneha Rajguru, Amruta Bhuskute, Shireen Limaye (all Mahrashtra).

Prashanti, Akanksha and Prathima Singh

Prashanti, Akanksha and Prathima Singh

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