Basketball: Little hope of advancement, less of a medal

The IOA has decided not to send a men’s team for the 5x5 event to Jakarta-Palembang, citing its poor record. That leaves Indian hopes resting on the shoulders of the women — who, like the men, are still awaiting a first medal in basketball.

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

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 Jakarta-Palembang. 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.

SQUAD
Women’s: 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