FIBA c’ship: Indian women’s team eager to regain ‘A’ division status

The players are training at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here for the prestigious tournament, which will be held at the same venue in July.

Indian women's Basketball team coach Paramdeep Singh and assistant coach Shiba Maggon (right) during the Camp session in Bengaluru on Monday.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

A winless stint in the 2015 FIBA Women’s Asia Championship saw the Indian basketball team relegated from ‘A’ division to the lower ‘B’ division. Head Coach Paramdeep Singh believes that the current side’s primary target is to regain a spot among the elite.

The players are training at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here for the prestigious tournament, which will be held at the same venue in July.

If the national side records a top-two finish in the ‘B’ division, it will enter the play-off round and take a step closer to realising the goal.

“If we make it to the playoffs and do well there, we will book an ‘A’ division spot for the next edition of the tournament. This is our main goal,” Paramdeep said here on Monday.

Paramdeep is hopeful that Barkha Sonkar and Kavita Akula - products of the famed IMG Academy in Florida - will join the squad. Anmolpreet Kaur, who recently received a scholarship to play high-school basketball in Japan, is also yet to join the squad.

Paramdeep added that Poonam Chaturvedi, the 6'11" Chhattisgarh centre, is likely to arrive in Bengaluru on Tuesday. “Barkha should join us in a couple of days, while Anmolpreet should arrive next month. We are not sure about Kavita’s availability yet,” he said.

The coaching staff, with former India women's international Shiba Maggon donning the role of assistant coach, is keen to inculcate a sense of match-awareness among the players. “We are working on our set plays, but the emphasis is more on getting the players to adapt to different match-situations. For this, a good sense of game-awareness is required. For example, if a set-play cannot be executed, then the players should be able to quickly spot another option,” Paramdeep, a former Punjab State player, said.

Before entering the Asia Cup, the unit will get a chance to test their skills at the William Jones Cup, an international competition held at Taipei (Taiwan). “The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has also assured us that they will arrange a few friendly matches against men’s college basketball teams,” he said.

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