FIBA U-16 Asian Basketball C'ship - Sanjana, Grishma living their dream

Sanjana Ramesh and Grishma Niranjan had long nurtured the dream of playing for India. To have it realised in their home city of Bengaluru wouldn't have been part of even the best of scripts.

Sanjana (L), a center, is a student of DPS (South) and plays for Beagles BC while Grishma (R), a point guard, is from Cluny Convent and turns out for Rajmahal BC.   -  N. Sudarshan

Sanjana Ramesh and Grishma Niranjan had long nurtured the dream of playing for India. To have it realised in their home city of Bengaluru wouldn't have been part of even the best of scripts.

But come Sunday, it may well happen at the FIBA U-16 Women's Asian Championship which begins here. For Sanjana it will be doubly sweet as she has also been named the captain of the side by coach Zoran Visic.

“I can't explain it in words,” said Sanjana. “Captaincy, I wasn't expecting in the beginning. When the coach told me, I was really excited. At the same time there will be a lot of responsibility. I need to be serious in this role.”

“However, I know that I am not alone. These players are amazing and we have become a family now. All 12 of us have the same dream; that is for India to qualify from 'B' division to 'A'.”

Sanjana isn't new to responsibility. She has the experience of having captained Karnataka before at the Youth Nationals. Grishma was also part of that team. Yet, for a new-comer to be named the national skipper is indeed a praiseworthy achievement.

“There are players who have attended camps before and have played internationals,” said Grishma. “But there was no clash of egos. They actually helped us. They shared their experiences and there was no problem.”

It's the kind of quality which coach Visic expects of them as well. “When we started discussions on the captain and the team, it was not just limited to basketball skills,” he said. “It's about the personality, attitude and how they connect with the rest of the team. They should enjoy an assist as much as they enjoy scoring. In my team, I can say that all are Sanjanas.”

Starting from the game against Nepal, the duo will surely put its best foot forward in trying to live up to the coach's expectations. In this the two can bank on their family and friends to lend vociferous support. Sanjana, a center, is a student of DPS (South) and plays for Beagles BC while Grishma, a point guard, is from Cluny Convent and turns out for Rajmahal BC.

“My parents are really excited and have given me a lot of advice on how this is very important for my future,” said Sanjana. “I should give it my all because I may not get another opportunity. I am also sure players from my club and friends will come in large numbers to support us.”

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