FIBA U-16 Women's Asian C'ship: Impressive Vaishnavi blazes a trail

Vaishnavi now has 67 points from three games, a scoring average that puts her on top of the charts in Division B.

Against Iran, the 16-year-old from Allahabad was unstoppable, scoring 29 points while making six rebounds and five assists.   -  Sudhakara Jain

After India's third straight win at the FIBA U-16 Women's Asian Championship on Tuesday - a result that propelled the team to the Division B semifinals - Vaishnavi Yadav was at pains to state that the success was all down to collective effort.

There is no denying her own role in it, though. Vaishnavi now has 67 points from three games, a scoring average that puts her on top of the charts in Division B. Against Iran, the 16-year-old from Allahabad was unstoppable, scoring 29 points while making six rebounds and five assists.
 

"There is a lot of unity in our team," she said afterwards. "Our performance has been great thanks to our unity. The coach (Zoran Visic) is really good; he has taught us a lot of new things. If we do anything wrong he corrects us gently, with love. Anitha madam (Paul Durai, the assistant coach) is also very supportive."
 

This is Vaishnavi's second time at the tournament, having been part of the Indian team in the 2015 edition. "I didn't get to play a lot back then," she said. "My game wasn't that good. But I learnt a lot. After that I put in a lot of hard work to get here. Now, I want to improve my passing sense, boxing out, and rebounding. This is a new beginning for me."
 

Zoran Visic, India's coach, was pleased with Vaishnavi's efforts. "I was especially happy with her against Sri Lanka, when she scored 15 points but still other statistics were good - rebounds (5) and assists (10). She's a great player but we're working as a team. All of them have their roles," he said.
 

When she started playing basketball six years ago, Vaishnavi did not dream of playing for India. "I used to play around at home when my uncle Rajender Yadav told me to go and play some sport," she said. "I wasn't aware of any national or international level. I started playing just like that. As I progressed, I started realizing things. Then I got the desire to play for India."
 

She hasn't done too badly.