University of Madras defended its title after defeating SRM Institute of Science and Technology in the girls basketball finals of the Khelo India University Games, while the boys team won bronze after beating Kurukshetra University in the medal playoff.
Despite the domination on court, University of Madras’ girls team captain Ishwarya J betrayed a sense of uneasiness after the final.
Speaking about the need for intervention in the women’s game, Ishwarya said, “We need more job opportunities for female basketball players. Boys who play basketball up to a certain level get ample job opportunities from Army, Navy, Banks, Railways and sometimes even from the private sector, but girls only have opportunities in Railways and the Police force in some States, that’s all.”
Ishwarya emphasised on the need for more jobs for female players in basketball due to the multiple challenges that players face throughout their junior career.
“If there is a clear pathway to either become a professional basketball player or have the chance to get a good job, then more girls will feel encouraged to take up the sport and give their best. This way the level of basketball will also grow,” she said.
“A lot of players in our team come from backward and downtrodden areas. We need to work on the side along with training to make a livelihood for ourselves. Injuries are also a big part of the game, for which treatment and rehabilitation is very expensive. In such cases, the need for a job or any form of financial support is even more,” Ishwarya added.
Ishwarya hopes that people take notice of women’s basketball through the Khelo India Games and receive scholarship based on the performance at the event.
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