Raspreet Sidhu was the captain of the Indian women’s 3x3 basketball team that competed in the Asian Championship in Singapore in April. More than that she was the top scorer, helping India make the upper pool for the first time in five years.
She attended the preparatory camp for the Asian Games for a month, before being sent back along with a dozen others for not being eligible to represent the country in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The reason was that her name did not figure in the long list of 30 probables sent to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the organisers. The damage had been done before the new body for the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) could swing into action after being elected on August 5.
Raspreet is left to rue the missed chance to compete in her fourth straight Asian Games. She has been doing her best on the court, but could not find her way when caught off guard, off the court. She was the top scorer in the last National Championship in Udaipur, with 212 points from six games. She was the No.1 ranked player for India in the 3x3 format.
The other three players Pushpa Senthilkumar, Kavya Singla and Dharshini Thirunavukkarasu got the nod to represent the country in the Asian Games.
Quite interestingly, while the Indian men’s basketball team was restricted to the 3x3 format, the women’s side got the nod for both the standard 5x5 as well as the 3x3 format for the Asian Games. Ironically, the best Indian player could not find a berth in any team.
After representing the country for 18 years, Raspreet is disillusioned with the way she has been treated. Despite serving as the Head of sports at the Shiv Nadar Schools, Raspreet has been pursuing basketball with all energy and performing diligently whenever called for State, national or international duty.
What has upset the supporters of Raspreet is the fact that no selection trials or any form of selection criteria were followed in choosing the players. It is pointed out that some of the players chosen had not even competed in the last national championship, especially when they were brought into the fold to make up for the selected players who were either injured or unable to make the team for personal reasons.
It was also pointed out that there were at least three other deserving players who could not make the team.
Raspreet did run from pillar to post to press her case and so did the Delhi Basketball Association and other keen followers of the game, but the combined efforts did not cut much ice with the rigid authority.
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