For B. Neeta and B. Neeraja, sport has always been a part of their lives.
The 21-year-old identical twins, members of the Tamil Nadu women’s basketball team participating in the ongoing 71st Senior Nationals at the Nehru Indoor Stadium, come from a family deeply involved with sports.
The two are daughters of accomplished Kabaddi player and coach, Baskaran Kasinathan, who won gold at the 1994 Asian Games and in 2014 led Jaipur Pink Panthers to the title in the inaugural season of the Pro Kabaddi League.
“Because he was in sports, we too got into it,” says Neeta, who was born 12 minutes after Neeraja.
Neeta says her mother, B. Prabha, was a volleyball player in school and district level, while her brother Soorya is a part of the Tamil Nadu men’s basketball team.
For the twins, however, basketball wasn’t the first love. “Because of our height (5’10”), our physical education teacher urged us to take up basketball. We were interested in athletics until then. In eighth standard, we began to properly learn the game,” says Neeta.
Coach R. Delhi Raj spotted the twins when they were playing for VELS University. Raj says, “Both are equally tall, their positions are strong, they are disciplined, receptive to coaching strategies, follow instructions well and have a good understanding.”
Despite both essentially playing for the same position, center, they do not hold back from helping each other. “My sister is able to give me constructive feedback about what parts of my game I can improve. Everyone gives us notes, but she also manages to help me stay positive,” Neeta says about Neeraja.
The sisters are looking to land jobs even as they eye improving their games. Neeraja says, “We hope to land a job with Railways since most of the ecosystem is privately funded.”
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