Boquets and brickbats

"I missed a few heart beats as the two girls collapsed around me..." Pratibha, TN coach.-S. THANTHONI

THE 56th edition of the Senior National Basketball championships, which concluded at the Shri Shiv Chatrapathi Kreedapeet recently, had a few firsts.

For the first time, all the matches were played on three indoor courts. Credit must be given to the Maharashtra State Basketball Association (MSBA) for having put to good use an excellent facility that has been in existence since the 1994 National Games. While two of the courts at the massive, but well-equipped gymnastics hall at the Kreedapeet, were wooden, the third — at the wrestling hall — has a newly laid `terra-flex' (synthetic) surface. Importantly, it was also for the first time that a Basketball National championship had a medical team in attendance.

Dr. Veena Krishnanand, Principal, K.J. Somaiya College of Physiotherapy and her team, were present on the courtside, during the entire duration of the tournament to provide prompt attention to those injured. The medical team even attended to a couple of emergency cases involving the Tamil Nadu women's team.

Both Lakshmi and Deepa were administered timely medical aid and the latter rushed to a hospital after a case of hyper-ventillation.

"I missed a few heart beats as the two girls collapsed around me and thanks to the timely help from the medical staff, the girls were admitted to the hospital after first aid," said Pratibha, coach of the TN women's team, which finished eighth.

On the flip side, a media centre was mooted but, sadly, it wasn't very well equipped. Also, the fact that seating for the members of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) was clubbed with the media meant that there was no dearth of noise and chaos in the enclosure. The technicalities, a must in any basketball event, took a beating — the electronic scoreboard and the game clock malfunctioned, after being installed a day late.

Also the officials at the table were seen flaunting the rules pertaining to the specified uniforms. Worse, the scheduling and rescheduling of the matches were done without the press being informed about it.

A major setback for the organisers and the BFI was the abysmal crowd turnout. The Balewadi Sports Complex is over 20 kms from the Pune city and the general public stayed away from the matches.

Equally intriguing was the attitude and the lack of cooperation from the Pune District Basketball Association members.

The convenor for the press and publicity committee was conspicuous by his absence throughout the championships and for some reason not dictated by sound logic, the already rare internet connections were, much to the surprise of the journalists, dismantled the minute the final hooter of the men's final was sounded.

Failings and frailties do surface in an event of this magnitude but in this day and age of connectivity, some of the slip-ups by the organisers, and the Federation were simply unacceptable. — Avinash Nair