June 4, 2010

Indian Ballers to play at Singapore Youth Olympic Games

A team from India will feature in the basketball tournament to be held at the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG), set to be held from August 14-26th in Singapore. The basketball tournament will be a 3-on-3 halfcourt competition, featuring teams from 20 countries around the world. The athletes will be the best basketball stars between the ages of 14-18. The YOG is the biggest gathering of athletes of 18 years and below, and will feature a total of 26 sports.

In the basketball tournament, the teams were drawn recently into four brackets, and the Indian men's squad have been drawn in a group with Serbia, Greece, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand. There is no Indian women's team. Click here to see the full draw.

India's group games are:

15th August: India vs. Puerto Rico
16th August: Serbia vs. India
18th August: India vs. Greece
19th August: New Zealand vs. India

The top two teams from each group will move on to knock-out quaterfinals, and the Final will be held on 23rd August. Harish Sharma, the secretary general of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), confirmed that a short-list of eight players has been decided already, out of which four will be sent to Singapore for the competition.

Other countries taking part in the men's competition are Argentina, Iran, Lithuania, Panama, Egypt, Israel, Singapore, Turkey, USA, Central African Republic, Philippines, Spain, South Africa, US Virgin Islands, and Croatia.

As noted above, this is a 3-on-3 half-court competition - each game will be 15 minutes long with three quick five minute periods. The first team to 33 or the team that is leading at the end of regulation time wins.

I know that this 3-on-3 half court concept is being done to accomodate more teams and thus more games in a shorter span of time, but I still feel that it is really not the right way to go about promoting basketball. Anyone who has actually played basketball will testify how different this format is to an actualy full-court 5-on-5 game: players are not tested on their stamina and the games become more individual skill based than team-oriented. A different caliber of player will perform better in this situation as compared to REAL basketball.

Still, I think that the YOG are a great idea, and it's awesome that India will be representing a basketball team amongst countries featuring some of the best ballers in the world like USA, Spain, Greece, or Serbia.

P.S.: If you live in Singapore and are looking for a place to go play some recreational, corporate 3x3 basketball, check out my friend Karan Talwar's site http://www.basketballcanlah.com/. It will improve your life. Thank me later!

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