June 10, 2010
Punjab, Kerela win National Youth Championships
The future Indian basketball stars showed their talents when the 27th National Youth Championships (for Boys and Girls) were held at Tiruchirappalli (or Tiruchi for the lazy) in Tamil Nadu from June 1-8th. The teams from Punjab and Kerela won the competition in the boys' and girls' divisions respectively.
In the Girls' final on the 8th, the youngsters from Kerela destroyed the Uttar Pradesh team by 35 points, 84-49, to win the title. Star players Jeena (29 points) and Anjana (24 points) led the way for Kerela, while playing some stifling defense on UP starlet Dhriti Arora. UP were led by 24 points from Preeti Kumari.
In the boys final, a balanced Punjab side, led by 13 points from Harmandeep played some good defense against the surprising finalists from Chhatisgarh. Punjab beat Chhatisgarh 64-42 - Chhattisgarh's leading scorer in the final was Murali with 15 points.
Chhattisgarh had entered this stage of the tournament by beating the hosts Tamil Nadu in a close semi-final, 69-67. Punjab had earlier defeated Madhya Pradesh in their semi. In the girls' semi-finals, Kerela had defeated Maharahstra and hosts Tamil Nadu were beaten by Uttar Pradesh.
The competition is a showcase of the finest Indian youth who are of under-16 level as of January 2010.