August 5, 2010
Shiv Kumar: An untimely end
The world of basketball in India woke up in shock a few days ago at the news of the untimely death of young national team forward, Shiv Kumar. Born in 1985, Kumar was barely 25 years old before his unfortunate passing away. Known for his resilience and good-nature, both as a player and a person, Kumar will be mourned dearly by all his loved ones and the followers of Indian basketball.
“Shiv was a very good player, but more importantly, a good person,” said JN Nehra, Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach at the Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Nehra had been associated with Kumar for nearly a decade, ever since Kumar was a budding youth and junior team star in Delhi.
Kumar was a model of resilience over his career. He was first picked for the Men’s National Team in 2006, and despite a few setbacks, always came back stronger. After suffering a serious knee injury in 2007, which led him to surgery, Kumar made a successful return to basketball through training, physiotherapy, and diet, to perform well again and qualify for the national team. “Shiv will always be remembered for his strong will power,” adds Nehra, “He was a good-natured boy, and all coaches that ever worked with him will be full of praise for his sincerity and hard work.”
Hailing from the Kiloi village in Rohtak, Haryana, Kumar played his junior years of basketball in New Delhi before transferring to ONGC in Dehradun. ONGC point guard Mohit Bhandari, who was a teammate of Kumar and also worked with him as assistant coach of the National Team in 2009, laments the loss of a great talent for the ‘Young Cagers’. “We still haven’t come to the realisation that we have lost Shiv,” said Bhandari, “He was a helpful and friendly person, and his loss will be suffered by our national team, too, because he was a regular selection, and was a strong and powerful forward.”
Kumar was seen playing a major role in recent tournaments, including the Mastan League at Mumbai in May and the Jeppier Tournament at Chennai in July.
Kumar’s career highlights have included participation in the 17th FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Kuwait (June 2006), the 10th Crown Prince International Tournament in Thailand (June 2006), Qualifying Round of MAZ at Kazakhstan (July 2006), 19th FIBA Asia Championship at China (September 2006), 18th FIBA Asia Basketball Champions Cup at Iran (May 2007), Qualifying Round for MAZ for 24th FIBA Asia Championship at Sri Lanka (June 2007), and the 24th FIBA Asia Championship at Japan (July 2007).
"Shiv was an established star in Indian basketball," said BFI secretary-general Harish Sharma, "On behalf of the Basketball Federation of India, I would like to convey my deepest condolences to Shiv’s family, friends, teammates, and fans for this loss."