February 10, 2011
Chhattisgarh welcomes India's best teams to the Federation Cup
On the opening ceremony of the 25th IMG-Reliance Federation Cup National Basketball Championship for Men and Women at the Budhatalab Indoor Stadium in Raipur, Chhattisgarh on February 10th, chief guest and Chhattigarh’s Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh said that he hoped to see Chhattisgarh become India’s top sporting state. And with an energetic first win against Tamil Nadu, the Chhattisgarh’s Women’s team stamped a perfect response to Singh’s wishes.
The Chhattisgarh home crowd roared with joy from the very first basket, and the signature quickfire play of the girls on the court was no match for Tamil Nadu. Chhattisgarh built a 28-6 lead in the first quarter, and continued to play strong defense to deny TN any chance of bringing the game any closer.
Chhattisgarh continued to play a balanced inside-outside game, as they excelled both in fast break scoring, sharp inside passes, and with accurate outside shooting, as several different players contributed to their score. They led 45-20 at halftime en-route to a resounding 82-52 victory. Chhattigarh’s star M. Pushpa finished with a game-high 30 points on some sharp-shooting from beyond the three-point arc. V. Amutha scored 16 in a losing effort for TN.
The Federation Cup, which features the best eight teams in the men’s and women’s divisions from the previous year’s National Basketball Championship in Ludhiana, was inaugurated at the brand new Budhatalab Stadium in Raipur earlier in the evening by Dr. Raman Singh. “We’re lucky to witness the first ever games of this tournament at this new stadium,” Singh said, “We will hope to see a great environment for basketball here!”
“The Chhattisgarh government will try to do everything possible to help develop sports in this state,” Singh added, “In 11 years since its inception, Chhattisgarh has become top in the country in several sectors; I hope that in the future we can be in number one in sports, too.”
Harish Sharma, the Secretary-General of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) also acknowledged the growing status of Chhattisgarh as a basketball superpower. “The Chhattisgarh Pradesh Basketball Association (CGPBA) has become a strong association over the years,” said Sharma, “Their players are now making the state proud in almost all levels of the game.”
Sharma added: “It is great to see this wonderful indoor stadium to host this championship. The public of Chhattisgarh should acknowledge all that its chief minister Dr. Raman Singh has done to help encourage sports in the state.”
In other Women’s action, the team from Delhi, who have finished runners-up in the last two National Championships, faced a plucky Maharashtra side on the first day of the Cup. Delhi took a confident first half lead of 33-24 behind some brilliant play by Indian National Team captain Prashanti Singh (24) and Raspreet Sidhu (23). But Maharashtra made an inspired run in the third quarter to even the score and then take the lead 42-40.
Shaken but not shattered, Delhi regained its composure and began to execute better offensively again. They went on a devastating 27-6 run between the end of the third and halfway through the fourth quarters. In the end, it was a comfortable 16 point victory for Delhi, 74-58.
Here is the full list of participating teams and their groups:
Group A: Western Railway, Indian Army, Hyderabad District, KSEB.
Group B: IOB (Chennai), ONGC, Bhilai Steel Plant, Vijaya Bank (Bangalore).
Group A: Southern Railway, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh.
Group B: Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra.
To stay updated with everything at the Federation Cup, Click Here for Full Schedule and Click Here for Results.