August 18, 2011

India to take part in 3x3 Beach Basketball tournament at 1st South Asian Beach Games in Sri Lanka

Different twist, same game: if you haven't paid attention to International Beach Basketball yet, it might just be time to start. India will be sending both Men and Women Senior basketball teams to the 1st South Asian Beach Games that will be held in Hanbantota, Sri Lanka, from October 8-16, 2011. India will be amongst eight South Asian countries taking part in the Games, and the 3x3 Beach Basketball tournament will feature four-player contingents sent from India in both the Men’s and the Women’s divisions.

Hosts Sri Lanka will welcome Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan to the 2011 South Asian Beach Games, which will feature competitions in 12 sports: Beach Basketball, Beach Football, Beach Handball, Beach Kabbadi, Beach Netball, Beach Volleyball, Beach Body Building, Equestrian, Life Saving, Sailing, Swimming, and Triathlon.

Beach Basketball is a modified version of basketball which will be played on the sand on a circular court with no backboard on the goal and no out-of-bounds rule. Amongst the several amended rules in this version of the sport, dribbling of the basketball is not allowed and ball movement is to be done via passes or two and half steps. Each team will have three starting players and one substitute.

India will be carrying some modest pedigree into the Beach Basketball format of the game: India’s Men’s team, featuring Pratham Singh, Arjun Singh, Sunil Kumar Rathee, and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, won the gold medal at the 3x3 basketball tournament of the 2008 Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia. India finished at top amongst the eight participating teams, defeating Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines in the final in the process.

Although they didn't share the success of the Men, Indian Women, represented by Lutukurthy Deepa, Smruthi Radhakrishnan, Stephy Nixon, and Kavita helped the team get the bronze medal after finished third out of the five women's teams in the tournament.

Theoretically, India should have an easier time dominating the South Asian rivals than they did against team from the rest of Asia.

Now, on the questionable 'Beach' format though: I have already written about my reservations of the FIBA 3x3 format, but Beach Basketball is different because it represents a fully 'casual' form of the game, instead of a form that is vying for a place in the Olympics (like FIBA 3x3 is). That said, it is still strange to place a game that doesn't involve dribbling and backboards in the 'basketball' category: if anything, Beach Basketball is much closer to Netball, a game that I've never really been a fan of.

But hey, it makes no sense to dribble on sand right? And you won't hear the players complaining about the 'seriousness' of the game when they find themselves enjoying barefoot hoops on the sunny beaches of Sri Lanka.

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