October 2, 2013

India wins bronze medal at KFC 3x3 International Challenge in China

India impressed competitors and fans en route to a bronze medal finish at the 2013 KFC 3x3 International Challenge in Shanghai, China, which was held from September 28-39. India were amongst 12 teams taking part in the under-23 men's tournament. Hosts China - who fielded four different teams - saw their '1' squad take the gold medal in the final against Australia.

India fielded a four-man unit that was led by Loveneet Singh, who was part of India's U18 3x3 squad that brought home a silver medal from the U18 FIBA Asia 3x3 Championship from Bangkok earlier this year. Also in Team India was exciting forward Ajay Pratap Singh, Amit Kanarjee, and Vijay Parthasarathy. The team was accompanied by coach Ashok Rangeen.

KFC has been hosting a massive nationwide 3x3 challenge in China for nearly a decade now (I had a chance to visit the Beijing City Finals last year) but this is the first time that they held an international tournament. The tournament was organized by KFC China, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), and Beijing Atlas Sports.

The participating teams were: Australia, China-1, China-2, China-3, China-4, Chinese Taipei, Germany, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Malaysia, and USA.

India were grouped with USA, Chinese Taipei, and Indonesia. They made a bright start by shocking the Americans in a close battle that ended in a 16-14 win for India. They lost in their next game to Chinese Taipei 21-18, but ended the group stage on the tournament's first day by defeating Indonesia 19-16.

After earning a spot in the Quarter-Finals, India continued their rampage by defeating China-3 21-17 to enter the tournament's final four. It was here that they were stopped in their tracks by Australia, who emerged as 16-13 victors. There was no third-place playoffs but India won the bronze medal by having a better score differential than the other semi-final loser, Chinese Taipei. The final was a close contest between China-1 and Australia, and China-1 scraped by with a thrilling 19-18 victory.

In addition to the team success, India's Loveneet Singh also won an individual gold medal at a three-point shooting competition at the event.

Roopam Sharma, CEO of Basketball Federation of India (BFI) said, "I would like to congratulate the coach and the players on their excellent performance at the KFC 3x3 International Challenge 2013. Basketball as a competitive sport continues to grow in India and the improving results of team India at International competitions is a testimony to that growth."

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