Simply put, there is no bigger domestic basketball event in India, and this year, it returns to the capital city promising to be bigger than ever. From February 26 - March 5, New Delhi will host the 64th National Basketball Championship for Men and Women at the city's Thyagaraj Stadium. A total of 51 teams combined in both divisions will be taking part. For fans and scouts alike, this will be the chance to see the finest of Indian hoops in action competing for the most prized basketball trophy in the country: the National Championship.
won the trophy last year in Ludhiana and are still a good bet to retain their trophy. The home squad Delhi, which finished outside a medal place in both Men's and Women's divisions last year, will be looking to ride the momentum of their local fans in attendance and make a run for the championship.
The National Championship was originally slated to be held from the end of November to early December 2013, but it was postponed to avoid any clash with the Delhi Assembly Elections on December 4th.
The tournament will be organized by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and the Delhi Basketball Association (DBA) and supported by IMG-Reliance. Several of India's best players will be suiting up, including the gold and bronze medal winning men and women's players respectively from last month's Lusofonia Games in Goa. The winner will take home Rs.1 lakh while the first and second runners-up will receive Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 50,000, respectively.
The National Championship will also help the BFI to select India's national Men and Women teams for the basketball tournament at the 17th Asian Games, set to be begin in Incheon, Korea from September 19, 2014.
"I am pleased to announce that the 64th National Basketball Championship is being held in New Delhi," said Roopam Sharma, the CEO of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), "The National Basketball Championship continues to be one of the most competitive basketball tournaments in India at the highest level. BFI and its partners IMG-Reliance have made significant progress in developing the sport of Basketball in the country and competitions like these will help to boost the popularity of the sport. I would also like to thank Coach Del Harris for making himself available and being a part of enhancing the knowledge of our coaches."
Group A: Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Indian Railways, Chhattisgarh, Delhi
Group B: Punjab, Services, Rajasthan, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh.
Group C: Haryana, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal.
Group D: Karnataka, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Puducherry
Group E: Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa.
Group F: Gujarat, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram..
Group A: Indian Railways, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal.
Group B: Tamil Nadu, Chhatttisgarh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh.
Group C: Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.
Group D: Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand.
Group E: Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Odisha
Group F: Bihar, Assam, Puducherry, Uttarakhand.
Outside of Uttarakhand, 2012 champions Punjab will be hoping to get some payback for their lost last year and spring back up to the top in the Men's division. Services and Tamil Nadu will also be threats to Uttarakhand's crown this year. In the Women's division, Tamil Nadu and ever-improving Chattisgarh side will be the ones to watch for.