Get ready for a clash of Indian states on the basketball court: a total of 50 state/territory young teams from across India have descended to Chandigarh for the 31st Youth (U16) National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls. The eight-day tournament is set to be held in five basketball courts simultaneously in and around the sports complex in Chandigarh's Sector-42. While their is state pride on the line for all the participants at the tournament, this will also serve as a scouting ground to pick up some of India's top under-16 players, the selected few of whom could eventually get a call-up to the youth national training grounds.
Ekalayvas.com reported that the championship was inaugurated yesterday - Tuesday October 8th - by MP Singh, IAS, and Principal Secretary to the Governor of Punjab. Singh declared the championship open by unfurling the flag of the BFI.
Last year, Delhi (Boys) and Kerala (Girls) lifted the Youth Nationals trophies in Kolkata. Both teams will be returning this year with ambitions to defend their title, as will other top contenders such as Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana among the boys and Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka in the girls' section.
Boys: Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Puducherry, Odisha, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat.
The first day of games featured a successful start to their title defense by Kerala Girls, who defeated neighbours Karnataka 50-40. Karnataka's rising star Lopamudra T led with 21 points in a losing effort, while Anusha JP poured in 17 for Kerala in the win. In an early clash of the titans, Tamil Nadu bounced back after an early deficit to defeat the rampant Chhattisgarh side 66-56. Sindhuja scored 21 for TN, who turned a three point halftime deficit around in the third quarter. Mahima of Chhattisgarh led all scorers with 24.
- Punjab (Rahul Mehla 23, Ravi Mehla 13) bt Rajasthan (Abbas Ali 15) 91-58 (19-9, 21-22, 31-12, 20-15).
- Delhi (Hansraj 21, Sombir 20, Vishal Kumar 16) bt Haryana (Sonu Kumar 17) 81-56 (15-6, 26-14, 25-21, 15-15).
- Chandigarh (Amit 24) bt Himachal Pradesh 51-27 (14-4, 17-4, 10-4, 10-15).
- Tamil Nadu (Sindhuja 21) bt Chhatisgarh (Mahima 24) 66-56 (8-17, 12-6, 24-13, 22-20).
- Kerala (Anusha JP 17) bt Karnataka (Lopamudra T 21) 50-40 (18-15, 15-0, 8-10, 9-15).
- Chandigarh bt Goa (Rachel Rapose 14) 33-30 (7-9, 8-3, 6-9, 12-9)