October 9, 2014

India set for 22nd U18 FIBA Asia Championship for Women in Jordan: Roster, Groups, Schedule, and Preview

Out with the old and in with the new: As some of the legends of the Asian game become veterans, and veterans fade away into the horizon, they make room for the next generation. And there is no better place to catch the upcoming new stars of women's basketball in the continent than over the next week in Amman (Jordan), the city which will host the 22nd FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women from October 10-17, 2014. China is set to defend their title and go for a third consecutive victory in the tournament; India - who were undefeated in Level II two years ago - have won promotion into Level I and must contend against Asia's top teams over a difficult upcoming week.

After defeating rivals Japan in a comeback final win at the previous iteration of this tournament in 2012, China won an unprecedented 13 FIBA Asia U18 Women's titles. They will once again be the favourites this time around, although Japan, Korea, and Chinese Taipei are always serious threats for the championship as well.

India's 12-girl roster has arrived in Amman for the tournament, led by Head Coach PC Anthony. While many of India's best players from 2012 have now graduated to the senior team, a bunch of fresh talents will replace them and hope to keep India in Level I. Look out for Kerala's Poojamol Kochuparambu and Chhattisgarh's Sangeeta Kaur to develop into a leadership roles for this India squad. Bhandavya Hemmige, India's best player at last year's FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women , could also be a breakout star this year. The likes of Preeti Kumari, Ishwari Pingle and Barkha Sonkar (trained at IMG Academy) also have the talent to turn a game around for the Indian eves.

India Roster at 22nd U18 FIBA Asia Championship for Women
  • Gagandeep Kaur
  • Sangeeta Kaur
  • Poojamol Kochuparambu
  • Amrutha Eruvilamkattil
  • Bhandavya Hemmige
  • Sruthi Praveen Menon
  • Preeti Kumari
  • Iswari Kailas Pingle
  • Hemalatha Palaniappan
  • Vinaya Joseph
  • Barkha Sonkar
  • Srividhya Venkataraman
  • Head Coach: PC Anthony
India have been placed Level I of the tournament, which has six of the top teams. 22nd U18 FIBA Asia Championship for Women - Groups
  • Level I: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Chinese Taipei.
  • Level II: Hong Kong, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka.
India's Preliminary Round Schedule - All timings IST
  • October 10 - 3:30 PM - India vs. China.
  • October 11 - 5:30 PM - Chinese Taipei vs. India.
  • October 12 - 9:30 PM - India vs. Japan.
  • October 13 - 9:30 PM - Thailand vs. India.
  • October 14 - 5:30 PM - India vs. South Korea.
India will tip off their tournament in the toughest way imaginable, against the defending champs and the championship's most successful team, China. Two years ago, in Level II, India went against the tournament's weaker teams and could thus come away with a perfect 5-0 record. Things aren't going to be smooth sailing this time around: the price for India's success in 2012 is that they are now the minnows in a group against Asia's Big Four: China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Korea. To break into the Semi-Final stage, India must pull off a miracle victory one of these four teams. Thailand are a beatable opponent of India's stature and their clash on October 13th will be India's best hope for a Level I win in the tournament.

The tournament's semi-finals are on October 16 and the Final is scheduled for October 17. If India finish at fifth or sixth place in their group, they will face the top or second placed team from Level II to determine their survival in Level I for the tournament's next iteration in 2016.

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