When rainfall hit the courts at Bhavnagar (Gujarat) on Monday afternoon, all the outdoor basketball action came to a halt. It took a couple of hours before the dark clouds cleared the skies and the Youth Nationals - India's best domestic exhibition of U16 basketball talent - continued.
But the metaphorical dark clouds have remained hovering over all basketball activities in India all year. It is to the credit of this resilient, disputed faction of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) that the show has continued to go on, and Indian basketball - domestic and international - hasn't yet come to a complete halt despite the speed-bumps on the way.
with each questioning the legality of the other in an ongoing off-court battle. But Team Govindraj - the BFI faction behind the organization of the 32nd Youth Nationals - have held firm of their stand atop the federation and continued to hold events in India and abroad as normal.
On-court, the action promises to be much more palatable for fans of the game itself. Tamil Nadu have entered the tournament as reigning champions in both boys and girls divisions from last year's Youth Nationals in Chandigarh. Kerala - the runners-up in both divisions - will look to finish one better this time, while the squads from Karnataka and Maharashtra (Girls) and Haryana and Chhattisgarh (Boys) will have their eyes on the prize, too. The finals of the tournament will be held on September 20.
The first morning of the tournament saw Tamil Nadu Girls cruise to an easy victory over southern neighbours Andhra Pradesh 49-12. In the other Level 1 game in the girls’ category, Haryana pulled off an unlikely 61-49 victory against last year’s runners up Kerala, on the back of Meena’s 22 points. In the boys' division, Karnataka notched a win over Jammu and Kashmir Chandigarh scraped past West Bengal.
32nd Youth Nationals Participating Teams and Groupings
- Level 1, Group A: Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh.
- Level 1, Group B: Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra.
- Level 2, Group C: Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Puducherry.
- Level 2, Group D: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana.
- Level 2, Group E: Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand.
- Level 2, Group F: Bihar, Chandigarh, West Bengal.
- Level 1, Group A: Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab.
- Level 1, Group B: Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi.
- Level 2, Group C: Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir.
- Level 2, Group D: West Bengal, Gujarat, Puducherry.
- Level 2, Group E: Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Telangana.
- Level 2, Group F: Goa, Bihar.
And yes, although rainfall interrupted the day's basketball events a little bit, the skies cleared and games eventually went on as scheduled. Hopefully, the skies over the BFI infighting can clear soon, too, and Indian basketball can continue uninterrupted in the future.
Selected Opening Day Results
- Tamil Nadu bt Andhra Pradesh 49-12 (19-3, 15-0, 13-4, 2-5).
- Haryana (Meena 22) bt Kerala 61-49 (18-14, 10-9, 19-10, 14-16).