February 10, 2016

Basketball cancelled at the 2016 South Asian Games (India sends teams anyways)

The ongoing spat between the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has led to the organizers of the 2016 South Asian Games (SAG), currently in progress in Guwahati and Shillong, to cancel the basketball tournament at the event. The games are being held from February 5-16 and the basketball tournament for Men and Women - involving seven countries including India - was initially scheduled to be held from February 11-16. The cancellation came soon after the international basketball federation FIBA de-recognized this event after IOA conducted trials for an Indian team without the BFI's approval.

Unfortunately, the biggest victims of this fiasco have been the national team players representing India and other South Asian countries. The IOA coaxed India's Men's and Women's teams to prepare for the tournament and board on a flight to Guwahati despite BFI/FIBA dissaproval, but soon after, it was announced that the SAG Organisers had cancelled the basketball tournament.

"We tried to sort the issues out and suggested different options like going ahead with the event and give away medals without the results going into record books," Games Chief Executive Officer and Sports Authority of India Director General Injeti Srinivas told reporters, "But there was no response from some quarter. So we have decided not to go ahead with basketball. It will not be held now."

Here's a timeline of how the situation in Indian basketball spiraled down to this eventuality:

The draw and schedule for the basketball tournament at the SAG had already been laid out. India's Men were drawn in a group with Maldives and Pakistan in a six-team contest, and India's Women were drawn in a group with Bhutan and Nepal in a tournament with seven participating teams. Afghanistan, the SAG Men's basketball winners from 2010, did not send a Men's team. India finished with a silver in 2010, and it is a pity that they will not get a chance to go for the gold. Another loss is that India would've gotten a chance to rekindle their rivalry with Pakistan in a new sport, as our neighbours were supposed to be participating in both the Men's and Women's divisions. Even if the tournament had taken place, any records of performances would not have officially counted in FIBA's eyes.

Good job, old bureaucrats in suits, saris, and kurtas. Your efforts have ensured that every basketball team in Asia suffers something much worse than a loss: the finality of not being able to play at all. It's a distasteful irony: the only thing keeping basketball from developing in India are people who manage basketball and Indian sport itself.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Really sad to see the Basketball issues in India. No one bothered about the feeling n financial loss of the players... There was good chances of Indian team winning Gold medal which will fetch them cash awards...
    Also going to the venue nd unable to participate especially for a fresher is really a disappointing one..
    IBPA is launching "Save our Basketball" campaign on pan India basis...

    1. sounds like a good campaign. Would love to hear more about it soon!

  3. Thanks Karan.. yes we r kicking off at Delhi on tomorrow.. at modern School, Barakamba road @11 am..

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