It's Indian basketball's greatest tradition, the beginning of every 'Happy New Year' with the happiest of news, the largest and most prestigious basketball competition in the country.
The 67th Senior National Basketball Championship for Men and Women - known as the 'Senior Nationals' - tipped off on Friday, January 7th at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Puducherry. The championship is being organised by the Puducherry Basketball Association under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI). Featuring 52 total men and women's teams from states and units across India, the championship will conclude with the finals on January 14.
and won by Services (Men) and Indian Railways (Women).
29 international players in both Men and Women's divisions are expected to take part in the tournament this year, making it a major star-studded event, including Rikin Pethani, Pratham Singh, Aravind Annadurai, Baladhaneshwar Poiyamozhi (Tamil Nadu), Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Yadwinder Singh, Amritpal Singh (Uttarakhand), TJ Sahi (Punjab), Smruthi Radhakrishnan, Anitha Pauldurai (Railways), Jeena Skaria, Poojamol Subhashmon (Kerala), Shireen Limaye (Maharashtra), and Bhandavya Mahesha (Karnataka). India's senior men's team star Amritpal Singh lighted the inaugural flame to officially tip-off the tournament.
After a brief scare where it seemed that Railways and Services may pull out from the Nationals this year, the BFI was able to reach an amicable resolution with both top units in the last minute and invite them to Puducherry for the championship. Apart from these teams, other top contenders at this year's nationals will include Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu in the Men's division and the Women's teams from Kerala and Delhi.
- Group A: Services, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Haryana.
- Group B: Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Indian Railways, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh.
- Group C: Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa, Rajasthan, Sikkim.
- Group D: Telangana, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Tripura.
- Group E: Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh.
- Group F: West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh.
- Group A: Indian Railways, Telengana, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Maharashtra.
- Group B: Kerala, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Rajasthan.
- Group C: Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand.
- Group D: Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh.
- Group E: Bihar, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura.
- Group F: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Puducherry.
In an early opening-day game, Gujarat's Men's team were led by Harpal Singh 23 to post a 57-51 win over Chhattisgarh. In Women's competition, Kerala flaunted their depth and star-power to beat West Bengal 66-21. Hosts Puducherry Women had a weak start to their campaign, losing to Odisha 61-24, with J Bakshy (23) and S Panda (18) leading the way for the winning side.