It's official! The Basketball Federation of India's (BFI) bid to FIBA for India to host major FIBA Asia tournaments has been approved. FIBA, the world's governing body of basketball, has announced the host cities and schedule for FIBA Asia tournaments this year, which includes the first, remixed version of the FIBA Women's Asia Cup and the FIBA Asia U16 Women's Asian Championship to be hosted by India.
he BFI announced tentative plans to bid for both the events for 2017 last week, and the bids were confirmed and accepted by the FIBA Regional Office in Asia on Friday.
India will host the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Bengaluru from July 23-29. This tournament is the expanded version of the former FIBA Asia Championship for Women and will include teams from Oceania as well. India will also host the expanded 2017 FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women from October 22-28 in an yet-undecided host city.
The other major announcement was that the expanded 2017 FIBA Asia Cup will be held from August 17-27 in Beirut (Lebanon).
India played at the higher Level 1 and lost all five of their Preliminary Stage games to end the tournament at sixth place. They then lost a Level 1 playoff as well and fell to Level 2 for the 2017 FIBA Asia Women's Cup. Japan won the tournament.
India's U16 girls had a similar finish at the 2015 FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women in Medan (Indonesia), where they finished winless at sixth place in Level 1 and fell to Level 2 after losing their playoff game as well. China won the tournament.
Here's a full list of every FIBA Asia national tournament ever hosted by India, with winners in brackets:
- Kolkata 1981: FIBA Asia Championship (China).
- Kolkata 1998: FIBA Asia U18 Championship (China).
- New Delhi 2000: FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women (China).
- Bengaluru 2004: FIBA Asia U18 Championship (Iran).
- Chennai 2009: FIBA Asia Championship for Women (China).
- Pune 2009: FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women (China).
Hosting another such major tournament will give our domestic players and fans a closer look at some of the best in the continent and force us to upgrade our facilities at home to handle a tournament of this stature. International stars like Ramu Tokashiki and Asami Yoshida (Japan), Danbi Kim (Korea), Shao Ting and Sun Mengran (China), Liz Cambage (Australia) and more could play a part in the FIBA Asia Women's Cup this year. The U16 tournament will be a showcase of the stars of the future!
Moreover, hosting a tournament will hopefully help boost our local players to give a better performance, too. The best recent example is of Geethu Anna Jose, who dominated for India at the 2009 FIBA Asia Women in Chennai and finished as the tournament's top scorer. India's national women's squad has some exciting young talent, led by names like Jeena Scaria, Poojamol Subhashmon, Bhandavya Mahesha, plus veterans Anitha Pauldurai, Shireen Limaye, and more.