Three months ago, Bengaluru proved its place as a worthy basketball host city, as the city's iconic Sri Kantaveera Stadium hosted the FIBA Asia Women's Cup. This was the first major FIBA basketball event to be held in India in eight years, and in front of the home fans, Team India finished the tournament in style by winning promotion to Division A.
FIBA U16 Women's Asia Championship in Bengaluru, featuring the top youth teams from around Asia and Oceania in the youngest FIBA international tournament. India's U16 team, which fell to Division B at the previous iteration of this tournament, will hope to return to the higher stage by the end of next week.
Fifteen teams, divided into two levels of two groups each, will take part in this tournament. In 2015 in Medan (Indonesia), China completed a three-peat at this championship with a win over Japan in the final. India finished the group stage losing all five preliminary round games, and then losing their playoff match against Hong Kong to fall to Division B.
- Division A - Group A: Australia, Korea, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand.
- Division A - Group B: China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong.
- Division B - Group A: India, Sri Lanka, Iran Nepal.
- Division B - Group B: Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Maldives.
Team India Roster
- Vaishnavi Yadav
- Riya Baliyan
- Ann Mary Zachariah
- Neha Karwa
- Khushi Sanjay Dongre
- Elijabet Ekka
- Monica Jayakumar
- Pushpa Senthil Kumar
- Grishma Niranjan
- Sreekala Rani
- Asmat Taunque
- Sanjana Ramesh
- Head Coach: Zoran Visic
- Assistant Coach: Anitha Paul Durai
India will top to top their group in the preliminary round, and then defeat the top squad from Group B of their Division in a playoff, to secure Division A promotion.
- October 22 - India vs. Nepal - 8 PM
- October 23 - Iran vs. India - 8 PM
- October 24 - India vs. Sri Lanka - 8 PM
India is the highest ranked team in this group and their entire division. They should be able to cruise past Nepal, although Iran, whose women's teams haven't played in international tournaments for many years, will be the wildcards. Sri Lanka will pose somewhat of a threat, but hopefully, India can propel past them, too. Group B feature two legitimate challenges to India's promotion ambitions: Malaysia and Kazakhstan. The Senior Women's team had to slay the Kazakhs in dramatic fashion in their final game in July; there's a good chance that one of these teams could be testing India to the limit at the FIBA U16 Women's Asia Championship, too.
Meanwhile, the Division A matches should add for some intrigue as now Oceania's powerhouse Australia will challenging China and Japan's place at the top of this fray. Korea and Chinese Taipei are two other teams that could make some noise in this tournament. India's demotion to Division B is a pity, but it could give the home fans the opportunity to see India notch up more victories and end up with a good record - even if it only comes against worse teams.