September 2, 2018

China sweep basketball events at 2018 Asian Games; India's Women return winless


The venues were in Jakarta, Indonesia, but by the end of the basketball competitions at the 2018 Asian Games, it was the Chinese that felt most at home.

China swept across all categories of basketball at the Asian Games, winning gold in the Men's, Women's, 3x3 Men's, and 3x3 Women's events. It was a dominant performance and a reminder that, despite some recent inconsistencies, the Chinese still stand as the most dominant force in Asian hoops.

The basketball finals at the Asian Games were held in Jakarta on Saturday, September 1. China's Men's team defeated Iran 84-72, and China's Women's squad won the gold with a win over Korea's combine dteam, 71-65. South Korea won the Men's bronze with a 89-81 win over Chinese Taipei. Chinese Taipei lost the Women's bronze medal game, too, against Japan 76-63.

Chinese Men defeated South Korea in a closely-contested Men's 3x3 final, 19-18, and Iran won bronze by cruising against Thailand 21-7. Chinese Women beat Japan 21-10 for the 3x3 gold and Thailand won the women's bronze in a close game against Chinese Taipei, 15-14.

Although India participated and succeeded in various sporting disciplines at the Asian Games this year, it was a forgettable campaign for the country's basketball contingent. India only sent a Women's basketball team for the 5x5 event, as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) held back the Men's team and the 3x3 teams citing their low chances for success at the Games.

India's Women, led by head coach Shiba Maggon and featuring leading players like Jeena Scaria, Shireen Limaye, Raspreet Sidhu, and Rajapriyadharshini Rajaganapathi, were placed in Group X of the preliminary round stage, along with Korea (Combined), Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan.

India began their campaign against Kazakhstan, a squad they were evenly matched with and whom they defeated in the Division B final of the FIBA Asia Women's Cup last year. This time around, it was Kazakhstan who held the edge, and raced out to a 79-61 win. Tamara Yagodkina (21) and Zalina Kurazova (16) led the way for the Kazakhs win.

India's second game was against Chinese Taipei. The Indian eves started off well and only trailed by five at halftime against the much-favoured squad. But a 31-17 third quarter run gave Chinese Taipei the necessary separation as they sped their way to an 84-61 blowout.

The Combined Korean squad - eventual silver-medalists at the tournament - had the easiest time against India, dominating from start till finish to a 104-54 victory. Lee Seul Kang led all scorers for Korea with 17.

It all came down to India's final group stage game, against hosts Indonesia, in a do-or-die contest that could determine their qualification to the next round. It was a neck-to-neck game as expected, and although Indonesia held the lead for most of the time, India made an impressive late comeback to take the lead in the final quarter. Alas, Indonesia won the battle of the nerves in front of their home fans in the fourth quarter and survived for a 69-66 win. Natasha Debby Christaline had 21 for Indonesia while India's top scorer was Stephy Nixon (18).

The result dropped India to 0-4 and they were knocked out of the tournament. This was another disappointing result for Indian basketball, which has been facing a string of major losses at the international stage in both the men's and women's competitions. India's Women's failure at the Asian Games and the complete non-participation of the Men should reflect directly at the federation in India and their failures to develop and prepare our top players for these competitions.

Final Basketball Rankings from the 2018 Asian Games

Men
  • 1. China
  • 2. Iran
  • 3. South Korea

Women
  • 1. China
  • 2. Korea
  • 3. Japan

Men 3x3
  • 1. China
  • 2. South Korea
  • 3. Iran

Women 3x3
  • 1. China
  • 2. Japan
  • 3. Thailand

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