January 13, 2019

Punjab (Men) and Indian Railways (Women) are India's 2019 National Basketball Champions!

After eight days of the highest-level of basketball India had to offer, the last teams standings offered some familiar faces. Held in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, the 69th National Basketball Championship for Men and Women concluded on Saturday, January 12 with the finales. Indian Railways, the reigning women's champions, repeated their triumph again this year with a 88-71 victory over Tamil Nadu. The star-studded Punjab Men squad crept pass Services 74-65 to win the gold in their division.

The 'Senior Nationals', organised by the Gujarat State Basketball Association and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), featured 32 Men's and 27 Women's squads from state and units across India. The tournament was held at Bhavnagar's Sisdar Sports Complex and tipped off on January 5.

At the finals on Sunday, Railways started a little slow against the talented TN squad, but turned things around after the first quarter. Leading 42-40 at halftime, Railways kicked into top gear in the third with a 27-15 run that essentially pulled the game away for good. International stars Rajapriyadarshani Rajaganapathi (23) and Navaneetha PU (16) led the way to a 88-71 Indian Railways triumph. Sathya scored 21 for TN in the loss.

The Men's finale was a closer affair most of the way, featuring two strong and gritty squads, Punjab and Services. Both teams remained neck to neck most of the way, with Punjab holding only a slim 53-51 lead after three quarters. Punjab, who had shocked holders TN in overtime on Friday, found their extra surge in the fourth quarter at the final. The duo of Arshpreet Singh Bhullar (24) and Jagdeep Singh Bains (19) helped see them through to the 74-65 win. India's international point guard Joginder Singh led Services with 26.

Punjab's Amritpal Singh, the international star who recovered from a serious injury to star in this tournament, was named the Men's MVP. The Women's MVP award went to Tamil Nadu's unstoppable post-threat Pushpa Senthil Kumar.

This was Indian Railways' incredible 29th title in the Nationals, while Punjab won theirs for the seventh time - and the first since Chennai 2011.

Tamil Nadu finished third in the Men's division with a 84-65 with over Karnataka, led by Muin Bek Hafeez (20), Justin Joseph (19), and Hariram Ragupathy (17). Jitender scored 17 for Karnataka while Rahul Sarathy added 16. The Women's third place was a high-octane matchup between Kerala and Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh's giant player Poonam Chaturvedi dropped 41 points, but Kerala survived to a 7--73 win led by their national team veterans Jeena Scaria (21) and Poojamol Kochuparambu (18).

Final Scores
  • Women: Indian Railways (Rajapriyadarshani Rajaganapathi 23, Navaneetha PU 16, Ramya 13) bt. Tamil Nadu (Sathya 21) 88-71 [18-23, 24-17, 27-15, 19-16].
  • Men: Punjab (Arshpreet Singh Bhullar 24, Jagdeep Singh Bains 19, Amritpal Singh 15) bt. Services (Joginder Singh 26) 74-65 [22-19, 15-14, 17-18, 20-14].

Final Standings

  • 1. Indian Railways
  • 2. Tamil Nadu
  • 3. Kerala
  • 4. Chhattisgarh
  • 5. Telangana

  • 1. Punjab
  • 2. Services
  • 3. Tamil Nadu
  • 4. Karnataka
  • 5. Uttarakhand

January 9, 2019

2nd Khelo India Youth Games to tip off in Pune, Maharashtra

For the second-straight year, the Khelo India programme of the government's Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will organise a massive, nationwide gathering of the best young athletes in dozens of sporting disciplines from across the country. The 2019 Khelo India Youth Games (formerly Khelo India School Games) will be held in Pune, Maharashtra this year, starting on Wednesday. The Games are scheduled from January 9-20, 2019.

Ranging from ages 10-21, this year's KIYG are expected to host over 6,000 athletes between the ages of 10-21 in 18 different sporting disciplines. Expanded divisions of sports will mean that young Youth Olympic champions, World Cadet Wrestling gold medallists, Olympian athletes and medal-winning shooters will be among the participating athletes this year.

The KIYG's basketball tournament is set to begin at the TT Hall Courts from January 15. The Basketball fray will be extended from last year and will be held in four different sub-categories: Under 21 boys, Under 21 girls, Under 17 boys, Under 17 girls. At the KISG in Delhi last year, Kerala (Girls) and Punjab (Boys) emerged as champions. With a overall tally of 38 gold medals, Haryana were crowned overall champions of the KISG 2018.

The Star Sports Network will broadcast KIYG 2019.

January 5, 2019

Indian basketball's biggest domestic tournament - the Senior Nationals - begin in Bhavnagar, Gujarat

You would've seen the anticipation building over the past few days. Inter-state events around the country. Each state/unit team lining up for the long road trip. Blessings and wishes on social media. Nerves. Stress. Anticipation. Hope.

Today, the biggest festival of domestic hoops in India - the 69th National Basketball Championship for Men and Women - will tip off in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The 'Senior Nationals', organised by the Gujarat State Basketball Association and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), will feature dozens of the top state and unit teams from January 5-12, 2019 at the city's Sisdar Sports Complex.

69th Senior Nationals Participating Teams

  • Level 1, Group A: Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat.
  • Level 1, Group B: Services, Indian Railways, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Kerala.
  • Level 2, Group C: Telangana, Delhi, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram.
  • Level 2, Group D: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland.
  • Level 2, Group E: Haryana, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Puducherry, West Bengal.
  • Level 2, Group F: Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh.

  • Level 1, Group A: Indian Railways, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, West Bengal.
  • Level 1, Group B: Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana.
  • Level 2, Group C: Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, Puducherry, Uttarakhand.
  • Level 2, Group D: Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Odisha.
  • Level 2, Group E: Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya.
  • Level 2, Group F: Rajasthan, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand.

Last year's Senior Nationals were held in Chennai, and the host Men's team - Tamil Nadu - took home the gold medal in a final win over Services. The women's tournament was won by Indian Railways in a blowout over Chhattisgarh. All four of these teams will again be among the favourites for the title at Bhavnagar, as well as Punjab and Indian Railways (Men) and Karnataka and Kerala (Women).