Hyderabad: The Telangana girls might have lost the title match by going down in the finals of the 67th Senior National Basketball championship at Puducherry on Saturday, but their effort brought smiles on the fans in twin cities.
The Telangana State women team was in lead for the most part of the final against Kerala but they ran out of steam in the final quarter losing the match 59-68. However, Telangana Basketball Association secretary Norman Isaac lauded the girls’ effort. They cruised into the summit clash by defeating defending champions Railways in the semifinals in a grueling contest. The match took a toll on the players in the final and the State women fell few inches short.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Norman said that the girls did a great job in making it to the final. “The girls played exceedingly well. We did not expect this kind of performance. Beating Railways, who were the champions for so many years, was really the best performance everyone would want to achieve. Our girls did it. Unfortunately, we did not have a strong bench. Our players got tired after playing a tough semifinal game. Even in the final, our girls were leading till the third quarter by five points. Ultimately, we could not continue in the same vein and we lost,” he said.
Talking about the team’s performances, “Our women’s team has been doing very well. We got third place in the last year’s Federation Cup. Then in Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA) TS women won gold medal. So our girls have been doing well in the last year.’’
Norman said the State team was relying on the Railways. “Seven of our 12 State players are from Railways. We are depending mostly on the Railways team. So unless the schools and colleges encourage their students to play basketball, it is difficult to produce strong team.
“We have started Indian School Basketball League through which we will find young talent and nurture them into strong players. This is the only way we can develop the game from grassroots. We have lost a few good players to Andhra Pradesh because of the State bifurcation. That is why we are planning to start at school categories so that we have good teams in the future,” he added.
Talking about his future plans, “We are planning to have more number of tournaments for players and identify them and put them into proper coaching camps. That will help us develop a strong team. We are also approaching corporates for sponsorships as conducting coaching camps are costly affairs. A couple of people have come forward. We will spot good talent and put them in summer camps next and provide them better opportunity for them,” he concluded.