Hyderabad: There is no doubt that basketball ranks foremost as a sport that is exciting and exhilarating for as long as each match lasts. Adding verve to it is the 3x3 variety that brings in an element of exuberance to the spectators, much like what IPL was able to for the cricket fans.
Managing Director FIBA 3x3 Alex Sanchez, League Commissioner Rohit Bakshi, Chairman Yoshiya Katoh and co-owner of Team Delhi 3BL Pooja Bhatt Hyderabad o Wednesday Photo: Krishna Adula
A shot in the arm for the 10-minute high-speed basketball game came in June last year when it became an official Olympic sport, and would be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG).
The Hyderabad Masters, the seventh stage of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2018, and the first ever international basketball fixture in India will be held at People’s Plaza over the weekend. Apart from participation of international teams, including world number one Novi Sad, Delhi 3BL and Bangalore 3BL, will also compete in the event.
The qualification of the Indian teams was decided on the basis of the country's first ever FIBA recognised 3x3 league, 3x3 Pro Basketball League (3BL) which was conducted from June 9 to August 26 across the country.
"We wanted to bring the event to India because we understand that there is a great opportunity for the sport to grow here," Alex Sanchez, Managing Director FIBA 3x3, said at a press conference here Wednesday. With 3x3 basketball all set for 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the promoters are hopeful that the players will rise to the task and help India elevate to higher rankings, which today stands at 43.
League Commissioner Rohit Bakshi, Chairman Yoshiya Katoh and Bollywood actress and co-owner of Team Delhi 3BL Pooja Bhatt were present on the occasion. Tracing her interest in the sport, Bhatt said she knew nothing about it initially but was now such an ardent fan that she was contemplating a show themed around 3x3 basketball.
Meanwhile, she blasted Basketball Federation of India (BFI) for taking steps that are capable of sounding the sport’s death-knell in the country. She wondered how theyators could send letters to hoopsters and referees cautioning them against participation in 3x3 leagues as that would prevent their chances of making the national grade.
‘Let them shed their ego-ridden attitudes and come together so that the game will not lose out in India. Alkas, here the Federation can make or break a promising talent’, she quipped.
‘The roadblocks being created by BFI and their ‘Big Brother’ bullying tactics will not only dash aspirations of the cagers but will also bring disrepute to the country. We are to petition the world governing body for redressal so that 3x3 players can nurture Olympic hopes,’ she said.
It is a tragic irony as BCCI has no qualms in picking IPL players in Team India. One fails to understand why the Federation has stooped down to such low levels when it ought to be promoting talent at every level. IS Gill and Bikramjit Gill (Delhi 3BL) and Amit Sehrawat and Rajan Sharma from Bangalore 3BL expressed their happiness at being part of the history-making championship.