India needs to do well in Asia first: Hoopsters

New Delhi: Indian basketball team need to do well in Asia first and then shift its focus to the bigger stage, feel the country`s young hoopsters.

"We should first look to improve our standards in the Asian circuit and then concentrate on the world stage," said the seven feet two inch tall Satnam Singh Bhamra.

The 16-year-old along with six other youngsters are currently honing their skills at the IMG Academy in Brandleton, Florida as a part of the academy`s tie-up with Reliance, the official partners of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

The hoopsters also raised concern about the stark difference in coaching styles.

"The coaching in US is entirely of different level. In India we don`t get such facilities besides there are always regional biases here. Even if you are talented you may be left out. But in US they value your skills," said one of the players before flying to Florida.

CEO of BFI, Roopam Sharma said they were taking every step to lift the profile of the sport and recognise talent.

"You see these kids are training in Florida under a scholarship programme. The federation is spending a lot of money on them. We want other deserving kids also to get the same amount of exposure but that is not possible as it requires a huge amount of expenditure. So there is a need to build academies in our own country where we can train these youngsters," Sharma said.

She added that the BFI was working on various incentive-linked plans for the players to make them develop into potential talent for the country.

"During the national championships we pick the 25 best players and make them train under the guidance of our foreign coaches. We also pay them a sum of Rs 30,000," Sharma said.

"Among these 25 we pick the top 12 for the international camp and they again receive a similar amount of money. Besides we are also running `Train the trainers` programme to teach our coaches," she added.


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