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Women's Basketball India's Next Big Sport?

Friday, June 28, 2019 • Tamil Comments
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Women’s Basketball India’s Next Big Sport?

Prashanti Singh, a basketball player who represented the Indian National Women’s Team, opened up about her journey with the sport, talking about her various experiences. With three of her sisters also playing basketball, the four who came to be known as the ‘Singh Sisters’ have a long association with the sport. The only basketball player conferred with National Civilian Award Padma Shri, she has also won an Arjuna Award in 2017. She credits the award as “the reward for the hard work of my entire family.”

Speaking about the issues that prevent the sport from reaching new heights, Prashanti shared: “We never had any role models to look up to. There is no basic financial security for women’s basketball while the men’s team is offered jobs with railways, customs, banks and defence services.” Attributing their success to her mother, she said: “She was the backbone and encouraged us to play. She saved money to send us to tournaments and buy shoes for us.”

Instead of just a 10-day championship, the sportswoman suggests a whole season saying that while “we can’t blame the government, sports associations should look to expand the platform to encourage players.” Now working as a Sports Executive with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., Prashanti reports that her journey with basketball began because “there wasn’t much to do in Varanasi, hence we all ended up playing because one sibling played.” The scenario has improved but there is more encouragement required according to her: “Basketball is the favourite sport of school and college students but not as a career. It is important to engage with players and nurture their talent. Due to less exposure, there is less participation.” She also believes that: “In India, there is no popular women’s team sport; basketball could fill that space with the right growth.”

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