India to host Commonwealth Championship

July 6th, 2008 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) In a major boost to basketball in the country , the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) declared that India will host the first Commonwealth Basketball Championship in July 2010. FIBA President Bob Elphinston hoped that the tournament will popularise the sport in India and help it close the gap with other Asian giants like China.

“We thought the best way to popularise the sport in India is to hold big tournaments and so we decided to have the first Commonwealth Championship here in India. The youth here will know that basketball is a prominent sport across the world. And hosting it before the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Delhi is the best way to go about it.”

“Basketball is not included in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. But IOA has told us that it will extend all possible support for basketball,” Elphinston said Saturday night.

Eight teams will feature in the tournament, including Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, England, South Africa and hosts India.

“Other teams will qualify through different Commonwealth Zones. India will play as host country,” he said.

Elphinston said during his three day visit to India he met BFI and IOA officials and they have pledged all support.

“BFI is very enthusiastic about hosting the event. The Sports Ministry has included basketball in the priority list and we are very encouraged by their support. India is very important to growth of basketball.”

Elphinston further added that the FIBA and National Basketball Association (NBA) technical advisors have visited India.

“Our technical advisor will keep on visiting India. They will meet the coaches, plan junior programmes and help with the start of a national league where players can compete at a regular basis every week and that will raise the standard of the sport.”

BFI secretary general Harish Sharma said the tournament will help the sport grow in the country.

“We are very happy that India has been chosen as the host for the first Commonwealth basketball Championship and it will encourage us to keep on doing the good work.”

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