US envoy plays basketball with Mumbai schoolchildren

May 11th, 2010 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, May 11 (IANS) In a bid to emphasise the importance of sports as a cultural unifier among children, US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer and US Consul-General Paul A. Folmsbee played basketball matches with 10-year olds here Tuesday evening.
The duo also interacted with young basketball players of Mastan YMCA in South Central Mumbai while a large crowd cheered and clapped.

“Sports brings people together, across divides of class, region and religion. Sports help children stay healthy while also developing their abilities and self confidence,” Roemer observed, underling the importance of sports and games among youngsters.

The ambassador and his consul-general in Mumbai played 10-year olds Ibrahim Siddiqui and Shaikh Rehman to encourage young players to take up sports.

“President Obama has taught me how to spin the ball and I am going to make full use here of what I have been taught,” said Roemer while he spun the ball before the excited children.

Two teams consisting of two people each started the match. Roemer and Folmsbee in one team clashed with their counterparts Siddiqui and Rehman in the other.

Both Roemer and Folmsbee had a tough time in scoring as the young players were much more agile and well practiced.

Team Roemer and Folmsbee managed to basket the ball on some occasions but the game clearly belonged to the young Siddiqui and Rehman.

The end of the first game left both Roemer and Folmsbee sweating profusely in the humid Mumbai heat, but the two children were still willing to take on the next game.

At this point Roemer gave up, indicating his preference to watch with the audience.

However, Folmsbee bravely took up the youngssters’ challenge and continued to play - Roemer was replaced in the team by another 10-year-old student.

It seemed as if Folmsbee had decided to show his mettle in this game, probably, now that boss was not there!

Folmsbee succeeded in scoring many more baskets in this game than in the previous one.

Later, after the enjoyable ‘exhibition matches’, Roemer and Folmsbee sat down to relax and enjoy the full-fledged match played by the teams of YMCA.

Roemer parted saying some words of encouragement. “I am proud of all you children who have shown great sporting ability. Keep up the good work and keep playing,” he said.

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