Sunday, January 15, 2017
Sujjan Singh returns to the Asian Tour, teenage amateur Arjun Prasad too earns his card
Bangkok, Thailand, January 14, 2017: India’s Sujjan Singh, a former winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), finished tied 13th at the 2017 Asian Tour Qualifying School’s Final Stage to earn his Tour card and make a return to the continental tour after a three-year gap.
The 36-year-old Sujjan (68-66-70-66) posted a sizzling six-under-66 in the final round of the Final Stage at the Suvarnabhumi Golf & Country Club in Bangkok on Saturday and thus rose 10 places from his overnight tied 23rd as his total score read 18-under-270.
While Sujjan was the lone Indian professional to earn his Asian Tour card at this year’s Qualifying School, seventeen-year-old amateur Arjun Prasad (66-67-69-68) was the other Indian to earn full playing rights as he too closed the week in tied 13th place at 18-under-270.
Arjun’s final round four-under-68 helped him hold on to his overnight tied 13th place.
The event was won by Australian Richard Green after he defeated compatriot Todd Sinnott in a playoff. Green and Sinnott had earlier ended the regulation 72 holes with identical scores of 28-under-260.
Sujjan Singh, who first earned his Asian Tour card in 2011, was a regular on the tour for three years up to 2013. It is a welcome return to the tour for the Chandigarh lad who lost his card in 2013.
Sujjan said, “It took me a few years for me to build up to this. I had a wrist injury a few years ago and my game just wasn’t there and I lost my card. I took a year off to work hard on my game and I felt I was ready for Q School this time around. I changed quite a few things and my approach toward the game.
“It’s a brand new game that I brought with me this week and I guess it’s working. It has taken a few years for me to get back to where I am. I suffered that injury in 2012 and I tried to come back and play a little too early. That injury kept recurring and that obviously affected my form. But all that is behind me and I’m looking forward to 2017.”
The Indians who did not finish among the top-35 players and ties and thus missed their card, were Abhijit Singh Chadha and Ashok Kumar (both tied 44th at 12-under-276), Ajeetesh Sandhu (tied 53rd at 11-under-277), Manu Gandas (tied 66th at 10-under-278), Udayan Mane (tied 82nd at eight-under-280), Aman Raj (tied 99th at six-under-282) and M Dharma (tied 107th at four-under-284).
Puducherry, 14th January 2017: After seven days of hard-fought, quality basketball action, there were only four teams left standing on the final day evening. Finalists last year, the Kerala women squared off against dark horse Telangana in the women’s final, while familiar foes Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu battled for gold in the men’s final.
Ms Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, was the chief guest for the women’s finals between Kerala and Telangana, and distributed the trophies, medals and cash prizes.
Shri V Narayanasamy, Chief Minister of Puducherry was the chief guest for the men’s finals between Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu.
In both men and women sections, the winning team received a cash prize of Rs 2,00,000/-, the first runners up Rs 1,00,000/- and the second runners up were awarded Rs 50,000/-.
A felicitation ceremony was also held for the Indian national men’s squad which finished a historic 7th at the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge (in Iran in September) and won a bronze medal at the 21st Super Kung Sheung Cup 2016 (in Hong Kong in December). The FIBA Asia Challenge squad won a total cash prize of Rs 5,00,000/-, while the Hong Kong contingent received Rs 1,45,000/-.
Kerala win gold after 32 years
Known for producing some of the best women playing talent in India’s basketball history, Kerala always ended up falling short at the Senior National Championship. Today, the team between them and the gold medal was Telangana – a team which not many people expected to make the finals. This is the farthest the Telangana women’s team has reached in its short history at the Senior Nationals.
As has been the case with most of their games thus far, Telangana women got off to a good start showing Kerala that they were not ready to be pushed over. Relying on ball movement and team play, Telangana were able to find open shots in the early going. Contributions came from their entire starting five, while their rebounding was a complete team effort as well.
The first half belonged to Telangana, who were led by the scoring of Gayatri (18 points) and Ramya (15 points). On the defensive end, Telangana forced the Kerala attack into tough shots. One of India’s best players and Kerala superstar Jeena Scaria was quiet in the first two periods. At half time, Telangana were up by 8 points (34-26).
In the second half, the experienced Kerala team slowly starting clawing their way back into the game. Kerala’s deep bench was a huge advantage in today’s match, scoring 29 points compared to no scoring from Telangana’s bench. Kerala coach Stephan Antony rotated his players well, giving adequate breathers to his stars. Kerala started scoring in bunches and the fatigued Telangana starters lost a step in the second half. Grima Merlin (10 points) and Rojamol (10 points) provided the necessary offensive spark from the bench, outrunning the Telangana players and getting easy transition buckets.
But Telangana was still up by 5 points entering the fourth quarter. That’s when Jeena took over the game. Kerala kept feeding her in the post and she put her versatile face-up mid-range game on display. Jeena ended up with 20 points in the game, including 8 crucial fourth quarter points to put Kerala ahead. Kerala clamped down on Telangana on the defensive end restricting them to only 8 fourth quarter points. Telangana finally ran out of gas and Kerala pulled away to clinch a historic 68-59 win, winning the Senior Nationals after a gap of 32 years!
Uttarakhand crowned champions
Old rivals Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu faced each other one more time to decide the ultimate champion at the 67th Senior National Basketball Championship. The last time these two teams met, Uttarakhand stole the win from Tamil Nadu with a 5-0 run in the final seconds. This time around, Tamil Nadu, backed by massive home support, wanted a different outcome.
In the first period, it was India centre Amritpal Singh who provided the early offense, muscling his way to the basket. Tamil Nadu found it difficult to contain Amritpal and suffered from early foul trouble. Both forward Vineeth Mathew and guard Prasanna Venkatesh picked up 2 early fouls each. Tamil Nadu struggled on the offensive end in the first quarter, managing to score only 9 points. Tamil Nadu’s India international Pratham Singh was unable to knock down his outside shots.
Things turned around in the second quarter for Tamil Nadu led by bench players Muin Bek and Jeevanantham. Tamil Nadu opened the second quarter with a 13-0 run, wresting back the lead in their favour. Starting on the defensive end, Jeevanantham acted as rim protector, getting multiple swats on the Uttarakhand players. His defensive aggression sparked his game on the offensive end as well as he hit turnaround jumpers and had offensive put-backs. Guard Muin Bek quickened the offensive pace for Tamil Nadu, leaking out in transition for easy buckets.
Uttarakhand entered the second half down by 5 points. Jeevantham continued to remain hot in the third period along with Akilan who hit timely buckets to keep Tamil Nadu slightly ahead. But Vishesh started finding his touch and forward Yadwinder Singh came off the bench to ignite his Uttarakhand team. Uttarakhand kept pace with Tamil Nadu and were poised for a fourth quarter push.
In the final period, it was big man Amritpal’s game all the way. He was too big to contain and his solid post skills were tough to handle for Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu’s backup centre Jeevanantham fouled out of the game and the rest of their frontcourt were undersized against Amritpal. The India starting centre put the team on his back on his way to a monster double-double of 34 points and 20 rebounds. Tamil Nadu lost steam in the dying minutes and Uttarakhand, once again, came from behind to close out on a 68-60 win to be crowned national champions.
Kerala (Jeena PS 20, Rojamol G 10, Anjana PG 10, Greema Merlin 8) bt Telangana (M. Gayatri 16, Ramya R. 15, Suganya 12, Aishwarya Nataraj 8) 68-59 (14-19, 12-15, 20-17, 22-8)
Uttarakhand (Amritpal Singh 34, Yadwinder Singh 9, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 8) bt Tamil Nadu (P. Jeevanantham 12, Rikin Pethani 10, H. Muin Bek 10, P. Akilan 7) 68-60(23-9, 5-24, 15-13, 25-16)
Morning Results from 14th January 2017
3rd & 4th Place Match:
Indian Railways (Navaneetha PU 21, Sruthi Menon 16, Madhu Kumar 15, Sitamani Tudu 11) bt Chhattisgarh (Poonam Chaturvedi 31, Sangeeta Kaur 13) 84-77 (25-18, 17-15, 25-14, 17-30)
3rd & 4th Place Match:
Punjab (Talwinder Jit Singh Sahi 21, Rajveer Singh 18, Gurvinder Singh Gill 16, Arshpreet Singh Bhullar 14) bt Rajasthan (Vinod Kumar 22, Sharad Dadhich 18, Mohamad 13) 88-70 (22-22, 23-9, 18-17, 25-22)
5th & 6th Placement Match:
Kerala (Albin Baby 28, Akhil AR 21) bt Haryana (Vikas Kumar 15, Pardeep Chauhan 12) 64-54 (17-15, 18-16, 16-13, 13-10)
7th & 8th Placement Match:
Indian Railways (Somvir Chahal 37, Vijender Kumar 24) bt Karnataka (Anil Kumar BK 22, Mufeez Ahmed 14) 89-72 (14-13, 23-16, 23-31, 29-12)
Pending result from 13th January 2017
5th & 6th Placement Match:
Tamil Nadu bt Delhi (Forfeit)
About the 67th Senior National Basketball Championship 2017
The championship is being held 7th to 14th January. 27 men’s teams and 25 women’s teams have confirmed their participation.
The championship is being organised by the Puducherry Basketball Association under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India.
Matches are being simultaneously held on four different courts: the indoor and outdoor courts of the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium complex (Courts 1 & 2), and the two courts at the Petit Seminare School.
Defending champions Railways women will be the team to watch out for as it rekindles its rivalry with previous winners Chhattisgarh. In the men’s section, traditional powerhouses Services, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu will be vying for top honours.
29 international players from across the country will be adding their experience to the fray.
Relevant Links for further information
- Senior Nationals format & significance
- Info on winners and runners up from all the past Senior Nationals
- Previous (66th edition) consolidated results & final standings
- 65th edition consolidated results & final standings
About Basketball Federation of India
The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information at www.basketballfederationindia.
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