Pathetic conditions at Ludhiana Basketball Academy, India’s premier centre
In July 2015, when Satnam Singh got selected for the NBA, the Hindustan Times carried a story ‘Dirty picture: A peek into the academy where Satnam got training’. Two years on, the situation remains unchanged at Ludhiana Basketball Academy (LBA)other sports Updated: Nov 21, 2017 19:24 IST
The country’s latest success story in basketball,Amyjot Singh, who made it to the NBA G League last month, is a product of the state-run Ludhiana Basketball Academy.Before Amyjot, it was LBA traineeSatnam Singh, who made the academy world famous by becoming the first Indian to be selected by an NBA franchise in 2015. But the irony is that the academy, which is feted across the world for its stellar players, gives them a shoddy deal when it comes to basic amenities.
Even though a dozen international players and three dozen national medallists are on the current roster of the academy, the Punjab government has failed to provide them basic facilities such as clean rooms, working toilets, and a well-equipped gym.
The condition of the players’ rooms is shoddy. The trainees use posters and banners welcoming their star players to cover the walls, which don’t seem to have been whitewashed for years.
All new recruits have to get their own bed and bedding, as the government only provides the bare rooms minus the beds.
Come summers, and the trainees have to battle the heat due to non-functional air coolers. Though the Punjab Basketball Association had installed six air-conditioners with the help of some private funding, the steep electricity bills led to their disconnection in 2015.
The academy also has an apology of a gym, and the players enroll in private gyms for weight training.
Even the toilets don’t function well, and lie choked most of the time. A lone tap caters to the bathing needs of 20 junior trainees staying on the first floor of the stadium.
Even the best room in the academy, where the top names, including international stars Satnam Singh and Pal Preet Singh stay, is not up to the mark. The room has no curtains and the players have to use bed sheets to cover the windows.
In July 2015, when Satnam got selected for the NBA, the Hindustan Times carried a story ‘Dirty picture: A peek into the academy where Satnam got training’. Two years on, the situation remains unchanged.
“We know the limitations of accommodation in the academy, but it doesn’t bother us much as it is the country’s premier centre, and we are here to make a name in the sport,” says junior national gold medalist Gurwinder Singh.
Eighteen-year-old Sahil Kalyan, who has been named in the senior camp, admits it was difficult to adjust to the living conditions in the beginning.
“But gradually, we got used to the academy. Had it not been for our passion for basketball, it would have been impossible to stay in such conditions,” he added.
Teja Singh Dhaliwal, secretary general of Punjab Basketball Association, admits that the living conditions here are far from perfect.
“Things haven’t changed much in the last several years. But the silver lining is that the government has provided us coaches of our choice, and the quality of food has improved,” he signed off.
When contacted, Amrit Kaur Gill, Punjab Sports Director, said, “We are aware of the results of LBA and for sure we will improve the living facilities there. But paucity of the funds is a major problem with the department, but we will do something about it.”
First Published: Nov 21, 2017 19:24 IST