U-18 basketball c’ship: Focus and experience give Pune girls belief in going all the way to victory

Updated on Aug 16, 2019 04:50 PM IST
The girls’ team is ready to leave bronze behind and focus on gold
Under-18 Pune girls practising at Deccan Gymkhana ahead of the state competition.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Under-18 Pune girls practising at Deccan Gymkhana ahead of the state competition.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, Pune | ByJigar Hindocha

Get the basics right, listen and practice hard in training sessions – a few of the taglines which the Pune under-18 girls basketball team is following during the ongoing practice camp at Deccan Gymkhana.

In a couple of days, the girls will land in Nagpur to compete in the Maharashtra State Junior (under-18) Inter-District Championship and this time they are ready to leave bronze behind and focus on gold. In 2018, the team failed to reach the final and came back from Vashi, Navi Mumbai with a third position finish.

“We have a great team and along with experienced players we have got a few new players; one of them is Swara Pathak. She was brilliant in the recently concluded district championship and we will utlise her talent during the state championship,” says season campaigner Sudhiksha Kulkarni.

“All players are very good shooters which is the best part of the team,” adds Kulkarni.

Team is blessed with players who will be playing their last under-18 state championship and most of these players are hungry to clinch gold.

“This will be a great opportunity for us to claim gold considering amount of experience we have,” says Arya Riswadkar.

SWOT analysis:

Strength: Team has players who can play multiple positions.

Weakness: The need for calmness instead of panic.

Opportunities: Chance to claim title

Threats: Teams like Nagpur, Mumbai (north, east, west, south) can spoil Pune’s dream of winning the final.

Great maturity, strength on show at training: Suresh Shelar, coach

When we compare the girls and boys practice sessions at Deccan Gymkhana, one thing stands out in contrast – the boys make a lot of noise, while the girls practice quietly, with focus.

This focus can be an advantage. The team has many experienced players and all these players have the urge to deliver an impressive performance at the state level.

Coach of the team Suresh Shelar, is quite confident. He tells us why.

Suresh Shelar, coah, u-18 girls’ team. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)
Suresh Shelar, coah, u-18 girls’ team. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

What is most impressive thing about this team?

All are very good listeners and hard working. We are training them from a very young age and all of them have given great performances in the lower age categories.

How important will be the role of senior players?

Players like -- Sudhiksha Kulkarni, Arya Riswadkar and Tanvi Salve - will have an important role in controlling the team. Other players also have a lot of potential and it gives us great chance of winning the gold medal.

How is the training camp going?

All are coordinating nicely with each other. All of them are showing a great amount of maturity during training which is very good sign. Teams like Nagpur and Mumbai (south, west, north, east) have an impressive record in the state championship.

Girls team

Sudhiksha Kulkarni

Radhika Parekh

Arya Riswadkar

Tanvi Salve

Oshin Ajanikar

Rajnandini Nimbalkar

Mansi Nirmalkar

Saee Brahmankar

Swara Pathak

Tulja Patil

Tia Karve

Yukta Chordia

Coach : Suresh Shelar

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