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There is an immense requirement of our own professional league in India- Prashanti Singh

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Prashanti Singh comes from a family which is known for the commitment towards Basketball as a sport. “Basketball Family of Varanasi” & “Singh Sisters” would not have been achieved without toiling hard at courts. She is one of the top four “A” grade Basketball Players of India. She won Gold at Asian Beach Games 2011 held at Sri Lanka. We talked to Prashanti about her career and on Basketball as a sport in India. Here are excerpts from her interview:

Hurdles in becoming a Basketball player…

As an Indian athlete I feel we need more recognition and appreciation for what we are doing as India is not a sporty nation and despite that if somebody is serving our nation this way, definitely deserves respect and a good life. I would not blame cricket and media for poor condition of other sports; I think other sports federation should learn from them to commercialize their sport to make that popular and efficient. Basketball is already quite popular in school and colleges; it just needs more attention. (See more of Basketball here)

Basketball, how it started…

Varanasi is a small place, nothing much to do in the evening as a kid. I was very athletic and used to play with boys of my locality.

Once, when I was playing Hide n’ Seek with my friends at the age of 12, I had a big fight with them, and I was left with no friends after the incident. My elder sisters used to play basketball so I joined them and developed an interest in the game. Very soon I got a chance to play for the Varanasi Under-14 team; I performed well in that tournament and from thereon, my interest in the game became permanent.

Mom (Smt. Urmila Singh) is sole reason behind all success I got.

She has been a tremendous support through out. It would have not been possible without her.

Favorites achievement…

There are many moments to remember as basketball is the only thing I have been doing since 10 years. One special moment is when I went for my first tournament at under-14 level. I was enthusiastic kid, got a chance to play for only 5 minutes. I made the best of those 5 minutes by scoring 2 baskets. Those 4 points came from very basic fundamental ‘one two up lay up shot’. My first coach Sh. Amarjeet Singh rewarded me with sweets, one for each basket I made. Those two baskets are still so memorable.

Coaching facilities…

We require uniformity in coaching system at least at the grass-root level.

I guess this is the basic problem here. Good players keep on playing and learning new things with the exposure they get. But people who are running coaching center or any team need to be updated with changing coaching pattern. School level needs to be taken seriously.

Training facilities…

The whole World knows about it, we have big infrastructure issue here.

Forget about B grade cities even a metro city doesn’t have proper training facilities. There is an immense need of proper and separate training venue for each sport with necessary equipment related to that sport. Not like old school system of India, we need more indoor stadiums as a basketball-training venue at least requires weight room, video room along. These are very basic facilities where we are lacking.

Basketball promotion…

It’s easy to promote sport in school level. We need to have Basketball events happening not only at regional or national level but at school level also.

Basketball for masses, public participation…

It needs to reach masses easily, more live telecast of games, and by applying commercial approach.

Corporate are needed to make it professional.

NBA in India & changes brought in by the league…

Definitely yes! They are reaching everywhere in India in a systematic way keeping in mind what is required. It’s a well establish body so their professional approach of working will help the sport in India.

League format versus NBA…

There is an immense requirement of our own professional league in India.

We have our national championship “All India Tournament” but we need to move further. Such leagues will raise the standard of game and players will finally be benefited. Players are the most important part of any sport but unfortunately they are mostly ignored in our country.

How proud do you feel when you are referred to as someone from a “Basketball family”?

It is a matter of pride to become a face of basketball in India and support the sport in the best possible way we can as a family, full of basketball players. It feels nice to be recognized this way.
It’s been long journey & consistent hard work to achieve this name.