Focus on Utkhand, Ker, TN as national basketball begins

Uttarakhand men will face stiff challenge from host Tamil Nadu, Railways, Services and Punjab in their title defence in the 68th Senior National Basketball Championship beginning here tomorrow.

In the women's section, Kerala, the reigning champion, will be wary of the challenge from last year's runner-up Telangana, Railways, Chattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.

The hosts, who missed out on winning the title in the previous edition at Puducherry, comes into the tournament on the back of an intense training camp in the city.

The team led by Akilan and comprising players like Prasanna Venkatesh and Muin Bek, will be eyeing to get the title in the championship which is returning to the city after a gap of seven years.

Serbian Milan Opacic, who is coaching the Tamil Nadu's men and women teams, said the players have prepared well for the event and expected them to perform strongly.

International players are set to turn out for various teams with the presence of Satnam Singh, who featured in the NBA, Preetpal and Mihir Pant among others.

In the women's section, Kerala boasting of names like Jeena and Grima Merlin will be the team to beat though the Railways with a sprinkling of internationals, will fancy its chances.

The home team, which finished fifth in the previous edition, will be among the dark horses.

Members of the state men's team said they had been working hard under Opacic and expected to better the runner-up finish they achieved in last year's edition in Puducherry.

The participating teams in both events are grouped into Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 features the top 10 teams from the previous championship divided into two groups of five teams each. Level 2 features the remaining teams.

The groups: Men: Level 1: Group 'A': Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha. 'B': Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, Railways, Gujarat.

Women: Level 1: Group 'A': Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka. 'B': Telangana, Railways, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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