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Basketball Federation of India firming up grassroots structure to grow sport in the country: Aadhav Arjuna

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Aadhav Arjuna, president of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is slowly and steadily putting in place the grassroots system required to make the sport a truly professional one. He is looking at the Indian men’s team competing in the Olympics in eight years’ time.

Speaking to the media after BFI’s AGM here on Saturday, the 42-year-old said, “Our ambition is to ensure India takes part in 3×3 format at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and be a top three team in Asia in four years and is keen to make India part of the top three in Asia in 5×5 format and compete in the Olympics in eight years.”

The professional league (men ands women), which has been the talking point in basketball circles for a decade or so, will likely kickstart in six to eight months. “The tender process for 3×3 and 5×5 is midway and we are very happy with the support of corporate houses that have participated in the tender process. Once the organising partner (for the professional league called the National Star Basketball League) is finalised (likely on June 25), the league will begin in six to eight months’ time,” said Aadhav.

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“We are firming up our grassroots structure. We have signed up with Manipal University and will sign an MOU with Corvuss American Academy in Mumbai soon. According to MOU we will select 30 boys and 30 girls in U-13, U-16 and U-18 from the Nationals and groom them in the academies we are setting up across India,” he said.

BFI, Aadhav pointed out, has created a Talent Research Wing (TRW) on the likes of one created by cricket. It will have prominent former players and coaches who will play a crucial role in developing academies and scouting for talent. “TRW has SAI coach Aman Sharma, who will be TRW Chairman, and India coach S. Baskar who is with SAI and has been deputed to BFI. We also have Arnika Gujar Patil, a FIBA Instructor, and former India star Ramkumar in TRW,” he said.

Aadhav has a mountain to climb, but he is not in a tearing hurry to achieve his goals.

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