There''s solid foundation for basketball to grow in India: Jain

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Basketball may not exactly bepopular in India but the country has got enough talent andinfrastructure to promote the sport, feels National BasketballAssociation''s (NBA) director of international development,Akash Jain.

"India has got strong young talent which needs to beexplored through right kind of coaching. There is a greatpassion for the game and kids are ready to learn," Jain said.

"There is a solid foundation for the sport. Most schoolsand colleges have the courts but there is still scope fordevelopment, particularly with regards to indoor courts.

"We have five indoor courts in India and we are indiscussion with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) tobuild more courts," Jain told PTI.

Jain, who oversees the League''s overall development inIndia, while emphasising the various initiatives taken by thethe NBA to promote the game said, "Currently we are morefocused at grass-root level. We are building ways to fosterthe participation which is important for the game todevelop."

The director stressed on the importance of technicalknow-how as a part of infrastructure development to propel thegame.

"The NBA is committed to organise programmes for the kidsand coaches for a sustained period of time, create clinics andimpart hands-on knowledge to improve the skills of the coachesand players."

Asked whether the NBA is looking to build any specialisedacademies in India to spur the growth of basketball, Jainsaid, "We can explore the option in future."

On whether the NBA is planning to hold more leagues inthe future on the lines of the ''Mahindra NBA Challenge'', Jainsaid, "It is a community based programme and we are workingwith Federation to extend it to 10 cities in March."

The tournament was held in five cites across India thisyear in comparison to the previous year''s edition, whichwitnessed three cities hosting the event.

Expressing his pleasure at NBA''s association with theBFI, Jain said, "It has been a great partnership. TheFederation (BFI) has been a core development partner and hasbeen vital in the growth of the sport."

"NBA will continue consult and advice BFI on differentprospects to grow the basketball in India."

Jain said basketball is an "inclusive game" and India hasgot the right kind of atmosphere for its growth.

Jain NBA will instill "passion and professionalism" amongthe budding prospects.

Jain said an exciting future awaits the game ahead. "Thefuture is extremely bright and exciting. There is a greatpassion for the game. Youth are tech savoy and keen to learnand there is a huge young population which is helpful inbuilding a sound fan-base," Jain insisted.

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