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India U-18 women’s basketball team denied spot in Asian meet

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Bengaluru: India’s Under-18 team has been denied a spot in the upcoming FIBA Under-18 Women’s Asia Cup (Division B) to be held in China from June 24 to 30. 

Having finished last in Division A in 2022, the Indian girls were relegated to Division B, but that they would get an automatic shot at climbing their way back to Division A was not in question.

After all, India has not missed the tournament for over 16 years now.

On Monday, however, it became clear that Maldives would be representing South Asia by virtue of registering first. 

“We were told that the entry date was open on May 13 and it was going to close on May 14,” current Basketball Federation India president Aadhav Arjuna told DH. “We attached all the required documents and sent in our entry on the 13th. As far as we know, we should get automatic entry, but they have revised the rules, apparently. This is the first time I have heard of this first-cum-first-serve rule being used.”

“I think there is some technical issue so we have shot out a letter to FIBA Asia this evening and we hope to remedy the situation or at least get some clarity on the situation,” he added. 

Indian teams of past have qualified for the continental tournament in the past on the basis of being the top-ranked side in the region. 

As per FIBA’s ranking on December 1, 2023, Indian girls are ranked 8th in Asia (45th in the World), while Maldives are 27th in Asia (96th in the World). It’s unsure when FIBA started to adopt the first-cum-first-serve rule. 

When FIBA Asia president K Govindaraj was contacted, he insisted that the FIBA Asia constitution ‘is sound, and the BFI should adhere to it’.

Published 27 May 2024, 15:50 IST

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