Nepali teams to participate in 3x3 World Championship
KATHMANDU, Aug 20: Nepali men´s and women´s 3x3 basketball teams are all set to participate in the First 3x3 World Championship, scheduled to be held in Athens, Greece from August 23 to 26.
Nepal Basketball Association (NeBA) bade farewell to the participating players in the capital on Monday.
Binod Maharjan, Rabin Khatri, Rajiv Joshi and Sadish Pradhan are members of the Nepali men´s team while the women´s team comprises Luuniva Singh, Sneha Shrestha, Sadina Shrestha and Samichin Bista. Pradhan and Sadina are the skippers of the men´s and women´s teams respectively. NeBA Secretary Hom Bahadur Dong is the head of the Nepali delegation.
The teams will leave Kathmandu on Tuesday and return on August 29.
According to NeBA Senior Vice-president Narendra Thapa, the Nepali men´s team has been drawn in Group B of the World Championship along with the Czech Republic, Spain, Serbia, Latvia and Slovenia, while the women´s team has been drawn in Group B alongside Hungary, France, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Greece.
Both the men´s and women´s categories of the championship will feature 24 teams each.
"Participation is itself an achievement for us. We are facing European teams and tough opponents in both sections. However, we expect at least a win in each category," said NeBA General Secretary Dinesh Thapa.
According to Thapa, altogether 105 nations had expressed interest to participate in the tournament but the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) picked 24 nations based on the status of 3x3 domestic tournaments, number of 3x3 players and geographical diversity of those countries.
Nepal will also compete in the mixed category of the championship. Pradhan, Maharjan, Sneha Shrestha and Samichan Bista will represent Nepal in the mixed category. According to Thapa, the mixed event is likely to feature eight teams.
"FIBA came up with the idea of mixed category while preparing for the tournament. The draw for the mixed category will take place on August 22," said Thapa.
Nepali men´s team skipper Pradhan said that their participation in the recent Haiyang Asian Beach Games has given them a big boost for the World Championship. "We won one out of three matches played in China and we want to better that record in the World Championship," said Pradhan.
Women´s team captain Sadina Shrestha echoed Pradhan.
The Nepali men´s team has made only one change to the team that participated in Haiyang, with Rajiv Joshi replacing Sujan Pun.
Sadina and Sneha Shrestha had played in the Haiyang Asian Beach Games, while Luniva Singh and Samichin Bista have replaced Anusha Malla and Sujata Rai in the team.
NeBA President Lama Tendi Sherpa expressed his best wishes to the teams. "We are sending the teams to Greece without support from the state authority. However, the players´ parents have given us great support," said Sherpa.
General Secretary of the IOC-recognized Nepal Olympic Committee (NOC) Jeevan Ram Shrestha applauded NeBA for securing berth in the World Championship. "Training and exposure are essential for success and the World Championship will provide the best exposure," said Shrestha.