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Ruth Riley Urges Basketball Revolution For Indian Women

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Basketball is one of the sports that women have hardly tapped into. The Women National Basketball Association is yet to see an Indian woman participating in the league in the past 21 years it has existed. Even the countries that have ranked lower than India in the FIBA rankings had several representatives in the league.

Two-time WNBA champion Ruth Riley, who is currently in India to train top 18 young Indian girls as well as players from China and Australia, says that we need to build more basketball courts for women across the country to promote the sport among women, reported Sportstar Live.

Riley, the technical director of the NBA Academy’s women’s program, is training players as part of NBA’s “Basketball without Borders” camp at the National Academy in Greater Noida.

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“It is not just one thing (on areas of improvement required), you have to build courts, you have to build a pathway – they need to start younger so that they develop at an earlier age. You have to provide opportunities for them to play five-on-five. You cannot just do with skills development only. They should be able to compete in games as well,” the former USA international said here.

Riley praised the National Academy but also urged for more such facilities across India. “This is a great facility, where they can play. How many gyms like this are there around the country? The infrastructure is needed. And, there is also a need for tactical knowledge. We are here today and will have a coaching clinic, teaching both the players and coaches as well. Ranked 45 in the world only means that there is room to develop quickly, you invest in these girls now and you will see tremendous growth,” she said.

It is not just one thing (on areas of improvement required), you have to build courts, you have to build a pathway – they need to start younger so that they develop at an earlier age. You have to provide opportunities for them to play five-on-five. You cannot just do with skills development only. They should be able to compete in games as well

This is the first time such a camp to train women in basketball has been organised in India. In fact, India got its first NBA Academy only last year in the national capital but, unfortunately it only accommodates male players as of now and the women will return to their respective academies with lower- ranked facilities.

However, Riley felt impressed by the women’s talent here. She said, “We have been really impressed with the young ladies. We did not know what to expect, coming in. This is the first camp in India for me. They have technical and shooting skills, and the ability to put the ball on the ground and to create (chances) for themselves. The most impressive thing about them is that they are smart. You teach them something once, and they are able to apply that into a game,” said Riley who was with USA team that won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics.

She named Syia Deodhar, who made it to the U-16 probables last year, as the most improved player during the camp.

Picture credit- Swish Appeal

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