Wednesday, February 9, 2011

School, college basketball merely for publicity

 The growing basketball craze in the valley holds the potential of producing new and talented players for the national team, but it is limited only in the college and school levels. In the present context, many schools organize basketball tournaments to gain popularity in the media and also for advertisement.

At present, more than five school-level basketball tournaments are being held with a number of them are in the offing.

National basketball referee Niranjan Satyal insists that the colleges are only doing their advertisement through sports. Satyal added that basketball needs comparatively a small space and many schools participate in almost all the tournaments for the sake of getting their names published in newspapers and aired on television channels.

Principle and Executive Director of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, however, said that they run the tournament as part of their annual activities. “We organize the tournament assess the ability of our players against those from other colleges.”

Professional basketball player Wisdom Pandey says that colleges and schools are using basketball as a means of publicity. “A number of schools and few colleges organize basketball tournaments when the new sessions start.”

Pandey believes that organizing basketball tournaments on a regular basis is a good sign but the organizers should look beyond mere publicity and contribute in building a good national team.

Badri Bhattarai, sports coordinator of Reliance International Academy, says that they organize basketball tournaments for advertisement to attract students in their schools. “We have been successful to get students through basketball.” Bhattarai further added that parents are more willing to send their children to schools that get publicity. “A numbers of schools cash in on the tournaments to attract students.”

Narendra Thapa, technical director and senior vice-president of the Nepal Basketball Association (NeBA), also echoes that the tournaments are organized only for publicity.

Bikash Shahi, head of extra curricular activity at Prime College and a national referee, shares a different view. Shahi said that he does not think his college organizes basketball tournaments to attract students. “We think sports help in personality development and Prime College has gained its popularity not just by organizing the basketball tournaments alone as we focus on other sports as well.”

“The main problem at present is that schools organize tournaments following height as a category which not help to produce good players for the national level,” added Thapa. He further stated that more than 35 schools organize basketball tournaments setting height as bar. “These tournaments will not help produce national level players.”