Fed Cup in B'lore from Wednesday

Some of the finest basketball talent in the country will converge here at the Sree Kanteerava stadium as Karnataka, for the first time in over two decades, host the Federation Cup National basketball championship.

The 25th edition of the five-day league-cum-knockout tournament, which was last held in Karnataka when Davanagere played host in 1988-89, will feature nine men’s teams and eight women’s teams vying for top honours from Wednesday (January 30) to February 3.

Karnataka men, represented by league champions Vijaya Bank, made the cut by virtue of being the hosts, while the women finished eighth out of ten teams in the recently concluded 63rd Senior National basketball championship in Ludhiana to qualify.

The men’s category will be split into two groups -- Group ‘A’ (defending champions Punjab Police, Indian Air Force, Customs And Central Excise, Captain’s Club (Delhi), Vijaya Bank) and Group ‘B’ (Indian Overseas Bank, South Central Railway, Jind (Haryana), ONGC).

The women’s category too will feature two groups with South Eastern Railways (Bilaspur), Delhi, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh making up Group ‘A’ while Group ‘B’ comprises Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the knockout stage and the winners in both categories will take home a purse of Rs 1 lakh each while the runners-up and third-place finishers will bag Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.

“The indoor stadium is ready to host the best players from around the country, and all the players who featured in the National championships will be in attendance here,” said Karnataka State Basketball Association secretary K Govindaraj when asked about the condition of the indoor court which was in a deplorable condition weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Govindaraj also announced that 40-45 current and former players from the State who have represented India will be felicitated on February 2. “This has been long pending. There were a lot of obstacles along the way but we are glad to finally honour them,” said Govindaraj in the presence of former international R Rajan.

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