With the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship set to kick off in Wuhan, China from August 29, India senior player Anitha Pauldurai believes setting realistic goals will help the side put up a good show in the tournament.
The group of 22 probables, which was training under coach Francisco Garcia, was trimmed down to 15 on Sunday, with the final 12-member team to be decided in a week’s time.
Speaking about the players in the camp, Anitha exuded confidence in the younger lot. “Our junior players are doing a good job under the coach. We do miss Geethu (Anna Jose). But we have many young players who are showing a lot of promise,” she said.
With stronger teams to play against in the championship, the 30-year old shooting gaurd confessed that India will not have it easy at the event. “This time we have Thailand in the upper pool. It is not possible to get past Japan, Korea and China. Chinese Taipei too will be a difficult. Hence we have to beat Thailand and fight for the fifth place to remain in level I.”
The veteran was impressed by the skills of a few youngsters in the camp and hoped that they will go on to make it big in the national side. “This year we have Jeena PS of Kerala and Shireen Limaye from Maharshtra who can make a mark in the championship. They look good at the training and have the potential in them. Karnataka’s Bhandavya HM is also a promising player,” she said.
On the personal front, Anitha is managing motherhood and career and the former India captain thanked her family for their support. “Thanks to the support from my family, I have been able to manage my career well. It was tough to get back to fitness but I made it a point to return to the game soon after the delivery,” she recollected.
Lack of exposure
When asked about the expectations of women’s basketball players from Basketball Federation of India, Anitha asserted that lack of exposure trips is hurting the future of the game. “We don’t have an exposure trip this year. It’s very important to have one before a major tournament. With exposure trips, we can analyse our shortcomings. Last edition, we had a one-week trip to China, where we played 4-5 games. It’s very difficult to get into the rhythm when we have only few days to train,” said Anitha.