Karnataka's Pavani making steady progress

Last Updated 25 January 2020, 14:28 IST

What started out as a pastime turned into a passion and now Karnataka hoopster Pavani Sangwan is hoping to make it a career.

It was her coach Kiran, who spotted her at a basketball court in Delhi Public School, North as she turned heads with some neat skills during her games' period. This was three years ago, she wasn't even serious about the sport. In fact, she was into tennis. But priorities changed once she started playing basketball.

Last year was huge for the now 16-year-old, who improved by leaps and bounds to make it to the Karnataka team. She represented the State in three national-level tournaments, starting with Youth Nationals in Coimbatore. It, however, wasn't the ideal debut she was hoping for as Karnataka finished fifth in the competition.

Pavani's performance though earned her a place in the women's team for the Federation Cup in Greater Noida in June and in October, she would go on represent Karnataka at the Junior Nationals in Patna.

At the recently-concluded Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati, she was one of the star performers for the team that returned home with a bronze medal. Against Kerala, the bronze-medal match, Pavani scored 15 points in their 65-57 win.

"Our coach Jayavanthi Shyam supported us a lot and the tournament was very nice. It was a great experience. Everyone was very scared to play in the semifinals, the nervousness took over. But we'd played very well till then," she said.

Pavani, who has been with Southern Blues from the very beginning, admits her game still requires a lot of polishing. "I have to improve my shooting a lot. I see other players shoot, they're very good. I have to practice that," she said.

She's been training under former India basketball captain Akanksha Singh at the Center for Sports Excellence in Bengaluru. "She is a very talented player," said Akanksha. "I think she has the potential to make it to the Indian team. She just needs a little bit of guiding and polishing. She is a raw talent that we are working on," remarked Akanksha, who opened the Akanksha Singh Basketball academy, last year.

Pavani's father Sanjay Singh, a pilot, and mother Poonam Sangu, a yoga instructor, have been by her side through thick and thin. And she is also thankful for all the support she receives from her school.

(Published 24 January 2020, 16:07 IST)

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