Mumbai: The city never sleeps on Tuesday witnessed another significant milestone for Indian basketball tipping off a process to Indian basketball to newer heights. Six city-based teams – representing Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, and Mumbai – will line up against each other over three preliminary rounds in INBL Season 2022, BFI’s first-ever National League. The first round will be played in Kochi from October 16-20 followed by the second round six days later from October 26-30 at Jaipur. The third round will take place in Pune from December 7 – 11. The play offs are scheduled to be held in Bengaluru from January 11-15. Each round will be spread over 5 days with the 6 teams playing against all the remaining teams once in a round robin. Standings over three rounds will accumulate into final rankings which will form the basis for the seeding for the playoffs.The teams will be called Bengaluru Kings, Chennai Heat, Chandigarh Warriors, Delhi Dribblers, Kochi Tigers, and Mumbai Titans. Players have been drafted into the teams from catchment areas that are in the vicinity of the teams. Arvind Arumugam (Bengaluru Kings), M. Arvind Kumar (Chennai Heat), Arvinder Singh Kahlon (Chandigarh Warriors), Digvijay Singh (Delhi Dribblers), Sejin Mathew (Kochi Tigers) and Sidhant Shinde (Mumbai Titans) represented the teams at the unveiling of the logos.
Commenting, Rupinder Brar, Chairman, of Headstart Arena India (HAI), said, “We are pleased to be working with BFI to launch this great initiative. This is a great opportunity for the top talent in India to have a platform to showcase their ability against well matched opposition. This is the second initiative that we are promoting after the very successful INBL 3×3 Season 1 earlier this year, which saw more than 9,000 players and 2500 teams involved in the competition conducted in 20 cities across the country. We are also proud to state on the record the champions of INBL 3×3 Season 1 National Finals – Ludhiana_INBL became the first ever all-Indian roster to participate in a FIBA 3×3 World Tour event in Cebu earlier this month. We hope to continue helping to develop the sport at all levels and ultimately help Indian basketball achieve the levels it deserves.”
According to Dushyant Khanna, Co-founder of INBL,” It is a new era for basketball for India. And we are so excited in being a part of this and driving this to happen. Here is wishing the teams the very best.” Sarabjot Singh dhillion. Co-founder, INBL was present at the event.
In his comments, Dr. K Govindaraj, MLC the president of the BFI, said,“It is true that millions of basketball fans have dreamt of a National League in India for a long time. But our aim is not only having a high-quality basketball league, but taking every other aspect of the sport including laying a strong and sustainable process for development at the grassroots level. We have appointed Headstart Arena India to execute the plans as per the vision of the BFI Executive Council.”
Added, Chander Mukhi Sharma, Secretary General of the BFI said: “To put it straight and simple: the success of the National Teams is the ultimate index of the success of a sport in the country. A strong competition structure like a high quality league is certainly an integral part of this process. But it doesn’t remain confined to that. The INBL as a concept aims to give a competitive game to thousands of players every second weekend. Be it the 3×3 format, where we do believe we have a very strong opportunity to qualify for the Olympics in 2024 or the regular format where as things stand we should aim to qualify for the 2027 FIBA Basketball World Cup and 2030 FIBA Women’s Basketball Cup. And that is exactly what we are aiming to achieve with the INBL.”
Arvind Arumugam, the leading player from Bengaluru Kings said “This a great opportunity to represent my region but more importantly to be involved with the great things INBL are doing to help us compete at the highest level”
Arvinder Singh, a member of Ludhiana_INBL the champions of INBL 3×3 Season 1 National Finals and the team that travelled for the FIBA 3×3 World Tour event in Cebu added “How great to be treated like athletes, even though we are not professionals, it’s great to have the opportunity to earn prize money, and to have recognition amongst our peers”.
“I am really excited to be playing in the INBL,” said Sejin Mathew. “It is a glorious opportunity to represent my city but also play against the best in the country in this new format.”