India win 3×3 South Asian basketball qualifying gold

Colombo: In a spectacular day of basketball, the Indian team were crowned champions in the 3×3 South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) qualifiers at Gateway College here.

Facing familiar opponents Colombo Sri Lanka Reds in the final on Sunday night, to whom India had lost to on Saturday in the league stages, the visitors showed great heart to dominate the islanders 21-10.

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The day began with India dominating Nepal 20-10 in a must win last league match to qualify for the semi-finals as the second seeded team.

In the last four, India continued its strong form to beat Sri Lanka Blacks 18-10 before powering through to the victory in the summit clash.

“We did it for the 1.24 billion people of India. We hope this inspires the youth of the nation to take up basketball,” Indian point guard Siddhant Shinde said after the gold medal finish.

As South Asia winners, the four-man squad comprising Shinde, Basil Philip, Rajesh Uppar and Jeevanantham Pandi have now qualified for the 3×3 World Tour which will be held on August 15 and 16 in Beijing.

The team will return to Bengaluru on Monday.

India had not participated in the inaugural 3×3 SABA Championship in 2014 which was won by hosts Bangladesh.