Keralites go international

Four Malayalis have made it to the India basketball u-16 squad for the FIBA Asia championship.

Kochi: The FIBA Asia Under-16 basketball championship for girls is set to begin this month in Colombo and four Malayalis have earned their places in the squad.

Vimmy Varkey of Little Flower HS Koratty, Mayuka K.T. of Providence Kozhikode, Aneeta P . V. of centralised sports hostel Kollam and Shinu M. George, representing Tamil Nadu complete the Malayali unit in the national side.

Biju D. Themman of Mount Carmel Kottayam, the alma mater of senior international Geethu Anna Jose and the promising Poojamol K. S, is designated as the head coach of the mission and will be assisted by Abhay Chauhan of Maharashtra.

The 12-member team was announced by the Basketball Federation of India in New Delhi earlier this week. India start in Level 1 of the championship this year having qualified to the top tier after finishing fifth in the 2011 championship held in Jinan, China. The event is set to be played from November 23 to 30.

The team has now landed in China for a nine-day preparatory camp at the CBA basketball school in Dongguan. The Indian team earlier underwent an extensive training programme at SAI, NSWC in Gandhinagar and is expected to offer stiff challenge to the likes of China, Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Malaysia, in their group.

Nihal wins

Kerala boy Nihal Sarin earned himself a perfect Children's Day present by win ning the national under-9 chess championship in Chennai on Thursday. The nine-year-old Thrissur boy defeated Panda Sambit of Odisha in the final round to finish with 9 points and win a national medal for Kerala after five years.

Nihal, who started the championship as second seed went undefeated in the event, winning seven and drawing four of his games as he was crowned the national champion after C H Meghna of Kozhikode performed the feat in 2008.

Top seed Pragganandhaa R of Tamil Nadu and Dhanush Bharadwaj of Karnataka, both of whom drew with Nihal in the ninth and penultimate rounds, finished second and third respectively.

( Source : dc correspondent )
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