New Delhi, Jul 6: The efforts to bring the popularity of the NBA in the country got a major thrust when the International Basketball federation (FIBA) announced that India will host the first ever Commonwealth Basketball Championship in 2010.
Announcing this here last night, FIBA president Bob Elphinston said, ''India will have the opportunity to host the first Commonwealth Basketball Championship in which best eight teams will participate.'' He said the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) was very enthusiastic to host the event and even the FIBA officials were pleased to see the growth of basketball in India particularly with youngsters.
''The BFI has sought our support to make it (basketball) a regular sport in India. We are happy that the Sports ministry has put basketball in its first priority,'' Elphinston said.
The Championship will come to India in late July 2010 and Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra has also announced the preparation of one national stadium for basketball.
Elphinston further added that the FIBA and National Basketball Association (NBA) technical advisors have made a good number of visits to India and shown great support for the upliftment of the sport in the country.
''We share a great relationship with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). We believe that India is a very good basketball nation...it just needs some good coaching to nurture the talent,'' he added.
The FIBA president informed that eight teams will participate in the tournament, including Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, England with host India.
Meanwhile, BFI secretary general Harish Sharma was all smiles with the decision and said, ''We will try to organise this tournament in the best possible manner as Indian government has put basketball under special category and we will have no problem to provide the best facility.'' ''At a time, when Basketball is not in Delhi's Commonwealth Games, this tournament is the best possible thing India could have got,'' he underlined.