Players hit road to promote basketball on eve of tourney

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The promotion of the 63rd Senior National Basketball Championship for men and women started in a unique style on Thursday. The tournament will start on Friday and will conclude on January 4 at Guru Nanak Stadium.

The organisers for the first time started the tournament with a roadshow in which some of the tallest players in the country — reaching 7ft — showcased their basketball skills not in the court but right in the middle of the busiest cross sections of the city amidst the bustling traffic and passers-by. The players were seen promoting the game outside Westend Mall at Bharat Nagar chowk, at Sarabha Nagar market, busy Chaura Bazar and near Durga Mata Mandir. They stopped the traffic for about two minutes at each spot and played the game so as to make people aware of this sport as well.

Teja Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary of the Punjab Basketball Association, said, "This way we want to tell people that a national-level tournament is going to start from tomorrow. So they should come to the stadium to watch the game and to encourage the players."

The players were carrying banners highlighting the tournament details. For stopping the traffic, they had taken due permission from the traffic police, and people were seen cheering the players.

M F Farooqui, IPS, head of the organising committee, said matches would be held in the four floodlit courts at the Guru Nanak Stadium out of which two are indoor. As many as 25 teams in the men's section and 21 teams in the women's section have already confirmed their entry.

A total of 125 matches will be conducted by around 100 referees and officials. Electronic scoreboard and other modern gadgets will be used during the matches. Trained statisticians will be updating the score which will also be updated on the website www.punjabbasketball.org on a realtime basis.

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