Fantastic four – Indian Women Basketball gets a fillip
They are the fantastic four of Delhi women’s basketball circle. The Singh sisters, as they are popularly known, have been making waves with their sporting skills on the Basketball court as well as on the ramp. Two have already landed up with modeling assignments. Seems, modeling agencies should scout for upcoming models in basketball courts now.
Clad in Allen Iverson’s jersey and ankelite shoes, Divya (32), Prashanti (30), Akanksha (25) and Pratima (24), are the famous four damsels who are making guys go gaga over their looks. In fact, the popularity of women’s basketball has reached a new height even stunning the basketball coaches. Well, it’s not just the looks but they are a talented lot too and are passionate about the game.
Individually talented too
Divya, for example, is only the second Indian player after Geethu Anna Jose to have got such offer of playing in the international league. She also received an offer from the Basketball Association of Chile to play in their professional league in 2008. Divya is former captain of the India women’s national basketball team. Currently, she is coaching the U16 Indian men’s basketball team and was a team official at the 17th Asian Games.
The happy-go-lucky sisters took up the sport in Varanasi. The fifth and the eldest of all, Priyanka, guided the rest of the sisters into the game under coach Amarjit Singh. With their sharp skills, all four got into the UP state team. It was in 2002 that MTNL offered a job to two of the siblings, Divya and Prashanti and they moved to Delhi.
Though Priyanka has never played for India, she is a National Institute of Sports pass-out and a certified coach, while the others have donned the Indian colours to fill up the national team ranks at one point of time or the other.
In the glamour department, Divya and Pratima, have received myriad modeling assignments. With tall height and nice profiles, modeling agencies are armed with offers for the duo. Though Divya could not afford to think anything beyond basketball, Pratima is mulling over the idea of giving modeling a shot. The multi-talented sisters with their ravishing looks have become role-models for youngsters.
Thanks to BFI
Divya said that she was quite pleased and thrilled about the upliftment of sports in India. “I got superb opportunities in India and abroad and I have to work very hard now. Other professional players should get a chance too,” she said.
The sisters don’t forget to thank the Basketball Federation of India (BFI). “The association gave us the opportunity to represent the country and whatever we are today, we are because of the game,” she said.
According to Prashanti, though the game isn’t in the priority list of the government, it has nevertheless improved tremendously. Regarding their celeb status, she said, “When we go out to play a match people flock to the courts and recognise us. But still, we are not that famous. I think the BFI should highlight players. Also, lack of sponsorships and the money factor should be taken up seriously by the BFI and the government.”
The sisters find Delhi full of opportunities. The lifestyle here has caught up with the sisters, however, they miss their hometown and their parents. They get nostalgic at the very mention of Varanasi. But soon they regain their pretty smiles and reply, “Delhi is hip. We love the capital city as well.”
Pratima, nicknamed as Nishi, is a shy, angelic girl with oodles of confidence on the basketball court. Member of the Indian women’s national basketball team, Delhi has won many medals under her leadership. She was nominated as the second Most Glamorous Women in an open online contest.
By her side, Akansha, popularly known as ‘Bachi’, is famous for her cool headbands and fine-looks of course. She is a cheerful girl. When asked about her sisters, she smiled and said, “We are each other’s best friends. And you know, even ‘jijaji’ (Priyanka’s husband), is a coach in Thailand. He too has played at the state level,” she informs.
The marriage bells seem to be ringing for gorgeous Divya, as her parents are looking for a groom for the Banaras Hindu University topper in Physical Education, who is now pursuing MBA from Symbiosis apart from her regular basketball practice.
Divya had been coaching the St. Stephen’s basketball team every summer. She feels that the BFI and SAI have good attitude towards the game. However, she too feels that the money is not enough.
Addicted to Basketball
The fantastic four are ‘super-girls’ as soon as they step on the court and also when it comes to playing in one team. Turning towards the basketball court, their usual punchline is – “Basketball ek nasha hai”. We cannot imagine our lives without basketball.