Siddarth Sharma - sidbreakball

India at FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament- 5 Things to Know

Published on
August 12, 2023

India will compete in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Damascus, Syria from 12-17 August, 2023. 40 teams in total are competing in the pre-qualifying tournament, out of which five winners will earn spots to compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for a chance to compete in the Paris Olympics, 2024. 

India is in Group A with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, and Indonesia. Three games will be played each day, with each team facing every other team once over the six days.

Here are 5 things to know about India at the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament, including roster, fixtures, and more-

1 - Schedule

Here’s the schedule of India’s games in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament- 

12 Aug - Syria vs India

13 Aug - India vs Indonesia

14 Aug - India vs Kazakhstan

16 Aug - Saudi Arabia vs India

17 Aug - India vs Bahrain

India will play five games in six days, as will the other teams. While this sounds like a lot when you compare it to an NBA schedule and how much we hear of SEGABABA (Second Game of a Back-to-Back) being a tough draw, the NBA games involve travel between cities and the games are 48 minutes long, vs 40 minutes in International FIBA contests.

Now compare it to the Indian Senior Nationals where the finalists may end up playing every day of the week! These competitions are a test of mental and physical stamina as well.

2 - The Opponents

The Group draw had changed due to Korea and Chinese Taipei pulling out of the tournament. Here are the current FIBA rankings of the teams India is matched up with in Group A-

#65 - Kazakhstan

#68 - Saudi Arabia

#72 - Syria 

#82 - India

#84 - Bahrain

#85 - Indonesia

With more practice tournaments for exposure and more time the team can spend together, India's chances for success at the international stage can only go up.

3 - Indian Team Roster

Indian team for the FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Image - @BFI

Here’s the Indian senior men’s basketball team roster for the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament -

1 - Amjyot Singh Gill

2 - Arvind Krishnan

3 - Muin Bek Hafeez

4 - Pranav Prince

5 - Prashant Singh Rawat

6 - Harsh Dagar

7 - Aravind Annadurai

8 - Palpreet Singh Brar

9 - Amaan Sandhu

10 - Sahaij Sekhon

11 - Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (C)

12 - Mirant Bharatbhai Italia

Head coach - Veselin Matić

Coaches - Santosh Pondicherry Somasundaram, Pradeep Tomar, Vinod Pazhani Goutham.

Physio - Siva Shanmuga Singh Veerapandi

4 - Where to watch

You can stream India’s games live with the Courtside 1891 App - Some games and highlights might be available on FIBA's YouTube Channel as well.

There seem to be two options to subscribe to Courtside 1891 - A max World Cup Bundle including the World Cup Warm-Up Games, Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, and the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. This package will cost you $24.99.

The 2nd option is a Max Annual Pass which includes all FIBA events and more. This will cost $30.99 for the 1st year, and $34.99 for future renewals.

5 - What to expect

The last international 5x5 competition that the Indian men's team played was the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru in February 2023. Despite putting up a tough fight, a young Indian team lost to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

"I like what they are doing here, they are doing a good job giving young players a chance. When you have guys who are 18 or 19 years old already playing at this level, it will pay off later. Overall, it's a good team for the future."- Johan Roijakkers, Saudi Arabia's head coach remarked of the Indian team at that time. India had lost 60-71 to Saudi Arabia in that contest. India will get a chance for a rematch with Saudi Arabia in this Pre-Qualifying Tournament.

Coach Matić has remarked that a complete team is participating in the international championship after a long time. The team has had three weeks to be together and prepare, although some players arrived later because of confusion.

"Basketball is a game of skills and experience. Players who are experienced and well-conditioned, can concentrate and be ready to execute at the end. The last time we played against Saudi Arabia, we lost by 31 points. This time, if we executed a little better, we could have won it, but we didn't. We know what we need to work on." - Coach Matić had observed of the Indian team's loss vs Saudi Arabia.

With a mix of experienced veterans and youth, of size and speed, athleticism, and poise, you can count on the team putting on a tough fight. You can follow the action here and on my Instagram page - Sidbreakball.

Siddarth Sharma - sidbreakball

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