Our team recently competed in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. This is the largest international competition behind the Olympics. There were over 13,000 athletes and 45 countries represented. Although I have never been to the Olympics I really got a sense of what it would be like. Like the Olympics we stayed in the "Athletes Viillage" with all the other teams. We lived in the same dorms and had meals together in a huge dining hall.This was truly a melting pot of all the countries of Asia and the Middle East.
Our team was placed in a pool with Kazakhstan, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia. We started with a convincing 40 point win over Palestine. The next day we dropped a close game to Saudi Arabi. We knew they would be a tough opponent but it was a game we really should have won. I was very proud of our players bouncing back the next day to beat Kazakhstan by 19. This is a team that is ranked 8 places higher than we are and a team that beat us by 13 last summer in the ABC's. This win qualified us for next round as the No.1 team coming out of our pool. Unfortunately, it also placed us in a pool with Iran and the Philippines, two teams that qualified for the World Cup earlier in the summer. I am not usually one to make any excuses but the format of this tournament really put us at a disadvantage. After 3 games in 3 days we had to play the 4th and 5th day against these powerhouses while it was their first game of the tournament. After a slow start we played the Philippines close to the end and than ran out of gas against a fresh Iran squad. My competive nature asked what it might have been like if we would have been in weaker pool or given some rest to prepare. Those thoughts don't last long because they are out of our control and we have to step up regardless of the circmstances. Our team has come a long way in 2 years. India is now a team that all of the top teams in Asia has respect for and cannot take lightly. That being said we still need to strive to take it to the next level. My goals are always high and I will keep working until they are reached.
Overall the Asian Games was a great expereince. I was able to connect with so many people from other countries and I have many new friends because of that. It was great seeing so many different cultures as well as sports blend together during this event. It was also a privilege to route on our Indian women's team as they competed in Incheon. During the Asian games I was reminded of the power of sports. All of these countries, at least for 2 weeks put all their differences and conflicts aside to join together in this unifying event. Althougth I am a U.S. citizen I also have grown to take great pride representing the country of India. For now it is my home. With God's help I hope to continue to make a positive impact on India basketball and to those I come in contact with. Go India!