Basketball is one of the most popular games played over the world. When basketball first started in 1891 in Massachusetts, it was just a side game without much importance. In fact it was formulated for the football players in order to keep them in shape during the winter.
Today, by the 21st century, basketball has become more widespread and is enjoyed by the young and old alike.
Basketball was first brought into Bangladesh in the late 1950s by reputed missionary schools of the country like Saint Gregory's School of Dhaka, Saint Joseph's School of Khulna and such others. But probably the contribution of Brother Thomas Moore of Saint Gregory's School was most remarkable. He took a lot of interest in this sport and soon his students started to excel at it. The introducers of the game and the first Bangladeshi players dreamt of establishing a solid and deeply rooted foundation of basketball in Bangladesh. Between 1970 and 1985 basketball became one of the most popular games in the country, probably second to football. But over the years somehow basketball lost its appeal and this resulted in its downfall.
It was Bangladesh Basketball Federation that took the noble initiative to revive the lost glory of this game. About five years ago, a training school called Basketball Federation Training School (BFTS) was formed under the Federation. Since then BFTS is pursuing its objective of training up young potential people and molding them into proficient and qualified players. Their attempt is indeed turning out to be very successful. They are regularly training students of various schools and arranging inter-school competitions. Though they have limited the present training programme within Dhaka City only, they hope to spread it to other districts soon.
BFTS aspires to promote Bangladesh up to the World Cup level. They wish to see both the men's and women's team of Bangladesh to take part in the Basketball World Cup competitions. BKSP has joined BFTS to search for tall boys (6ft or above) from all over Bangladesh in order to train them to play in the national teams.
BFTS is also looking forward to forming a Women's National Team as soon as they have enough girls to form one. BFTS also assigns different members of their committee to go to different schools as coaches and train the students. At present the number of girl's school teams are increasing. Schools such as Maple-leaf, Southbreeze, European Standard School (ESS), Sunbeams, Scholastica, Green Herald, The Aga Khan School, Sunnydale, ISD, BIT etc. have all got girls' teams who have participated in different tournaments. The last inter-school tournament was held in January 2003, where Maple Leaf School became the champion and Southbreeze School the runners-up.
In its attempt to train young people, BFTS has organized
practice sessions for both boys and girls, held in the Abahani Wooden
Floor Gymnasium in Dhanmondi. The training sessions are held in the
Abahani Gymnasium every afternoon except for Fridays. The timings of
the practice sessions are as follows:
There are a few other gymnasiums in Dhaka city, apart from the Abahani Wooden Floor Gymnasium. There is an open-air court in DOHS, which is open to all. There is one in Sobhanbag called the Sobhanbag Dental College court which is also a public court. The biggest court is in the Mirpur Indoor Stadium. This court is grand and is suitable for holding international competitions. The SAARC Basketball Tournament, which is scheduled to be held in December, will apparently be held in the Mirpur Indoor Stadium. Besides all these courts, some schools in Dhaka like St. Joseph's School, Resedential Model School, Shaheen School, Bangladesh International Tutorial (BIT), SFX Green Herald, AIS/D, International School of Dhaka (ISD) and many other schools have their own basketball courts so that their students can play and practice there.
Basketball has now become a widely enjoyed game in our country. Many
boys and girls alike are almost addicted to basketball. They often sit
glued onto the television screen, watching their favourite game and
other basketball programme like NBA. They watch their favourite teams
playing and admire with envy (!) every vogue and style of their favourite
basketball players. As much as they enjoy watching the game, they equally
enjoy playing it. But unfortunately the fields and other playgrounds
in our country are gradually depleting and children do not get the chance
to play basketball. However, the Bangladesh Basketball Federation, along
with BFTS has tried to solve this problem for the children. Now the
children get the chance to play their favourite game and to actually
try out the different moves of their favourite basketball stars. In
fact, who (if given the chance) would not like to be able to shoot like
(The writer wishes to thank Mr. Salim Chowdhury, the Secretary General of Bangladesh Basketball Federation, Mr. Sayeed Ahmed and Mr. Mahtabur Rahman Bulbul for their helpful suggestions.)
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