It is indeed a difficult decision for a parent to send their child away. It is even more difficult for an Indian parent, fighting against the norms and traditions of society, and sends their child away to secure a future in a sport like basketball. But on Thursday evening, a day before the beginning of the tryouts for the IMG Reliance Scholarship Selection Programme, the parents and guardians of 50 sub-junior children attended a special parent’s session to meet IMG Academy coaches at the Sanskriti School in New Delhi.
The IMG-Reliance (IMGR) joint venture, which is being held in collaboration with the BFI, will include tryouts to determine eight stand-out sub-junior players who will be invited to attend the IMG Academy at Bradenton in Tampa, Florida (USA) as a full time scholar. The event is being held at the Sanksriti School.
At the meeting on Thursday, the attending parents registered with IMG Academy and were shown a presentation on the IMG Academy in Bradenton. “We are very excited to be here,” said Andy Borman, the Director of Basketball from IMG Academy, “We will hold a fair trial for the children. The chosen ones will be sent to complete their education at our academy, where they will be student athletes.”
Borman described the schedule, lifestyle, and demographic of the IMG Academy to the parents. Spread over 350 acres, the IMG Academy is the top multi-sport training facility in the world. Sub-juniors chosen from India will be sent on a full scholarship, and will be studying and playing besides nearly 800 students from over 80 different nations in the world.
The BFI helped IMGR to identify the best performing sub-juniors in the country for the tryouts. “I see this as a historic and memorable moment for basketball in India,” said Harish Sharma, the secretary-general of the BFI, “IMGR have signed a 30 year deal with the BFI, which will include the start of more academies in India, and our top aim will be to set up a professional basketball league in India within four years. The children chosen for the IMG-Academy today will help become the first faces of India’s own league. We want them to come back and give to India.”
“We are sure that these young athletes will have a career in basketball.”
Borman added: “Your child has the chance to be part of the first group that helps create Indian basketball. There is a lot of potential for the game in this country.”
250The parents showed some concern about the academic programme at the IMG-Academy, and how the system would be different from that in India. Dan Borto, IMG-Academy’s coach and professional trainer, assured the anxious parents that academic excellence would always be a priority for the children chosen for the scholarship.
Two parents, Ashok Dighe and his wife Purnima came from Baroda to support their 14-year-old daughter Meghna for the tryouts. “We understand that a career in basketball is a different step, but we support our daughter fully,” said Purnima, “Meghna started playing the game three years ago, and she has captained the Gujrat sub-junior side.”
Tryouts for all 50 students will be held on Friday and Saturday, and the coaches will review the young athletes’ performances over the next week before naming the eight selected. “We want them to work hard, be ready, and a have a good attitude for the tryouts,” Borman said.