- The girls are the shining armour in the world of basketball
- Meet these girls’ basketball team from Sikkim who is making headlines for all the right reasons.
Once they were used to milking cows and gathering woods. But today, they are the shining armour in the world of basketball and they have not just made themselves proud, but also brought laurels to their state- Sikkim.
Meet these girls’ basketball team from Sikkim who is making headlines for all the right reasons.
There have been several inspirational sports stories in India. But this one belongs to that special basket that is full of soul-stirring anecdotes.
Since 2011 the EMRS Gangyap Girls’ Basketball Team has been the winner of the Darjeeling Open Basketball Championship. They were also the champions of the Northeast School Champions held in Mizoram. The team in 2016 won a bronze medal at the CBSE Nationals. Nima Doma Bhutia, the former captain of the team won Chacha Nehru Sports Award for 3 consecutive times in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Through various challenges the girls of Gangyap are making Sikkim proud at the national level. Even more, playing basketball proved to be life changing for them. It has given them huge exposure and their basketball journeys have taught them more about realities of life.
“Challenges have been plenty. But playing the nationals is something else. Only Nima Doma and Rinchen Doma have been playing for the Madhya Pradesh state team at the senior level. Sikkim has been recently affiliated to the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) but even then we have not been called to play in the senior nationals as of now. The girls want to play but without the support of those who can help them to play, it is difficult,” bemoans Siddharth.
On the contrary, challenges have made them stronger to overcome obstacles and win medals, awards and since 2007, the team has only gone on to climb the ladder of success without looking back. So far, the team has won the Sikkim State Championship for 10 times.
EMRS Gangyap Girls’ Basketball Team became the first basketball team from Sikkim to win a medal at the national level.
They have won the CBSE North Eastern Regional Champions for the eighth consecutive time since 2010. In 2011 and 2013 they have won CBSE National Champions and in 2012they won a silver medal. They are also the silver medallist at the 24th North East Championship in 2010.
Breaking the stereotypes, and with the help and guidance from a man who wanted to change the mindset, a few girls from a small Sikkim village have shown the path for many other girls to follow.
Initially, Siddharth used to coach boys of a different school but later he switched to the girls after seeing their poor standards. After joining EMRS Gangyap in 2007, he started working with the girls’ team. At first they had no court, no boards. But basketball impressed them so much that they set up a handmade court for practicing. They collected stone chips and packed down the surface with cement.
“The improvement and interest I saw in the girls inspired me to train them harder. Watching the NBA also helped in training them,” he says.