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Cager Geethu thanks family for Arjuna Award
New Delhi, Aug 13 : India's basketball captain Geethu Anna Jose thanked her family, especially husband Rahul, for being the biggest support in her career that saw her being selected for the Arjuna Award.
Geethu, who stands tall at 6'2", is fifth time lucky to get the Arjuna Award. It will be after 13 long years that a cager has been selected for the prestigious award. Geethu will be the 17th basketball player and only the second female player after Suman Sharma (1983) to get the Arjuna.
Geethu thanked her family for the support.
"My husband Rahul has been a big support. He waited for two years before marrying me earlier this year, because he didn't want to disturb my personal commitments," said Geethu in a statement.
Geethu said since it is tough for Indians to win medals at Olympics and Asian Games, the cagers are overlooked for the Arjuna.
“Historically, since it is very difficult for Indian teams to participate in the Olympics and win medals at the Asian level due to tough competition from teams like China, Indian basketballers are sometimes ignored for the Arjuna Award,” said Geethu.
She hoped that the award will renew interest in Indian basketball.
"This will motivate other youngsters. If not annually, I urge that Arjuna Awards be given to basketball players at least once every few years," she added.
Geethu, who hails from Kottayam in Kerala, has had a glittering basketball career over the past decade after she made her international debut in 2004. She is the first Indian, male or female, to be called for try outs for National Basketball Association (NBA) league in 2011. She is also the first Indian woman to have played professionally in Australia.
Geethu, who is employed as a deputy chief ticketing inspector with the Southern Railways, has shouldered most of the scoring responsibilities for India and frequently averages over 20 points and 7 rebounds per game in international matches, culminating in her becoming Asia’s top scorer in the 23rd Asian Basketball Championships in Chennai in 2009.
At the national level, Geethu has been unstoppable, transforming her Indian Railways team into a domestic powerhouse, winning 11 out of the last 13 Senior National Basketball Championships.
Her long time partnership with Southern Railways and India teammate Anitha Pauldurai is well known. The two of them, along with Manisha Dange and Pratima Singh were a part of the Indian team which won gold in the 1st FIBA Asia 3 on 3 Championships, 2013 held in Doha. Last year the women’s team finished fifth, its best ever position, at the Asian Basketball Championships.