Published: 17th December 2018
Bengaluru-based basketball player Sanjana Ramesh has bagged a prestigious scholarship and is headed to the US
When it comes to social media, she very active on Instagram. “Maybe I spend a bit more time on it than I should,” she says
Led by the likes of high jumper Tejaswin Shankar and Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the new breed of young Indian athletes are choosing to travel regularly around the world to hone their craft and gain experience and hence, have been getting all the exposure required to help them maximise their chances of success. Take the example of Tejaswin, who has decided to test himself in the very-competitive NCAA divisions in the US by getting a four-year scholarship at the Kansas State University, where he studies Business Administration.
There are many other such examples of athletes testing themselves outside the country and the latest on this list is Sanjana Ramesh, who recently received a Division I Basketball scholarship with Northern Arizona University, thus becoming just the second Indian-born female player ever to receive a Division I basketball scholarship. Sanjana, a 6-0 forward, will head to NAU with phenomenal international accolades in her home country. We chat with her about her ACL injury, her hobbies and her dreams of making it big. Excerpts:
Over time, Sanjana has tried her hand at football, tennis and ultimate frisbee. She also likes to play the violin
You are being looked at as perhaps a future leader. Have you ever thought about this?
I take pride in trying to always play a team game than an individual game. I have tried to act as a bridge between the coaches and my teammates in implementing their instructions. Over the years, I hope to become well-rounded and improve my game drastically at NAU.
An ACL injury is the most feared of injuries across all sports. How did you cope?
The ACL injury was more of a psychological blow rather than a physical one. The physical challenge was mainly for the first month or so after the surgery. The next few months of recovery where you can only slowly get back to full fitness is the real challenge. It has been almost four months now and my doctor says that I am doing well and I’ll be back to playing soon. I am working hard to get back in form or maybe even better. I read and watch all the injuries that have happened in the NBA and the WNBA and see how they come back on the court even stronger.
Follow her: Sanjana Ramesh learning tricks of the trade | (Pic: NAU)
What has been your most memorable match so far?
I think the most memorable match was the final match of the FIBA U 16 Asia Cup when we won against a strong Malaysia to win promotion to Division A. What made the victory very special was that it was in my home city of Bengaluru. The Basketball Federation of India had done a great job in bringing the tournament to India, so it was very memorable to win and not disappoint.
How do you maintain a balance between basketball and studies?
For the past couple of years, it is definitely loaded in favour of the game and is not really a balance. It comes down to effective time management and prioritising interests. For instance, when you are away for a camp and tournament for three months, it is hard to get too much done in terms of studies. So, this means that you would need to prioritise studies in the few months when there are no tournaments or camps.
She scores: MVP Sanjana doing what she does best | (Pic: NAU)
What advice would you give young girls who are passionate about the sport?
One of the best advice I have received is to have the correct mindset. The day you believe it is only natural ability and not hard work, that’s the day you stop working hard. Most important is commitment to the game and commitment of time.
What can Indian education do to promote basketball in schools and colleges?
They should be flexible with studies and exams and try to accommodate playing days and tournaments. I think I have been very lucky with in this regard and I believe it has made a big difference. It is very hard to play well while constantly having to worry about school exams.