Indian basketball star Sahaj Patel is all set to compete in the second edition of the Khelo India University Games 2021, which is set to begin on April 23, 2022, in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
The 26-year-old basketball player believes that his experience at the international level will help enhance his performance at the Khelo India Games.
Sahaj, who made his debut in December of 2021, has represented India at two major international tournaments - the South Asian Games in Nepal, followed by the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in Bahrain in 2021.
Speaking about his participation at the Khelo India University Games, Sahaj Patel said:
"I am really excited to participate at the upcoming Games as it will be a great opportunity for me to play alongside some of the best players from across the country. With my experience of playing for India, I can help my team in understanding the importance of playing as a single unit and can also keep them motivated if things do not work out for us in a match."
Behind Jain University's men's basketball team line-up is the vastly experienced head coach G.R.L. Prasad. Speaking about training under coach Prasad, Sahaj, who is currently pursuing a Master's degree in sports psychology at the prestigious Jain University, Karnataka, said:
"It has been great training alongside Prasad sir. He really understands the game and teaches us how to play as a team. He has given us very good training sessions and it is a pleasure learning from him. I will be sharing all the experience that I have garnered over the years with the young players in the team and can also show them some strategies that I learned at the international level."
"Tournaments like this will help to tap the hidden talent of rural areas and all over India" - Head coach G.R.L. Prasad
For head coach Prasad, the upcoming Khelo India University Games will be an opportunity for redemption following a closely fought semi-finals loss in the previous edition of the All-India Inter-University Basketball Championships.
Coach Prasad said:
"Both our men's and women's teams are preparing to win the trophy at the Khelo India University Games this year. We have prepared good teams for the event. The mood of the team is quite upbeat. For the men's team, we want to amend our semifinal loss at the All-India Games and win the Championship."
"Tournaments like this will help to tap the hidden talent of rural areas and all over India. There are good colleges and universities in the country that promote sports and have a solid pool of young athletes. This is the place where we should be finding the talent and have competitions in the right sport."
"Khelo India University Games is a great platform for the young athletes to get exposure. Especially, for the basketball players who have played for India, they can compete at the university level in these games to improve their skills and learn different tricks of the trade from the other competitive teams."