March 14, 2015

Chhattisgarh basketball coach Rajesh Patel enters India's Limca Book of Records


The Limca Book of Records - India's popular answer to Guinness - has been around for 25 years, and people who have broken records in everything from 'Longest Hair' to 'Most People in a Selfie' for years now. Many of us grew up on the series of books, and it has now become - along with its corresponding website - a great database for great (or strange) things that Indians have achieved.

Unfortunately, this blog's favourite pastime/addiction - basketball - only found scarce mentions in the book over the past quarter century. Last year, 13-year-old LS Sivashree from Madurai entered the Limca Book for dribbling two basketballs simultaneously for six kilometers. And two years ago, chronic record-breaker Prof Dr S Ramesh Babu from Bengaluru made his 50th Limca Record by making 100 basketball shots in just 4 minutes and 32 seconds.

The Limca Book may not have been hunting basketball records, but when someone achieves unavoidable excellence in the sports, their feat virtually hunts itself. This was the case of heralded Indian basketball coach Rajesh Patel, who has been coaching girls' basketball teams at all levels for the state of Chhattisgarh for decades now. Those in the basketball community in India already know that Patel's magic has made Chhattisgarh into one of the true powerhouses of the sport in India. And for his unmatched collection of trophies and medals since the inception of Chhattisgarh in 2000, he has earned his way into the 2015 Limca Book of Records.

Patel now holds the Limca Record for 'Most Successful Basketball Coach'. The girls’ basketball team from Chhattisgarh under his guidance has won 43 gold, 14 silver and 21 bronze medals at the national level. His most recent success was the second consecutive gold medal at the 65th Senior National Basketball championship earlier this year.

Working at the coach at the Bhilai Steel Plant and as the Head Coach of all of Chhattisgarh's State women's teams, Patel has invested over 30 years into the game. He has led Chhattisgarh to extraordinary success, dominating the Sub-Junior (U14), Youth (U16), and Junior (U18) national tournaments, and most recently, winning back-to-back championships in India's largest domestic basketball meet - the Senior Nationals - in 2014 and 2015. The girls' in Patel's programmes have overcome underprivileged backgrounds, a patriarchal society, and the the case of 2015 national MVP Poonam Chaturvedi, a brain tumour, all to become India's fiercest women's basketball team and go on to earn a better future for themselves through government jobs (that sponsor basketball) and India's national team. He has worked with close to eight thousand young players in the state. For his contributions to grassroots basketball in India, Patel was felicitated at the FICCI sports summit in 2010.

Recently, there were even reports that Patel and his Chhattisgarh Women's team could be the subject of a Bollywood film!

If there's anyone who deserved to be a basketball 'record-holder' in India, it's Patel. Hopefully, the Limca Book of Records can expand their basketball records section for the future (currently, it's only one of the options under 'Other Events') and soon, other worthy record-setters and breakers in Indian basketball can find their achievements promoted through the book/website too.

3 comments:

  1. "Success comes from knowing
    that you did your best to become the best
    that you are capable of becoming."
    -John Robert Wooden.

    @Paul White.

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