Basketball: The departmental basketball tournament this year will not see agents and interns playing for teams.

The decision was taken after the organisers received much criticism during the last tournament. Some of the teams last year had included club players as “agents” in their teams resulting in confusion during the games.

To avoid such confusions and criticism, tournament organiser SD Events Management informed all the participating teams that agents and interns with the departments will not be allowed to play in the competition this year.

To set a level playing field, the organisers have allowed only one A-league player on a team for the competition.

The tournament that began yesterday at the Swimming Pool Complex in Thimphu saw two less teams in the men’s category than the last competition.

A total of 20 men’s and five women’s teams from various departments under different organisations and ministries are taking part in the tournament.

The tournament’s organiser said that a possible reason for fewer teams participating in the tournament could be because of the financial constraints this year. “Unlike last year we couldn’t manage to bring in more sponsors this year,” said the marketing officer, Arpan Rai.

This is the third consecutive year that the management is conducting the departmental competition.

Meanwhile, in the opening game yesterday, defending champions RBA thrashed PNB 70-38. The match began with the defending champions taking a huge lead of 20 points at the end of the first quarter.

However, the match lost any intensity as both teams became more carefree in the following quarters. A handful of spectators who had gathered at the court to witness the match described the game as boring. “I was asleep for most part of the game,” said one of the spectators.

Although most of the players on the RBA team are new, PNB still couldn’t compete with the soldiers. PNB completely gave up the match with two minutes remaining in the final quarter.

The second match saw the BOC women’s team defeat BoB 55-27. The final game of the opening day saw DHI thrash BDBL 64-18.

RBP will play MoH today in the first match at the Swimming Pool Complex followed by BNB taking on Drukair. The last match will be played between Bhutan Post and RICBL.

Younten Tshedup