Three months ago Bhutan Basketball Federation (BBF) announced the selection camp to form the national basketball team to play in competition abroad.
However, the open selection camp today has only 14 players attending its daily training that is underway at the indoor basketball stadium, Swimming Pool Complex in Thimphu.
At least 15 players are needed to form a national squad.
The training camp started in October last year. BBF’s international relation officer Lhendup D Dorji said that around 25 players turned up for the selection in the beginning.
He said the number of players attending the selection camp decreased as the training went on.
“In the middle of training, some of the players that were involved in the camp took part in Basketball B-League. They get tired after the match and hardly turn up for the training.”
The federation recommended the dzongkhag sports associations to send potential players to take part in the camp. However, only few players came from the dzongkhags.
Lhendup D Dorji said that only the players residing in Thimphu could take part in the camp. “We could include players from other dzongkhag if we have enough facilities to support them with lodging,” he said.
He added that the squad would be finalised by the end of the month.
“The selection camp is open to date and we will screen the numbers to 15 or 18 players.”
To encourage young players participate, the federation this year included players below the age of 25.
“We came up with the age limit to open the opportunity for the young talented kids who hesitate to come forward. If we include the seniors and experienced ones, we won’t be able to give the opportunity to younger ones,” said Lhendup D Dorji.
One of the participants, Karma Wangchuck took part in SABA tournaments in 2015. He said that several talented and young players turned up for the camp. “We need to motivate them,” he said. “There are some talented players who don’t turn up for the selection.”
Another participant, Sonam Kinga comes from Paro every day to take part in the training. He represented the country in two international matches in 2012 and 2013. He said that he spends close to Nu 600 a day on transport and a monthly gym fee of Nu 300.
“We often face pressure from parents as there are no returns from playing the sport,” he said. “Providing a minimum training allowance and diets during training would be encouraging.”
BBF official said that the selected national players will get a minimum training allowance and proper diets when they undergo intensive six months training before international tournaments. The federation would also provide the players with basic apparels.
However, the federation has plans to include few experienced and senior players. Lhendup D Dorji said that the younger players are not as good as some senior players.
Additional reporting by Tenzin Thinley