Basketball: In the opening game of the 2015 Veteran Basketball Tournament, team Achos defeated team Fading Stars 40-37 at the Swimming Pool Complex in Thimphu yesterday.

Comprising of players aged 35 years and above, the game began at a much slower pace than in regular basketball tournaments. However, the game picked up momentum, as the players got comfortable in the game.

The seesaw battle between the two teams saw Achos taking the lead in the first and second quarter of the game. However, with two minutes remaining in the second quarter, Fading Star’s Anan equalized the score at 18 points each.

Then it was the Fading Stars who dominated the remaining two quarters. The team comprising of the veteran players from the 1995 and 96’s Coronation Cup champions, RAMS, won the match by a narrow margin of just three points.

Fading Stars’ captain Karma T Dorji said that more than a tournament, this was an opportunity for the old teammates to get back together and reminiscence over past glories.

The 12-day tournament is organized by Bhutan Basketball Federation’s (BBF) head coach Tenxin Jamtsho with support from the Bhutan Insurance Limited and BBF.

Tenxin Jamtsho said that the as a part of the 60th birth anniversary celebration of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the tournament was organized to provide a platform for veterans who were once a major part of the federation’s tournaments. “We usually lose our players after 30. This is an initiative to bring back the original players once again together and see how well they can still perform,” he said. “Most of the players are the senior players who started the bigger tournaments for the federation.”

Team Acho’s Sonam Tobgay said that the tournament is more about keeping themselves healthy rather than a competition. “We play regularly to keep our self fit and this is a good way for us to maintain our health through a healthy competition among the veterans,” he said.

Coach Jamtsho added that the tournament was also organized to provide the veterans with a reason to start working out again. “I’m confident that this tournament will help the players get back in shape and become productive once again,” he said. “This will also promote basketball in general as the veterans will bring along their children, who will become the next set of players for the federation.”

A total of 11 teams are taking part in the competition where each team will play 10 games over the 12-day tournament. Coach Jamtsho said that rather than a cash prize the players wanted maximum games to be allowed to each team. However, he said the winners will be awarded a takeaway trophy along with attractive prizes at the end of the tournament.

Younten Tshedup