Slam Dunk



It is never easy to juggle a lot of things, but Saachia Nathan has been doing so since her time in school. Saachia who began playing basketball at the age of 15 says: “Before basketball I used to play a lot of other sports but I never really caught on to them. I got interested in the game as all my friends played it. So I picked up slowly and my interest grew. I chose this sport as I love it and it is what drives me and gives me peace. It’s more than just a game.”

As soon as she started playing the sport, Sacchia was selected to represent Goa in the Nationals. She says her performance at the Nationals got her into the Khelo India Talent Development Programme and adds, “I was one of the 53 probables in the country who got selected to the Khelo India Academy. This availed me sponsorship from the academy to hone my skills as an India player.”

Being part of the India camp, she says, is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime and she is proud of herself for making it this far. The Saligao-based youth was the youngest player to have ever participated in the Federation Cup National Basketball Championship.

But reaching here was not that easy, Saachia has faced many difficulties and challenges. She says: “Sometimes it becomes hard, especially being a girl. There are people who say that you can’t and suggest you quit the sport. So the challenges keep coming. There’s never smooth sailing for anyone.”

However, her biggest challenge was her recovery from her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. “I sustained my ACL injury while playing the junior National Basketball Association held at Don Bosco High School, Panaji. My knee suddenly made a loud pop noise and I thought I dislocated it, but it was a good run since our school topped the whole competition,” adds Saachia who was trained by Goa Basketball Association, president, Fr Ralin Dsouza and state coaches, Helena Pinto and Olencio Dias.

She also went to Kerala to pursue Higher Level Basketball under coach, Prince Mutton.

Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Financial Management at Kishinchand Chellaram College, Mumbai she says that it is not all that difficult to balance sports and studies. She says: “I make a rough schedule of my day ahead and follow it regularly so I get enough time for sports and my studies. Coach Olencio once said to me, ‘To be a good sportsman you have to be equally good in your studies’.”

She does not have any person in particular as her inspiration but she admires a few Women’s National Basketball Association and National Basketball Association players.

“All I do is try to be a bit better than I was yesterday,” says Saachia.

She plans to become a professional player and work in a firm which is into sports management.

A few achievements

? Participated in the 69th Junior National Basketball Championship 2018 held in Ludhiana, Punjab

? Participated in National Coaching Camp U18 Women’s basketball team

? Selected for Khelo India Academy

? Participated in the 69th Senior National Basketball Championship 2019 held in Bhavnagar, Gujarat