Formidable Tamil Nadu XI will lead the men's challenge, while women's winners Southern Railway will defend their title, in the 24th United Phosphorous Ltd. All India Ramu Memorial Basketball Tournament to held from October 14 to 21, at the Indian Gymkhana in Mumbai.
Challenging star-studded favourites Tamil Nadu XI will be last year's runners-up Indian Army, the formidable Central Excise & Customs (Kochi), Indian Navy, Vijaya Bank (Bangalore), South Central Railway (Secunderabad), Maharashtra State and Western Railway.
Among the women, Southern Railway is expected to face some tough challenge from Chattisgarh, Southern Railway, South Central Railway (Bilaspur), Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), Western Railway and Central Railway.
The competition will feature a host of international and India stars including last year's men's 'Player of the Tournament' Sambhaji Kadam of Indian Army and women's 'Player of the Tournament' Geetu Anna Jose of Southern Railway who has featured in the league in Australia.
The league-cum-knock out competition, co-sponsored by Reliance Mutual Fund, will include a round robin league in the two pools of four teams each for men where the top two teams from each pool will qualify for the semi-finals.
Following the round robin league in the women's category that features six teams, the top two teams will qualify for the final.
The men's winners will receive the Ramu Memorial Rolling Trophy and Rs. 65,000, while the runners-up will receive the Dr. K. Muthukumar Memorial Trophy and Rs. 35,000.
The women's winners will receive the Kapila Khandvala Rolling Shield and Rs. 35,000, while the runners-up will earn Rs. 15,000.
In addition, there will be the 'Player of the Tournament' award in the Men's and Women's categories.
This year the tournament will be played on international standard Terraflex courts and will be held under floodlights in a specially erected stadium.
The organising committee also will be adding a professional touch while creating a special ambience to generate more enthusiasm and thrills among the spectators, in preparation of the 25th Silver Jubilee edition of the All India Ramu Memorial Basketball Tournament next year.
The committee also has decided to allow spectators into the stadium for free, with an obvious aim to promote basketball among students and youth.
The semi-finals on October 20 and finals on October 21 will be broadcast live on All India Radio.
The Indian Gymkhana, which revived the All India Ramu Memorial Basketball Tournament last year, after a hiatus of 14 years, are celebrating their Platinum Jubilee (1932-2007) this year.
The All India Ramu Memorial Basketball Tournament is a prestigious tournament in the basketball calendar and attracts the cream of basketball teams from all over India and a galaxy of stars.