As many as 20 players from India have been selected to compete in the second Junior NBA Global basketball meet (for 13 and 14-year olds) from August 6-11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World here.
Sachin and Moumita Mishra are the only players among the group to have taken part in the inaugural edition of the meet last year.
"The team is doing really well in training. We learn new training methods everyday and we hope a to get a lot better in the next few days. We are sure to be an improved side by the start of the tournament," Sachin said.
"There is a lot of excitement in the camp. There are many good players in the country, but we are the select few who get to represent the nation, so I believe I'm lucky. Last year I played in the championship but we weren't good enough. I am very hopeful of this side though," added Sachin, who hails from Delhi.
First timer Riccha Ravi from Mumbai said that they are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to compete with the best in the world.
"We have been training both in the morning and evening with a fantastic set of coaches and we have really improved our abilities. We hope to showcase our skills at their optimum best at the JNGC," she said.
Another first timer Bhumika Sarje of Pune is ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
"We are very nervous because it is the first time for all of us. The coaches are encouraging us. We know it is not going to be easy to beat some of the teams in their own game, but we will give our 100 per cent," she said.
The selected players underwent training at the NBA Academy in Noida before leaving for the US.
With basketball still picking up steam back home, Bengaluru-boy Arnav Gupta hoped that it becomes more popular with Indian teams participating in events like these on a regular basis.
"It is a big step for everyone participating in this tournament for improving their game. The sport is getting more popular in India and I hope one day it becomes one of the most popular sports in the country," Arnav said.
The Junior NBA Global Championship will feature boys and girls divisions, separated into the US and international brackets. The winners of the US and international brackets will play in the global championship games on August 11.
( With inputs from IANS )