SPORT TRIBUNE Saturday, May 13, 2000, Chandigarh, India
 

Need to start Olympic exercise early
By Ramu Sharma
The meeting convened by the Sports Ministry to discuss, among other things, the new draft National Sports Policy and the related issue of government guidelines in New Delhi recently could not have come at a more opportune time. It gave the office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association and the federations a chance to express their views on various subjects and perhaps seek clarification from the government on the possible remedial measures.

Rewarding golf season concludes
By K.R. Wadhwaney
A rewarding golf season, which made many reputations and marred a few, has just drawn to close for a ‘vacation’ of about four months. This recess will provide players — both amateurs and professionals — an opportunity to sharpen their swing, technique and also improve upon their mental and physical attributes.

Cricket uniting traditional rivals
From Moslem Uddin Ahmed in Dhaka
It was a moment to savour as a combined South Asia team took the field in an all-star cricket match here on April 8. last. If sportsmen could get together, could cricketing spirit perhaps defuse regional political tensions and engage warring powers to talk about peace?

Seema — the roller hockey referee
By Arvind Katyal
SEEMA Kharyal of Jammu, a former international roller hockey player, is the only one in India who has turned a referee. At 24, Seema has a long list of achievements by which she has brought laurels to the country and the state. Seema began roller skating in 1985, when she was only 10 years old. ‘’It was not any binding decision for me to go for this sport, but the choice was open and one day while watching young girls on skates on TV, it really attracted me and from that day onwards there is not any single day when I am not on skates,'' she says.

 
  • Give Hansie Cronje another chance
  • Bindra’s bombshell
  • Cricket recess

 
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Need to start Olympic exercise early
By Ramu Sharma

The meeting convened by the Sports Ministry to discuss, among other things, the new draft National Sports Policy and the related issue of government guidelines in New Delhi recently could not have come at a more opportune time. It gave the office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association and the federations a chance to express their views on various subjects and perhaps seek clarification from the government on the possible remedial measures.

One of the more important issues that cropped up was the selection criteria for the Sydney Olympics and the plea by the Indian Olympic Association for clearing every team and person making the qualifying grade. Though this issue is not a new one but one that always stirs a hornet’s nest at a later stage. Whatever decisions are to be taken must be taken now, whether on the teams and personnel or the disciplines themselves.

What was heartening was the similarity of views of both the IOA and the ministry in regard to the criteria for making the trip to Sydney. The two have agreed to let everyone who has made the grade to go to the Olympics. It does not really matter whether the team or competitors are capable of winning any medals. This is an interesting theme though. It is far better to be clear on this point that India is participating in the spirit of the Olympics and will do their best there. There is no talk of medals or performances. Once this is resolved in India itself before the contingent leaves for the games the less the chance for controversy and debates after the return.

The fact that both the government and the IOA are agreeable to participate in the Olympics irrespective of medal possibilities means that there will be no scope for any disagreement at a later stage. One hates to think of the unnecessary debates at the time of take-off.

The ministry chart, based on the eighth-place performances of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as the norm in measurable disciplines shows that the Indian competitors are nowhere near the medal standards. This is particularly so in athletics and swimming. In women’s weightlifting the two competitors in contention should be Kunjarani and Karnam Malleshwari. They have a very good record and in any case the Olympics weight categories being new, comparisons cannot be made.

The Amateur Athletics Federation of India, which has generally been very particular about keeping a limit on the number of participants, may perhaps fall in line with the recommendations of the IOA and the ministry and allow for a bigger contingent. The AAFI knows well enough that India does not have any athlete of the standard to make an impression in the Olympics but will toe the argument adopted for other games for the sake of uniformity. In any case the qualification period in athletics stretches up to September 11 and any thing can happen till then. The news, however, will make the athletes happy. India does have a number of young and promising participants the they will certainly gain by competing with the best from other countries.

The picture at the moment, as far as participation in the Olympics is concerned, is that India has qualified in hockey (men), boxing (4 boxers) shooting (1) Table tennis (3) rowing (2) and swimming (1). Add the two women weightlifters and an athletics contingent and you have a sizeable number wearing India colours at Sydney.

Though discussion were also held on the modalities to be followed in the clearance of managers and nominees of the federations, this is a matter which should be studied more thoroughly. The issue is not whether the government pays for the officials or they are cleared at their own cost. There is the bigger question of the qualification of the person (s) concerned.

So far the government has been very generous and allowed almost everyone recommended by the federation to board the plane, but there must be some yardstick, some method to judge the qualification of the person (s) concerned. If the athletes or other sportsmen and sportswomen have to prove themselves by going through a qualifying norm some sort of a standard should also be set for the recommended officials to conform to.

Without exception presidents and secretaries of all the federations generally make the trip. The government does not have a say, but what about the technical officials and managers and coaches? Both the IOA and the government must ensure that these officials should have been with their respective teams for a certain minimum period before being given permission. The IOA, in particular, should ensure that only the right people are allowed to go with the contingent.

Thus it would be appropriate for the ministry to demand that the names of the officials to accompany the team be forwarded at least three months before the actual departure of the teams. This will not only ensure continuity of officials but at the same time give the chosen candidates enough time to apply for leave and arrange for travel documents. This is a very important aspect and quite often over looked. 
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Teeing-off

By K.R. Wadhwaney

Rewarding golf season concludes

A rewarding golf season, which made many reputations and marred a few, has just drawn to close for a ‘vacation’ of about four months. This recess will provide players — both amateurs and professionals — an opportunity to sharpen their swing, technique and also improve upon their mental and physical attributes.

The more one watches the national and international scene, the more one is convinced that the progress of the game will take quicker strides if Indian players apply their minds to psychology and also sharpen their mental faculties.

Golf is a tough discipline. It requires concentration, application and precision to hit a stationary ball, which is far more sensitive than a cricket ball. It is a game of long duration lasting for at least four and a half hours to play a round of 18 holes. It requires a lot of intelligence and thinking before taking a shot. Not for nothing there are restrictions on spectators’ behaviour while following players.

For golf taking off in the country, a golfer-turned coach-turned commentator-cum-promoter, gives credit to the media. The media has indeed performed well. But the credit for the game’s fast progress goes to Tiger Sports Marketing which functions professionally. It has specialist writers, including Joy Chakravarty. It feeds the media so precisely that the newspapers have a tailor-made copy to get it set for publication. A reporter or a sub does not have to work on it. This explains for the coverage being adequate.

During the season, a number of promising players have surfaced. Among them are Digvijay Singh and Harmeet Kahlon. Turned professional recently, they have done well but should have done better on the Wills Circuit. They should have stolen a decisive march over ‘local’ professionals. They are young and educated. They have the wherewithal to perform better than they have. From success on the domestic circuit, they will graduate to perform well on the international circuit where the competition is tough, the courses tougher and the weather demanding. A good professional is one who is able to adopt his game in varying conditions.

As compared to local professionals, like, Vijay Kumar and Feroz Ali, both Digvijay and Kehlon are fitter. But they should be fitter than they have been. They should spend some time in the ‘gym’ to develop their stamina. Maybe, yoga will do them a lot of good. The better they are in a position to concentrate, the better will they to be able to play. Swing and position of feet and body are important but more important are alertness of mind and physical fitness.

Digvijay Singh led on three days. But he could finish third at six under 288 in the Hampstead Open at their DLF course. He seemed tense and could card 76. He allowed Shiv Prakash and Gaurav Ghei to get past him. In the see-saw battle, Shiv Prakash’s experience proved his strength. He won the title with 278 followed by Ghei on 280. Digvijay began with 67 followed by scores of 70 and 69. He should ponder over as to why he netted 76 on the final day.

Good tournament

Many talented youngsters were seen in action in the Inter-School Championship at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) course recently Modern ‘A’ expectedly won the title untroubled. The general standard was more than satisfactory.

What was most satisfying was that many schools, other than Modern and St Columbas fielded their sides. The broad-basing of the competition is a very healthy sign for golf in the capital.

What was most satisfying was that schools, other than Modern and St Columbas fielded their sides. The broad-basing of the competition is a very healthy sign for golf in the capital.

Manav Jain (Air Force Bal Bharati) gave evidence of his promise as he had an eagle, three birdies and 14 pars in one round. This is tremendous going.
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Cricket uniting traditional rivals
From Moslem Uddin Ahmed in Dhaka

It was a moment to savour as a combined South Asia team took the field in an all-star cricket match here on April 8. last. If sportsmen could get together, could cricketing spirit perhaps defuse regional political tensions and engage warring powers to talk about peace?

Certainly, none other than the world’s first citizen, the United Nations Secretary-General, gushed in his enthusiastic backing of Bangladesh’s maiden international cricket week.

“The very essence of cricket is that both sides agree on the rules, and they respect each other, which is precisely what peoples of the world need to do, if this new century is to be more peaceful and civilised than the last one,” Kofi Annan said in a message to ICC Cricket Week 2000, held from April 2 to 8.

He even cited major world ills that he said cricket could heal. “All of us know what is not cricket: racism, prejudice, intolerance and hostile behaviour. We know that what unites us — the love of the game — is far more important than what separates us.”

“So let us resolve to live our lives as good cricketers, both on the field and off it.”

Host Premier Sheikh Hasina, trying hard to lift her nation’s status from one of donor country-dependency to that of economic self-sufficiency, seized the occasion with equal fervour, urging all to emulate cricket’s sportsmanship that “unites peoples, absorbing everyone with a spirit of friendship, trust and competitiveness.”

It was an unprecedented show of unity in a region used to seeing their governments squabble on an almost daily basis. Indian stars Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly batted blisteringly under the robust captaincy of Pakistan’s Wasim Akram, helping amass a towering total of 320. Then Sri Lankan off-break bowler Muralitharan Muttiah turned in a superb performance. Asia XI beat Rest of the World XI by a single run in a scintillating climax.

Bangladeshi cricketers did not play in the match, but what of it: a sell-out crowd of over 50,000 turned up to watch the game. Tickets were sold out on the day counters opened.

The key person behind taking South Asian cricket to new heights and countries, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the business-tycoon-turned-sports-patron and President of the International Cricket Council, was all praise for the game’s newest entrant. Bangladesh, he revealed, is “at the moment on the threshold of Test status.”

The side is set to take the field against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Asia Cup cricket in Dhaka in a cricket feast that kicks off on May 25.

The main purpose of staging the April 8 match in Dhaka, Dalmiya said, was to prove that Bangladesh was worth considering for Test status, having fulfilled the basic pre-conditions — the existence of a good playing ground and passionate support of the people and the government.

The cricket festival was part of a development spell aimed at spreading the sport to all corners of the world. The ICC cricket development programme, launched by Dalmiya two years ago, is funded through the ticket sales of two-yearly qualifying knockout tournaments for the World Cup.

The first was held in Bangladesh in October 3 to 15.

The programme has already embraced 46 countries who are either associate or affiliate members of the ICC, as opposed to the eight full members with “Test status’ — Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Some, like Bangladesh, have ODI (one day international) status.

A full-time Cricket Development Officer is based in each of five development regions — Africa, the Americas, South Asia, East Asia-Pacific and Europe — delivering facilities and equipment, providing coaches and umpires and helping with administration.

Bangladesh’s ascent in the world of cricket began with its winning performance at the April 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia, which set off an orgy of celebrations at home and propelled it to the World Cup tournament played in England last year.

It marked a stunning World Cup debut, as the cricketing babes beat the giant Pakistanis. And it was another moment to savour for Bangladeshis, who fought a bitter and bloody war of independence against Pakistan in 1971. — Gemini News

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Seema — the roller hockey referee
By Arvind Katyal

SEEMA Kharyal of Jammu, a former international roller hockey player, is the only one in India who has turned a referee. At 24, Seema has a long list of achievements by which she has brought laurels to the country and the state. Seema began roller skating in 1985, when she was only 10 years old. ‘’It was not any binding decision for me to go for this sport, but the choice was open and one day while watching young girls on skates on TV, it really attracted me and from that day onwards there is not any single day when I am not on skates,’’ she says. She is indebted to her family, who have always encouraged her to go for sports .

Seema was in Chandigarh on February 6 when she skated down from Shimla along with few others as part of the sixth National Adventure Festival. Last year also she had taken part in this adventure festival, which according to her, helps in creating awareness about this game in many parts of the region.

She bagged gold medal in road race event in the national meet held in 1987 and since then she has bagged medals at different meets. She participated in the first World Cup Roller Hockey meet in 1992 in Germany. In 1996 she captained the Jammu and Kashmir team, which secured the gold medal.

During National Games held at Bangalore in 1997, she was lone girl selected by Roller Skating Federation of India for being appointed as the first woman referee of India.

Though there are women referees available in other events like speed, skating, and artistic skating but for hockey event, she was the only one.

Seema had also contributed to the National Adventure Festival held at Chandigarh last year when in road race event in skating, she skated down from Narkanda to Chandigarh, securing first position. She was awarded the ‘best skater award’.

She also went with the Indian team to the eighth Asian Skating Championships held at Shanghai (China) where India secured the bronze medal in women’s roller hockey.

Seema has also taken part in various programmes on Jammu AIR since childhood and has also participated in children’s programme on TV. She has also done para-sailing and other adventure events. Seema hopes that one day skating would be included on the priority list of sports in the country, but complimented Jammu and Kashmir sports council for providing benefits to skaters from time to time.

She said her home state had always done extremely well in skating in speed, hockey and artistic events and the Maulana Azad Stadium Skating Rink at Jammu had contributed much for the skaters.

At present good youngsters were being groomed in her state who in near future would be a treat to watch. Seema, who is pursuing an engineering course, plans to join politics, provided her family allows it.

Meanwhile at present she gives tips to young skaters in Jammu who could bring further glory to Jammu and Kashmir in the nationals and international sphere. 
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SPORT MAIL

Give Hansie Cronje another chance

Hansie Cronje has acknowledged that he has not been completely honest in discharging his duties as captain of the South African cricket team and it has come as a big shock to his fans. Cricket certainly cannot get any lower than this but I still feel that he should be given another chance. A person’s achievements as a player and as a captain and his contribution to his country should not be ignored. Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, too, did the same thing but the ACB very cleverly suppressed everything and did not allow any controversy to generate. Hansie Cronje deserves another chance and the ICC should make strict laws to stop all such activities in future.

Vinish Garg
Panchkula

Bindra’s bombshell

Mr I S Bindra, former cricket board chief, dropped a bombshell by alleging that it was Kapil Dev who offered Manoj Prabhakar a bribe to under-perform in a match in 1994. This has sent shockwaves all over the world. It was under Kapil’s captaincy that India won the third World Cup. Over the past two decades he built good reputation. It is intriguing why Prabhakar confided in Mr Bindra when a CBI enquiry has already begun to probe betting and match-fixing. It was Hansie Cronje who spilled the beans and now the Indians have started indulging in mud-slinging.

Tarsem S. Bumrah
Batala

Cricket recess

Kapil Dev was right when he talked about a cricket recess of six months. A cricketer now plays more outside the ground than inside it. If one can manage to earn 10 to 20 times more by throwing one’s wicket, even one or two ‘purchased players’ can wrecks havoc on the team. The stable has to cleared now. Kudos to the Delhi police, the CBI and the Central Government for coming out boldly to deal with this unfair practice. A complete analysis of our team should be done.

Prof. Y.L. Chopra
Bathinda

II

After the Hansie Cronje scandal, Indian cricket coach Kapil Dev has said that the our team should stop playing cricket for six months. I fully support this stand because people will not trust any player and they will view every match with suspicion. Therefore, it is better if the Indian team does not play cricket for six months because something will definitely come out of the investigations carried out during this period.

Umesh Dewan
Ludhiana

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