|SPORT TRIBUNE||Saturday, June 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India|
Ravneet deserves better deal
Poor show by junior golfers
Athletics records must have credibility
JUNE perhaps is the hottest month in India but this year it is the time the athletics season makes a start. The delay in getting off the blocks can be attributed to a late start to the international competition as far as the Indian athletes are concerned. The World Championship in Edmonton is beyond the reach of the men and women from India but there is the Afro-Asian Games to be hosted in Delhi and the SAF Games in Islamabad, if that is held. The Afro-Asian Games will be tough if the top athletes from Africa make the trip while the SAF Games offer a bounty in medals.
It is certainly a less demanding calendar than last year when the Asian Championships at Jakarta followed by the Sydney Olympics required the athletes to "peak" twice as it were, the exercise requiring more effort since the very short gap between the two major competitions. The two competitions occasioned an earlier start to the season and if one forgets the disaster of the Sydney Olympics, what a great season it turned out to be? It was almost a Ripley’s Believe it or Not theme, a dream time indeed for athletics in India.
Never before in recent times had so many marks been upgraded on the field (still unrecognised though) with the resultant euphoria punctuated and laced with controversy and bitterness. Sixteen records were bettered and one equalled. That itself was a record of sorts. A further record was the fact that of the 16, 12 came in the women’s section with the one equalled also by a woman. It was an amazing season with some unbelievable performances. In the rush on the records, three of P.T. Usha’s long standing and well entrenched marks were swept away as also that of Milkha Singh’s deeply rooted timing of 20.7 sec for the 200 metres set in Lahore during an Indo-Pakistan meet in January 1960.
Of the records set, two of them were done in settings abroad. The first one was Beenamol’s 51.2 sec for the 400 metres in the IAAF Permit Meet in Kiev (Ukraine) and the other was Anuradha Biswal’s 13.40 sec for the 100 metres hurdles at the Asian Championships in Jakarta. The performance which matched the national mark was by Bobby Aloyosius who cleared 1.86 mts in the high jump at the Malaysian Open in Penang. These three performances should not raise any problems when they come up for ratification.
But the same cannot be said for the other records. A big question in fact stalks the rest of the performances the most contentious ones being in the sprints and the throws, both men and women. First let us take the women’s sprints. Rachita Mistry and Vinita Tripathi both attacked P.T. Usha’s marks and succeeded in bettering the timings. But unfortunately these performances have raised many doubts if only for the technical failings of the competitions in which these women surpassed themselves.
Rachita’s 11.26 sec and Vinita Tripathi’s 23.04 sec have indeed triggered a debate among the higher councils of the AAFI. The same goes for Anil Kumar’s 10.2 sec for the 100 mts and 20.73 sec for the 200 metres. They fall into the same category of Paramjit Singh’s 45.56 sec in Calcutta two years ago. There are not many takers for these performances. Milkha Singh has questioned the circumstances where his long-standing mark was smashed and he even offered a reward if it was repeated. P.T. Usha, too, has expressed doubts about the veracity of the performances which now seek to replace hers in the record books.
It is a pity that the Amateur Athletics Federation of India has not come forward with any solution to the problems created by these records. The only thing that the federation did was to tighten the technical aspects of the competitions which were held following the protests, insisting on dope testing and other essential assurances from the athletes. But unlike the previous years the federation has not bothered to really sit down and give a definite verdict on these performances. With the exception of Paramjit Singh’s record in the 400 metres, the rest await the pleasure of the AAFI.
There has been talk of manipulation in some of the record performances. It is difficult to believe that any official of the federation would lend his name to such malpractices but in the absence of any follow up by the federation and the total failure, with the exception of Beenamol, in the Sydney Olympics, such rumours have gained ground. Charges of athletes being given performance enhancing drug have been made and have gained ground particularly in the absence of any positive statement on the issue by the AAFI.
One would like to have some sort of an assurance from the federation on the issue of the records set last year and the reason for the delay in ratifying them. Earlier of course there was never any problem of recognising performances in major meets since those were the days when not many thought of taking drugs or other incentives for bettering performances. But things have changed. Athletes and athletics is a different track game now but the federation has not progressed with time.
The athletes also appear to be going their own way. Given the increase in the number of opportunities for training and competing abroad, they should also make an effort for more hard work and a certain amount of consistency in the performances. Unfortunately they have left it for the federation to answer awkward questions about the vast difference in their performance at home and abroad.
Take for example the throwers and in particular Shakti Singh. An outstanding athlete Shakti apparently is not a very good competitor abroad. And thus the vast difference between his throws in India and those in competitions outside of the country.. He has a recorded throw of 20.60 metres which is awaiting ratification. He has a number of performances of 19 metres plus at home but not one in any of the international meets abroad. It will take a lawyer with some really extraordinary ability to explain to the world why a man who has done so well in home ambience is unable to adjust outside. His 20.60 metres will no doubt be ratified as a new Indian record since it was not his fault that the competition in which he took part was wanting in technical perfection. The same applies to other performances awaiting clearance and recognition. But because of the attitude of the AAFI there will always be some doubt about the genuineness of the new timings and distances.
The federation has already delayed in taking a firm stand. It should now clear the air and give a verdict on the records. Also it would be advisable for the federation to study the technical director’s report on each of the competitions and then, if there are any doubts, call for a meeting of the experts to decide the issue.
It would be a good thing in the long run if the AAFI was to form a separate body of technical officials and ask this unit to nominate the technical director for each of their meets. And at the same time it should ensure that the secretary of the state association hosting the meet should be kept out of contention for such a job. It should be the responsibility of the technical director to verify any record set during the meet. It is done even now but once the job is made independent of the association, things will certainly improve.
Unless some such clear steps are taken Indian athletics , despite the many records, will always be under a cloud. The AAFI has so far been very indifferent to criticism on this account. By remaining indifferent it cannot be absolved of the blame for such a state of affairs when the very legitimacy of performances are in doubt. It is not good for the federation and it is certainly not good for the sport.
Ravneet deserves better deal
RAVNEET Ricky who was adjudged the best batsman during the Youth World Cup (under-19) held at Sri Lanka in the beginning of 2000 is one of the most talented young opening batsmen the country has. Ravneet, hailing from Amritsar, has been a prolific opening batsman for Punjab having so many creditable performances to his credit during the recent past.
During the Lombard World Cup ( under-15 ) in London he was instrumental in carving the most memorable victory in the final against Pakistan. He remained in good nick throughout scoring 66 against Canada, 35 against England and 45 against South Africa in the semifinal.
Ricky was in peak form during the Junior World Cup in Sri Lanka, where he scored a total of 346 runs, including one century against Australia in the semifinals, 65 against England in the quarterfinal match, 66 against Bangladesh and 35 against Sri Lanka in the final. This sterling batting display fetched him the Best Batsman award.
Achieving the best batsman award seemed to have become a habit with Ricky as in the all-India university tournament (1998-99) he was declared the Best Batsman, while in the all-India Vizzy Trophy tournament conducted by the BCCI he was once again chosen the Best Batsman. In spite of his excellent feats, Ravneet continues to be out of reckoning for the national side.
His batting in the Ranji Trophy has also been remarkable. During the 1999-2000 edition he was in superb touch, 134 he scored against Hyderabad being a brilliant effort. He was unlucky to miss a century - he scored 97- against the Railways, made 83 against Baroda and 50 against Bihar. These were the knock which brought glory not to only his home state but his fans in the holy city of Amritsar.
As a result of his hard work he was selected to play a three-day tie for Board President’s eleven against Zimbabwe at Faridabad in January 2001. Though Ravneet scored 45 runs only he won appreciation for displaying maturity and good technique.
The current year also proved fruitful for the youngster. Playing for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy Ravneet notched up 100 against Himachal and 78 against formidable Delhi attack in the one-day match. In quarterfinal and semifinal against Mumbai and the Railways he hit consecutive fifties to keep Punjab in the hunt for the title. Punjab’s excellent run in the national championship was ended by the Railways in the semifinal.
Ravneet , primarily being a solid opening batsman, has taken to bowling medium pace to enhance his usefulness as a one-day player. To his credit, Ravneet is quite agile on his feet so his utility as a good fielder is beyond doubt.
Poor show by junior golfers
IT was the same old story in Sarawak (Malaysia) where Indians failed to play to their potential in the Asia Pacific Junior Golf Championships recently. The boys and girls did not have sharp enough mind to tackle rough weather and the hazardous course. Their problems multiplied as they could not get food to their liking. As a result almost all of them lost two to four kg of weight before returning home.
Officials accompanying them should have motivated the youngsters to rise to the occasion. They could have organised Indian food for the boys and girls if they were unable to cope up with the Chinese stuff.
Before World War II ended, the England team was on a tour to Australia when the ship developed technical snag. It had to be anchored about 50 miles away from Colombo. The captain announced that it might take a few days before the snags could be rectified.
The England manager immediately swung into action. He hired a fast boat to Colombo. He collected sufficient quantity of beer so that his players were not thirsty while the ship lay anchored outside Colombo. This is managership!
Had Indian officials been prudent enough in Sarawak, the boys and girls would not have starved there.
Indian girls in particular and boys had left with a lot of pomp and show that they would finish among the top two. But they could manage the fourth positions in both boys and girls divisions.
In the boys section, they tallied 951 points. Thailand won the title with 892 points followed by Korea with 898 points. Taipei were third with 940 points.
In the girls division, India’s tally was 482 points. Korea bagged the trophy, Royal Calcutta Challenge, with 450 points. Taipei were runners-up with 459 points and Thailand third with 460 points.
Aditya Singh (Group B) impressed many with his technique and style. He finished ninth. He received a beautiful trophy for scoring eagles. His score was 323 (88, 81, 76 and 78).
Harinder Gupta was placed 11th (312) in Group A. He was followed by Mohd Wazir on 12th (314), while Chiragh Kumar and Jaskeerat Singh Dullet were of 315.
In Group C, Ajitesh Sandhu was placed 10th with score of 247.
India’s woman champion Irina Brar finished sixth out of 20 contestants. She could have finished fifth. She began with 79 and had carded 77 on the middle day. On the final day, she did not get going and could card 80. This saw her finish one stroke behind a Taipei girl. Pragya Misra finished 10th with 246 while Mayali Talwar was on 11th with 251.
Ranjit Singh, for whom the entire selection format was altered, played poorly, finishing 21st. His four-day score was 83, 82, 80 and 82 (327). Manav Jaini, from whom much was expected, disappointed his followers as he could card 83, 84, 86 and 80 (333).
Manav Jiani might have been disappointed that he was pushed out of the official Indian team for reasons other than skill and merit. But, in this country, one has got to be tough. He has got to learn to take the smooth with the rough if he wishes to progress in the competitive world of golf.
The Delhi Golf Club
shocked promoters of golf as it sanctioned
The DGC is one of the premier institutions and it should not cause disappointment and demoralisation to one section of youngsters.
The next tournament will be held in Taipei in May 2002. The format has been changed. The number of participants will not exceed 15. The Indian team can perform better if the selection of boys and girls is done entirely on performance and merit in the categorised tournaments. The officials, no matter how important or influential, should not be allowed to monkey with norms of selection. The juniors must be provided all possible facilities to blossom.
IN the current tour of Zimbabwe, India are scheduled to play two Test matches. The first Test match will be played at Queen’s Sports Club, Bulawayo, from June 7 to 11 while the second Test will take place at Harare Sports Club, Harare, from June 15 to 19.
The current tour is India’s second on Zimbabwean soil where India have played only two Tests before, lost one and drew one. Overall India have played five Tests against Zimbabwe, won two, lost one and drew one.
India’s 609 for six declared at Nagpur in 2000-01 is their highest ever total against Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s highest against India is 503 for six at Nagpur in 2000-01. Zimbabwe’s highest against India at home is 456 at Harare in 1992-93. India’s highest against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe is 307 at Harare in 1992-93.
India were bowled out for 173 runs at Harare in 1998-99 which is their lowest ever total against Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s lowest against India is 201 at Delhi in 1992-93.
As many as 1494 runs were scored for the loss of 22 wickets at Delhi in 2000-01 which is the highest match aggregate between the two teams. The highest match aggregate between the two teams in Zimbabwe was recorded at Harare in 1998-99 when 967 runs were scored for the loss of 40 wickets.
The lowest match aggregate between India and Zimbabwe was recorded at Harare in 1992-93 when 909 runs were scored for the loss of 24 wickets.
The highest individual score by an Indian batsman in any Test against Zimbabwe is Vinod Kambli’s 227 at Delhi in 1992-93. Andy Flower’s unbeaten 232 at Nagpur in 2000-01 is the highest individual score for Zimbabwe against India. Dave Houghton’s 121 at Harare in 1992-93 is the highest individual score for Zimbabwe at home against India. Rahul Dravid who scored 118 at Harare in 1998-99 holds the record of highest individual score for India against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe.
Javagal Srinath’s five for 60 at Delhi in 2000-01 is the best bowling performance for India against Zimbabwe. Anil Kumble’s four for 87 at Harare in 1998-99 is the best bowling performance for India against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe. The record of best bowling performance for Zimbabwe is held by Henry Olonga who took five wickets for 70 runs at Harare in 1998-99.
Kudos to England for Test victory
Congratulations to the England cricketers for winning the first Test against Pakistan by an innings and nine runs. The English team led by Nasser Hussain played like a well-oiled unit in this game. They fielded brilliantly, bowled magnificently and batted superbly. In feilding particularly the English men looked very sharp, alert and agile. In bowling, Gough deserves praise for his glorious 200th wicket which he got in style and became the eighth English bowler to achieve this milestone. He, along with Andrew Caddic laid the foundation of a solid and convincing England victory. Hats off to the English team.
ANKIT ARORA, Rohtak
England earned plaudits by registering a resounding victory over Pakistan in the first Test of the two-match series. Outplaying the visitors in all departments of the game, the hosts routed Pakistan by an innings and nine runs in just three days. Earlier Atherton, skipper Hussain, Thorpe and Stewart made valuable contributions with the bat to help England raise a decent total of 391 which proved insurmountable for Pakistan to overhaul in both innings. And Caddick and Gough tore the Pakistan batting into smithereens with their hostile and accurate fast bowling. Their reward was 16 wickets which they shared between them in the test. The visitors can now at best, draw or lose the series depending on the outcome of the second and final Test. The much touted Pakistani pace attack of Akram, Akhtar and Younis failed disastrously to deliver the goods. Rather their English counterparts excelled in favourable conditions to pin Pakistan down and help their side triumph.
TARSEM S. BUMRAH, Batala
In the Test against England, Pakistan had to eat the humble pie. The star studded Pakistani team boasting of Wasim Akram, Haque, Anwar, Razzak, Youhana and Waqar Younis crumbled like a pack of cards against the bowling of Caddick and Cork. In the end Pakistan suffered defeat by an innings and nine runs. India should also play in an attacking mood against Pakistan. I am sure with the induction of young blood in the team, India will give an improved show against Zimbabwe.
Y.L. CHOPRA, Bathinda
Articles on veteran athlete Joginder Singh, aged 109 years, have been appearing from time to time. Despite ill health, Joginder Singh gave an excellent performance in the National Veterans’ Athletic Meet at Bhopal in October, 2000 and won three gold medals in the above 100-years category. A book has also been published by Punjabi University on his achievements. At present Joginder Singh is ill and is dependent on charity of shopkeepers, neighbours, friends and welfare societies. He requires medical treatment. The Punjab Government should expedite the payment of Rs 1500 per month to him as promised last year.