SPORTS TRIBUNE Saturday, November 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India
 

A gift to Indian badminton
Rs 50 lakh spent to renovate Hans Raj Stadium
Gursharan Singh
T
HE famous Hans Raj Badminton Stadium of Jalandhar is all set to host the badminton events of the forthcoming National Games. The badminton events are scheduled to be held from November 19 to 24. Top players of the country including All-England champion Gopi Chand, former junior world No 2 Arpana Popat besides two local internationals, Vijaydeep Singh and Sachin Ratti, are likely to participate in the various badminton events. It will be a rare opportunity for the lovers of the game in this area to see these players in action.

National Games and thereafter!
Ramu Sharma
S
IXTH in the series, the National Games Punjab, is all ready to take off after the usual bouts of postponement, a not unusual phenomenon. According to Mr I.S. Bindra, Organising Secretary of the Games, a major factor which makes the Games stand is the cost effectiveness, achieved without cutting corners. Suresh Kalmadi, President of the Indian Olympic Association, always an optimist, says the Games contribute to the developing of infrastructure and organisational capabilities of the states. Both Bindra and Kalmadi have every reason to be optimistic.

Traditional Indian games in South Africa
Fakir Hassen
T
RADITIONAL Indian games like kabaddi and kho-kho, which are hardly known here, will come under the spotlight as a research project being undertaken an Indian South African school principal. “These games were thriving when the first settlers from India came to work here on sugar cane plantations as indentured labourers, but they are virtually unknown to the latest generation of Indian South Africans,” said principal Danny Pillay, who has appealed to India for help in the project.


 
  • DD disappoints hockey fans
  • Junior World Cup
  • India’s batting
  • Sachin’s knock
 
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A gift to Indian badminton
Rs 50 lakh spent to renovate Hans Raj Stadium
Gursharan Singh

THE famous Hans Raj Badminton Stadium of Jalandhar is all set to host the badminton events of the forthcoming National Games. The badminton events are scheduled to be held from November 19 to 24. Top players of the country including All-England champion Gopi Chand, former junior world No 2 Arpana Popat besides two local internationals, Vijaydeep Singh and Sachin Ratti, are likely to participate in the various badminton events. It will be a rare opportunity for the lovers of the game in this area to see these players in action.

Hans Raj Stadium was inaugurated in 1964 by the then Chief Minister, Comrade Ram Kishan, while the foundation stone was laid by another Chief Minister, Sardar Partap Singh Kairon, in 1961. When constructed, it was one of the few badminton halls in this country controlled by the Association. Mr S.C. Chabbra, the then Deputy Commissioner of Jalandhar, was its first President and Mr Rajinder Bhanot, the first Secretary Dwarka Das, I.S. Bhardwaj, Ajit Singh Rana, Satya Pal, Sadhu Singh and Shiella Sodhi are some of the persons who played an important role in the construction of this stadium.

The stadium has seen some additions lately in the form of fully operational four courts, a fully equipped gymnasium, steam bath (turkish bath) and of course very well kept lawns. The canteen is open almost round the clock where players can refresh themselves. A unique feature and a very recent addition is a hostel which can house 40 players at one time. The total money spent on the renovation of the hall is about Rs 50 lakh.

The present Secretary, Rajinder Singh Kalsi, gives credit to the present Deputy Commissioner, Mr Shiv Prana, Additional Deputy Commissioner Parveen Kumar and Director of Sports Ram Inder Singh for the speedy construction of the hall. Mr Kalsi takes keen personal interest in improving the stadium and is making serious efforts to start a badminton academy at Jalandhar soon. He also has plans for constructing a girls hostel in the stadium.

Hans Raj Stadium has the rare distinction of hosting two senior nationals, many major ranking and zonal-level tournaments besides State Championships a couple of times. Recently, the North Zone Inter State Championship was conducted at the stadium and all the top participating shuttlers agreed that the facilities at the stadium were the best available in the country. Former national coach T.P.S. Puri, present chief coach Arif and many other experts of the game feel that Hans Raj Stadium is a gift to the badminton players and lovers of the game in this part of the country.

After seeing the facilities here the General Secretary of the Badminton Association of India, Mr L.C. Gupta, has agreed to hold the preparatory camp of Indian team for Thomas/Uber Cups preliminaries to be held in Melbourne in February 2002 at the stadium.
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National Games and thereafter!
Ramu Sharma

SIXTH in the series, the National Games Punjab, is all ready to take off after the usual bouts of postponement, a not unusual phenomenon. According to Mr I.S. Bindra, Organising Secretary of the Games, a major factor which makes the Games stand is the cost effectiveness, achieved without cutting corners. Suresh Kalmadi, President of the Indian Olympic Association, always an optimist, says the Games contribute to the developing of infrastructure and organisational capabilities of the states. Both Bindra and Kalmadi have every reason to be optimistic.

Any multi-discipline exercise in sport, particularly in a country like India, is bound to be a challenge. The very fact that Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai jointly, and Imphal have managed to hold the Games despite teething problems at the initial stages is a testimony to the fact that Games will now be on regular basis. Punjab is ready now for the new edition, and, according to Suresh Kalmadi, Hyderabad, venue of the next Games is ready with its stadia and other facilities.

One wishes The Games in Punjab a heady success. But there are some pertinent questions which remain unanswered. Kalmadi claims that contrary to popular belief the federations were very enthusiastic about the Games. That is not borne out of facts.

Lalit Bhanot, Secretary of the Amateur Athletics Federation of India, made no secret of the fact that the top athletes would not be taking part in the Games to be hosted by Punjab. He is right though. For the national ranked athletes the season is over and they will all spring into action and prepare for the international calendar only later.

Taking part in the National Games is only a ritual and serves no purpose. The regrettable part of it is that the last three Games have also been conspicuous by the absence of top -grade athletes. And athletics is a basic exercise in any multi-discipline competition.

The withdrawal of the swimming from the Games is a big blow but one can hardly blame the federation for its decision. November is not exactly a month where one can swim in Punjab and elsewhere in the North. Apart from the temperature control of the water, there is also a question of the need of the competitors to keep themselves warm. The majority of the top swimmers in the country come from warmer climates in the South, west and east. Swimming was thus always going to be problem sport for the Games if held in November.

One, however, can fault the Swimming Federation for not intimating its decision to pull out of the games earlier. It should have known of the weather conditions prevailing in the North at this time of the year and informed the organisers in advance. There is no question of having an indoor pool. That is a luxury in India where swimming as a sport is still in its infancy. India in fact is a beginner in this discipline.

The National Games have not managed to impress all the Federations. But one can overlook the lack of interest in the federations if the very idea of the Games helps the hosting centres benefit with the infrastructure built for the Games. Unfortunately, and here even Kalmadi agrees, the stadiums, gymnasiums and other structure built are not only not used but are often allowed to spoil and waste because there is no effort to maintain them. One would like to know how much of the infrastructure built for the Games in Bangalore is being used. The same question can be asked of the facilities made specially for the Games in Pune in Mumbai and later in Imphal?

Punjab has be make sure that the money spent on building all the facilities do not go waste after the Games. One remembers the fate of the gymnasium and swimming pool built in Jalandhar for the purpose of the games on the original dates.

The gymnasium, reportedly built at the cost of over Rs 1 crore, had been allowed to spoil. The equipment and exercise machines had all been rendered useless. The swimming pool was in a mess. And then there was the athletic track at the Sports School. The portable pits were lying unattended, soggy with rain water and in near tatters. Mr Bindra has talked about cost effectiveness. One sincerely hopes that he will ensure that the rebuilt facilities are maintained and used. If necessary, Punjab can hold an annual Games at the state level in these very venues created for the National Games. Here one is reminded of the state of affairs in Delhi which now has three brand new Astroturfs for hockey but without a functional State association. 

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Traditional Indian games in South Africa
Fakir Hassen

TRADITIONAL Indian games like kabaddi and kho-kho, which are hardly known here, will come under the spotlight as a research project being undertaken an Indian South African school principal.

“These games were thriving when the first settlers from India came to work here on sugar cane plantations as indentured labourers, but they are virtually unknown to the latest generation of Indian South Africans,” said principal Danny Pillay, who has appealed to India for help in the project.

“Local Indian historians have provided valuable information, but we need to get help from people in India with this research project, which has been commissioned by the sports ministry and the department of sports science at the University of Durban-Westville,” Pillay says.

“We have lost out about 50 years of research, because when I go to the younger generation here and ask if they have heard of games like kho-kho and kabaddi, they don’t know what I’m talking about.

“This is because we did not record our history and the rules to the games. The children have only seen games like kabaddi in Indian movies they see here,” Pillay said.

Two teams of about 10 players each play kabaddi. The teams play in a small, enclosed area and a line is drawn between rival sides. A team member crosses the line chanting “kabaddi kabaddi” and has to tag the members of the opposing team without losing his breath.

Kho-kho consists of a six to 10 member team. One team sits in a row with alternate members facing the same direction, and a member of the other team comes in who has to be tagged. The chaser keeps interchanging places with his/her seated team-mates in an effort to catch the rival team member.

Pillay said he had written to educational institutions in India where physical education is taught, but had not received any replies yet.

“They are the ones that I am sure will have records of these games and their rules, as they still actively played in India. The research’s aim is to teach it again to children in some schools as part of a national project to revive indigenous games in South Africa.”

The closest that Pillay has come to the survival of the games in South Africa is at Tongaat on the country’s north coast, where a group of elderly people still play some of them, albeit irregularly.

“An old gentleman from Tongaat called me to say that there is a game called dayam that they play, which is an Indian version of what the West calls ludo. There are also a number of other games with Indian influences. The challenge for me now is to convert this information to definite rules for the game.”

In an attempt to preserve the oral traditions of the games, all contributors are to be videotaped and the tapes stored in special archives.

“We will go to old age homes across South Africa to conduct interviews and record them on video. Interpreters will be used for those old folk who speak only Urdu, Tamil, Gujarati or Telugu, since I understand just Hindi.”

Pillay’s study is supported through some funding from the Sports Commission of South Africa, which wants to use traditional Indian games as part of an annual competition for children across all cultures. But the money is only enough for local travel, so a visit to India is presently out of the question. IANS

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DD disappoints hockey fans

Doordarshan deprived tens of thousands of hockey lovers the opportunity of watching the final of the Junior World Cup Hockey Tournament. India outplayed Argentina in the final to claim the coveted cup but DD played spoilsport. The magnificent spectacle of the Indian junior hockey team could not be savoured due to DD’s step-motherly treatment to hockey. It even did not bother to mention the results of India’s league matches in its news bulletins. But for The Tribune I would not have been able to keep myself aware of India’s progress in the tournament. DD invariably provides live telecast of tennis matches in which India rarely figures. Why can’t it do so for hockey? Apparently it treats our national game with complete indifference forgetting that hockey is the only game in which India have won eight Olympic gold medals. Also it is no use having DD Sports if it cannot telecast live such matches. Earlier hockey commentary was best enjoyed on AIR but it, too, has abandoned the practice. Perhaps DD ought to take a lesson or two from Pakistan TV which never fails to bring live telecast of Pakistan’s cricket and hockey matches from any part of the world for its viewers.

TARSEM S. BUMRAH, BATALA

Junior World Cup

India deserve full marks for the victory in the junior World Cup hockey. In fact both teams , India and Argentina, dominated in the tournament. Deepak Thakur hit a magnificent hat-trick in the second half to give India their first title. Since the 1980 Moscow Olympics, it has been a story of defeats for India at the world level. This victory will boost the Indian senior hockey team.

ANKIT ARORA, ROHTAK

India’s batting

It was a pathetic batting display by the Indian middle order batsmen who succumbed to South African bowlers, after they had been given an excellent start by Tendulkar and Ganguly. The unreliability of the Indian middle order should be causing deep concern to the Indian camp. Indian batsmen, especially Yuvraj Singh, should realise that there is no point in keeping talent in the kitty if they can’t score and help India win. I am also not able to understand why Reetinder Sodhi is not being played in spite of his commitment and dedication. Nothing has been lost yet.

NITIN ARORA, ROHTAK

Sachin’s knock

Indeed it is heartening to observe that Sachin Tendulkar has touched his magic form and cracked another century in the first Test. He made a useful 155 runs and was also associated in a partnership of 220 runs for the fifth wicket. He deserves high praise for his solid knock.

SUBHASH C. TANEJA, ROHTAK
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