Thursday, December 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S



When Principals stoop to conquer with age-fudging
M. S. Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, December 5
When school Principals start fudging with the age certificates of their pupils, only God can save Indian sports. Sqn Ldr S. Bhatnagar, secretary-general of the Subroto Mukherjee Sports Education Society (SMSES), has been splitting his hair in disbelief as every second or third player in the ongoing Subroto Mukherjee Cup Football Tournament for schoolchildren has been found to be either over-aged or an impersonator!

And they are all aided and abetted in their misdoings by their respective school Principals and physical education teachers (PETs) as the age certificates are authenticated by the school Principals and counter-signed by the PETs and DPEs (director of physical education).

That even the Army Boys Centre team contained no less than 13 over-aged players is a sad reflection of the violation of the age-group rule with impunity by almost all teams, barring some rare exceptions. Sq Ldr Bhatnagar is outraged at the low level to which school Principals, PETs and coaches stoop to conquer. He felt no remorse when he had to scratch his “own team”, the Army Boys.

Sq Ldr Bhatnagar has ensured that the age-fudgers do not get away with their wrongdoings lightly. Quoting a shocking example, he said Gurpreet Singh of Sanjay School, Chandigarh, which has been debarred from the tournament, had admitted when questioned that he was encouraged to change his date of birth from 9-7-1984 to 13-1-1985 by the school authorities.

Another player from the school, Manish Pathania, did the impersonation act when he played as Jasbeer Singh.

The coach of the Sports Authority of India Centre, Salt Lake (Kolkata) has been suspended and an inquiry ordered by the officer-in-charge of the centre, Mr Somen Chaudhary, following the scratching of the team from the Subroto Cup for fielding overaged players and impersonation. “School Principals are honourable figures in society. I can’t believe that they can be party to a wrongful act like age manipulation of the players”, Sq Ldr Bhatnagar noted with astonishment. So far, 62 players from various teams have been debarred for being overaged. Twice former under-17 champions St Ignatious School, Ghumla, brought in eight overaged boys.

Some of the teams are now left with only eight to 10 eligible players, though there are honourable exceptions like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir who have scrupulously maintained the age rule. Despite the teams cheating on the age of their players, the Subroto Cup has been going from strength to strength.

For the first time in the 42-year-old history of the Subroto Cup, the tournament attracted sponsorship worth Rs 40 lakh, which is a staggering amount, considering the fact that even the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) had found it difficult to raise funds to host the Santosh Trophy this year.

Sq Ldr Bhatnagar has attributed the success of the Subroto Cup this year to the dynamism and far-sightedness shown by Air Marshal R. C. Mahadik, president of the Air Force Sports Control Board and Vice-Chairman of the SMSES.

Air Marshal Mahadik used his contacts to rope in the sponsors, so that a corpus fund is created to put the Subroto Cup on its own feet, instead of depending on the Air Force and the government for funds to run its show.

Part of the money will be used to fund the Subroto XI’s tour of neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and the Maldives.

“Last year, we conducted the tournament with zero sponsorship”, pointed out Sq Ldr Bhatnagar. But the sponsors have now realised that “what we are doing is for a good cause. They know the money is being well spent”. And the sponsors flocked in like droves, this time. Many top players like Baichung Bhutia had hit the national spotlight as a junior through the Subroto Cup.

Subroto has been quietly doing the job of spotting and nurturing young talent over the years, but in the 42-year-old chequered history of this prestigious schools’ tournament it was for the first time that so many sponsors queued up to help it put on a strong pedestal financially.

Bhatnagar also disclosed that the Subroto Society had plans to start a Football Academy in Delhi. The academy is likely to be based at Air Force Bal Bharati School, Lodhi Road.

What the Subroto Society is doing to raise resources on its own should be an eye-opener to the AIFF, which is doing precious little for the promotion of the game at the grassroots. Nobody really knows what the AIFF does with the $50,000 grant it receives from the FIFA (International Football Federation) for the development of junior football. Sq Ldr Bhatnagar said the Subroto Society would be selecting 30 players in the junior category and 16 in the sub-junior category from the ongoing Subroto Cup tournament and out of these players the best 16 will be shortlisted for the Subroto XI.

The tournament has also been accorded official status by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for the purpose of giving grants.

“Our vision is a foreign tour, and a football academy”, noted Sq Ldr Bhatnagar, who himself is a former Services Ranji Trophy cricket captain.


IHF Juniors blank Dhaka XI in Shastri Hockey
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, December 5
Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) Juniors continued their good work in the Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament at Shivaji Stadium on day three when they blanked Dhaka XI 2-0 here on Wednesday.

The IHF Juniors, who had split points with Indian Airlines on Tuesday after putting up a remarkable

performance, did one better today when they converted their chances to score two goals in the first half through Hamza Mustaba to seal the fate of the visitors.

In another interesting match, Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) made short work of Indian Airlines, and scored a handsome 4-1 victory. After leading by a goal at half time, scored by Mandeep Singh Ghuman in the fourth minute, PSB conceded the lead 12 minutes into the second half when Rajnish Mishra pulled off the equaliser for Airlines by converting a penalty corner.

But the bankmen then went on an attacking spree, scoring three goals in quick succession in a 12-minute blitz through Mandeep Singh, Sanjeev Kumar Dang and Rajwinder Singh Rana. PSB have now qualified for the semi-finals.

In other matches, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) shared goals and points with Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) 2-2, while Air India and the Central Industrial Security Force played out a goalless draw.

In a see-saw match, Anurag Raghuvanshi put BPCL in the lead with a penalty corner goal in the seventh minute while Gurpreet Singh scored the equaliser for ONGC in the 10th minute and Amarjeet Pratap gained them the lead in the 18th minute by converting a penalty stroke.

Saurab Bishnoi scored off a penalty corner in the 55th minute to draw parity for BPCL (2-2).

Thursday’s fixtures: BPCL vs CISF (1 p m); PSB vs IHF Juniors (2.45 p m)—Shivaji Stadium.


Manipur’s Marrykom wins silver
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, December 5
India’s woman boxer, Marrykom of Manipur, created history when she won a silver medal in the 48kg category in the first ever Women’s World Boxing Championship held at Scrabton, Pennsylvania, USA, from November 27 to December 2.

Women boxers from 30 countries had participated in this event. Lekha K.C. of Kerala narrowly missed a medal when she lost to her Canadian opponent by 21-23 on points. The boxers were accorded a warm welcome on their arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport here today. Coaches Anoop Kumar and R. Vaikliana and Doctor Shakuntala Chaudhary accompanied the team.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Kanswa was the manager. Indian Amateur Boxing Federation president Abhey Singh Chautala warmly congratulated the women boxers for their encouraging performance. He hoped that the medal-winning performance of the Indian women pugilists would encourage more women to take to boxing in the country.

Mr Chautala promised all help in the training programme of the women pugilists, including foreign exposure.


Dyal Singh College annex boxing crown
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, December 5
Dyal Singh College, Lodhi Road annexed the Inter-College Boxing Championship crown when they won four gold medals and logged 13 and a half points at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today.

Kirori Mal College with 13 points and two gold medals took the second position while Sri Aurobindo College (Morning), Malviya Nagar gathered 11 and half points and two gold medals to secure the third position. Vijender won the gold in the 51-54kg bantam weight when his bout against Manoj was stopped by the referee in the second round. Surender of Dyal Singh lifted the Lt. Welter title, beating Nagender of KMC in RSC second round. The third gold for Dyal Singh was bagged by Sanjay whose bout against Manish of ARSD in the welter weight was stopped by the referee in the very first round.

Parvinder clinched the fourth gold for Dyal Singh when he crushed Dharambir in the light middle weight through a RSC decision.

In other final round bouts, Ravinder of IGIP outpointed Dilip of BCAC in light fly, Jogender of SAC knocked out Vijay Rana of Shyam Lal in fly weight, Naveen of KMC outpointed Valendunath in feather, Parveen of PGDAV beat Rajender of MLNC in light weight, Rakesh of KMC beat Amit of SACE in light heavy, Ram Singh of St. Stephen’s beat Dinesh of IGIP (retired hurt) in the heavy weight and Ankur of PGDAV beat Mohit of KMC.


Army Boys sail into Subroto final
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, December 5
Army Boys, ASC College, Bangalore stormed into the final beating Andhra Pradesh Sports School, Hakimpet (Hyderabad)7-6 via sudden-death tie-breaker after locking one-one at full time in the Subroto Mukherjee Cup (Under-17) Football Tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Wednesday. Army Boys take on Government High School, Aizawl (Mizoram) in the final on December 12. The Aizawl team had beaten MPLL Adarsh Inter-School, Faizabad 4-1 in the first semi-final on Tuesday. In the sub-junior matches, IV E, BSL High School, Bokaro (SAIL) beat Shree Kamlakar School, Varanasi.


MCD budget today, likely to be tax-free
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
No new taxes will be imposed on Delhiites in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) budget to be presented tomorrow as it is called an election budget.

The educational facilities will be on top of the priority list of the MCD in the budget session for the year 2002-2003, sources said.

The budget session is likely to highlight the fact that the corporation has managed to rid itself of the Rs 1600 crore liabilities since the BJP-led councillors came to power in 1997. The controversial Rs 100-crore grant given to the MCD by the Union Urban Development Ministry is also to be highlighted in the budget. This grant was sanctioned to the corporation from the Delhi Development Fund. The MCD had also demanded such grant but it was rejected. The grants are always given to the corporation through the Delhi Government. It was the first time, the union government issued grant directly to the corporation.

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