|SPORTS TRIBUNE||Saturday, April 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India|
Volleyball needs more support
THE once popular sport of volleyball has made a strong case for recognition as a premier discipline in India. The victory over Iran in the final of the Asian Youth Boys' Championship at Visakhapatnam in the second week of this month is ample proof of the tremendous talent and potential available in the country. It was more than just a title win for India.
Volleyball needs more support
THE once popular sport of volleyball has made a strong case for recognition as a premier discipline in India. The victory over Iran in the final of the Asian Youth Boys' Championship at Visakhapatnam in the second week of this month is ample proof of the tremendous talent and potential available in the country. It was more than just a title win for India. It was the first ever Asian crown and also enabled India to qualify for the World Junior Championship. These are landmarks to be proud of in any sport and more so for the volleyball team. For this is a sport which has generally been put on the obscure list by the authorities.
The championship, one of the many held in Andhra Pradesh and South, was a personal triumph for Mr B. Shivanti Adityan, who as president of the Volleyball Federation of India, has waged almost single handedly the battle for patronage for the sport. And he has not only kept it going but appears to be contributing to building an Indian team of some relevance in the international arena.
To a great extent the title win in the Asian Youth Boys Championship in Visakhapatnam was a culmination of years of hard work by the federation, its coach G.E.Sridhran and of course the players who put their hearts and soul into the game. And mind you the championship in Visakhapatnam was no cakewalk. Just look at the field. There was China, one of the top teams in the game at Olympic and world level and Iran, the reigning champions, who claimed the title when it hosted the competition in 2001, a championship where India had finished seventh.
Among the others were North Korea, Thailand, Qatar, Chinese Taipei and the tough Australians which introduced Christensen Za, the player who topped in individual skills lists and received a special award. India of course had reasons to be proud. Apart from the team title they won two individual awards; the best receiver award being claimed by Srikant and Sanjay being adjusted the best blocker and the most valuable player.
Now what? The Volleyball Federation has proved its credentials. Volleyball is more than a traditional sport in India. It now has a team which has won an Asian title. Does it mean that Indian volleyball is given a chance in the expanded canvass of Asian Games? One remembers a time when India was a power in Asian Games but then somehow it lost its way.
The title win in Visakhapatnam should serve as an inducement to the authorities to help promote this sport once again. There was a time in the early 50s when volleyball was one of the most popular games for the middle class working people. One remembers the innumerable tournaments conducted in the Central Secretariat courts in Delhi. One also remembers when a team of young girls from Calcutta gave a new dimension to the sport with their setting, blocking and spiking. Till that time women’s volleyball as was played was all about winning points on service, the effort of getting the ball across the net being the most important aspect of the game then.
The YMCAs in particular used to play a major role in the promotion of this game. Club matches in small centres in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh used to attract crowds in the range of 5,000 and more. Same was the story in Punjab where volleyball was perhaps the most popular and easily accessible sport, costing next to nothing in terms of infrastructure. Some of India's top players in this sport have hailed from Punjab.
But somehow and all too suddenly, the game appears to have virtually disappeared from the country. Agreed that it now needs indoor stadiums and artificial surface and other accessories but then these are all only adornments. The basics remain the same and it can still be played outdoors, if not for a competitive flavour but certainly for fun and exercise.
The issue in the main is the steps to promote and popularise the game once again. In this respect the New Delhi YMCA appears to have moved ahead with coaching academies in volleyball and basketball. The YMCA in New Delhi owes it to the public in Delhi and elsewhere to revive the game. After all it was at the courts of the YMCA that the game flourished in the 50s and Jaswant Singh Bawa, that colourful sports personality who honed his skills on those courts, even led India in the matches against visiting Russian teams.
India in the 50s was known
to be one of the main volleyball centres of Asia. There is every reason
to hope that in the coming few years, with help and patronage from the
government and corporate sector, it will regain its importance. If it
happens the title win in Visakhapatnam will have made an even more
WORLDWIDE, every parent loves his child. In foreign countries, the parent makes a concerted endeavour for his child to play to his potential. If the parent finds that his presence tends to be detrimental, he stays at home instead of watching his son/ daughter in action.
The reverse is the situation in this country. The parent unwittingly stands between his child and progress. It is an established fact that the presence of the parent causes butterflies in the stomach of the performer. Yet, the parent cannot control his emotions. He watches behind bushes his son/daughter who finds the going rough.
One of the most promising lads on the Asian circuit has been lost because his father wants to coach him or stands around him when he is being coached by a renowned trainer. Had this boy been left alone, he would have achieved at least what Jeev or Arjun Atwal or Jyoti Randhawa or Gaurav Ghei here attained. A player of an exceptional ability and skill, he seems to have been lost in USA in the world of competitive golf.
There are several other golfers — men and women — who have suffered and are suffering because of this ‘dangerous disease’, which carries parents to the course and results are naturally shocking. Why can’t these parents leave their wards alone to perform and join after they have achieved success?
There is no doubt that the format in the match-play is much tougher than the one in stroke-play. In the match-play every hole is important and the player is expected to concentrate fully on each hole. The brief loss of concentration means loss of a few holes and this proves highly detrimental to the over-all result of many players.
In the recently concluded SRF Match-Play competition, many renowned heads rolled unceremoniously in preliminary rounds. Jeev Milkha Singh, for example, lost to a virtual unknown caddy Prem. Indeed Jeev had arrived in Delhi from Japan after midnight and he was suffering from severe ear-ache. But his exit caused a lot of disappointment to many of his admirers. What turned out to be poison for him became meat for Prem, who was a cock-a-hoop with joy for his grand success.
Many other established stars fell by the way-side during the tournament in the exacting weather. Vijay Kumar, a seasoned pro found the excessive heat was no bother. He prevailed over 24-year-old Rahil Gangjee two and one. It was an absorbing 36-hole final. Rahil caused many problems to an experienced campaigner before going down. In defeat, he looked glorious.
India should have little problem in retaining the SAARC title once again. The three-member team of Keshav Misra, Harinder Gupta and J. Patwardhan are far better placed than the players from four other countries — Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The combination of match-play and stroke-play formats are exacting but the players from five countries seem to be determined to make the most of the occasion at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) course.
There are some good players who will prevent India’s trio from scoring runaway victory. Among them are Lalit Kumara (Sri Lanka), C.B. Bhandari (Nepal) and Mohd Siddique-ur-Rehman (Bangladesh). It will be worthwhile watching them play on the course which is still playing good after the battering it underwent during the recently concluded Royal Challenge Indian Open.
The SAARC Tournament, started by a golf addict S.K. Misra five years ago, has caught the imagination of the countries, which compete enthusiastically every year. The Navision competition is expected to be even more successful this year, although weather is not very conducive for good scores.
All the participating
players are in an upbeat mood. "We are least bothered who wins or
who loses", said Bangladesh players. Their observation was
whole-heartedly endorsed by all others, who were seen on the course. All
the players will get a fine exposure as Tiger Sports Marketing team will
provide all the requisite information to the media.
Australia deserved to win the Cup
Wishful thinking, praying in temples, comparing star players with warriors, coining shallow slogans, running down rivals, and even craving for divine intervention seemed to have become the favourite past time of cricket fans prior to the World Cup final. However, victories have always followed those who possess grit and determination as in the case of Australia. They played, beat the rivals and deservingly left with the coveted cup. None but the Australians deserved it. A play ground should not be considered a battle ground. This is bound to send wrong signals.
Surjeet Mann, Sangrur
Kudos to the Indian cricket team for showing 'unexpected' results. Reaching the Super Sixes at the World Cup was commendable. Later the Indians entered the final. All cricket lovers followed the Indian teams' progress with keen interest. Sachin was declared 'man of the tournament.' We should not be saddened by the defeat against the strongest team Australia.
Y.L. Chopra, Bathinda
It was a big defeat at the hands of the Australians. The Indian team was humiliated in the World Cup final. The defeat can be attributed to the wrong decision of the captain. Zaheer, Ashish and Srinath also gave away runs liberally.
G.S. Madan, Patiala
The way the Indians thrashed the mighty South Africans by 153 runs at Dhaka proved that the Indian team is at its best. Despite the absence of senior players like Sachin, Rahul and Srinath, the Indian team appeared strong. The entry of youngsters like Salvi, Gambhir and Kale will be extremely beneficial.
Manav Gupta, Jagraon