Monday, July 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Sheila wants Delhiites to be more aware about AIDS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today underscored the need for Delhiites to be more concerned and aware about issues related to HIV/AIDS because of heavy migration into Delhi from states.

Addressing the second day of the National Convention of Elected Representatives, organised by the Parliamentary Forum on HIV/AIDS, Ms Dikshit said that the people of Delhi needed to be more aware about the issue.

Delivering the keynote address, she agreed that people suffering from AIDS needed to be assured of treatment. She called for a change in the healthcare approach and said the Government of Delhi was trying to ensure that the hospital infrastructure and healthcare personnel were more responsive to the treatment and care of people with AIDS.

She further informed the participants that the Delhi Legislative Forum on HIV/AIDS had been functioning for the last eight months and requested the Parliamentary Forum to organise a two-day workshop at the state level to improve the awareness level amongst the elected representatives.



Cricket academies: Milking the cash cows
M. S. Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, July 27
Cricket academies have sprouted like mushrooms in Delhi. It’s a big business, a virtual ‘cash cow’ for the academy ‘owner’. Cricket coaching is no more a mere sporting activity. The stakes are high, as the big players have entered the fray. Every second play field of the Delhi Development Authority boast of a ‘cricket academy’, and some schools also encourage this reckless trend.

Many former India players and renowned coaches have got into this lucrative ‘business’ to fully exploit the craze for the game. And there are numerous parents willing to fork out a fortune to make their sons the ‘Tendulkars’, ‘Sauravs’, ‘Yuvraj Singhs’, ‘Rahul Dravids’ and ‘Virender Sehwags’ of tomorrow, though often, their ambitions end up in tattered dreams.

The role of the cricket academies came into serious focus during the recent election to the Delhi and District Cricket Association Sports Committee. That the local cricket clubs preferred to reaffirm their faith in the old order rather than usher in a new era was confirmation of the fact that there were not many votaries for the ‘academy’ culture, which is all-pervading in Delhi now.

The Sports Committee election was termed as a fight between former players and career officials. But this line of argument did not carry much weight with the voters as the former players were themselves guilty of fostering the academy culture to serve their own narrow interests.

Therefore, their entry into the fray was viewed as an attempt to perpetuate their vested purpose, which the rival group exploited to the hilt, to sway support in their favour.

Many parents admit their sons to cricket academies run by former players and coaches on the belief that the ‘future’ of their wards would be safe in the hands of such renowned names, though it’s a different matter that the parents have to shell out a fortune as coaching fees. The coaches milk the parents of their money, and the latter realise their folly only when their sons’ cricket career reaches a dead end.

The boys who ‘pass out’ of the numerous cricket academies have very slim chances of playing for any grade of cricket in the Capital, unless the player concerned is lucky enough to play for an influential club, or has the backing of a powerful official.

Some former players and ‘dummies’ of well-known coaches had contested the Sports Committee election, but they came a cropper when the voters saw through game plan, which was to get their trainees included in Delhi teams.

The setting up of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has limited the opportunities of other players who are not lucky enough to get into the NCA. Players get into the NCA after being screened at the zonal academies being run by the State associations with the patronage of the BCCI. And to get into the zonal academies, the players have to have cricketing talent as well as the right kind of backing.

Most parents depend on the coaches to push through the cases of their wards, but the coaches often fail in their mission and the parents feel cheated. The parents of a boy, who spent lakhs of rupees to make their son a cricketer, lamented that the coach took them for a ride by giving out false hopes, and they realised their mistake only when the son himself stopped playing the game! The coach even took the boy on a ‘tour of England’, though it cost the parents nearly a lakh of rupees.

Interestingly, some of the academies enrol boys only in the eight to 12 years age group. This is a clever ploy as the parents are willing to shell out any amount of money for the training of their kid sons, and the kids would not stand back and question the tactics of the coaches.

But the parents get dejected when the coaches step up their monetary demands, and the boys show no signs of progress. The boys also slacken their interest in the game once they graduate into senior classes and the pressure on studies mounts. But by then, the coach would have made a “killing”, and would have targeted his next “prey”.

People of modest means now roll in money after they got into the academy business. Cricket is a national passion, and other sports, in the bargain, have suffered grievous blows. Even the apex sports body in the country, the Sports Authority of India, churn out cricketers at ‘subsidised rates’ to a huge cost to the exchequer, though it’s not SAI’s business to run cricket coaching centres. The State cricket associations and the clubs are well-equipped to take care of the coaching department.

More the merrier is generally the accepted norm, but in the case of cricket, there is such an influx of players that many of them cannot even find a place in second and third grade club teams.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association must keep a quality check on the cricket academies to prevent exploitation of gullible parents.



MDU sports workshop concludes
Our Sports Reporter

Rohtak, July 27
The three-day sports workshop organised by the Sports Council of Maharshi Dayanand University concluded here today with the resolve of the participants with the need of inculcating sports culture in their respective institutions. As many as 106 participants and 21 resource persons participated, interacted and discussed various sports related aspects.

Speaking in the valedictory session of the workshop, chief guest and Commissioner of Rohtak Division R. R. Banswal stressed upon the need to ponder over that why India is lagging behind other countries in games and sports, when sports formed an internal part of life in the country since ancient times. He highlighted the measures adopted by State government towards promotion of sports in Haryana. Mementoes were also presented by him on behalf of the Sports Council to Arjuna awardees athlete Ajmer Singh and boxer Raj Kumar Sangwan.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Ajmer Singh exhorted the students participating actively in games and sports not to neglect studies and think of an appropriate career apart from sports too. He quoted the example of renowned American hurdler Edwin Mosses, who held a degree in engineering too.

A senior lecturer in the Physical Education department of Kurukshetra University said that involvement of physical educational personnel in public relations as well as sports coverage through print and electronic media. Participants were apprised of latest amendments in rules and regulations of different games in the workshop.



YFI clinch gold in yoga championship
Our Sports Reporter

Rohtak, July 27
The Yoga Federation of India (YFI), a recognised body by the Indian Olympic Association, clinched the gold medals in different men and women groups and won first position in the international yoga championship held at Porto in Portugal recently. Nearly ten countries had participated in the championship.

The members of the victorious YFI team, who brought laurels for the nation, have recently returned from Portugal.

Talking to the NCR Tribune, they said Radha Krishnan in the adult group, Kirti Ahlawat in the young group (below 12 years) and Kumari Rupa and Sayona Dass bagged gold medals in yoga Olympics as well as aesthetic yoga, while certain other participants, including Jhuntu Roy and Ramesh Kumar received silver medals.

It may be mentioned here that the international yoga championship is held every year in the countries, like Argentina, Brazil, Italy and other European and Latin American countries.

Indian team of YFI was led by Mr K. C. Sharma, president of Haryana State Yoga Association and Yoga Federation of India and Mr Ashok Kumar Aggarwal, general secretary of the YFI. Another group of India headed by Prof Gopal ji also participated and Kumari Rajni won gold medal in the adult women group.

Mr K. C. Sharma offered to host the championship of 2005, in any town in Haryana neighbouring Delhi.



Ranjit Singh lifts Pro-Arm title
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 27
Ranjit Singh was in superb form as he carded a seven-under 55 and led his team to victory in the Navision Pro-Arm, which brought the curtain down on the Rs 18 lakh prize money Kashmir Open. At the par-72 Royal Springs Course, the pro slotted in eight under as against a solitary bogey. His amateur partners, comprising T,. Malik, Arvind Walia and Amarpal Singh Samai, contributed a healthy net score of 89 to aggregate 20-under 124.

That gave them a one-stroke advantage over Amrithinder Singh’s team of Manish Sanwalka, Moni Bhalla and Sunny Malik, who finished at 19-under 125. Monish Bindra, who is sponsored by Indian Airlines, matched Ranjit Singh’s effort of seven-under 65 and his team of Mushtaq Burza, Ajaz Ali Ran and Vikram Kumar also finished at 19-under 125, but lost on a tie-breaker which was decided on the bais of a better amateur score. Amritinder’s amateur partners contributed nett 55 points while Bindra’s team could only manage 60. For their efforts, Ranjit, Amritinder and Manish received Rs 5,000, Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 respectively while the amateurs took home attractive silver salvers. Ranjit and Manish also shared the Rs 2500.



Star to air all England-SA Tests
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 27
ESPN and Star Sports, which telecast the first Test between England and South Africa at Birmingham, will also beam live the other four Tests. The second Test will be played at Lord’s from July 31 to August 4, the third Test from August 14 to 18 at Nittingham, the fourth Test at Leeds from August 21 to 25 and the fifth Test at September 4 to 8 at AMP Oval.

The English will try to prevail at their home grounds after their cakewalk in the NatWest Triangular Tournament in which Michal Vaughan’s England, comprising Marcus Trescothick, Vikram Solanki, James Anderson and Andrew Flintoff played remarkable roles. Vaughan himself contributed to his team’s victory in a few crucial matches.

And based on his performance during the triangular, Darren Gough is also expecting a look-in during the ensuing 5-Test series.

The South Africans need to put their country’s interest before any individual goals. Jacques Kallis has been fighting a lonely battle. A lot has been expected from the younger players like Rudolph, Jaarsvel and Van Wyk and its time they delivered to the promise.


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