SPORTS TRIBUNE Saturday, August 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India
 

Indian sport lost in the world outside!
Ramu Sharma
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HERE is a general feeling in sporting circles around the world that Indians are poor travellers. It is a reputation mostly earned in the high profile game of cricket. It has almost become a cliche with veteran cricketers and journalists outside the country whenever a touring Indian cricket team perform poorly. It is perhaps one of the popular understatements common to western world.

Foreign flavour in East Bengalís historic victory at Jakarta
Krittivas Mukherjee
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AST Bengalís three foreign recruits ó a Nigerian, a Brazilian and a Ghanian ó played a stellar role in the teamís historic title win in the LG ASEAN Club football Championship in Jakarta.

IWF a roofless body
Ravi Dhaliwal
THE Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) is literally a roofless body. Despite the fact that the iron sport was the only discipline in which the Indians managed to garner a medal in the Sydney Olympics, the body governing the affairs of the sport in the country has no office of itís own.

 
  • England owe success to Twenty20 Cup
  • East Bengal's win
  • Hats off to Smith
  • Kudos to Waugh
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Indian sport lost in the world outside!
Ramu Sharma

THERE is a general feeling in sporting circles around the world that Indians are poor travellers. It is a reputation mostly earned in the high profile game of cricket. It has almost become a cliche with veteran cricketers and journalists outside the country whenever a touring Indian cricket team perform poorly. It is perhaps one of the popular understatements common to western world. The team, too, tends to lend substance to the adage with consistently average, often below average, showing when on tour. Since the performance contrast sharply with those recorded on home soil, it has almost become an accepted fact that Indians can only perform in the friendly environment at home soil but not outside, irrespective of the world renown players in their ranks.

Elsewhere too, in other disciplines, Indians with rare exceptions, have done badly. The athletes, weightlifters, shooters and others promise the world with outstanding performances at home but once outside in the open world, in obviously highly competitive surroundings, they generally fail to do justice to their known talent.

What one is presented with after each failure or lack of success is a string of excuses, often unsubstantiated. One of the reasons often advanced in team games whether it be hockey or football and not so long ago even cricket, is about supervision, as if Indians were singled out for special treatment. Rarely is an attempt made to accept the fact that the teams or individuals were not equal to the occasion and that there could have been other reasons.

A former Olympian once made what now seems a very pertinent observation that Indian contingents in Olympic and Asian Games appear to be totally lost in foreign settings. The statement appears to have some truth in it. With rare exceptions Indians find it difficult to adjust, in particular, to food habits of the country they are visiting. Agreed that countries hosting major international meets make an effort to cater to all tastes but it is not always easy. Language and the general environment is another major problem with the Indians. With no coaching in these matters from officials at home Indian sportsmen are often totally at sea in strange surroundings.

One has to accept the fact that the Indian sportsman is happiest in home atmosphere and is not easily prepared for change. This could be one of the biggest reasons for the below-normal performance on the field outside of the country. Once this is accepted, the remedial measures would be easy to follow.

At the same time one must also accept the fact that our standards in most games are not comparable to the existing world criteria. Once this truth sinks in, there would be less trouble and embarrassment explaining the lack of success on return home.

Thus our cricketers may be world class players but other countries in the established Test match circuit also have equally if not better players in their ranks and perhaps are more motivated team-wise. Once this is drilled into the minds of the public, it will always be easier to accept the results.

In measurable disciplines like athletics, swimming, shooting, weightlifting and others, there is no need to elaborate on the comparative standards. India is way behind most of the world but it does not mean that our efforts have to be dismissed. One must learn to face the truth and endeavour to improve upon our efforts.

All this is possible with training and coaching and modern facilities but there is the added factor about educating our foreign-bound sportsmen with knowledge of the people and habits in vogue and important words in day to day use in the country they are going to compete in. This is as crucial as training for the event in which they are to participate One must remember that wearing the countryís colours abroad is also a learning process, learning about how the people in other countries live. Once this aspect is given due consideration then only will the Indian sportsmen stop feeling lonely and lost outside the country. That in turn will also contribute to more confidence and naturally better performance.

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Foreign flavour in East Bengalís historic
victory at Jakarta
Krittivas Mukherjee

EAST Bengalís three foreign recruits ó a Nigerian, a Brazilian and a Ghanian ó played a stellar role in the teamís historic title win in the LG ASEAN Club football Championship in Jakarta.

East Bengal surprised Asian and Thai champions BEC Tero Sasana 3-1 in fast-paced final

Though striker Baichung Bhutia, who scored the second goal, remained the mainstay of the East Bengal attack and was also the highest scorer of the tournament, the foreign trio effectively took care of East Bengalís upfront, midfield and defence, respectively, so that Indiaís champion club also became the countryís first to win an international tournament. While Nigerian striker Mike Okoro fired the first salvo, midfielder Brazilian Douglas Da Silva, who played the role of a central defender in the final match, ensured a steady supply of passes to the strikers.

In the defence, it was the rock-like performance of skipper Suley Musah, a Ghanaian, which continuously threw a spanner in the Thai strikersí efforts.

Okoro came to India in 2001 and first played for the lowly ranked ITI, Bangalore. But, soon he caught the eyes of the big clubs and East Bengal signed him on for the next season.

ďHe has been extraordinarily steady in the attack line. We are very happy with his performance,Ē said East Bengal official Manas Mukherjee.

Okoro has been signed on for this season for a reported sum of Rs 2 million. Brazilian Douglas, playing his second season in India and East Bengal, commands a higher price ó an estimated Rs 2.3 million. Douglas made a major contribution to the clubís National Football League triumph last season. ďHe has really lived up to our expectations,Ē a jubilant Mukherjee said.

However, Musah has been with the team for the longest, playing his fourth season this year. ďWhen he is there in the defence, we donít have to worry. He is our Rock of Gibraltar,Ē Mukherjee said.

The club official was, however, effusive in his praise for other players like Mahesh Gawli, who sat out having seen a red card in the semifinal, Debjit Ghosh, M. Suresh, Sur Kumar Singh and, of course, the highly opportunistic Bhutia. African footballers, particularly Nigerians, Kenyans and Ghanians, made their appearance in India in the 1980s, but in recent years a few Brazilians have also made their appearance in Indiaís semi-professional football scene. ó IANS
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IWF a roofless body
Ravi Dhaliwal

THE Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) is literally a roofless body. Despite the fact that the iron sport was the only discipline in which the Indians managed to garner a medal in the Sydney Olympics, the body governing the affairs of the sport in the country has no office of itís own.

Each and every national sports federation, which is affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association, has an office located within the precincts of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at New Delhi which is maintained by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). However, for reasons best known to the SAI officialdom, the IWF is being treated as a poor cousin of other NSFs as it has yet to allocate office space in the stadium and this despite repeated requests from the federation bosses.

These days the federation is busy chalking out plans for the Afro-Asian Games, Senior World Championship slated to be held in Vancouver in November and the Athens Olympics. Due to lack of a proper office to manage itís affairs in a smooth manner, the first casualty has been communication between the federation and itís affiliated units. This was reflected from the low turnout in the national camp held at the NIS at Patiala recently for subjunior and youth weightlifters.

Earlier, when Mr Gopal Khanra was the secretary of the federation, itís affairs were managed from Kolkata, the native place of the secretary. However, when Mr Khanra fell out of favour with the Sports Ministry due to a variety of reasons, the curtain rung down on the Kolkata office.

After the Khanra episode, the IOA constituted a two member ad hoc committee to oversee the functioning of the federation. The committee comprised Mr R.R. Singh and Mr Balbir Singh and all official correspondence was initiated from the residence of the later. Several letters were reportedly sent by the federation to the SAI requesting it to allocate office space. However, not much could materialise as repeated pleas of the federation fell on deaf ears.

Mr H.J. Dora, president of the IWF, who was at the NIS here recently in connection with trials to select Indian squads for the World Championship and the Afro-Asian games, confirmed that the federation had once again written to SAI officials to solve the issue which is slowly acquiring the contours of a controversy.

However, it is not yet clear as to when proper accommodation will be found by SAI at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to accommodate the IWF. Till then, the federation will have to do by operating from itís make- shift office located in the residence of the IWF secretary at New Delhi.
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England owe success to Twenty20 Cup

A lot of credit has been given to the England cricket team for winning the NatWest Triangular Series beating South Africa in the final. Not only did the youngsters play an important role in the victory but at the same time, the Twenty20 Cup might have helped in changing the game of the England players who traditionally have struggled in one-day international tournaments, particularly featuring three or more teams.

No doubt the Twenty20 Cup might have helped the youngsters in getting necessary exposure and to learn the finer aspects of one-day cricket but this is not a good idea for those cricketers who are new to the Test cricket or who are knocking at the door of Test cricket. Consider the example of Virender Sehwag, Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh from India. Exposing these players to such tournaments means sacrificing their potential temperament and to some extent the claim to Test cricket. It has been said that one-day cricket is responsible for destroying the technique and temperament of youngsters for Test cricket. I think every international team has some potential Test cricketers. So the respective cricket boards, including the BCCI, should not allow these players to participate in these Twenty20 type of tournaments.

VINISH GARG, Panchkula

East Bengal's win

My joy knew no bounds when I came to know that East Bengal had won the ASEAN Club Football Championship at Jakarta.

East Bengal is the first Indian club to win an international tournament on foreign soil. They outwitted the Thais by 3-1. India had won the Asian Games gold in 1962 at the same venue. East Bengal lost to the Thais in the league phase by 0-1 but hit back to outwit the rivals 3-1.

Baichung Bhutia was adjudged the 'man of the match'. He scored nine goals in this tournament.

I am sure the day is not far off when our football team will be among the qualifiers for the World Cup and Olympics.

BANSI RAM, Chak Hajipur

Hats off to Smith

Hats off to Graeme Smith, South Africa's youngest skipper, who slammed 259 in the first innings of the second cricket Test against England at Lord's. He is in terrific form and has amassed 621 runs only from three innings. In doing so he has equalled his compatriot Dudley Nourse's 56-year old record for the most runs by a South African in a Test series against England. He also overhauled Sir Gary Sobers' all-time record of 599 runs garnered in three successive Test innings against Pakistan. Besides, he became only the second highest individual scorer in a Lord's Test after former England captain Graham Gooch. To top it all he earned the rare distinction of becoming only the fourth batsman in the history of cricket to hit double centuries in consecutive Tests. Earlier he had notched up 277 at Edgbaston in the first Test. The southpaw's achievement is marvellous. At this rate, he is likely to cross the 1000-run mark in the series. He is leading his side from the front.

TARSEM S BUMRAH, Batala

Kudos to Waugh

Heartiest congratulations to Steve Waugh for becoming the most successful captain in the history of Test cricket. Australia crushed Asian minnows Bangladesh by an innings and 132 runs at Darwin. This is Australia's 37th Test win under the captaincy of Steve Waugh. Steve Waugh overhauled Clive Lloyd's record of 36 Test wins as Windies skipper. Steve also scored the 31st century of his career. Waugh has joined little master Sachin Tendulkar as second-highest scorer of Test centuries. Steve should be honoured for his excellent achievements. He is 38 years old and still giving match-winning performances. He has always contributed his best to the Australian cricket and can still play for another two years. I hope Steve breaks Allan Border's record of highest Test runs.

RAJDEEP SINGH, Phagwara
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