August 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India
An award with customs duty
Sachin Tendulkar makes news whether it is for performance on the cricket field or for awards received off it. He, however, would be the last person to have wished to be involved in the controversy raging over gift of Ferrari-360 Modeno given to him by Fiat Motors last year.
sports to fight drug abuse
Improving the game of
with customs duty
Sachin Tendulkar makes news whether it is for performance on the cricket field or for awards received off it. He, however, would be the last person to have wished to be involved in the controversy raging over gift of Ferrari-360 Modeno given to him by Fiat Motors last year. He received it last year on the occasion of his scoring his 29th Test hundred and drawing level with Don Bradman. It was not the gift which was the problem but the elephantine import duty of over Rs 1 crore that created all the furore.
Sachin was not at fault in asking duty exemption from the government. The government too, perhaps falling in line with popular sentiment or so it must have thought, duly obliged. Thereafter seeds of a big controversy were sown. By stepping in to question the duty waiver the Delhi-High Court brought into focus the question of equal rights for all citizens and this act of "profligacy" at a time when the Union Sports Ministry had complained of financial difficulty. It must be remembered that one of the excuses reportedly given by the ministry for restricting the number of Arjuna Awards was lack of money.
There is, however, another perspective which must be always borne in mind. First and foremost Sachin is not the first sportsman to have asked for duty waiver for an award. The government had given Ravi Shastri same benevolent nod when he won the Audi in the Champion of Champions Tournament Down Under in mid-80s. The only difference was that while the Audi had to be won by performance in the tournament Sachin received the car as a gift from Fiat for whom he is a product profile. The government had, if one remembers correctly, granted similar facility to Ramesh Krishnan when he won the Volvo Tournament in the USA years ago.
Sachin’s problem has, it appears, been solved with Fiat coming forward to take the burden of paying the import duty upon themselves. This is a step they could have taken at the initial stage itself when gifting a car free but with an import duty tag of over a crore of rupees. Whatever the merits of the case the issue is resolved now but the Delhi High Court’s intervention does open up a Pandora’s box and makes it imperative for the government to take a firm policy decision in such cases for future.
The court has rightly taken note of the Sports Ministry’s plea for insufficient funds and this is something that needs to be discussed in its proper perspective. The Sports Ministry is part of the government and when it says it does not have money or sufficient funds, it is the government which is obviously short of cash.
For variation in the theme one can also pose the question how a government that is short of cash is more than eager to play host to major multi-discipline sports events. There are so many other ways one can spend this money in this poverty ridden country. The Delhi Government for instance is reported to have no funds for buying trucks to remove the garbage from the dumps in the Capital. The result is that Delhi is stinking all over and can rightly be called the dirtiest capital city in the world. For all the authorities still have money to add to the central funds for the Commonwealth Games to be held in 2010.
Again going back to the question of paucity of funds how is it that the government spends so much money on political dignitaries going abroad for medical treatment. This aspect of it is never easy to understand particularly when the government keeps on harping about going "desi" and when there are so many qualified doctors and top-rate hospitals in the country itself. It is all the more of an irony when one hears of people from developed countries coming to India for treatment. They would not do so if the medical facilities were bad.
In many ways the Delhi High Court’s
intervention on the duty waiver case is to be welcomed. One hopes it
will lead to raising of many other issues, including the frequent trips
abroad by cricketers with injury problems. Surely India has enough
doctors with sufficient knowledge to attend to these cases at home
itself? It is also surprising that only cricketers with injury problems
want to go abroad. Sportsmen and women from other disciplines, some of
which are more injury-oriented, are quite happy to be treated at home.
Punjab cricket has come of age and the state team is amongst the top teams of the country. The state provided three stars — Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Mongia to the Indian team in the just concluded World Cup.
The team has been doing extremely well in the domestic circuit both in the longer and shorter versions of the game despite the absence of the stars doing duty for the country.
The man who has been holding centerstage in the domestic circuit for the state is none other than Pankaj Dharmani who has come up with match winning performances against all kinds of opposition.
Due his consistent performance he has been named ‘cricketer of the year’ by the state.
Born on September 27, 1974 Pankaj Dharmani has been growing in stature with every passing year.
His performance for Punjab from 1999-2003 has been astounding. In 1999-2000 he scored 830 runs at an average of 83, including three centuries one of which was an unbeaten triple hundred.
In 2000-2001 he scored 784 runs averaging 78.40 with three centuries. In 2001-2002 he scored 511 runs averaging 73 with two centuries.
In 2002-2003 he scored 564 runs averaging 70.50 with two hundreds, including an unbeaten double hundred and 27 victims behind the stumps. What else is consistency?
There has always been a clamour for a batsman wicketkeeper and we had to push Rahul Dravid for the job in the World Cup as a stop gap arrangement.
Now when we are planning for our future campaigns against New Zealand and Australia and have chosen a squad of 39 probables for a conditioning and training camp Pankaj Dharmani’s name does not figures in the list.
What prompted the five wise men of
Indian cricket to ignore the cold statistics pertaining to Pankaj
Dharmani? Domestic cricket does not attract Indian stars and the callous
attitude of the selectors towards domestic performance would further
reduce it to a meaningless exercise.
to fight drug abuse
Sports is being adopted as a medium to rescue persons caught in the drug trap in Tarn Taran police district, once considered a mini ‘Khalistan’. The trend of drug consumption has spread among youths of this tiny border town. The district police chief, Mr Narendra Bhargava, said though a number of de-addiction steps had been taken, the notion of holding sports events had produced marvellous results.
Bicycle rallies were organised in various parts of Tarn Taran, including Patti and Bhikiwind, around five months back by the Tarn Taran Police. Later the district police decided to hold a one-day sports event in which more than 250 deaddicted persons, including 15 police personnel, participated.
Mr Bhargava said success of sports meets encouraged them to organise such events more frequently. It was seen as an effective way to bring drug addicts into the mainstream.
However, the task of organising sports events frequently required a large amount of money. Therefore, he said, 170 youth clubs were roped into organise the events. Further, a cluster of 10 youth clubs was constituted for organising one sports activity every Sunday for 17 weeks continuously.
In these sports events, competition in basketball, volleyball, badminton, hockey, football, kabaddi, wrestling and other games are held. To encourage the participants, prizes are given to winners.
Medical examination of these persons before enrolment in the camps revealed that 20 out of a total 350 were found to be HIV positive. Shockingly, a majority of them were married, revealed Mr Bhargava. Taking cognizance of the matter, the department consulted panchayats of the police district and 108 panchayats passed a resolution on World Health Day making it mandatory for youngsters to undergo tests before entering wedlock.
The district police chief said since the commencement of the de-addiction drive, seven cops so far had been booked under the Narcotics Drugs Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act either for possessing banned drugs or conniving with drug peddlers.
"We understood that these measures were not adequate to curtail the drug menace and therefore help of sports and yoga were sought", he added.
Consumption of narcotics, particularly medicines which have the property of intoxication, is on the rise as they are easily available in local stores.
Therefore, the District Magistrate recently passed an order banning the sale of 140 identified drugs at medical stores without prescription by registered medical practitioners. Punitive action is also proposed to be taken against the guilty. He said till now 30 chemists had been booked since the campaign was initiated.
Mr Narendra Bhargava said to make the campaign a success, meetings of drug sellers, teachers and principals of schools and colleges were held and the matter of drug consumption was discussed.
the game of badminton
More than 120 coaches from the badminton world gathered at the International Convention Centre Birmingham for the World Coaches Conference 2003 on August 1 and 2. The conference with the theme ‘Badminton: a thinking game’ provided an opportunity to the participants to learn from eminent speakers, including Morten Frost Director of Performance, Badminton South Africa who made it to eight All-England finals and won the GP finals at Kuala Lumpur in 1984, Gunther Huber, national badminton coach and high performance director, Canada, Kirsten Barnes, consultant sport psychologist and a great rower who won the World Rowing Championship in 1991 and double Olympic gold medalist at Barcelona in 1992, Stephen Baddely European champion and Commonwealth Games gold medalist in 1986, Finn Traerup-Hansen, Performance Director of BA of E, Dan Trevers, National High Performance badminton coach, and Lee Jae Bok, international badminton coach from Korea.
Morten Frost spoke on two subjects: inability of players to change tactics during a match and the importance of mental strength. Talking about the inability of players to change the tactics during a match, Frost said the important aspects of the game included technique (clears, drop shots, sliced shots, smash, accuracy, ability to keep shots in court under pressure and footwork), playing styles and mental strength. An outstanding player evaluates a player during the game and adopts his own game to outwit the good player while a good player, when not doing well in a match simply puts himself out of the match by saying to himself that it is not his day. It is the job of the coach to prepare his trainee. Availability of a sports psychologist is of use to the player as well as the coach. According to Barnes, controlled unconscious or conscious competence helps in making coaching supportive.
Stephen Baddeley opined that intensity in every session of training and consistency were the prerequisites to the making of a great player. Unless a player has a strong mental attitude he cannot reach his best. "Players with strong competitive attitude demonstrate vision, realism, ability to win ‘big’ points and total commitment to winning all the competitive matches from the first point to the last. Players who can achieve these qualities can reach the top level"
Finn Traerup-Hansen discussed various aspects of training and explained exercises in relation to the actual game. He said that it is not the exercise that makes a player but the physical, technical and mental qualities that a player applies to the exercise.
Presenting his paper on the subject of "A thinking game doubles, Dan Travers said a coach should know, before starting his training, whether he has genuine world class players in the court. He can then change his own game accordingly.
Talking about the mental aspect of the game, Mortem said, "It takes great mental strength to stand all alone on the court and take decision that might not have been agreed upon between the player and the coach". Mental toughness is something inside a player while his talent is outside his body and the coach should not be blinded by the outside only. Concluding his address, Morten quoted Gary Player, the golf legend, who once remarked, "The more I train, the luckier I get".
Gunther Huber said badminton was an open skill game in the sense that a player had to adjust his strokes to the type of strokes he received from his opponent. Huber mentioned that decision making depended upon intellectual capacity. Huber said that it was competence and confidence which distinguished a champion from a good player.
Kirsten Barnes emphasised importance of sports psychology in training and developing the mind of the player.
Lee Jae Bok laid emphasis on understanding the game. The coach’s job is to make his pupil understand the facts of the game. Copying the game of renowned stars is not advisable though there is always something to learn from them.
Putting into practice these ideas, and
administrators in India we needed to work hard on the physical aspects,
playing styles and mental strength of our players. I would rather say
that improvement in the mental strength, or call it by any other name,
is of great importance as we have lost many matches when victory was
almost there. Players need mental toughness not in the court but also
before entering the court. A great name can unsettle a player even
before the beginning of game.
Hockey team disappoints
THE Indian hockey team has miserably failed in the Champions Trophy. The team lacked coordination, stamina and penetration. The defence of the team was weak. I do not think Dhanraj Pillay’s men have enough strength to lead the country to victory in any big competition.
The Dutch fireworks in the last eight minutes brought down the Indian team. The team seemed to be playing without any planning, as was evident from the fewer number of penalty corners earned by them.
The Indian team still needs arduous training to match the speed and stamina of European teams.
It is matter of shame that the team conceded as many as 14 goals in four matches.
Gain P. Kansal
It is a matter of great concern that the Indian hockey team, even after registering two title victories at Sydney and Hamburg, and receiving scientific training under Rajinder Singh and his associates, has failed miserably. The team suffered disgraceful defeats at the hands of Holland, Australia and Argentian in the 25th Champions Trophy.
The Indian team also could not succeed in converting short corners despite earning many penalty corners. It succumbed to pressure from the Netherlands after leading 3-0 with only seven minutes remaining for the long hooter. Holland scored four goals in the dying minutes and defeated India 4-3 on August 16. Again India performed poorly while playing with Australia on August 19. Australia routed India 4-1.
Sachin is the Indian hero,
Who makes bowlers look like zero,
His mastery is allround,
To cheers and claps,
He enters the ground;
He is Lord of the game,
In a short span,
He has garnered tremendous fame,
He is a living legend,
For whom it is just the
beginning, not the end.