The guiding hand
Himmat Rai’s nerves
IN THE NEWS
EURO 2004 FEVER
The guiding hand
HIS eyes twinkle and his build belies his age. His contribution to sports is immense. Dalip Singh has always loved sports and is the guiding hand behind the success of his grandchildren who have started making a name at the national and international levels.
After training athletes and swimmers for the Navy as physical training instructor, Dalip Singh, after retirement, turned to his own family to unearth future athletes.
"I could not steer any of my three sons towards sports as I was preoccupied with my job and lived away from home. Moreover, they had to take care of the land, so they were busy with farming," says the octogenarian. Born in 1920, Dalip was always a sports lover. Studying at Guru Gobind Singh High School, Sarhali, in Kasur district, he participated in every sport till a back injury cut short a promising start. So, he turned to the next best thing, coaching
Since Bapuji, as Dalip Singh is called by his family, has come back, he has groomed three Olympians and five national-level players from the border village Sabrah, 65 km away from Amritsar.
Dalip Singh took his youngest daughter Gurmit under his wing to hone her talent and she went on to represent India in javelin throw at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The same year she was also honoured with the Arjuna Award.
The representation of the family at the Olympics continues as the baton has been passed on to the next generation. Dalip has succeeded with his grandchildren where he failed with his sons, in making them take to sports, and that too big time. Granddaughter Harwant Kaur will travel to Athens to represent the country in discus throw.
It is not only members of the immediate family who are coached by Dalip. Distant relative Rajwinder has followed in the footsteps of her sisters, Kanwaljit and Tejwinder, who were also coached by Dalip.
This ward of 'coach' Dalip Singh will also make the momentous journey to be part of the Olympics. Rajwinder Kaur will feature in the relay team. She also performed creditably at the World Police Games in Barcelona, winning three gold medals.
Dalip has created a sports culture in the house. He does not depend on modern devices for making his wards excercise. Natural flora and farm machinery are used for excercises. Open courtyard is the track. Whatever is around and can be used in the initiative for excellence in the chosen sport is made use of. Natural and wholesome diet is stressed upon. All of Dalip's students have to follow a rigorous schedule. The first step: no lazing around and getting up at 4:30 in the morning. It is for all members of the family. After warming-up excercises everyone has to run. Age has forced Dalip not to join his trainees in their early morning rituals but that is no problem. He keeps an eye on his students.
Himmat Rai’s nerves
WATCHING juniors, sub-juniors and tiny tots in action at the Army Golf Club (AGC) course for four days last week was both satisfactory and delightful. It was satisfactory because a lot of talent was on view. It was delightful because all of them, regardless of their ages, played with a tremendous enthusiasm, unmindful of oppressive heat.
The Nokia Gage Northern India Junior/Sub-junior Golf Championship was a step in right direction to spot and nurture talent. Who won and who lost was of little consequence.
What was of great significance was that majority of youngsters wielded clubs in orthodox style and they showed immense regard for golf etiquette and mannerism. Several golf pundits and professionals were present on the course to watch a budding lot. They were unanimous that the Indian Golf Union had, at long last, taken a right foot forward to promote the game among juniors in an earnest style. It was great for the IGU to seek assistance of the professional outfit, the Tiger Sports Marketing, to manage the tournament. No wonder, juniors got some spotlight although they deserved much more.
Akshay Buta was sitting pretty with a six stroke lead on the penultimate day. But golf, like cricket, could be highly unpredictable. He erred on the final day while Himmat Rai dazzled on the last day to come behind to win the A category (15 years) title by a solitary stroke.
It showed that Rai had nerves of steel at this tender age. This recovery and his maiden title should help him progress faster than his contemporaries.
Rai shot one under-71 and returned the four-day tally to two-over 290, while Buta had tally of 291 and Ajeetesh Sandhu was third at 292.
The tally suggested that the competition was extremely well contested as only one stroke separated winner from runner-up and runner-up from the third placed.
Fatehbir Dhaliwal bagged the B category title, while there was a play-off between Ajay and Rommel Majumdar for the C category title. Ajay won the title as he beat Rommel in the first play-off hole. Ajay parred the hole and claimed the crown.
Viraat Bhadwar was streets ahead of his rivals in the D category. One of the most promising tiny tots, he won his title untroubled. He bagged first place with an astounding lead of 24 strokes.
Nokia’s Chandan Dang and former India Test player Prakash Bhandari gave away the prizes. Bhandari, one of the senior IGU officials was all praise of the players who gave evidence of their promise and potential.
A satisfying day
It was a memorable day for Milkha Singh and several other celebrated cricket players, including Australia’s Allan Border, in the Sunil Gavaskar’s CHAMPS Foundation Meet at Mumbai’s sea-side course.
Most of the retired Test stars, like, Gundappa Vishwanath, Syed Kirmani and former badminton ace Prakash Padukone delighted all present with their keenness and swing of different clubs.
IN THE NEWS
ZINEDINE Zidane was back with his magical footballing skills for France as he single-handedly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in their opening match of the Euro Championships against England. Putting aside a lacklustre season at Real Madrid, Zidane grabbed the two chances that came his way in the dying minutes of the match when England were all but celebrating a victory over their rivals from across the channel.
Zidane's majestic free kick set the match ablaze as Euro 2004 finally burst into life. In a match billed as David Beckham against Zidane, the Frenchman took the honours in style as he coolly converted a penalty in injury time while Beckham had earlier missed one.
Playing in his last Euro Championships, Zidane seems all set to take the defending champions as far as he can and leave his mark on the championships.
The ever-dependable Michael Schumacher and Ferrari continued their winning run at the Canadian Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello made it 1-2 for the red cars after Michael's brother Ralf was disqualified after Williams failed a post-race inspection.
It was 77th career victory and the seventh Canadian title for Michael after he started the race at sixth position, the lowest of the season.
Cairns quits Tests
New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns quit Test cricket after almost taking Kiwis to victory in the third Test against England at Tent Bridge.
He played 64 Test matches, scoring 3320 runs at an average of 33.53. He also took 218 wickets at an average of 29.40. He was only the sixth player to take 200 wickets and score more than 3000 runs in Tests.
Cairns made his debut at Perth against Australia in 1989-90. In his career he scored five centuries and 22 half centuries. His bowling records boast of a 10-wicket haul and 13 five-wicket hauls.
EURO 2004 FEVER
IF Russia win Euro 2004 the players will thank their lucky strip — a nude photo shoot by their wives.
Nine wives and girlfriends undressed for the cameras to encourage their men to win matches at the tournament. Only a strategically placed placard featuring a photo of their partners offered some cover.
Daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda is printing one of the photos on a full page every day hoping they will inspire the players.
"The wives have done their part, now it’s the men’s turn," said freelance photographer Svetlana Yeriklintseva, who came up with the idea for the pictures when the women told her they wanted to lift the team’s spirits after a bad result. They hatched the plan after Russia hit a low in April, losing to Norway — who did not even make the finals — for the first time in their history. Yeriklintseva said it was time to show some beautiful Russians to the public. The women are pictured in graceful black and white poses, with nothing but their man’s picture to protect their modesty. "They cover up more than a mini-dress," said Yeriklintseva.
Among those taking part were Russian captain Alexei Smertin’s wife Larisa, goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov’s wife Inga and defender Vadim Yevseyev’s wife Tatyana.
Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent Svetlana Khrustaleva said some players were reluctant for their partners to pose. But striker Dmitry Bulykin could barely wait for his girlfriend Oksana Kuptsova to strip.
Hopes on Malleswari
IT is highly encouraging to know that Karnam Malleswari is eyeing the Olympic gold at Athens. Thoughts of missing the gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics have been haunting her all these years. She picked up a bronze medal at that time but staged a comeback last year after marriage and childbirth. Made of sterner stuff, Malleswari is bubbling with missionary zeal to raise the bar at Athens. This 28-year-old woman from Andhra Pradesh is now undergoing training at Banglore to get into top gear under Belarusian coach Leonid Taranenko.
As Milton said, " What though the field be lost, all is not lost," Malleswari may yet rewrite record books at the Olympics. Patience, perserverance and persistence always pays.
VIJAY SHEEL JAIN
It was a real treat to watch the final of the French Open. Both Argentinians, 44th ranked Gaston Gaudio and third seeded Guillermo Coria, displayed the best in tennis. Their strokes were packed with power. Their first serves were mostly accurate and not off the mark as is generally the case. Their cross-court placings, drop-shots and lobs were very precise. This final was marked by many long rallies with both contenders moving back and forth and from side to side. In this match lasting over three hours, Coria won the first two sets. However, with grit and determination, Gaudio won the remaining three sets and hence the cup. The fifth set was a real cliff- hanger. It could have gone either way.
After the match they never shook hands. This clearly shows that the incident at 2003 Hamburg Masters— where, after the semifinal which Coria won, they resorted to fisticuffs in the locker-room — is still rankling their minds. I wish they bury the past and come together in doubles which they will definitely win.