SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Atapattu’s century props up Lanka
Cairns (Australia), July 11
Captain Marvan Atapattu hit a century to lead Sri Lanka to 411 for five on the disrupted third day of the second Test against Australia today, 106 runs behind the home side in the first innings.

Australia's Jason Gillespie bowls on the second day of the second Test in Cairns Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu celebrates his century in Cairns

Australia's Jason Gillespie bowls on the second day of the second Test in Cairns on Sunday.

Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu celebrates his century in Cairns on Sunday.
— Reuters photos

Tendulkar has a "long way to go"
London, July 11
Assuring his fans of many more seasons of exhilirating cricket and rivals of more heartache, Sachin Tendulkar says he is still has a "long way to go" before he hangs his boots. Having made his debut at 16, the Indian batting genius finds himself as the senior-most player in the game at 31 but brushes aside suggestions of a swansong, as yet.

Lakshmipathy BalajiBalaji reveals his superstitious side
New Delhi, July 11
If Sachin Tendulkar religiously puts on his left pad first, it’s the same with boots in case of ever-smiling young pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji.


Steffi Graf of Germany responds to a question at a Press conference before being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
Steffi Graf of Germany responds to a question at a Press conference before being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, in Newport, Rhode Island, on Sunday. Graf is being honored along with Stefan Edberg of Sweden and Dorothy Cheney of the US. —  Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
 

 Ashish NehraInflux of pacers augurs well: Nehra
New Delhi, July 11
The influx of quality pacers in the ranks is a boon for team India, in that it augurs well for bench strength even if it makes a slot in the team a bit more hard to come by, according to Indian left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra.

Chopra should open: Sidhu
Thiruvananthapuram: Former Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu today said he was in favour of Aakash Chopra being retained as the opening partner of Virender Sehwag in Tests.

Brett LeeLee to train at MRF foundation
Sydney:
Desperate to do well in the subcontinent, Australia’s tearaway pacer Brett Lee will head for India next month to get accustomed to the tracks before Australia reaches India for a four-Test series in September. According to Sydney Morning Herald, the pacer will first meet his mentor Dennis Lillee at Brisbane for some basic training and analysis of run-ups and action.

Marion Jones fails to qualify in 100m
California, July 11
Olympic champion Marion Jones has failed to make the 100 metres team for Athens after she could only finish fifth in the US trials. Looking short of her trademark explosive power, Jones clocked 11.14 seconds yesterday as the field pulled away in the final third of the race.




Marion Jones looks at the scoreboard after finishing fifth in the 100 metres final at the US Olympic team trials in Sacramento on Saturday. — Reuters photo
Marion Jones looks at the scoreboard after finishing fifth in the 100 metres final at the US Olympic team trials in Sacramento

Faultless Federer cruises to title win
Gstaad (Switzerland), July 11
Roger Federer filled in a small gap in his impressive career curriculum after emphatically earning his first title at home at the 544,750-euro Swiss Open here today.  The world number one beat Russian Igor Andreev 6-2 6-3 5-7 6-3 to finally claim a Swiss trophy after losing two finals in his hometown of Basel and one here last year in five sets against Czech Jiri Novak. Federer crowned Wimbledon champion for the second straight year a week ago, improved to an impressive 51-4 on the season. He now owns seven titles since January — his entire total for 2003.


Roger Federer of Switzerland raises the trophy after defeating Igor Andreev of Russia in the final of the Swiss Open in Gstaad on Sunday. Federer won the match 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
— Reuters photo
Roger Federer of Switzerland raises the trophy after defeating Igor Andreev of Russia in the final of the Swiss Open in Gstaad

Ferrari's German driver Michael Schumacher celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix Schumacher makes it 10 out of 11
Silverstone (England), July 11
Six-time world champion Michael Schumacher won the British Formula One Grand Prix, the 11th round of the 18-race world championship, for the third time here today.


Ferrari's German driver Michael Schumacher celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire, central England, on Sunday.
— Reuters photo

IHF to embark on talent hunt
New Delhi, July 11
The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) will embark on a talent hunt to bolster its talent pool, which began with the first leg at Imphal today. This talent hunt is to spot promising players in the 18 to 20 age group.

Uruguay's Omar Pouso jumps for the ball under pressure from Ecuadorian striker Alex Aguinaga during their Copa America match in Chiclayo Mexico stun Argentina, Uruguay record win
Chiclayo (Peru), July 11

Argentina were brought back to earth in a 0-1 loss to Mexico at the Copa America and will now clash with 14-time champion Uruguay for a place in the quarterfinals. Uruguay beat Ecuador 2-1 in an earlier match at Elias Aguirre Stadium yesterday and finished atop the Group B standings with Mexico on four points, followed by Argentina with three and Ecuador none. Only 72 hours after pouring six goals on Ecuador, Argentina were whitewashed by a stubborn Mexican defence, despite dominating play.


Uruguay's Omar Pouso (right) jumps for the ball under pressure from Ecuadorian striker Alex Aguinaga during their Copa America match in Chiclayo on Saturday. Uruguay won 2-1. — Reuters photo

Teamwork made National Games a success: Dhindsa
Chandigarh, July 11
It was a thanksgiving ceremony for the state associations, different committees and all others who contributed towards making the 31st National Games organised by Punjab a success. Mementoes were awarded and their efforts lauded at a function organised by the Punjab Olympic Association (POA) yesterday.



Credit Agricole rider Thor Hushovd of Norway reacts as he crosses the finishing line to win the 168-km eighth stage of the Tour de France from Lamballe to Quimper Credit Agricole rider Thor Hushovd of Norway (left) reacts as he crosses the finishing line to win the 168-km eighth stage of the Tour de France from Lamballe to Quimper on Sunday.
— Reuters 


Videos
Kanpur gears up for India-Australia clash.
(28k, 56k)
Indian work to be showcased at Athens.
(28k, 56k)

Top


 

 

 


 

Atapattu’s century props up Lanka

Cairns (Australia), July 11
Captain Marvan Atapattu hit a century to lead Sri Lanka to 411 for five on the disrupted third day of the second Test against Australia today, 106 runs behind the home side in the first innings.

When play was called off for the day at 5.20 p.m. (local time) because of rain and bad light, Thilan Samaraweera was unbeaten on 53 with wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana not out on 30.

Atapattu reached his 15th Test century in the morning session but failed to add to his score after lunch.

The 33-year-old right-hander was dismissed in the first over of the afternoon session for 133, caught at gully by Matthew Hayden off the bowling of Glenn McGrath.

Atapattu, who hit 19 fours and batted for five-and-a-half hours, had put on 124 for the third wicket with Mahela Jayawardene on a good batting wicket.

Jayawardene fell in the next over for 43, miscuing an attempted hook shot off Michael Kasprowicz to be caught by the bowler with the score on 280.

Australia had claimed two wickets for no runs but Samaraweera and Tillakaratne Dilshan guided Sri Lanka safely past the follow-on mark of 318 in a fifth-wicket stand of 65.

Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne picked up his second wicket of the innings, finishing with figures of 2-117, and needs another five to equal Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan’s world record of 527.

Sri Lanka had resumed on their overnight score of 184 for two, with Atapattu on 75 and Jayawardene on nine.

Dilshan fell to Warne for 35 shortly after tea, leaving Sri Lanka on 345 for five. Samaraweera, however, resisted the Australia attack for three hours before the premature close, hitting five fours.

Kaluwitharana was hit on the crest of the helmet by a Jason Gillespie bouncer but continued to play his shots, hammering two boundaries in his 39-ball innings.

The touring side had added 96 runs without loss from 30 overs in the first session to reach 280 for two at lunch.

Atapattu reached his century with a boundary through the covers off the bowling of Gillespie 50 minutes into the day’s play.

His hundred came in 265 minutes from 208 balls with 16 fours.

SCOREBOARD

Australia (first innings): 517

Lanka (first innings):

Jayasuriya c Gilchrist b Gillespie 13

Atapattu c Hayden b McGrath 133

Sangakkara c Gillespie b Warne 74

Jayawardene c & b Kasprowicz 43

Samaraweera not out 53

Dilshan c Kasprowic b Warne 35

Kaluwitharana not out 30

Extras: (b-3 nb-17 w-2 lb-8) 30

Total: (5wkts, 122 overs) 411

Fall of wickets: 1-18 2-156 3-280 4-280 5-345

Bowling: McGrath 28-9-64-1 (nb-3), Gillespie 32-4-110-1 (w-2), Kasprowicz 26-4-104-1 (nb-13), Warne 33-5-117-2 (nb-1), Lehmann 3-0-5-0. — Reuters 

Top

 

Tendulkar has a "long way to go"

London, July 11
Assuring his fans of many more seasons of exhilirating cricket and rivals of more heartache, Sachin Tendulkar says he is still has a "long way to go" before he hangs his boots. Having made his debut at 16, the Indian batting genius finds himself as the senior-most player in the game at 31 but brushes aside suggestions of a swansong, as yet.

"I'm only 31, and there have been players in the past who have started their careers at that age, or even later.

"Hopefully there's still a long way to go," Tendulkar said in an interview to 'Sunday Times'.

Thoughts of retirement do not unduly perturb him either.

"I don't worry about when it will all end, because nothing stays the same in this world. My cricket will have to stop some day. It will be a tough decision, because it's hard to imagine life without cricket. Half my life has been spent playing for India."

And he has a lot of things still to accomplish for his country like ensuring that India start winning more consistently in order to be the "undisputed number two" in the world behind Australia.

"We still have to go to South Africa and do well," he said.

"When we start to win series abroad on a regular basis, then I can say that we are definitely No 2. But right now, there are three or four teams pretty close together - England, New Zealand, South Africa and India. If anyone wants to be the undisputed No 2, they'll have to start winning wherever they go."

Tendulkar described India's historic series win on Pakistan soil in March-April as "massive".

"It happened after almost 15 years, and because of that, it was about far more than just cricket. We were treated wonderfully by the Pakistani people. There had been security concerns earlier, but once we got there, the hospitality we received was remarkable. I don't think we'll ever forget that. The people made it a memorable tour for us." However, on the field, "the rivalry goes back many years, and that makes it exciting. You know that the supporters will celebrate a little more than usual when you win."

Asked about his first visit to Pakistan as a 16-year-old boy, Tendulkar said, "to be honest, I remember little of my first tour of Pakistan. I was just so excited to be part of the Indian team. I just wanted to go out and play as much as possible. Nothing tired me out. And being a food lover, I really enjoyed the cuisine.

"I remember a fair bit of hostility on the field. You expect that, because Test cricket is hard cricket and you're expected to be tough in the middle.

"This time, though, as the senior team member I had a different role to play. I kept telling the boys how exciting it was going to be, and how the memories would stay with them forever. And it turned out that way. — PTI

Top

 

Balaji reveals his superstitious side

New Delhi, July 11
If Sachin Tendulkar religiously puts on his left pad first, it’s the same with boots in case of ever-smiling young pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Revealing it during an interview to CNBC last night, Balaji said: “There is a lot of superstition in the game. Some put on their left pad first and I do the same with my boots. I always wear the left boot first.’’

When pointed out that he did not change the bat he had broken during a match in the series against Pakistan, the young pacer said: “Yes I did not change and continued with the broken bat. Actually I was playing well with that and I did not want to change it.”

The bat was still with him, with autographs from his teammates, he revealed.

Balaji, who let his hair down during the interview, also revealed that he was a great fan of Rajnikant, the superstar from South.

“I carry portable DVDs and watch his movies even during tours abroad. I like his style and the way he presents himself.”

Talking about Hindi movies, Balaji rated Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge as his all time favourite film.

Talking about his Pakistan tour, Balaji said: “It was almost unreal. When I was in the middle, the crowd was shouting slogans. They were singing ‘Balaji zara dheere chalo’...this was great fun.’’

Balaji’s smile and his exploit, especially with the willow, had earned him an admirer in the form of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf.

Meanwhile, when asked what was the best thing he learnt after joining the Team India, the lanky pacer said: “Undoubtedly it was Hindi. I was very poor at Hindi and had problems in communicating in that language. However, I’ve improved a lot and now I’m comfortable with that.”

Saying that he had two great pals in Yuvraj Singh and Anil Kumble, Balaji said: “Me and Kumble share Tamil jokes while we pull each other’s leg in the dressing room. It’s a great atmosphere there.” It was a dream-come-true to play alongside idol Sachin Tendulkar, he said.

Talking about cricket, Balaji said: “I’m working on my batting also and hope to contribute with the bat too. But one should understand that I’m basically a bowler and my contribution with bat would be 15 or 20-odd runs in the slog overs.”

Admitting that he had been receiving lot of mails from his girl fans, Balaji said marriage was not in his mind.

“I’ve one more sister to get her married. Neither me, nor my parents are thinking about it. I’m just 22 after all, he added.” — UNI

Top

 

Influx of pacers augurs well: Nehra

New Delhi, July 11
The influx of quality pacers in the ranks is a boon for team India, in that it augurs well for bench strength even if it makes a slot in the team a bit more hard to come by, according to Indian left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra.

“The best part of it is that one of the medium-pacers getting injured does not hit the team so hard if you have decent back-up,” the lanky pacer told UNI, adding, “All three left armers in the team have distinct qualities and in any case having never been dropped from the Indian side since I made a comeback in 2001, I do not worry about selection.”

The Delhi pacer, having narrowly edged out Ajit Agarkar to the Asia Cup squad, said he had no niggling injuries at present and was raring to help India lift the Asia Cup, which starts in Sri Lanka on July 16.

“We did well in the ICC Champions Trophy a couple of years ago and if we perform like we did in Australia and Pakistan, we will be a force to reckon with,” he said adding, “I would like to find the kind of form that helped me take six wickets versus England in the World Cup.”

Acknowledging that the twin camps at Bangalore and Chennai came as a great boon, with the players keen to shrug off the off-season rustiness, the left armer said, Geoffrey Boycott’s “invaluable tips” stood the team in good stead, during the last phase.

Nehra, who was more into football till the age of 17, said his coach Tareek Sindhe had helped him hone his skills after he started concentrating predominantly on cricket. — UNI

Top

 

Chopra should open: Sidhu

Thiruvananthapuram: Former Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu today said he was in favour of Aakash Chopra being retained as the opening partner of Virender Sehwag in Tests. Asked about the controversy on the issue, he said with Yuvraj Singh in the team, the management could take appropriate decisions on the second opener, “looking at the turns in each game.” 

Sidhu, who is now a BJP MP and a cricket commentator, said he did not think that Rahul Dravid was enjoying his role as wicket-keeper in one-dayers and said Parthiv Patel should be groomed for that role.“We need a batsman-cum-specialist wicket-keeper like Adam Gilchrist. With more exposure, Patel can grow himself into that mould,” he said.

On the contract system for cricketers, he said while fixing grades, performance should also be counted along with seniority. “Grading should not be based merely on age and experience,” he said.

Asked how he was adapting to the new innings in politics, he said, “You cannot have a six on the first ball. You have to take singles and move on to fours.” — PTI

Top

 

Lee to train at MRF foundation

Sydney: Desperate to do well in the subcontinent, Australia’s tearaway pacer Brett Lee will head for India next month to get accustomed to the tracks before Australia reaches India for a four-Test series in September.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, the pacer will first meet his mentor Dennis Lillee at Brisbane for some basic training and analysis of run-ups and action.

Subsequently, the Australian duo will head for India and Lee will train at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, where former India pace spearhead Javagal Srinath would also turn up to help Lee.

Meanwhile, according to Lee’s manager Neil Maxwell, the bowler is likely to play for English county Surrey for about a month after training in India.

Lee also had an offer from Middlesex but will probably join Surrey because of former New South Wales coach Steve Rixon, who is based there.

Lee would have to wait for clearance from Australia coach John Buchanan, the report said. — UNI

Top

 

Marion Jones fails to qualify in 100m

California, July 11
Olympic champion Marion Jones has failed to make the 100 metres team for Athens after she could only finish fifth in the US trials.
Looking short of her trademark explosive power, Jones clocked 11.14 seconds yesterday as the field pulled away in the final third of the race.

Only the top three finishers are guaranteed a place in the team for next month’s games, provided they have met the Olympic qualifying standard.

Jones’s former teammate Latasha Colander won the race in a personal best of 10.97 seconds. The time equalled the second fastest in the world this season.

World champion Torri Edwards was second in 11.02 seconds and collegiate winner Lauryn Williams took the third spot in 11.10 seconds.

Four years ago, Colander won a gold medal with Jones in the women’s 4x400-metre relay at the Sydney games after winning the individual 400 metres final at the trials.

However, this season she has concentrated on the shorter sprints.

Jones, who has been under scrutiny by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) although she has never failed a doping test, will now attempt to qualify in the 200 metres and long jump.

At the Sydney games, she won gold in the 100, 200 and 4x400 metre relay and took bronze in the long jump and 4x100-metre relay.

Jones’s boyfriend and the father of her son, world 100 metres record holder Tim Montgomery, and Olympic champion Maurice Greene were among those making it through the first two rounds of the men’s 100 metres.

Greene won his quarterfinal in 10.06 seconds.

Montgomery, who faces a lifetime ban after being charged with a doping offence by the USADA, qualified fourth in a later race at 10.16 seconds.

World 200 metres champion John Capel and Shawn Crawford ran even faster than Greene. Capel clocked 10.01 seconds to win the second quarterfinal and Crawford took the third race in 10.00 seconds.

In other events, Olympic silver medallist Adam Nelson claimed the men’s shot put title with a heave of 21.64 metres but world indoor champion Christian Cantwell failed to make the team.

Cantwell, who had the four best throws in the world this year, fouled five times and wound up fourth with a best of 20.51 metres. Reese Hoffa stood second at 21.14 metres and three-time world champion John Godina was third at 21.08 metres. — Reuters 

Top

 

Faultless Federer cruises to title win

Gstaad (Switzerland), July 11
Roger Federer filled in a small gap in his impressive career curriculum after emphatically earning his first title at home at the 544,750-euro Swiss Open here today.

The world number one beat Russian Igor Andreev 6-2 6-3 5-7 6-3 to finally claim a Swiss trophy after losing two finals in his hometown of Basel and one here last year in five sets against Czech Jiri Novak.

Federer crowned Wimbledon champion for the second straight year a week ago, improved to an impressive 51-4 on the season. He now owns seven titles since January — his entire total for 2003.

To be honest, when I came here in 1998 as a wild card I never thought I’d be able to win on clay here, said the undisputed current king of the game.

It’s not easy to come straight from Wimbledon. To adapt to the clay from the grass is extremely difficult.”

Federer raced through the first two sets on a day of sun and clouds in the Alps, taking a substantial lead after 45 minutes.

Andreev struck back in the third set to stay in contention after nullifying a break of serve and breaking the Swiss twice to get on the scoreboard with a winning set.

But Federer, willed to victory by an inspired home crowd in chilly 13 celcius conditions, took charge in the fourth set, breaking Andreev for 3-2 as the nervous young Russian double-faulted to yield a third break point chance for the seed. — AFP

Top

 

Schumacher makes it 10 out of 11

Silverstone (England), July 11
Six-time world champion Michael Schumacher won the British Formula One Grand Prix, the 11th round of the 18-race world championship, for the third time here today.

The German Ferrari driver came in for his 80th career victory and 10th in 11 races this season ahead of Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen in a McLaren while Schumacher’s team-mate Rubens Barrichello was third.

British hope Jenson Button was fourth in his BAR Honda. Schumacher sealed victory on the 37th lap when he repeated his earlier feat of coming out of the pitlane just ahead of Raikkonen, who was charging round the pitlane corner, to retain his lead.

Raikkonen was given brief cause for optimism when the safety car came out three laps later after Jarno Trulli’s Renault span violently into a tyre wall, losing one of his tyres in the process which rolled on to the track, spelling pit stops for the Finn and Barrichello. — AFP

Top

 

IHF to embark on talent hunt
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 11
The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) will embark on a talent hunt to bolster its talent pool, which began with the first leg at Imphal today. This talent hunt is to spot promising players in the 18 to 20 age group.

Keeping in mind the preparation for the 2005 Junior World Cup in Holland and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The initial programme will cover Imphal, Ranchi, Rourkela and Lucknow and will have three phases. The second and third phase will be held in August in West, Central and South Zones. The selected players will be absorbed in the national camp starting in September, and will continue till the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

IHF has nominated former Indian captain and Olympian Ramandeep Singh, Romesh Pathania (Air India academy coach) and former Olympian Mukesh Kumar for scouting talent.

All players from the neighbouring states of the centre of trials can also participate in the selection trials.

The venues and dates of the trials are as follows: Imphal: July 11 to 14; Lucknow: July 22 to 24; Ranchi: July 26 to 28; Rourkela: July 30 and 31.

Top

 

Mexico stun Argentina, Uruguay record win

Chiclayo (Peru), July 11
Argentina were brought back to earth in a 0-1 loss to Mexico at the Copa America and will now clash with 14-time champion Uruguay for a place in the quarterfinals.
Uruguay beat Ecuador 2-1 in an earlier match at Elias Aguirre Stadium yesterday and finished atop the Group B standings with Mexico on four points, followed by Argentina with three and Ecuador none.

Only 72 hours after pouring six goals on Ecuador, Argentina were whitewashed by a stubborn Mexican defence, despite dominating play.

In the ninth minute, Ramon Morales bent his 25-metre free kick into the upper right corner and gave goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri no chance, and Mexico held on to beat Argentina for the first time since a 1990 friendly.

Referee Marcio Rezende called the free kick after Argentina’s Luis Gonzalez brought down Jesus Arellano with a slide tackle from behind.

“My boys fought hard for this victory,” said Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe. “I was born in Argentina, but I’ve lived in Mexico for 25 years and this was a game I wanted to win.”

Argentina’s relentless attack frequently threatened to score. In the 16th minute, Luis Gonzalez’s shot flew over the crossbar, and a minute later a Javier Zanetti attempt rolled across the goal area untouched.

But Mexico replied with effective counterattacks midway through the half, and stifled Argentina’s offensive barrage with a sagging defence.

Mexico defender Rafael Marquez constantly shadowed Argentina’s Javier Saviola, who scored three goals in the team’s opener and is the tournament’s leading scorer. Both players are teammates at Spain’s FC Barcelona.

Roberto Ayala nearly tied it in the 58th minute but his powerful header was turned aside in a reflex save by goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.

Earlier, Uruguay’s Carlos Bueno broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 79th minute, poking in a rebound over Ecuador goalkeeper Oswaldo Ibarra for his second goal of the tournament.

Manchester United striker Diego Forlan opened the score for Uruguay on a solo run up the middle and blasted in from 23 metres out in the 61st, but Ecuador replacement forward Franklin Salas equalised in the 73rd minute on a cross from Ulises de La Cruz. — AP

Top

 

Teamwork made National Games a success: Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 11
It was a thanksgiving ceremony for the state associations, different committees and all others who contributed towards making the 31st National Games organised by Punjab a success. Mementoes were awarded and their efforts lauded at a function organised by the Punjab Olympic Association (POA) yesterday.

“Teamwork made it possible,” Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, president of the POA, observed. “Mr IS Bindra, Mr MS Bhullar, Mr Vishwajit Khanna and Mr PS Virk deserve special mention for their excellent efforts which made the sporting extravaganza a grand success.”

“We will be meeting the Chief Minister shortly to sort out various issues related to the betterment of sports in Punjab,” he stated, lamenting, however, that boards and corporations in the state which could do so much for the uplift of sports were not doing their bit.

Mr IS Bindra, general secretary of the National Games Organising Committee, lauded the various committees for their efficiency and efficacy.

“Mr Dhindsa provided a wonderful leadership during the National Games. The entire conduct of the games was made possible because of the state associations which fared remarkably well keeping in view the financial and time constraints,” he said.

“Certain southern states which conducted the National Games had to spend nearly Rs 300 crore. But in Punjab, the games were conducted with a meagre amount of Rs 13 crore,” he stated.

Elaborating further, Mr Bindra said the government's role was restricted to the creation of infrastructure. “Sports has to be run by federations and associations. These are the associations which select teams, provide them coaching and send the players abroad for competitions. So, unless we upgrade state associations, we cannot improve the standard of sports,” he remarked.

“It is the duty of the association concerned to ensure that infrastructure once created should be utilised for 365 days a year. Stadiums should be constructed at places which are easily accessible to players. The facility created must be used on a daily basis,” he emphasised.

“In fact, one of the objectives of the National Games was the creation of sports infrastructure,” he added.

Raja KS Sidhu, secretary-general, POA, appreciated Punjab players, especially in the disciplines of hockey, shooting and wrestling, who had won laurels for the country in various international meets.

Raja Sidhu also made a mention of the efforts being made for the conduct of the inaugural Punjab Games in which team from Punjab (Pakistan) will take part.

He lamented the unavailability of grants for the associations without which it was difficult to run the sports. “Efforts must be made to generate funds,” he said.

Mr Dhindsa awarded mementoes to presidents and secretaries of the state associations. 

Top

 
 BRIEFLY

Otto Rehhagel Rehhagel refuses German offer
Frankfurt:
Greece’s Euro 2004 winning coach Otto Rehhagel has turned down the chance to return home and take charge of the German national team, the German football association (DFB) has said.
The 65-year-old telephoned DFB vice-president Franz Beckenbaueur to inform him of his decision explaining that he intended to honour his contract with Greece, which runs until the 2006 World Cup finals. Germany is on the lookout for a successor to Rudi Voeller, who quit after failing to lead his side into the knockout stages of Euro 2004. Rehhagel follows Ottmar Hitzfeld in turning down the chance to coach the national side. — AFP

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |