girls go places
Clive’ at his worst
IN THE NEWS
where girls go places
BACK in 1988, the Punjab Government scrapped sports wings in all schools of the state. Ten years later, it restored the wing in a school in recognition of its contribution to sports. This institution was Government Girls Secondary School, Kairon, in the border tehsil of Patti, which has produced over 60 national and international players in its 88-year-long history.
Today, the school is running a sports wing without a government-appointed coach. The school has on its own employed three coaches, one each for hockey, basketball and athletics. The wing has a strength of about 50 girls.
The school, located in the area once infamous as the hotbed of militancy, has been producing quality players irrespective of the circumstances.
The unflinching faith of parents, efforts of the staff and the keen interest of Principal Gurmit Kaur Sekhon, this year’s President Award winner for commendable service in education and related fields, has helped the school to maintain its reputation for decades, even during the dark days of terrorism.
Kairon village, famous for producing the first Chief Minister of Punjab, Pratap Singh Kairon, is perhaps the only border village which has a girls school with a hostel.
The school, where as many as 400 girls reside, has also maintained its superiority in the state games in disciplines like basketball, hockey and athletics for the past many years.
One of its students, Mandeep Cheema, studying in plus one, missed the bronze medal by a whisker in the 400 metres race in the Junior Asian Athletics Meet held in Malaysia last year. She had secured the fifth position in the event in the Junior World Athletics Meet held in Canada in 2003.
Earlier, the school produced three players who represented the country in several international tournaments. Gursimran Kaur Laddi, Shashi Jaggi and Baljit Kaur brought laurels not only to their alma mater but also to their country.
Gursimran, a basketball player, was a member of the national squad. Shashi Jaggi played in the Indian hockey team in the early 1990s. Baljit Kaur, a tug-of-war player, participated in several international events.
Another student, Sarabjit Kaur, set a record in hammer throw in the 2001 National Games.
The school was one of the first two girls schools to be established in the state during the British rule, the other being in Lahore.
Maharaja Bhoopinder Singh of Patiala, grandfather of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, laid the foundation stone for the school in 1916. Built over 13 acres, the school was upgraded to the middle level in 1918 by the District Board, Lahore. In 1957, the Punjab Government made it a high school, in 1961 higher secondary and in 1986 senior secondary.
For promoting sports among rural girls, the school was granted the status of sports wing in 1974. "It helped immensely in making sports flourish in the region," says Ms Sekhon, who has been associated with the school since 1972.
Clive’ at his worst
NOW we have seen it all. The ICC’s plenipotentiary Clive Lloyd issued a statement in Johannesburg reproving media commentators who had aired the opinion that on-field umpires should have referred a controversial catch to the third umpire.
What the former skipper of the all-conquering West Indies team of the 1980s is saying is that the ICC is the veritable God of the destiny of cricket. But he never thought so when as captain he cynically exploited the race card as well as a pace quartet in tactics which cared not for the niceties of the genteel game.
We know Lloyd now as the pro-active match referee who gives short shrift to players who act in a cavalier style against the spirit of the game. He once went to the extent of suspending Sourav Ganguly for a slow over rate on a dewy evening at the Eden Gardens. As irony would have it, Lloyd is the man who cared a fig for over rates when he ran his pace machine relentlessly.
Such rigorous rules of conduct were not there in Lloyd’s playing days. But it is apparent he is stretching things a bit far when he interprets the job of cricket’s ambassador as that of a big brother dealing with recalcitrant kids. The arbitrator’s ruling showed what the law thought of his action in pedantically disciplining a Test captain.
If this trend goes unchecked, Lloyd might start telling journalists what opinions to hold or even how to write their reports, or better, he might start handing out an ICC essay on each day’s play so that readers of newspapers around the world may be better educated about the game.
Lloyd’s ire always seems to rise in defence of umpires. What shambolic work some members of the tribe in white coats dish out these days is made clear by revealing television. Just the other day, the umpires made a hash of things by not allowing play to proceed at the Wanderers when the sun was shining brightly.
Lloyd fined England captain Michael Vaughan his entire match fee for merely stating that there were too many inconsistencies in the action of the umpires regarding the state of the light. He might not have considered for a moment that the senior umpire in the game Steve Bucknor may have added some more to an expanding history of poor decisions in most recent times.
Having emerged from the gripping
poverty of Guyana in its colonial as well as post-colonial history,
Lloyd flowered in the liberal atmosphere of Lancashire. One would have
thought his role model would have been a Martin Luther King or a
Mandela. What is most shocking is such a man who decimated the monopoly
of the Anglo- Saxons in cricket should now think more like Goebbels in
the era of the Nazis. — UNI
Swedish football team Assyriska is a household name for Assyrians around the world.
So when it played for a spot in Sweden’s premier division, Ninos Gawrieh and some 30 friends huddled around a television in a house in the Syrian town of Kamishly, cheering it on.
Thousands of other people around the world were also watching the game, hoping that the team would cap its 30-year history with promotion and a hint of glory for the scattered minority whose name it carries, the Assyrians.
"Assyriska feels like a national team for the entire group," said club chairman Zeki Bisso.
"For all of us who were oppressed in our home countries for many years ... this felt superb, it was something every Assyrian wanted to take pride in," he said.
A Christian minority from the historical region of Mesopotamia between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris in the Middle East, the Assyrians have never had a state of their own, living mainly in Syria, Iraq and Turkey.
They say hundreds of thousands of their forebears were killed in the Turkish Ottoman Empire during World War One, alongside 1.5 million Armenians and other Christian minorities. Turkey denies accusations of genocide.
Assyrians have spread across the globe since, although many still live in Iraq and Syria.
"There has been quite a lot of confusion and loss of identity, which makes this football club something that is finally positive and uniting," said David Gaunt, a history professor at Sodertorn University College in Stockholm.
Assyriska was formed in 1974 as part of a club for a growing number of Assyrians who had moved to Sodertalje in central Sweden.
It has come a long way from the 1975 season when it failed to notch up a single point in the country’s seventh division and was outscored by 101 goals to 11.
It clinched its premier league place after a nail-biting season, which finished with a twist.
Assyriska lost their chance for a top spot when rivals Orgryte scored a winning goal in extra time in the second of two legs of a play-off.
A day later, the Swedish Football Association gave Assyriska a premier league place after all when it relegated another top division club, Orebro, because of poor finances.
Assyriska will get no free ride in the 2005 premier league season, which kicks off in April.
Sania Mirza had nothing to lose at the Australian Open. Not many would have been disappointed had she crashed out in the first round. However, this 18-year-old Hyderabadi girl had other ideas. In the course of just three days, she rewrote Indian tennis history and became the toast of the nation.
Inspired by the blessings of her parents, who were praying in Mecca while she was playing in Melbourne, and the support of friends like Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania became the first Indian woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam event.
Sania staged a superb comeback to down 294th-ranked Cindy Watson 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the first round. That she beat an Australian girl on her home turf made the victory even more remarkable.
In the second round, she stunned Petra Mandula of Hungary, ranked 84th, in straight sets. With this performance, she surpassed Nirupama Sanjeev, who had entered the second round in the 1998 Australian Open. Sania, who had improved her ranking from 399 to 169 in only one year, moved into the top 130 with her twin wins.
Sania was plain lucky to play in the Open. A wild card was reserved for the winner of the Asian Tennis Championship, in which she finished runner-up to Li Na of China. However, Li made it to the main draw by virtue of her high ranking (78) and Sania got the all-important card. But once she was in Melbourne, she could not rely on her luck alone. It was her racket that had to do the talking. And it did. Photo: AFP
Sisters Anuja Thakur (picture) and Meenal Thakur were having a ball at the National Billiards and Snooker Championship in Mumbai last week and looked on course for the billiards title clash. However, Meenal was upset in the semifinal by R. Uma Devi. Like a true sister, Anuja avenged the defeat by beating Uma convincingly in the final. The Maharashtra girl retained her title to complete a hat-trick of crowns.
Anuja, however, could not repeat the show in the snooker tournament. The world No. 3, who reached the World Snooker Championship semifinals in Holland on debut, was stunned by Vidya Pillai in the semifinal. Defending champion Meenal reached the final but failed to perform the ‘sister act’.
Keep it up, Bangladesh
Congratulations to Habibul Bashar, captain of the Bangladesh cricket team, and his team-mates for winning the first Test match against Zimbabwe. It was their first victory after gaining Test status in 2000.
The Bangladesh team is shaping up well and improving with every match. Earlier, they put up a good show against the Indian team. They should keep up the good work.
Subhash C. Taneja
Kudos to Slovakia for winning the Hopman Cup convincingly. They drubbed Argentina 3-0 in the final to annex the cup for the second time. The pair of Daniela Hantuchova and Dominik Hrbaty gave them a headstart by winning their respective singles.
The Argentines, Gisela Dulko and Guillermo Coria, were beaten fair and square, conceding an unassailable 2-0 lead to their opponents who showed no mercy in wrapping up both singles.
When it came to the mixed doubles, it was all over for Argentina as their world number seven Coria could not take the field because of a sore back. The resultant walkover sealed their fate, handing the Cup deservingly to the Slovaks.
Tarsem S. Bumrah