From riches to rags
Jalandhar, has become a shadow of its former self due to the apathy of
the authorities (un)concerned, reports J.S.
ONCE known as a nursery of international sportspersons, Jalandhar’s Government College (Co-education) is a shambles today as the Punjab Sports Department has gradually brought to a halt the recruitment of budding players over the past several years.
The college has produced international hockey stalwarts like Olympian Surjit Singh, former Indian captain, Olympian Balbir Singh (Jr) and Olympian Harcharan Singh. Anil Kumar Punj, Sajjan Singh Cheema (basketball), Manjeet Singh (football) and Satwant Singh, Jugraj Singh and Bahadur Singh (shot put) were also groomed here to bring laurels to the country.
The failure of the Indian hockey team to win a gold medal for the first time at the 1960 Olympic Games had necessitated the setting up of a special sports college for imparting appropriate training to players. The then Punjab Chief Minister, Partap Singh Kairon, with a view to providing latest training and infrastructure facilities to budding sportspersons, had taken the initiative and the State College of Sports was established here in 1961.
There was a provision to recruit 140 budding players every year. The college was credited with producing hundreds of players of national and international fame.
In 1977, the state government did away with science subjects and renamed it as Government Arts and Sports College, which turned out to be a nursery of sportspersons for the country. Everything was going on well till 1993, when the state government handed over the control of the sports wing of the college to the newly carved out state Sports Department.
The college, spread over 334 kanals along the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road, started losing its sheen after the Sports Department failed to select 140 players for different sports streams. The college, which once boasted of an ultra-modern swimming pool, synthetic track, a gymnasium hall and a hockey ground, was left to the mercy of the Sports Department.
The department, citing paucity of funds as a major reason, had recruited 44 players as against a sanctioned strength of 140 in 1998-99, 43 in 1999-2000, 46 in 2000-01, 25 in 2001-02 and 35 in 2002-03.
However, the department failed to ‘spot’ talented players during the past about two years and as a result no player has been recruited since then. According to sources, the state government needs to release Rs 3 lakh per year to support and groom 140 players.
"It is a sorry state of affairs. Though the Sports Department is funding players of academies and sports wings of various educational institutions all over the state on its own and is making efforts to get players sponsored by national or multi-national companies, it is not keen to spend money for the promotion of sports in the college," laments Karamjit Kaur, a senior lecturer of the college.
The college authorities also allege that various state and Central Government departments, including Punjab Police, BSF and PAP, do not pay any user charges for using sports infrastructure facilities to impart training to their players and for holding competitions.
The Director, Sports Department,
Punjab, Mr Kartar Singh, admitted that the state government had failed
to release requisite funds despite the orders of state Chief Secretary
Jai Singh Gill to expedite the case. "We have already sent the case
to the Secretary, Higher Education, for the release of grant and a
formal nod is still awaited," he said.
BULGARIA'S Sesil Karatantcheva was a winner all the way at the French Open, even though she lost in the quarterfinal to Russia’s Elena Likhovtseva. The 15-year-old, who won the junior title at Roland Garros last year, was the sensation of the tournament. Ranked 98th, she beat world number 90 Alyona Bondarenk in the first round, then upset No. 19 seed Shinobu Asagoe of Japan in the second.
In the third round, she caused a big flutter by scalping 13th seed Venus Williams. Even before her match against the Bulgarian, Venus had stated that today’s young pretenders like Karatantcheva were mentally much more solid than she was at their age.
When Karatantcheva defeated Emmanuelle Gagliardi in the pre-quarters, she was tipped by some to become the youngest Grand Slam winner of all time. (Monica Seles was 16 years and six months when she beat Steffi Graf to win the French Open in 1990).
Her dream run was brought to an end by
Likhovtseva, but she did not go down without a fight. It was easily her
best performance in a Grand Slam event, bettering by a long way her
first-round exit at the 2004 US Open and the 2005 Australian Open. Here’s
looking at you, kid.
SHIVNARINE Chanderpaul might have been the man of the match in the Bridgetown Test against Pakistan, but it was fast bowler Fidel Edwards who laid the foundation of a much-needed West Indian victory.
It was heartening to see a Caribbean paceman rip through the opposition, reminding one of the days when speedsters like Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Curtley Ambrose used to wreak havoc on batsmen.
The 23-year-old Barbadian picked up five wickets for 38 runs to skittle out Pakistan for 144 in the first innings. This effort was just short of his best haul, 5 for 36 against Sri Lanka on his Test debut at Kingston two years ago, a match which the West Indies went on to win.
In the second innings, Edwards
dismissed opener Salman Butt for a duck before a hamstring injury forced
him to take no further part in the match. His match figures were six for
38 from 15.2 overs. The future looks bright for this young bowler,
provided he can keep himself match fit. Edwards may well prove to be the
potent paceman the West Indies have been badly missing ever since
Courtney Walsh left the scene. — V.J.
HE has been Dronacharya for several potential Arjunas. Meet Patiala-based Balraj Virk, a top coach in a sport where accuracy and consistency count the most — archery.
His objective is to promote the development of archery in the northern region. Virk, whose hobbies include reading archery magazines and playing basketball, is employed with Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
Many of his trainees were selected for the World Universities Archery Championship held at Barcelona in July last year.
Balraj, who shortlisted 123 budding archers through a talent scouting programme initiated by the Sports Authority of India in Ladakh and Kargil, believes that modern technology might have advanced equipment due to which there have been minor alterations in rules, but basically the sport still retains its traditional flavour.
Virk, who coached the GNDU girls team that won the bronze medal in the All-India Inter-University Meet held at Jamshedpur recently, has several achievements to his name as a player. A student of Government Mohindera College, Balraj excelled in several editions of the National School Games. The icing on the cake came when Balraj bagged the gold medal in the difficult Olympic round in the junior nationals held at Meerut, 1995.
Once his salad days as an archer were over, the youngster chose to make his mark as a coach. Despite being well aware that coaching in a highly technical sport like archery was a tough job, Balraj did his diploma in sports coaching from the SAI’s eastern centre in Kolkata.
Dempo did it with grit
KUDOS to Dempo for winning their their maiden National Football League title. In their last league encounter, they beat Tollygunge Agragami 2-0 to increase their points tally to 47, leaving defending champions and title aspirants East Bengal behind.
The match was keenly contested but the first half remained barren despite efforts by the two sides to gain ascendancy. However, in the second half, Dempo changed gears to raise the level of their game. Consequently, RC Prakash and Ranty Martins netted in the 56th and 78th minutes, respectively, to seal the fate of the match.
With the NFL title in their kitty, Dempo achieved the unique distinction of winning the Federation Cup and the NFL crown in the same year. Their success in the NFL is attributable to their amazing resilience after the tragic death of their Brazilian star Cristiano Junior during the Federation Cup final. Their steely resolve to keep the club’s banner flying high as a mark of respect to their departed team-mate gave the Goan outfit immense strength to face the NFL challenge. They did it superbly by claiming the winner’s purse of Rs 40 lakh.
Tarsem S. Bumrah, BATALA
No sports complex
There is no sports complex of note in the ever-developing town of Mohali. Though many delegations have approached the authorities concerned from time to time to get land allotted for the purpose, all pleas had fallen on deaf ears. This demand, which was raised at the time of the town’s inception, has still not been met.
Shamsher Singh, Mohali
The BCCI deserves a pat on the back for appointing Greg Chappell as the Indian cricket team coach. He was a superb and dashing batsman in his days. Chappell could prove much more beneficial to the Indian team than John Wright because the former was a much better cricketer.
Of course, he will have to work hard for boosting the morale of the Indian players, which is now quite low. All players must give him due respect and follow his instructions as now it is his responsibility to put the team back on track.
Subhash C. Taneja, Rohtak
Regarding the write-up on Asian gold medallist Parduman Singh (Saturday Extra, May 21), it was shocking to learn about the former champion’s pitiable condition. It is sad that the government is meting out callous treatment to heroes who won laurels for the country.
I remember Parduman’s days of glory when he bagged gold medals in shot put and discus throw in the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo. I was studying in Class VIII at Patiala and had the opportunity to watch him from close quarters. Parduman, along with Milkha Singh and Leela Ram (wrestler), were on a military tank which passed through the bazaars of the city.
The government should come to the aid of this athletics great at the earliest.
Bansi Ram, Garhshankar