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Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards
Surprises galore in govt's screening committee list
Sarpanches, persons without sports background in
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, June 17
Sports, it seems, is the unwanted baby of the Punjab Government. This is reflected from the fact that the screening committee of ‘eminent sportspersons’ prepared by the Punjab Government to select the state's finest sportsmen for the prestigious Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards has some individuals sans any sports background.

Interestingly, the Punjab sports department had drawn up a list of reputed sportspersons and had forwarded the same to sports minister Gulzar Singh Ranike. However, that list was rejected in its entirety and a fresh list was drawn up which includes a couple of sarpanches from the minister’s Assembly segment and some other people with no sports background whatsoever.

The screening committee list includes the name of Bhagwant Singh Kasil, sarpanch of Kasil village falling in Amritsar district, home district of the minister. Another ‘eminent’ sportsperson in the screening committee is an executive engineer of the Punjab public health department. It is this screening committee that will spot Punjab's best sportspersons for the year 2007-08 for the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards, which have a lot of glamour and prestige attached to it.

The screening committee also includes yet another sarpanch of an Amritsar village and four ‘sportspersons’, some of whom belong to Attari, the minister's Assembly segment.

The committee also includes the name of body builder and former ‘Mr Universe’ Prem Chand Dogra. However, the discipline of bodybuilding is not included for the awards.

Officials of the Punjab sports department disclosed that the screening committee list was finalised by the sports minister himself.

Ranike defended the decision to include sarpanches in the screening committee by saying, “Since sports should flourish at grass roots level, it was necessary to include sarpanches in the screening committee."

Director (sports) Pargat Singh disclosed that the initial screening committee list included the names of some famous sportspersons and was to be headed by ADGP and Basketball Federation of India president R.S. Gill. However, he refused to comment on the minister's decision to include people with no sports background in the list.

The awards will be given in 28 Olympic disciplines and cricket.

Meanwhile, Pargat also disclosed that he had recommended that handicapped persons be given representation in the awards. He added that the Chief Minister was yet to take a decision on his recommendations.



Shopkeepers down shutters to protest raid
Tribune News Service

The shopkeepers hold a dharna in Ambala on Tuesday.
The shopkeepers hold a dharna in Ambala on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Ambala, June 17
Continuing their agitation for a second day today, shopkeepers of Ambala Cantt downed their shutters till late afternoon.

Leaders from the leading political parties sat on a dharna till about 2 p.m. Slogans were raised against the administration and the local government demanding the suspension of the sanitary inspector Rishi Raj Gautam.

Hundreds of cunsumers were inconvenienced due to the shut down. The Cantt market is frequented by many travellers from Ambala as it is near the railway station and the bus stand. The market also caters to the Army and Air Force as it is based in the cantonment.

Ex-MLA Anil Vij and local MLA D.K. Bansal along with Heera Lal Yadav of the INLD and Ravinder Dhawan of the BJP sat at Sadar Chowk agitating against yesterday’s incident.

DSP Ambala Cantt Rajesh Kumar and naib tehsildar Chander Prakash reached the Sadar Chowk, where the agitation was taking place. On behalf of the deputy commissioner, Chander Prakash stated that the DC had assured that the sanitary inspector would be transferred. Chander Prakash also assured that the FIR against the shopkeepers which had been filed yesterday would be dropped.

Devinder Singh Kohli, Halwai Association president, stated that they would not tolerate the highhandedness of the sanitary inspector. He, along with others, demanded that in case of a raid, the inspector should not throw their stuff as it gave a bad impression.

Talking to TNS, sanitary inspector Rishi Raj Gautam stated that if he didn’t take stringent action, then there was a chance of shopkeepers selling their items again.

The shopkeepers of Ambala held a dharna yesterday following the alleged misconduct of the inspector, after a few sweet shops were raided.



Authorities ignore residents’ demand for bridge
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, June 17
Residents of Tipra colony, near Kalka, have been longing for a bridge for more than two decades as monsoon leads to waterlogging problem here every year.

The colony, which has over 2,500 families, gets cut off with the rest of the district when it rains heavily. A bridge on Sukhna river, connecting Kalka, was washed away about two decades ago and no official agency has bothered to get it reconstructed since then, said the residents.

Residents have alleged that though the department of PWD (B&R) had completed the work of bridges at Majra Mehtab and Paploha river, they have ignored their demand.

Residents have claimed that they had brought the matter personally to Om Prakash Chautala, the then Haryana Chief Minister. A delegation also approached Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda during his visit to Mango Festival at Pinjore and during his visit to Kalka. But nothing happened despite the assurances. 



Finally, Urban Estate gets a club
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 17
The posh Urban Estate locality, promoted and developed by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA), is all set to get a new club.

The club was inaugurated on Monday by chief administrator of PUDA Om Parkash, who lauded the initiative of the PUDA officers in setting up the club. He announced all possible government help to the club.

Additional chief administrator of PUDA Manjit Singh Narang, who is also president of the club, said as of now there were 435 members and the enrolment was still on. The membership was likely to touch the 3,000 mark, he added.

He stated that 2.5 acre of land had been earmarked for the club of which 1.75 acre would be covered by the building that would approximately cost Rs 2.25 crore. The rest of the land would be utilised for constructing an ultra modern swimming pool.

Manjit Singh Narang further said the project of setting up a club in the locality has been hanging fire due to procedural impediments. He said finally, the things had been pushed and the club was taking shape. Although the building of the club is under construction, the club has started functioning from Community Centre. The infrastructure would be developed with the revenue generated from the membership fee, he added. The fee for Urban Estate residents was Rs 15,000 while for residents of other PUDA colonies like Phulkian Enclave, it was Rs 25,000.

Narang said the additional chief administrator of the PUDA would be the honorary president of the club while the estate officer would be its honorary secretary. The executive, however, would be an elected body.

Narang said their endeavour would be to make the Elite Club one of the best clubs in the region.

S.K. Ahluwalia, divisional commissioner, Patiala, assured that the Patiala Kala Parishad, of which he is the patron, would take care of the cultural activities of the club. With deputy commissioner D.S. Grewal assuring his patronage to the club, the Elite Club is bound to become one of the leading clubs of the region. 



Satluj beat St Xavier’s
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 17
Amanpreet Singh’s fine half-century (54 runs) enabled Satluj Panchkula team to beat St Xavier’s Panchkula team by 70 runs in today’s first match of Satluj Monsoon Cup under-16 cricket tournament. The tournament is being played at Satluj Public School, Sector 4, grounds here.

Satluj Public School won the toss and decided to bat first. They made 176 runs at the loss of 9 wickets in 25 overs. While chasing the target, St Xavier’s made 106 all out in 23 overs. In today’s second match, Bhawan Vidyalya beat Himalyan Riders. Bhawan Vidyalya made 270 with the loss of 3 wickets in 25 overs and Himalyan Riders were all out at 100 runs in 23 overs.

Brief score: Satluj Public School: 176/9 in 25 overs. Amanpreet Singh 54, Gaurav Tandon 57, Ayush Jatana 3/38, Shubam Rana 2/25.

St Xaviers School, Sector 20: 106 all out in 23 overs. Ayush Jatana 25, Shubham Rana 23, Sajit Nagrath 4/20, Ankush Dhariwal 3/18, Harpreet Singh 2/6.

Bhawan Vidyalya: 270/3 in 25 overs. Devrat 52, Shivadeep 54, Vishu 36 not out, Naman preet 28, Akash 3/22.

Himalyan Riders: 100 all out in 23 overs. Rahul 37, Yuvraj 24, Shubham 2/14, Harpreet 3/19, Devrat 2/2.



National junior golf camp concludes
Anish, Jaipreet corner glory
Donald Banerjee

Chandigarh, June 17
Anish Gupta and Jaipreet Ghuman cornered glory in the nine-hole stroke play event on the concluding day of the first national junior camp organised by the Chandigarh Golf Association in association with the Professional Golfers’ Association of India and the Indian Golf Union on the greens of the CGA Golf Range here today.

This fifth national camp sponsored by the Lalit Suri Fondation saw 72 golfers from 7 to 17 years slogging it out under the watchful eyes of the only grade A golf coach of the region Jessie Grewal. The 10-day camp that concluded today saw keen competition among the juniors in the pitch and putt round as well as long driving, putting chipping and bunker play. The participants were divided into 12 and and 13 under and above age-groups.

The camp attracted three golfers from Kapurthala and two from Patiala. Besides, 10 caddies were also included in the coaching camp free of cost. Sponsored by the Lalit Suri Foundation, the first national camp was held in Mumbai. The Chandigarh camp was the fifth in the national camp circuit.

In the nine-hole stroke play event conducted on the stableford system, Jaipreet Ghuman logged 17 points to emerge clear winner in the girls' 13 and above group, with Shivali Aggarwal finishing seven points behind.

The boys' 13 and above event was keenly contested with Anish Gupta triumphing with 19 points. Seventeen-year-old caddie Rakesh occupied the second slot just one point behind. Eleven-year-old Javin Sant was the only junior golfer to score a hole-in-one on the ninth hole.

The juniors were happy with the coaching they received from Jessie and his assistant coach Mahesh Kumar, a class B teaching professional. Both Jaipreet and Shivali said they had improved on the swing and had benefited from the camp. They hoped that more such camps would be held.

CGA general secretary J.S. Cheema, who gave away the prizes, said the association was selecting promising players from the coaching camp for an advance junior programme. He thanked the PGAI and the Lalit Suri Foudation for selecting the Golf Range as the venue for the camp.

The results:

Putting: 12 and under: Ikradeep Ghai 1, Javin Sant 2; 13 and above: Rishi Arora 1, Prabhdeep Ghai 2.

Chipping: 12 and under: Prajwal 1, Natasha Gill 2; 13 and above: Rakesh Kumar 1, Dhruv D. Kumar 2.

Bunker: 12 and under: Sartaj Singh 1, Swaraj Singh 2; 13 and above: Anish Gupta 1, Rahul Kumar 2.

Long drive boys: 12 and under: Keerat Dhillon 165 yards, Akkshay Mahajan 163 yards; 13 and above: Rishi Saini 262 yards, Zubin Nijhawan 261 yards

Long drive girls: 12 and under: Natasha Gill 145 yards, Jessica Jolly 140 yards; 13 and above: Jaipreet Ghuman 170 yards, Shivali Aggarwal 
158 yards.

Nine-hole stroke play boys: 12 and under Javin Sant 1, Tejaswi 12; 13 and above: Anish Gupta 1, Rakesh 2.

Nine-hole stroke play girls: 12 and under: Jessica Jolly 1, Anaanya Dagar 2; 13 and above: Jaipreet Ghuman 1, Shivali Aggarwal 2.

Hole-in-one: Javin Sant.



Sportsperson awaits recommendation to Olympics
Jashan Gill/ Parminderjit Singh

Chandigarh, June 17
The statistics of India in Olympics is a blemish on her face. Excluding hockey, which is a team game, there are only 15 medals won by Indian sportspersons individually since 1900. Such an insignificant number of medals for more than a billion!

It is a matter of humiliation for sure. Unfortunately, Indian sports authorities do not seem to be bothered by the fact. They do not care to change the dismal picture and do not pay any heed to hunt and hone the real talents that can bring glory to the nation.

One such talent lives in Jamawari village near Hansi, Haryana. Practicing Ayurvedic doctor Rattan Dev Jangra (55) has passion to win a medal for India in Olympics. Given the kind of practice routine he has and fortitude and perseverance, the task does not seem impossible. But in India, reality is that more than just sportsmanship. Funds and political approach are what matter. Unfortunately, this sportsman par excellence is not a rich man.

Jangra has qualified for front walk-50km event for Beijing Olympics 2008. He cleared the trails held at Jawaharlal Stadium as Chennai from May 21-23. That very day he talked to the Sports Authority of India for funding his expenses to go for Olympics that will range between Rs 1-2 lakh. Rather taking his responsibility, the authorities suggested that he should knock the doors of private sponsors. He pleaded to Sahara India and Adidas, but to no avail. “I have sent a letter to Sahara at their Lucknow office and to Adidas at Gurgaon on May 28. But I didn’t get ant reply. Government and these sports companies spend millions on star players but they will not help a player who actually needs their support,” said a disillusioned Rattan Dev.

To his credit, Rattan Dev has beaten the record of Swat Harden of the US in 1999, in backward foot march. He covered a distance of 164 km from Gujri Mahal to Rajghat in Delhi in 48 hours and 20 minutes. Guinness Book of World Records Authorities had invited him, but that time also, government and private sponsors failed to provide him financial assistance. Though Guinness Book Of World Records registered the record in 2000.

Now when he has qualified for Olympics, he does not want to take chances. “If the Haryana Government does not officially recommend me this time, then I will for sure sit on dharna in front of the Rashtarapati Bhavan and Prime Minister’s office. This time I will not let injustice happen to me.”

This is not only Rattan Dev’s story but of thousands of such sportspersons who remain obscure even after proving their talent. “Today, only those can make it to the top who have political approach. If I will start kowtow in ‘sarkari daftars’, then they may hear me but I cannot fall to such levels. I will reach my goals with my caliber,” says an optimistic Rattan Dev.



Treat all games equally, says weightlifting coach
Gagan K. Teja
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 17
Weightlifting is one game which has brought fame to India time and again. Weightlifters have always proved their mettle in various international competitions. For Arjuna awardee Paramjit Sharma, enthusiastic and ambitious weightlifting coach, promotion of the game is all that matters. He is an international-level player himself and has trained the Indian weightlifting team for five years.

His list of achievements is unending, both as a player and coach. He has won three gold medals in the 14th Commonwealth Games that were held in 1990 and created a new record.

He was also the South Asian Weightlifting Champion and won a bronze medal in the Asian Championship. He has been the flag-bearer of the Commonwealth Games and won one gold and silver in the Silver Dragon Meet that was held in the UK.

He retired from the Army as a Captain. During his service, he won the Services gold medal 15 times and has been the best national lifter twice.

He also earned fame as a coach.

He has been training Army and Services team and his teams have emerged champions in various tournaments. The team that represented India in the 2003 Commonwealth Games also won gold medal under his leadership.

Presently, he is training the Punjabi University weightlifting team. He is very happy with the facilities being provided by the university.

On being asked about the future of weightlifting in India, he said he was very positive about the growth of the game. “Inspite of winning various medals, the Central Government is not providing sufficient aid to our game. Now days, all people talk about is cricket and other games are not paid any attention.”

“I have nothing against cricket. I am happy for the youngsters who have made it big because of the craze cricket enjoys worldwide. But I want the government to acknowledge our achievements and provide us with better facilities so that we can improve our performance and win a medal for India in Olympics,” he said.

He further said his current aim was to win a medal in 2010 Commonwealth Games that are slated to be held in Delhi. For this purpose, he is training players at two centres, Punjabi University and Polo Ground.

“Most of my students come from economically weaker sections. I don’t want them to lag behind because of the want of funds. The government should treat all games equally and provide equal opportunities to all players,” he added.



AITA: Ashish upsets top seed Kamal Kishore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Simran Wadhwa of Delhi ousted Apekshita Alkesh in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 in second round of under-12 girls’ category while wild card entrant Ashish Sharma of Rajasthan caused the biggest upset by toppling top seed Kamal Kishore Maderana, also of Rajasthan, by 5-4 (4), 5-3 in the boys under-16 first round match of the AITA Talent Series Tennis Tournament at CLTA Stadium in Sector 10 here today.

Ashish will now lock horns with wild card entrant Srijjan Uppal who beat another wild card Anmol Bains by 4-2, 2-4, 5-3 in an all-Chandigarh first round encounter.

Delhi's Abhimanyu Singh staged a fine rally to pull off a mild shock by beating sixth seed Pankaj Kumar of Chandigarh 2-4, 4-2, 4-0.

Second seed Ankit Chaudhary and fifth seed Manish Kumar, both from Delhi, stormed into the boys’ under-16 third round. Manish ended the challenge of Manoj of Haryana 6-0, 6-4 and Ankit advanced to the next round after outplaying lucky loser Arjun Tomar of Delhi 6-1, 6-2.

Fifth seed Jahanvi Gupta was surprised by CLTA trainee Bhavya Wadhawan. Both players traded stroke for stroke and split the first two sets.

However, Bhavya enjoyed an upper hand in the decider to record a hard-fought 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1 triumph in the girls’ under-12 singles second round match. However, other seeded players had a smooth sailing in the third round.

Third seed Vibhuti Khullar of Chandigarh also had an easy second round against Harsimran Kaur. Vibhuti won 6-0, 6-1.

Unseeded Nikita of Delhi shocked Priyanka Rawat of UK 6-4, 6-3 in the girls’ under-16 second round match.

Another one to be toppled was third seed Vidhya Bharath of Karnataka who was defeated by Medha Toor of Delhi. Medha won 6-3, 6-3. Qualifier Samriti of Delhi also held the spotlight as she shocked seventh seed Amiksha Sohal of Punjab 6-2, 6-1. 



Police remand for suspect in Tewari murder case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Uma Shankar, who was arrested yesterday on the charge of killing Abhey Kumar Tewari, a moneylender, was today sent to three days’ police remand. Efforts are on to trace his acquaintances.

Tewari was found lying dead on June 12 by the villagers, who informed the police. Tewari, who was living with his nephew, Parmeshwar Tewari, in Hallomajra, had lent Rs 3,200 to Uma Shankar, who failed to return the amount repeatedly.

Abhey Tewari, on June 10, went to Uma Shankar’s house to collect the loan amount, from where he had called his nephew saying he would come a day after as Uma Shankar was not available.

On June 12, when Parmeshwar got the news that an unidentified body was found, he immediately went to the police and identified the body as Abhey’s.

After the post-mortem report, which said that Abhey was killed after someone had hit him with a sharp-edged weapon, the police conducted an investigation and rounded up Uma Shankar, who later admitted to committing the crime.

During the course of interrogation, the accused stated that he along with his brother and three others took Abhey to Sector 34, where they attacked him with a dagger before they smashed his face.



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