SPORTS TRIBUNE
 

Channels lost the focus
Who is to blame, Dhoni or Lalit Modi?
After the T20 World Cup defeat there is no cricketer worth being reviled more than M. S Dhoni by our media, writes B V Rao
W
E know our channels only too well to be surprised by their over-the-top headlining and frenzied anchoring. They have to individually feel the pain and grief of each one of those one billion fans (who did the census by the way!) and reflect their collective anger on national TV, so we understand.

India emerges as powerhouse of Asian boxing
Avishek Roy
B
OXERS are being hailed as the new sporting heroes in the country and India seen as the powerhouse on the Asian continent. The spark was noticed at the Beijing Olympics and in 10 months the Indians are out scaling greater heights.

Fit Zone
The art of growing old
Bharat Thakur
O
UR ancient tradition divided life into four segments, each is of about 20-25 years. The first was the learning stage, the second was of a householder, the third as a senior doing community work, and finally the fourth was for meditation.

 





  Top








Channels lost the focus
Who is to blame, Dhoni or Lalit Modi?
After the T20 World Cup defeat there is no cricketer worth being reviled more than M. S Dhoni by our media, writes B V Rao

WE know our channels only too well to be surprised by their over-the-top headlining and frenzied anchoring. They have to individually feel the pain and grief of each one of those one billion fans (who did the census by the way!) and reflect their collective anger on national TV, so we understand. Our channels take any defeat badly but cricket defeats are especially personal. Not only are the endless hours of hype wasted, the channels are shortchanged on easy content by a few days. Criminal dereliction of national duty on the cricketers’ part, I must say.

Having done so much ground laying, I don’t know if the channels were angry with Dhoni because he looked stupid or he made them look stupid for not countenancing defeat even once. Even then, we must concede them the right to a post-mortem. The problem is what they have done with that post-mortem.

It does not take hard-boiled experts to figure out that Dhoni goofed and goofed big time. While giving Dhoni what he got, no channel, not even NDTV 24x7 and CNN IBN, which were not shrill in Dhoni’s condemnation, expand the scope of their inquiry to include the BCCI and a certain Lalit Modi.

Every channel raised the “too much cricket” question, but mostly to paper over it or to mock at coach Gary Kirsten’s fatigue-and-niggles theory. And that was easily done. Rajiv Shukla, a BCCI vice-president, was at hand. Without saying much he insinuated that the fatigue theory was a load of you know what and that the BCCI had already told players they could opt out at will because there was a “huge talent pool”. Channels are generally grateful for the byte, so they don’t ask too many questions when a willing subject grants them 10 seconds of precious wisdom.

All channels did their own version of Mr Shukla’s byte but not one reporter asked him a few crucial questions:

Sir, what talent pool are we talking about? You couldn’t find a replacement for Sehwag to last four innings…

For argument’s sake, if Zaheer, Dhoni and Yuvraj had opted to sit out of the World Cup, would they have been allowed? And who would you have replaced them with from that “rich talent pool”?

Is it not the BCCI’s job to ensure that the best team, in the best shape, represents the country in tournaments of pride?

Mr Shukla said IPL cannot be blamed and that was that — the gospel. The channels just let it pass. They were not even willing to shoot from the shoulders of Gary Kirsten. The national coach, not one to shoot his mouth off, risked his assignment with a retributive board to point fingers at Lalit Modi’s IPL (What a blasphemy!).

There were enough reasons to probe the coach’s line. It was no secret that the team did not have enough recovery time before the World Cup. It was no secret that the coach had to regularly let the team skip training sessions. It was no secret that many of our top guns were carrying injuries or the fact that of all the international teams, ours had been on the road and the field the longest. Also it is no secret that Indians’ fitness levels being what they are, we need longer turnaround time.

The channels were more eager than Mr Shukla to ensure no blame was attached to cricket’s new cowboy and its and their new cash cow. They cleverly put up Dhoni’s quote (“no international player can give fatigue as an excuse”) against Kirsten, made fun of the latter and exited.

Sadly again there was no interest to dig deeper. Firstly, what Dhoni said is what any player would have to say, with big brother BCCI watching all the time. And secondly, if indeed there was no fatigue, why would just one or two players turn up at the nets for “optional” training sessions and why was it that Dhoni granted his mates so many training-holidays in the middle of a prestigious tournament?

The problem is, cricket is moving in a new direction and all our arguments and debates are getting outdated fast. The question is not anymore about how much cricket to play, whether to play for money or honour, etc etc. The success of IPL last year and the encore this year, has settled that question. From next year, IPL is going to be two times over in one year. Other nations are planning their own versions of IPL and our stars will be playing there, too. This year’s “crammed” calendar would seem like a leisure holiday, next year. And don’t even try to look beyond that. T20 will claim calendar space from the one-day game so future cricketers won’t be juggling multiple formats.

We, the fans, the board and the media, made IPL-1 such a roaring success and set off an explosion in the world of sports marketing. Team Dhoni is T20 laboratory’s guinea-pig generation, absolutely central to its evolution. No other generation will have to go through so much testing and so much change in such a short while. We want them in IPL, we want them in the World Cup and we want them for every other regular cricket engagement. And yet, we will refuse to acknowledge fatigue because well-paid cricketers should not complain even if everybody else is making the mega bucks by flogging them dead!

If it is true that Team Dhoni killed the aspirations of a nation, it is also equally true that all of us are all co-conspirators to the murder. We all wrote a part of that script.

The media was extra harsh on Dhoni because it had to be extra soft of the BCCI. The IPL has just helped their bottomlines in a bottomed out market, you see.
Top

India emerges as powerhouse of Asian boxing
Avishek Roy

Dinesh Kumar got a bronze medal in the Asian Championship recently
Dinesh Kumar got a bronze and Thokchom Nanao Singh (below) got a silver medal in the Asian Championship recently

Thokchom Nanao Singh got a silver medal in the Asian Championship recently

BOXERS are being hailed as the new sporting heroes in the country and India seen as the powerhouse on the Asian continent. The spark was noticed at the Beijing Olympics and in 10 months the Indians are out scaling greater heights.

At Beijing, Vijender Singh won India's first Olympic medal, a bronze, and Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar came close to adding two more medals. The three put a Haryana town, Bhiwani, on the world-boxing map. Their success has become countryside folklore, describing how they managed to overcome adverse conditions and inadequate facilities to pack power in their punch.

It came as no surprise when as many as seven boxers made it to the semi-final of the Asian Championship in Zhuhai, China, underscoring their rise. Eventually, they won a gold, two silver and four bronze medals. India finished third behind Uzbekistan and champions China in the team championship. It is not that Indian boxers have done well all of a sudden. Old-timers recall their exploits way back in the 1982 Seoul Asian Championship when they bagged two gold, two silver and a bronze. Those were the days when India used to be among the best in the region.

"Their showing in China clearly points to their standing among the leading boxing nations in Asia," insists national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.

"The standard of Asian boxing is at a different level now. So you can't compare. With countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan competing, the quality of boxing was very high and this is India's best ever showing in the Asian Championship," he said.

"The talent pool in the country is growing. Now we have talented boxers coming from the northeastern states Manipur and Assam. The Beijing success saw the boxers being rewarded handsomely with cash and also plum jobs. That's motivation enough for a lot of youngsters to jump into the ring," says Sandhu. India could have easily won more gold medals, but Thokchom Nanao Singh lost by one point.

The Asian performance came close on the heels of an equally impressive performance at the junior World Cup last month where India finished with one silver and three bronze medals. Sandeep (46 kg) won silver while Namit Bahadur (50 kg), Vikas Khatri (54 kg) and Shiva Thapa (52 kg) ended with bronze medals in Armenia.

The most heartening aspect of the renaissance of Indian boxing is that a lot of youngsters from the far-flung northeastern states are pretty serious about the craft.

Suranjoy Singh, the lone gold medallist in the 51 kg category in Zhuhai, and Nanao, the sliver medallist in the 48 kg category, hail from Manipur. Jai Bhagwan (60 kg) bagged silver while Jitender Kumar (54 kg), Vijender (75 kg), Dinesh Kumar (81 kg) and Paramjit Samota (+91 kg) won bronze medals. Taking up a sport like boxing is not easy for these boxers who often have to go against their family's wishes. Nanao, who hails from Bishnupur, found a strong liking for boxing after seeing the legendary Mohammad Ali on television.

"I saw Ali on TV. I never missed the programme on his life and time on Discovery channel. I watched it at my neighbour's place. And I decided to take to boxing and enrolled myself at a local club without informing my parents. They came to know about it and were totally against it. My coach somehow convinced them."

"Later I went to the Army Artillery Centre in Hyderebad in 2001 and then the Army Sports Institute in Pune where I trained."

Like Nanao, Suranjoy's family too was not convinced when he told them about his boxing plans. Suranjoy followed his brother Suranjit Singh into the sport, giving up football.

"Football has a huge following in Manipur and I got introduced to the sport at an early age. I was a good forward, but despite putting all my efforts, I was not picked for the state team. That's when I was drawn towards boxing.

"My brother achieved success in boxing at the international level. My brother told me that success in individual sport can fetch more laurels. I thought that boxing can give me all that I want in life," says Suranjoy, one of seven siblings.

Suranjit had to leave boxing after an accident in 2006, and Suranjoy has been living his dream since then.

"After I won medals in the national championship, my parent had a change of heart and they are supportive." — IANS
Top

 

Fit Zone
The art of growing old
Bharat Thakur

OUR ancient tradition divided life into four segments, each is of about 20-25 years. The first was the learning stage, the second was of a householder, the third as a senior doing community work, and finally the fourth was for meditation. This allowed every human being to experience each phase of life to the fullest and to then move on to the next without getting stuck anywhere.

Similarly for every stage of life, yoga, too, offers a variety of asanas to help the body adjust to that phase.

By the time a man is 60, he is ready to move full-time into meditation. Till one is young, hatha yoga or physical yoga is needed as the body needs to be strong and healthy. As one gets older, one automatically needs to move into breathing techniques and meditation. It is a time to be calm, steady and relaxed in life.

The body needs change, as one gets older. Hence the yoga requirements too, change with time. In your youth, you should spend 45 minutes on physical yoga and 15 minutes on meditation and breathing. When you get older it is exactly the opposite. You can control your stress levels and your calmness with the help of breath. It’s important to be able to sit in a position and be quiet without doing anything. Meditation is just the art of closing your eyes and doing nothing. It’s the art of being silent so that no thoughts or worries bother you.

If you can achieve silence in your old age, you will have a different glow around you. You will have the most attractive quality that most people lack — peace and joy — that will make people flock around you. Health problems will be minimal. Death should be welcomed, not fought with. The unknown should be embraced with a smile on the lips, not with a clenched fist. Life is about letting go of life at the right moment. Yoga and meditation prepares you for it.

So practice the following asanas and pranayama every day to become calm, happy and have a different outlook towards death, which is inevitable for each and every human being.

Tadasana, Pawanmuktasana, Marjariasana, Kapalbhati Kriya and Sahaj Pranayama

Tadasana

Stand straight with your feet together.

Slowly inhale and raise your palms over your head.

Join your palms and keep your elbows straight.

Breathe normally and keep the posture erect, stretching your whole body upwards.

Hold the posture for 10 – 15 seconds.

Pawan Muktasana

Lie down on your back, stretching out both legs.

Slowly bend one knee and bring it close to your chest.

Hold the posture for 5 – 10 seconds. Breath normally.

Relax & repeat with the other side.

Now repeat the above with both the legs together.

Marjariasana

Get down on your fours, keeping your back straight.

Now inhale and arch your back with head looking upwards.

Slowly exhale and look down at your navel bending your back, as shown.

Do the above gently and slowly for 5 – 7 time.


Top

HOME PAGE