SPORTS TRIBUNE
 


Itís time for fresh targets, new goals and more miles to go. Sportspersons spell out their resolve for 2010

 

Fast forward
Jeev aims for a slot in the world top-30 and top fitness, writes Donald Banerjee
J
eev Milkha Singh has got the ticket for full playing rights on the US PGA Tour. The focus for the New Year is absolute fitness and a resolution to make it to the top-30 in world golf rankings. The Chandigarh golf icon, who slipped to 56th slot from his 35th placement at the start of 2009, is a more determined player today. His aim this year is to bag a US Tour title for his kitty.

Promising time
Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar have decided to work on fitness
Gagan K. Teja
N
ew Year brings a new ray of hope and a commitment to achieve what one has always dreamt of. Itís a new way of dealing with problems and when it comes to Indiaís top sportspersons, it brings along a promise to be more dedicated and passionate about the game, will to achieve something better and hence, make the nation proud. Like every human being, they are made of same blood and bones but the will to be the best is what differentiates them from the crowd.

Games plan
Abhinav Bindraís New Year resolution is to be focussed and train well for the Commonwealth Games
Abhijit Chatterjee
T
he year gone by has been one where Indiaís only individual Olympic gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra has had one full year of carefree existence, probably for the first time in his life. And why not? As he had resolved, he wanted year 2009 to be one "without any anxieties."

Play it again...
Reetinder Sodhi has resolved to work hard on playing for Kings XI in IPL-2010
W
hile everyone is busy framing resolutions for the New Year, there are some who just donít believe in this concept. Patiala cricketer Reetinder Sodhi is one such guy who believes in living in the moment and takes everything that comes his way happily. Born and brought up at Patiala, Sodhi first burst into national recognition in August, 1996, with a superb all-round display (3 for 34 and 82 not out) as captain to win the Under-15 World Cup final against Pakistan at Lordís.


 

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Fast forward
Jeev aims for a slot in the world top-30 and top fitness, writes Donald Banerjee

Jeev Milkha Singh has got the ticket for full playing rights on the US PGA Tour. The focus for the New Year is absolute fitness and a resolution to make it to the top-30 in world golf rankings. The Chandigarh golf icon, who slipped to 56th slot from his 35th placement at the start of 2009, is a more determined player today. His aim this year is to bag a US Tour title for his kitty.

"I have won on the European Tour, the Japan Tour and the Asian Tour. Now, my aim is to win an event on the US PGA Tour and finally, have a go at one of the four Major titles," said Jeev as his wife Kudrat joined us for a brief moment.

Suffering from a cold, Jeev was all smiles and looked absolutely fit, barring the couple of sneezes that punctuated our 100-minute chat at his residence. Sitting by his side was his celebrity dad Milkha Singh, who ran the race of the century in the Rome Olympics when the top four broke the world record. Jeev is not perturbed by the fall in world golf rankings.

"These things come and go. I have not been able to play well in 2009 because of the injuries. But the best thing to have happened is that I have got full playing rights on the US Tour. I got the ticket after finishing tied seventh in the Turning Stone Resort Championship, but the confirmation came at the end of the
US Tour."

Looking back, Jeev talked about the mistake he made by playing in the US Open despite an injury he sustained in the London European Open. "I tore my inter-costal muscle in the ribs. The pain was unbearable. I tried to move ahead with pain-killers and played in the US Open. It was a blunder to play in a Major in an unfit condition. I also pulled out of the British Open, where Kapurthalaís Gaganjeet Bhullar was the only other Indian participant.

"The reason I am talking about injuries is because that is my biggest resolution for 2010: to try and stay fit and healthy. And I know several other players are also thinking along the same lines. Just take a look at Paul Casey. What a super season he was having before the intercostal muscle injury (exactly the same injury that kept me out this year for almost three months). Ruined everything."

Jeevís mother, Nirmal Milkha Singh, who captained Indiaís volleyball team, joined us at this stage. She also felt that fitness was the best mantra. Spellng out his fitness mantra, Jeev said: "I have been to the Titleist Performance Institute in the US, and those guys are at the cutting edge of golf fitness. I have gone through the entire gamut of tests which gives us a very good idea about which parts of my body needs to be worked up on to handle the rigours of a golf swing. And I have been given customised exercise sets to work on those areas."

Jeev is also determined to cut down on the playing commitment. In 2009, he played mostly on the US PGA Tour and the European Tour and chipped in with a few events in Asia and Japan. As for 2010, Jeev said: "I need to be even better organised in 2010 as I want to play the mandatory number of events: It will be 22 events on the US PGA Tour, seven or eight on the European Tour and maybe a couple of them on the Japan and Asian Tour. But the Indian Masters is a must."

The stress this year would be on the stretching exercises. "I was shocked when the Japanese trainer told me that I was too stiff. I went through a number of such stretching exercises in Japan. I must say they do a good job. This one-month winter break in India will be devoted to those exercises to do away with the stiffness in my muscles. I will also continue with my yoga classes, besides pumping iron into my muscles to be fully fit when I play in the first tournament of 2010 , The Royal Trophy, to be held in Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok from January 8 to 10. This will be followed by the three desert tournaments to be played in United Arab Emirates."

Jeevís parting words were:" Once I am at my fittest best, I am confident of getting back to top-30 and having a go at a US PGA Tour title."

Jeev refused to be drawn into the Tiger Woods controversy. He said: "I have been asked by many people about Tiger Woods. I can write pages and talk for hours on his golf, but the events of the last few days relate to his personal life. And thatís something I do not wish to comment upon. Itís for him and the family to sort out."

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Promising time
Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar have decided to work on fitness
Gagan K. Teja

New Year brings a new ray of hope and a commitment to achieve what one has always dreamt of. Itís a new way of dealing with problems and when it comes to Indiaís top sportspersons, it brings along a promise to be more dedicated and passionate about the game, will to achieve something better and hence, make the nation proud.

Like every human being, they are made of same blood and bones but the will to be the best is what differentiates them from the crowd. This New Year, when every one is planning to put their life on the right track, Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Kumar and Commonwealth Champion Akhil too are looking forward to a better performance.

Vijender, who has become Indiaís heartthrob not just for his historic Olympic achievement but also his cute smile and friendly ways, is a true embodiment of determination and dedication. He has all it takes to be numero uno and no wonder he made it to World No. 1. Coming from a rural background, Vijender is a perfect blend of passion and humility. Talking about his New Year resolution, he says his sole resolve is to stay fit and work hard on his boxing.

"I have never ever made an unusual resolution in life because I strongly believe that one should not take any resolution lightly. I think a lot before deciding a goal, but once I have made it, there is no turning back. It sounds strange, but I have never broken a New Year resolution because if I promise myself something, I donít let it just drift away," he adds.

On being questioned about the five things he would not do in 2010, he says "Doís and dontís depend on situations. So, letís wait for the right time and see." On the other hand, boxer Akhil Kumar, who took the entire world by storm by defeating the World Champion during the Olympics, is looking towards being fit and once again entering mainstream boxing. Akhil has had quite a troubled time due to his injuries but his fighting spirit has kept him going. This year, Akhil is looking forward towards regaining full fitness and defending his Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Speaking about New Year resolutions, he, too, seconds Vijenderís opinion and says, "No resolution should be treated lightly. One must stick to them, come what may." Answering a question regarding the resolution he broke fastest, he shies away and says, once promised myself to sleep early everyday in order to follow a particular schedule, but when I went to South Africa, the entire sleep cycle got warped. After that, I have never been able to keep this promise."

His list of five things to avoid in 2010 is what makes him ĎAkhil.í

On being asked what are his five dontís for the New Year, he reiterates: 1) Not to lose, 2) Not to lose, 3) Not to lose, 4) Not to lose, 5) Not to lose.

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Games plan
Abhinav Bindraís New Year resolution is to be focussed and train well for the Commonwealth Games
Abhijit Chatterjee

The year gone by has been one where Indiaís only individual Olympic gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra has had one full year of carefree existence, probably for the first time in his life. And why not? As he had resolved, he wanted year 2009 to be one "without any anxieties."

As somebody who has seen Abhinav Bindra very closely for all these years, wherein he toiled relentlessly for the Olympic gold, he definitively deserved the break. Abhinavís break from the sport in 2009 meant a break from competitive shooting and hours of relentless practice.

But then, with his own Olympic-level shooting range in the backyard, he was never far from shooting. But no more. With the Delhi Commonwealth Games just months away, Abhinav plans to get back into rigorous shooting again so that he can shine in front of his own countrymen when the event takes place. As his personal manager Vivek Nigam puts it: "How can he let down his country." And we all know that Abhinav can never let down the country. So, it is back to the back-breaking practice sessions with an eye on the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

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Play it again...
Reetinder Sodhi has resolved to work hard on playing for Kings XI in IPL-2010

While everyone is busy framing resolutions for the New Year, there are some who just donít believe in this concept. Patiala cricketer Reetinder Sodhi is one such guy who believes in living in the moment and takes everything that comes his way happily. Born and brought up at Patiala, Sodhi first burst into national recognition in August, 1996, with a superb all-round display (3 for 34 and 82 not out) as captain to win the Under-15 World Cup final against Pakistan at Lordís.

Less than four months later, Sodhi was making his first-class debut against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy at the age of 16. His maiden century arrived the following season, when he cracked an unbeaten 200 against Delhi at Patiala. Sodhiís foray into international cricket was always on the cards after he was part of the second World Cup winning squad. Unluckily, a series of low scores led to his farewell from the team. But Sodhi never gave up and here he is: back with Kings XI for the next season of IPL. This makes Sodhi a busy man in 2010.

Talking about New Year resolutions, Sodhi feels it is easy to make resolutions, but then a person ends up breaking them. "Whenever I tried, I generally stuck to my resolutions only for a maximum of 10 days and thatís when I decided that there was no point in making them. I am not a very ambitious guy and take life easy." On being questioned about his career plans, Sodhi at once says his main focus is the next IPL season. "I have signed a contract with the Kings XI and am working really hard to put up a great show during the tournament. IPL is a major platform for me to re-establish myself at the international-level. I hope I can make it to`A0the Indian Squad again."

Sodhi is not very sure about the doís for this year, but he is sure of the five doníts for 2010: "Marriage( it is a beautiful institution but I am still not ready for it); not to get motivated by guys doing heavyweights in gyms; to avoid playing in the rain because I want to stay fit for the next tournament;`A0 to avoid singing as I am a horrible singer but I love to sing; and last but not the least, is to stick to my own style."

"My friends forced me to get my hair straightened once and I almost went bald. Since then, I have decided not to experiment with my looks," he adds.

In a lighter vein, talking about his parentsí plans for the New Year, he laughs, "Their resolution for next year is definitely to get me married."

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