Category Archives: Sports

Syed Saqib Ahmed overcomes pressure to lift maiden pro title

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

The 24-year-old golfer from Bengaluru had produced amazing play over the last two days, including a hole-in-one at Nedumbassery’s CIAL Golf Club, but suddenly everything appeared to be going up in smoke.

Bengaluru golfer Syed Saqib Ahmed with the PGTI Cochin Masters Trophy, his maiden pro title, on Saturday. - STAN RAYAN
Bengaluru golfer Syed Saqib Ahmed with the PGTI Cochin Masters Trophy, his maiden pro title, on Saturday. – STAN RAYAN

For a brief moment, as he came up with successive bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes in the final round on Saturday, Syed Saqib Ahmed felt his title chances slipping away in the PGTI Cochin Masters.

He then found out from his friends that Delhi’s Honey Baisoya, his nearest challenger who had started half hour earlier, had finished with a seven under and realised that he had to buck up. And Saqib found his touch just in time, produced birdies in the last two holes, and lifted his maiden professional title.

“I really felt the pressure after the bogeys on the 15th and 16th because both the par fives are actually easy holes,” said Saqib who finished with a three-shot lead (total 278) over the pre-tournament favourite Baisoya who came second.

“But I had a birdie on the 17th, which I think is one of the toughest holes. And the 18th went like a dream, I really didn’t think I could handle it so well. This is really a big burden off my head.”

The title ended three years of waiting for Saqib. “I dedicate this, my first pro title, to my parents and to my grandfather,” said the young man and then turned emotional.

Another Bengaluru player, M. Dharma, and Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha finished joint third. V.J. Kurian, Managing Director, Cochin International Airport Limited, gave away the prizes. The Pro-Am event will be played on Sunday.

The final placings (par 288, four day total, top 10): 1. Syed Saqib Ahmed (278), 2. Honey Baisoya (281), 3. M. Dharma & Abhijit Singh Chadha (both 283), 5. Ankur Chadha (284), 6. Veer Ahlawat, Maniram, Gaurav Pratap Singh (all 285), 9. Arjun Prasad & Karandeep Kochhar (286).

source:  http://www.sportstarlive.com / SportStar / Home> Golf / by Stan Ryan / Kochi – February 03rd, 2018

Mohammed Yousuf Khan – A forgotten hero

Hyderabad, TELANGANA (formerly ANDHRA PRADESH)  :

Mohammed Yousuf Khan (top, third from left)
Mohammed Yousuf Khan (top, third from left)

It was the year 1962, the year of the Asian Games in Indonesia.

The gold-winning football team of India was perhaps the best ever in its history.

India’s chef-de-mission to the 1962 Asian Games had criticised the hosts for excluding Israel and Taiwan from the Games for political reasons. Thus, right from the beginning, the crowds were hostile to India. Amidst such circumstances in Indonesia in front of the anti-India crowd, India came out on top beating a formidable Korea team 2-1 in the final, a team that India had lost 2-0 to in the opening match of the group stage.

These Indian footballers belonged to a tough breed of athletes. It was a matter of life and death for them. If one had to choose that one member who stood out in this team, it was none other than the midfield maestro Mohammed Yousuf Khan.

Born in Andhra Pradesh on 5th August, 1937, Yousuf Khan is considered one of the best all-round players in Indian football history. When he used to play, he used to gallop on the pitch like a horse, controlling the play in midfield, for which he was famously known as “the bearded horse.” He played a huge part in India’s triumph in the 1962 Asian Games, and was deservedly awarded the Arjuna Award in 1966.

Khan, who passed away in 2006, was a key member of the famous Hyderabad City police team in the late ’50s and the early ’60s. He was one of the only two Indians to be selected in the 1965 Asian All Stars XI. Such was his authority on the games that even the association acknowledged it.

However, life wasn’t all rosy – as it seldom is even now – for Indian athletes back then. Lack of proper infrastructure has been an obstacle since time immemorable. The determination and the will to do well for the country, to see the national flag fly high was what drove them to put their lives at stakes and achieve what they set on to.

Yousuf Khan was one of those athletes whose life faced an unfathombale and drastic turn of events so much so that one won’t get an answer to that even if one keeps wondering what and how something could go wrong.

Continuing to play in spite of the three head injuries during his playing days is a testimonial to the fact that football was much more than a game to him. When he was on the pitch, he had no second thoughts than to give it all for the team.

The 1960 Rome Olympian may have brought the best of defences to its knees on his day but, as he aged, he was waging a grim battle for survival, almost on his own with little support coming by.

This ageing footballer was clearly wondering whether players of his generation were right in sacrificing so much on the personal front, not even concerned about health, to earn name and fame for the country. But, why did such a thought even occur to him?

The head injuries were cited as the reason for the Parkinson’s Syndrome he would go on to suffer from 1994.The legs that created magic on the field by then, were swollen and unable to even support him. His struggle to walk even a few paces at home and feeling pain while getting up indicated that the champion player was going through a real torture. It was a sight that any sportsperson would not dare dream about in the worst of scenarios.

It is a tragedy that Yousuf Khan was being forced to live on the Rs. 3500 monthly pension which he got by virtue of retiring from the Police Department and the Central Government monthly grant of Rs. 2000. But, most of that was spent towards his medical expenses with little to cater to the needs of his family members — one son and five daughters.

Worse, even the Rs. 50,000, presented by Mr. H. J. Dora, former DGP and president of AP Olympic Association, was blocked in a private finance firm.

The time when he needed the utmost support from the country, the Indian Government took a backseat.

source: http://www.sportskeeda.com / Sports Keeda / Home> Feature> Football / by Ashish Shettyt / May 23rd, 2014

Meet the Kashmiri who is coaching Indian women’s soccer team

Srinagar , JAMMU & KASHMIR :

Sajid Yousuf Dar, 42, is the first and only Kashmiri so far to coach any Indian soccer team for international events.(Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)
Sajid Yousuf Dar, 42, is the first and only Kashmiri so far to coach any Indian soccer team for international events.(Waseem Andrabi / HT Photo)

In the last week of November, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) appointed Sajid Yousuf Dar as coach of the women’s national football team for the upcoming SAFF women’s championship 2016.

As a teenager, Sajid Yousuf Dar played football in Kashmir during curfew breaks at the height of militancy. Now, the 42-year-old Dar’s dedication to the game has earned him a third stint as head coach of the Indian women’s football team for the South Asian Federation Games.

Dar is also the first and only Kashmiri so far to coach any Indian soccer team for international events.

In the last week of November, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) appointed Dar as coach of the women’s national football team for the upcoming SAFF women’s championship 2016.

Dar told HT that the team was gearing up for the championship, which is slated to kick-off in Siliguri from December 26. Defending champions India have been placed in Group B along with Bangladesh and Afghanistan. A total of seven countries are taking part in the competition.

“We have to be on our toes to defend the title as more and more countries in the region are working and developing their game,” Dar, who is currently in Srinagar, says.

Owing to his impressive record as coach for the under-14 and under-19 boys’ soccer teams of the country, Dar was first roped in by the AIFF for the women’s team in March 2015 when ahead of the Olympic qualifiers. He was also chosen as the technical advisor for football development in India.

Under his guidance the women’s team got gold in the 12th South Asian Games earlier this year in Shillong. “The AIFF provided us with the facilities and we had enough time to prepare leading to our success. I am proud that our women’s team got gold. The men’s team had to settle for silver,” he says.

Dar has come a long way since the time he started playing football in Shri Pratap (SP) higher secondary school in 1991-92.

This was the time when militancy had just erupted in Kashmir and youth were crossing the line of control in hordes for arms training fuelled by the idea of “freedom from Indian rule”. The violence derailed all developmental work and virtually stopped sports activities.

But it didn’t quite deter Dar, then 18, from pursuing his first love. “I was mad about the game. Despite the bad situation all around a few friends and I continued to practice in the otherwise empty grounds,” he says.

In fact football is in his blood. His father Mohammad Yousuf was the first Kashmiri to play any international game for the Indian team.

But pursuing the game with violence all around was never easy for Dar junior. Owing to the violence and mass protests, curfew used to be imposed for days at a stretch in the early 1990s.

“They would give relaxation for a few hours and I would rush to the ground to play,” Dar remembers.

In fact, young men in Kashmir fancied football more than cricket before the start of militancy. Abdul Majid Kakroo was the first Kashmiri to captain the Indian squad in 1986-87 and played for the national team for nine years.

A resident of Dalgate in the heart of Srinagar, Dar was fortunate that there were at least three grounds near his home where he could hone his skills.

Dar’s perseverance finally paid and he captained Srinagar’s YMCA team in the Federation Cup in 1998 held at Chandigarh and later represented state in the Santosh Trophy three times from 2000 to 2002.

“It was only after playing outside the state that I realized how absence of professional coaches was hampering game in our state,” he says.

He started training youngsters and went for different coaching courses, AFC licenses and degrees in physical education and also started coaching Kashmir University team since 2006. “My first break at national level came in 2012 when I was chosen as assistant coach by AIFF for the under-19 boys’ team,” he says.

Since then, Dar has not looked back.

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home> India / by Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times / December 03rd, 2016

We see transfer of talent from other games into rugby, says Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain.
Nasser Hussain.

Nasser Hussain, former India rugby captain, is involved with rugby taking roots across the nation as Rugby India general manager.

The Societe Generale Junior National Rugby Sevens at the Bombay Gymkhana attracted participation from 18 States. He talks about tribals in Odisha taking up the sport, switch over from athletics, kabaddi to rugby.

Excerpts from a chat:

Rugby Sevens is the route to the Olympic Games. Looking ahead to making a mark at the Asian level before that, can you explain the roadmap for India?

Globally as well as within India, being an Olympic sport puts you in a different bracket and get taken a bit more seriously. We would love to be part of Olympics rugby sevens. Realistically, 2024 or 2028 is the vision we need to have to be part of the Summer Games. Tokyo 2020 is unrealistic to even consider being a part of the competition.

Our approach is to focus at U-18 representative teams and junior tournaments. Five to 10 years from now, they will be 25 or 27 by then. We work with the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) and have U-19, U-18, U-17 teams. The federation is pushing for U-14 tournaments as part of the National School Games by the next academic year.

Schools Nationals is the starting point for Rugby India to do talent-spotting. Having convinced SGFI to include rugby, what is the next step for talented kids to represent India?

Through the National School Games, we send the national team for the U-18 Asian Schools Rugby Sevens. The event is held once every two years. Federation cannot send an entry directly, it has to be routed through SGFI and they supported us. If there is scope, India might look at hosting the Asian U-18 event in future.

Eighteen States taking part in Junior Nationals 2016, five more than last year, shows the spread of rugby sevens. Which States have a headstart ovevr the rest? Why?

Eighteen States took part in the Junior Nationals here, 18 States send teams for the Senior Nationals in Patna. Junior representation is the same as the seniors, which is encouraging. Odisha in particular has fantastic talent in the juniors age group. Tribals are part of it. They are naturally fit and rugby fits in what they are.

Odisha is winning titles at the School Games, junior Nationals and senior Nationals, hence rugby is promoted by the State Government. Players are getting benefits, like scholarships for an India girls team member, others have joined the police, so they see the sport offering career path.

Rugby is supposed to have caught on at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneshwar. How did this happen?

Rugby India is involved with different States, approaching different schools to get involved. Mr Ashok Mohanty, involved with Odisha Rugby, had a contract with Dr Achyuta Samanta, founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). We did an exhibition match and demonstration in 2006-2007 and they got interested.

KISS is home to 20,000 students who stay and study. They have taken up rugby, probably the number one sport at the institute. Players have gone on to represent India, girls were part of the national squad at the Asian event. We are seeing a culture developing for rugby.

For parents or young rugby players, injury is a worry, like in any contact sport. Does rugby sevens cut down the risk factor, at tournaments like the juniors Nationals?

We have faced misconception in the past about rugby being a violent game. Our approach is to let kids play non-contact rugby, called ‘touch rugby’, at the U-14 level with all the schools we approach. It promotes fitness, teamwork, leadership, all these are values of the game. We don’t push them to get into contact rugby till they move to U-16. Internationally, contact rugby is played at U-13 with slight variations.

Patna hosted the Sr. Nationals, Bhubaneshwar hosted the Jr. Nationals Rugby Sevens last year. Going by the following for the sport there, anything different in players there.

We see transfer of talent from athletics to rugby in girls’ category. Shweta Sahi, one of the India players who went to Sri Lanka for the Asian Rugby Sevens championships, is a sprinter and started rugby two years ago. Rugby has attracted football players. Mumbai police men and women sides are kabaddi players, similar skill sets are required and kabaddi or football are also a contact sport, adapting is easy. We are open to players from different sports enjoying rugby.

For junior Nationals performers, U-18 girls/boys, any future camp finalised?

U-18 girls will have a training camp in early November, maybe in Mumbai. Girls have been shortlisted from earlier competitions, we will have a relook at them and add more names, if required.

Dubai is hosting the Asian Girls U-18, the first time Asian Rugby is hosting a girls U-18 event, featuring eight teams from Asia. India has confirmed participation. For the boys, there is an U-20 in future and we are looking at sending a team to gain international exposure. We don’t get experience playing sides better than us, more professional in their approach.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sports> Other Sports / by Nandakumar Marar / October 23rd, 2016

A hero of the golden age

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

NoorMPOs18jan2018

NOOR MOHAMMED who passed away in Hyderabad recently belonged to the golden era of Indian football. Those were the days when the Indian teams had a place of their own even at the international level. And when it came to talent, Hyderabad was among the top producers of this precious commodity.

In fact the widespread popularity of football in Hyderabad (the game was introduced here by British armymen) began as early as 1915 when the All India Majeed tournament was revived with great success. Over the next fifteen years the sport flourished in Hyderabad and players such as Riasath, Abdul Majeed Kazimi, Jawad, Qutub Ali, S. M. Hadi, Papaiah, Sharifuddin, Agha Mahmood and Quddus became household names.

The colourful personalities of some players attracted the attention of sports lovers. S. M. Hadi was a genuine sportsman and excelled in cricket, hockey and tennis besides football. He later became the founder secretary of the Hyderabad Football Association. Kazimi who was a teacher by profession was one of the best centre half’s that Hyderabad produced while Qader Khan whose parents hoped that he would become a religious teacher had other ideas and took up football to become a top class goalkeeper by the time he was sixteen. His services were so much in demand that the Nawab of Tadbund had him kept under close watch (sometimes even under physical restrictions) to prevent him from defecting to other teams.

Later the football traditions were continued by other well known players such as S. K. Moinuddin, N. A. Fruvall, S. K. Azizuddin, Shaik Jamal, G. Eeriah, Ghulam Laiq, Noor Mohammed, Anthony Patrick, Yousuf Khan, Susai and Doraiswamy to name a few. Such was their skill and dexterity that players from Hyderabad were in great demand throughout the country and the clubs from Calcutta and Bombay were keen to grab the available talent. The contribution of City College Old Boys Club (CCOB) towards development of Hyderabad football was also considerable and many a great player made his beginning from CCOB.

Fruvall was one of the leading figures in the Hyderabad City Police team first as a player (he was rated to be one of the finest right backs in the country) then as a successful coach helping the police team to win thirteen All India titles including Rovers and Durand. Jamal along with his brother Noor Mohammed and Anthony Patrick were a formidable trio in midfield. Patrick was an outstanding right half and represented India in the Asian Games.

Among the frontliners Moinuddin popularly known as Moin was one of the best forwards seen on the football fields in Hyderabad. His speed and sharpshooting made him one of the most dangerous players in the Police team. He also represented India on numerous occasions including Helsinki Olympics and Manila Asian Games. Another dangerous forward was Doraiswamy, a tall and strong player who often caught rivals napping with a sudden burst of speed.Among defenders none could come up to the standards of Azizuddin a strongly built man with a powerful kick from either foot and a difficult man to get past. Besides leading Hyderabad to National title triumphs in 1956 and 1957, Aziz represented India from 1949 to 1958 and led the National squad in a quadrangular tournament in Dacca in 1955.

S. A. Lateef was one of the notable products of the CCOB Club and he made a name for himself playing in Bombay and for India. Other notable Hyderabad players who represented the country in the Olympics at various stages include S. A. Salaam, Yusuf Khan, Md. Zulfiqar, T. Balaram, Ahmed Husain, S. S. Hakeem, Peter Thangaraj and D. Kannan. These players from Hyderabad played with distinction for their country and were a source of inspiration for those who followed such as S. Kaleemuddin, Habeeb, Akbar, Shabbir Ali, Victor Amalraj, Fareed and others like Naimuddin, Rahamatullah and Samad.

However despite having produced several notable international level players, Hyderabad’s greatest contribution to Indian football was probably S. A. Rahim rated by experts of those days to be as knowledgeable and effective as any European coach. For several years he was the country’s chief coach and it was under his guidance that India chalked up that memorable fourth place at the Melbourne Olympics. Rahim during his travels in Eupore watched the coaches there, picked up points and implemented them after adapting them to Indian players and conditions. He was adept at his job and left a lasting impression on Indian football.

Many of these great players of Hyderabad came from humble backgrounds but had one thing in common – their love for the game and their burning ambition to excel at it. Noor was a typical example. Son of a bangle shop owner, Noor had himself confessed that he was not very good at studies and academic prowess never interested him. Instead he was drawn to several sports at a young age. A frequent visitor to the Victory Playground (which is still a cradle for sport in the city) Noor used to watch volleyball, basketball and football matches with avid interest. The skills that sportsmen posseseed and their display of strength and stamina impressed him and he quickly became drawn to sports particularly football.

Experts never rated Noor as a gifted player but his determination and hard work made him a fine performer. Moreover he never had a very robust physique. Old photographs of Noor Mohammed during his prime show a slim young man of average height with straight jet black hair and a bony face. Not the kind of appearance one would associate with a sports superstar. But then as they say appearances can be deceptive. Noor made up for everything with his uncanny knack of being at the right spot at the right time and a superb football brain.

While his father was busy at the bangle shop, Noor was busy playing football. He gave up studies at an early age much to the disapproval of his elder brother Sheik Jamal who was himself a state player. Later Jamal was to recognise the immense potential that Noor had and encouraged the latter to achieve greater heights.

Noor’s abilities saw him rise rapidly in the sport and he went on to represent the Hyderabad City Police team which was then a formidable outfit. Noor became one of the key players in the side and it went on to many victories in national tournaments including a five-in-a-row triumph in the Rovers Cup in the early fifties.Noor married at an early age and sceptics felt that family responsibilities may affect his game. But Noor was made of sterner stuff. He continued to work on his game and even rose to greater heights as the years passed. Noor represented India in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and also the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

Before the Melbourne Olympics Noor was not too confident of being selected in the team. By then he was 35 years old and the talk prevailing in football circles then was that there should be young blood in the team and players in their twenties should be given preference.

But Noor’s consistent performances could not be ignored and he found himself in the team which went on to record one of the best ever performances by an Indian team in the Olympic Games when it came fourth.

Noor recalled later that the team was determined to put up a better show than the one at Helsinki and its dedication and hard work paid off. Noor’s other accomplishments included playing for the country in three Asian Games including New Delhi, Manila and Tokyo besides playing in the squad on its foreign tours to Phillipines in 1954 and Russia in 1954- 55.

But even great players have to quit the field sooner or later and in Noor’s case it was a little sooner than expected when during a match against Mohammedan Club of Pakistan he was brutally tackled and felled and his leg badly injured. He was never the same player again. Noor said later that the injury virtually crippled him otherwise he may have continued to play for another couple of years.

Noor went on to become a selector for AIFF and then took up coaching children. He always felt that young children held the key to the future development of the sport. The only way to promote football and raise standards was to enthuse the children and inculcate in them a burning desire to excel. If the players did not have hunger for success then they could never improve he always used to say. Perhaps he remembered his young days of watching players and gaining inspiration.

Unfortunately this fine player and gentleman fell on bad days after his playing career was over. Nowadays in the era of multi- millionaire sportsmen it seems grossly unfair that a player who did so much for the country should have to live in the way he did in his last years. But it remains a fact that Noor (as indeed is the fate of many other former sportspersons of this country) was soon in dire straits financially. Noor’s pride and principles prevented him from asking for favours from the establishment and there was none to fight his case.

After retiring from the police service, he spent his days in a small house in a nondescript lane in Osmanpura. Not many even knew that he was a double Olympian and that his feats had helped to maintain national pride and prestige on football fields throughout the world.

To make things worse he developed tuberculosis but despite his frail health he always made it a point to be present at the Lal Bahadur stadium in Hyderabad whenever a major tournament was in progress there. Always a simple and modest man Noor was always happy to have visitors especially from the media at his house for then his favourite topic football could be discussed.

But a couple of months ago, it was clear that his fragile health was deteriorating. When the end came a pall of gloom descended on football circles in Hyderabad. Condolence messages flowed in from far and near. A host of football luminaries including officials, coaches, players of the past and present all attended the funeral to bid goodbye to this great player and fine gentleman.

Another famous name in Hyderabad football – Yousuf Khan – ex Olympian and Arjuna awardee, made a relevant observation in his tribute when he said that Noor was an inspiration for him (Yousuf) and generations of players who followed.

“Noor’s tactical brilliance, flawless technique and steely determination were an inspiration to all of us. We learnt a lot from watching him,” said Yousuf Khan who is himself unfortunately not in sound health.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport / Online Edition / by Abhijit Sen Gupta, Hyderabad / Saturday – June 17th, 2000

Engineering students in Bengaluru launch 3 race cars

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

AshwaRacingMPOs16jan2018

On the combustion, hybrid and electric platforms

Ashwa Racing, a brand under Ashwa Mobility of RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru, on Saturday launched three new race cars on the combustion (AMF RZX8- CO), hybrid (AMF X8-HY) and electric (AMF-RZX8 -ELE) platforms for the 2018 race season.

Undergraduate students, who conceived, designed and build formula race cars, would be competing in national and global events in the coming months.

The combustion vehicle (210 kg without driver) development is headed by team captain Sweekruth Shetty, project manager Rakesh H.N, chief engineer Prateek Bhustali. The racing hybrid vehicle (300 kg) development is headed by team captain Asfan Khan, project manager Suhas B.U., chief engineer Uday Naik and chief communication officer Tarun Kasa.

The electric vehicle (200kg) development is headed by team captain Pranave Nanda, project manager Rahul S.D., chief engineer Gautam Singh and chief communication officer Srivatsa Deshpande.

The combustion and electric divisions of Ashwa Racing would be competing in Formula Bharat, which will be held in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu from January 24 to 28, 2018.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Special Correspondent / January 15th, 2018

Pataudi: The Afghan connection

The Pataudis.... Photo: R.V. Moorthy
The Pataudis…. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

They embody the dream of gracious living and togetherness. And you realise why when you meet them, says Kausalya Santhanam, about her tete-a-tete with Sharmila Tagore and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

Cricket, cinema and royalty — can there be a more potent mixture? Three decades after he headed the Indian cricket team with such distinction and his begum won the hearts of cinegoers, the spell cast by the couple continues. The Pataudis — Mansur Ali Khan and Sharmila Tagore — embody the Indian dream of gracious living and togetherness. You realise why when you meet them at their spacious bungalow in Delhi.

Though his clipped replies on the telephone make you apprehensive about the interview, he is quite forthcoming when you begin to talk to him. “I know what it is like to be at the other side for I was a reporter for the Ananda Bazaar Patrika many years ago,” he says. He listens to the questions with patience and courtesy. To be a Nawab is to be heir to a lifestyle marked by refinement in speech and behaviour.

How does it feel to be so respected three decades after leaving the game and how much has the royal aura contributed to this, you ask.

“If there is respect, it is because of a mixture of many things,” he replies. “It is also because I married into a recognised family (Sharmila is a grand niece of Rabindranath Tagore) with cultural interests and a literary background. There is a lot of curiosity (about us).

“I was not the only one in cricket from a similar background,” he says. “There were others like me — Hanumant Singh, Inderjit Singh, Fatesingh Gaekwad (who was President of the Board of Cricket Control), the Maharaja of Udaipur, the Patiala family… there were a lot of us around. The disadvantage was not because of the background but because I did not understand the undercurrents; I had not studied in India but abroad. It helped too for I did not get involved in the local politics. Regarding the royal aura, you are right in the sense we didn’t indulge in nepotism or favouritism. We played it pretty straight — not promoting someone because he was from a particular background. I played most of my cricket from the South. I still meet Chandrasekhar, Prasanna and Ramnarayan.”

What are his links now with Pataudi, the princely State in Haryana?

“Links are with the people,  not with the soil, After Independence, there was a large transfer of property. Quite a few people from Pataudi migrated to Pakistan. Many of my family members too went away, like my uncle, a former army general in Pakistan, who has written a book about the family and its history.”

Does he visit often and how much regard is there now in Pataudi for the former royal family?

“I’m a fairly private person. I don’t make an issue of going there. But for certain occasions, I do go. A large number of people came to my mother’s funeral to pay their respects. So the connection is still there, the bond is strong. I’m not into politics in Pataudi. I do some social work and am involved in running an eye hospital.”

What are his earliest memories?

“The background for me is cricket or sport. The earliest memories are of playing cricket on the lawns of our home and at the Roshanara Club at the age of nine.”

As for the story that he was upset when his father, the renowned cricketer, Ifthikar Ali Khan, stepped in and took a catch, he says, “Oh, that! I was young and father thought I would drop it.” He adds with feeling, “His was a very good presence.”

“My first coach was Sir Frank Worrell,” says the Nawab who became the youngest captain in the world at the age of 21 and acquired the appellation “Tiger” for his superb fielding skills. “My Master at Winchester College (in England where I did my school) also coached me. Winchester was an important turning point. My son Saif also went there, but perhaps,” he adds reflectively, “it is better to go abroad to study when you are a little older.”

Does he regret not playing one-day cricket as he would have been eminently suited for it?

“Yes. But I’m happy I played for my country. Nobody thought that one-day cricket would become so popular. When we played, there was not much money in the game but we enjoyed our game very much. And no, I don’t watch all the matches whether the World Cup or others. I was a commentator for AIR and Doordarshan. The main activity however had to be cricket or commentary — we had to be totally committed to the game.”

Is he disappointed his son Saif did not become a cricketer but an actor?

“Not at all, there was no compulsion for him to be one. I’m very happy that he is happy.”

Did not the commercials on television and the advertisements in print contribute to keeping the Pataudis in the public eye, projecting them in a regal way?

“If I came across well, it was because of the directors of the commercials,” he states simply.

Having been educated in England, did he not want to settle there?

“I feel very comfortable living here. My forefathers came here from Afghanistan during the time of the Lodis and established themselves after Aurangazeb died. Pataudi was set up as a principality by the English.

How difficult is to maintain the property?

“I have no palace. Palaces are like elephants around your neck. They are very difficult to maintain. Part of the Bhopal Palace has been given to a University. My cousins live in the other portions. My father sold the house in Delhi and built the palace at Pataudi for my mother when they got married in 1938. My mother was recognised as the Begum in 1968. Her elder sister migrated to Pakistan and her son, my cousin, was the manager of the Pakistan cricket team in this World Cup.”

With paternal ancestors at Pataudi and the maternal inheritance of Bhopal, life must have been interesting for him as a child…

“It was. Bhopal was a State with a great deal of protocol. There were bodyguards. When we had to meet our grandfather, we had to wear our best clothes and we were then lined up before him. He would ask: `How’s school? Which class are you in?’ We would answer, bow and come away. Pataudi was different — there were no bodyguards and life was more informal.”

Is not the present trend in the country — of religious fanaticism — disturbing?

“Extremely. But it is inevitable, a post-colonial syndrome which the country has to go through. Moderate voices won’t be heard for a lot of propaganda has been unleashed. It reflects poor thinking and vision, as there are more important things to think of — building houses and providing drinking water. There is so much of unemployment and frustration.”

What does he have to say about his foray into politics?

“I was in politics in 1992, when Rajiv (Gandhi) said `we would like you to come into it’. If he was alive, I might have still been in politics though I find it claustrophobic as it robs you of privacy.”

And how does he spend time now?

“Talking to reporters,” he deadpans.

* * *

“WHAT’S in a name?” asks Sharmila Tagore, acclaimed actress and the Begum of Pataudi, when you talk to her. “To elderly family members and friends, I am the Begum. I’m Rinku to my friends and Mrs. Khan to others. I’m better known as Sharmila Tagore. That’s what I am, what I have made of myself. I come from a middle-class literary background and I don’t have an identity crisis.”

“Belonging to a royal family is not an advantage any more in India,” adds the Begum.

“Titles are no longer respected. The tendency is to minimise their worth whereas titled people are respected in England.

“The reaction here comes from a very uninformed source and is a response to the reading of novels, which depict the royals as debauched and autocratic. The books do not highlight how the former rulers maintained law and order. Bhopal did not lose a single life in riots during Partition. The rulers provided good administration. They still have a place in the hearts of the people and are invited to grace marriages and other functions. Jealousy prompts some people to look down on them. But they can’t help but be impressed by royalty.”

Has she had to give up anything — freedom for instance — by marrying the Nawab?

“I haven’t given up anything. He is very liberal in his views. I’ve gained a lot of experience and gained another culture, cuisine, and way of dressing. I’ve benefited a lot.”

As an outstanding example of a successful Hindu-Muslim marriage, would it not be a good idea for them to make efforts to promote communal harmony?

“Pluralism is the strength of our country. History has shown us that we can co-exist peacefully. India absorbed other cultures but now we are becoming xenophobic. We are reacting 500 years after the Moghuls came. But if Tiger and I make attempts to promote harmony, I do not know how far we will succeed. People will say that I am not a Muslim and that Tiger is a Hindu fanatic.”

How do her two daughters, Saba and Soha, and son regard their lineage?

“Saif is very much into family history and all three children are conscious of their ancestry but in a nice way.”

Cricket lofted it

FIVE HUNDRED years ago, Mansur Ali Khan’s ancestors came from Afghanistan, equipped with superb skills in horsemanship, and looking for greener pastures. Salamat Khan, his forefather arrived in India in 1480 A.D. with his clan during the time of Bahlul, an Afghan of the Lodi tribe, says Tiger’s uncle in his book on the history of the family. Bahlul was governor of the Punjab and later ruled Delhi. A mass migration of Afghans to India took place during his time. Salamat Khan’s family was chosen to quell the Mevati tribe.

Bahlul’s grandson, Ibrahim Lodi, did not trust the Afghan nobles. This led to their rebellion and Babur of Kabul was invited to India resulting in the Battle of Panipat. Ibrahim Lodhi was killed and Mughal rule was established.

Salamat Khan did not actively participate in the Battle of Panipat. His great-grandson, Muhammed Pir, rose to power in Akbar’s court.

In the 18th Century, Alaf Khan of the family assisted the Mughal ruler in his battle against the Maharaja of Jaipur. He was rewarded with Kalam Mahal (which later came to be known as Pataudi House near Delhi Gate) to serve as the family residence.

The princely State of Pataudi was established in 1804 by the British when Faiz Talab Khan (who was made the first Nawab) aided them in their battle against the Marathas. In 1857, the Nawab of Jhajjhar, the Nawab of Pataudi’s cousin, joined anti-British forces and was hanged by the British. The territory was cut in half and Pataudi became a minor State. Cricket placed it on the international map with two generations of players excelling in the game.

Tiger’s mother Sajida Sultan belonged to the well-known House of Bhopal. She became the Nawab Begum of Bhopal after the death of her father, Nawab Hamidullah Khan. Flag Staff House, the residential building of the Bhopal rulers is located within the Ahmedabad palace complex which Hamidullah Khan built in the old Bhopal area. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Rajendra Prasad were State guests here.

This article was published in ‘The Hindu Sunday Magazine’ on August 3, 2003

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Cricket / by Kausalya Santhanam / September 26th, 2011

Playing it cool

Pune, MAHARASHTRA :

Young sports achievers are juggling practice, exercise, diet and the occasional indulgence to stay on top of the game

It’s common knowledge that players keep a grueling routine of regular practice schedules, fitness regimen and strict diet. Now add studies to that, and you can imagine how young college-going sportspersons juggle different routines to stay on top of their game — both on the field and off it.

Says sports psychologist Janki Rajapurkar: “Good academic performance helps youngsters build confidence. It also makes the transition after retirement from sports easier. Meanwhile, sports hone life skills like discipline, responsibility, and coping with wins and losses. So, skills you learn on the field are helpful in academics too.”

HIBA FAQUIH, 20,
FOOTBALLER

The student of Bachelors of Business Administration, Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, started playing competitive football when she was 16. She’s played for Maharashtra at the national level. And her top honours include Player of the Match at the All India Women’s Football Tournament last year, when Maharashtra beat Orissa, and again in the Inter-District Tournament organised by Pune District Football Association earlier this year. She also won Best Player of the Tournament at Symbiosis Inter-Institute Football Tournament for 2014 and 2015.

The grind: Faquih, who idolises Diego Maradona and Alex Morgan, trains Mondays to Fridays from 4pm to 7pm and on Saturdays from 1.30pm to 4pm. “I also hit the gym every morning for an hour,” she says.

“When I started playing, I used to get stressed when exams clashed with practice,” recalls Faquih, who now handles her schedule much better. “Now I have a fixed schedule and rarely miss my practice due to studies,” she says, adding that she even plays during exams because it acts as a stress buster.

But playing for four to five hours a day must leave little time for a social life? “Yes, I keep missing dinner plans, birthday bashes, but no regrets,” smiles Faquih. And does she miss pigging out on her favourite food too, thanks to her diet chart? “Following a diet was the hardest part because I love junk food and sweets. I don’t mind extra hours of training, but I need my daily dessert. Although with time I have reduced the quantity, but I still indulge,” admits the youngster, whose diet chart advises a balance of carbs like pasta and protein like meat, with nutrition bars thrown in as snacks.

YAMANI MEHERALLY, 20, FAUZIA MEHERALLY, 18,
TABLE TENNIS

Sisters and St. Mira’s College students Yamani and Fauzia Meherally have made their parents and college proud by consistently winning top honours in table tennis.

While Yamani most recently won the under- 21 district championship in 2014, Fauzia won the PYC Gymkhana 2015 tournament, beating Yamani. “I have a more aggressive game than her,” says Fauzia, a Class 12 pass-out.

Yamani has been playing state and district level tournaments from 2004 and Fauzia has played three national-level games at Vijaywada in 2008, Chennai in 2009 and Indore in 2010. Yamani shares, “My biggest win was when I defeated Maharashtra no 2 Senhora D’souza at Aurangabad in 2012 in the quarter-finals of the state championship.” Fauzia’s biggest win was when she won a national-level bronze at Vijaywada.

The grind: The duo trains with their father and practises for four hours daily. “We strictly avoid junk food and make sure we do exercises like running, cycling and stretches every day.” The only time the duo misses out on training is during exams or if they are not well. While Yamani, a Commerce student, admits that she misses out on outings, Fauzia insists that she does not like outings or parties.

And do they cheat on their diet? Confesses Fauzia sheepishly, “I love chaat, so once in a while I just go for it.” In almost the same breath, she reveals her elder sister’s fondness for chocolates and how she feasts on them secretly.

KALYANI OAK, 21,
SWIMMER

“I was introduced to swimming by my father when I was seven,” says the Electronics and Communication Engineering student of Cummins College of Engineering for Women. “My first competitive swim was when I was 10. ‘Go and have fun’, my parents told me and I did just that. I still do,” says the youngster.

Oak won a gold and a silver at the CBSE swimming nationals in Jaipur in 2007 and a bronze the next year at Nagpur. Most recently, this January this year, she won a gold at COEP’s national inter-collegiate meet. Oak is also a three-time individual championship winner (from 2012-2015) in the state-level inter-college meet organised by Cummins College.

The grind: Oak, earlier, used to train for 1.5 hours each in the morning and evening, but now, due to academic commitments, swims for 1.5 hours each day, six days a week. She also practises yoga for four days a week.

“Swimming has never taken a toll on my studies. In fact, it has always refreshed me. After a nice swim, chatting with my friends and team-mates at the pool, I find myself being able to focus more on my studies,” says the youngster, who loves writing short stories.

According to her, swimming is a great aerobic exercise and works on every part of the body. As a short distance swimmer though, she had to focus on building power and speed that comes from regular practice, which starts at 5.30 am. The only time Oak skips swimming is during exams. “Otherwise, I drag myself out of bed, no matter what. So there’s hardly any room for parties or late nights,” she says, adding that her solution was to make friends at the pool.

As a vegetarian, Oak has to focus on her protein intake. “Since I don’t eat meat, I try to make up for it with pulses, milk and egg,” says Oak, adding sheepishly: “I have a sweet tooth, so I hog on barfis and chocolates especially when I am out with friends or family. That is the only time I let myself go.”

NEHA KANTHE, 21,
TAEKWONDO PLAYER, ROWER

A state-level Taekwondo player, Kanthe has also won top spots in national-level rowing competitions. Kanthe’s first Taekwondo match was a district-level competition in 2007, where she won bronze. She went on to win gold at the School Games Nationals Goa in 2010. Apart from that, she also bronze in the junior national championship in Jharkhand in 2011. However, a ligament injury in 2013 put an end to her martial art stint. But the youngster quickly channeled her energy into rowing, and how.

The first race Kanthe competed in was Challengers Sprint Nationals in Kolkata in 2014 in the single scull category making it to quarter finals. The Mechanical Enginnering student of COEP, who ended fourth in the single scull category at the 73rd ARAE International Regatta, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2014, and came sixth in the coxless fours category in the 35th National Games, Kerala, 2015, won two gold medals in the single and double scull category at the Maharashtra Rowing Association State Championship this year, Nasik, this year.

The grind: Rowing requires pace, hard work, stamina, and a lot of consistency. So Kanthe practises for two hours each in the morning and evening, six days a week. When she’s not rowing, she exercises on the ergometer or indoor rower.

Ask her if her commitment to the sport takes a toll on her studies and she promptly replies: “It helps me relax and increases my concentration. The only thing it takes a toll on is my social life. Most of the times I am the missing member in parties and hang-outs.” But on the other hand, the sport has won her the attention of her friends and teachers. “Teachers know me personally and I have a lot of friends. They all help me when I miss classes for races,” she smiles.

█ Campus looks to bring into its fold trends, ideas and achievements, which make college campuses worth their while. This is the space where achievements of the youth will be highlighted and their quest for knowledge projected. Share your feedback and Campus ideas on punemirrorcampus@gmail.com

source: http://www.punemirror.indiatimes.com / Pune Mirror / Home> Pune> Campus / by Siddhant Ghatge / May 25th, 2015

These Punekars keep their love for ping-pong intact

GOA /  Pune, MAHARASHTRA :

(L to R) Yusuf,Yamani,Iqbal,Fauzia in their house at Kalyani Nagar - Snehil Sakhare, DNA
(L to R) Yusuf,Yamani,Iqbal,Fauzia in their house at Kalyani Nagar – Snehil Sakhare, DNA

Pune:

Four members from a family spanning two generations, are united by one fuelling passion — table tennis. The Meherally family, originally from Goa, settled in Pune in 1996 with a unique passion for Table- tennis in a cricket crazy country.

Iqbal Meherally(49) and his brother Yusuf (51) started playing Table-Tennis to pass time, and eventually entered the arena on a professional level, while representing Damodar College at Margao, Goa.“My brother and I bought a table and started playing table-tennis to pass time when it rained. We started enjoying the game so much that it became our passion.

We represented Goa during our college days. I won in during my first year in college, came in second by the second year and semi-finalist in third year,” said Iqbal.He had been ranked 7th in India, in the sub-junior category back in 1978. Iqbal had been among the top three table tennis players in Goa, and his brother Yusuf made it to the top five between 1975-88.“We discontinued playing table tennis in 1988 to make time to establish our new business, a colour lab in Goa,” said Iqbal.

His love for table tennis was rekindled in 2003, when his daughters started showing interest in the game. He is now coaching them, as they play for St Mira, Pune.

His elder daughter, Yamani (19), has played in different competitions since 2005-2012, she quit in 2007 for her education. Apart from her college, Yamani also played in Open State Level Matches.On having her own father as the coach and younger sister as an opponent, Yamani said, “My father is very professional on the field. He does not allow any excuses or spare us if we make mistakes, just like any other coach.

When my sister and I face each other on field, we are opponents and compete against each other and give our best each time.”

Fauzia (17) the youngest of the family is already a big name in the game. In her three Nationals until now, she has bagged bronze in the first and was among top players in Maharashtra A. In her second Nationals she qualified for the quarters, and was in Maharashtra B and was captain of her team in third.

Fauzia wants to continue playing professionally till she can, she is planning to become a professional coach in future just like her father.“On field, our father is a different person. He is strict and does not tolerate lethargy and mistakes on field. We follow a strict routine of four hours practice and a one-hour fitness training on holidays and two-hour practice and one-hour fitness training regularly,” said the girls.

source: http://www.dnaindia.com / DNA / Home> Pune / by Priyanka Kumari / June 16th, 2014

Telangana’s Sara clinches gold junior Taekwondo Nationals

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

The Telangana taekwondo who won laurels in the national meet with SATS chairman A Venkateshwar Reddy and others.
The Telangana taekwondo who won laurels in the national meet with SATS chairman A Venkateshwar Reddy and others.

Meanwhile, in the 63rd National School Games Taekwondo championship, held in Nalgonda, the State won three silver and five bronze medals.

Hyderabad: 

Telangana State’s Maseera Sara Khan clinched a gold medal in the 63 to 68 kg weight category in the recently concluded 37th National Junior Taekwondo championship at Chhattisgarh. This is the first gold medal for Telangana after the formation of the State.

Meanwhile, in the 63rd National School Games Taekwondo championship, held in Nalgonda, the State won three silver and five bronze medals.

List of winners:

1.Nandishwar (silver in 21 to 23 Kg), Hanshika Singh (silver in 24 to 26 kg), Himanshu Pilli (silver in Above 50 Kg), Shiv Kiran (bronze in 25 to 27 kg), Naina Bai (bronze in 18 to 20 kg), Ramya.S (bronze in 22 to 24 kg), Trilok (bronze in 32 to 25 kg), Akshita (bronze in above 38 kg) and Santosh (bronze in Under-18 Kgs).

source: http://www.telanganatoday.com / Telangana Today / Home> Sports> Other Sports / by Sports Bureau, Telangana Today / January 04th, 2017