The Sydney show-stoppers
India survive Spanish surge to keep door to semis
Minister promises careful selection
Beenamol makes 400 semis
Mark does a Steve at Udayan
Bagan beat George 5-1, enter final
Access All Areas may win ‘Million’

 
 
THE SYDNEY SHOW-STOPPERS 
 
 
FROM SUJIT BHAR
 
Sydney, Sept. 23: 
These are the moments that make an Olympic Games. These are the events that sell right in billions of dollars round the world. These probably are the most expensive slots in anything in the world, considering that they last not nearly 11 seconds each.

The men’s and women’s 100 m finals are in an order all by their own.

This evening, at a packed Stadium Australia, Marion Jones of the US ticked off one of her five gold promises as she cruised to the 100m title, leaving the field almost two metres behind. The 10.75 was a season-best for her.

A race later, Maurice Greene, also of the US and the world reord-holder at 9.79 seconds, overcame a none-too-great start to reach the finish-line and the men’s 100m gold in 9.87.

The Olympic records in both events remain undisturbed, but it was still time to toast the fastest man and woman at Sydney 2000.

The Late Florence Griffith-Joyner has the world (10.49) and Olympic (10.62) records for women, while Donovan Bailey of Canada, who failed to qualify for the finals, holds the men’s Olympic record at 9.84 seconds.

Jones has been the biggest crowd favourite here, after Australian 400m world champion Cathy Freeman. Today, she went through her semi-final field like hot knife through butter, finishing in 11.01 seconds.

The time was hardly great, but good enough in this 20 degree centigrade condition with a rather chilly south wind coming in. Sri Lanka’s Jayasinghe, who had qualified for this semi-final, managed only a poor seventh.

Into the final, the chill was probably in the mind of the athlete. The field was mediocre, with only 40-year-old Jamaican Merlene Ottey, returning to competition, looking worth any competition, apart from Ekaterini Thanou of Greece, the world championships’ bronze winner.

The stadium was electric, with much of the adjacent activity coming to a brief halt for the big occasion. Jones’ husband C. J. Hunter, almost always by her side, could not manage an ‘in-fencing’ accreditation. Having withdrawn from the competition, he is no athlete here anymore though he could come in as coach. He stood on the steps of the press gallery and hollered pet instructions to his wife. Many of his handlers too jammed the stairs.

Following a Thanou false-start, Tanya Lawrence of Jamaica in Lane 1 took off in a flash, followed by Debbie Fergusson of the Bahamas and Ottey in adjacent lanes. For her age, Ottey’s reaction time of 0.179 seconds is amazing.

The rest of the field had already got into the race proper when Jones set off. Her reaction time was a none-too-decent 0.189 seconds. What was so wonderful was her acceleration. Quite like a Ferrari or, perhaps, like Carl Lewis, really. She cut into the field and then she was clear of it, free, as she looked at the finish line. It was fluid motion and, then, she jumped across and off the track and near the fencing. And then broke down, in tears of joy.

Hunter, approached at the press gallery, first refused to comment, then just said: “She was good enough to win, and she did.”

Thanou, on 11.12 seconds, won silver, while Lawrence, at 1.18, won bronze. Ottey finished fourth at 11.12 seconds.

Tough semis

Greene went through a tough semi-final, with John Drummond and Ato Boldon, but he made it look easy. In the final, following a false start, he took off a bit slow (another 0.197 react time), but stepped on the throttle, and when he had finished, at 9.87 seconds, it was evident that he had so much more in store and could have gone for the world mark had a real tough field been around. Boldon raced around, but managed only the silver at 9.99 seconds, and Obadele Thompson of Barbados won bronze at 10.04.

Both the races today were slow, but neither lacked the charisma that comes with the sprint.    


 
 
INDIA SURVIVE SPANISH SURGE TO KEEP DOOR TO SEMIS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Sydney, Sept. 23: 
Indian hockey’s see-saw ride continues. The other day fortunes were down in the dumps. Today they are back at the top, following a fine 3-2 victory over Spain — achieved through good, fast Indian-gharana play.

The win has put India in second spot in pool B with seven points from four matches. Australia are on top with eight. But South Korea, with five from three games, are too close for comfort.

The Koreans have to play Poland and Australia, while India can afford to wait till the last day of pool matches to decide on strategy on how to tackle their last opponents, Poland. Theoretically, all teams except Spain and Argentina have a good chance of making it to the semi-finals. It will be in Australia’s interest to try and win versus South Korea, and that does give the Indians a decent breather space.

Now for the combinations.

If Korea beat Poland and Australia, India and Korea go through. If Australia beat Korea, Australia and India make it. In both cases, India will, of course, have to beat Poland, on September 26.

A new side

India’s goals today came off a penalty stroke and two penalty corners. They were scored, in order, by Baljit Singh Dhillon, Dilip Kumar Tirkey and Dhillon again. Spain got on the scoresheet through Xavier Ribas, off a penalty corner, and from a field goal by Pep Sanchez.

India today looked a new side. The false starts that were evident versus South Korea had been ironed out, and care was taken to keep star striker Dhanraj Pillay more to the rear, helping to make a game of the match. The defence, too, performed far better, though much is still desired of this department. There was also enough speed and flexibility in the team, with the forward line getting their act right.

An interesting piece of statistic is that India today did 100 per cent conversion of penalty strokes and penalty corners. Spain earned six penalty corners and managed only one. India managed two penalty corners and converted both.

In the final count, though, Spain, who threw a great deal back in the late stages, did have more look-ins at the Indian goal, but the Indian defence, for a change, stood up strong and united.

The hockey stadium, awash with Indian and Spanish supporters, was a windy and chilly one (at 20 degrees centigrade) and India started off in attack mode. Spain too threw back initiatives. In the tenth minute, off a Pablo Usoz square-pass at the goalmouth, Pablo Pol Amat moved into the Indian D and sent a quick reverse-flicked shot that came off defender and out. A penalty-corner was wasted by Spain but the Indian defence was under pressure.

Six minutes later, India launched a counter-attack and, in a Pillay-Gagan Ajit Singh move, there was a scuffle in the D and a serious infringement resulted in a penalty stroke, awarded by umpire Sumesh Putra of Canada.

Baljit Dhillon converted with a quick scoop.

India were not willing to rest on that thin lead, and came back to attack with Pillay missing a close one in the 12th minute.

Spain shot back though a quick counter-attack. Indian goalkeeper Jude Menezes, who has had a good tournament so far, was drawn out. But he failed to stop properly and an infringement ordered a penalty corner which was converted by Ribas.

Equal on scores, Spain earned a penalty corner in the 33rd minute, off a Dinesh Nayak foul-up and off a Jude mistake in haste, but it went abegging. India hit back with a penalty corner the very next minute and Tirkey shot home easily from a clean stop.

In the first minute of the second session, Spain wasted their fourth penalty corner before India forced another two minutes later for Dhillon to drag-scoop for India’s third goal.

But the margin was reduced in the 48th, as Pep Sanchez dodged a goalmouth challenger with a 360 degree swivel and, as Jude came out to stop, hit home into the empty goal.

Spain really turned on the pressure in the last quarter of the match, earning six penalty corners in all. There was a bad miss in the 62nd minute, when Edi Tabau failed to hit into in an untenanted goal. Pillay, too, missed a close one, the shot coming off a defender.

‘Homework well done’

Later Indian coach Vasudevan Baskaran said: “This win was due to exacting preparations by us and a great deal of solid homework in the last two days.”

He said his team was “very fit” and that’s where the speed emanated from. He conceded that withdrawing Pillay for periods in the match did yield results.

He said it was a conscious decision to deal with the penalty corners the way India did today. “We knew that this Spanish goalkeeper (Ramon Jufresa) had this tendency of bouncing off balls. We decided to wait for rebounds.”

Australia had to wait till late in the second half to beat Argentina today, rallying back from a goal in the red.

In pool A, Pakistan drew with Malaysia 2-2, while Germany and the Netherlands also shared four goals. Malaysia went ahead in the 22nd minute via Ibrahim Suhaimi, Pakistan drew level in the 23rd through Atif Bashir. Suhami converted a penalty corner to put Malaysia ahead before a penalty corner conversion by Sohail Abbas gave Pakistan the equaliser.    


 
 
MINISTER PROMISES CAREFUL SELECTION 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Sydney, Sept. 23: 
Union minister of state of sports Shahnawaz Hussain today avoided the ticklish topic of the Indian athletes under-performing at the Olympics, saying: “These personal achievements are not really steady, but, yes, care must be taken in future to give full exposure to the athletes and then make careful selection.”

He, however, said the government was taking an active role in trying to upgrade the Bangalore dope testing laboratory. “This is one angle I must say I will look into,” he said. “Before I leave here I will visit Canberra where I will look at the modern facilities. I will try to bring all facilities to India.”

In those words was the tacit admission that the government would not be taking some insipid results of certain athletes lying down. It is also a tacit admission that there could be possible cases of doping among Indian athletes.

They gave highly inflated performances back home where testing is poor and then fell to their normal levels in the arena where tough testing measures are in vogue.

The Indian athletes’ performances will surely be a matter of hot discussion back home, and the minister, who has been present through these rough times, will have to answer to the Indian taxpayer on whose money the athletes travel.

Hussain also indicated the usual apathy in the Amateur Athletics Federation of India to raise funds and promised to bring their house to order. “Look, we did take a stand on the cricket team, I put my foot down on the tri-series and the Prime Minister did listen to my logic and that was the only time we interfered with the working of the BCCI,” he said.

“But the fact remains that the BCCI does not ask for money from the government and it has promoted the sport in the country on its own. There is need for it in other sports disciplines too. In other sports, it has been made possible by the government to let sponsorship come in tax free.    


 
 
BEENAMOL MAKES 400 SEMIS 
 
 
FROM SUJIT BHAR
 
Calcutta, Sept.23: 
India’s athletics picnic will run till the distance K.M. Beenamol can take the country’s 400m fortune to. With the rest of the fields falling in a heap, Beenamol today made it to the semi-final of the event in a late rush and will be around when the Cathy Freemans of the world make the big waves.

She ran the third heat of Round 2 today, with a prime lane assignment of fourth. But her start was bad, and she was hardly able to build on it either.

She tried, but by the end of the first bend the right half of the field had broken ahead and a gap was showing. Midway the first straight much of the left side of the field had also left her in their wake.

It was a desperate scenario for the athlete who finished the fastest qualifier in the first round. Beenamol was not even pacing her own best time.

Curving into the homestretch, Beenamol tried again, hard. She accelerated the way she could have earlier, and just managed a fourth spot at 51.81 seconds, way off her own mark of 51.5 here.

She runs the second semi-final in lane eight tomorrow evening, with the likes of Cathy Freeman in lane three and Falilat Ogunkoya of Nigeria in lane four.

After the race, a tried Beenamol said: “I am proud that I have been able so far. I am not sure today what I will be able to do in the semi-finals tomorrow, but I will give my best, this was a very strong field and I was lucky that I was able to push myself in the last few minutes to finish fourth and qualify.”

India’s two heptathlon entrants, Ganapathy Pramila and Soma Biswas are now in 23rd and 25th position, respectively.

Pramila, on 3308, is 595 points behind leader Natalya Sazanovoic after the completion of four events. Soma is at a personal total of 3287.

The events left to be gone through are long jump, javelin and the 800m dash.    


 
 
MARK DOES A STEVE AT UDAYAN 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, Sept. 23: 
Twenty-six months after twin brother Steve formally got involved with Udayan, home for children of the leprosy-afflicted, Mark Waugh too has pitched in handsomely.

In fact, like Steve, Mark is now sponsoring a girl-inmate (at Udayan) for life —- which according to the present arrangement with sponsors, essentially means ten years.

The (life) sponsorship amount, incidentally, is reasonable: Rs 1 lakh. Besides the Waughs, only one other child currently has life sponsorship.

At a time when many still talk of Mark’s self-confessed links with a bookie (back in the mid-Nineties), this charity-move should do much to brighten his CV.

Steve, it may be recalled, decided to sponsor the polio-stricken Lakhi Kumari (aged seven) during his last visit to Udayan, in April.

Lakhi is originally from a village in the Dumka region of Bihar.

As Steve told The Telegraph then, he was “moved” by Lakhi’s courage and sponsoring her would be “one way” of paying tribute to his polio-afflicted paternal grandmother, Ella May.

Though the Australian cricket captain’s grandmother is touching 90, she “refuses,” for instance, to use a wheelchair. Obviously, she has been a huge source of inspiration for all the Waughs.

Mark is sponsoring Aloka Nayek, who is two years younger than Lakhi.

Actually, Mark left it to Steve to “choose” the girl. Steve, in turn, assigned that task to Ms Shamlu Dudeja, who coordinates Steve’s efforts for Udayan.

“Aloka, who is very bright, has just joined Udayan (the girls’ wing there, Nivedita House, is solely the result of Steve’s unbridled enthusiasm) and, as she is one of the first entrants after the (girls’) wing’s formal inauguration by Steve himself, I chose her,” Ms Dudeja explained.

The details and pictures of Aloka —- her roots are in Ghatsila, near Jamshedpur —- will be sent to Mark next week. Mark’s sponsorship-cheque, of course, has already been received by Udayan.

Significantly, the life sponsorship also takes care of vocational training-related expenses. For example, Lakhi is taking lessons in singing and, in time, Aloka could do something similar.

For those at Udayan who are interested, members of the Calcutta Foundation Orchestra, who themselves come from underprivileged backgrounds, impart violin lessons.

Yet another excellent example, surely.    


 
 
BAGAN BEAT GEORGE 5-1, ENTER FINAL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 23: 
Mohun Bagan today reached the All Airlines Gold Cup final with a 5-1 demolition of George Telegraph.

In an action-packed game at their home ground, Mohun Bagan scored four goals in a span of six minutes in the first half to seal the fate of the match.

Jose Ramirez Barreto scored two goals, with one each from Joao Dos Santos, R.C. Prakash and Naushad Pari. Barreto’s first, and his team’s, came from a penalty as did the last one from Pari.

George Telegraph also reduced the margin through a penalty, converted by Gourab Dutta.

George Telegraph protested the second penalty awarded against them and even heckeld referee Chandan Chowdhury which resulted in a five-minute stoppage.    


 
 
ACCESS ALL AREAS MAY WIN ‘MILLION’ 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
 
On her Bangalore summer form, Access All Areas is taken to win the S. A. Poonawalla Million in Pune on Sunday.

SELECTIONS

12.45 pm: Caribbean Star 1. Chelsea 2. Azurica 3. 1.15 pm: Gold Dust 1. El Cid 2. Mi Amante 3. 1.45 pm: Daring Don 1. Zenana 2. San Carios 3. 2.15 pm: Universal Star 1. Coronado 2. Monday’s Pride 3. 2.45 pm: Inquisition 1. Millenium Star 2. Silver Blue 3. 3.15 pm: Access All Areas 1. Deep Blue 2. Among Men 3. 3.45 pm: Heartbreaker 1. Maltese Falcon 2. Jaannisar 3. 4.15 pm: Tazo 1. Musical Melody 2. War ‘N’ Peace 3. 5 pm: Equity 1. Val Rouge 2. Cliche 3. Day’s Best: Gold Dust

Double: Daring Don & Tazo.

SATURDAY’S MYSORE RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)

1st race: Money Spinner (Marshall) 1; Atlantic Star 2; Flinders 3. Won by: 1/2; 4-1/4; (1-32.8). (W) Rs 366; (P) 83; 179; 15; (Q) 13,337; (T) 22,300 (C.o).

2nd race: Appleby (Kader) 1; Chantenay 2; Franco Leone 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-30.6). (W) Rs 18; (P) 10; 10; 29; (Q) 16; (T) 87.

3rd race: Golden Goal (Rakesh) 1; Hong Kong Boy 2; Mayfair 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 3/4; (1-56.6). (W) Rs 25; (P) 12; 15; 45; (Q) 41; (T) 757.

4th race: High Clarity (Prakash) 1; Telegram 2; Sea Horse 3. Not run: Laplander (9). Won by: 2-1/4; SH; (1-30). (W) Rs 47; (P) 12; 16; 29; (Q) 64; (T) 981.

5th race: Haynes Park (Shobhan) 1; Blue Ridge 2; Holy Heights 3.

Not run: Crystal Moment (4). Won by: 1-1/2; 3/4; (1-28.8). (W) Rs 39; (P) 16; 30; 18; (Q)193; (T) 1,181.

6. Bettagere Estates Mysore 2000 Guineas: Adamile (Kader) 1; The Music Man 2; Starry Scene 3; Appeaser 4. Not run: Il Diablo (7). Won by: 1/2; 2; 1-1/2; (1-41.3). (W) Rs 16; (P) 11; 14; 14; (Q) 33; (T) 104. Fav: Adamile.

7th race: Seadiver (Shukla) 1; Simon 2; Jersey Lightning 3. Won by: 3-1/4; SH; (1-17.3). (W) Rs 207; (P) 51; 37; 16; (Q) 1,200; (T) 43,233.

8th race: Beauchamp King (Prakash) 1; Flying Scot 2; Belezian 3. Won by: SH; 9-1/4; (1-45.2). (W) Rs 39; (P) 17; 59; 62; (Q) 344; (T) 12,622

.Jackpot: Rs 40,521; (C) Rs 5,065.

Treble: (i) Rs 238; (ii) Rs 1,386.

SAturday’S PUNE RESULTS (With inter-state dividends)

1st race: Tap On Power (Bernard) 1; Prime Of Life 2; Fine Arrow 3. Won by: Nk; 1-1/2; (2-38). (W) Rs 36; (P) 17; 50; (Q): 304; (T) 2,980.

2nd race: Gorgeous Princess (Kharadi) 1; Anthology 2; Survee’s Pet 3. Won by: 1/2; 8; (1-40.7). (W) Rs 44; (P) 13; 17; 26; (Q) 146; (T) 1,196.

3rd race: Special Recruit (Ranjane) 1; Merry Lea 2; Silent Fox 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 1/2; (59.9).(W) Rs 94; (P) 27; 22; 13; (Q) 458; (T): 3,629.

4th race: Master Honey (Jodha) 1; Cotopaxi 2; Traumerei 3. Won by: 1/2; Nk; (1-12.4). (W) Rs 18; (P) 11; 12; 21; (Q) 17; (T) 63.

5th race: Helianthus (Rajendra) 1; Wild Heart 2; Heavy Weight 3. Won by: Hd; 9; (1-26.6). (W) Rs 14; (P) 11; 14; 62; (Q) 17; (T) 206.

6th race: Different Crown (Belose) 1; Southern Star 2; Communicator 3.v Won by: 1/2; 5-1/2; (1-11.6). (W) Rs 32; (P) 14; 17; 18; (Q) 45; (T) 306.

7th race: Inimitable (Rajendra) 1; Boundless Thrill 2; Shahpari 3. Won by: Nk; 1-3/4; (1-42.2). (W) Rs 22; (P) 12; 24; 48; (Q) 67; (T) 1,200.

8th race: Spur Of The Moment (Daniel) 1; Tagamet 2; Numero Uno 3. Won by: 1/2; 1-3/4; (1-12.7). (W) Rs 158; (P) 33; 46; 39; (Q) 1,113; (T) 14,817.

Jackpot: Rs 2,579; (C) Rs 44. Treble: (i) Rs 626; (ii) Rs 1,372.

CALCUTTA RACES POSTPONED

The next Wednesday’s Calcutta races have been postponed to Thursday as Mysore races have been advanced by a day — from Thursday to Wednesday.    

 
 
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