The spirit lingers even after close
Ethiopian wins marathon
Different Strokes
Yuvaraj, Zaheer may make debut vs Kenya
Security the watchword in Kenyan capital
Deccan Derby/Allocated for classic double
Pune Races/ Razalin makes it three in-a-row
Calcutta Races/ 5 for Wednesday’s Derby Trial Stak
TRACK TRIALS

 
 
THE SPIRIT LINGERS EVEN AFTER CLOSE 
 
 
FROM SUJIT BHAR
 
Sydney, Oct. 1: 
As the Games of the XXVII Olympiad comes to an end, the rest of the huge assortment of personnel associated with the Games wind down and are preparing for the break. They will miss the Games and its atmosphere, but the memories will remain.

There were around 50,000 volunteers working round the clock to make these Games a resounding success, and they have been, too. Finally, it’s goodbye time.

Barbara Rachel, drives one of the media buses around the Stadia/venue and she is planning her way back now, 200km from home. “My sons (one 27 and the other 23) have been keeping in touch with me here and have twice come down, now it’s time for me to give this a break and get back,” she says.

She will miss the electric environment, exhausting that it has been, “but I have waited 55 years of my life for a chance at a thing like this, and I don’t regret it one bit.”

That has been the general trend hereabouts. Even the younger ones, those whose time is off now because the schools and universities are closed, have really enjoyed the “interaction” they say.

Ann Choi, Korean by birth but Australian now since her parents moved to Sydney, says she had been supporting two teams here — Australia and South Korea. That has created a few problems, especially when Australia have met Korea, but “those times I am all for Korea,” she says.

Same with those many, many Indians who reside in Sydney and thereabouts. Arup Datta has been working at the media room as technical support staff. He says the country has yet to get into his veins, he is just a student yet (he passed out of Durgapur Engineering College and is doing his post graduation here), but “there is a thing about Australia, where you never feel out of place, and the people are kind and helping. Sometimes, when the Aussies are playing, I do support them. When the Indians play, though, I am all Indian.”

It is time for him to now go back to the University and to studies. “This was more fun because I earned a subject credit from this work.”

Manjit Singh Bhullar is this tall Sikh you will meet at suburban Burwood Station where he is Duty Manager, quite like the station master back home. He came over 11 years back from Ludhiana and took up Australian citizenship nine years ago “as soon as I got it.” He feels this is a great country to be, “and there is no racial discrimination as I have seen it. I am comfortable, and anybody is comfortable if you work right. Now that the Olympics are getting over, the pressure will go down, but I really loved these times and my countryman competing in my own backyard...”

Filipino Aldrin Cardona is here from Manila, “to watch if we could get something.” He lives in Brisbane, but came down, and that he has a friend here to stay with made it easier. He remembers P.T. Usha, as he is sure Indians remember the great Filipino sprinter Lydia de Vega.

“Lydia is now out of all glamour roles and is a housewife,” he said. “I loved these times. So many people from my country, were here and I got so much news from back home. Unless there is an occasion so big, one generally doesn’t travel all the way from one country to another.”

Laurent Majou has come all the way from Talnece, France. He is a travel writer and into advertising. “I met one of the chiefs of organisation of these Games in France and he told me I could come over and help out in a supervisory capacity,” said Laurent. “I immediately agreed, and this was a great experience, what a way to spend my holiday.”

Incidentally, all the way from France to Sydney, he was a voluntary supervisor, unpaid, and totally involved. “I like this city. France is good, yes, but Sydney is very good. I’d like to stay here if I could.”

That has been the refrain. The city and the Games. The Games are over, the spirit of the Games persist.

Sri Lankan residents of Sydney have pooled together Australian $15,000 for the 17 Lankan athletes who came here. The money is needed and the spirit is great. Sydney makes it go, sometime.    


 
 
ETHIOPIAN WINS MARATHON 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Sydney, Oct. 1: 
When the 36-year-old Elias Rodriquez of the Federal States of Micronesia entered Stadium Australia, he was a bit surprised at first. Television cameras zoomed in, and crowd stood in applause. Every step he took, the applause grew, the cheering was genuine, straight from the heart. Elias was exhausted, almost down to the last breath. But he broke into a smile, waved a bit and carried on for that last lap of honour.

He had completed the Olympic marathon and that’s what most important. It’s not important that he was the last marathoner to finish, and that all in the stadium waited a whole of three hours and nine minutes and 14 seconds for his entry. The Olympic spirit was, thus, showcased in the participation.

Of course, there was jubilation for Gezahgne Abera of Ethiopia. His was a gold medal performance, at 2:10:11. And, as the great runner completed his 42km journey, he smiled and waved, and ran to the side for an Ethiopian flag. Kenyan Eric Wainaina followed him 20 seconds later and the bronze was for another Ethiopian, Tesfaye Tola, 59 seconds after the champion.

The top three looked small and fragile and they gave coy smiles. But they had enough energy left to do another lap of honour with their national flags. Tola was the leader at 35km, followed by Eric and Abera. By the 40km, Abera had taken over the lead, with Eric and Tola in tow. And that order was not changed till the athletes entered the giant Olympic Stadium to thundering applause.

The crowd cheered when an East Timorese finished. They also roared in kudos when Cambodia’s Rithya To came in second last (80th among the finishers) and then just about managed to jog around the track, face distorted in pain and collapsed in a heap.

The Olympic Games can bring out such strange feelings in people. And the marathon, perhaps, is the best of them all in courage.    


 
 
DIFFERENT STROKES 
 
 
BY SUNIL GAVASKAR
 
 

Foreign coach useless if players are not receptive

By the time you read this, the Sydney Olympics will be all but over. There will be celebrations for some and recrimination for most. The Indian contingent, or shall we say the athletes, will already be back and, perhaps, the only ones staying behind for the closing ceremony will be the officials. Though there will be only one bronze medal to show, there may well be a fortune in what the officials bring back in their suitcases.

But, then, that’s been the story of Indian sport and will continue to be so unless the government does some serious introspection and takes a firm policy decision to give more importance to sport.

We have all heard the old demand for transparency and accountability among officials, but as long as the ones to be accountable to are the ones running various sports federations or at least being in influential positions in the associations, the accountability factor is a farce.

Perhaps a body like the Central Vigilance Commission to look into the running of sports associations, national as well as state, may do the trick but who has the will to do it? These people will act only on very strong public opinion, as the cricket Board did when it came to the selection of the probables for the Indian team to the Nairobi Mini World Cup.

The point now is, does the Indian sports fan feel as passionately about other sports as he does about cricket?

Indian hockey had the opportunity to recapture its pre-eminence if the team had just qualified for the semis. With the disillusionment with cricket around, it was an ideal opportunity for hockey to step in and capture the attention of the fans and advertisers, but it was not to be.

It is a real pity for, if ever a team looked good for a medal it was this team. Hopefully, there will be a proper but unemotional analysis of what went wrong in Sydney, and no unnecessary finger pointing.

If the Indian cricket team had missed some of the chances that the hockey team did, then there definitely would have been debates and discussions for a long time.

Though that is not what is required, a thorough post-mortem would definitely help pinpoint areas for improvement so that Indian hockey can prepare itself for its next big tournament.

Speaking of missed opportunities, hopefully the ICC will prevail upon the captains of the participating teams in the ICC Knockout (that’s the correct name of the tournament) to take an oath just before the tournament begins, just as athletes or a representative of an athlete does before the Olympic Games begin.

True there are doping allegations against athletes and some do get disqualified for use of banned substances but the great majority of athletes are clean and so are the cricketers. The ICC Knockout is the ideal place for cricket and cricketers to begin the job of trying to regain the confidence and faith of the paying and viewing public, which has been shattered by the match-fixing scandal.

If India do manage to do well in this tournament then it has a good chance of regaining the fans they have lost. But it is going to require a Herculean effort to overcome Australia, who they meet in the second round if they get past hosts Kenya in the first.

For once, the selectors have done agreat job in the selection of the team. That’s not surprising since their re-election was coming up and it makes common sense to do the best at the last, since public memory is short and only the last deed is remembered. So picking the best possible combination does help their cause of getting re-elected.

The disappointing thing is that in the selection committees over the past so many years have been players who have themselves worked very hard to get the India cap yet have gone on to dole out caps to players who do not deserve it. The most impartial of men once they become selectors somehow get drawn into believing that they owe more allegiance to their state and zone than to the country. Though they may not actually personally promote a non-deserving player from another zone the need to show unanimity with the fellow selectors makes them keep their silence which does not help at all.

It is good to see Yuvraj Singh in the Indian squad. I only hope that they will keep their faith in him for he is the kind of player who can swing a match with his batting. As a bowler he reminds me of Ravi Shastri, who was underestimated by most batsmen and kept on picking wickets regularly. Like Ravi, Yuvraj is not a big spinner of the ball but bowls a good line and lets the pitch do its bit. But it is as a batsman that he shows more promise.

It will be wonderful if he can succeed at the international level, for it will mean he will translate his father Yograj Singh’s unfulfilled dreams into reality. Yograj, at one time at the beginning of his first-class career, was thought of as being as good if not better than Kapil Dev but was, for various reasons, unable to translate his potential into performance.

He has recently taken up coaching, and perhaps he may be able to tell his wards what it is that seperates an accomplished international from a promising cricketer. No coach in the world can ever teach temperament, for that is something within each player, but more the examples he shows of cricketers with limited abilities going on to become top internationals, more are the chances of youngsters trying to think how and why those cricketers made it. That will be a coach’s greatest contribution, because every cricketer is blessed with some ability and he must know how to make the most of this ability. A coach’s jopb is not just about teaching technique.

There is talk about trying a foreign coach for the Indian team, but going by skipper Ganguly’s statement (if reported correctly) that it won’t make a difference who the coach is, you can get an idea on whether players at that level are receptive to advice. A foreign coach will be better utilised for the juniors, for that is where any changes and alterations can be made without the player turning around and asking the coach to go fly a kite. Ganguly’s statement (if reported correctly) conveys the ‘I know it all’ attitude that the seniors have.

Are you surprised that they are doing as they are on the field?

Professional Management Group    


 
 
YUVARAJ, ZAHEER MAY MAKE DEBUT VS KENYA 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Nairobi, Oct. 1: 
Rookies Yuvaraj Singh and Zaheer (not Zahid, the speedster himself clarified) Khan did their India-debut chances a world of good at the Ruaraka Sports Club today.

While Yuvaraj top-scored with a punishing unbeaten 51 (61 balls, 5x4, 1x6) in India’s emphatic six-wicket win over the West Indies, in a practice game ahead of the ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000 meet, Zaheer swung the ball and got it to bounce, too. Opening the attack, he finished with figures of 9-1-30-1.

According to The Telegraph’s sources, both Yuvaraj and Zaheer are “strongly placed” to make the XI on Tuesday, in the tournament-opener versus Kenya. It appears to be a toss-up between Yuvaraj and Hemang Badani for the No.5 slot, while Zaheer will come in if the thinktank opts for just one spinner (Anil Kumble) and three quicks (others being Venkatesh Prasad and Ajit Agarkar).

Veteran Vinod Kambli sealed his comeback with a fine 43 (45 deliveries, 4x4, 1x6). Sachin Tendulkar got 27.

Significantly, the Indian ‘success’ was achieved without three regulars (vice-captain Rahul Dravid, Kumble and Agarkar) and with captain Sourav Ganguly not batting (“I thought it better to give the youngsters a chance,” he explained).

It’s generally been a poor year for the Windies and their performance today only confirmed that. But for a somewhat face-saving 129-run stand for the fifth-wicket between newcomers Sylvester Joseph (68) and Marlon Samuels (62 not out), they probably wouldn’t even have managed 170 for six in the 50 overs.

Prasad took three wickets, including that of Brian Lara — leg-before for a duck.

The Indians finished the match as early as the 34th-over, at 171 for four. It certainly made the day for the 1,500-odd Indian fans who parked themselves at the Ruaraka. Present, too, was former India star Sandeep Patil, currently the Kenyan coach.

Incidentally, the India-Sri Lanka game billed for Friday was a non-starter as the Lankans cried-off. “I don’t know why, but they backed out,” was how coach Aunshuman Gaekwad put it.    


 
 
SECURITY THE WATCHWORD IN KENYAN CAPITAL 
 
 
FROM LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Nairobi, Oct. 1: 
The last page of the Kenya Airways’ in-flight magazine offers “useful tips” to those visiting Kenya. In fact, the list of dos and don’ts is pretty exhaustive with a section devoted to security, too.

Appropriately, it would seem.

The security-specific advisory includes the following: “It is a sensible precaution not to walk alone in isolated towns or beach areas... Ask for advice from your hotel manager or tour representative, if you are with a package holiday company.”

Forget “isolated towns or beach areas,” you need advice in the heart of Nairobi! This despite Kenya’s capital city — incidentally, not a concrete jungle — being one of the more favoured tourist destinations anywhere.

“The problem is because of rising unemployment, that’s the root cause,” is the local explanation.

President’s help sought

It’s a major problem. So much so today’s Sunday Nation front-paged a report which spoke of “senior police officers” requesting a meeting with President Daniel Arap Moi to “discuss the rising police inability to deal with crime.”

Not exactly reassuring, but those involved with the mini World Cup (officially labelled ICC KnockOut Kenya 2000), which gets underway Tuesday, have done their bit to “assure everybody” security won’t be found wanting. The assurance took the form of an announcement by both the ICC and the organising committee.

Significantly, besides the conventional sub-committees, there is one on security.

“We’re doing everything that needs to be done,” organising committee chairman Sharad Ghai, of the Kenya Cricket Association (KCA), told The Telegraph.

Towards that end, the level of security matches what is usually on view in the sub-continent only. This includes floor-level ‘cover’ at the official hotel.

Meanwhile, seven of the 11 teams are already here. The rest — Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe — will reach on Wednesday/Thursday. Strangely, edition No. 2 of this ICC fund-raising initiative is without a title sponsor. The first, in 1998, was sponsored by Wills.

Perhaps it’s more than just a coincidence that Jagmohan Dalmiya is no longer with the ICC.

Gymkhana ready for the show

The absence of a title sponsor, though, won’t take anything away from this being the KCA’s finest moment. Of course, it has already hosted three ODI-status events (1996, 1997 and 1999), but never on a scale such as this. It’s an occasion to remember for the Nairobi Gymkhana (the venue, with a capacity of 8,000), as well.

For the first time, probably, the Gymkhana has seen five wickets being prepared simultaneously, under the supervision of Harilal Shah, who captained East Africa in the inaugural World Cup (1975). Today, Shah is KCA vice-chairman and represents the Associates on the ICC’s Cricket Committee (Playing).

The past quarter century has seen an overwhelming change in Kenyan cricket’s bottomline. Shah is pleased about that, obviously. Over the next fortnight, however, he will perhaps be keeping fingers crossed. Specific to security, more than anything else.    


 
 
DECCAN DERBY/ALLOCATED FOR CLASSIC DOUBLE 
 
 
BY TITAN BOY
 
Hyderabad, Oct 1: 
Allocated may be hard to toss in the 2,000m The Hindu Deccan Derby at the Hyderabad races on Monday. Having already trounced a good field in the Deccan Bookmakers’ Association Colts Trial Stakes early last month, the Placerville-Arctic Theme three-year-old gelding is set to post a classic-double. Pesi Shroff partners the Rashid Byramji-trainee.

SELECTIONS

1.50 pm: Skimble 1. Aux Armes 2. Heezlethal 3.
2.20 pm: Reine Beau 1. Golden Turn 2. Splendid King 3.
2.50 pm: Fabulous Gem 1. Akarita 2. Mega Top 3.
3.30 pm: Factual 1. Cannon Wave 2. Ornamental 3.
4 pm: Allocated 1. Machrihanish 2. Supreme Glory 3.
4.40 pm: Woodbine 1. Pal Of Mine 2. He Looks Like Grundy 3.
5.10 pm: Adjure Syndic 1. Cute Girl 2. Schumacher 3.
Day’s Best: Allocated Double: Reine Beau & Factual
   

 
 
PUNE RACES/ RAZALIN MAKES IT THREE IN-A-ROW 
 
 
BY HONKY DORY
 
Pune, Oct 1: 
The Katrak-trained Razalin lifted the Parkash 50 Years Indo-Russian Collaboration Trophy in Pune on Sunday. C. Rajendra partnered the winner.

Taken to the front right after the start, the Razeen-Allinda three-year-old filly opened up a widening five-length gap inside the final-furlong. However, eased up in the last 100m, she allowed a lesser fancied, Secret Blessing’s come as close as two and-half-a-lengths at the wire. It was Razalin’s third straight victory this season.

RESULTS

(With inter-state dividends)
1. All That’s Nice Plate 1,600m: (2-3-8) Persepolis (Gallagher) 1; Russian Czar 2; Crown Dream 3. Won by: Dist; 3-1/2; (1-41.9). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 10; 34; 16; Quinella: 97; Tanala: 310. Fav: Persepolis (2).
2. Tuco Toucan Plate 1,600m: (1-4-6) Stars In Her Eyes (Rajendra) 1; Speculative 2; Arvana 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-41.5). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 12; 16; 16; Quinella: 38; Tanala: 186. Fav: Stars In Her Eyes (1).
3. Storm Plate, Div-II 1,000m: (9-8-6) Infamous (M. Narredu) 1; Fiercly Loyal 2; Coronado 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 3-3/4; (1-1.1). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 14; 14; 24; Quinella: 53; Tanala: 425. Fav: Cotopaxi (1).
4. Storm Plate, Div-I 1,000m: (9-3-5) Sancti Spiritus (Belose) 1; Sergeant Slipper 2; Courtesan 3. Won by: 6-1/2; 3/4; (1-1.6). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 11; 17; 20; Quinella: 36; Tanala: 155. Fav: Sancti Spiritus (9).
5. Thunder Cloud Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (8-6-10) Dras (Daniel) 1; Flirtatious 2; Sherdil 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 2-1/2; (1-14.3). Tote: Win Rs 88; Place: 27; 27; 37; Quinella: 313; Tanala: 16,152. Fav: Wisdom To Rule (11).
6. Thunder Cloud Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (3-1-8) Class Missy (M. Narredu) 1; Nothing Better 2; Express Lane 3. Won by: 4-3/4; 1; (1-14). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 15; 29; 18; Quinella: 109; Tanala: 529.Fav: Classy Missy(3).
7. Parkash 50 Years Indo-Russian Collaboration Trophy 1,100m: (8-4-7) Razalin (Rajendra) 1; Secret Blessing’s 2; Cymbidium 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-7.7). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 13; 23; 40; Quinella: 85; Tanala: 663. Fav: Razalin (8).
8. Politely Please Plate 1,000m: (3-4-2) Tonnerre (Daniel) 1; Mariazella 2; Streaking Senorita 3. Won by: 6-1/2; 3/4; (1-2.4). Tote: Win Rs 53; Place: 21; 15; 21; Quinella: 104; Tanala: 885.Fav: Streaking Senorita (2).
9. Pushpanjali Plate 1,400m: (13-14-6) Source Of Light (Prakash) 1; Ric-Rac 2; I’m Honoured 3. Won by: Nk; 8-1/2; (1-30.8). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 21; 61; 50; Quinella: 427; Tanala: 16,701. Fav: Special Crown (8).

Jackpot: Rs 8,472; (C) Rs 669.

Treble: (i) Rs 114; (ii) Rs 623; (iii) Rs 436.
   

 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ 5 FOR WEDNESDAY’S DERBY TRIAL STAK 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Oct. 1: 
There are five horses,including a filly, in the line-up for the Calcutta Derby Trial Stakes on Wednesday. First race starts at 1.30 pm.

ACCEPTANCES

1. Prawn Curry Handicap 2,000m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 1.30 pm: Classic Knight 60; Hot 58.5; Crest Star 57.5; Atacada 56; Ballard Lady 53.5; Three Good 53.5.
2. Almanc Cup 1,200m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 2.15 pm: Scarlet Raider 61; Kargil Soldier 60.5; Endless Surprise 58; Global Harmony 55; Go With The Wind 54.5; Bernadine 52; Friendly Knight 51.
3. Tokaido Express Cup 1,200m (Terms, 4-y-o & over) 2.45 pm: Starry Flag 52; Falconhead 50; Mystic Hill 50; Treasurer 50.
4. Calcutta Derby Trial Stakes 2,000m (Terms; 3-y-o only) 3.15 pm: Alborada 56; Ashbury 56; Magnifico 56; No Regrets 56; Alvarada 54.5.
5. Gurkirpal Cup 1,400m (Cl II; Rt. 66-94) 3.45 pm: Kansai 60; Amarante 56; Aznavour 54.5; Citadel 53; High Life 52.5; Aloritz 51.5; Acadameus 50.
6. Aureole Time Handicap 1,100m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 4.15 pm: Sky Command 61; Ardon 57.5; Staffordshire 55.5; Analyzer 55; Black Mane 52.5; Special Sovereign 52; Constantine 50.5.

Jackpot: 2; 3; 4; 5 & 6.

Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 4; 5 & 6.
   

 
 
TRACK TRIALS 
 
 
 
 

Outer sand track

1,600m: Ashbury (C. Alford) in 1-58s;(400m) 26 4/5s. Moved impressively.
800m: Endless Surprise (Upadhya) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Good. Falconhead (Amil) and Treasurer (C. Alford) in 53s; (400m) 26s. Both level. Bernadine (Amil) and Alvarada (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Former 6 ls better. Later was very easy. Note. Magnifico (C. Alford) and Special Severeign (Amil) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Former too good. Aloritz (C. Alford) and Mystic Hill (Amil) in 56s; (400m) 25s. Former moved very well and finished a length better.    
 

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