276-run win for Barisha
I’ll prove my worth at the zonals: Basak
Reedhina Parekh storms into semis
Chowrasia in joint lead
Passion, not programme, produces Indian stars
Dutch GM bows to Harikrishna
Calcutta Races/ Acaress, Alembic impress
Calcutta Races/ 4 for Saturday’s Cooch Behar Cup

Calcutta, Feb. 8: 
Barisha Sporting today notched up a 276-run victory over BNR in their CAB senior division league match at Oxford Mission ground.

In other matches, Rajasthan beat Kumartuli by six wickets, Shyambazar United beat Aryan by 183 runs and became group C champions, and Town beat Belgachia United by 93 runs.


Kumartuli 308/9. Rajasthan 309/4 (Sayan Dey 82, Amit Sharma 61, Nilashish Ghosh 60, Afzal Siddique 57; Sanjib Ghosh 3/64). Rajasthan won by 6 wkts.

Tollygunge Agragami 405/6. George Telegraph 317/8 (Amitava Roy 74, Tirtha Roy 68, B.K. Mazumdar 47; S. Sathpathy 4/109, A. Das 4/172). Match drawn.

Suburban 375/8. Dakshin Kalikata Samsad 247/6 (Pitambar Dutt 107, A. Bhattacharya 35). Match drawn.

Barisha 385/7. BNR 109 (Swapan Ghosh 47; Probir Acharya 6/47, Sandip Mukherjee 3/32). Barisha won by 276 runs.

Shyambazar 354/8. Aryan 171 (Sovan Mitra 43, Ajoy Das 61; Shib Shankar Raul 3/61, Pinaki Mazumdar 5/51). Shyambazar won by 813 runs.

Town 352/8. Belgachia United 259 (Sudip Palit 92; Rupak Banerjee 6/66). Town won by 93 runs.

Postal soccer

Bengal Circle today beat Rajastan 5-0 in the inaugural match of the XIV all-India Postal football tournament at the SAI ground. Santanu Mondal scored thrice, while Kaushik Dey and Atanu Roy scored one each.

In another match of the nine-circle league, a goal by Shinu gave Kerala victory over Orissa.

SAI sports complex

The Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) training centre at Aurobindo Stadium in Bardhaman will now be shifted to Amar Sports Complex and will be run in association with the state government. The inauguration will take place Saturday.

A total of 60 trainees can hone their skills in football, volleyball, basketball and gymnastics at the residential complex.

SAI is also planning to have a similar complex in Haldia.

I’ll prove my worth at the zonals: Basak


Calcutta, Feb. 8: 
Suspended table tennis player Arup Basak has vowed to come back with a bang in the zonal badminton meets to be held in the later half of this year.

Basak was suspended for the entire year by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) on charges of improper conduct. The TTFI yesterday reduced the ban by six months and the former national champion will be eligible to play again after June 30.

Basak had apologised after his suspension and it is learnt that the Bengal Table Tennis Association (BTTA) president and MP Somnath Chatterjee also urged the TTFI officials to reconsider the verdict.

TTFI vice-president Probir Mitra had also recommended that Basak’s suspension be relaxed. The decision was taken at the TTFI annual general meeting in Delhi yesterday.

Basak, who missed the national championship in Cuttack last month because of the ban, today said he was not aware that his suspension had been reduced.

“It’s no use mourning the months of action I’ll miss. The zonal meets will be held after June and as a player, I’ll again prove my worth there,” he said.

Mitra added that the BTTA was cautioned at the TTFI AGM for trying to accuse the national body of discrimination.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that Chetan Baboor, S. Raman, Soumyadip Roy and Subhajit Saha have been sent to Sweden to train for the Commonwealth meet to be held in Delhi in April.


Calcutta, Feb. 8: 
The form book stayed true today as top seed and national champion Sunil Kumar today moved into the boys semi-final of the Double Diamond ITF junior tennis championships, where he will take on seventh seed Nishank Mishra.

Tomorrow’s other semi-final will be between third seed Amanjot Singh and second seed Vinod Sewa.

Among girls, unseeded Sandy Gumulya of Indonesia takes on India’s fifth seed Sasha Abraham in the semi-final, while local unseeded girl Reedhina Parekh of India is nearer to fame, qualifying to meet compatriot Thukkaindi Yamini.

In today’s quarter finals Sunil was given a fight by Indonesia’s Gusti P. Ngurah, the eighth seed, before the Indian won 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Sunil traded breaks in the fourth and sixth games of the first set. In the second, he broke the Indonesian in the first game, but was immediately broken back. Sunil broke again in the third, with compliments being returned in the sixth. Serves were kept till the tie-breaker where Sunil pulled ahead.

Vinod Sewa stretched

Nishank and Amanjot too had light matches, but Sewa was taken the distance by C. Singh before winning 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.

Gumulya, the only foreign survivor of the tournament, reached the last four with a well-fought 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Maya Rosa, while Reedhina was on course for more surprises when she beat Boda Nischala Reddy 6-1, 6-3.


(Unless otherwise mentioned, all Indians)

BOYS’ SINGLES, quarter finals: Sunil Kumar bt Gusti P Ngurah (Ina) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3); Nishank Mishra bt Shivang Mishra 6-1, 6-4; Amanjot Singh bt Rohan Gajjar 6-4, 6-3; Vinod K Sewa bt C Singh 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.

GIRLS’ SINGLES, quarter finals: Sania Mirza bt Sasha Aberaham 6-0, 6-3; Sandy Gumulya (Ina) bt Maya Rosa 1-6, 6-2, 6-2; Reddhina Parekh bt Boda Nischala Reddy 6-1, 6-3; Thukkaindi Yamini bt Samrita sekar 7-5, 6-2.

BOYS’ DOUBLES, second round: R Gajjar/V Sane bt A Prakash/John Siefke (US) 6-1, 6-1; Jaco MKathew/Somdev V bt Shivang/Nishank Mishra 6-2, 6-3; Manoj sewa/Dhrub Kumar bt Amanjot Singh/Mohanty 6-3, 6-3; Vinod K/Sunil Kumar bt Rishi Bhel/Karan Rastogi 6-3, 4-6,6-2.

GIRLS DOUBLES, second round: Sanya Mirza/Rosa Maya bt Priyanka Parekh/Ragini Vimal 6-2, 6-7, 6-1; N Chandrasekhar/Jessica Hoath (Aus) bt Rajgaria/Tanya Ahuja 6-1, 6-1; H Kartika/W Juliane bt Sekar Samrita/Preeti rao 7-6, 3-6, 6-3; Yamini/Gumulya bt Soma Banerjee/S Chaudhuri 6-1, 6-0.


Calcutta, Feb. 8: 
Mohammed Nawab of Patna and city lad S.S.P. Chowrasia were joint leaders on the opening day of the Sir Padampat Singhania Open golf meet being played at the Army Golf Club course in Delhi.

According to information received here, Chowrasia and Nawab were joined by two amateurs — veteran Amit Luthra and youngster Vikrant Chopra — at level-par 72.

City boy Raju Ali and Sanjay Kumar (Lucknow) were tied for third place at one-over 73.


For Indian tennis, the Davis Cup has always been very special. Over the years the teams have invariably performed better than their rankings. On three occasions, India have reached the final of the tournament considered to be the World Cup of tennis. In 1966, India lost to Australia in Melbourne. In 1974, against South Africa, we stayed away from the tie due to political reasons and in 1987, the Swedes beat us in Gothenberg.

In the sixties we had Ramanathan Krishnan at his best while the seventies and eighties saw Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan carrying the Indian banner. Once every decade seemed to be the norm for India making the final of the Davis Cup.

In 1993 India lost in the semi-final against Australia in Chandigarh. For me, this was the most exciting decade. The lowly-ranked Leander Paes made a mockery of ATP rankings as he spearheaded spectacular victories over South Korea, Great Britain, Switzerland and France.

The victory over France at Frejus on the French Riviera — where Paes won his two singles matches on slow clay courts and Ramesh Krishnan conjured up one last hurrah from his ageing limbs to win the fifth match — inspired the whole nation. Surely, this was one of the greatest moments in Indian tennis history.

These victories, alas, were a false indicator of the overall standard of tennis in India and led to a smug complacency at official levels. The fact that all the Indian greats and top players were family-sponsored escaped attention. Without the Krishnans the Amritrajs, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, all sponsored by their families, where would Indian tennis have been?

Now, time is running out for Paes and Bhupathi as age is taking its toll. Indian tennis moves into the new millennium with no successors in sight. It is futile to hope for yet another family-sponsored ready-made product. The inputs to bridge the yawning gap between Indian and international standards are just too much for any family.

The children from affluent families, who could afford the huge costs, very seldom have the fire in their bellies necessary to achieve stardom. The cost of coaching, physical training, bio-medical inputs, travel and psychologists are inconceivable by Indian norms. Sponsors invariably want to pick up a ready-made product.

Indian domination of Asian tennis since the fifties also seems to be coming to an end. Thailand, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan have higher ranked players, some of them even in the top 100. With the surge in Asian standards, the advantage of playing at home on grass courts can no longer be considered a decisive factor. Playing abroad even against smaller countries like Lebanon would be hazardous.

There is, till date, no established second singles player who can be relied upon to win his match against the second singles player of other Asian nations. The talent is there, and was there, but our system needs to catch up with modern times. Things must move with passion and commitment, otherwise, tennis will fall into the depressing depths of Indian sport in general.

Over this weekend, India will play against China in the first round of the Asia-Oceanic Group in Beijing. With Paes and Bhupathi available, India should come through.

Of the five matches in the tie, the doubles seems to be an odds-on certainty. Bhupathi has indicated that he will not be available for singles. So, Paes will have to win both his singles matches. He is certainly capable of doing this but it is a very tough assignment to play best-of-five-set matches on three consecutive days.

Prahlad Srinath, who recently returned to the circuit after tendonitis in his knees, was in fine nick in the singles of the Futures tournament here. I hope he is prepared enough as he will need to be in top form to win a singles match in China. Syed Fazaluddin, with his big serve, has a fine game but has not been able to make a breakthrough in singles in tournament play. His doubles performance is good and his experience of Davis Cup matches will stand him in good stead if he is nominated to play.

India is two ties away from a slot in the World Group Qualifying Round of the Davis Cup. A victory against China will pit them against the winners of Japan and Thailand. With Paes in full cry and fully fit, India could well end up challenging for a position in the elite 16 of the World Group.


Calcutta, Feb. 8: 
P. Harikrishna outclassed GM Dimitri Reinderman of The Netherlands to stay on course of his third and final GM norm in the third round of the Goodricke International Open chess tournament at Alekhine Chess Club today.

Harikrishna now jointly leads the fray on 2.5 points with a bunch of 9 players. He meets fellow countryman Nassir Wajih next round.

Should Harikrishna make it to grab his final GM norm here, he will become India’s youngest GM at 14. Viswanathan Anand holds the record when he reached the coveted goal as a 17-year-old.

Playing with the Black pieces, Harikrishna was in his elements today. He opted for his new-found interest in Pelikan variation of the Sicilian defence. When Reinderman refused to exchange Queens, Harikrishna quickly made a counter thrust in the centre. Reinderman castled on the Queenside but the talented Indian forced his King out in the open and checkmated Reinderman with his Queen and rook.

When asked about his pressure of becoming a GM, Harikrishna said that “I proceed round by round and take things as they come.”

The other Indian GM norm aspirant G.B. Prakash drew his game against Igor Rausis in just 7 moves to also stay in course for his final norm.

The giant killer of the 2nd round, Eshan Ghaem Maghami went down fighting to Evegeny Vladimirov in 60 moves.

On the top board, Maxim Sorokin won a pawn against Buenavent Villamayor in the middle game, but could not convert his material advantage into a win as his pawns were doubled on the a-file.

GM Dibyendu Barua showed glimses of his old form against GM Normunds Miezis when he sacrificed a piece at a4 in a Siclian defence but his opponent refused the offer. Dibyendu went on to win a queen and pawn ending with the black pieces.

On the 2nd board Nassir Wajih and IM Lanka Ravi agreed to quick draw in 17 moves in a Caro-Kann defence to stay at the top .

National champion GM Abhijit Kunte agreed to a draw in 18 moves against Joseph Gallagher in a-4 knights defence.

IWM Koneru Humpy went down to Abdulla Al-Rakib in a Larsen’s opening in 33 moves.

IM Sandipan Chanda held GM Tomasz Markowski of Poland while Neelotpal Das won a thriller against Amon Simutowe of Zambia in mutual time scramble. IM Surya Sekhar Ganguly prevailed over Philippino IM Chito Garma .


Buenavent Villamayor (2.5) drew Maxim Sorokin (2.5); Nassir Wajih (2.5) drew Lanka Ravi (2.5); Evegeny Vladimirov (2.5) bt Eshan Ghaem Maghami (2); Abdulla Al-Rakib (2.5) bt Koneru Humpy (2); Joseph G Gallagher (2) drew Abhijit Kunte (2); Dimitri Reinderman (1.5) lost to P. Harikrishna (2.5); Normunds Miezis (1.5) lost to Dibyendu Barua (2.5); G.B. Prakash (2) drew Igor Rausis (2); C.S. Gokhale (2.5) bt Rahul Shetty (1.5); Lungu Malupande (1.5) lost to Jayant Gokhale (2.5); Andrei Kharlov (2) bt Datu Idelfanso (1), B.T. Muralikrishnan (1.5) drew Saheli Dhar Barua (2); Tomasz Markowski (1.5) drew Sandipan Chanda (1.5); R.B. Ramesh (1.5) drew Dimitri Komarov (1.5); Alexie Barshov (2) bt Tejas Bakre (1); Victor Mikhalevski (2) bt Sriram Jha (1); N. Sanjay (2) bt S. Meenakshi (1); Harkamal Singh Sandhu (1) lost to Joanna Dworakowska (2); Anup Deshmukh (1) lost to Dinesh Kr Sharma (2); Oleg Boricsev (1) lost to PDS Girinath (2); Vishal Sareen (1.5) drew Arghyadip Das (1.5); Surya Sekhar Ganguly (1.5) bt Chito Garma (0.5); Ziaur Rahaman (1.5) bt Nelson Mariano (0.5); T.S. Ravi (1) drew S. Vijayalakshmi (1); Alexej Khamatgaleev (1) drew P. Konguvel (1); Pankaj Joshi (0.5) lost to Deep Sengupta (1.5); K. Murugan (1) drew J. Galianina Ryjanova (1); Saptarshi Roy (1.5) bt S. Satyapragyan (0.5); Shankar Roy (0.5) drew Abhijit Gupta (0.5); Christian Brauer (0.5) drew Saheli Nath (0.5).


Calcutta, Feb. 8: 
Acaress, Alembic and Crucible were impressive in today’s work outs.

Outer sand track

1,600m: Prince Obolensky (Yadav) in 2-4s; (400m) 31s. Easy.

1,200m: Acaress (Rb) in 1-26s; (400m) 28s. Good.

800m: Colonial (Khalander) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Alembic (C. Alford) 55s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Gambino (Gurang) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Storm Centre (Upadhya) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Crucible (C. Alford) and Calamint (A. P. Singh) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Former far better. High Life (Smith) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Moved well. Alyssum (A. P. Singh), Arendal (C. Alford) and Anolini (Amil) in 55s; (400m) 28s. They were separated by a length and 6 ls.

Sand track

1,200m: Aberdan (Rb) in 1-25s; (400m) 28s.

1,000m: Alborada (Tamang) and Regency Times (A. Imran) in 1-9s; (400m) 25s. Former was a length better. Both were easy.

800m: Scarlet Raider (A. Imran) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Coming up. Little Too Much (Rb) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Grecian Prince (Tamang) , Secret Adversary (A. Imran) and Be Fresh /Misty Eyes (Rb) in 54s; (400m) 26s. They were separated by a length and 4 ls. All are three-year-olds. Lamborghini (Engineer) in 52s; (400m) 29s.


Calcutta, Feb.8: 
The net proceeds of Saturday’s seven-event card — which also features the four-horse strong H.H. Maharaja of Cooch Behar Memorial Cup — will be donated to the Chief Minister’s “earthquake” relief fund. First race starts at 12.45 pm.


1. Stand Off Handicap 1,100m (Cl V; Rt. 18 & below) 12.45 pm: Go With The Wind 60; Private Lives 58; Armila 56; Adeline 53; Three Good 50.

2. H. H. Maharaja Of Cooch Behar Memorial Cup 1,600m (Cl I; Cl II eligible Rt.66-94) 1.15 pm: Freedom Dancer 62; Illustrious Reign 61; Aloritz 56.5; Anolini 51.5.

3. Fair Haven Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV; Cl V eligible, 3-y-o only; Rt. 00-50) 2 pm: Blue Gardenia 60; Aberdan 54.5; Alicyclic 54.5; Grecian Prince 54.5; Secret Adversary 54.5; Regency Times 53.5; Victoria Rsoe 52.5; Lamborghini 52; Maid To Measure 50.5.

4. Ardiles Cup 1,100m (Cl II; Rt. 66-94) 2.35 pm: No Surrender 60; Annella 57.5; Quickdraw McGraw 57.5; Princelene 54.5; Mameena 54; Kansai 52; Staffordshire 51; Serenader 49.5.

5. Port Desire Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 3.10 pm: Just Kidding 60; Constantine 59; Nash Tiger 58; Queen’s Logic 58; Googy Gangster 57; Storm Centre 57; Red Trident 56; Airs Image 49.5.

6. Mysore Race Club Cup 1,600m (Cl III; Cl IV eligible Rt. 22-72) 3.30 pm: Santa Monica 60; Beau Bruno 59.5; Alborada 58; Little Too Much 58; Silver Toy 58; Aragrove 56.5; Gambino 56; High Life 56; Ace Of Spades 55; Crucible 54; Black Mane 53.

7. Turf Hawk Handicap 1,400m (Cl IV Rt. 22-50) 4.25 pm: Cool Quest 60.5; Melodeon 60.5; Super Smile 59.5; Spanish Drum’s 59; Bul Bul 58.5; Persuasion 53; Royal Ruler 52.5; Friendly Knight 52; Stella Blue 48; Pneumatic Power 47.

Jackpot: 3; 4; 5; 6 & 7.

Treble: (i) 2; 3 & 4; (ii) 5; 6 & 7.


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