Paes, Bhupathi lose final
Bengal go down to Assam
Bhowmick serves 3-day ultimatum
Bhandari wins in thrilling finish
Delhi to kick off Grand Prix chess in Feb.
Pune Racing/ Rajendra, Sait champions
Calcutta Racing/ Main season to start from Friday

Calcutta, Oct. 28: 
French Open champions Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi failed in their bid to win the doubles title at the $1 million Swiss Indoor championship in Basel, losing in the final to Rick Leach and Ellis Ferreira.

According to information received here, Paes and Bhupathi went down 6-7 (4-7), 4-6 to the experienced American-South African combine.

The Indians, who had won their previous four finals this year, had dismissed Swiss wild-card pair George Bastl and Ivo Heuberger 6-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals yesterday.

Ferreira and Leach had toppled top seeds Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Yugoslavia 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 in the other semi-final.

Paes and Bhupathi, who had won the Atlanta, Houston, French Open and Cincinnati titles earlier this year, were gunning for their 21st triumph in each other’s company.

They were the favourites going into the final, having beaten Leach and Ferreira more times than they lost. The Indian Express also had a dazzling win-loss record in tournament finals.

This was their eighth defeat in 28 appearances in title rounds. For Leach and Ferreira, who were back on track after the American came back from retirement, this was their maiden success this year.

Paes and Bhupathi will end their year at the Paris Masters Series next week.


Calcutta, Oct. 28: 
Bengal lost to Assam by one wicket in a thrilling last-ball finish in the Under-19 inter-state one-dayer at Jorhat today.

According to information received here, Bengal made 224 for seven in their 50 overs. Manabendra Yadav top scored with 75. In reply, the hosts reached the target via a boundary off the final ball of their innings.

In the Cooch Behar Trophy, Bengal managed only three points by conceding the first innings lead to Assam.


In Jorhat: Bengal 224/7 in 50 ovs (Manabendra Yadav 75). Assam 226/9 in 50 ovs. Assam won by 1 wkt.

In Cuttack: Orissa 153/9 in 50 ovs (Rakesh Mohanty 36, Bignesh Mohanty 31 n.o.). Tripura 124 in 45.1 ovs (Sandip Banerjee 43, Rakesh Mohanty 3/22). Orissa won by 29 runs.

In Jamshedpur: Bihar 279/5 in 50 ovs. (Manish Vardhan 89, Ravish Kumar 53, I. H. Khan 48 n.o, N. J. Prakash 31 n.o., Amosh Roy 3/48). Sikkim 164/3 in 49 ovs (J. S. Raipur 89, A.Pintu 35). Bihar won by 115 runs.


Calcutta, Oct. 28: 
Bengal’s Santosh Trophy camp is scheduled to start tomorrow, possibly sans all the players who matter even a wee bit, and coach Subhas Bhowmick has given a three-day ultimatum for a quorum at the Mohammedan Sporting ground.

And, with the farce virtually ready to blow up in its face, the Indian Football Association (IFA) maintains its usual pathetic silence. Joint secretary Ranjit Gupta is out of town (“nearabouts of Delhi,” say people at his residence), and is “expected to be back on November 8 or 9.” Surely, an indicator to the high level of involvement the chief operative of the premier soccer association of the state has with the sport.

Mohun Bagan started the ball rolling nearly a week back, saying that none of the 12 players originally called up from the club will report to the camp. The IFA, in a sad, desperate bid, scaled its demand down to six players, but Bagan turned that down as well.

“He (Gupta) wanted our reserve bench players,” said Anjan Mitra, Bagan secretary. “And I found that ridiculous, because if they are not good enough to play for the club the season round, how do they suddenly become good enough to represent Bengal? Not one player is going.”

It is believed that Gupta has been talking to Albert Colaco, secretary of the All India Football Federation, another pretty much apathetic body, headed by president and Congressman Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, who has little or no interest today in the soccer field. Sort of completes the weird cycle that is Indian soccer.

Players’ interests first

Colaco yesterday tried to push his luck with the Bagan secretary, but Mitra said: “It was not possible for me to say yes even to him. After all, I have to look after my club’s and my players’ interests first.”

East Bengal and Tollygunge Agragami have also turned down appeals to have players join the camp.

Bhowmick, back in coaching, has suddenly been left in the lurch. “It is not my duty to ensure players’ participation at the camp,” said the coach, who returned home from a Puja sojourn only early this evening. “That job is the IFA’s only.”

He said he will be present at the Mohammedan Sporting ground tomorrow morning, and “I will take it from there.” Take what from there? “Well, I do need a quota of decent players to be able to make a half-decent team,” he said, adding “and without that there is little point in a camp.”

But what if no player worth the mention does turn up? “I will see for three days, and than make my decision on it,” he said. Going by his record, Bhowmick could confidently throw out an assignment gone putrid and resign. Not that Bhowmick is willing to confirm this rumour.

Kar, Malhotra called up

The certainty will be two players from Bhratri Sangha. They are Arun Malhotra and Babun Kar. A third player, Abdul Khalique, has also been called up, but he is now out of station and is expected back in the city only tomorrow.

Bhratri coach Shabbir Ali said: “We are just a middle level team and this could be a good opportunity for our players to pick up good match practice and gain some exposure before our National League campaign.”

But what about injuries? “Yes, that is always at the back of my mind, and a risk we will have to take. Even this small quota of players off our roster, our team will become weak. That’s not good, but what to do?”

Looks like the IFA chooses those it wants to armtwist, carefully avoiding the strong.

East Bengal officials have yet to officially inform all players individually about this ban (though there is not one who has not picked up all the relevant information on this), and they have called all their players to the Maidan tent at 8 am tomorrow, the time at which the Santosh Trophy camp starts.

A Tollygunge official said that though all their players have been informed, “I will be there tomorrow morning to oversee things.”

The early autumn morning of Monday could start with a good deal of heat, it seems.

The Big Two clubs of the city are desperate to get all they can out of a weak and incompetent IFA. They are using the state association in efforts to settle inter-club disputes.

While the handing of the IFA Shield to East Bengal and the ban on their players from travelling abroad has irked Mohun Bagan, East Bengal want their pound of flesh for agreeing to play more than their quota in IFA meets.

In the end the clubs are expected to release some players as a compromise, but not before the IFA has been on its knees for some time.


Calcutta, Oct. 28: 
With a fine back-nine charge, Vivek Bhandari today emerged champion in the Rs 7 lakh Noida Open golf meet. Bhandari’s final round of five-under 67 gave him a winning tally of 19-under 269 and the first prize cheque for Rs 1,13,400, according to information received here.

A mere one stroke behind the champion, at 18-under 270, was Mukesh Kumar. Kanpur’s Shiv Prakash finished third at nine-under 279, while the trio of Indarjit Bhalotia, Basad Ali (both Calcutta) and Rohtas Singh (Delhi) finished tied-fourth at four-under 284. Delhi’s Arjun Singh was seventh.

“If yesterday was one of the best rounds of golf I ever played, today was even better,” was how Bhandari summed up his victory.

Mukesh Kumar increased his overnight one-stroke lead to two with a birdie on the opening hole. Then he had back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th. And then Mukesh dropped a shot on the 12th, and bogeyed the 13th.

Bhandari birdied the 14th and 15th to further widen his lead. “On the 14th I missed an eagle as my approach shot hit the pin and rolled to five feet away,” he said.

Amateur title for Luthra

Amit Luthra won the amateur title with a four-day tally of 17-over 295. Vikrant Chopra at 298 finished second.


269 — Vivek Bhandari (65, 71, 66, 67); 270 — Mukesh Kumar(71, 66, 64, 69); 279 — Shiv Prakash (70, 69, 68, 72); 284 — Rohtas Singh (72, 69, 71, 72), Indrajit Bhalotia (72, 71, 69, 72), Basad Ali (73, 68, 70, 73); 285 — Arjun Singh (74, 71, 70, 70); 286 — Harmeet Kahlon (75, 67, 72, 72); 287 — US Mundy (70, 75, 68, 74), Digvijay Singh (73, 67, 73, 74); 288 — Vijay Kumar (73, 68, 74, 73).


Calcutta, Oct. 28: 
The first leg of the inaugural Chess Grand Prix tournament will be held in Delhi next February. The five-leg tournament, which ends with the Rio de Janeiro meet in September, offers a total prize purse of $ 2,500,000.

World champion Viswanathan Anand and Fide president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will be present at the media conference in London Friday when the details will be formally announced. The list of participants is yet to be finalised but a very strong field is expected.

Dubai will host the second leg of the Grand Prix in March, followed by Dubrovnik in Croatia (April), Moscow (May) and Rio de Janeiro.

The Fide president will also announce at the Friday conference that the 2003 world championships will be held in London from November 25.


Pune, Oct. 28: 
With The Proletarian recording a sensational upset victory in the last of the major events, the Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold RWITC Ltd. Invitational Trophy, the curtain came down to the 35-day Pune racing season on Sunday.

A substantial lead gained early last month helped C. Rajendra emerge as the champion jockey. Dallas Todywalla, however, failed to maintain his slender lead on the trainers’ championship table and went down fighting to veteran Imtiaz Sait.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Scintillating Plate 1,600m (2-3-4) Jodhpur Lad (Rajendra) 1; Epic Queen 2; Northern Frontier 3. Won by: 1; Nk; (1-43.7). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 20; 19; Quinella: 83; Tanala: 272. Fav: Epic Queen (3).

2. Track Lightning Trophy 1,400m: (7-8-5) Eye To Eye (Rajesh) 1; Rio 2; Chardonnay 3. Won by: 6; 6-1/2; (1-29.6). Tote: Win Rs 41; Place: 12; 10; 16; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 130.Fav: Rio (8).

3. Pierce Arrow Plate 1,600m: (1-2-6) El Campeador (M. Narredu) 1; Aureus 2; Princess Maha 3. Won by: 8; Dist; (1-39.6). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 11; 11; 15; Quinella: 13; Tanala: 28. Fav: El Campeador (1).

4. Master Fiddler Plate, Div-I 1,000m: (5-8-10) Knight Moves (T. Jodha) 1; Futuristic 2; Multi Millionaire 3. Won by: 1-3/4; SH; (1-2.8). Tote: Win Rs 80; Pla-ce: 22; 35; 41; Quinella: 527; Tanala: 6,880. Fav: Meadow Royale (1).

5. Romantic Dancer Plate 1,600m: (7-5-4) Battle Star (Rajendra) 1; Saranyu 2; Boldwin 3. Won by: 6; 6; (1-40.6). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 28; 69; Quinella: 89; Tanala: 1,739. Fav: Battle Star (7).

6. Beauregard Plate 1,200m: (2-7-3) Elegant Jade (Rajendra) 1; Royal Secret 2; Millenium Star 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 4-1/2; (1-12.1). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 12; 35; 38; Quinella: 115; Tanala: 720. Fav: Elegant Jade (2).

7. Herbertsons Bagpiper Gold RWITC Ltd. Invitational Trophy 2,000m: (4-8-7) The Proletarian (S. N. Chavan) 1; Moment of Truth 2; Mega Top 3. Won by: SH; 1-3/4; (2-5.7). Tote: Win Rs 391; Place: 113; 71; 24; Quinella: 7992; Tanala: 1,15,820 (C.o). Fav: Endorsement (3).

8. Ability Plate 1,000m: (3-4-11) Emblaze (Z. Sayyed) 1; Harry Potter 2; Jayashree 3. Won by: 1-1/2; 2-1/2; (1-2). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 15; 19; 23; Quinella: 124; Tanala: 952. Fav: Eternal Embrace (10).

9. Master Fiddler Plate, Div-II 1,000m: (10-5-2) Sariano (Janardhan) 1; Soi Dissant 2; Balahak 3. Not run: Irresistible You (4). Won by: Hd; 3-1/4; (1-3.2). Tote: Win Rs 55; Place: 16; 31; 32; Quinella: 182; Tanala: 6,346. Fav: Spring Time (1).

Jackpot: Rs 34,091; (C) Rs 1,763.

Treble: (i) Rs 137; (ii) Rs 261; (iii) Rs 6,542.


Calcutta, Oct. 28: 
The cold weather city racing season is set to start from Friday with a virtual horse-strength of 300 horses. Fields had suffered greatly because of paucity of runners during the just concluded monsoon season. Only about 200 horses were available for racing during the 17-day wet season..

The Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) stewards are, however, hopeful that the club may tide over the crisis in view of the expectated arrival of about 50 additional horses from outstation. Rs 2.19 crore has been marked as stake money for the season. At the pre-season media-conference yesterday, Vineet Verma, CEO and secretary RCTC said; “There has been no increase in the stake compared to last winter season.”

The club has also introduced two Triple Crowns and the Championship Series races. The Calcutta Triple Cro-wn constitutes the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and the Indian Champion Cup while events marked for the fair sex will be the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Derby. The Triple Tiara and the Eveready Champions Crown are the other “series’ races. Points will be awarded from winners down to the fifth position to judge the final outcome.


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