Calcutta: Even as some of the best Asian and African athletes battle it out on the tracks of the Gachibowli Stadium during the Afro-Asian Games later this month, some of their predecessors will be in the stands, cheering them.
According to a press release from the organisers, Britain’s two-time Olympic champion and a former world record-holder in 1,500m, Sebastian Coe, along with Kenya’s Olympic 1500m and 3,000m steeplechase champion Kipchoge Keino and Tanzanian legend Filbert Bayi.
Lord Sebastian Coe, now a Member of Parliament and an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council member, won his 1,500m Olympic titles in Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984. He also won silver medals in 800m at these Games.
Keino, an equally illustrious former athlete, is Kenya Olympic Committee President and IOC member. He had demolished American superstar Jim Ryun to capture the 1,500m title at the Mexico Olympics in 1968. Four years later, Keino added the steeplechase gold to his kitty. A great lover of children, Keino runs an orphanage in his native Rift Valley in Eldoret, Kenya.
This will be Keino’s third visit to India. He visited New Delhi in 1972 on his way back from the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Later, he was in India in 1985 to train Indian middle and long-distance runners at a one-month camp. Incidentally, it was on Keino’s suggestion that the Special Area Games Scheme of the SAI was formed.
Giving Coe and Keino company would be top miler Bayi. He is coming to Hyderabad in the capacity of secretary-general of the Tanzania Ahletics Association. The fourth track and field star who has agreed to grace the Afro-Asian Games is quarter-miler Kevan Gosper. An IOC member, Gosper was a contemporary of Milkha ‘Flying Sikh’ Singh. A Commonwealth Games champion in 440-yards in 1954, Gosper was one of the key persons behind the successful staging of the last Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
India, Pak in same group
PTI adds from Chennai: Asian giants India and Pakistan have been clubbed in group B of the hockey event. Egypt and Zimbabwe are the other teams in their group. While Pakistan play Zimbabwe first, India clash against Egypt. The teams in group A are Ghana, South Korea, Malaysia and South Africa.
Sources in the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) revealed that organisers were keen on having Dhanraj Pillay in the Indian team. Pillay has been rested along with seniors like Baljit Singh Dhillon and Baljit Singh Saini. The IHF, however, didn’t entertain that request.
HOCKEY GROUPS AND SCHEDULE
Group A: Ghana, South Korea, Malaysia, South Africa. Group B: Pakistan, India, Egypt, Zimbabwe.
Oct. 23: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe, Ghana vs Korea, Malaysia vs South Africa, India vs Egypt. Oct. 25: Malaysia vs Ghana, Pakistan vs Egypt, Korea vs South Africa, India vs Zimbabwe. Oct. 27: South Africa vs Ghana, Egypt vs Zimbabwe, Korea vs Malaysia, India vs Pakistan. Oct. 29: Semi-finals. Oct. 31: Final.