Chaos marks India’s Dhaka departure
Day I honours for Bengal
Akbar, Richa continue gold rush
Job cut out for injury-hit East Bengal
Calcutta Races/ Seven for Thursday’s sprint
Calcutta Races/ Alternator, Allodium shine

Calcutta, Nov. 7: 
If the arrival of the Indian players in the city yesterday was quiet and peaceful, pandemonium reigned supreme this afternoon as the team left for Dhaka to face Bangladesh in their maiden Test match.

The chaotic tale began with a the media session the captain and coach intended to have at Hotel Airport Ashok and continued till the players reached the airport.

Complete mismanagement in the hotel and the absence of adequate security personnel almost forced captain Sourav Ganguly and coach Aunshuman Gaekwad to abort the media briefing, which ended up being a farcical affair.

Interaction with reporters, in fact, had to be done with hordes of autograph-seekers which made it impossible to have a meaningful question-answer session.

There was no respite for Sourav and Gaekwad when they headed for the bus as the enthusiasts even tried to push their way in to catch a glimpse of the interior of the team vehicle. The coach, at this stage, physically resisted some before slamming the door shut.

There was more in store for the skipper who went to the airport in his own car. He reached a little after the other players had been escorted into the airport lounge and Sourav was immediately surrounded by about 25 people desperately trying to touch the India skipper before he managed to jostle his way in.

At the disastrous press conference, which lasted all of five minutes, Sourav and Gaekwad both insisted that recent off-field developments would not adversely affect the team’s performance.

“Such things have been going on for quite some time now and we have reached the final of two tournaments amidst all this,” the skipper explained.

Sourav did not say what the composition of the team could be in Dhaka though the coach said two specialist openers would be fielded.

“This is no one-day match, we have to go in with specialist openers,” said Gaekwad.

India have been unsuccessfully juggling around the openers’ slots in recent times and five combinations were tried out in the last five Tests with just one specialist in each.

Yuvraj stranded

Meanwhile, youngster Yuvraj Singh could not board the flight to Dhaka as his travel documents were not in order. The Punjab left-hander, who is staying back at the hotel, is expected to leave tomorrow.    

Calcutta, Nov. 7: 
Bengal reached 77 for one at stumps on Day I of the three-day zonal under-14 tie against Sikkim at the East Calcutta District Sports Council ground today.

Sikkim, despite knocks of 82 by A. Soren and 77 by T.W. Bhutia, were all out for 212. Priyabrata Dutta took four for 27 and Sarnendu Pal three for 46.

Nursery League

The knockout phase of the IFA Nursery League will begin December 7 with 14 teams. Matches are likely to be held at the East Bengal ground.

Athletics camp

Bengal athletes for the under-22 national championship will attend a training camp at SAI from November 10 to 17. The meet will be held in Visakhapattanam from November 20-21.    

Calcutta, Nov. 7: 
Akbar Ali Mir fished out his fifth gold medal and Richa Mishra her sixth on a rather uneventful third day of the 55th senior national aquatic championship at Subhas Sarobar today.

Karnataka’s V. Shivaranjani (12) became the youngest gold-medallist of the meet, clocking 09:38.78 in women’s 800m freestyle. Her 14-year-old teammate Rehan Poncha took the bronze in men’s 1500m freestyle.

Suparna Paul of Railways won the women’s platform diving gold under the new rule following which the competitors have to perform nine dives instead of eight. Bengal’s Mamoni Mondal collected the bronze.

Mir and Richa continued to dominate in a meet shorn of top stars and there was no new national record today. Mir struck gold in 100m butterfly and 200m backstroke, overtaking T.K. Senthil Kumar on the final stretch in the latter.

Richa, who added the 100m butterfly and 200m backstroke titles to her credit, faced some resistance in the second where a final burst over the last 50 metres saw her home.

Bengal’s only other medal of the day, another bronze, came through Sudip Chatterjee in men’s 100m butterfly. Divya Chadha finished a distant fourth in women’s 200m backstroke.

Bengal in semis

The Bengal men’s and women’s waterpolo teams reached the semi-finals. The men tamed Kerala 12-4 to top group C, while the women advanced despite losing 0-2 against Police, who also made the cut. The other men’s teams to have made it to the last-four stage are Police, Railways and Services.


SWIMMING: MEN — 1500m freestyle: Kailash Nath (Pol, 16:57.52); Amar Muralidharan (Pol, 17:26.63); Rehan Poncha (Kar, 17:39.41).
100m butterfly: Akbar Ali Mir (Rly, 58.76); Shreesh Reddy (Rly, 1:00.24); Sudip Chatterjee (Ben, 1:00.43).
200m backstroke: Akbar Ali Mir (Rly, 2:12.88); T.K. Senthil Kumar (Pol, 2:14.84); R. Satish Kumar (Pol, 2:20.20).
WOMEN — V. Shivaranjani (Kar, 09:38.78); K. Chitra (Kar, 9:51.34); Avani Sawant (Mah, 10:04.40).
100m butterfly: Richa Mishra (Pol, 1:06.87); V. Sivaranjani (Kar, 1:09.36); Ambika Iyenger (Kar, 1:10.32)
200m backstroke: Richa Mishra (Pol, 2:33.02); Sumi Cyriac (Ker, 2:35.76); Reshma Millet (Kar, 2:36.93).
DIVING: MEN — Platform: Bhausaheb Dighe (Rly, 430.40); Sanjay Uttekar (Ser, 397.55); John Siddiqui (Ser, 377.50).
WOMEN — Platform: Suparna Paul (Rly, 339.25); Reshmi Das (Pol, 336.40); Mamoni Mondal (Ben, 322.25).
WATERPOLO: MEN — Bengal bt Kerala 12-4. Police bt Punjab 13-5
WOMEN — Kerala bt Punjab 14-1. Police bt Bengal 2-0.

New Delhi, Nov. 7: 
On the eve of their crucial Allwyn Durand Cup semi-final clash against Mahindra United, the East Bengal coach Syed Nayeemuddin is a worried man. His side is beset by injuries, suspensions and inconsistency in form. With Dipendu Biswas ruled out due to two yellow cards and new recruit Siva Mumumi yet to recover from an ankle injury, East Bengal have problems to field upfront armoury.

Nayeem is also concerned the team is without taller strikers. Sheikh Sanjib is likely to start with Bijen Singh. Nayeem wants Sanjib to use his speed on Mahindra’s ageing but tough defender Christopher Kem. As both Bijen and Sanjib are short-statured and weak in the air, the aerial ball as a mode of attack is ruled out.

Nayeem is also worried that skipper Bijen Singh is not at his sparkling best and yet to find touch in making penetrative runs at the opposing defence.

Another injury worry is classy defender Dipak Mondal. He has stitches on his head but Nayeem intends to gamble with Mondal.

He said that as Mahindra rarely use the high lofted pass, Mondal could survive even with the head injury. Nayeem is keen that Mondal plays as his speed provides adequate cover to Jackson Egygpong. The other contender Anit Ghosh has a stiff neck.

Coupled with all this, dashing midfielder Carlton Chapman also appears off-colour. It is expected Nayeem wants his team to blitzkrieg their opponents and challenge their ageing players like Christopher, Aqueel Ansari and Ramesh Rajak with speedy attacks. To achieve this it is vital that Chapman once again displays galloping speed on the flanks.

Nayeem stressed that his midfield must click if East Bengal are to overcome Mahindra. Isiaka Ayomi will be used to curb the rampaging forays of the in-form S. Venkatesh. Nayeem is banking on Suley Musah and Chandan Das to initiate attacks and to thwart the Mahindra playmaker Aqueel Ansari. Tushar Rakshit will be used as a substitute. Mahindra worries Mahindra United also have injury concerns. Bernard Operanozie, known for his hard tackling, is ruled out with a knee injury. Shamsi Reza, who played in the 1998 Asian Games and has been suffering from a strained hamstring, could be used as a second half substitute. But coach Shabbir Ali’s worry is about lack of pace in his back four.

He is confident about the form of his strikers, Manjit Singh (four goals so far) and Abbas Ali Rizvi. As both are in good nick, internationals M. Najeeb and Raman Vijayan are confined to the bench. Shabbir also believes that the clash in midfield will be vital. He has instructed Abhay Kumar to play deeper on the right flank.

Two years ago both sides met in the Durand final and the Mumbai side rallied to win 2-1. Musah, Jackson, Anit, Falguni Dutta and Bijen played in that final.

Skipper Bijen said that the memory of that defeat is still haunting them. This desire to seek revenge could be the spur to inspire East Bengal to triumph.

East Bengal and Mahindra United last met in a Durand semi-final way back in 1991. Incidentally Nayeem was also East Bengal’s coach then and his team won 3-0 and went on to annex the trophy for the third year running.

There will be deferred coverage of the semi-final match tomorrow on the Doordarshan sports channel, soon after the live coverage of the three day cricket match between the visiting Zimbabwe side and India A in Indore.

EB hold clinic

At the behest of sponsors Kingfisher, East Bengal today conducted a coaching clinic for the Delhi University football team and the Tyndale Biscoe school team from Kashmir. This Srinagar-based school is in Delhi to take part in a local meet.

The East Bengal players demonstrated soccer skills, fitness exercises and practise techniques and also answered a number of questions from young enthusiasts at the clinic held at the St Stephen’s College grounds.    

Calcutta, Nov. 7: 
There are seven horses in the running for the Gavin Johnston Cup, a 1,200m sprint, which takes the top-spot in Thursday’s race-card. First race starts at 1.15 pm.


1. Fastnet Handicap 1,400m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 1.15 pm: Nearco Prince 60; Alborada 60; Avionic 59.5; Soviet Port 55; Crest Star 54.5; Adeline 50.5.

2. Fizz Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 1.55 pm: Flying Scot 60; Sadaf 59.5; Constantine 59.5; Arezzo 58.5; Supreme Desire 54.5; Mr. Bombshell 53.5; Global Harmony 52.5; Consul’s Secret 50.5.

3. Usher Handicap 1,200m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 2.25 pm: Atomist 60; Double Dancer 59; Double Cross 56; Magic Ring 55.5; Arizona Star 54; Art Smart 53.5.

4. Ming Dynasty Cup 1,100m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 2.55 pm: Stately Don 60; Gambino 58; Smokey Bear 57; Annella 55.5; Storm Trooper 54; Staffordshire 53.5.

5. Gavin Johnston Cup 1,200m (Cl II; Rt. 66-94) 3.30 pm: Aloritz 60; Mameena 57; Premier League 57; Sky Command 55.5; Double Bull 55; Best In Show 54.5; Amarante 54.

6. Gabarnac Handicap 1,400m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 4.05 pm: Lovely Prospect 61; Rheinheart 59; Black Mane 58.5; No Regrets 57; Queen’s Logic 55.5; American 53; Splendid Star 51.

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

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

Calcutta, Nov. 7: 
Alternator, Allodium, Aloritz and Lovely Prospect were impressive from among the following horses seen exercising today.

Outer sand track

1,400m: Athletico (A. P. Singh) and Sixteen Sixtyfour (Surender) in 1-44s; (800m) 57s; (400m) 30s. Former a length better.

1,200m: Alternator (C. Alford) and Allodium (Rabani) in 1-24s; (800m) 55s; (400m) 27s. Both level. Arezzo (C. Alford) and Deep Star (Amil) in 1-34s; (800m) 57s; (400m) 26 2/5s. Both level. Affliction (C. Alford) and Annato (A. P. Singh) in 1-27s; (800m) 56s; (400m) 28 3/5s. Former better. Double Bull (Som S.) and Gambino (A. Imran) in 1-28 3/5s; (800m) 57s; (400m) 28 3/5s. Both finished together. Alyssum (C. Alford) and Freedom Dancer (A. P. Singh) in 1-27 3/5s; (800m) 58s; (400m) 29s. Former better.

1,000m: Anolini (Surender), Auctioneer (Amil) and Adeline (C. Alford) in 1-11s; (400m) 28s. They finished close in the order named. Best In Show (Upadhya) and Premier League (A. Imran) and 1-12s; (400m) 27s. Both level. Lovely Prospect (A. Imran) and Splendid Star (Upadhya) in 1-11s; (400m) 27s. Former better. Sterling Prospect (C. Alford) and Crucible (Amil) in 1-13 2/5s; (400m) 28s. Former better.

800m: Aloritz (C. Alford) in 53s; (400m) 25 2/5s. Moved well. Alborada (A. Imran) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Easy. Magic Ring (Amjad) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Fit. Black Mane (Amjad) in 57s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Tanganyika (Amjad) in 58s; (400m) 30s. Sadaf (A. Imran) in and Mr Bombshell (K. Kumar) in 54 3/5s; (400m) 26s. Former 4 ls better. The Stud (Rb) and Tsaynen Blue (Upadhya) in 1-0s; (400m) 31 4/5s. Former 3 ls better.

Sand track

800m: Double Cross (Haroon) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Fit. Storm Trooper (Amjad) in 53 1/5s; (400m) 25 1/5s. Fit. Tequila Shot (Shanker) in 56 2/5s; (400m) 27s. Art Smart (Yacoob) in 1-0s; (400m) 30 3/5s. Constantine (Amjad) in 50s; (400m) 24s. Good.

600m: American (Yacoob) in 38 2/5s; (400m) 24 1/5s. Easy.

On Monday, outer sand track

1,200m:Allosaki (Rb) in 1-34 1/5s; (400m) 32 3/5s..

800m: Sky Command (Rb) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Fit. Annella (C. Alford) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Good.

Sand track

800m: Global Harmony (Yacoob) in 52s; (400m) 26s. Moved well.

On Sunday, outer sand track

800m: Atomist (C. Alford) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Good.

Sand track

800m: Alvarada (C. Alford) and Alembic (Surender) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Former was far better.    

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