Imran: Time now for more positive steps
It�s Uppal-Ghouse, Manisha-Rushmi
India move into early lead
Nadia champions
State team named
Sourav-Jaidip duo wins
Derby in quake mood
Track trials
Calcutta Racing/ No Regrets wins main event
Bangalore Racing/ �Fire� may strike

Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
While welcoming his country�s gesture of participating in next week�s fund-raising tri-series in Sharjah, former Pakistan captain-turned-politician Imran Khan hopes more �positive steps� will follow.

The fund-raiser for Gujarat�s earthquake victims � project No.1 of the Asian Cricket Foundation � will be hosted by Sharjah, which is credited with staging the most number of ODIs anywhere.

The February 8-11 tri-series will feature India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

�The fund-raiser is a move forward, for both India and Pakistan, as was our government�s gesture of rushing relief to Gujarat. However, the relationship-vehicle shouldn�t get grounded there,� Imran told The Telegraph this evening.

Contacted on an aide�s cellphone in Islamabad, Imran added: �Of course, it�s ironical that it required an earthquake to signal the start of better relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, but our response to the tragedy more than indicates it affected all of us in Pakistan.�

According to Imran, �emotional developments� over the past few days have confirmed that �even a bit of work by bold politicians,� on either side, would lead to pleasing results.

�I�m not talking of weak politicians who treat cancer with aspirin, but politicians who will be willing to resort to surgery. Bold politicians, in other words.�

But would relations actually improve as long as militants, from across the border, kept spilling blood in Kashmir?

Imran, who has consistently had a hardline approach to Kashmir, responded: �Militancy is a reaction to a series of actions (on the Indian side of the border)... It�s the rule by bayonet and injustice is the key word. Till this changes, there won�t be meaningful peace and the blaming-game won�t end quickly either.�

Appreciating the on-going unilateral ceasefire, first announced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government just before Ramzan, Imran felt a dialogue with only the Kashmiris� �genuine representatives� would bear fruit.

Switching to cricket, Imran agreed that playing in a third-country wasn�t quite the same as hosting a one-to-one series on home soil. �I�m very disappointed India�s tour of Pakistan (this season) got scrapped...�

Imran, though, conceded there was the possibility of �extreme nationalism� surfacing during an exclusive Indo-Pak series. Yet, he pointed out, such an occasion could also bring people together.

�It would have been wonderful had Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar played in a full series in front of Pakistani crowds... Indeed, even today, I maintain India�s best ambassador to Pakistan has been a cricketer � Sunil Gavaskar.�

The last full tour (Tests and ODIs) to Pakistan by India was way back in late 1989, while Pakistan played both Tests and ODIs, in India, in early 1999.

Imran, who is busy overseeing the growth of his Tehrik-e-Insaaf party, promised to �surprise the world� on March 25 (with a huge turnout), when his party�s first national convention will be held on home turf Lahore.

Tehrik was founded in 1996, just weeks after a bomb blast at Imran�s cancer hospital, in Lahore. In power then was Benazir Bhutto, Imran�s bete noire.

�It�s frustrating that political activity isn�t being opened up (by the General Pervez Musharraf dispensation)... However, we expect national elections either late this year or early 2002... Internally, we are preparing for that,� he informed, confidently.

Imran and Tehrik�s maiden foray, in the 1997 elections, was a fiasco. Between then and now, though, Pakistan�s top icon has done much to ensure there won�t be a repeat.


Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
Unseeded Rohan Boppana�s dream run finally ended today. The tall Karnataka lad went down 4-6, 6-7 (3-7) to third-seeded Vishal Uppal in the semi-finals of the Indian Oil Servo senior national grasscourt championships at the South Club.

Uppal will now meet his doubles partner Mustafa Ghouse. The seventh-seeded Ghouse upset top seed Vinod Sridhar 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in the other semi-final.

Uppal and Ghouse, the top seeds in doubles, qualified for that final too after seeing off R. Narendran & P. Ravi Krishna 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. In the other semi-final, third seeds Boppana and Vijay Kannan whipped Vinod Sridhar and Avinash Arun 6-4, 6-1.

In women�s action, too, the singles finalists will feature in the doubles title-round clash. Top seed Manisha Malhotra and No. 3 Rushmi Chakravarti brushed aside the challenge from Shruti Dhawan and Sonal Phadke in two straight sets.

Challenging Manisha and Rushmi for the doubles crown will be Radhika Tulpule and Janaki Krishnamurthi.

Lack of maturity

Boppana was playing his first semi-final in any major tournament and it showed. Uppal, showing more maturity, experience and mental toughness, shut out his younger opponent quite comfortably. Not that Boppana didn�t get his chances � he converted very few of them.

In the first set, with the score at 4-4, Boppana got his first break-point at 30-40 but Uppal saved it with an ace. The unseeded Boppana set up another break-point with a lob and was unlucky not to convert it. Rushing up to retrieve an Uppal drop-shot, Boppana got the ball back to the other court but his racket touched the net.

It was the longest game of the match and Uppal managed to eventually hold for 5-4 with some huge serves.

Serving to stay in the set, a frustrated Boppana threw up a double-fault and made a couple of errors to hand Uppal the lead.

Bopanna, though, broke Uppal in the very first game of the second set, two double-faults hurting the Delhite. However, Boppana�s joy didn�t last long as Uppal broke back straightaway.

The third seed broke Boppana again in the fourth game only to lose serve in the seventh. In the tie-breaker, Uppal�s experienced and cool nerves helped him dominate and prevail 7-3.

In the other semi-final, Sridhar and Ghouse held serves till the ninth game. The two then traded breaks before Ghouse ran through the tie-break with some big serves.

With Ghouse continuing to serve well � he had a total of 11 aces � he wrapped up the match in an hour and 28 minutes.

One-sided affair

The first women�s semi-final was a rather one-sided affair which saw Rushmi toppling her higher ranked rival Sonal 6-1, 6-1. The second-seeded Sonal was never in the match and managed to hold serve just once.

The second semi-final went on expected lines, but not before Manisha made a unimpressive start against Shruti. The tired looking top seed had to fight off three break-points in Game I.

She saved all three and broke Shruti in the fifth game. The 18-year-old Chandigarh girl came right back with a break in Game 6. She put up a fight in the tie-break, too, only to lose 5-7.

Manisha was in her elements in Set II, her undoubted superiority taking her past her younger rival.


(All semi-finals)

MEN�S SINGLES: Mustafa Ghouse (Mah) bt Vinod Sridhar (TN) 7-6 (7/2), 6-3; Vishal Uppal (Del) bt Rohan Bopanna (Mah) 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

WOMEN�S SINGLES: Manisha Malhotra (Mah) bt Shruti Dhawan (Chn) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1; Rushmi Chakravarti (TN) bt Sonal Phadke (Mah) 6-1, 6-1.

WOMEN�S DOUBLES: Radhika Tulpule & Janaki Krishnamoorthi bt Geeta Manohar & Archana Venkataraman 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3); Rushmi Chakravarti & Manisha Malhotra bt Radhika Mande & Sonal Phadke 6-1, 6-2.

MEN�S DOUBLES: Rohan Boppana & Vijay Kannan bt Vinod Sridhar & Avinash Arun 6-4, 6-1; Vishal Uppal & Mustafa Ghouse bt R. Narendran & P. Ravi Krishna 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.


Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
India made an excellent start to their title defence, opening up a ten-stroke lead over Sri Lanka after round-one of the 3rd SAARC golf championship being played at the par-72, Delhi Golf Club course today, according to information reaching here.

In the first of the two stroke play rounds, Ashok Kumar returned a two-under 70 card while Gangjee with a level-par 72, placed India at a tally of two-under 142. The two best scores out of three comprised the team score.

Sri Lanka were placed a distant second at eight-over 152, ten strokes behind the hosts while Bangladesh occupied the third spot with a tally of 169. Nepal and Bhutan were tied for fourth place at 174 apiece.

Playing on his home course, Ashok Kumar returned the best card of the day, with his two-under 72 positioning him as the leading candidate to win the individual strokeplay championship. �I drove the ball really well today and would have done much better had I not lost ground with bogeys on the last two holes,� said the 19-year old second ranked Indian amateur.

Ashok had a pretty sedate start to his round with two-pared holes, before he caught fire to birdie the 3rd, 5th and 7th, where a 6-iron saw him sink a brilliant 35 feet downhill putt. Entering his return journey at three-under, Ashok proceeded to birdie the 13th, aided by a well-sunk 15-feet birdie putt. With his score-card reading four-under with two-holes to go, the youngster muffed up his tee shot on the 17th.

Calcutta�s Rahil Gangjee, played percentage golf today. He started the day with a birdie, dropped shot on the 3rd and followed it by a birdie-bogey finish to his outward journey. On his back-nine, birdies on the 10th and 14th sandwiched by an unfortunate double bogey on the 13th handed him his day�s score of 72.


Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
Nadia district with a total of 50 points emerged overall champions in the 18th state primary schools� sports meet at the SAI, Eastern Centre today.

A lot of points behind, at 38, Burdwan followed the leaders.


INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS � Athletics: Boys� A � 1. Sanjoy Barui (CMC); Boys� B � 1. Sahadul Mondal (Nadia); Boys� C � 1. Srimanta Hazra (Burdwan), Dhananjoy Kumar (Purulia), Rajendra Ghosh (North 24 Parganas); Girls� A � Sephali Barman (Coochbehar); Girls� B � Neptadul Jinnath (D. Dinajpur); Girls� C � Mingli Murmu (Burdwan).

OVERALL CHAMPIONS � Athletics: Boys� A � 1. CMC (11 points), 2. Nadia (6), 3. Burdwan, Midnapur (5); Boys� B � 1. Nadia (10), 2. South 24 Pgns (6), 3. Birbhum, Midnapur (5); Boys� C � 1. Nadia (6), 2. Burdwan, Purulia, North 24 Pgns (5); Girls� A � 1. Coochbehar (18), 2. Nadia (11), 3. Burdwan, Murshidabad (5); Girls� B � 1. D. Dinajpur (10), 2. Hooghly (9), 3. Murshidabad (5); Girls� C � 1. Burdwan (10), 2. Coochbehar (7), 3. North 24 Pgns (6).

GROUP CHAMPIONS: Boys � 1. Nadia (28), 2. Burdwan (21), 3. CMC (11). Girls � 1. Coochbehar (31), 2. Nadia (22), 3. Burdwan (17).

OVERALL CHAMPIONS: 1. Nadia (50), 2. Burdwan (38), 3. Coochbehar (36)

SCSDC athletics meet

The South Calcutta Sports Development Council (SCSDC) will organise their ninth annual athletics meet, Sampriti-2001, at Rabindra Sarovar Stadium tomorrow and Sunday.

The meet will be inaugurated by Jyotirmoyee Sikdar.

Aikido camp

An intensive aikido training camp will be held from February 12-16 at the SAI Eastern Centre. French instructors Pasacal Mennesson and Veronique Anselin will be supervising the five-day camp to impart their advanced knowledge on this kind of martial art.    

Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
The West Bengal Volleyball Association today announced a 12-member squad each for men and women to represent the state in the national volleyball league championships. The men�s tournament will be held in Renukoot from Tuesday and the women�s from Februaury 12 in New Delhi.

Both squads are expected to leave the city on Sunday.


MEN: Subir Kundu (captain), Partha Das, Sandip Mukherjee, Md. J.M., Anurag E.P., Subhankar Chakraborty, Subhendu Dutta, Sajal Das, Suprabhat Karmakar, Ranjan Ghosh, Prasenjit Dutta, Prasun Paul. Coach: A. Rahman. Manager: P. Roy.

WOMEN: Namita Chatterjee (captain), Sudipta Biswas, Tulu Pramanick, Banya Kundu, Tusi Sakhari, Aparna Sur, Soma Jana, Madhabi Dey, Sumita Parel, Bithi Nandi, Pampa Sikdar, Thakurmoni Oraon. Coach: Chandan Sen. Manager: D. Mukherjee.

Karate meet today

The 9th Asian karate championships for men and women will be held at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra tomorrow. The number of participating countries is expected to be six as the organisers are still hoping for Pakistan�s arrival. The other participants are Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and hosts India.

The tournament will be used as a platform for team selection with eyes on the next World Cup in Hungary in June. The Oyama Cup � the national championships � will be held on Sunday at the same venue.


Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
Sourav Ganguly and Jaidip Mukherjea emerged champions in the Barisha SC-organised Ajanta Cup double-wicket tournament at Oxford Mission ground today. In the finals they beat the pair of Munish Jolly and Dipak Singh.

Sourav contributed his prize money to Oxford Mission as Barisha Sporting donated a sum of Rs 10,000 to the Governor�s Relief Fund for the earthquake victims in Gujarat.


Mumbai, Feb. 2: 
The mood appears to be quite depressing in the business capital of the country since the earthquake in the neighbouring state of Gujarat. The attendance at the live and the off-course meetings, as well, have fallen down drastically since the ill-fated Republic Day. Everyone seems to be concerned, not in regard to the dwindling attendance, but the victims of the natural calamity and those struggling to survive. The Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) has started a relief fund with club�s contribution of Rs 25 lakh. The trainers, jockeys and, of course, the race lovers are also expected to contribute generously. The Kingfisher Indian Derby, on Sunday, therefore, is going to be without the usual fanfare. The sponsors of the mega-event, the UB group and its supremo Vijay Mallya, have already announced cancellation of the annual Derby-eve bash. �Millions of rupees spent there may help the cause of the millions who suffered the disaster;� said a UB group insider. It may not be out of place to mention that Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) stewards, too, have decided to contribute the net proceeds, from the February 10 RCTC fixtures, towards the noble cause. Coming back to the Indian Derby, there are 14 in the line-up for the prestigious event. Although Allaire is the most talked about filly, it is the Calcutta Derby winner Altimara who is being given an outside chance to lower the colours of her stable and the owner-mate. �It was a difficult choice to make between Allaire and Altimara for the Derby; said jockey Aslam Kader. The champion rider, however, made up his mind in favour of Allaire, though, he is still struck between the brilliance of Allaire and the staying prowess of Altimara in the 2,400m race.

Going about in gentle pace today morning, Allaire appeared to be ready to take the two long distance races in her strides. The Darius Byramji-trainee-ward, who cantered home with the Indian Oaks a fortnight ago, in fact, looked to be quite relaxed. Altimara, too, looked fresh, though the Deepak Khaitain-owned filly was made to take the Calcutta-Bangalore-Mumbai, long route which was, however, well spaced out. She may definitely keep Calcutta�s hopes alive. Six Speed has given the star event a bye. �She will be prepared for the Turf Invitation Cup in Madras. She has already done more than what was expected of her and the rest may do her good after her Oaks� debacle;� said Pesi Shroff who has opted to ride Mallya�s other ward Storm Again.

The other one who needs to be watched will be Hello Brother from Bangalore. Trained by veteran Madhav Mangaorkar, he is no mean a customer. �He was unlucky to have encountered a rough passage in the Bangalore (winter) Derby which he lost by two heads. The long Mahalaxmi-straight is definitely going

to suit this stayer;� said jockey S. Rakesh who will be guiding the destiny of the Bangalore challenger.


Mumbai Feb. 2: 
The following track work of the Indian Derby contenders was noted here day:

Training track

600m: Crowning Moment (Rathod) in 37s. Moved nicely.

Noted on Thursday training track

1,000m: Storm Again (Shroff) and Current Affair (Ronald) in 38s. Former easily finished ahead by 6 ls. Altazano (Lynch) and Divine Quest (Rajendra) in 1-4s; (600m) 38s. former finished ahead by 4 ls bu they were pushed. Allocated (Kader) and Chevalier (Shroff) in 1-5s; (600m) 38s. Former easily finished ahead by 3 ls. Perceived Value (Hughes) and Stone Ridge (Rupesh) in 1-5s; (600m) 39s. They were level but the former was easy. Mosaic (Lynch) and Fly By Albi (M. Narredu) in 1-3s; (600m) 38s. Former easily finished ahead by 2 ls. Altimara (Kader) and Air Strike (Shroff) in 1-7s; (600m) 39s. They were level and were handy.

600m: Allaire (Kader) 42s. Very easy. Noted on Wednesday.

Training track

1,000m: Star Shine (Rajendra) in 1-5s; (600m) 41s. Moved fluently. Inquisition (M. Narredu) and Amarilo (Phillip) in 1-9s; (600m) 43s. Former was 4 ls better but the pair was urged. Hello Brother (Rakesh) in 1-10s; (600m) 41s. Moved freely.    

Calcutta, Feb. 2: 
The Javed Khan-trained No Regrets claimed the Bahrain Trophy at the Calcutta races on Friday. Mark Reuben partnered the Re bounding Trill- Libation colt.


1. Princess Jani Handicap 1,100m: (2-1-4-5) Alegria (C. Alford) 1; Alcalde (Rabani) 2; Anokato (Upadhya) 3; Maltayar (Gurang) 4. Not run: Angels Venture (3). Won by: 5-3/4; 5-3/4; Dist; (1-6.4). Tote: Win Rs 12; 12; 11; Quinella: 15; Tanala: 59. Fav: Alegria (2). Winner trained by Vijay S.

2. Victo Handicap 1,400m: (5-4-3-7) Madame X (Gowli) 1; Eau Savage (Shanker) 2; Calculus (A. Imran) 3; Go India Go (Smith) 4. Won by: 1-1/4; 2-1/2; 1-3/4; (1-28.6). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 12; 13; 17; Quinella: 29; Tanala: 113. Fav: Madame X (5). Winner trained by Rodrigues.

3. I. N. S. Hooghly Cup 1,200m: (4-2-1-3) Master Bold (C. Alford) 1; Kargil Soldier (Connorton) 2; Orbital Star (A. Imran) 3; Bold Apparel (Gowli) 4. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-14.2). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 11; 12; 14; Quinella: 23; Tanala: 59. Fav: Master Bold (4). Winner trained by Vijay S.

4. Robert Bruce Hadicap 1,200m: (4-2-7-3) Alastar (C. Alford) 1; Abstone Queen (A. Imran) 2; Arizona Star (Kujur) 3; Piece Of Cake (Upadhya) 4. Won by: 1-3/4; 2-1/4; Nk; (1-14.4). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 11; 11; 12; Quinella: 17; Tanala: 63. Fav: Abstone Queen (2). Winner trained by Vijay S.

5. Bahrain Trophy 1,600m: (7-8-6-9) No Regrets (M. Reuben) 1; Sharp Sensation (Amil) 2; Lockers Park (Shanker) 3; Charlene (Rabani) 4. Won by: 3/4; 2; 1/2; (1-39). Tote: Win Rs 65; Place: 20; 34; 15; Quinella: 583; Tanala: 3,522. Fav: Alsheim (4). Winner trained by Javed K.

6. Little Lady Cup, Div-I 1,200m: (7-8-9-6) Ispahan (Connorton) 1; Andestine (C. Alford) 2; Spanish Drum�s (Tamang) 3; Sadaf (A. Imran) 4. Won by: Nk; 4-3/4; 2-1/4; (1-13.4). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 13; 15; 66; Quinella: 56; Tanala: 1,106. Fav: Ispahan (7). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

7. Little Lady Cup, Div-II 1,200m: (4-2-3-1) Arctic Fancy (A. Imran) 1; Cup Of Life (C. Alford) 2; Sky Command (Rutherford) 3; Added Asset (Gowli) 4. Won by: Hd; SH; Nk; (1-14.2). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 15; 21; Quinella: 36; Tanala: 185. Fav: Arctic Fancy (4). Winner trained by Daniel D.

8. Philosopher Handicap 1,100m: (4-1-8-2) Splendid Star (A. Imran) 1; Cavala (Islam) 2; Aflicker (Rabani) 3; Just Kidding (Rutherford) 4. Won by: 2; 1-1/4; 2-1/4; (1-7). Tote: Win Rs 41; Place: 17; 27; 19; Quinella: 139; Tanala: 990. Fav: Just Kidding (2). Winner trained by Daniel D.

Jackpot: Rs 1,381; (C) Rs 171.

Treble: (i) Rs 73; (ii) Rs 126.    

Bangalore, Feb. 2: 
Trained by Darashah, Symphony Of Fire may win the 1,200m Bangalore Turf Club Trophy, the chief event in the Bangalore race-card on Saturday. K. P. Appu partners the Bold Russian-Something Fabulous daughter.


3 pm: Hope And Faith 1. Purple Princess 2. Aveyron 3.

3.30 pm: Always Dancing 1. Alassio 2. Saffron Finch 3.

4 pm: Symphony Of Fire 1. Bold Chieftan 2. Adamile 3.

4.30 pm: Assertive Allies 1. Mayfair 2. Refresher 3.

5 pm: Argyle Gold 1. Brave Deed 2. Atomic Fusion 3.

5.30 pm: Silver Touch 1. Make No Mistake 2. Dictate 3.

Day�s Best: Assertive Allies

Double: Always & Argyle Gold.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Kumta Plate 1,800m: (8-2-1) Predominate (Woods) 1; Carnival Crown 2; Anandini 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 1-1/4; (1-56.5). Tote: Win Rs 267; Place: 70; 20; 24; Forecast: 1,517; Quinella: 449; Tanala: 7,794 & 10,021. Fav: Dust Street (5).

2. Star Contender Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (9-4-10) Kisunugntly (Kader) 1; Bold Connection 2; Don King 3. Won by: Nk; Hd; (1-15.3). Tote: Win Rs 49; Place: 20; 18; 14; Forecast: 78; Quinella: 44; Tanala: 213 & 79. Fav: Don King (10).

3. Ashoka Chakra Cup 1,200m: (5-2-4) Blue Hare (S. Narredu) 1; Nairn 2; Peter Pepper 3. Won by: 7; 8; (1-14.4). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 15; 21; Forecast: 41; Quinella: 41; Tanala: 129 & 57. Fav: Blue Hare (5).

4. Shravanabelagola Cup 1,400m: (5-7-1) Bank Balance (Dickie) 1; Star Festival 2; Little Pleasure 3. Won by: 3/4; 1-1/4; (1-27.5). Tote: Win Rs 37; Place: 19; 17; Forecast: 58; Quinella: 25; Tanala: 124 & 75. Fav: Star Festival (7).

5. Talakaveri Plate 1,200m: (3-8-5) Musky Bird (S. Narredu) 1; Rosalie 2; Ornate Crown 3.Not run: Brave Tern (2) & Allabreva (7). Won by: Nk; 2; (1-15.1). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 17; 54; 19; Forecast: 740; Quinella: 412; Tanala: 2,563 & 526.Fav: Musky Bird (3).

6. Star Contender Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (10-1-5) Triple King (Prithviraj) 1; Three Coins 2; Coral Bird 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 2; (1-16.6). Tote: Win Rs 112; Place: 20; 14; 19; Forecast: 175; Quinella: 84; Tanala: 548 & 295. Fav: Three Coins (1). Jackpot: Rs 7,672; (C) Rs 371.

Mini jackpot: Rs 4,706.

Treble: Rs 1,074.


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