National awards sports state designs - Artist-cum-teacher thanks students

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By PRIYA ABRAHAM in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 28.08.09

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: Artist Gajendra Sahu, 48, honestly admits that sports was never really his forte, however, this Saturday when President Pratibha Patil will present the national awards for excellence in sports he will have his eyes glued to the television.

His enthusiasm stems from the fact that statuettes designed by him will be used to felicitate the country’s ace sports persons and trainers.

When the ministry of youth affairs and sports approached Sahu to redesign trophies meant for Arjun, Dronacharya, Dhyan Chand and Tenzing Norgay awards recipients, he was elated. Of the hundreds of sketches invited from across the country, Sahus’ work was selected by the sports ministry and the artist was given three months’ deadline.

“While retaining the traditional symbolism, I tried to give the statuettes a contemporary look,” said the artist in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph.

The re-designed bronze statuettes are affixed on ebony bases and each is 15 inches tall, weighing approximately 2 kilograms. The statuettes have been polished to give them an antique look.

“It feels good to receive all the congratulatory messages,” concedes the artist, who is also a guru in his own right.

The senior artist is also the head of the graphics department at Bhubaneswar’s BK College running under the aegis of Government Arts and Crafts College, was assisted by four students — Chattrapati Biswal, Tapan Moharana, Santosh Routray and Manas Maharana. “They were a big help and an inspiration to work with,” Sahu said.

The trophies are symbolic of ambition, goal, superiority, success and sportsmanship. “Arjun stands for hard work, dedication and concentration and Dronacharya is a legendary guru. The idea of a guru-shishya parampara has also been inculcated,” he explained.

The trophy for Arjun award shows the Pandav aiming for a fish while looking at its reflection in water, Dronacharya shows the guru guiding his student’s aim. Dhyan Chand award is a statuette of Major Dhyan Chand, the hockey icon as is Tenzing Norgay’s for the adventure awards.

The designs will remain unchanged for the next three years.