From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.31 :: NO.33 :: Aug. 16, 2008

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CITY LIGHTS

Districts impress

The Winning XI Women’s Hockey Club state-level tournament was not only conducted with fanfare, but it also offered handsome prize money.

V. GANESAN

It is rare to see a women’s hockey competition conducted with éclat. But a unit like Winning XI Hockey Club, Chennai, is an exception. It is also rare to see a women’s hockey tournament offering a prize money of Rs. 50,000 to the winner and Rs. 10,000 to the runner-up. To promoter S. R. Bhasgeran of Reserve Bank of India goes the credit for offering such a handsome prize money for the Winning XI Women’s Hockey Club state-level tournament in Chennai r ecently.

What was heartening about the tournament was the representation from the districts — it disproved the notion that women’s hockey continues to be an urban phenomenon. And of the four semifinalists, three were from the districts.

Madurai District HC defeated Vivekananda College of Science and Arts (Tiruchengode) 5-2 in the final. The Madurai XI was the best of the 17 teams that figured in the tournament and deservedly won the trophy. Rasana turned in a consistently good performance for the team. She scored three goals in the final. Pavithra was the other prominent player for Madurai.

For Vivekananda, which stayed in the fight till the last seven minutes, Mohanapriya and Saranya were notable. Among the other teams that caught the attention was Punitha Arogya HC from Keeranur. The team clinched the third place, defeating Vaishnava Club, the only local outfit that made the semifinal stage.

Stella Maris and Ethiraj were the two prominent colleges from the city in the fray.

C. K. Gariyali, Principal Secretary (retd.) to the Governor of Tamil Nadu, presided and gave away the prizes.

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Mohun Bagan set for Paris

It is a rare opportunity for kids from across the country to showcase their talent at the international level and Mohun Bagan grabbed it with both hands as it booked its berth in the Yakult Danone Nations Cup football tournament at Parc des Princes in Paris from September 4 to 7. The India leg of the tournament, held at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi recently, had 12 academies and club teams competing in an interesting format specified for youngsters in the age group of 10-12. The matches, of 15 minutes duration each, were played on one half of a regular football field. Each team comprised nine players.

The teams were divided into four groups. In the preliminary stage, they played each other once and the top team from each group qualified for the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Mohan Bagan thrashed Hindustan Academy 4-0 while Sikkim Football Academy (SFA) defeated Simla Youngs Club, Delhi, 1-0.

In the final, Mohun Bagan pipped SFA via the tie-breaker after the teams were tied 1-1 in the regulation time and at the end of the extra time. The Bengal club, thus, qualified for the ninth edition of the Nations Cup, a brainchild of the legendary French football player Zinedine Zidane.

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Back at the helm

After a 19-month hiatus, Jagmohan Dalmiya has returned to the helm of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). Forced to resign following pressures from the parent body, the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), the 68-year-old former ICC (International Cricket Council) chief, who also headed the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) and the BCCI, did well to bide his time and strike at the right moment. Dalmiya first brought all the splinter groups under one umbrella and then turned the tables on the incumbent president Prasun Mukherjee by polling 71 votes to his rival’s 47 at the annual general meeting of the CAB recently.

That Dalmiya’s men won all the posts including the Trustee Board meant that he returned with an overwhelming majority of 118 votes from a house of 121 voters.

On winning, Dalmiya’s first move was to ensure the services of Sourav Ganguly for the state. The former India captain had reportedly threatened to leave Bengal, but Dalmiya was quick to pacify him during his first interaction with the media. He also ensured the services of all the senior Bengal players for the coming season and has begun the hunt for a good coach as well.

One of Dalmiya’s priorities will be to get Bengal back into Elite Division in the Ranji Trophy and ensure that the state does well in all the age-group tournaments. After having figured in the Ranji Trophy final in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, Bengal was relegated to the Plate Division in the 2007-08 season.

By S. Thyagarajan, Y.B. Sarangi and S. Sabanayakan



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