Anil, Kavya shine

R. RAGU

The winners of the national triathlon achieved personal goals.

It is a sport that demands the mastery of skills such as swimming in the sea, cycling and running and it certainly pushes the body to the hilt.

It is also a sport where the national championship gets started at the crack of dawn and gets over in a matter of few hours.

The national triathlon in Chennai lasted a little over three hours and involved the aspirations of 82 participants to start with but whittled down to 76 thereafter.

Anil Kumar and T. S. Kavya grabbed the spotlight and were crowned the men's and women's champions.

The national did not witness any new marks or major feats. But the winners achieved their own personal goals. Anil Kumar, 19, is a sepoy attached to BEG Pune and his dream is to attain laurels in the World Military Games scheduled in Hyderabad in 2007. The Chennai success was an affirmation that his training was moving along desired lines.

Kavya, who shifted base from Bangalore to Chennai to sharpen her skills in the Indian Triathlon Academy, was thrilled that her sacrifice had brought dividends.

Both winners received Rs. 10,000 each. Anil got the ICL trophy and Kavya The Hindu trophy.

S.R.SURYANARAYANAN TOP CONFIDENCE

Former national champion Chetan Anand, who played a big role in India's fourth place finish in the qualifying rounds of the Thomas Cup and helped the team to qualify for the final stage, said it was a great experience to compete in the prestigious tournament.

Every time I enter the court now, I am very positive. This was not the case earlier: CHETAN ANAND.-K. RAMESH BABU

"In spite of facing some dangerous opponents, India made it to the finals and therefore the result was very satisfying," said Chetan. According to Chetan, coaches Vimal Kumar, Sugianto and Vikram Singh helped a lot in the preparatory camp prior to the qualifying round working on his side movements and defence. "There was pressure on me because I was playing some of the decisive singles matches. And I had to win to keep our team in the race," said Chetan.

With a three-week preparatory camp scheduled before the Thomas Cup finals, Chetan is determined to be in the right frame of mind. "I am enjoying the sport much more now after training with Morten Frost in Denmark. The biggest gain from that stint is my confidence level, which is on a new high. Now, I am not scared of any player. Every time I enter the court now, I am very positive in my approach. This was not the case earlier."

V. V. Subrahmanyam HABIB'S CORNER

Former India international Mohd. Habib feels that the SAFF Cup triumph in Pakistan could not have come at a more appropriate time for Indian football. Going into the Asia Cup, the confidence of Indian footballers would be very high, feels Habib.

The diminutive Hyderabadi, who shifted his base to Kolkata in the late 60s, is appreciative of the planning of national chief coach Syed Nayeemuddin. "In any sport, winning matters and more so in Indian football. The need of the hour is to keep winning to bring back the interest in the sport," said Habib.

Habib, 55, believes that the money coming into the sport should go directly to the players. Commenting on foreigners playing in the Indian circuit, Habib, who is now coaching Mohammedan Sporting, feels that it will not benefit Indian football. "We have to develop the existing talent within India. To do so, every state capital should have full-fledged academies. And, they should be run in a professional manner. It is important to remember that there is plenty of talent which is not tapped," said Habib.

V. V. Subrahmanyam GREAT GESTURE

Eight outstanding sports personalities, who are all but forgotten by the modern world, were given a fresh lease of life by the Mission Sports of 10K Foundation. Mohd. Yousuf Khan and D. Kannan (both Olympians in football), L. A. Iqbal (Arjuna Awardee in ball badminton), K. Satyanarayana (Hyderabad's first hockey international), Chinta Pratap Kumar (Asian medallist in athletics), renowned volleyball coach K. Komuraiah, sports administrator Nasiruddin Ghalib and veteran Telugu sports journalist Eka Venkata Subba Rao were given cheques of Rs. 50,000 each.

All of them are going through a difficult phase financially. Yousuf Khan is suffering from Parkinson's Syndrome and Kannan from a brain clot, while Ghalib was hospitalised for three weeks recently.

V. V. Subrahmanyam