MARK OF GOOD SENSE

R.V. SIVAKUMAR

The stadium has very good facilities that have come in for considerable praise.

Several days before the plenary session of the AICC was held at the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Gachibowli, in the outskirts of Hyderabad, people were worried that the sports facilities at the venue would be ruined.

They feared the arrangements being made for the visitors and the security for VIPs within the stadium would impair the infrastructure and perhaps even damage the synthetic track that is one of Hyderabad's prized possessions.

The stadium, constructed before the 32nd National Games in 2002, has very good facilities that have come in for considerable praise.

The athletes and officials at the National Games were unanimous in their opinion that the venue was among the best in the country.

Later, during the Afro-Asian Games, even foreign athletes lauded the facilities here. So, it was only natural that sportspersons, administrators and sports enthusiasts were apprehensive about the decision to hold the AICC plenary session at the stadium.

However, at the end of the political jamboree, everybody had a pleasant surprise — the stadium as well as the track was in perfect shape.

It was one of those rare occasions when organisers of a non-sporting event in a sports arena took adequate care to ensure that the infrastructure remained as good as new and there was no scope for any complaint.

Abhijit Sen Gupta TN TEAMS TO THE FORE

Never before in the history of the All-India and South Zone inter-university men's basketball did the Tamil Nadu teams have it so good. This year, in the South Zone tournament, hosted by the SRM Deemed University, which is about 45km from Chennai, Sathyabhama University upstaged champions Madras for the title. That all the top four teams (Sathyabhama, SRM, Madras and Annamalai) that qualified from the South for the All-India Championship (also hosted by SRM concurrently) were from Tamil Nadu was proof of the depth of talent in the State.

SRM DEEMED UNIVERSITY, the men's winner.-

However, in the All-India Championship, two teams from the North, Punjabi and Punjab universities, put up a stiff challenge to the Tamil Nadu squads, but were quelled by SRM and Madras in the semifinals. Thus the final was an all-Tamil Nadu show with SRM, assisted by two towering pivots, Janakiram Reddy and Prem Sharma, dethroning champions Madras. It must be said that most of the private universities in the State in general and Chennai in particular are now showing keen interest in promoting sports in a big way. In fact, the SRM University is negotiating with an Australian University to set up a sports academy in its campus. The SRM and Sathyabhama universities have indeed made sincere efforts to prepare strong teams. This is a welcome step.

M. C. Raman MANISHA'S MISSION

A former leading tennis player in an archery meet? Manisha Malhotra was a surprise visitor at the National Archery Championship in Kolkata recently. Looking trim and fit and dressed like an executive rather than a sportsperson, Manisha was busy gathering information on the sport and its participants.

"Yeah, these days I don't do weight training. Instead I jog a lot to keep fit. I have stopped playing tennis two years back and now I am working full time for Mittal Champions Trust as an administrator,'' she said.

So what brought her here? "Well, I am here to familiarise myself with archery and spot talent that can be supported by the Mittal Trust," she informed. "Our aim is to support only Olympic events, and we are trying to fit archery into our upcoming projects,'' she added.

Incidentally, Manisha, who played for India in a Fed Cup match two years ago, has yet to formally announce her retirement from tennis.

TIMELY WARNING

AIFF President, Priyaranjan Das Munshi, has issued a warning to the warring factions of the Andhra Pradesh Football Association, asking them to sink their differences and work together or face disciplinary action. At a specially convened meeting in Hyderabad recently, Das Munshi asked the factions to patch up by forming an ad hoc committee comprising two members from each group. In case the two groups fail to form the ad hoc committee, the AIFF would be compelled to investigate all aspects of the functioning of the APFA over the last decade and take corrective measures, he said.

The two factions provided Das Munshi the details in support of their case, along with newspaper clippings.

"Are you genuinely concerned about putting the sport back on the rails?" Das Munshi thundered. "Don't you feel ashamed? Coming from a city which has produced so many Olympians in the past, it is your minimum obligation to revive the sport now," he added.

V. V. Subrahmanyam