Sanmar's stellar show

V. GANESAN

Chemplast Sanmar lifts its fourth limited overs title — The Hindu Trophy — this season following victories in the Moin-ud-Dowla, Canara Bank and the MCA Corporate tournaments.

Chemplast Sanmar outplayed India Pistons by 96 runs to win The Hindu Trophy at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on April 20. Set a daunting target of 225 for victory in 30 overs, Pistons could only manage 128 for nine.

Lanky opener Subramania Siva, who received the Sportstar Man of the Match award and a cheque of Rs. 10,000, sparkled with a fluent 75-ball 90 after Chemplast chose to bat on a sporting pitch. Captain Hemang Badani contributed 45 as the Pistons fielders were sent on a leather hunt.

When Pistons chased under lights, paceman Tinu Yohannan swung the game Chemplast's way with an incisive burst of 5-0-25-3. Despite skipper Sadagopan Ramesh's unbeaten 52 off 74 deliveries, Pistons lost wickets at regular intervals and gradually drifted out of the contest.

This is Chemplast Sanmar's fourth limited overs title this season, after victories in the Moin-ud-Dowla, Canara Bank and the MCA Corporate tournaments. N. Ravi, Editor, The Hindu, was the chief guest. N. Sankar, chairman, Sanmar Group, and C. R. Vijayaraghavan, secretary, TNCA, were present on the occasion.

Pistons received the S. Parthasarathy Trophy for the runner-up.

S. Dinakar CHASING A DREAM

Former hockey international Mukesh Kumar is a harassed man these days. His plans of having a top class hockey academy in Hyderabad received a big boost when he was allotted five acres of land on the outskirts of Secunderabad recently.

Md.YOUSUF

However, his joy was short-lived as he soon discovered that he would have to shell out Rs. 28.5 lakhs for the land and also comply with various other conditions in order to see the deal through.

Then, to get his academy started, he would have to get hold of private sponsors for the infrastructure.

"I can shell out the money for the land. If necessary I will sell my house. I will do whatever I can to raise the required amount. But thereafter, I will have to attract some sponsors to get my academy started. And this is where the problem has cropped up," he says ruefully.

"All the people I have approached have shown nothing but disinterest. They tell me that if cricket is the sport, they will readily get involved but for hockey they are very reluctant. They feel that they will get no mileage. What they want is instant mileage and that is something I cannot guarantee. It is going to take a few years for the academy to produce top-level players. It cannot be done overnight," says Mukesh.

Despite the disappointments Mukesh continues to search for sponsors. Sports fans and experts in the city are of the view that if Mukesh is able to conduct training for gifted youngsters then it will be a significant development for the sport in this area. Hyderabad has not produced many players of international standards although talent is available in plenty. The script could undergo a change in the future if Mukesh is able to convert his dream into reality.

Abhijit Sen Gupta PERFECT START

C. S. Santhosh of Bangalore made a perfect start to his title defence in the Gulf Dirt Track National Racing Championship by accumulating 37 points in the foreign motorcycles up to 250cc. Close on his heels were two fellow Team TVS riders, the diminutive Karan Kadam (33 points) and H. K. Pradeep (30 points). Kadam, the 16-year-old rider from Bangalore, upstaged Santhosh in the private expert championship — motorcycles up to 250cc — Group A Race 2 to deny him his fourth title of the day at the Yenepoya School Ground at Jeppinamogeru, on the outskirts of Mangalore, on April 16. Santhosh had earlier won the Indian expert championship (foreign motorcycles) riding a TVS 250X, and the two races in the Indian Expert Championship on a TVS Shaolin.

Local lad Arvind K. P. brought some cheer to his fans with podium finishes in non-championship events — local class motorcycles up to 160cc Group D 4-stroke and local class motorcycles above 80cc up to 150cc group D 2-stroke.

Jaideep Shenoy THE GOD OF FOOTBALL

Football is a religion in Kolkata. Ask any fan here, and he will promptly guide you to either Mohun Bagan or East Bengal — the custodians of the city's football tradition. The two clubs started the practice of invoking the God of Football once a year, which is now an essential part of the sporting custom in the city. Unlike other gods and goddesses, which have human forms, the God of Football is a framework of the goal — the crosspiece, the posts and all! The auspicious day coincides with the first day of the Bengali calendar, which is celebrated as `Poila Baisakh'. And the ritual is called `Bar Pujo' (deification of the bar or crosspiece) and is attended by hundreds of supporters, players and officials of the two clubs. Priests chant special mantras for the benefit of the clubs as they hope to obtain the blessings of the God of Football. Many other clubs in the city have now embraced this interesting ritual.

Amitabha Das Sharma