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Miscellaneous & Offbeat

Paralympians run quicker than Rio gold medallist!


The Paralympic 1,500m final witnessed a stunning outcome in Rio last night as the top four finishers achieved quicker times than the Olympic Games gold medallist.

Algeria’s paralympian Abdellatif Baka, along with three other para-athletes, recorded times in the in the 1500m – T13 event, which would have been enough to win a gold medal in the main 1500m event during the Rio Olympics. But the Algerian was not the only one to better that of the Olympic field in a T13 class, which caters for visually impaired competitors. There are two other classes for visually impaired athletes in the form of T11 and T12, with the lower numbers indicating a more severe impairment.

Baka won the gold in three minutes and 48.29 seconds, while Ethiopia’s Tamiru Demisse who took silver with 3:48.49 and Kenyan Henry Kirwa (3:49.59), walked away bronze. Fouad Baka, the brother of the gold medallist, finished outside the medals but clocked 3:49.84 – again ahead of the Olympic Games gold time.

The top four finishers in the 1,500m bettered the time achieved by the Olympic Games gold medallist in Rio2016. (Image: Telegraph)

The feat was made all the more stunning given the fact that the second, third and fourth-placed finishers all recorded times faster than Centrowicz Jr. of the U.S., meaning that four Paralympic athletes had run times fast enough to win gold had they competed in the Olympic Games. Centrowitz Jr. had finished the final in 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Amazing! Hats off to these paralympians!

Our Indian para-athletes have done extremely well in almost all international events. Perhaps even better than our Olympians. They have won a gold medal too in Rio. I salute them for being dedicated and disciplined to achieve the unachievable.

Views & Opinion

For the Indian girls at Rio


I received the below post via WhatsApp. I have later on come to know that this wonderful post was written by Rachita Prasad on her Facebook timeline. I am copying it here to salute all the Indian women athletes who participated in the Olympics in Rio. Some of them won medals while a few of them missed it by whiskers. But all of them won hearts of billions.


They defeated the ultrasound that declared ‘it’ was a ‘she’.
They defeated the nurse declaring in a sombre tone “ladki hai (it’s a girl).“
They defeated murderous parents or even worse those who keep them alive but kill their spirit every single day.
They defeated the odds against them for parents “allowing” her to chase her dream.
They defeated the family pride that wants every Indian child to be a doctor or engineer.
They defeated the school teacher who said “it’s not a girl’s game”.
They defeated bad sports infrastructure and even lack of healthy food needed to fuel the fire.
They defeated a system where overweight foreign travelling officials, who have only played Ludo as a sports, decide her fate.
They defeated the Dada-Nana, who told her “good girls don’t wear short clothes”.
They defeated the Dadi-Nani, who told her not to play in sun and become “kaali-kaluthi (dark-skinned girl)”.
They defeated friends who told her she needs to “control aggression and chill.”
They defeated the pados-waali (neighbouring) Aunty ji who wondered “akele kahan-kahan ghumti hai aapki ladki. (your daughter goes around alone here and there)”
They defeated the million eyes staring at her legs and not noticing the brilliant game she played.
They defeated the Bua jee and Mausi jee, who ask “tum shadi lab karogi? (when will you marry?)”
They defeated the journalist who asked her when she would “settle”.
They defeated the cynics who thought they were pouting and clicking selfies on a fully paid foreign trip.
So dare not take even a slice of her glory by calling her HUMARI BETI!
They have achieved what they have not because of us. But despite us!

Image Courtesy: ESPN

Dipa, Sakshi and Sindhu have become national idols in a cricket-crazy nation. Over a billion Indians glued to TV to watch them performing and praying for their win for the sports which never evoked much interest in the country. Clearly, women athletes are creating history. Indian women have indeed come a long way in sports since Nilima Ghose and Mary D’Souza, two athletes, joined the contingent in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Hats off to Dipa, Sakshi, Sindhu, Babita, Adity and all other sportswomen who competed with international champions and gave their best. Winning is not everything, but fighting tough is!

Miscellaneous & Offbeat

Chance encounter with MS Dhoni


Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the current captain of the Indian national cricket team in limited-over formats. An attacking right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest finishers in limited-overs cricket. He holds numerous captaincy records such as most wins by an Indian captain in Tests and One Day Internationals (ODI), and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs. Dhoni is born and brought up in Ranchi. We all are proud of him. He is an icon.

I was today returning home from my institute via Delhi.  When I was going to board the Indigo flight in the evening, I was surprised to see Dhoni on our bus! He was also returning to his home in Ranchi. I went to him and asked for his autograph. He immediately signed on the back of my boarding pass.

Autograph of MS Dhoni
Autograph of Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the reverse of my flight boarding pass

Dhoni is a nice, warm and friendly person. We had some chat while the bus was moving towards the plane. He happily obliged me and two other co-passengers, when we asked for a picture with him. In fact, he himself took the selfie!

Selfie with Dhoni
Selfie with Mahendra Singh Dhoni inside the bus from airport terminal to the airplane

It’s a great memorable moment in my life and I am really excited. Six years ago, I met another all-time great ODI player, the Sri Lankan all-rounder, Sanath Jayasuriya, on our flight. We were travelling from Colombo to Bangalore.

Business & Finance

IPL sports a $3.5 billion business valuation


Many of the world’s top cricketers will gather in India next month to compete in a league that didn’t exist 10 years ago, yet now contributes billions of rupees to the country’s economy.

The VIVO Indian Premier League 2016 features eight franchise teams representing cities across the country competing in 60 matches in the explosive Twenty20 short-duration version of the game.

322033-iplThe IPL follows on from the ICC World Twenty20, a competition featuring national teams that is currently approaching its climax in India. Though the IPL season lasts only a few weeks ─ this year’s tournament runs from April 9 to May 29 ─ the top-level international players taking part are lavishly rewarded.

The players are not the only ones to benefit. A report on the economic impact of last year’s IPL season produced by KPMG Sports Advisory Services found that the event contributed 11.5 billion rupees ($172 million) to India’s GDP. Another report, by the American Appraisal valuation services company, last year put the overall value of the IPL as a business at $3.5 billion, up 9 percent from 2014.

The direct economic impact of the IPL season, including spending on travel, accommodation, food and beverages, team outfits and equipment, promotional activities and the cost of staging matches, was put at 5.7 billion rupees by KPMG. The total output impact ─ once the multiplier effect of this spending across the Indian economy was taken into account ─ was 26.5 billion rupees. The KPMG report says three groups drove the economic impact of the competition ─ spectators, the franchises and the organizers.

Twenty20 matches typically last little more than three hours and entertain spectators with big-hitting thrills and rapid scoring. The first IPL season took place in 2008, and the competition was an immediate hit in a country that is crazy about cricket. Broadcasting and sponsorship cash poured in, confirming India’s status as the game’s financial powerhouse.

The success of the IPL spawned similar tournaments in other countries, and this has changed the global game.

H/T: Bloomberg Business

Miscellaneous & Offbeat

Ranchi girls made India proud

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Beating all odds, a bunch of 18 under-14 tribal girls from Ranchi district of Jharkhand went to Spain for two football tournaments – the Donosti Cup and the Gasteiz Cup. They haven’t ever heard of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas or Fernando Torres but these girls with dreams in their eyes have made their country proud.

The man behind the team is Franz Gastler, an American who came to India more than five years ago, who is running an NGO, YUWA, in Jharkhand for the last four years. Team Yuwa, as the team was known, was the only representation from India in the Donosti Cup that was participated by 30 countries. The team was sponsored by Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt. Ltd.

Rinki Kumari, 13, was the captain of the team. She started playing football when she was just eight, an age when most girls in the village would play hopscotch. The trip to the land of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid didn’t come easy for the girls. They had to dribble past taunts, criticism and even abuse.

Most of the girls are from very poor families and they don’t have televisions at home. So, the only time they have seen Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in action is when “Sir” Gastler showed them match clippings. As a billion plus India slept, a few days ago in this month, a handful of tribal girls proudly held aloft a football trophy they won in far-flung Spain. But no one cared in India.

175557606The Yuwa team was called the Supergoats by the organizers the moment they saw the girls playing barefoot in practice matches on arrival in Spain. Why? The girls had

limited football gear and could not take the risk of tampering it before the tournament. They were overawed by international teams in the first tournament, the Donosti Cup in San Sebastian, which is Spain’s biggest football tournament with over 400 teams participating from across the globe. The girls could not cross the group phase.

But they came to their own in the second tournament at Gasteiz Cup, an International Youth Soccer tournament. The Yuwa girls were placed 3rd out of ten teams with two wins, two losses and a draw.

As soon as the announcement was made for the prize distribution ceremony, the girls rushed into their dressing room and returned, some barefoot, wearing red-bordered white saris, their traditional festive dress. Many had their plastic flowers in their hairs. And when they huddled together after the mandatory photo session, some wept inconsolably because they had almost given up their hopes to participate in this tournament.

Jharkhand-Tribal-Girls-winning-Football-Cup-in-SpainFor the girls, it was indeed a giant leap into world soccer from their impoverished village in Ormanjhi block near the Ranchi city. Now, AIFF and SAI must see that they get proper training and encouragement to bring laurels for the country, in future. Yes indeed, they made us proud.