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Boxers show there’s life beyond IPL

Though we are bang in the middle of the Indian Premier League, the best sporting news was of Saina Nehwal reaching No. 5 in the world badminton rankings, says Sunil Gavaskar.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2010 00:36 IST

Though we are bang in the middle of the Indian Premier League, the best sporting news was of Saina Nehwal reaching No. 5 in the world badminton rankings. Her sport requires tremendous discipline and she has gone through the grind to be where she is. Saina's ambition of becoming world No. 1 is something that needs total support from all those who sincerely love the sport.

Saina has denied herself all the fun that girls her age have and, unlike others who are now more famous for being famous and are more often on page three than the sports pages, she focuses only on her game. Her coach, Pullela Gopichand, also deserves kudos for his guidance.

Nowadays, with sport and entertainment so entwined, some players tend to forget that they are what they are because of their game and not because they are seen at parties. We should also stop giving awards to undeserving sportspersons just for their glamour quotient.

When eyeballs and sound bytes become the criteria for awards, it demeans the deserving, talented sportspersons. Another fantastic news was of the six gold medals India won at the just concluded Commonwealth Boxing Championships. India is showing that it has winners in different sporting disciplines, who are getting exposure that may encourage more to take up these sports.

Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore has written a heartfelt account about the new selection policy to select shooters for the Commonwealth and other major events. It is something that sports lovers and the Ministry of Sport should look at and remedy the situation. Why is it that instead of helping sportspersons, there are obstacles being put in their path?

Why did our hockey team have to suspend its training to get what was promised to them? A day's practise lost meant that preparations got setback by a week or so. Despite all that, the players must be commended for the manner in which they played in the World Cup. Sure, it was disappointing that, after that wonderful win over archrivals Pakistan, the team was unable to maintain the form.

Most experts believe that the coach Jose Brasa has brought the necessary zip into the team and that his formula for improvement of Indian hockey needs to be looked at seriously and given plenty of thought. Perhaps an open discussion by the hockey playing community would help in developing a plan that will sustain Indian team's growth over the next many years.

Oh yes, the IPL has begun with some close matches but it should get more exciting as the teams get close to qualifying for the semifinals.

First Published: Mar 21, 2010 00:35 IST