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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Grooming ground for champs, Mumbai club turns 50

SAISA’s founding members say the club has been instrumental in nurturing some of the best sportsmen from Bandra.

mumbai Updated: Aug 15, 2019 03:53 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Mumbai
St Anthony’s Institute Sports Academy (SAISA) in Bandra will celebrate its golden jubilee on Thursday, when it will felicitate prominent sportsmen.
St Anthony’s Institute Sports Academy (SAISA) in Bandra will celebrate its golden jubilee on Thursday, when it will felicitate prominent sportsmen.
         

St Anthony’s Institute Sports Academy (SAISA) in Bandra will celebrate its golden jubilee on Thursday, when it will felicitate prominent sportsmen.

SAISA’s founding members say the club has been instrumental in nurturing some of the best sportsmen from Bandra.

Among the members of SAISA include MM Somaya, who was part of the Indian hockey team that won in the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Games; Joaquim Carvalho, Indian hockey team member in 1984; and Pravin and Bhagyashree Thipsay, international chess players.

Diago D’Souza, member of the club and former goalkeeper of the Indian football team that played at the 2nd Asia Cup in 1985, said, “At the age of nine, it looked like a prestige to be a part of the club that kept winning hockey matches at various divisions in Mumbai.”

Kenneth Drego, 75, founder of the club, said in the late 1960s, residents of Pali Village started using the school ground of St Anthony’s Primary School, Bandra, to play hockey, volleyball and football. Residents used to also play carrom and chess in the club, which was part of the school’s campus.

“As the number of school’s students started dwindling, the trust shut the school in 2006. We didn’t want our club to go, so we took a bank loan and converted the small club space into a four-storeyed building,” said Drego.

After the school shut, a part of the basketball court, which was on lease, was taken over by the collector. The club had to, therefore, discontinue the All Mumbai Rink Hockey Tournament and Open Volley Ball Tournament. “We wish that we could get the land back, as we could offer more options for our members.,” said Anandini Thakoor, 85, trustee of SAISA. “Currently, we have more than 11 facilities, which are used by around 200 people every day.”

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 23:59 IST

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