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Shiv Chhatrapati awards: Pune chess players lead way for game’s dramatic upturn

The awards were declared by state sports minister Vinod Tawde in Mumbai on Monday, February 12.

pune Updated: Feb 13, 2018 15:39 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Shiv Chhatrapati awards,Vinod Tawde,Joseph D’souza
Coach Jayant Gokhale (centre) and his students Abhimanyu Puranik and Akanskha Hagawane, are the youngest Shiv Chhatrapati award winners in the sport of chess.(HT Photo)

City chess players dominated the Shiv Chhatrapati sports awards list for the city, with two coaches and five players being named as award winners for the period 2014-2017.

The awards were declared by state sports minister Vinod Tawde in Mumbai on Monday, February 12.

Joseph D’souza, chairman, Pune district chess association, won best coach award for 2016-17. D’souza has trained more than 100 rated and 2,000 players from Pune and has organised more than 200 tournaments over the last 25 years.

Grand master (GM) Akshayraj Kore and IPCA world individual chess champion Shashikant Kutwal, both D’souza’s students, won the Shiv Chhatrapati best player awards.

Another noted FIDE trainer, Jayant Gokhale, also received the best coach award for 2016-17. Gokhale is the first from Pune to win a Shiv Chhatrapati award twice. In 1999, Jayant received the award for best player and now, for best coach.

Like D’souza, Gokhale’s students, who he has been training since 2008, GM Abhimanyu Puranik and Woman International Master (WIM) Akanksha Hagawane, also received best player awards.

For the first time, a total of 13 chess players and four coaches from all over Maharashtra will be honoured with the award.

When asked the reason behind chess’ dramatic rise, Gokhale said, “It’s due to the effort of our state association president Parinay Fuke and GM Pravin Thipse. They convinced the government that getting a GM or IM ranking is not easy and such players should be automatically nominated for the award. We are happy to see a number of chess players and coaches getting credit for hard work.”

Ranjeet, Ashish Mane and Rutuja from Pune to receive state sports award

City’s archery coach Ranjeet Chamle, international cyclist Rutuja Satpute and ace mountaineer Ashish Mane are among the 44 players to receive the prestigious Shiv Chhatrapati sports awards this year. The state-level awards given by the government of Maharashtra to encourage outstanding sports personnel in the state, were announced on Monday.

1970 Asian bronze medallist Ramesh Tawade was also honoured with the lifetime achievement award for his spectacular career in athletics.

Chamle is a Level II coach with the World Archery Federation with Rank 1. He has received several awards for being the best coach and has coached the Indian sub-junior team for the Youth World Cup held in 2015. He has worked as the assistant physiologist of Lorenzo Belthrame of Human Performance Institute, USA, and was the physiologist for the Indian senior archery team.

Recently, he was the chief coach of the Indian men’s team at the Archery World Cup in Colombia and after than, was appointed as the chief coach of the Indian University team for the World University Championship held in Mongolia last month. He recently joined SP College as the director of physical education and was also selected as a member of the coaches committee for the Mission 2020 Olympics scheme of Maharashtra government.

Under his guidance, the Archers Academy in Pune has produced more than 15 international archers and over 100 national-level archers. So far, these archers have bagged over 800 state-level and 540 national-level medals.

Rutuja was the captain of the Maharashtra cycling team and played a key role by winning a gold medal in the 30-km women elite time trial category. In October, she was crowned as the Indian national champion in the individual time trial. She was also part of the Indian Pro Cycling Project, a three-month training programme in Belgium.

Satara-born Ashish Mane set a record to become the first person from Maharashtra and only the second civilian from India after Debashish Biswas of Kolkata, to scale four mountains above 8,000-metre in height. Ashish has successfully scaled Mount Everest, Mount Lhostse, Mount Manaslu and Mount Makalu.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 14:31 IST