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IOA Committee to Take a Decision on India’s Hockey Mess

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Under the directive of the International Hockey Federation, the Indian Olympic Association has set up a three-member committee to decide on who should run the game in the country out of the two warring bodies — Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation.

The committee, which was formed by the IOA last month, will be headed by former Wrestling Federation of India President G S Mander along with Indian Weightlifting Federation chief Birendra Prasad Baishya and Handball Federation of India Secretary General S M Bali.

Mander told a news agency that a hearing of views of both HI and IHF will be held on August 21 and the Committee will submit its report by August 31.

"The committee has been tasked to determine which one of the two is the legitimate body to run hockey in the country and which would be recognised by the IOA and FIH. It has been constituted under the directive of the FIH that the matter should be decided before the end of August," said Mander who is also the IOA Vice President.

Mander said HI and IHF have submitted their views in writing to the committee and both the bodies have been called for a hearing on August 21.

"Both HI and IHF have submitted their views and claims. We have asked them to submit their counter-claims also. They have done that. Now we have asked them to come for a personal hearing on August 21.”

"A representative of IHF will come for hearing on the morning of August 21 and HI will be heard on the afternoon. We will study all their submissions, statutes of the FIH and IOA. After that we will submit our report to the IOA and FIH before the deadline of August 31," he said.

HI and IHF have been locked in a bitter tussle on who should run the game in the country and even after several rounds of talks between the two bodies with intervention from the IOA and the sports ministry, the matter has not been resolved.

After IHF was disbanded in 2008 and HI took over the reins, the administration of hockey in the country has been in a mess. In 2010, the Delhi High Court invalidated the dissolution of the IHF, but later the Supreme Court had allowed HI to select the national teams since it is the body recognised by the FIH.

IOA acting president V K Malhotra said that it's high time that the hockey mess was resolved to take the game forward after the debacle in London Olympics.

"We have constituted a three-member committee last month to look into the hockey mess and we are hoping that something concrete comes out of it," Malhotra said on the sidelines of a felicitation function of the London Olympics medal winners organised by electronics major Samsung.

"It's high time we resolved the issue and the national game moves forward," he said.



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POLITICS-GOVERNANCE

Makkal Needhi Maiam is the Name of Kamal Haasan’s Political Party

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Veteran actor Kamal Haasan on February 21 launched his political party Makkal Needhi Mayyam (roughly, ‘People’s Justice Forum’) at a public function in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Haasan unveiled the name and symbol of his political outfit in front a huge crowd at Madurai’s Ottakattai Grounds.

“This is a party for you, for the people. I am your instrument, you are the leaders, this is a crowd full of leaders,” Haasan said.

The party symbol, six arms interlinked around a star at the centre, is in the colours of red, white and black. The party flag, which is primarily white, will carry the symbol along with the party name.

Curiously, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Somnath Bharti were present on the stage with Haasan.

 

A lot of observers noted that while Haasan spoke about the name and the flag of his party, he distinctly failed to elaborate to the public what his party would stand for. The only issue he talked about at the launch event is corruption.

Kamal Haasan began the day of the party launch by visiting the house of former President A P J Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram. He took the blessings of Kalam’s elder brother Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraikayar, who is a centenarian.

Describing the former president as his ‘role model’, Haasan said in a tweet:

“Greatness can come from simple beginnings. Actually it will come only from simplicity. Glad to start my journey from a great man’s simple abode”.

Kalam’s family presented a memento carrying an image of the former president to Kamal Haasan.

On his way to Madurai, Kamal Haasan had a brief stop in Paramakudi. “I grew up in these streets,” the actor said there. “The way you have been waiting for me in this heat shows your love towards me… I will certainly come back to my people here.”

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SPORT-ENTERTAINMENT

Sardar Singh Returns, Named as Skipper for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

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Indian team announced for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament beginning in Malaysia on the 3rd of March; Sardar Singh returns to the side to take on the mantle of skipper and lead the team to glory.

Veteran Sardar Singh has got one more chance to prolong his international career after he was on Tuesday named the captain of the Indian men’s hockey team for the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, a tournament where three players will make their debut for the country.

Sardar, who is in the twilight of his career, has been in and out of the team in recent times and was ignored from India’s last two international assignments. Sardar last played for India at the Asia Cup but was dropped from the squad for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final last December and then for the tour to New Zealand.

But new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne handed another lifeline to the midfield ace when he was appointed to lead India at next month’s Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia after regular skipper Manpreet Singh was rested.

Sardar wants to continue till 2020 Olympics but with three big events — Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup — lined up this year, the Azlan Shah Cup probably is his last chance to impress upon the national selectors with the team think-tank setting their sights on a younger lot.

Coach Marijne too hinted that it is a big opportunity for Sardar to impress the team management and stay in the reckoning for future tournaments.

Sardar is one of the leaders in the core group and in Manpreet Singh s absence, he has been chosen for the job. He is an experienced player and having missed two tournaments previously, this is an opportunity for him to show his skills,” he said.

While Sardar will lead, striker Ramandeep Singh has been named vice-captain of the side.

The tournament will also witness three rookie players in Mandeep Mor, Sumit Kumar (Jr) and Shilanand Lakra, who are set to make their debut. While Sumit Kumar (Jr) is part of the ongoing senior men’s national camp, Mandeep Mor and Shilanand Lakra have been called-up from the junior men’s core group. The two were also part of the India colts team that won the bronze medal at the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.

By introducing new players to the senior fold, Marijne is looking at long-term gains for the team that includes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Just like the New Zealand tour where four players made their international debut, the Azlan Shah Cup is a great opportunity for these new players to get international exposure against top teams, said Marijne.

It will only help us create a bigger group. Playing top teams in their first tournament will be challenging but this is also an opportunity for the seniors to help the youngsters adjust to this level, added the 43-year-old Dutchman.

Sardar will be in charge of the midfield alongside SK Uthappa, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma and Simranjeet Singh.

The defence will be guarded by Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Surender Kumar and newcomers Mandeep Mor and Nilam Sanjeep Xess while Suraj Karkera and Krishan Pathak are the two goalkeepers.

The forward line will feature Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep, Talwinder Singh and debutants Sumit Kumar (Jr) and Shilanand Lakra.

This tournament is extremely important for the players who are going because it is another opportunity for them to experience high-level competition especially from teams like Australia and Argentina,” Marijne said.

“This is a chance for them to show their capability in the international level and ensure their place in the squad for future tournaments.

The Azlan Shah Cup is a prestigious invitational tournament that will be played from March 3 to 11 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Besides hosts Malaysia and India, the tournament will also feature world no. 1 Australia, world no.2 Argentina, England and Ireland.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Krishan B Pathak

Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor

Midfielders: S K Uthappa, Sardar Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh

Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh (Vice-captain), Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar (Junior), Shilanand Lakra.

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SPORT-ENTERTAINMENT

Pune Based Rohan More Becomes the First Asian to Complete Ocean’s Seven

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Pune-based Indian long-distance swimmer Rohan More swam across the Cook Strait between North and South Islands of New Zealand in 8 hours and 37 minutes, becoming the first Asian and the youngest to complete it.

After waiting for a long time due to bad weather conditions, Rohan finally got a chance to swim on February 9.

Rohan had completed his first marathon swim at the age of 11.

With this, More becomes only the ninth person in the world to complete it.

He began swimming at about 9:30 a.m. from the North Island. For the first five hours, the water was calm and the temperature was around 19 degrees Celsius. However, as he progressed towards the South Island, the water temperature dropped by about four degrees Celsius, due to currents from the Antarctic water.

He fought bravely against the cold water and strong Antarctic currents to complete the swim in 8 hours 37 minutes.

Talking about his achievement, More said, “It is the greatest moment of my life as I swam across Cook Strait in New Zealand which was the seven and last in the Ocean Seven. I really feel very proud and emotional about this thing because after swimming this challenge I became the first Indian ever in the history to complete this challenge and only the ninth person in the world who has swum all the seven challenges in the Ocean Seven,” he added.

The Pune based swimmer also thanked his family members and friends for their support which helped him achieve this feat.

He completed the Triple Crown almost twenty years later, in less than 11 months and continues to set and accomplish marathon goals.

In 1996, he crossed ‘Dharamtar to Gateway of India Channel (35 km) in seven hours and 29 minutes.

More also completed six of the Oceans Seven swims between 2014 and 2016: English Channel (13 hours and 23 minutes), North Channel (12 hours and 43 minutes), Catalina Channel (10 hours and 17 minutes), Molokai Channel (17 hours and 28 minutes), Tsugaru Strait (10 hours and 37 minutes) and Gibraltar Strait (3 hours and 56 minutes).

He has received the Tenzing Norgay Award from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The award, also known as the National Adventure Award, was presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Ocean’s Seven marathon consists of seven long-distance open-water swims, which includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. The swimming marathon is widely considered equivalent to the Seven.

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