First In Indian Men's Boxing : 2 Chief Coaches, 2 Camps
- NEW DELHI : For the first time in Indian boxing, the position of chief coach will have two occupants with Dronacharya awardee S R Singh and former sub-junior women's coach Shiv Singh granted charge of two separate camps in Patiala and Aurangabad. The duo replaces Gurbax Singh Sandhu, who was handed the reins of women's boxing after spending more than two decades as the men's chief coach. The national camp for male boxers will get underway from January 10 with 47 boxers starting in Patiala under S R Singh while the rest 38 setting up base in Aurangabad under Shiv Singh. In addition, national youth coach G Manoharan has been made their deputy in a 20-strong coaching staff, two of whom would be finalised later.
- Manoharan will be part of the Aurangabad camp. "We have made these appointments after taking feedback from boxers and coaches. We wanted a large pool of coaches and we also wanted to diversify the national camp. So what will happen is that boxers in these two camps will compete against each other on a regular basis," Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh told PTI. While S R Singh has been a regular fixture with both the male and female boxing teams, Shiv Singh has worked primarily at the sub-junior level and his selection for the top job has come as a surprise. As was the buzz for some time, former Commonwealth Games and Asian Championships gold-medallist M Suranjoy Singh has been brought in as an assistant coach. Suranjoy is currently the chief coach of Indian Navy. "He has been an outstanding boxer and we hope that he will deliver good results in coaching as well," Singh said.
- The rest of the coaching line-up features familiar and proven names such as Jaydev Bisht, C A Kuttappa, and N Ramanand among others. Bisht is being shifted back to the men's camp after being initially picked in the women's boxing staff. Among the boxers, the likes of Asian champion Shiva Thapa, Commonwealth Games silver-medallist L Devendro Singh will be based in Patiala. Both Shiva and Devendro jumped weight divisions to 60kg and 52kg respectively during the National Championships last month. "We have picked the national champions and medallists but have also been lenient with the boxers who missed the Nationals. All those who could provide us written explanations have been added," Singh said.
- A prominent name missing from the list of campers is former Asian Games gold-medallist Vikas Krishan Yadav. The boxer has decided to stay put in the USA for training and has taken the BFI's permission. The BFI said the Olympic quarter-finalist would be allowed in trials for any major event despite not figuring in the national campers' list. "He (Vikas) is training in US and he says it's going good for him. If he writes to us that he wants to be in the camp, his name would be included and moreover, he can participate in trials when he wants. We want the best guys to compete for us," the BFI chief said.
BCCI v Lodha : The End Of 'Power' Play
- KOLKATA : The decks have been finally cleared for the implementation of a slew of reforms - suggested by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha committee - in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The onus will now be on the three-member advisory panel, to be named on Jan 19, to drive the wide-ranging reforms in the BCCI as well as the state associations which jointly administer the most popular sport in the country. Non-compliance of the apex court's order of July 18, 2016, has already cost BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke their jobs. The state associations now run the risk of inviting the court's ire if they fail to amend their respective constitutions and hold fresh elections as per the guidelines given by the Lodha panel. The interim administrators may step in and force the issue if they refuse to fall in line.
- If the state associations have stonewalled the implementation of reforms, blame it on the greedy officials, who despite having ruled the roost for decades, are not willing to let go of the 'kursi (chair)' and the perks that come with it. In a bid to break this hegemony of a handful of officials in various cricket bodies, including the BCCI, the Lodha panel has recommended a number of measures. Apart from suggesting the one-person, one-post norm, the panel has suggested a maximum of three three-year terms for officials, with three-year cooling off period between each term, both at the state as well as national level for any post. It has also stipulated that no one above 70 years of age will be eligible to hold any post in cricket bodies. The cooling-off period will also apply to those officials keen to move from their state associations to take up higher positions in the BCCI. On paper, these recommendations may seem fair and not hard to implement in a democratic organisation.
- But in the opaque world of BCCI politics, where proxies often determine the result of elections in a bid to hang on to power, the implementation of these measures will spell death knell for the fiefdoms ruled by few. The checks and balances in the tenure cap will render an overwhelming number of past and present officials in the state associations as well as in the BCCI ineligible to contest for any post at any level. Barring the Tripura and Vidarbha cricket associations, which have amended their constitution as per the panel's guidelines, every other body will be left with a vacuum as the current officials are rendered redundant, having either completed nine-year tenures or overshot it by several years.
- Assam, too, has seen a change of guard, but having elected their chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal as the association's president, they now have to find a replacement as the Lodha panel bars ministers and government servants from holding any post in cricket bodies. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) finds itself precariously placed. Their president Sourav Ganguly is just six months short of completing his three-year term as a full-fledged official (14 months as joint secretary and 16 months as president). A closer look at the list (see graphic) reveals that with the heavyweights ineligible to continue, the path has been paved for fresh faces in cricket administration.
IPL : Balaji Returns To KKR As Bowling Coach
- CHENNAI : Former India medium-pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji was on Tuesday named the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season. "I have had three fantastic years with the franchise, and now to be part of the team as their bowling coach is a huge honour," Balaji told TOI. The 35-year-old, who donned the KKR jersey from 2011 to 2013, believes the team has a great mix of players to pocket the title once again. "I know everyone in that dressing room and have had the pleasure of playing alongside Jacques Kallis (the current coach).
- When you look at the team, it has a good bunch of boys who are keen to do well - and having won the title before -they know what it takes to be a champion again," Balaji added. Specifying on his role in the team, Balaji mentioned, "It will be to groom the bowlers and ensure that they maximize the potential each time they are on the field. Having been part of the IPL, I know what a bowler goes through and the rigors of this sport. I hope to be able to share my insights with the bowlers." Balaji believes his stint with the Tamil Nadu Ranji team would hold him in good stead when IPL season kicks off.
- "The formats may be different - from multi-day matches to Twenty20s - but the roles are similar. I will be interacting with the boys, and that's something I have thoroughly enjoyed in the Tamil Nadu team. I am certain it will be no different with the KKR unit as well," he said. With Tamil Nadu pacers such as K Vignesh, T Natarajan and Aswin Crist doing well in the ongoing Ranji season, would they be in KKR's radar? "I definitely feel they would be, as each franchise would want to shore up their bowling reserves. Vignesh, Natarajan and Crist have done exceedingly well in the last few months and I am sure teams will be taking note of their performances," he said.
Election Commission To Announce Poll Dates For Upcoming Assembly Elections
- NEW DELHI : The Election Commission is set to announce dates for assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa today. As of now, the commission plans to hold seven-phased assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and single-phased in the other states. But with situation in Manipur assuming alarming proportions, the poll body may go for multiple phases in the north-eastern state. But there is no official word on it yet. The Election Commission on Tuesday held a meeting with chief electoral officers of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa to fine tune the arrangements.
- The law and order situation in Manipur due to road blockade by some Naga groups was the focus of attention of the commission in Tuesday's meeting, sources said. Meanwhile, the Union home ministry will provide around 85,000 security personnel for deployment in the upcoming assembly elections in the five states. In addition, around 100 companies, most of which belong to State Armed Police Forces and India Reserve Battalions, will also be drawn from different states for deployment of election duties. A company of paramilitary force comprises of around 100 personnel.