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Monday, April 1, 2013

IPL set to begin; school kids transported to Sports meet in a van !!!!

If you are to pass by Chepauk or any other stadium, you will sure stand to see the swanky bus that transports players….

The almost 2 month long IPL extravaganza is all set to begin on Apr 3 and has already run into political rough weather.  Now IPL matches at Chennai will have no lankan players.  Former captain Arjun Ranatunga today slammed IPL Governing Council’s decision to withdraw Sri Lankan cricketers from Chennai matches of the tournament and asked the players to opt out of the entire high-profile event beginning 3 April.  TN CM J Jayalalithaa fired another salvo questioning DMK duplicity on Kumara Sangakkara leading the Sunrisers owned by Sun Group. 

Cricket is not the National game; IPL is not official.  Often talks centre on why the Nation of 1.2 billion could not win gold medals in Olympics or why the National football team is ranked a lowly 169th in the World.  India is huge, has the infrastructure, money,  youthful population, sponsors and more……….  India is a land of talented and smart people.  There were some reports of America's National Basketball Association  trying to build a following in India; so also is Liverpool interested in promoting the game here.  Sport is not an easy business in which to make money. They say that the sports industry in India doesn't offer returns as big as, say, the property market ~ when it comes to Cricket things are different. 

Decades earlier, I have seen Ranji players coming to the playing ground in old two wheelers ~ drinks was water served in kettle having dents everywhere ……… how much things have changed over a few years !!  Cricketers are icon now and IPL is big money.  Sachin Tendulkar, the master batsman is a nominated Rajya Sabha MP now… and there was mention in the Press about the letter he wrote to Kapil Sibal on "systemic changes" in Indian sports so that "12 medals in next Olympics in Rio or 20 in 2020 is not a pipe dream". Reportedly, Tendulkar expressed a desire to promote sports in educational institutes, having sports in curriculum and history books highlighting the monumental achievements of greats like hockey legend Dhyan Chand will help stir a passion for the games hitherto less developed. He advocated on the time being ripe to take giant strides in sports and achieve excellence in the not too near future. For instance, he said, in Haryana the centre of excellence can cater to wrestling and boxing.

We have the  Sports Authority of India (SAI) a  body set up by the Government of India  in 1984 to help promote sport throughout the country. Presently, it has seven regional centres.  Recently,  its new Director General was quoted as stating that  SAI needed to set up a monitoring system to track the campers and coaches at various training centres across the country. Thomson, who took over as the SAI DG a week ago, said areas like appointment of more staff, procurement of equipment, upkeep and maintenance of the stadia needed attention. “But things cannot happen overnight. I need three months to set the house in order.”

But news like the one reported in Times of India, Chennai edition of date [28th Mar 2013] is absolutely disheartening.  Here is the TOI report titled ‘20 school kids taken to sports meet packed in mini truck’

Chennai: Mini trucks are generally used to transport goods for short distances within the city. On Wednesday, one city school found a different use for one such vehicle — to transport school children. Around 20 students of Chennai High School in Kotturpuram were herded like cattle into an open mini truck and transported to a Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) field on Poonamallee High Road. The group comprised out-of school children and school dropouts who were part of a non-residential bridge course conducted by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in government and aided schools. The group was heading for a sports meet organised for 1,900 children in the district to motivate them to continue schooling.

The children had a blast at the sports event, but their joy was shortlived when they were packed into the same vehicle at 3pm to return to school. They had little space to move and some of them were threatened with a stick when they tried to stand up. In clear violation of the law, the vehicle transporting the children had no protective cover shielding them from the sun, nor seats to ensure their safety and comfort. Onlookers could see that they were at risk of falling off the vehicle and getting run over if they happened to be standing when the vehicle was moving.

Sulochana, headmistress of the Kotturpuram school, said the arrangement was made in a hurry as the children were already late for the event. “The SSA gives us enough money for bus fare, but there was no time. We could not even find a cab, share auto or autorickshaw to transport them at that time. The owner of the vehicle is a parent and offered to help us take the children to the event,” she said. Other schools at the event had used private maxicabs or arranged share autos to pick up and drop children.

Really sad to read this and see the photo of transportation. [photo: Times of India]

Cannot but relate to some tidbits of IPL 6 – in the recently held auction,  Mumbai Indians bought Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for a whopping $1 million (Rs 5.3 crore); South African all-rounder Christopher Morris, struck gold by fetching $ 625,000 (Rs 3.3 crore). Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake was touted to be a great offie with an unplayable doosra – has had no success in International level was  bought at a whopping 3.31  crore + .  Abhishek Nayar  managed just 45 runs in four games for Kings XI but had a fabulous domestic seaso scoring closer to 1000 runs; was most sought after and bought at close to 3.6 crores.  The nine franchises spent a total of 64 crores on that single day !!.

Some months earlier, the not so well performing Deccan Chargers was bout by Sun TV network for  Rs 85.05 crores per year (around $15.9m) for a five-year deal and became Sunrisers

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2013.

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