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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Covid affecting Sports and sportspersons !!

Jharkhand was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 Nov 2000.    When the land of forests,  celebrated its 10th anniversary of the formation, the State Govt issued full-page advts with 2 personalities – one was Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the other was this Arjuna Awardee……..

If you have recognized her immediately,  great… that is Deepika Kumari, archer.  She won gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games in the women's individual recurve event. Kumari qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where she competed in the Women's Individual and Women's team events, finishing in eighth place in the latter.  She was conferred with Arjuna Award and this is the photo of her receiving the award from Mr Pranab Mukherjee.

It is a game with we need to get associated emotionally and historically – all our Ithihasa puranas hail those possessing this skill as great people ~ it is archery….

When we were young – the heroes were Sunil Gavaskar, Viswanath, Bedi, Chandra, Venkat, later Gavaskar, Kapil Dev,  Krish Srikkanth, SAchin Tendulkar … and those who followed Cricketer spoke names of Rick McCosker, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappel, Rodney Marsh, Greenidge, Viv Richards, Lloyd, Roberts, Holding, Garner, Croft, Marshall .. ..  ~ in short Cricket, the game, the players were the main topics of discussion .. now things are in disarray.  

The cash-cow IPL is postponed indefinitely – and in UK, there are jitters of their new dream of Hundreds, even as Cricket Australia is crying lack of funds to pay.  Tom Harrison has insisted the case for the Hundred is "much greater than it was" in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. While Harrison, the ECB chief executive, admitted the ECB were "starting to get comfortable with the idea there won't be crowds this summer" and, as a result, accepted "it's going to be very, very difficult" to launch the competition this year, he feels the long-term need for it is increased by the prospect of losing so much cricket - and revenue - during 2020.And while some county executives feel the costs of the new tournament - and the risk inherent in trying to popularise a fourth format of the sport - should necessitate a review into its future, Harrison is adamant the game needs the "revenue, interest and excitement" the Hundred could create more than ever.

In middle of a global lockdown, international and domestic West Indies players are facing another challenge with Cricket West Indies (CWI) not paying their match fees since January this year that would under normal circumstances have been due for payment at the end of Feb 2020. The main reason for the delay in payments has been understood to be a severe cash crunch CWI has been facing which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The international men players have not been paid their match fee for the home series against Ireland in January (three ODIs and three T20Is) and the Sri Lanka tour in February-March (three ODIs and two T20Is). The international women are owed the match fees for the four matches they played in the T20 World Cup, played in February-March in Australia.  However, the biggest losers are the domestic players, most of whom have not been paid a large percentage of their match fees for the 2020 West Indies Championship, the regional four-day competition. In March, CWI discontinued the competition after eight of the 10 rounds, declaring Barbados the winners of the Headley-Weekes Trophy (named after Caribbean greats George Headley and Everton Weekes).

Unlike Cricket, Archery is not followed by all ~ though, Limba Ram took it to greater heights and made it  more popular when he equalled an archery world record in 1992 at the Asian Championships in Beijing. The archer who won PadmaShri award in 2012 was a  product of the Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram which is working for the socio-economic upliftment and development of India's indigenous tribes in the remote tribal areas of India.

Limba Ram was born in Saradeet Village (Jhadol tahsil, Udaipur district, Rajasthan state, India) in  1972.   He was spotted and helped by the Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, the RSS-linked organisation that works for tribal welfare, through its Ekalavya Khelkood Pratiyogita competition.  In 1990, he helped India finish fourth at the Beijing Asian Games. He represented India in three Olympics. In 1992, he equalled the world record of Takayoshi Matsushita in the Beijing Asian Archery Championships in the 30 meters event, with a score of 357/360 to bag the gold medal.  In 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics, Ram missed the Bronze medal by one point in the 70-meter segment and finished with 10th rank.   He is a recipient of Arjuna Award in 1991 and  Padma Shri in 2012.

In 1996 Limba Ram joined TATA Group. In the same year he suffered from serious shoulder injury while playing Football in training camp at Kolkata. He was unable to shoot a bow and lost his focus and concentration. Later he joined  Punjab National Bank in 2001 as a cashier. The nationwide lockdown due to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic has affected people from all walks of life, especially patients with critical illness who have been facing problems in accessing healthcare services. Legendary archer Limba Ram his one of them. He has been struggling in his grim battle against a neuro-degenerative disease (multiple system atrophy). Limba has been s undergoing treatment at Capital’s AIIMS.  An year ago when Limba was diagnosed with the condition, the Sports Authority of India had helped Liimba get into AIIMS without any kind of hassle but a year later, as he remains on the bed.  Sad.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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