Category Archives: Sports

Girl who refused to bow before ordeals – Archer from Bengal shines

Salt Lake:

An archer once hailed as a child prodigy but forced to move out of Bengal for want of opportunities was part of the Indian women’s trio that struck gold in last month’s Asian Championship in Dhaka.

Trisha Deb, 26, has seen several ups and downs in her 17-year-old career. Daughter of an errand runner and a tuition teacher, Trina’s first sophisticated bow came in 2004 as part of a scheme for budding players.

Her journey began at the Baranagar Archery Club, the cradle of such archers as Banerjee siblings Dola and Rahul. “The club is right next to my maternal grandparents’ home, where my mother would leave me when she went to give private tuitions,” Trisha told Metro.

The first laurel came in 2004 when Trisha won gold in the sub-junior national championships in Delhi. An encore followed in Ajmer the next year. It was her bronze in the senior nationals at age 14 that turned heads.

But Trisha’s performance graph took a sudden plunge thereon. “Archery is an expensive sport. A standard bow needs refurbishment every couple of years. My parents tried their best but it was too much for them,” she said.

Trisha had applied for admission to the famed Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur, in 2006 but was rejected because of her height.

The next few years were the worst in Trisha’s career. “I was not even selected for the nationals from the state. I was shattered mentally,” she said.

Fortune smiled on Trisha in the form of a residential programme for archers at Punjabi University, Patiala, in 2011. Her mother was jittery about letting her shift base but Trisha was determined not to give up sports.

In Patiala, Trisha met Jiwanjot Singh Teja, a coach at Punjabi University. Teja advised her to shift to compound archery from recurve because of her short height.

A recurve bow gets its name from reverse curves at the end. Compound bows, on the other hand, use a pulley system that takes strain off of the bow, making it easier to shoot.

A year later, Trisha won the All-India Inter-University Archery Championship and in 2013 she made it to the Indian team for compound archery.

Trisha was part of the Indian team that won bronze at the World Cup in 2013 in Shanghai. Her best came the year after with a bronze in the compound women’s individual event at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. It also bagged her a railway job.

Now the sole earning member of her family after her father’s death last year, Trisha refuses to give up her passion.

Her reward came when she, along with Parveena and Jyothi Surekha, won gold in Dhaka by beating the team from Korea. She was on the verge of tears when she heard the national anthem playing as she took the podium.

“I am not growing younger. But I am in good shape and want to carry on as long as I can,” said Trisha, who has set her sights on the Asian Games 2018, to be held in Jakarta.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / by Debraj Mitra / December 30th, 2017

City girl under Gopi’s wing

Shreya Tiwari at a practice session at Park Circus Byam Samiti. (Rashbehari Das)


She is just 13 and has reached some milestones that teens at her age can hardly imagine.

Meet Shreya Tiwari, a Class VIII student of Indira Academy, who recently won an under-15 state badminton championship in Raiganj and reached semis of another under-15 state-level tournament in Durgapur. She has been training under Pullela Gopichand, the Dronacharya of Indian badminton for the past one and half years.

Shreya started playing the game six years ago as her father felt she must engage in a sport to stay fit. “Just a few days after she started training under coach Tapas Biswas at Park Circus Byam Samiti, the coach called me up and told me ‘she has a great potential, she will surely play for India’. Shreya also fell in love with the game soon after joining the coaching centre,” said Sanjay Tiwari, the father, who is the founder-principal of Indira Academy.

Shreya, a big fan of Srikanth Kidambi, started playing district-level tournaments in 2012 and just after a couple of years of playing at district level, she started playing at state and national level. “Shreya is very sincere and passionate about her game. She is a fast learner. She started winning state-level tournaments at the age of nine, which is really commendable,” said coach Biswas.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Ayan Paul / December 27th, 2017

Besties bring gold for Bengal Rowing duo may move out for better facilities

Shreya Iyer and (right) Aishwarya Krishnan

Rabindra Sarobar:

A pair of childhood best friends whose special bond extends to competitive rowing have just fulfilled their dream of becoming national champions.

Aishwarya Krishnan, 19, and Shreya Iyer, 20, together won Bengal’s only gold medal in the Senior National Championships in Pune from December 6 to 11. The duo defeated Chandigarh and Odisha in the 500m women’s double sculls with a timing of 1:43.5.

Metro had highlighted the girls’ journey through friendship and rowing on February 6 after they won a silver medal in the same event of the previous national championships.

“The Odisha team had Asian medallists. Beating them to win gold this time was extra special,” said Aishwarya, who is studying in St. Xavier’s College.

Since becoming partners in double sculls in 2015, the two of them have won several tournaments but losing to Odisha in the Bhopal championships had hurt.

The night before the rematch, Shreya lost count of the number of times she woke up. “I was super pumped up, all adrenaline!” Shreya, who is in Loreto College, recounted.

Aishwarya said her mind was blank. “I just wanted to give 100 per cent.”

On December 10, the Bengal duo led from start to finish. The celebrations were briefly halted by Aishwarya throwing up – she blames it on one egg too many for breakfast – but the pair later took the Bengal contingent out for a pizza lunch.

What clicks for the pair is their chemistry. “I can go all out for her and she for me. What you need in a team game comes to us naturally,” said Shreya, who also loves to play the violin.

Their next target? Doing well in 2000m events.

They are considering moving out of Bengal because it lacks a water strip for 2,000m practice.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Debraj Mitra / December 27th, 2017

Smash hit with paddle, Naihati boy two-time state champ

Anirban Ghosh during a practise session


A 19-year-old whose mother sold her harmonium to buy his first table tennis kit has been the state champion in the game for two years in a row.

Anirban Ghosh spends more than four hours travelling from his Naihati home to a Cossipore club for practice everyday. The journey home in a crowded local train is particularly taxing after a long day’s practice.

The teenager’s father played para cricket to run the family before setting up a mini-recharge shop near Naihati station five years ago. The financial worries of Abhijit, 54, and wife Kakali, 46, have somewhat abated because of a sports stipend of Rs 18,000 that their son has been getting from the Airports Authority of India since last year.

Anirban won the state championships in both the youth (U-21) and men’s categories in 2016 and did an encore this year.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Debraj Mitra / December 21st, 2017

Kolkata boy defeats asthma, scales nine peaks in five years

Kolkata :

A mountaineer from Kolkata completed the rare feat of scaling nine peaks, including the Seven Summits (the highest peaks of each of the seven continents), on Saturday. Software engineer Satyarup Siddhanta, 34, climbed Mt Vinson in Antarctica shortly after 9am (local time) – his ninth summit since 2012.

An asthma patient who has never had any formal training in mountaineering, Siddhanta climbed the Everest in 2016. He has also scaled Mt Albrus, Mt Aconcagua, Mt Kilimanjaro, Puncak Jaya and Mt Denali. These apart, Siddhanta has also climbed Mont Blanc and Carsten’s Pyramid in Pappua New Guinea – the highest point in the Australian continent.

A resident of Kalitala Housing in Thakurpukur, Siddhanta is now based in Bangalore. According to his fellow climber Rudraprasad Haldar, Siddhanta once went to the Everest Base Camp and was inspired to begin his mountaineering journey, though he had no training. “It changed him forever and he decided to climb the Seven Summits,” said Haldar. Siddhanta’s website, however, mentions that he is a certified mountaineer from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling.

He overcame asthma which could have been a major barrier. “I realized I needed to reduce my dependency on inhalers when I was in college. I was also allergic to food items which triggered asthma. I struggled for years, continuously challenging myself by avoiding inhalers and consuming the food I was allergic to, without taking anti-allergic medicines,” Siddhanta wrote on his website.

But he didn’t give up. “I wanted to push limits to see how far I could go. Finally, with exercises, discipline, diet and some considerable will power and determination, I got rid of asthma,” he wrote.

His mother Gayatri, a homemaker, stayed up all night on Friday, following his march to the peak of Vinson.

“I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was more relieved than happy when he finally reached the summit,” she said. Siddhanta’s father Subhamoy is a doctor.

Gayatri said Siddhanta received funds from a few corporates for the climb. “He also auctioned some of his belongings and took a loan of Rs 30 lakh,” she added.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Monotosh Chakraborty / TNN / December 17th, 2017

Canny captain who mothered teammates

Neighbours and friends still cannot get over the sudden death of veteran cricketer Srirupa Bose. She was found lying in a pool of blood after collapsing in her GC Block house on November 30.

According to sources, a journalist had come to take her interview and she asked her to wait downstairs as she went up to her first floor bathroom. When a long time passed, the journalist got anxious and asked the domestic help to look for her.

“We were alerted by cries for help of the domestic help. Boys from a nearby chemist shop as well as a local doctor rushed. We took her to AMRI,” recalls Saktidhara Saha, a former volleyball player who lives just a house away and knew her since 1972.

She was 66, and is survived by husband Pareshnath Mukherjee, a former Bengal Olympic Association president, and daughter, Amrita Mukherjee, a tennis player.

“Her life revolved around her daughter for the last 15 years. She travelled with her all around the country and abroad,” recalled Sujoy Kumar Ghosh, chief operating officer of neighbouring Bengal Tennis Association where Amrita plays her tennis. “In fact, they had just come back from Indore and were supposed to travel to Sholapur for a tournament that evening.”

Ghosh, who knew Bose since 2003 when BTA came into being and Amrita enrolled there, also recalled the wide contacts she had in the sporting world. “She brought (1987 Wimbledon champion) Pat Cash to hold a four-day workshop here at BTA. Even this year, mother and daughter went to Wimbledon to watch the tournament.”

She was full of life. “Once we held a carnival at BTA and two of us were supposed to sing Jamaica farewell on stage. She joined us.”

Srirupa had told The Telegraph Salt Lake in an interview in 2005 how she had started with hockey and basketball at Calcutta Rangers Club in 1971 and then shifted to cricket.

“She was the first captain of the Bengal women’s cricket team,” says Gargi Banerji who played under her from 1976 to 1984. “Bengal was the national champion for seven years during that time,” she says.

Banerji recalled Bose being a shrewd captain who always knew how to bring out the best from the players without being demanding. “She was very disciplined and like a mother to us.” Bose later became India captain, the chairperson of the national selection commitee and team manager— all when women’s cricket was run by Women’s Cricket Association of India. She took charge as assistant director at Sports Authority of India after she quit railways.

Her sradh ceremony will be held on Sunday and a memorial service on Monday.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / December 08th, 2017

National bronze for Bengal rowing teens

(From left) Md Rahmat Ali and Sanglap Bose practise in Rabindra Sarobar. (Sanat Kr Sinha)

Rabindra Sarobar:

Two teenage rowers from Calcutta have ended a seven-year wait for Bengal by winning bronze in the junior national championships.

Sanglap Bose, 16, and Md Rahmat Ali, 15, finished third, missing out on silver by two seconds and gold by six.

The 38th edition of the event was held in Odisha’s Jagatpur between November 14 and 19.

The last time any male rower from Bengal made it to the podium in the junior nationals was in 2010 when Kapil Pincha won bronze in single sculls in Hyderabad in 2010.

“We finished first in the heats but couldn’t hold on to our nerves in the finals,” Bose, a Class XI student of Julien Day School, Bhowanipore, said.

The team completed the race in 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Telangana came first, followed by Madhya Pradesh.

Bose and Ali , a Class X student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ballygunge, practise at the Bengal Rowing Club.

“Junior nationals are more competitive than the sub-juniors. The 1km watercourse is a big challenge for our rowers because all watercourses in Calcutta are smaller,” Rajesh Agarwal, rowing captain, Bengal Rowing Club, said.

The teens had been preparing for the tournament since July. They practised early morning and in the evening.

In the pairs, two rowers have an oar each, compared to double sculls where each rower has two oars. “You need a certain level of physical strength to do well in pairs. The hours at the gym are as important as the practice sessions on water,” Agarwal said.

A low carbohydrate protein rich diet and a complete bar on junk food was also part of the preparations.

Ali stands at 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 52kg. Bose is 5’5″ and weighs 63kg.

“The immediate reaction after the race was that of disappointment. But we badly wanted a medal. We had aerated drinks after six months to celebrate the podium finish,” Ali said. His rowing career started at the club in 2014, a year after Bose had joined the club.

The two rowed together for the first time in 2016 and won gold in the state championships held at the club in January. They followed it up with gold in double sculls in the national sub-juniors in Chennai in June. “They keep pulling each other’s leg but on a boat they complement each other perfectly,” Agarwal said.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Debraj Mirta / December 02nd, 2017

FIFA President Infantino Thanks West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for successfully organising the matches at various stages and the final of the Under-17 World Cup last month.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Getty Images)


FIFA president Gianni Infantino has thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for successfully organising the matches at various stages and the final of the Under-17 World Cup last month.

In a letter from FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Infantino also praised Banerjee for the way the tournament was hosted at the Salt Lake Stadium including the final.

“I would like to congratulate your government on its role in your country’s successful hosting of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. I would also like to thank you on behalf of the entire FIFA delegation for affording us such a cordial welcome and warm hospitality,” he wrote to Banerjee.

The FIFA president also praised Banerjee’s vision about the game in breaking down the cultural and social barriers and making the game accessible to all.

He also thanked the West Bengal government for the development of football and promoting the values of the game in India.

Promising all assistance from FIFA in developing the game in the region, Infantino lauded Banerjee for deciding on providing 15-acre of land to the AIFF for the National Centre of Excellence for Football near here.

The Salt Lake Stadium here had hosted 11 matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, including the final. Kolkata co-hosted the mega event along with New Delhi, Guwahati, Navi Mumbai, Kochi and Margao.

source: / / Home> Football / PTI / November 04th, 2017

Records broken on and off field at Salt Lake stadium

Kolkata :

A record crowd at the Salt Lake stadium witnessed a record number of goals on Saturday. India took over as the most attended Fifa Under-17 World Cup venue ever, even as it witnessed 183 goals in the tournament, seven of which came in the final match between England and Spain, the highest ever in the history of a final in the tournament.

The stadium was packed to capacity on Saturday.

The stadium clocked an attendance of 66,684, just three short of the most that could be accommodated by the stadium. The players too acknowledged the support that the crowd showed. The tournament’s highest goal scorer, Rhian Brewster, wrapped the English flag around him and bowed to the spectators with folded hands after the end of the match.

As the final ended, the total number of spectators who turned up at the six host venues across the country stood at 13,47,143, beating the previous best of 12,31,000 recorded in the very first edition of the tournament in China in 1985. With two goals in the Brazil-Mali match and seven goals in the final, the tally of the tournament stood at 183 — 11 more than what was scored in the 2013 edition of the tournament in UAE. The final match tally of seven goals was also the highest, beating the previous record of five goals between Brazil and Ghana in 1997.

“This was like a dream come true. What a match and what an ambiance at the stadium. I am so glad that we could manage to get tickets to the game,” said Priyanka Agarwal, a banker who came for the match with her husband and son.

So enthralled was the crowd that almost none left even after England won the match 5-2. They stayed back for the next 30 minutes for the presentation ceremony where awards of Golden Boot, Golden Ball, Golden Gloves and the all important cup was handed over to the winners in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and India captain Sunil Chhetri.

While 56,432 spectators had come in for the first match between Brazil and Mali, the count shot up immediately at the start of the second and final match. Among the several noted expats, director of Mali Football Association Cheickna Demba was the toast of the crowd as he ran about along the stands, shouting “Mali! Mali!” to drum up support for the African players. The spectators, though largely Brazil supporters, were soon chanting in tune with Demba. Though the team lost 2-0 to Brazil, the Mali fan club won the hearts of Kolkatans in the stands.

Saturday had a different mix of spectators compared to other days — there were a lot of first-timers. Many were not even football fans, but were at the stadium to enjoy the essence of witnessing a mega sporting event . “We have never been to a stadium before. The atmosphere out here is just crazy. The stadium has made me a fan of the game and I will come back again,” said Army Hospital oncologist Shweta Sharma.

While Brazil garnered more support from the fans in the first match, the crowd support was evenly distributed between England and Spain in the final match. But as England ultimately won the game 5-2, the entire stadium started cheering for the team. “England are the new home team for Kolkata. This was their sixth match in Kolkata and I have seen them win all of them from difficult situations. Today they were at their best,” said Debabrata Mukherjee, a Spain fan who swears by Barcelona, but admitted to have ended up cheering for the English team on Saturday.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Dwaipayan Ghosh and Tamaghna Banerjee / TNN / October 29th, 2017

On & off field: girls tackle challenges

Team Chingrihata I with the winner’s trophy on Sunday. Picture by Arnab Mondal

At 23, Kripa Oraon is a trailblazer. A rugby player herself, she has helped reach the sport to more and more girls in and around Saraswatipur, a small village in New Jalpaiguri.

Maidan: Kripa is one of the 30 girl community young leaders of Jungle Crows Foundation who eat, drink and sleep rugby and defy all odds to rewrite their own life stories and others’.

On Sunday morning, the girl gang proved they are not only good players but also good organisers as they held an under-14 Tag Rugby Festival to celebrate the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child (October 11) at Crow Field on the Maidan.

“From planning to execution, the girls did it all. This is the first time the tournament has been organised entirely by them,” said Nidhi Ghelani, project manager, Khelo Rugby – a sports-for-development project by Jungle Crows.

“We have proved that given the opportunity girls can do everything. I have organised tournaments in Saraswatipur before. So I was confident that I would be able to do it,” said Kripa, who has been playing rugby since 2013 when Khelo Rugby first reached her village. She was responsible for officiating all big matches, including the final.

Twenty teams comprising 280 girls from locations where Khelo Rugby has a presence took part in the competition. Two teams from Chingrihata – Chingrihata I and Chingrihata II – reached the final and Chingrihata I won 6-4 after a tough clash.

“I joined Khelo Rugby just eight months ago and I never imagined I would be a part of the champion side in such a short time. It was great fun,” said Ruma Mondal, a Class VI student of Sukantanagar Vidyaniketan, who dreams of playing rugby professionally and making her father, a rickshaw puller, proud.

Bikash Paswan, the Jungle Crows coach who trains the Chingrihata girls, sees “great potential” in Ruma. “She is a fast learner,” he said.

Paul Walsh, the founder of Jungle Crows, was excited to see “so many girls playing rugby and having fun”. “The Chingrihata girls were absolutely fantastic. It shows how much hard work they have put in,” he said.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Ayan Paul / Monday – October 23rd, 2017