Category Archives: Sports

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

City teen’s chess feat

Koustav Chatterjee with Dibyendu Barua. (Debraj Mitra)


A 14-year-old boy from Regent Estate, who loves watching superhero films, has won silver in the National Sub-Junior Chess Championship.

Koustav Chatterjee, a student of Garden High School, was leading the table for most of the U-15 tournament, held between October 1 and 9 at Ahmedabad. His score was tied with Sankalp Gupta of Maharashtra, who went on to win the championship because of a better tie-break score.

This is the second consecutive year that Koustav missed out on gold in the sub-junior nationals. “Last year he lost by a narrow margin, too,” his father Kalyan Chatterjee said.

Kalyan, 52, introduced Koustav to chess in 2010. “He had a great memory. He could remember all 52 cards in a pack at the age of 5,” the private tutor said. Koustav’s mother Babita is a state government employee posted at Bikash Bhavan.

The boy started training at a Dhakuria institute at the age of seven and joined Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy in 2015. The same year he won gold at the 2015 Commonwealth championships in Delhi in the U-12 category.

“Koustav has a great temperament. He is one of the best young players in the state,” said Atanu Lahiri, the general secretary of the Bengal Chess Association, who has seen Koustav from close quarters over the years.

“He tends to get overconfident at times. Otherwise, he is grandmaster material.”

Koustav’s favourite player is Anatoly Karpov, the Russian grandmaster and former world champion. “From the current lot, I like Magnus Carlsen, who practises three to four hours a day. I love studying openings of Karpov and Carlsen on my computer,” said the teenager whose favourite subjects are math and chemistry.

When Koustav is not playing chess, he loves watching superhero films and TV series. From the Star Wars to Marvel’s The Defenders, his list is quite exhaustive. Luke Skywalker and Wolverine are his favourite characters.

Koustav also loves collecting coins. The most valuable item in his collection is the Uruguayan Peso, which he collected in Montevideo when he went there to participate in the World Youth Chess Championship in September. “I could not win a medal but playing against international players was a great learning experience,” he told Metro.

By virtue of finishing second in the sub-junior nationals, Kosutav has secured a berth in two international tournaments in 2018, the World Youth Chess Championship in Georgia and the Asian Youth Chess Championship in Thailand. “I don’t want to lose focus in the big stage,” said Koustav.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Debraj Mitra / Thursday – October 19th, 2017

Kolkata set with world class facilities for U17 World Cup


The stage is set for the 66,000-capacity Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake to host 10 matches of the Fifa Under 17 World Cup in the city. The event kicks off in Kolkata with two matches on Sunday— the first between England and Chile and the second between Iraq and Mexico.

DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha visited the stadium on Saturday afternoon along with senior officials to take a stock of the security, parking and other arrangements to ensure a hassle-free experience for spectators, including the foreigners who will turn up to witness the matches. Tickets for the matches on Sunday have already been sold out.

“The security inside and outside the stadium is perfectly in place and everything has been done in close coordination with Kolkata Police. There will be directional signs and a good number of police assistance booths for the spectators. All the departments under the state government have worked hand in hand to ensure the best of facilities inside and outside the stadium for the spectators,” Kar Purkayastha said.

Commissioner of Bidhannagar City Police Gyanwant Singh had said a few days back that the police have chalked out a detailed evacuation plan through which the entire stadium full to its capacity can be evacuated in eight minutes in case of any emergency. “We don’t want to take any risk in view of the global situation. So we have prepared for all crisis situations. The emergency evacuation plan we have formulated will ensure there is no stampede.”

Spectators would not be allowed to carry anything apart from their mobile phones while women could additionally carry a purse, but after it is checked.Water bottles, newspapers, bags, helmets or containers of any kind, including aerosol cans and spray, will not be allowed.

A total of 3,000 cops — including 35 officers of SP and ASP rank and 60 lower ranked officers — would be on duty. No goods vehicles will be allowed to ply from 7 am to 11.30 pm in the roads, lanes and areas under Kolkata airport, Baguihati, Lake Town, New Town, Rajarhat and the entire Bidhannagar area.

The doors of the stadium would be opened two hours prior to the start of the day’s first match and all spectators will be frisked. Tickets would also be scanned. There will be 110 door frame metal detectors as checking points, with 260 closed circuit TVs deployed at all nook and corner of the stadium to keep vigil.

There will be adequate parking arrangements and everybody is requested to park at the designated parking area. Bidhannagar City Police has provided a link in its website putting the details of the parking & traffic circulation plan along with do’s and don’t’s for facilitating the spectators.

source: / Millennium Post / Home> Kolkata / by Soumitra Nandi / October 07th, 2017

Checkmate nerves in championship endgame – Calcutta teenager conquers enemy within on way to breakthrough international title

Arpita Mukherjee, who won gold in the under-20 Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi this month. Picture by Mayukh Sengupta
@Byline: Debraj Mitra

A 16-year-old Dum Dum girl has made a career gambit out of a “distraction” once employed by her parents to get her to swallow her medicine.

Arpita Mukherjee won gold in the under-20 Commonwealth Chess Championships in Delhi this month, an achievement pieced together after several years of dominating performances in state and national championships across age groups. A Class X student at Shahid Rameshwar Balika Vidyamandir in Dum Dum, she sees her first international victory as the turning point in her career.

“I had been losing crucial matches from favourable positions. Not being able to hold my nerves is a failing that I seem to have finally overcome,” said Arpita, whose father Partha gives chess lessons to children for a living.

The teenager looks up to chess stalwarts Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar for inspiration and trains at the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy. Her top goal is to become a Grandmaster.

“There was never any doubt about Arpita’s talent. But she had a confidence problem. Winning the Commonwealth gold will settle her nerves,” Barua told Metro.

For Arpita, this competition had been all about not crumbling under the weight of expectations. A few months before the Commonwealth Games, she had started meditating to get into the right frame of mind. She finished the tournament undefeated, winning five games and drawing two.

“I won at least a couple of close matches that could have gone either way. My concentration did not slip,” Arpita recounted.

Arpita’s first big year in chess was 2008, when she was just seven years old but skilled enough to defeat several higher-seeded players at the Telegraph School Chess competition. The same year, she won the state championship in the under-8 category.

In 2009, Arpita won silver at the Asian Youth Championships in Delhi. A bronze in the under-9 section of the national championships in Chennai followed. Since then, she has consistently earned medals in successive state and national tournaments, including bronze in both the under-17 and under-19 categories of the 2016 nationals.

Arpita, much more confident after her Commonwealth success, aims to become a Women International Master (WIM) soon. “I have one WIM norm. I need two more to get the rank,” she said.

Arpita attributes her success to her father, with whom she plays “mind chess” after dinner every day. Having Grandmaster Barua as a mentor has also been a big advantage. But getting sponsors is proving to be difficult.

The teenager had been selected to represent India in the under-20 Asian Championships in Tehran in May but could not go. “I needed to arrange more than Rs 1 lakh, which I could not do. Arpita had to cancel her trip,” Partha said.

A relative gifted her a laptop last year. “It has helped me a lot – playing with the computer regularly,” she said.

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source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / Friday – July 28th, 2017

Karate golds for township academy kids

(From left) Rishika Patra, Subhadip Srimani, Pratyay Sarkar and Ayushman Ray pose with their medals on the terrace of Premjit Sen’s academy in BD Block. Subhadip trains elsewhere, in Patipukur

Bengal has returned from the just-concluded Junior National Karate Championship 2017 with eight golds. The tournament, organised by Karate Association of India (KAI), was held at Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi from May 11 to 13. And of the eight gold medallists, half are products of Premjit Sen’s BD Block training academy.

Another gold might have got added to the tally if Aritri Dey did not commit an elementary mistake. “She forgot to bow at the start of the bout. That got her disqualified,” laments Sen, who was also the competition manager at the tournament. Since Aritri has got a bronze medal at the Senior National Championship, expectations were high from her.

Return to practice pad

The gold medallists, not even in their teens yet, were back for practice within 10 days on the rooftop of BD 340.

Rishika throws a kick at Premjit Sen in course of training as others watch. Pictures by Sudeshna Banerjee

Bespectacled Rishika Patra takes off her glasses before a fight. The CJ Block girl has been training at the academy since the age of three. Now she is 11. “My father used to be Shihan (Japanese term for master instructor)’s student. He had to give up karate due to spondylitis,” says the girl, whose cherubic face belies the grit of a purple stripe belt. That’s three grades below a black belt.

She studies in Ashok Hall Girls’ Higher Secondary School. The little time she can devote to studies at home after daily practice so far has fetched satisfactory grades. “Though official karate classes are twice a week, Shihan makes them practise separately every day after school,” says Rishika’s mother Sanjukta.

The results have been there to show. Her three earlier national championship appearances have fetched a gold, a bronze and a silver. Add to that a bronze in the Commmonwealth Karate Championship in 2015. “But I prize that first national gold beyond all other achievements. It was my first major competition. Shihan fell ill and had to leave before my fight. So I was alone,” says the girl who idolises boxing legend Mary Kom.

This time, Rishika travelled to Delhi with her parents, fellow student Pratyay Sarkar and his mother. “I was tense about how I would do. Didi (Rishika) was sure to get a medal,” says Pratyay, an eight-year-old from AD Block.

He need not have worried. “Pratyay has never returned without a gold medal from any competition,” says mother Chhanda. This may have been his first national event, but the boy has already played and won in internationals championships. “We try hard to save and send him abroad. Last year, he went to Cape Town, South Africa and the year before to Sydney, Australia. He won in both in his category,” says Chhanda, who runs a tailoring outfit supplying school uniforms to the state government.

This time was no different. “I won all five rounds. Ma was more excited than me,” Pratyay grins. The win earned him a big box of chocolates.

Such is the support he gets from home that his school was changed within a year of joining. “The pressure of studies was too much in Garden High,” she says. Pratyay now studies in Apeejay School in the neighbourhood.

Such is the pull of Sen’s coaching that people travel considerable distances. The other two gold medallists — Ayushman Ray and Amiyo Sundar Biswas — come from Madhyamgram and Konnagar respectively. “I used to train locally before. I am coming to Shihan’s academy for one year now,” smiles Ayushman, 9. Amiyo may be just 12 but he is already a three-time national gold medallist.

Karate’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo has added a spring to their steps. “We used to be a sidelined sport. Now we will be taken seriously. I hope our state government takes notice of these young champions like our neighbouring states have,” says Sen. “My focus is on five students. From the age of 14, they will be eligible to complete in Asian Karate Championship. I am training them to face competition from the traditional powerhouses — Japan, Iran and Malaysia.”

Can an Asiad/ Olympic karate medal come from the Salt Lake academies?
Write to The Telegraph Salt Lake, 6 Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700001 or email to

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Front Page> Salt Lake> Story / by Sudeshna Banerjee / Friday – May 26th, 2017

Tea garden woman gives karate classes

Subrati Baraik performs karate with a student in Jaigaon. (Anirban Choudhury)

Alipurduar :

A 23-year-old woman is providing training in karate to youths, particularly females so that they could protect themselves from teasing and stalkers.

Subrati Baraik, a resident of Madhu Tea Estate, is running a karate camp in Jaigaon and training youths for their own safety.

Baraik told Metro that she had decided to learn karate after being repeatedly teased by youths at different places.

“Eight years ago, I was teased by some youths while travelling on a train. I was returning home from Siliguri. When I tried to resist them, they passed lewd comments. After few months, a similar incident occurred again at a fair. I felt insulted after both these incidents and decided to learn karate for my safety,” she said.

In 2010, Baraik came to Alipurduar town and met Apra Bora, a karate coach.

“I requested him to teach karate and he started training me. In December 2015, I participated in a National Karate Championship in Hoogly and came first in ‘Kiyukishan Full Body Contact’ category,” she added.

In Jaigaon, located on India-Bhutan boarder and 15km from here, Baraik teaches karate to 20 students, of whom 15 are females.

“I started a camp around three years ago in Jaigaon. I came here with my coach and the urge to learn karate among students made me start the camp. I charge Rs 200 per month for a student,”she said.

Classes are conducted from 8am to 9.30am on Sundays.

Baraik said after learning karate, she had once beaten up a group of youths who were teasing her and also wanted her friends residing in the estate to learn the same.

“I could study till Class X because of financial crisis in the family. I have decided to teach karate to the youth in the garden but it will take time to convince them as they are very shy,” she said.

Baraik holds brown belt in karate.

Apra Bora, Baraik’s coach, said: “She is really talented. If she does training with a lot of sincerity, she will be able to win more championships.”

The garden is 36km from Alipurduar town.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by Our Correspondent / Friday – February 17th, 2017

Blind steer cars in rally

The Agarwals of Phoolbagan and Laxman Mondal, the navigator, with their amateur category trophies

On February 5, it was the sightless in the navigator’s seat as participants in a car rally made their way from Acropolis Mall to the Harley Davidson showroom in New Town.

The Exide Rotary Car Rally for the Blind was organised by the Rotary Club of Calcutta MidTown in partnership with Just Sportz & Turnstone Global in the TSD (time, speed and distance) format.

The TSD format requires each car to pass through several manned time control points in a specified time, failing in which one is penalised. The team with the least penalty points is declared the winner.

The blind persons guided the driver with the help of the route chart printed in Braille. The rally had about 300 participants with each team being paired with a visually impaired navigator. The route map in Braille was handed over to the teams just before the flag-off and could be deciphered only by the navigator.

There were trophies for professional rallyists, amateurs and all-women teams. Director general, fire services, Jag Mohan was present for the prize distribution ceremony.

The winner in the expert category was Avik Saha with Debargha Mukherjee as the navigator.

In the amateur category, the husband-wife duo of Sandeep and Mukti Agarwal won with Laxman Mondol as the navigator. “We were debutants but Laxman had won a rally before. He was so quick with the instructions that we won easily,” said Sandeep, a Phoolbagan resident.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Salt Lake> Story / by A Staff Reporter / Friday – February 17th, 2017

Tournament in paddlers’ hub Siliguri – After 5 years, national championship to be hosted in cradle of table tennis

Children practise table tennis at Siliguri Table Tennis Academy on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
Children practise table tennis at Siliguri Table Tennis Academy on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo


The paddlers’ cradle of Bengal will host the National Cadet and Sub-Junior Table Tennis Tournament from January 1-6, 2017, that will see over 700 players battling for hours.

The players will be in the under-12 and under-15 age groups and the event organised by the Table Tennis Federation of India.

“A large-scale event like a national championship in any town creates excitement among local players as well as sports lovers. Siliguri has hosted some national table tennis championships but this one is being held after four-five years,” Amit Dam, a table tennis coach who has run the Siliguri Table Tennis Academy since 1993, said.

Siliguri has a special place on the table tennis map of India as it has produced three Arjuna awardees – Mantu Ghosh, Subhajit Saha and Sounyajit Ghosh – and several other table tennis players from the town.

The event, announced today, has made youngsters, senior and veteran players, coaches and sports lovers, enthusiastic.

Siliguri has 16 coaching centres where over 500 kids regularly practice under the watchful eyes of several former players like Mantu Ghosh and Subrata Roy.

“Siliguri has been known for table tennis for decades as the town has bred many table tennis paddlers of Bengal who have played and achieved success in different tourneys. What can be a better sport event than a national-level table tennis championship?” Mantu, a former national champion and the first Arjuna awardee of Siliguri, said today.

However, Mantu and some other veterans of the game simultaneously pointed that as Siliguri did not hold any major national championship in past five years – in 2007 the seniors’ national championship was held here and the national championship of juniors and youths in 2011 – interest has waned in the game.

“We have paddlers enrolling at the coaching centres everyday but performance-wise, the town could not produce younger players who could prove their mettle at championships in recent years,” Mantu said.

At this point, she said, a tournament here will encourage young paddlers to continue honing their skills.

“I have been playing for two years and am yet to secure the necessary ranking to play at a national tourney. It would have been excellent if I would have got a chance to play in the tournament that would be held here,” Swapnil Mitra, a Class VII student who is coached by Mantu, said. “It would be great to watch matches and learn new skills.”

This afternoon, state tourism minister Gautam Deb, said: “In total, 715 players from different parts of the country will participate. A sum of Rs 50 lakh would be spent, out of which the state will bear Rs 15 lakh. The winners, along with medals and trophies, would be provided with cash awards totalling Rs 4.75 lakh.”

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> North Bengal> Story / by The Telegraph Correspondent / Saturday – November 12th, 2016