Srinagar, July 30: The 4-day umpires Level-I course conducted by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in collaboration with J&K Cricket Association concluded at Sheri Kashmir Cricket Stadium, here, Thursday. In the course 47 umpires from all over J&K participated. They were imparted training by three member panel of BCCI. The panel comprised of international umpire SK Bansal, Manager Games Development BCCI, Stanley Saldanha and BCCI umpires’ committee member, Jasbir Singh. They were deputed for this course by BCCI as part of the BCCI long term plan to make standard of umpiring all over country of highest level. In the course participants were taught rules of umpiring both practically and theoretically. On Thursday after workshop ended examination of all participants was conducted in which all of them were asked to complete set of papers made up by BCCI for Level-I. The results of examination would be announced by BCCI later, those who will qualify will be eligible take part in A-level course while those who will fail will be given another chance later. Talking to Greater Kashmir, SK Bansal said, “It is great initiative taken by BCCI to teach umpires of various state units’ art of umpiring. By doing that BCCI wants to make standard of umpiring highest standard in all over country. Those who will qualify this course would be eligible to take part in Level-A course.” “Everyone can’t take part in this course. BCCI has set certain eligibility criteria like the participant should have at least completed his/her graduation and age should be between 25-40 years,” he said. The international umpire said that for reaching upto highest level of umpiring one has to take his fitness level seriously. “These days the standard of umpiring has changed and if umpire has to remain in contention to be among the top umpire’s of world he has to maintain his fitness level. The umpires should be fitter than the players as they had to stay in the middle for whole match as compared to players who are there for one innings,” he said. About the participants who were in the course, he said, “Almost all of them were good but two to three among them were really good and I can see better future ahead for them. But they need to work hard if they want to reach highest level of umpiring.” The international umpire who has umpired at various international cricketing venues of world said that SK stadium is among one of the beautiful stadiums of the world and after completion of repair work it would be perfect for hosting Ranji trophy matches. “I’m amazed to see the surrounding beauty of this stadium. There are Chinar trees all around the field that makes it among the beautiful stadiums of world. The turf is almost complete and outfield work has also been completed. I cannot see any reason for BCCI for not granting JKCA any Ranji matches to host here” he said. It was first time that such type of umpiring course was conducted by BCCI in J&K.
Srinagar, July 29: The second Kashmir Cup international Rafting championship would be held in Sonamarg from August 3 to 8. This was announced by the minister for Tourism Nuwang Rinzing Jora, in a press conference at Nigeen Club, here, Wednesday. “Last year’s inaugural event was a mega one and this year it will be bigger than that. As last year was inaugural event, the participation was less. But still it turned out as mega success. After last year’s success, we got number of queries from around different counties and it is because of that this year more international teams are participating” he said. “Teams from Czech Republic, New Zealand, Canada and Slovakia have already confirmed their entries while USA, Holland and Hungary are awaiting visa clearances. Apart from international teams national teams like Punjab, Karnataka, Uttranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Indian Air Force and BSF will also be participating. From our state teams of Jammu, Kashmir and JK Police would participate,” the minister said. Jora who was accompanied by minister of state for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani, said that J&K has tremendous potential of adventure sports like Rafting, Mountaineering, Skiing and Mountain Cycling. “Tourism department will doing everything to promote it in a big way.” “Our state has tremendous potential of adventure sports and organizing of this event is part of promoting that at international level,” he added. The teams will reach to Sonamarg on August 3 and on August 4 they will practice in Nallah Sind. The event would be inaugurated on August 5 and the competitions would be held from August 6 to 8. The event will conclude on August 8. In the championship competitions of three events Slalom, Head-to-Head and Down River Marathon would be held in both male and female categories. The event would be organized by JK Tourism department in collaboration with J&K White Water Rafting Association under the aegis of Indian Rafting Foundation. For conducting event smoothly JK Tourism department has brought international rafting expert, Nick Carter, from New Zeeland who will monitor championship and after that will impart coaching to JK players. The director Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah said, “We have brought Nick from New Zealand for monitoring this event and to share his experience with our players. After conclusion of event he will impart coaching o our players in Sonamarg.” About the performance of JK teams in the event, he said, “Last year’s our teams performed well and we expect better performance this year. We are serious in making our team strong and it is only because of that we have brought in Nick here. We expect our team to go to participate in international events outside country next year,” he added.
Srinagar, July 5: Anzil Mukhtar Qadimi had to sweat it hard to beat resilient Shabir Akhoon to win Kashmir Cycling Challenge held on Sunday. The race was held from Women’s College gate to Kashmir University gate via boulevard and Foreshore road. In the event only 40 top riders of the Valley participated and all of them were champions in their respective arena. So it was obvious that the competition is going to be tough and it turned exactly like that. From the start riders pushed paddles hard in order to beat their rivals. All maintained decent speed through out the course and at times it clocked above 50-kilometere per hour. The eagerness of each rider to win the event resulted in couple of accidents and five to six riders suffered injures. First accident happened near SKICC when riders who were in a bunch tried to take advantage of curve in order to get lead. It resulted in the clash and three cycles crashed with each other. It was deciding point of the event as Anzil, Shabir, Umer, Mudasir and Ghulam Rasool took advantage and managed to sprint away from rest of the riders. Till Nishat all the five riders were riding neck-to-neck and it was at that point Anzil, Shabir and Umer pushed hard. Mudasir and Ghulam Rasool couldn’t match the sprint power and were left behind. Though Umer was trying desperately to stay neck-to-neck with Anzil and Shabir but after half Foreshore distance finished, he started to give up and Anzil and Shabir ran away from him. After that it was battle of pride between these two highly talented cyclists. Both of them had set their goals to win the event in order to claim number one cyclist tag. The battle was so tough that no one was able to judge till last moment who will emerge the winner. At Habbak Crossing, Shabir managed to get a few inches lead but till finish line Anzill overcame it. Both crossed finish line at the same time. The judges couldn’t declare winner and it was only after seeing camera replays that Anzil was declared winner. His wheel was just half an inch ahead of Shabir at finish line. Umer finished third while Mudasir finished fourth. Ghulam Rasool Kawa finished fifth. Meanwhile in junior category, Muhammad Akbar of Chinar Cycling Club finished first while Dar Junaid of Green Valley finished second. Jehangeer of Shalimar Cycling Club finished third. Prize distribution ceremony was held at Naseem Bagh in which position holders were awarded. Prizes were also distributed among junior category. Qaiser Walvir who sponsored the event was chief guest on the occasion. He distributed prizes among the winners. Speaking on the occasion, he said, “I had never thought that our state has got so much talent. It was amazing too see the speed of riders. After seeing the talent and enthusiasm I’m delighted that I sponsored right event and I promise all of you that I will always be available to help cycling.” On the occasion organizers of the event announced that on August 1, the mega cycling event would be organized in Srinagar. In that event around 1000 cyclists are expected to participate. The event was organized by J&K Cycling Association.
Srinagar, July 3: The football fraternity of the Valley is concerned about the deteriorating condition of city’s central Polo ground. Super-Division league matched are being played in the Polo ground in which top teams like JK Bank, JK Police, JK SRTC, Iqbal Sports, JK Forest, Maharaja Sports play. But seeing the condition of the ground and amount of grass on the field, it doesn’t look that the event is state’s biggest football event. Polo ground is considered as the best football venue in whole state and during last year’s Santosh Trophy tournament important matches were played here. The turf was like velvet and there was no unevenness on the surface. Experts were saying that Santosh Trophy helped state to get national level infrastructure in shape of Polo ground and Bakshi Stadium. But it was short-lived, as the Sports Council officials paid no heed towards the ground after the national event was over. As the national event passed the condition of field started to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance. The condition of the turf has become worse due to non-cutting of grass and several players have even refused to play full matches. “There is huge amount of grass in whole field due to which ball is not carrying smoothly. For passing the ball players need to exert themselves more and they even find it difficult to run on it. Due to that players have to use more energy and they get fatigued,” former Indian Football team captain, Abdul Majeed Kakroo, told Greater Kashmiri. He said that ground has not been maintained and grass has not been cut from last one month due to which surface has become uneven and it can cause injuries to players. “Players can easily get injuries like muscle cramp. Teams having young players have been finding it tough to perform because of the amount of grass on the field. Some players are not able to play full allotted time,” he said, adding, number of players complained about bad shape of the turf. “We several times requested Sports Council officials to maintain the field. But they are doing nothing. If Sports Council can’t maintain the ground, JKFA is ready to do it,” Kakroo added. Not only players and officials are concerned about the condition of the ground but the referees also expressed concern. States only national level referee, Nazir Ahmad said, “The field is not well maintained. There is huge amount of grass all around it due to which field has become uneven. We have been repeatedly requesting JKFA, which is organizing the tournament, to cut the grass but they expressed helplessness due to non-cooperation of State Sports Council authorities.” When contacted manager fields, Shakeel Ahmad, said, “We cut grass just a week ago but due to strikes and less manpower we couldn’t maintain it on daily basis. The field is slightly uneven at few places but that is not as much. The other reason was that our staff was maintaining Eid-Gah ground where B-division matches are being played.” “We will restart work on Polo ground and soon its condition will become like it was during Santosh Trophy,” he assured.
Srinagar, June 30: Magic effort of seasoned winger, Tameem Ahmad, helped Iqbal Sports come from behind to beat Young Maharaja 2-1 in the high voltage clash of Super Division, Al-Khuddam Football league at Polo ground, here, Monday. The match turned out as one of the best and keenly contested games of the league till now. It was first time that a tussle between two teams was witnessed in the league this season. Both the teams played quality football and it looked like that nothing will separate them apart. It was only due to the incredible play of Tameem that was able to separate the two. As the match kicked off, Young Maharaja got the chance to take early lead in second minute, but shot from the striker missed post by a whisker. In between Iqbal made a counter attack but the move was foiled by the acrobatic Maharaja keeper. Maharaja did not had to wait too long to see themselves taking lead. In 22nd minute, Maharaja made move from right half then passed ball towards left half were Mushtaq took. He then dribbles passed two defenders sent ball into the right corner with gentle touch. With this goal young Maharaja scored first goal of the match. At half time score was 1-0 in favour of Maharaja. In second half, Iqbal Sports lead by captain Tameem completely changed the course of match. If first half belonged to Young Maharaja, second half belonged to Iqbal. The momentum of the match was turned towards Iqbal Sports by a goal scored by Tameem in 47th minute of match, just two minutes after second half start. He scored goal from nowhere, as he kicked the ball from centre of the field after seeing Maharaja Keeper just outside his area. The powerful kick from him went straight into the post leaving keeper and defenders watching past over their head. This goal boosted the morale of Iqbal players and started attack too frequently. They were successful to score second goal in 70th minute thorough Imran. Earlier, in A-Division match Young Lal Chowk defeated Blossom Sports 2-1. Owais Farooq scored first goal in 20th minute for Young Lal Chowk. Altaf scored equalizer for Blossom in 29th minute. At half time score was 1-1. In second half, Owais again came to haunt Blossom and scored second goal for his team. Eventually Young Lal Chowk won the match 2-1. Meanwhile, in the B-Division league seven matches were played at four separate venues of Srinagar on Monday. ISAT-C defeated Dilsoz Club Natipora by a solitary goal in a match played at Natipora ground. Safalloo-B thrashed Makhdoomia Sports 5-1 at Eid-Gah ground while Gazi Sports defeated Nund Resh Colony Club 2-1 in second match at the same venue. At TRC ground, Al-Furqan Sports defeated Iqra Sports 3-0 in first match while Jehangir Sports defeated Horizon Sports in second match 2-0. In Bakshi Stadium, Young Chinkral Sports crushed Afzal Sports 4-0 in first match while AFC outplayed Muzaffar Sports 6-2. The J&K Football Association has decided to postpone the matches on strike days. The event is being sponsored by Al-Khudam Hajj and Umrah Services.
Srinagar, June 25: A strong sprint at finish line saw Anzil Mukhtar of Amar Singh College winning inter-college cycle race on Thursday. The race started at General Post Office and culminated at Kashmir University gate. Around 60 cyclists representing different colleges of the Valley participated in the event. It was first big cycling event of the year and almost all the top cyclists like Shabir Ahmad, Ghulam Rasool, Umer Nabi, Mudasir and Anzil participated. As expected the competition turned a real thriller. Till finish line no one was able to judge who will be the winner. As the race was flagged off, novice cyclists sprinted faster. After first two kilometers, they got fatigued and the bunch of cyclists comprising of Anzil, Umer, Ghulam Rasool, Shabir, Mudasir and other five took lead. There was neck-to-neck battle between riders through out the distance. Through out distance riders in the leading bunch were doing pacing against each other in order to check each other’s stamina. Riders maintained constant speed of 40-kms and at times clocked more than 55-kms. At Naseem Bagh, riders started to sprint hard as less than kilometer was upto finish line. Anzil, Shabir and Ghulam Rasoool managed get away from the rest. It was close contest between these three and no one was able to judge who will finish first. At Hazratbal chowk Anzil took risk of taking sharp curve while Shabir and Ghulam Rasool struggled due to their high speed and took long curve. The risk-taking move helped Anzil to finish first with a fraction of second ahead of Shabir and Ghulam Rasool. He finished first with the timing of 29:23:12 and retained the title. Shabir of Islamia College finished second with the timing of 29:33:24 while Ghulam Rasool of Physical College Ganderbal finished third with the timing of 29:50:22. Umer Nabi of Islamia College finished fourth while Muhammad Rafi of Amar Singh College finished fifth. Tariq of Gandhi College, Mudasir of Islamia College and Zahid Ahmad Rather of Islamia College finished sixth, seventh and eight respectively. Barkat Ali finished ninth while Ashiq Hussain finished 10th. The prize distribution ceremony was held at University campus in which position holders were supposed to be awarded. However, the Kashmir University officials including director Physical Education and Sports department, Dr Nisar Ahmad had to face embarrassment when winners refused to receive the medals. They were protesting against the department for not sending them to inter-university events for several years. Refusing to receive his medal, Ghulam Rasool said, “Cycling is world’s toughest event and it requires lot of hard work. But all our hard work gets wasted when we are not able to participate in national events. From last several years’ KU has not sent it’s cycling team for inter-university competitions.” Following Ghulam Rasool, Anzil and Shabir also refused to receive the medals, “We are being given mere assurances and not being given opportunity to participate in national event. We’ll receive medals only when we return from inter-university competition,” they said. It was only after repeated assurances by the director and other officials that riders accepted the medals. Meanwhile, the girls’ inter-college cycling race would be held on Friday from Nishat to Kashmir University gate.
Champions Anzil Mukhtar Kadam Anzil, a final year student of Amar Singh College is currently ranked as top cyclist of the Valley and his retaining of inter-college title proved it. In last two years, Anzil has won almost all the major cycling events. He represented state so far in two national cycling events. In one of the event, he got seventh place. He missed two national events due to the examinations and could not participate in inter-university event because Kashmir University didn’t send its team for the event. Anzil says, “I wanted to win this event desperately because I wanted to leave college on winning note. The competition was tough as in it all the top cyclists were competing against me. I won with a fraction of second and that too because I took high risk at last curve.” “I’ll be happy if Kashmir University sends us for inter-university championship. I’m confident our team will bring couple of medals,” he added.
Shabir Akhoon Despite losing his dominance in last two years, Shabir of Islamia College is most successful and only national medal winner cyclist of the state till date. In 2006, he became first and only cyclist of the state to win medal in national cycling championship. He won gold in mass start 20-kilometer event in Punjab. Shabir has participated in two national cycling championships and out of that he won medal in one. Apart from that Shabir has been dominating the cycling arena of state from past several years. He won all the highest cycling titles of the state. He won 100-kilometer Tour-de-Kashmir event from Srinagar to Pahalgam twice. In last two years, after the emergence of new cyclists, he lost his place as top cyclist. But for Shabir the reason for his loosing the tag of top cyclist is discontinuing of regular practice. “I won almost all cycling titles of state and also won gold medal in national championship for state. But in return I got nothing. That disappointed me and discontinued my regular practice. I restarted practice only for this event in hope that team will be sent for inter-University event,” he said.
Ghulam Rasool Kawa Ghulam Rasool has the distinction of being only National Institute of Sports (NIS) qualified coach and International Mountain Terrain Biking (MTB) cyclist of J&K. He has represented state in five national championships. Apart from that he has also participated in coupe of international MTB events. Last year, he bagged third place in International MTB Himachal race and also finished ninth in Pune International MTB event. He has also won inter-college title twice as a student of Amar Singh College. After getting his coaching diploma, Kawa didn’t discontinue his practice and instead started to prepare himself for MTB cycling events, which are considered toughest cycling events. Despite being only qualified coach of state, he didn’t get a job. He joined Physical Education College Ganderbal to study B. P Ed degree. As a student of the college, he competed in inter-college event and competed against his own students Anzil, Mudasir, Umer and Shabir. “We have lot of talent, but it needs proper grooming. I request departments like JK Police and JK Bank to form cycling teams so as cyclists can be adjusted,” he said.
Srinagar, June 24: Valley’s international soccer star, Mehraj-ud-Din Wadoo, Tuesday joined Indian Team in New Delhi for Dubai and Barcelona tour. The national camp would be held in Dubai from June 25 to July 7. After the camp, the 27 member squad will head off to Nou Camp, Barcelona for a month long exposure trip where they will play five practice matches. Wadoo who was in the Valley for a month long vacation joined the camp only after getting clearance from his club East Bengal, who earlier were not willing to allow their players to join Indian team for such a long camp. The premier football clubs of country Mohun Bagan and East Bengal had earlier written to the All India Football Federation that players would be released in accordance with FIFA rules which state that for a friendly match the national probable will be released 48 hours before the event while for a tournament they would be released 14 days ahead. However, following meeting between AIFF and club officials, nine players have been released for the preparatory camps to be held in Dubai and Spain during June-July ahead of the Nehru Cup that will be hosted in the Capital from August 19-31. Wadoo believes that the national camp and the exposure trip will help the players prepare well for the Nehru Cup which will be held in Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium. Speaking to Greater Kashmir, he said, “The national camps and exposure trips are very important. It is like a pre-season for the national team. Last time we had a trip to Portugal, which helped us a lot to prepare for the AFC Challenge Cup. This time also the camp in Dubai and the exposure trip to Barcelona will help the players a lot to regain their full fitness and get ready for the Nehru Cup.” Led by chief coach Bob Houghton, the Indian team is scheduled to land in Dubai on Thursday and it will train once a day at Al Wasl Club ground. The Dubai and Barcelona training camps are part of the team’s preparations for the Nehru Cup to be staged in New Delhi from August 18-30. India have also qualified for the Asian Cup to be held in Qatar in 2011 and these training camps are seen as part of the team’s build-up to the high-profile events. Wadoo said that it is well-planned move of AIFF to organize such a long camp in places like Dubai and Barcelona. He said, “In India we don’t have the facilities which are available outside for high profile coaching camps. Bob Houghton is experienced campaigner and he knows what is better for the team. It is his plan to train the team outside country.” Indian team has played only one international game in the last twelve months. Wadoo wants to see an increase in the frequency of matches and is hopeful that the national team will go into the 2011 Asia Cup with the best possible preparation. “If India has to improve its FIFA rankings than I think one game in 12 months is not going to help, we need to play more matches” he said. “But for that the domestic tournaments like I-League have to be scheduled in such a way that we can play more international matches. I hope the AIFF makes proper arrangements so that we go into the 2011 Asia Cup with best preparation.” About his own targets in the camp he said, “Before our last friendly against Hong Kong, our coach tried me out in both defense and midfield so I hope he will do the same this time also. Since I have played in defense for much of last season it would be easier for me to play there.” About Barcelona trip he said, “It is dream of every footballer to visit place like Barcelona, in that respect I’m fortunate that I got the chance. Currently Barcelona is top club of world football and they have got players like Messi, Eto, Henry.”