Badminton legend Nandu Natekar, 80, was happy to meet Sachin Tendulkar for the second time; the earlier occasion was some twenty years ago at Kent in England.

Snooker ace Aditya Mehta was delighted he shook hands with the master batsman. Young sportspersons Tanvi Lad and Mahesh Mangaonkar were just too pleased to stand by the side of their hero for pictures. Grandmaster Pravin Thipsay expressed the pleasure he felt seeing Tendulkar. These pleasant moments took place at the Sports Journalists’ Association of Mumbai (SJAM) annual awards at the C. K. Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India on Sunday.

The event was attended by a galaxy of sportspersons that included Madhav Apte, Ajit Wadekar, Sushila Kapadia, Ami Ghia, Pradeep Gandhe, Leroy D’sa, Nirupama Mankad, M. Somaya, Viren Rasquinha, S. S. ‘Babu’ Narayan, Abbas Moontasir, Farokh Khodaiji, Kaity Khodaiji, Cawas Billimoria, Adille Sumariwala, Eddie Sequeira, Yasin Merchant, Vaman Apte, Vispy Kapadia, Arun Kedar, Raju Bhavsar, Raghunandan Gokhale, Bhagyashree Thipsay, Anupama Gokhale, international boxing officials Kishen Narsi and Jay Kowli.

In his valedictory address Natekar said that the inaugural IBL turned out to be resounding success. “The IBL is something we are very proud of. We were lucky to see this happen in our own life. I am sure, the IBL is going to stay here.’’

He also said that rising star P.V. Sindhu appeared defenceless in some areas in the match against Saina Nehwal. “Saina is among the top bracket, but she has to demonstrate patience and some more improvement to win the top spot.’’

Opening the chat show on the FIDE Chess World Championship match, Dronacharya awardee Gokhale said: “Anand will be lucky whether he wins or loses since the dollar is going up. Anand is an example of a good sportsperson and a gentleman. It is for the first time that Anand is facing a world champion. Carlsen is a blitz champion. If the match between Anand and Carlsen is tied, it will go into a blitz game. Both Anand and Carlsen are very talented. Chess will be benefit whether Anand wins or not.’’

Thipsay said: “Anand will not be at advantage playing in Chennai. But he is someone who will never complain. A master (Anand) will always beat a street fighter (Carlsen). I think the match will be very one-sided: either the master will beat the street fighter easily or vice-versa. Let’s all hope that Anand does well and wins the title.’’

After receiving the award ‘Tribute to a legend, Century of Centuries award’, Tendulkar thanked the association for felicitating him 26 years ago and now. “I remember the rickshaw ride to the venue in 1987; it was most comfortable (with C.P. Sant (SJAM president) sitting in the middle and Vinod Kambli to his right). Today I will like to be a protective father. My son (Arjun) has played his first club match. He’s mad after the game. Let him enjoy. But leave him alone.’’

The SJAM award winners were Sachin Tendulkar, Merzban Patel, Aditya Mehta, Rahi Sarnobat, Mumbai Ranji Team (captain Ajit Agarkar and MCA president Ravi Savant received the citation and trophy), Abhishek Nayar, Arman Jaffer, Punam Raut, Deepika Joseph, Mahesh Mangaonkar and Tanvi Lad.

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