Giving sports the desired fillip

print   ·   T  T  
MASTER PLAN Russian Grandmaster Alexei Dreev, with Indian chess players during the ONGC camp in Hyderabad
MASTER PLAN Russian Grandmaster Alexei Dreev, with Indian chess players during the ONGC camp in Hyderabad

ONGC is organising a 15-day preparatory camp for the major chess players

The annual budget allocation for sports in ONGC is Rs.100 crores, which is more than three times that of the A. P. government, even if one were to take it at face value that the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh gets its promised share of Rs.30 crores. And more importantly, ONCG has the cream of Indian sport on its rolls. From chess champions like Krishnan Sasikiran, Sandipan Chanda and Koneru Humpy to shooters Jaspal Rana, from cueist Pankaj Advani and cricketer Virender Sehwag to national badminton champion Chetan Anand. They have a total of 150 sportspersons and 89 of them are internationals players. So it was not a surprise when ONGC formally launched the preparatory camp, at the initiative of Andhra's first IM Lanka Ravi, for the big guns of Indian chess - Sasikiran, Neelotpal Das, Sandipan Chanda, Koneru Humpy, P. Konguvel, V. Koshy and Ravi himself in Hyderabad from February 25 for two weeks. To demonstrate its complete commitment to the cause, it has hired the services of Russian Grandmaster Alexei Dreev to take care of the training programme, which is aimed at smoothening the rough edges in their skills. The fact that Sasikiran feels that these sorts of camps should be held at least four times in a year also signifies the importance of such programmes - not just for its star value but also for its utility. The best part of this 15-day programme is that the players will be confided to brainstorming sessions on the 64 squares, with no liberty even to take a break during the day. "The intensity of the training is one thing which the chess players really admire," says Lanka Ravi, who got his IM title way back in 1987 but never really played to his full potential on the bigger platforms. "The idea behind inviting Dreev is that he is a very active player and had been acknowledged worldwide for his creativity in the openings repertoire, which is an area of concern for Indians," he explains. That even the World No.2 Koneru Humpy is all excited about this programme is also an acknowledgment of the efficacy of the very objective. "We all know that he is a master in the art of openings. The difference this time is that we will train with someone who is still an active player and who has played against the likes of Gary Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Viswanathan Anand and Alexander Khalifma," she explains. She also reminds that Dreev is known for his very logical moves and rarely comes up with any erratic game. ONGC, in fact, has a special affinity to chess by the simple fact that it gives financial assistance to young achievers like Gogineni Rohit, P.Lakshmi Sahiti, Padmini Rout, Parimarjan Negi and Tania Sachdev to name a few. The National Football League is one of the prestigious events, which it also sponsors. It is not just the glamour sport, but even rural events like kabaddi, kho kho figure prominently on the ONGC priority and so it's no surprising that it has the best kabaddi outfit in India right now.By all means, this premier public sector undertaking is giving back something to sports, which can always be appreciated and emulated by many corporate groups. V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM




Recent Article in METRO PLUS

A bold statementAshavariPhoto: Sudhakara Jain

A terrible beauty

Dancer Ashavari sees Surpanakha and Sita as victims of the patriarchal system »