An image of the article as it appeared in Free Press Journal
The arrival of Formula 1 in India must be seen as another significant step towards establishing India firmly in the world’s sports market. It is a natural consequence of the opening up of our economy, its stability – and the enormous numbers of the young consumers of televised sport here – that India has been identified as an emerging sports market, as a sporting destination.
Look at how soccer teams from Europe have started investing their attention here – Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are good examples. Consider how NBA has already set its foot on Indian soil by tying up with Mahindras; or, for that matter, look at how golf’s European PGA Tour has already expanded its base with a second-level Challenge Tour event in India. It was inevitable that Formula 1 President and CEO Bernie Ecclestone brought the sport to India sooner than later.
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Vikas Krishan (Photo courtesy: Indian Amateur Boxing Federation)
The sepia tint is strong but it does not take much for the image of an up and coming cricketer riding a bicycle to a newspaper office in Secunderabad to give the sports editors a copy of his photograph for use in the next morning’s edition comes through the sub-conscious. The montage that is playing on my mind is from the 70s when scoring a century or taking five wickets in the Hyderabad cricket league could enhance the chances of one’s photograph appearing in the newspaper.
This scene kept replaying in my mind’s eye when four Indian boxers – L Devendro Singh, Manoj Kumar, Jai Bhagwan and Vikas Krishan – won their pre-quarterfinals bouts in the AIBA World Championship in Baku, Azebaijan. And from the comfort of my home in Delhi, I got to hear Devendro and Manoj Kumar share their joy with boxing fans in India. This was thanks to the efforts of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation in sending journalists an audio file.
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Zafar Iqbal (left) and Ashok Kumar (Images courtesy: Amity and Stick2hockey.com)
It was a huge honour to be sharing the same space as hockey legends Ashok Kumar, member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, and Zafar Iqbal, who was part of the squad that won the 1980 Olympic Games gold medal. All India Radio broadcast our conversation on September 14, 2011. Our chat focussed on the Indian team’s win in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy tournament in Ordos, China, and on the road ahead that includes qualifying tournaments for the Champions Trophy and the Olympic Games. I started by asking Ashok if this win is another new dawn for Indian hockey.
Since the chat was in Hindi, I shall try and post a English version soon. Click on the link below to hear the chat.