Mysore as a sports city!
Even as the Country hosts Commonwealth Games-2010 starting October this year, the best sporting talents from Mysore in swimming, tennis and skating seek more support and encouragement to deliver their best at the highly competitive international events, writes Eswar Singh K R
The City of Mysore is loved by everyone for its salubrious climate, education, music, heritage and cultural tradition. However, the sports is the one area where its full potential remains to be tapped.
It has nurtured many a sporting talents in different games. A number of children and youth have made us proud leaving their mark at the national tournaments and international championships. Amid lack of infrastructure and many other odds, young sporting talents from Mysore are achieving newer heights. As the Country prepares to host the Commonwealth Games-2010 starting October this year, City Herald tries to look into the state of affairs of three sports events - swimming, tennis and skating. For the first time, skating has been included in Asian games this year. When sporting giant China hosts Asiad in November, skaters from Mysore are looking forward to leave an indelible mark in the event, even amidst cut-throat competition from the deft Chinese sportspersons. There are also good swimmers and tennis players in the making from Mysore with youngsters showing extraordinary talents despite the lack of facility and support to a minimal level.
Nabhiraj, senior swimming coach, though retired recently is still actively training children a nd the teenagers for national and international events. According to him, Mysore has produced best swimmers for the Karnataka contingent after Bangalore. “Every year, there are atleast 2-3 swimmers from Mysore to fight it out in national swimming events,” he says. But, the infrastructure facility to train swimmers is not sufficient.
The City requires atleast a 25 metres swimming pool. Though, many big educational institutions and hotels have their own facility, the only swimming pool accessible to general public is the University Swimming pool at Saraswathipuram. It had been a training ground for many of city’s best swimmers because of good maintenance from the University, he opines. Presently, Vipul V S, Sanjay, Akash seem promising enough to enter the Nationals.
While, Shivakumar has participated in the All India inter-university swimming competition, he says.
Even though many others are talented, the recent academic structure of semester scheme has made the practice irregular. It takes a toll on their performances in championships.
A dedicated 25 metres swimming pool could also be used to hold competitions within the district and inter-collegiate events which help swimmers to make a comparison and know their potentials.
In comparison with swimming and others, Tennis has no grouse about lack of infrastructure. If the Mysore Tennis Club near Jayanagar has some excellent infrastructure, a number of private academies have propped up in city giving tough competition to four decade old tennis club.
If Poojashree who plays at the Garden Tennis club has shone at the international level, there are many budding talents like Dhruthi Venugopal, Suraj Prabodh, Neeth Devaiah, and Jayadeva who hold promise. While, senior players who passed out of the Club like Raghuveer, P Srinath and many others have turned into internationally recognised coaches.
Srinivas Urs, secretary of the Mysore Tennis Club told City Herald that the club has about 350 members including members, life members and the trainees, though all do not turn up on regular basis.
The club has a good facility, but it may not be enough for a long term. “We have produced the best players like P Srinath and Rohan Bopanna who played for Nationals. Srinath played Davis and currently is an acclaimed coach,” he said.
The Club has transformed four of its court Synthetic spending Rs 19 lakhs under the MPLAD fund, donations from Rajyasabha member Ramaswamy, and through other sources. Now, it is planning to turn the other two of its courts Synthetic as Foreign Minister S M Krishna who has a passion for tennis has released Rs 5 lakh under his MPLAD funds and the Club is trying to mobilise rest of about Rs 15 lakhs required for turning two courts Synthetic.
Urs thanks Mysore City Corporation for supporting Tennis activity by allowing the Club to operate on its land near the Ashokapuram railway station. There are about 70 children practising tennis on a daily basis in the club, he says.
Though, Skating has more national and international champions than any other sports, it has not received its due credit is what skaters and their coach from Mysore opine.
“For the Asiad, I expect atleast 3-4 Mysoreans in the eight-member Indian team,” says Srikanth Rao, coach for the Indian Skaters’ Team and founder of Rao’s Roller Skating Academy and Vishwamitra Roller Skating club.
The probables to represent the Asiad are Prathik Raja, Varsha Puranik, Pragna H A, G V Raghavendra and Varshith Venugopal. Though, the rinks these youth practice are not upto the international standards, their passion for the game has put them on the top echelons of Indian skaters. These skaters would be leaving for Vishakapatanam next month for the selections. Prathik has been a three-time national champion and participated in international skating thrice and runs his Imperial Roller skating on a University place at Kukkarahalli.
His school has produced five national champions and two international skaters who include Shirvani R Shetty and Akruthi Sharma. “Most of the Country’s good skaters are from Mysore. The game should get more recognition,” feels Prathik.
The city’s first rink at Balbhavan is rather desolate. The rinks presently available is Rao’s Academy rink on Apollo Hospital road and one each at J K Grounds and Vijayangar.
The good news is that the MUDA is coming up with a rink developed under PPP model at Shivaratreeshwaranagar near Bannimantap.
It has given about two acres land on lease to Rao’s Academy which has come up with a rink on international standard in the premises.
Srikanth Rao, who has developed the rink says he wants see that Mysore has the Country’s best rink and the city produced a world champion in the coming days.
The new rink on which about 60 per cent work is over has roller hockey rink at the centre and a speed skating rink surrounding it. The 200 metres rink can host to national championships as well. The Academy has spent more than 25 lakhs so far on the new rink, he says.