Returning to the land of their ancestors

Returning to the land of their ancestors

Commonwealth Games: Sookoo, Lall and Pereira delighted at homecoming

Returning to the land of their ancestors

Trinidad & Tobago archer Rakesh Sookoo, his compatriot and full-bore shooter Justin Chandrashekhar Lall and Canada’s Ken Pereira will be some of the athletes coming to the CWG with a feeling of stepping into their ancestral home after several years.

Sookoo does not exactly remember the birthplace of his ancestors, but the archer said he felt at home coming to India. “I don’t from which part of India my ancestors come from.
But this is my first visit and I really like this place. I hope I can see a bit more of India and know a bit more about the culture and people here,” Sookoo said.

The initial picture of India has impressed him a lot. “I have heard a lot of stories about India – about the crowd, traffic snarls and poverty. But I am so happy with whatever I have seen here so far. Our trip from the airport to hotel was so smooth, through wide and clean roads. I am impressed,” he added in a thick Caribbean accent.

Movie culture
Another aspect of India that left him impressed is the movie culture. “I have seen a few big malls and theatres here, much bigger than what we have in Trinidad. I am also familiar with a few Hindi movies as some of my Indian friends in Trinidad bought some CDs sometime back.

“They make for good watching. I want to go to Connaught Place, the hotel guys told me that’s one of the biggest and oldest shopping areas in the world,” Sookoo said.

His compatriot Lall concurred. “Before our trip to India, we had heard many stories and many of them were not confidence-inspiring. We heard about dengue, flood and terrorists shooting some tourists and some criticism about the Games Village. But once landed in India, I was so relieved. I hope I can stand on the podium in my event,” said Lall, a two-time national full-bore champion.

Lall said T&T had a strong Indian connection in sports, especially in cricket. “Many people know Trinidad as Brian Lara’s place. Lara is a superstar there and many other Indian cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, MS Dhoni and Virender Sehwag too are followed keenly back home. There are a lot of Indian-origin players playing in the Trinidad league and T&T skipper Darren Ganga is a good friend of mine,” he noted.

Pereira will land in India on Monday with his colleagues, and the Canadian men’s hockey team skipper was all excited about his trip. However, the veteran player has one more reason to look forward to his journey to Delhi as he will be Canada’s flag-bearer in the CWG opening ceremony.

“It will be one of the biggest moments in my career. Carrying the Maple Leaf flag in front of a packed stadium will certainly be one of the proudest moments of my life. I am sure a lot of my relatives in India will be watching me on TV,” Pereira, whose ancestors are from Goa, said through an e-mail.

“I still keep in touch with a few people in India, so I hope it will be a warm experience for me. I also hope Canada will improve its medal tally in Delhi,” Pereira, who has donned the national colours more than 300 times, said.

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