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Athletics

This category contains 21 posts

Sadiq Khan: Stick with it


“There is a calmness and focus running brings, and it’s not just beneficial for physical health, but mental health too. Stick with it and it can change your life.” – Sadiq Khan, runner and mayor of London.

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Robert Pirsig: Equilibrium


“If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in a equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.” – Robert Pirsig, author and philosopher.

Florence Griffith Joyner and John Hanc: Running


“We run because it makes us feel like winners, no matter how slow or how fast we go.”

—Florence Griffith Joyner and John Hanc, Running for Dummies. 

Sarah Lesko: Aging


“I believe in aging. And aging in a badass way.”
—Sarah Lesko, runner and family doctor.

Ashwini Nachappa: Inherent


​”Love for sport is inherent in a child. All we need to do is to nurture it and give it wings. And, for this we need to understand that the mind is not devoid of the body. They work best with each other.” 

—Ashwini Nachappa. 

Ashwini Nachappa: Happy by-product


“An Olympic medal is a happy by-product of a purposefully designed programme that begins in school. Starting, therefore, with an objective of winning medals is holding the wrong end of the stick. By thinking about winning medals first, we will never build a system that naturally and continually throws up great athletes.”

—Ashwini Nachappa.

Should Russia be disbarred from Rio?


The Court for Arbitration in Sports (CAS) has pronounced its verdict.

The seat of the International Olympic Committe...

The seat of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The IAAF-imposed ban on the Russian Athletics Federation stays.

No Russian track-and-field athlete will be competing in Rio—at least, not under their national flag.

The International Olympic Committee will decide the fate of the Russian contingent when it meets today.

IOC Headquater

IOC headquarters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Lausanne, Switzerland - IOC seat Česk...

English: Lausanne, Switzerland – IOC seat Česky: Lausanne, Švýcarsko – sídlo MOV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The CAS judgment is non-binding on the Committee.

WADA and predominantly western nations’ Olympic Committees are vocally in favour of a blanket ban on the rogue nation given clear and damning evidence of state-sponsored collusion in doping. They feel that the IOC must exhibit ‘zerotolerance‘  towards systematic doping by any state. 

Olympic Games 1896, Athens. The International ...

Olympic Games 1896, Athens. The International Olympic Committee. From Left to right, standing: Gebhardt (Germany), Guth-Jarkovsky (Bohemia), Kemeny (Hungary), Balck (Sweden); seated : Coubertin (France), Vikelas (Greece & chairman), Butovsky (Russia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Olympic Committees have been banned before—simply not for drug-related scandals.

Collective responsibility should not come at the cost of individual justice—the IOC is seeking a balance.

The Russian public believes that their country is being discriminated against by the Western world. They cannot accept that all their athletes are drugged.

A sanction against all Russian competitors would be unfair to those abiding by the rule book. 

While the IOC has several options before arriving at a final decision, a simple solution would be to allow the Russians to participate—both under their national banner and the Olympic one but have each one of their athletes subjected to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing.

This would allow clean athletes to breathe freely and hopefully deter sportspersons who are doping.

This would also send a strong message to errant national sports federations everywhere that unless they clean up their act, their athletes and their fellow countrymen will be treated like Caesar’s wife—not above suspicion.

Simply leaving the decision to international sports federations burdens them further and not all of them are fully equipped to make an informed decision on the matter.

Whatever the IOC’s decision, there will be no pleasing everyone.

That’s a given.

Bhaag, Milkha, Bhaag: Biopic for masses and classes


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Language: Hindi

Directed by:
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Produced by:
Rajiv Tandon
Raghav Bahl
Maitreyee Dasgupta
Madhav Roy Kapur
Rachvin Narula
Shyam P.S
Navmeet Singh
P. S. Bharathi

Written by:
Prasoon Joshi

Based on
The Race of My Life by Milkha Singh and Sonia Sanwalka

  • Farhan Akhtar as Subedar Milkha Singh a.k.a. The Flying Sikh
  • Japtej Singh as young Milkha
  • Divya Dutta as Isri Kaur, Milkha’s elder sister
  • Meesha Shafi as Perizaad
  • Pavan Malhotra as Hawaldar (Constable) Gurudev Singh, Milkha’s coach during his days in the Indian Army
  • Yograj Singh as Ranveer Singh, Milkha’s coach
  • Art Malik as Sampooran Singh, Milkha’s father
  • Prakash Raj as Veerapandian
  • K.K.Raina as Mr. Wadhwa
  • Rebecca Breeds as Stella
  • Dalip Tahil as Jawaharlal Nehru
  • Dev Gill as Abdul Khaliq
  • Nawab Shah as Abdul Khaliq’s coach
  • Jass Bhatia as Mahinder
  • Sonam Kapoor as Biro, Milkha’s fleeting love interest 

The movie begins with the Flying Sikh’s heart-breaking loss at the Rome Olympics in the 400 metres. Milkha Singh is far ahead of the field but turns his head to see where his rivals are and loses vital seconds. The result is a fourth place finish; yet, he too breaks the Olympic record along with the medallists.

Milkha is haunted by ghosts of his childhood past from Govindpura, in the then Punjab Province, British India—now Muzaffargarh District, Pakistan.

Milkha’s parents, a brother and two sisters were slaughtered before his eyes in the violence that ensued following the partition of British India. 

The film takes off with Milkha’s return to India and his refusal to lead a contingent of Indian athletes to Pakistan to race against Abdul Khaliq—-the fastest man in Asia.

Milkha’s back story is narrated by Pavan Malhotra as Hawaldar Gurudev Singh, Milkha’s initial coach,  and how he made the journey from a refugee camp to becoming the foremost Indian sportsperson of his generation and arguably of all time.

The movie is gripping while depicting life in a refugee camp, Milkha’s initiation into a life of petty crime but meanders in the scenes portraying his first love Biro and his moments with her.

To prove himself worthy of Biro, Milkha quits his criminal ways and joins the army.

The young Sardar starts running to gain an extra glass of milk, two eggs and to be excused from regular drill.

Milkha is soon on his way to becoming one of India’s top athletes and makes the cut for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

There he meets and falls for Stella, played by Rebecca Breeds, the grand-daughter of his Australian technical coach. Breeds is charming, delightful and lights up the screen with her cameo.

The Games, however, are a disaster for Milkha on the field. He loses his race and vows to make good by breaking the existing world record of 45.90 seconds.

He trains hard over the next four years with unyielding determination and even rejects a romantic overture from Indian Olympic swimmer Perizaad.

Milkha takes the world by storm in the run-up to the Rome Olympics and is one the pre-Games favourites for the 400 metres.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Milkha makes the journey across the border for the Friendly Games against Pakistan after being persuaded by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The highlight of the movie is his visit back to his village Govindpura where he exorcises demons of the past and is reunited with his boyhood friend Sampreet.

The Friendly Games race against Abdul Khaliq is a formality with Singh much too strong and powerful for his opponents.

The film ends with an adult Milkha Singh completing a victory lap visualizing his boyish self running alongside him.

Overall,  an enjoyable movie especially for sports fans and a ‘Don’t miss’ if you’re a follower of Indian athletics. 

Rahul S Verghese: Running, living and marketing


The first part of the interview can be read here.

What is the S in the Rahul S Verghese? I believe it’s Salim.  Is there a story there?
My middle name is Salim – as mentioned on the cover of my book – Running And Living. My parents decided to symbolise the diversity of our wonderful country 🙂
 
 
 
Your TEDX video tells us a lot about your journey and the founding of Running and Living. Anything you’d like to add?

As in one of the TEDx videos’s, this is a journey of passion and that has fewer business plans but is more about like minded people connecting – whether as customers, or as partners. We constantly seek out people with passion, and that’s what drives us.

 
 
R & L organize 30 races over 10 states in a year. Most of these destinations are exotic such as Sikkim, Rishikesh etc. What’s the thinking behind choosing these kind of destinations? What are the kind of stories that runners bring to these races? Where are they from? What do they do?

People come from across the country and from varied backgrounds and with the intermingling, apart from the fun, we all learn a little more about life, and some aspect of our planet. Birdwatchers, photographers, environmentalists, explorers, trekkers, come to life as we all step out of our work clothes – and they come from across India – from all walks of life and varied professions.The country is vast and varied and has so much to offer and we are increasingly stuck in our air-conditioned offices. Our runs are about an immersion into the environment, whether near or far from home, and falling in love with it, and in an oblique way, getting people more engaged about ecology and sustainability.
Mumbai appears to suffer in comparison to the other races organized by R & L. The race at Aarey hardly stands out from the other races in Mumbai. The race organized at Borivali National Park is more scenic. Any comments? Would you recommend the Alibaug run instead?

Don’t agree with you at all that Mumbai suffers in comparison. Aarey is a lovely green space with leafy paths and is accessible and provides the additional toughness and the twist in the tale. A run on a beach is a different experience, and that’s what we strive to provide – different experiences – across the country.

Which race amongst the R & L ones,  in your opinion,  has the toughest course?

The Aarey run in June, the Aravalli run in July, Shimla in Sept are tough, but the Rishikesh 25k is the most challenging.
You call yourself a marketing company, not a running company. Why?
A marketing company with a passion for running and where running is the fun platform to connect. Thats how we strive to make our experiences sustainable.
You talk to corporates about “enhancing productivity, shaving off 10-15% of total employee cost to company, Building a high performance team”. Is that an easy sell?
Nothing path breaking is easy to sell. If it is, its not path breaking 🙂
 
You have a co-founder/partner Anita Bhargava whom your site lists as Chief Running Enthusiast. Can you tell us more about her? Is she the ‘yin’ to your marketing ‘yang’?
Anita is now more of a mentor at this point of time and is engaged in a variety of other activities.
 
Your father B. G . Verghese was a renowned journalist and a recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award. What are your best memories of him and what inspiration do you draw from him?
Straightness of character, standing firm if you feel you are correct even when in the minority, and being ever optimistic are a few of the things I draw from my memories of my father.
You quit your job at Motorola in the States to pursue your passion for running. You were a director there. How easy or difficult was it for you to uproot yourself?

If you think of it as ‘uprooting‘ anything is tough, if you think of it as a transition of fusing 25 years of marketing experience with 7 years of running experience, it is not. Any transition has its challenges and entrepreneurship provides its thrills, tests and rewards. And I thrive on challenge and adventure.

You studied at IIM Ahmedabad from 1980 to 1982. The IIMs are facing competition from several management schools both private and foreign. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?

I think the IIM’s are poor marketing and business organisations, and the huge governmental control does not help their case. They need to shake out and do case studies on themselves and get their students – freshers, mid managers and senior managers to ideate on different strategies and get their management teams to go out and build an exciting vision and move forward.

How would you define yourself now?

A passionate adventurer, keen to live life to the fullest, who wants to get millions of others to do the same.

Final word for the readers-

The most critical thing about running for you is to enjoy it rather than it being a chore, or being stressed out about some aspect of it, or being too caught up with distance or speed or form etc. There is a time and place for each one of them, but the backbone has to be enjoyment. Have fun.

Rahul Verghese is the founder of Running and Living.

Disclosure: The interview was facilitated via email. Answers are published after running spell-check.

Newton D’souza: Sportsman, sporting guy and more than just a running enthusiast


FB_IMG_14617537254754513_resizedHow would you define yourself?

A fun loving , Positive, full of energy person who believes that Life is very short and we have to make the most of it.

When did you start running? What was your first race? How many races have you completed so far? Can you break it down by distances?

I used to run during school days in races however lost touch after that when life’s hectic schedule took over . The Weighing scale touched 100 kgs in 2007 and that’s when I realised, I need to start running again.

The SCMM Dream Run in Jan 2008 followed by the HM in 2009

1 full marathon, 12 Half marathons, one 25K run ( BNP endurathon) and approx.. 17 nos 10K runs

Which race in your opinion is the toughest course?

Amongst the ones I have run.. It is BNP Endurathon because of the Steep climbs it has.

Have you ever not completed a race? When and why?

Never… Crammed once but completed within qualifying time

Have you run races injured or sick? What’s your advice to runners concerning it?

Ran one race in 2011 where I had just recovered 2 weeks prior to the race from having water deposited in my lungs and mild fever .

 

My advice, is know your body really well and then take a decision. Run that race for Fun and ignore the timing part if injured or sick.

Have you ever been a pacer? When, where? Would you like to do it more often?

Yes.. At Aarey Half Marathon in 2010. Was a 2hr 30 mins pacer.   Yes , would love to as its an amazing experience…

 

What, in your opinion, is an accessory every runner must have?

A Simple Stop Watch

 

You’ve always been a sportsperson from a young age. What sports were you into when you were much younger? Could you list your medals and/or awards?

Football , Hockey, Cricket, Athletics  &, Langdi (Guess this game developed my strong legs for running).. on a lighter note.

 

 

It’s all during school Days ( 100 M , 200 M , 400M , 800 M ( won 3rd place at State level in junior category) )

 

 

Is it true that even if you’ve not been active physically for a time, the base you’ve built when active stands you in good stead when you resume? I’ve read articles that say so. What’s been your personal experience?

 

Yes its true and I am a prime example. From being an active sports person during younger days to a fat obese man in the thirties to a Sub 2 hrs  half marathon runner in the 40’s)

 

At one time, you were considering doing the triathlon. What prevented  you?

Still not confident about completing the swimming part of it as well as .. don’t have the time to practise for it.

Do you draw any lessons from running that you incorporate into your personal and professional life? What are they?

Yes.. Personal life is nothing but a marathon race. You do not have to win the race or be a top category runner to be a marathoner… Which many strive for and get disappointed with life because they hav’nt achieved it. You have to only complete the race  and enjoy it and  keep striving to getting your personal timing/ Life better.

 

You travel quite often for work. How do you fit in running into your busy schedule?

Yes I Do..    Somehow try to manage it when ever I have the time. To be honest, I haven’t been practising much for the last 2 years due to travel and work.

 

Where do you train? How often?

Mostly at the Air India ground in kalina and at times on Juhu beach or Bandra Mount Marys ( for hill runs)

On an average .. twice a week

 

Any last words for the readers?

Birds were meant to fly, Fish were meant to swim and Human’s were to Run.   It  comes Naturally.

 

Newton D’souza is a friend first. He’s also Senior Management level at Tech Mahindra Business Service Group a  Reputed ITes & BPO company. His running motto is: I don’t have a Runners Body but this Body can and will always Run.

Email: ndsouza946@gmail.com

 

 

Disclosure: The interview was conducted via email. The answers are published as-is.

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