Arikapudi Ramana Rao is a rarity in Indian volleyball.
Not only did he excel for his native state (Andhra Pradesh), Rao also shone in Tamil Nadu, his `second home’.Rao carved a niche for himself as a coach too, becoming in 1986 an FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) instructor, the first Indian to do so.
It is no surprise then that Rao, the national team’s head coach during the Asian volleyball championships in Perth, Australia, in 1991, is among the chosen few to have won both the Arjuna award (in 1977-78) and the prestigious Dronacharya award (in 1990-91).
Born in Chamallapudi village near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, volleyball caught Rao’s attention relatively late, at college.”While studying at Hindu College in Guntur, I used to play both basketball and volleyball regularly since both courts were side-by-side,” recalls Rao.He did well for the college in both disciplines. “There came a point when I had to choose between the two, and I went with volleyball,” says Rao. It was a master-stroke because soon after his graduation, Rao got an offer to join the Southern Central Railway (SCR) team in Hyderabad. “At SCR, I had an opportunity to play in various nationallevel tournaments which gave me the exposure. Soon, I featured in the Indian team which was a huge high,” he says.
In 1970, Rao shifted base to the erstwhile Madras, courtesy an offer from State Bank of India (SBI) “They (SBI) had to wait for about six months before I joined, since Railways were reluctant to relieve me. I had to report on April 30, 1970, and I got my relieving order only a day prior to that,” says Rao. But that didn’t affect Rao’s performance and he soon made his mark with his new employers in his new home. “SBI had a great side, and most of the members were part of the state side.”
He may have been a part of numerous victorious squads throughout his glittering career, but winning the maiden national title for his adopted state remains close to Rao’s heart. “The 1975-76 nationals in Trichy where we won the title were special. We were two sets down in the final, and the crowd, which had gathered in large numbers, left the stadium disappointed. By the time we pulled things back, there were very few left to cheer us,” says Rao.
However, many fans came to congratulate Rao the next day after learning about Tamil Nadu’s spec t a c u l a r w i n through the newspapers. “Be it during a practice session or during a game -we were always cheered by the spectators in Madras.
If not for the crowd, I don’t think there will be volleyball or the players,” he says.
It is thanks to the efforts of the likes of Rao and G E Sridharan, another stalwart from the state that Tamil Nadu remains a force to reckon with in volleyball in the country .
(A weekly column on famous sport spersons whose first playing field was Chennai and its neighbourhood)
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Chennai / by Prasad RS, TNN / January 10th, 2014
December 22nd, 2014Sports
N. Venkata Rao, former general secretary of Andhra Cricket Association and former vice president of BCCI, paid glowing tributes to D.V. Subba Rao who passed away on Saturday.
Subba Rao’s mortal remains were consigned to the flames on Sunday.
D.V. Subba Rao and Venkata Rao were together as president and secretary of ACA from 1991 to 2003 and functioned in close coordination.
They had together accomplished the completion of present international stadium at P.M. Palem in Visakhapatnam for which Subba Rao led from the front.
Venkata Rao recalled the untiring efforts P.R. Narayanaswami, the then convenor of the stadium committee, K. Parthasaradhi, secretary, VDCA, and late R.V.V.K. Prasad, treasurer, who played a significant role behind the scene. Mr. Venkata Rao endorsed the Narayanaswami’s view to name the present international stadium after D.V. Subba Rao and said it would be a fitting tribute to him.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Visakhapatnam / by Special Correspondent / Visakhapatnam – December 22nd, 2014
Veteran Telugu sports writer and journalist M Babu passed away here at his residence on Wednesday.
He was 74 years old. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
He was in good health even at 74, but suffered a suffered cardiac problem in the morning and breathed his last.
He served as a physical education teacher in various Zilla Parishad schools in Krishna district.
Incidentally, his wife happens to be a retired physical education teacher and one of his sons, serves as a physical education teacher in Krishna district.
After retiring as a physical education teacher, he joined Eenadu Telugu daily as a sports writer, before serving in other Telugu dailies like Andhra Jyothi and Vaartha, where he held similar posts.
He was the first Telugu sports journalist in Krishna district and was an authority on all sports. He was a guide as well as mentor to other sports journalists and he was present at all major sports events held in the city.
Journalists in the city affectionately called him “babai” (uncle) in Telugu.
Sports journalists, members of sports associations and local politicians visited his house to pay their last tributes to him.
source: http://www.outlookindia.com / Outlook / Home / Vijayawada – December 17th, 2014
December 3rd, 2014Sports
Once considered the cradle of badminton tournaments in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada is eagerly looking forward to the 79th Senior National Badminton Championship scheduled to be held in the city in January-February, 2015, to revive its past glory.
After a long gap of 34 years, the city will be hosting the national badminton championship, which will be the basis of selection for five international tournaments – German Open, All England Championship, French Open, India Open and Sudirman Cup.
Remembering the heydays of badminton in Vijayawada and how the city became the training ground for many international players, Punnaiah Choudary K Ch, general secretary of Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association says it all started in 1976, when the South Zone Inter-State Badminton Tournament was organised at Electricity Board Hall.
The likes of Prakash Padukone, the then reigning champion played in the tournament, which saw an overwhelming response. Considering the interest of people of Vijayawada in sports activity, the then district collector Santhanam, along with sub-collector AVS Reddy and municipal commissioner GP Rao, took the initative to get funds for the construction of the sports ground in 20 acres, which today is known as IGMC Stadium, he said.
The team of officials, later on played a vital role in the construction of Dandamudi Rajagopal Rao Indoor Stadium. The works commenced in 1979 and the indoor stadium with four badminton courts was ready by 1980.
The inaugural tournament at the stadium was the Senior National Badminton Championship and it witnessed a sensational victory of Syed Modi over Prakash Padukone.
However, since the government changed in 2004, the downfall of the stadium commenced. In 2005, all sports academies across the state including badminton and other academics in Vijayawada were closed by the government.
“In all, 800 boys and girls were getting trained in different sports in about five different academies at the time,” Chowdary said.Around the same time, Pullela Gopichand started his academy in Hyderabad and the focus of badminton was shifted to that place. Then on, no major badminton tournament was organised anywhere else in the state other than Hyderabad.
“We are eagerly looking for the tournament and are hoping to see the past glory of badminton again in the city,’’ D Srinivas, a middle-aged sports enthusiast said. Stadium authorities are now busy making the arrangements for the tournament.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Express News Service / December 02nd, 2014
December 3rd, 2014Sports
Former Andhra medium pacer Doddapaneni Kalyan Krishna is a mightily pleased man for he got an opportunity to serve city cricket in a fruitful manner.
Andhra Cricket Association, in an executive committee meeting held recently made Kalyan Krishna the head coach of Krishna District Cricket Association (KDCA) with special emphasis to improve the standards of senior and under-19 segments.
“Along with other coaches I will streamline the activities and instil confidence in players. My efforts will be to produce more number of players for Andhra teams,” said Kalyan, who called it a day from first class cricket early this year.
Incidentally, Kalyan made his debut in 2002-2003 against Mumbai and in a career spanning 12 years he took 154 wickets in the Ranji Trophy with five five-wicket hauls in 51 outings.
He said he will be organising clinics both for batting and bowling and attend nets to help rookies play the game properly. “The ongoing Power League will conclude in the first week of December. I will interact with all the clubs to chalk out a plan to popularise the game among youngsters”.
KDCA organises three leagues — Power League, ‘B’ Division and inter-school — every year. Many avid cricket followers felt that more tournaments were required to keep the players busy and help them get the playing experience.
“The standard of cricket in Vijayawada and in Krishna District has reached new low. We need to rope players like Kalyan to rejuvenate the game,” felt a veteran cricketer. With the new grounds coming up at Moolapadu at city’s outskirts, the association can use serves Kalyan more effectively now.
ACA director M.S.K. Prasad said that efforts were on to revive some of the defunct tournaments in the districts. “Tournaments like Ranga Rao memorial tourney at Rajahmundry, Baba memorial at Eluru, Nessys and Welcome Trophies in Vijayawada and K.N.V Prasad Memorial Tournament at Guntur were popular until 90s. Many players, who played these tournaments regularly, went on to become Ranji players. We will like to put these tourneys back on the track,” Mr. Prasad said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by J. R. Sridharan / Vijayawada – November 26th, 2014
November 25th, 2014Sports
The frail looking class VII student, M. Satyavathi, bagged bronze in Snatch and Clean and Jerk in the recently conducted AP Women’s Weightlifting Championship.
A student of Government Residential School for Visually Challenged Girls at Sagar Nagar, she competed with regular weightlifters and bested them with a bronze.
“It was very nice getting a medal, there were many competitors and they were helpful too. They congratulated me on my medal,” Satyavathi said. She is a very committed performer and with a little encouragement she can win a medal at the Paralympics, school principal Nimton Babu said. Her parents are fisherfolk who can barely make both ends meet and as a result Satyavathi is what she is a frail 13-year-old who does not seem capable of the feat.
“If someone can help her with a proper protein diet, she can beat everyone else in any championship,” the principal added. The students have trained without proper sports equipment. “The principal believes that the students are capable of achieving great heights and the teachers too are very cooperative and this has helped the students train for competitions,” their physical education teacher said.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News>Visakhapatnam / by Special Correspondent / Visakhapatnam – November 25th, 2014
November 23rd, 2014Sports
Ashwin Hebbar has given people of Nellore a reason to rejoice
His 250 against Haryana and 175 against Jharkhand in the Cooch Behar fixtures made the selectors come to an agreement to blood him in first class circuit. Nineteen-year-old Ashwin Hebbar found a place in Mohammad Kaif-led Andhra Ranji team for the season thus bolstering the team’s middle-order.
Nellore turned jubilant when after a long gap, a player from the district was picked for the Ranji team. “The last man to earn the cap was all rounder Fayaq Ahmed,” recollects Andhra Cricket Association statistician G. Phani. Ashwin is a product of ACA’s academy concept which took shape in 2010. The sprucing up of three academies at Mangalagiri, Kapada and Vizianagaram for three age groups has done a world of good to junior cricket.
“Players like Ashwin Hebbar, Naren Reddy, Ricky Bhui, MUB Sriram and Karan Shinde are the products of these academies,” says a proud Prasad. For an introvert, who is an avid reader, this season will be an important one for he will aim to cement his place if opportunities are given by the management to perform.
“He has been performing consistently in the junior grade and it is imperative to promote him to keep his morale high. He is also a good fielder in the point-cover region and he is good team man who bowls at gentle medium pace,” says Srinivas Reddy, an ACA coach.
Many administrators and coaches rate Ashwin high when it came to patience. “He has loads of it and he loves to play a waiting game. He has all the strokes but he plays according to situation,” says Prasad. Ashwin had a dream run in the junior grade by slamming more than 500 runs in many seasons and he led Andhra team to win the South Zone under-16 honours.
Many feel that lack of flamboyance like Karan Shinde and Ricky Bhui was the main reason for Ashwin efforts going unnoticed. “He is a quiet bloke. He minds his business and he is not the noisy type to draw the attention,” says a coach.
A darling of coaches, Ashwin always places his team before self. “He is a quintessential middle order batsman but when team demanded, he opened the innings for team and scored big runs. But when it came to national selections he could not match the performance of the regular openers of the rival teams,” says Prasad.
Andhra begins its Ranji voyage from December 7 at Vizag against Hyderabad and will wind up in early February (2015) after playing seven matches and Ashwin certainly has his work cut out for him.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> MetroPlus / by J.R. Sridharan / November 21st, 2014
November 22nd, 2014Sports
Women boxers from Guntur district put up a spirited fight. A special boxing ring was put up in front of indoor stadium with the support of District Boxing Association.
Women boxers from the district put up a spirited fight to finish a close second behind Visakhapatnam at the end of finals of Andhra Pradesh State Women Sports Meet that concluded here at Brahmananda Reddy Stadium on Friday.
The women boxers put up a commendable fight to put a tally of 39 points finishing closely behind Visakhapatnam (45 points).
T. Prameela who won a silver medal in 45-48 kg category was declared as best loser while B. Likhita from Srikakulum was declared as best winner. Ch. Naga Jyothi from Guntur was declared as upcoming boxer.
P. Farzana from Guntur won gold medal in the 81 kg category beating K. Saniya from Chittoor.
Boxers from Visakhapatnam packed a punch as they bagged a rich haul of medals. G. Jyothi (45-48 kg), V. Gnaneswari (52-54 kg), A. Hema (54-57 kg), G. Shaara (60-64 kg), G. Gaya Rupini (64-69 kg), S. Marthamma (69-75 kg) and D. Vara Lakshmi (75-81 kg) bagged gold medals.
District Sports Development Officer G. Venkateswara Rao inaugurated the competitions. A special boxing ring was put up in front of indoor stadium with the support of District Boxing Association.
Secretary Kosana Venugopala Rao, vice president Kosana Subba Rao, senior boxers Chiranjeevi, Manohar, Parsa Venkateswara Rao and boxing coach R. Viswanath were present. Senior referees Sai Prasad, Narsing Rao, Ramesh and Rajeswara Rao were also present.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by P. Samuel Jonathan / Guntur – November 22nd, 2014
November 22nd, 2014Sports
Sportspersons win four gold medals in meet
Krishna District athletes’ reigned supreme winning four gold medals in archery, gymnastics, badminton and table tennis in the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan women’s sports and games meet that concluded on Friday. East Godavari and Vizag took weightlifting and tennis honours while Chittoor and Kurnool took the first place in judo and swimming respectively.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Minister for Excise Kollu Ravindra said that these meets will help sports administrators tap the raw talent from rural areas.
“Sports, when compared other countries, is lagging behind in India and the need of the hour of effective policies both by the Central and the State governments. Sports took back seat during the Congress rule for 10 years and the new State after bifurcation will witness surge in sports activities under the stewardship of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu,” he promised.
MP Kesineni Srinivas said under the Local Area Development Scheme he had sanctioned Rs. 3 lakhs to 100-odd municipal schools in city towards purchase of sports equipment.
“The new capital city will witness best of sports infrastructure and playfields. Andhra Cricket Association has already taken the cue and is constructing a stadium at Mangalagiri,” he pointed out. He said though the 13 districts did not have quality infrastructure, the athletes excelled in their respective events by winning several medals.
Zilla Parishad Chairperson Gadde Anuradha said players like Koneru Humpy and Karnam Malleswari inspired many youngsters to pursue sports and games and asked women to shun the ‘soft’ image and train hard to make a mark in sports.
Krishna District Olympic Association secretary K.P. Rao emphasised the importance of making sports as a compulsory subject in the school curriculum.
City Mayor Koneru Sridhar, Joint Collector J. Murali, sports administrators K.Ch. Punnaiah Chowdary, Ch. Satyanarayana, K. Pattabhi Ram and District Sports Development Officer P. Ramakrishna took part.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – November 22nd, 2014
Agaramsetty Yeshwant Kumar has bagged the individual championship title at the A.P State Junior Inter District Athletics meet held in Vijayawada recently. Yeshwant bagged the title in under-18 group.
Athletics Association of Guntur district secretary G. Seshaiah congratulated Yeshwant and his coach Rama Sundari and gave away Rs.1,000 and a memento. G, Usha Rani and Siva Prasad, executive council members of the association were present.
A promising athlete, Yeshwant had earlier bagged gold medal at Pentathlon event at the 23rd Nationals held at Hyderabad in 2011 and bronze in high-jump event. His impressive tally of 10 gold and an equal number of silver and bronze medals tells some thing about his abilities.
The boy being coached by veteran athlete, Rama Sundari, is blossoming into a fine prospect. “I have identified him as a good prospect five years ago and since then he has not disappointed us. He is a fine talent and would scale greater heights, if given proper support,” said Rama Sundari.
Yeshwant Kumar’s mother sells flowers to make a living and is finding it hard to make both ends meet.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by Staff Reporter / Guntur – November 20th, 2014