Category Archives: Sports

City’s landmarks in sketches

Exhibition of sketches and paintings by T.C.Rajan ‘Reminisence of My City’ in Ganesam, Thycadu in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. | Photo Credit: S.GOPAKUMAR

ISRO official T. C. Rajan has put up 30 sketches of iconic buildings of the city

Sketches of some of the most iconic structures in the city attest to the State capital’s rich tradition and culture.

Artist T.C. Rajan has captured the beauty of many a landmark building in his sketches in Indian ink that are on display at an exhibition at Ganesam, Thycaud.

Padmanabhaswamy temple, Kuthiramalika, VJT hall, Napier Museum, Central station, Cliff House, LMS church, Kowdiar Palace…all of these come alive in Mr. Rajan’s works.

A senior project assistant (Accounts) at the Indian Space Research Organisation, Mr. Rajan has put up 30 sketches and 18 paintings at the exhibition, his 50th.

It took him almost an year to get the works ready. “I wanted to capture the beauty of different parts of the city. There are many changes happening, and I wanted the future generation to know how the city was.” he says.

Wherever he was denied access, he sketched using photographs. For instance, for the sketch of the Kowdiar Palace, he was presented with a photograph showing an overhead view of the palace, and drew it from that. For Kuthiramalika, he received special sanction and was able to sketch the structure.

Eighteen of his oil and acrylic works are also on display. These too capture the beauty of places such as Chirayinkeezhu, where often it gets obscured by filth. He says he is constantly experimenting.

The use of various colours to depict water in his painting of children on a beach come from years of experience, he says.

Director of the Kerala Chitrakala Parishad, he has also been conducting painting camps for Soorya for years.

A national basketball player, Mr. Rajan has been drawing since he was a child. On spotting his talent, his father used to take him to various exhibitions. Even when he was pursuing sports, he kept alive the connection with art. Though he never learnt painting formally, he learnt from taking part in various camps conducted by the Lalithakala Akademi and from interactions with artistes having different styles.

On of the most memorable moments in his life has been the portrait he presented to the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he came to ISRO. “He was not President then. He then wrote me a letter asking me to draw Veli and ISRO together. I drew that and presented it to him when he visited ISRO after becoming President. He then wrote me an appreciation letter for the work,” he says.

He recently drew a 6 ft portrait of Vikram Sarabhai that has been displayed at ISRO.

Mr. Rajan mostly paints landscape, his travels inspiring him to paint nature in all its glory. Contemporary issues such as problems faced by children also find expression in his works. “The challenge in such a work is to present it in such a way that viewers understand it, even if it is abstract,” he says.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by R.K. Roshni / Thiruvananthapuram – November 17th, 2017

Meet Kochi’s own Ironman

With half and full marathons becoming commonplace, Kerala now witnesses endurance sports events every other weekend.

Joby Paul, a 35-year-old IT entrepreneur from Kochi, shows what the new breed of runners and fitness enthusiasts might be aiming at next. Joby is just back after completing the ‘Ironman’ triathlon — one of the toughest sports events in the world, in which Malayali names, especially of non-NRKs, have hardly figured. A ‘runversation’ with Joby gives a glimpse into how he swam, cycled and ran towards the Ironman title!

“A couple of Malayalis have done this triathlon before, but they were not based in Kerala. I had spoken to a few of them for training tips,” says Joby, who came into endurance sports as a runner, only in 2015. “I was always a fitness freak, enjoyed watching sports and have been way too competitive. I did my first half marathon in November, 2015 in Kochi,” he says. Full marathons followed and slowly, endurance sports became his passion. “In the past two years, I did 20-odd half marathons and five fulls, and race by race, I could see an improvement in my timing. My first marathon took 4.45 hours and my best one is 3.43, in a span of two and a half years,” the sportsman recalls.

Joby started cycling and swimming to reduce running injuries and for cross training. “Meanwhile, the thought of a triathlon struck me as it’s the event in which you have to do swimming, cycling and running, without a break.” He also felt the need to do something new and challenging, which demands discipline and dedication. “When I found that Ironman is one of the most challenging endurance events, I decided to try being one,” Joby says.

His running buddies also encouraged him and Joby registered for a half Ironman event in Bahrain, in December, last year.

“It went well. In the meantime, I also did five full marathons (42.2 km) in different cities in India including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.” He also bagged a medal for completing the 5 km sea swimming in Goa swimmathon in April 2017. “That was a big confidence booster for the full Ironman triathlon and so, I registered for the Florida Ironman event,” he says.

However, the path towards being an Ironman was hardly easy. “It was important that I balance the three disciplines with a well-structured workout, six days a week.

I had to wake up at 4 am on most days, and sometimes, even at 3.30 am for long workouts. There were a couple of weekends where I was out for more than seven hours, sometimes, all by myself. This was definitely hard — physically and mentally. Training for this long is, quite frankly, boring and draining. With all of these, there was no proper work-life balance either,” says Joby.

Added to that was the extreme diet control. However, self-motivation was the key, he says. “On many of the days it was very hard for me to wake up and train. But the finish line thoughts would pull me out of bed,” he says. In September, he participated in Thonnur Triathlon in Mysore, which was a half iron distance triathlon and got a podium finish.

But all the training and events helped him get a proper heads-up for the Florida Ironman. “Still, it was no cakewalk. I had a taxing 15 kilometres during the 42.2 km marathon. There was also extreme mental pressure thinking of the length and on many occasion you feel like quitting. But I was sure that somehow I would finish.”

Right now, everything, from the hard training to packing the bags for the event have turned golden memories for him. But the most precious moment was the one where he crossed the finish line – “I crossed the line with an Indian flag, amid the cheering and the announcement, ‘Joby Paul, you are an Ironman!” that was the best!

So, what next? “I want to do more events to secure an entry to the Ironman world championship held in Hawaii. So, I am now planning my next race. I also have a couple of marathons and swimmathons queued up,” he says.

Joby hails from Onakkoor, a village near Piravom. His wife Sweety is an IT professional and the couple has a daughter and a son.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by Deepa Soman / TNN / November 10th, 2017

Blind Football Academy to be opened today

Union Minister K.J. Alphonse at a function where membership of the Blind Football Academy was handed over to C.S. Falhan on Thursday.

First member receives membership

C.S. Falhan became the first member of the Blind Football Academy when he received the membership from Union Minister K.J. Alphons here on Thursday.

Sunil J. Mathew, Indian Blind Football Federation sporting director; Fr. Robin Kannanchira, director, Chavara Cultural Centre; and M.C. Roy, attended the event. The academy, which has been established by Indian Blind Football Federation, will be opened on Friday at Jogo Football arena near Bund Road at 4 p.m.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – September 14th, 2017

Cash prizes for medal winners at Asian Athletic Championship

Kerala Sports Council will provide financial assistance to P.U. Chithra

The State Cabinet has announced cash awards for athletes who had won medals at the just concluded 22nd Asian Athletic Championship at Bhubaneswar.

Individual gold medallists at the meet will get ₹10 lakh each, silver medallists, ₹7 lakh each, and bronze medallists will get ₹5 lakh each. In the team category, gold medallists will get ₹5 lakh each, silver medallists, ₹3.5 lakh each, and bronze medallists ₹2.5 lakh each.

Besides the cash incentive, the Kerala Sports Council will provide financial assistance to P.U. Chithra for continuing her training and participating in various meets. All the medal winners at the Asian Athletic Championship will be honoured at a function to be held here. Coaches of the medal-winning athletes will also be honoured, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister A.C. Moideen said in a press note here on Wednesday.

Operation Olympia

The Minister said the cash incentive for sportspersons who won medals at national and international sports meets would be revised from time to time. Medal-hopeful athletes would also be given training by bringing them under Operation Olympia, which was targeted at creating medal winners at the Olympics. International footballer C.K. Vineeth, who had been dismissed from service at the Accountant General’s office here, had applied for a job in the State service. The government would take an early decision on his petition, Mr. Moideen said.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Special Correspondent / Thiruvananthapuram / July 12th, 2017

On the right moves

Veteran players pens book on chess

Chess is the most intellectual of all sports. But, Kerala, which has always prided on its intellect, hadn’t produced any major chess talent for decades.

Except for N.R. Anil Kumar, who played for India at the Chess Olympiad in 1982, Kerala’s presence in India’s chess scene was minimal for decades. There was also A. Sasidharan, an immensely gifted young man — capable of playing brilliantly spectacular games — who committed suicide, reportedly because he was unable to get a job.

But, times have changed. Many players in Kerala have found employment on the basis of their achievements on the chessboard. The State has now two Grandmasters, several international players as well as a little world champion in Nihal Sarin.

So the release of veteran chess-player-turned-author P.V.N. Namboothiripad’s book, Chessinoru Patapusthakam, could not have been timed better.

Running into more than 800 pages, it could well be the most exhaustive book on chess ever written in Malayalam. “The book is the result of my work over the last 10 years,” Mr. Namboothiripad told The Hindu on Saturday. “I always felt that there was a need for such a book in Malayalam. We haven’t too many books that look deeply into chess.”

The book, published by Kerala Bhasha Institute, discusses various technical aspects of chess and features an exhaustive collection of games with diagrams. This is the third book on chess by the Kochi-based author, who turned 80 this year.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by P.K.  Ajith / Kozhikode – May 06th, 2017

Indian captain Sreejesh’s home state Kerala yet to recognise hockey!


Thiruvananthapuram :

It may sound incredible, but is a hard fact. Hockey is not a recognised sport in the home state of P R Sreejesh – captain of Indian hockey team. Nor are Olympic events like golf and rugby. As India is busy assessing its failure at the Rio Olympics yet again, emerges this case of mismanagement and politicking.

Without the Kerala State Sports Council’s (KSSC)recognition, these sports miss out on initiatives and financial assistance from the state government to develop the sport. The impact on trainees is more profound as they are denied benefits like grace marks, quota admissions.

While sports like hockey remain unrecognised, there are dubious inclusions like atiya patiya, tennikoit, arm wrestling, roller skating, bodybuilding, kalarippayattu and even tug of war in the 39-event list  Despite being recognised as the official body by Hockey India in 2014 and fielding a state team at the 35th National Games 2015 and national championships ever since, Kerala Hockey, earlier this year, were denied recognition by the Council ciitng legal tangles.

“There have been 3-4 associations who lay claim to the sport in Kerala. This has been the bane of the sport in the state. Let them solve their differences first because it is the players who suffer ultimately,” Sreejesh told Express. “These associations should first set their house in order. Or the Council should sit with Hockey India and form a new state body to govern the sport in Kerala,” the goalkeeper said.

According to officials, Kerala Hockey does not have any pending cases in court. “We have spent around Rs 13 lakhs to send state teams for Nat’l championships without government aid,” said Afsar S Ahammed, secretary of Kerala Hockey. “Some associations have been affiliated by the Council thanks to backdoor entries while deserving association like ours are often ignored,” alleged Afsar.

T P Dasan, the new president of Kerala Sports Council approves. “During tenure of the previous administration, there were some undeserving associations who were selected and we had expressed our displeasure when sports like arm wrestling were recognised without any merit,” said Dasan. Kerala women’s rugby team had won bronze at the National Games.

“Though the acceptance of rugby has increased, we are yet to be recognised despite continuous efforts. I hope the new administration will look into this,” said coach Mahesh Kumar, also secretary of Kerala State Rugby Association.

The rugby body was founded in 2002, but Dasan said its application was being processed. “They had only completed the paperwork recently and it is on our table now. We will definitely consider it,” he said.

Golf is still in a nascent stage in Kerala despite making its debut in Olympic stage at Rio.

“We haven’t received an application for golf but all associations have to conduct district and state championships for three years and have a presence in at least eight districts to be eligible for recognition,” said Dasan.


He said the Council was planning to classify the recognised sports into low, medium and high priority categories to cater to their demands efficiently. “We plan to take up these issues during the Council’s administrative board meeting on August 31,” he said.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Sport / by Adwaidh Rajan / August 30th, 2016

The Malabar River Festival is back!

The excitement in the air is almost palpable. Fuelled by large doses of adrenalin and adventure quintessential to extreme sports, spectators are gearing up for the popular Malabar River Festival in Kerala.

In its fourth edition, the festival will be held this month at Kondencherry, near Kozhikode.

Scheduled to take place from July 28 to 31, the competition, organised on behalf of Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society by the Kerala Kayak Academy and Bengaluru-based Madras Fun Tools, will see athletes vie for the total cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh in categories that include BoaterCross, Downriver time-trial and Slalom.

The number of events this year has seen a slight dip. There may be around 60 events compared to the 110 held last year, said Manik Taneja, CEO of Madras Fun Tools.

Also missing from the event will be a big team of Olympians with the mega-sporting event scheduled to be held in August.

However, the event will see the participation of more female participants (10) compared to the usual average of five, mostly from India, UK and Italy, Mr. Taneja said.

For further details about the Malabar River Festival,

The fourth edition of the event will be held at Kondencherry, near Kozhikode, from July 28 to 31

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter / Bengaluru – July 26th, 2016

Malappuram set to host mud football

Representative image
Representative image


The district will host a mud football tournament on July 16 and 17 near Malappuram town.

Paddy fields with 15-metre width and 20-metre length and those ploughed well to make them marshy would be the venue of the mud football tournament which is organised by the state tourism department.

A similar kind of tournament that was organised in Malappuram during the last monsoon season was labelled a big success.

The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has started registering teams. The secretary of DTPC, Ummar Koya, said international rules of mud soccer would be amended for regional adaptation.

The duration of a match would be 20 minutes and the minimum age of players has been fixed at 18. The total number of players in a team would be 11, including three substitutes. The winner of the tournament will get cash prize and a certificate.

The tourism department has decided to organise mud soccer every year after the event last year attracted a large number of tourists. The authorities are hopeful that the popularity of football in Malappuram would make the event a success.

The mud football organised in Wayanad as part of the monsoon tourism festival was a big success.

The district administration of Malappuram is also planning to organise panchayat-level mud football tournaments with an aim to popularise the sport among villagers.

Apart from the mud football, the DTPC will also organise rain trips to Nilambur and off-road bike rallies as part of its monsoon tourism programmes in Malappuram.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kozhikode / TNN / July 06th, 2016

Nadubhagam Chundan lifts the Raja Pramukhan Trophy

Representative image.
Representative image.

Alappuzha :

Ushering in the new boat race season, Nadubhagam Chundan, rowed by Nadubhagam Boat Club, Champakulam lifted the Raja Pramukhan Trophy of this year’s Champakulam Moolam Boat Race held on the Pampa River here on Monday.

In a pulsating finale, Nadubhagam, one of the most famous snake boats of Kerala, outdid the St Pious Xth Chundan(snake boat) of St Pious Xth Boat Club, Mankombu and Champakulam snake boat of Venice Boat Club, Alappuzha.

Renju Abraham, captian of the winner Nadubhagam Chundan said he and his team are very excited about their victory of this prestigious trophy and dedicated it to all his team members.” Our next aim is to bag the coveted Nehru Trophy Boat Race to be held on Punnamada Lake in August this year,” he said.

In the loser’s finale, Sree Karthikeyan of Junior CBC came at the first position. St Joseph of CBC Chempupuram and Pulinkunnu of Kunnamma Boat Club Kavalam came in second and third positions respectively.

In the ‘Iruttukuthi A grade’ finale(finale of smaller boats), Mammodan of St Mary’s Yuvadeepthi Club, Kainakary came in the first psotion. In `Veppu A grade’ finale, Chethikadan of Warriors Boats Club, Kuttamangalam, Kainakary came in the first position. Kottaparamban of SCDC Boat Club from Kaippuzhamuttu and Asha Pulikkalam of Samudra Boat Club, Kumaarakom finished in second and third positions respectively.

The traditional annual boat race of Kerala begins with Champakulam Boat Race which is also known as ‘MoolamVallamkali’. The other popular boat race that will follow the Champakkulam boat race are Nehru Trophy boat race, Kayamkulam BoatRace, Payipad boat race, the Rajiv Gandhi TrophyBoat Race, Karuvatta, Mannar and Neerattupuram boat races. As many as 6 snake boats took part in the Champakulam Moolam Boat Race on Monday.

Boat race organizing committee general convener and Kuttanad Tahasildar Cheriyan V Koshy said, “In 2014 and 2015, we could not conduct the finals of the snake boats following row among boat clubs over track length. However, this year, we have solved all the complaints related to the track length and we have ensured equal length in three tracks,” said Koshy. This boat race was organized by the district administration in association with Tourism Department and local bodies.

Kuttanad MLA Thomas Chandy inaugurated the boat race. Kayamkulam MLA Prathibha Hari flagged off the boat race.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kozhikode / Sajimon P S / TNN / June 20th, 2016

Galloping in a solo saddle


Babu teaching his nephew how to ride at his academy. (Photo |Ratheesh Sundaram)
Babu teaching his nephew how to ride at his academy. (Photo |Ratheesh Sundaram)

Babu Kunnumpuram’s 15-acre lush green farmhouse in Vaniyampara, 100 km from Kochi, is hardly a noticeable one. But behind his modest house, a muddy road leads to open land enveloped by huge trees, where a stable that houses five horses stands. This is Stallion’s Valley Horse Riding Academy, Kerala’s only horse riding school. Babu leads us inside where the steeds of Kathiawari and Marwari breed, sourced from Bengaluru and Mysuru, stand ready to gallop.

Today, the academy is trotting towards a makeover. Babu has sought the Kerala government’s permission to start Green Farm, a tourist resort which will be equipped with adventure rides, trekking, a rifle-shooting course, walk-in aviary of exotic birds and pets, forest and hill camping, a homestay for horses and dormitary facility. The permission is likely to come next month.

“We will develop the academy into a huge tourist destination. The inspection team will be here next week. Some people are willing to invest and a management consultant has been roped in,” says 31-year-old Babu.

It all began in 2010 when Babu bought an English Breed from Mysuru for `50,000. “I learnt riding on my own, but when the prospect of starting a school popped up, I sought the help of Nharoth Ali, a US-trained professional rider currently involved with the Qatar Equestrian Federation. Just like driving, there are certain principles that we need to adhere to while riding a horse,” he says.

As the academy started taking shape, he bought more horses. His first student was Manu Kunnumpuram, his four-year-old nephew. By the time he turned five, Manu was riding the animal with ease, making him the youngest rider in Kerala.

“Classes are for everyone, irrespective of age, but the most important thing is the bond the rider forms with the horse. The first three days of the course is about holding its reins and walking with it. After that I teach the rider to make it trot, canter and finally gallop,” explains Babu.

The videos he uploaded on YouTube drew people to Stallion’s Valley to learn riding. “My oldest student is a 73-year-old from Ireland. People like the natural habitat here. I teach them to ride, and for experienced riders, I provide the animal and the place to ride them,” he says.

The riding academy offers various courses, including the preliminary one that lasts two months to the advanced horse trainer course, which takes a year to complete. The fee structure ranges from `5,000 to `1 lakh.

His farm is on the edge of the reserve area of Peechi Dam, and is enveloped in thick vegetation. “Horses are not comfortable on cement or in artificial surroundings. The rides are on winding muddy tracks on my farm, which resembles the natural habitat of horses,” says Babu. Taking care of a horse is a taxing process that requires patience. They have to be fed special food and medicines, and horseshoes are replaced every 40 days. “Horses are costly to maintain. Two of my horses cost Rs 1.5 lakh each. The other two were for Rs 1.25 lakh, and the young one was for Rs 75,000,” he says.

With more people wanting to learn riding, Babu has started a horse boarding facility. “Many city folk buy horses for the love of the animal, but can’t maintain them on their premises. So they bring them here. Just like the rider needs to be trained, the horses need training too, especially the ones which participate in endurance races,” says Babu, who took part in the Kross Terrain Endurance Ride 2014 in Jodhpur.

source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Magazine / by Meera Suresh / June 11th, 2016