We are grateful to G.C. Das, an international journalist and water polo player from the National Swimming Association, West Bengal, for sharing his memories of the late Sachin Nag whose achievements brought many laurels to India. Das recalls the days of contesting against Sachin Nag in water polo tournaments in the years 1954-56, feeling fortunate for the opportunity.
Sachin Nag, the legendary Indian swimmer, was born on 5 July 1920 at Bengali Taula, Varanasi. He was born to a very poor family and his swimming talent was scouted by Jamini Dass in 1937 in Varanasi. Dass was the captain of the Indian water polo team during the 1948 London Olympics. Nag was taken to Kolkata by Jamini Dass, where Nag not only stayed at his home but also enjoyed his meals with him.
Jamini Dass started nurturing this excellent talent who was not only intelligent but also a good swimmer and an excellent water polo player. Dass then took Nag to the Hatkhola Club in 1938 from where he started his swimming career. It was also where Bijiten Bose was training Indian national swimming champions like Santosh Bhattacharya, Gour Mukherjee, Arati Saha (who was the first female Indian swimmer to cross the English Channel and the first sportswoman to receive the Padma Shri) and her sister Bharti Saha.
Sachin Nag was the champion in 100 meters freestyle for eight straight years in the Bengal State Swimming Championship, thrice at the All India Swimming Championship, and was the first Asian Champion. In 1942, Nag had also emerged as a champion in 100 meters freestyle by defeating the then champion, the late Dilip Mitra, another legendary Indian swimmer who had clocked at 1 minute 04 seconds. Nag’s timing had been 1 minute 02.50 seconds. This record stood in his name for 31 years in swimming history. An interesting fact to note about the record is that in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Johnny Weissmuller had shocked the sports world by winning five gold medals and a bronze medal in water polo by clocking in at 59 seconds in the 100 meters freestyle. Imagine Johnny Weissmuller had clocked at this time with all the latest scientific equipment and training, whereas Sachin Nag had clocked at 1 minute 02 seconds (or 62 seconds) without any such facilities! Hereby, it must be mentioned that if Nag had practised with the same set of equipment and training as Johnny Weissmuller, then he would have possibly won a gold medal at the Olympics for India.
In 1951, the first Asian Games were held in New Delhi and the swimming events were conducted at the then National Stadium Swimming Pool near the Delhi High Court. On 7 March 1951, at 2 pm, Sachin Nag stood first and won the gold medal for India in the 100 metres freestyle event. Interestingly, this medal was the very first gold medal for India in swimming to date, and at the same time, it was also the first medal won at the Asian Games! The event was witnessed by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, along with her daughter, Indira Gandhi, Lady Mountbatten and Ramanath Ghosh, who was the General Secretary of the Swimming Federation of India. They had all cheered for Nag with the slogan “Cheer up, Sachin Nag, cheer up!” After the win, the PM had gone straight to Nag and given him a shoulder hug.
In this golden race, Nag came first, with a time of 1 minute 04.7 seconds.
G.C. Das also remembers Nag’s words on how he felt when PM Nehru had hugged him. Nag said, “You cannot imagine how much I had enjoyed it.” Later, once when he was asked what the most memorable day of his life had been, Nag had said, “When PM Nehru rushed towards me without caring about protocol and gave me a shoulder hug and his most beloved red rose from his Jawahar coat!”
Other than that, Nag was also a great water polo player who had represented India in the 1948 London Olympics and 1952 at Helsinki. He was an excellent water polo player, and in the year 1951, had won the Bengal State Water Polo Championship, representing Hatkhola Club and defeating the National Swimming Club by 10-3. Nag alone had scored 8 goals, while Jamini Dass and Mohit De had scored one each! At the London Olympics in 1948, Nag scored 4 goals out of, defeating Chile by 3 goals! At an invitational water polo tournament against the US Forces, he had scored two goals, defeating the US forces 13-4. Then against the British team, he had scored six goals, defeating the Britishers, 15-1, and helping his Hatkhola Club become the League Champion.
At the Siri Fort Games Village built during the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, a separate residential block has been named after him in his honour.
In 1955, he played his last nationals, held in Kolkata, and participated only in 4x100m freestyle relay, where Bengal stood third, Bombay second and Services first.
The Writer is Licence B holder, DSV Germany Swimming Federation.
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BATTLE AGAINST VIRAT KOHLI THIS YEAR WAS MY FAVOURITE, SAYS ANDERSON
England pacer James Anderson has said his battle against India skipper Virat Kohli in this year’s Test series was his favourite and he also said that both fierce opponents have mutual respect for each other.
Anderson managed to dismiss Kohli twice at a cost of 64 runs in the course of four completed Tests. “This summer was probably my favourite contest with Virat. We’ve had a few good battles over the years, both in England and India, but this year was certainly my favourite. I got him out a few times but also he got some runs as well, and we had a battle on the field where there was definitely mutual respect there. It was in a really nice manner, if that makes sense. Obviously, we were going at each other, but it was in a well-spirited way. So I really enjoyed that,” Anderson told Fox Cricket’s Road to the Ashes podcast, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
Talking about his potential battle with Steve Smith in the upcoming Ashes, Anderson said: “As a bowler, you always look at the best player, and for me over the last three, four, or five years, Steve Smith’s been Australia’s best player. He’s been the one they rely on for their volume of runs, obviously supported by guys around him like [David] Warner and [Marnus] Labuschagne recently. But he’s been their go-to in the last few years, so he’ll be the one that we will be keen to get out early.”
“We’ve got to start well. The Gabba in particular is huge for us. If we can get one-up on a few batters early, then that can have a real snowball effect throughout the series. Bowling in Australia is not necessarily more difficult, it’s just different. In England, the Dukes swings more often than not, and with the wickets, we play on, you can get some seam movement as well. But you’re not going to get many swings with a Kookaburra, so it’s just about trying to hit good areas. You’ve just got to be relentless, and so accurate. And that’s where people do struggle,” he added.
SAFF CHAMPIONSHIP: INDIA DEFEAT MALDIVES 3-1 TO REACH FINAL
Two gestures post match after the facile 3-1 victory against Maldives in the SAFF Championship best describe the camaraderie in the Blue Tigers camp at the moment. Moments after Sunil Chhetri was named the Man of the Match in India’s 3-1 victory over Maldives in their last group league match in the SAFF Championship, he walked up to Lalengmawia and handed him his Man of the Match Award – a snazzy watch. “This is yours. You deserve this more than me,” Sunil uttered, as Sunil’s gesture floored Lalengwamia.
And even before that happened, the entire contingent posed with a jersey of Farukh Choudhary saying in chorus “We love you, Farukh.” The Blue Tigers had also placed Farukh’s jersey no. 12 on the bench all throughout the match. And, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu even wore Farukh’s jersey at the post match flash interview. “This is for Farukh,” Gurpreet stated, pointing to Farukh’s jersey. “Unfortunately, he sustained a bad injury and he did have a very valuable assist in the match against Nepal. It was extremely harsh that he had to go out. We want to dedicate it to Farukh and make it worth it.”
Striker Farukh had suffered an ACL injury in the match against Nepal, and that has ruled him out for the rest of the Championship. The mood, however, in the camp isn’t much willing to get into a celebration mode. The boys understand that nothing has been won as yet, and the next 90 minutes can always be extremely cruel. However, that didn’t stop them from celebrating Sunil’s brace, and his “amazing consistency”.
“He has been such an inspiration in Indian football and it’s amazing how he continues to be at the top of his game so consistently. The manner in which he conducts himself on and off the pitch is so motivational for all of us,” Lalengmawia stated. “Whenever we get into a crucial game, he raises the bar and scores, and makes it easier for all of us. “It’s a blessing we have him in the team – a real honour to be playing with him, training with him.”
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu added: “79 goals in 123 matches at the International level doesn’t come with luck. He deserves what he has achieved as he works extremely hard for all of that. He says he is going to do it, and does it on the field. What one can learn from him is his passion and determination. He has been doing his job, and in the end that’s what it all matters.”
Sunil’s striking partner up front, Manvir Singh, who scored the opener against Maldives mentioned: “I am very happy to have done my job. We are extremely motivated. We look forward to the final and need to recover in time for the final.” The contingent had their recovery session at the hotel premises, and will travel to Male tomorrow (October 15) for their final training session ahead of the final. The Blue Tigers aren’t all about ‘I-me-myself.’ Rather, the Blue Tigers are all about ‘You and ourselves.’
The character on display against Maldives was immense, that too in front of a packed stadium. Courtesy the 3-1 victory, the Blue Tigers topped the round robin format with eight points staying the sole unbeaten team in the process. They now meet Nepal in the final slated for October 16.
NEVER THOUGHT GAME WOULD GO SO DEEP, SAYS RAHUL TRIPATHI
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batter Rahul Tripathi said he never thought the game would go so deep in Qualifier 2 of the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.
Needing 136 runs to win, KKR were off to a brisk start, courtesy Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer. The duo cashed in on all the scoring opportunities and took KKR to 51/0 in the first six overs. But they lost the plot in the closing stages and it took Tripathi’s six off Ashwin in the final over to take KKR over the line.
“It feels great. The win for the team was very important. We had one or two tough overs and I never thought it would go so deep. Glad we won the game. Rabada bowled the 18th over really well, but I knew that I had to just connect one,” said the 30-year-old batter in a post-match presentation.“The plan was to take a two if there was a possibility. If it was two, we were running, otherwise, it was going to be me. It was difficult to straightaway get singles and boundaries for the new batsmen. It was keeping low and it was difficult to hit,” he added.
Tripathi also said the positive approach given by the coaches and the skipper Eoin Morgan is the reason for the team’s success. “I believed in myself and knew it was just one hit away. It has been a great journey for us after the first phase. We believed in ourselves and the approach given by Eoin and the coach helped us,” said Tripathi. KKR has set up the blockbuster final showdown against Chennai Super Kings, which will take place in Dubai on Friday.
ENDED IN HEARTBREAK, BUT COULD NOT BE MORE PROUD OF TEAM OF EXCEPTIONAL WARRIORS, SAYS PANT
Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant on Thursday said the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 journey for his side ended in heartbreak but he could not be more proud of leading his team of exceptional warriors.
“It ended in heartbreak last night, but I could not be more proud of leading this team of exceptional warriors. We battled hard through the season, and while we may have fallen short on some days, we always gave 100 per cent,” tweeted Pant. In another tweet, the Delhi skipper said: “To the owners, management, staff, my teammates and most importantly, our passionate fans, I want to say thank you from my heart. You all made this season special. We will come back stronger @DelhiCapitals.”
Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill played knocks of 55 and 46 respectively to follow up Varun Chakravarthy’s two-wicket haul as KKR defeated Delhi Capitals by three wickets in Qualifier 2 here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
“Can’t change anything after the match. Always we kept on believing and stayed in the game for as long as possible. The bowlers pulled it back. They bowled really well through the middle overs. We were stuck and unable to rotate the strike. Hopefully, we can come back next year for a stronger season,” Pant had told host broadcaster Star Sports after the game ended.“We played really good cricket throughout the season. We stuck together and cared for each other. Hopefully, we will improve next year and come back strongly,” he added.
As a result of this win, KKR will now lock horns against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL 2021 final on Friday at the Dubai International Stadium.
Thriller on the cards as in-form KKR take on ever reliable CSK
The summit clash will see M.S. Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings locking horns with Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has been played in two parts this season due to the Covid-19 pandemic and after a long wait, the final is finally here. The summit clash will see MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings clash with Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
MS Dhoni-led CSK has won the IPL title thrice and after putting on a dismal show in the 2020 season in UAE, the side made a remarkable comeback this year and some fearless cricket from the franchise has seen Dhoni’s men reach the finals. Dhoni might have managed to score just 114 runs from 15 matches this season, but he rose like a phoenix when the team needed him most and his best knock came in Qualifier 1 against Delhi Capitals. He scored 18 runs from six balls, rolling back time, giving fans a perfect nostalgia trip as the Chennai franchise roared into the final. His innings even got Virat Kohli to label Dhoni as the “greatest finisher ever”.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, and Dwayne Bravo have all played their roles to perfection and under Dhoni’s leadership, the bunch has proved to be good on days when it has mattered.Moving to KKR, Eoin Morgan’s side was completely down and out in the India leg as the side had won just two games out of seven. However, travelling to the UAE brought about a change in fortunes.
Venkatesh Iyer’s inclusion provided the much-needed boost to the batting lineup and the Kolkata-based franchise has been playing fearless cricket. Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, and Rahul Tripathi have done their job too this season.
However, Eoin Morgan’s form remains a concern as the left-handed batter has not played any innings of substance this season. In Qualifier 2 against Delhi, Morgan had a perfect chance to guide the side home, but he was not able to do that, and in the end, it was Tripathi who somehow took KKR over the line in a thriller.
Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy have acted as perfect partners in crime and the duo has spun a web over opponents this season and it would be interesting to see whether the likes of Gaikwad and Faf manage to get better of them.
KKR might also have the services of Andre Russell for the final and if that indeed happens, the side might just prove to have too much ammunition for Dhoni’s side. However, looking at how Dhoni has led the side this season, one cannot bet against the man who has a knack for keeping his cool under the most intense situations.
It will undoubtedly be a clash of two top-quality teams come Friday.Squads: Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood, Suresh Raina, Imran Tahir, Jason Behrendorff, Krishnappa Gowtham, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Harishankar Reddy, Dominic Drakes, Bhagath Varma, Karn Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara.Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakaravarthy, Harbhajan Singh, Tim Southee, Andre Russell, Ben Cutting, Karun Nair, Pawan Negi, Kuldeep Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Sheldon Jackson, Sandeep Warrier, Tim Seifert, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Vaibhav Arora.
BCCI unveils Team India’s new jersey ahead of T20 World Cup
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday unveiled the new jersey of the men’s team ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup.
BCCI along with MPL Sports, the official kit sponsor of the Indian cricket team unveiled the jersey on their social media handles. BCCI stated that the jersey is inspired by the billion cheers of the fans. “Presenting the Billion Cheers Jersey! The patterns on the jersey are inspired by the billion cheers of the fans. Get ready to #ShowYourGame@mpl_sport,” BCCI wrote on Twitter.
The ready-to-wear polyester jacquard product is designed for comfort with its super-fast moisture absorbent and quick-drying qualities.
“Become a part of India’s 2021 T20 World Cup campaign by donning this Team India official T20 and ODI jersey. Virat Kohli and the boys will be sporting this navy blue jersey in the first Cricket World Cup post-pandemic and in the limited-over cricket matches thereafter,” MPL Sports wrote.
The T20 World Cup will begin with the Round 1 Group B encounter between hosts Oman and Papua New Guinea on October 17. Scotland and Bangladesh, the other teams in Group B, clashing in the evening match. Ireland, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Namibia — making up Group A — will be in action in Abu Dhabi the next day, with Round 1 matches running till October 22.
Meanwhile, the All-India Senior Selection Committee after a discussion with the team management has added Shardul Thakur to the main squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
All-rounder Axar Patel, who was part of the 15-member squad will now be on the list of standby players. India’s squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami.
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