Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
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    On Tuesday, Ashwini Ponnappa smiled all the way to securing for India one of its most memorable wins at the Sudirman Cup.

    Ashwini teamed up with Sikki Reddy to win the women’s doubles and with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy to clinch the mixed doubles against Indonesia. File

    Ashwini teamed up with Sikki Reddy to win the women’s doubles and with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy to clinch the mixed doubles against Indonesia. File

    In her early years on the international circuit, a coach had once taken umbrage at Ashwini Ponnappa’s smiling countenance on court, and told her she lacked seriousness to compete. It had made the ace doubles player, with a Commonwealth Games gold and a World Championship bronze already, furious, that her naturally joyous ways on court could be miscontrued as lack of commitment to winning.
    Not that she changed how she went about things — Why couldn’t one smile and still hit the hardest smash in women’s badminton, she wondered. On Tuesday, Ashwini Ponnappa smiled all the way to securing for India one of its most memorable wins at shuttle’s team championship — the Sudirman Cup.

    Opening with a sensational mixed doubles win alongside Satwiksairaj Rankireddy against Indonesian mixed doubles Olympic champ Tontowi Ahmad (in a scratch pairing with junior world champ Gloria Widjaja), Ashwini bookended the famous 4-1 tie win against Sudirman giants Indonesia, sealing a straight sets women’s doubles win with Sikki Reddy against Della Haris-Rosyita Eka Putri Sari.

    It’s badminton’s jolly luck that women’s singles player Tai Tzu Ying brings a refreshing, goofy persona to the court even while she works her deceptive magic on opponents with a disarming charm as she sits atop World No 1.

    There’s little of the screwed-eyed intensity or scowling fist pumping in Ashwini Ponnappa, that’s so common to this predominantly Asian sport where players can appear as highly strung as their racquet tensions. She goes about the mighty difficult task of winning, while looking like she might actually be enjoying the game.

    Not that her game is diminished when she affords herself a wry smile or two, after missing a shot, or even grins mid-rally as she brightens up gleefully in anticipation of a winner she’s setting up for her partner to finish. Against Tontowi-Gloria — a thrilling 66 minute joust against doubles mammoths Indonesia, a country with a proud tradition in the paired event — the 27-year-old Indian doubles ace had eclectic options in her serves, showed an improving low defense that’s so crucial to doubles, and a rhythmic game sense where the duo playing their first match ever at this big a stage, combined to win 20-22, 21-17, 19-21 in a shock upset.

    Ashwini is known for her doubles partnership with Jwala Gutta and has metamorphosed into an equally deft player as her former senior partner, revelling in the responsibility of being the senior to Sikki Reddy and Satwiksairaj now. It was her reassured, relaxed stance on the court though — that rubbed off on teenaged Satwiksairaj, who too settled into the brutal pace of the rallies, making it look like two cool cats enjoying a breezy bout though.

    “We didn’t think too much about opponent being Olympic champ or anything. We just wanted to play to our strategy. Neither of us took any pressure and we played freely. I enjoyed a lot in fact playing against the Olympic winner, and we were not afraid to play him,” he would say a couple of hours after his cross drive winner ended the Indonesian misery that had been building up for a while.

    Rare sight
    It was a rare sight in international badminton — an Indonesian bonafide champ reduced to nervousness, after the Indians peppered them with some hard hits but importantly refused to blink or be commanded in a rally throughout the encounter. Tontowi would botch his serves, miss his returns, smash into the net and fall under the heap of immense pressure that he seemed to have brought upon himself as the reputed player of the pairing.

    It didn’t help that Ashwini was moving like a dream on the court, Satwiksairaj in lyrical tandem, working angles to breach defenses and thwack into empty spaces the Indians were creating galore. India’s foreign coaches Malaysian Tan and Indonesian Mulyo Handoyo, sat back and watched with admiration as the inexperienced Indian pairing went about their decimation, flying free as birds. There’s a little secret to Ashwini’s smashes — when she is truly relaxed on court (not tight, as the shuttle speak goes), her muscles tend to relax as well, and that invariably makes her smashes shoot faster than when she’s subdued and circumspect.

    When she’s smiling, the rocketing smashes usually follow. It’s taken Ashwini Ponnappa almost 9 months to own that smile. She was felled by a nasty diagnosis of dengue before the Rio Olympics, which not only ruined her quadrennial but also creaked her bones like never before.

    A Coorgi who prided herself in her fitness and strength, she would spend months after the Games staring at uncertainty — after her body remained weak as residual after-effects of Dengue lingered. “My body just wildly fell apart and I struggled to perform basic tasks. For an athlete you can imagine what that must feel like! For me, I doubted even that I would be able to even smash again. I had the will power, but the body just wouldn’t cooperate,” she says, recalling the physical anguish. It would be a long recovery, demanding patience and meticulousness that are hallmarks of her personality. She’d slowly regain strength, and three weeks ago when she was paired with Indian badminton’s most exciting doubles talent, there was renewed purpose. Against Denmark on Monday, India had bungled a tad.

    “Today I just told Satwik we can beat them. We really wanted to win and played our heart out. We both hit hard, and we enjoyed ourselves I think,” she says. Ashwini Ponappa, chatty, talking lively eyes on court, serving up shuttles that whizzed. She kept smiling through the pressure points, and Olympic champ Tontowi Ahmad just didn’t know what hit him.

    source: http://www.indianexpress.com / The Indian Express / Home> Sports> Badminton / by Shivani Naik / Mumbai – May 25th, 2017

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    Hotbed for hockey. Nikkin Thimmaiah with his Chendanda team at the Kodava Hockey Festival final.

    Hotbed for hockey. Nikkin Thimmaiah with his Chendanda team at the Kodava Hockey Festival final.

    The Kodava Hockey Festival is testimony that the game is still thriving in Kodagu, feels internationals Nikkin Thimmaiah and SK Uthappa

    A crowd of 30,000 people turned out to watch the Kodava Hockey Festival final between Chendanda and Pardanda on May 14, an eye brow-raising statistic to the uninitiated. This wasn’t an international event, not even a national championship. The average spectator turnout for an Indian Premier League game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium was 25,000 but this hockey contest — played between families in Kodagu district — beat even the IPL. Cricket, they say is religion in the country. In Kodagu district, it’s hockey that gets the adrenaline pumping.

    “Every player from Kodagu begins his career in this tournament, including me,” Nikkin Thimmaiah, India forward and a member of the Chendanda winning team, said.

    “I watched my father play in this tournament as a six-year-old. That was one of the catalysts that spurred me to take up the sport.”

    The tournament is unique in many ways. A team comprises members of a family and there is no distinction between either age or gender. The festival itself has been conducted annually since 1996. The game, though, goes on through the year as youngsters are encouraged to make it a career. “It’s the most talked about sport in Kodagu and even now, kids are still enthusiastic about the game,” Thimmaiah added. “Kids generally place hockey on a priority.”

    Over the years though, the number of players from Kodagu making it to the international level has fallen. Currently, there are only three — Thimmaiah, SK Uthappa and SV Sunil — in the Indian squad. There’s no player from Karnataka in the junior team, but Uthappa insists hockey is not dead. The sport is now alive, more than ever, and tournaments like the Kodava Hockey Festival keep it ticking. “I began playing hockey seriously after watching my brother play,” Uthappa said. “I played badminton first, but in Coorg, everything is about hockey. Hockey is in our blood and that’s why we start playing. The next influential factor is your family. It depends on how they support and encourage you to play hockey as a child. Thanks to that tournament, it’s a tradition that everyone participates in it.

    “Even now, that culture of developing the sport remains. You often hear that gadgets have taken the fun out of outdoor games. There are kids who use iPads in Coorg but they know how to balance it with the game. I think that love for the sport is influential in getting everyone to play it. Imagine you have to play this sport in every school. You will naturally be inclined to it.”

    But it’s not just this tournament which gets Kodavas hooked to the sport. Uthappa says everyone is interested in playing some sport, but what cricket is to the entire country, hockey is to a Kodava. “We Kodavas follow, discuss and dissect hockey just as other people in the country do with cricket,” Uthappa said. “Families here are aware of everything that we do. Over the years, they have become more educated about hockey, thanks to the promotion and media exposure hockey is getting. Now, everyone’s involved in an educated discussion. For example, they tell me I played well in the first quarter, but my dribbling went awry in the third quarter and so on. Earlier, it was only the basic question of whether you won or lost and by what score.”

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> Sports> Others / by Aravind Suchindran / Bangalore Mirror Bureau / May 23rd, 2017

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    Getty Images

    Getty Images

    Ricky Ponting has picked Kolkata wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa over MS Dhoni in his team of the year, citing the former’s ability to score from the get-go as the reason for his choice. The former Aussie captain, unsurprisingly, opted to go for two Indian pacers in his best XI for this season’s IPL.

    In a position that has been dominated by MS Dhoni for a few years now, Ricky Ponting decided to give Uthappa the nod ahead of his compatriot. While Dhoni finished with just 290 runs in the season compared to Uthappa’s 388, Ponting explained that the approach to the game had changed and it was important for the players to start making an impact from the very first ball their face.

    “He’s (Uthappa) a guy whose strike-rate is incredible this year, 165 for the entire tournament. You need those guys in the middle-order to be able to score quickly right from the start. You don’t have that luxury anymore in the T20 game to be able to play yourself in and work the ball around. You have to go in and dominate right from the start and I think that’s what he’s been able to do really well,” Ponting told Cricket Australia.

    For the opening slots Ponting decided to use two of his overseas’ players with David Warner and Hashim Amla making the cut. The Aussie opener was the easy choice for his compatriot considering he was the leading run scorer of the tournament with 641 runs at an astonishing average of 58.27 and a strike rate of 141.81. While Amla has not been seen as a traditional T20 player in the past, this season the South African shocked everyone by putting the numbers up on the board at an average of 60 and a strike rate of 145.83.

    “He’s (Warner) just been in complete control of his game for a number of years now in the IPL. He thrives on extra responsibility and leadership. Davey’s led the side really well. I’ll actually name him captain as well on the back of what he’s done the last couple of seasons,” Ponting added.

    “He (Amla) got a chance as a replacement player at the back-end of last season with the Kings XI, but this year played the best that I think anyone has ever seen him play, whether it be in an international T20 game or in the IPL. He’s the only man in the tournament to score two hundreds (in IPL10) and has got them pretty quickly.”

    Following the openers are two Indian stars whose consistency was on show yet again. While Gautam Gambhir led his side to the second qualifier, Suresh Raina was let down by a weak bowling attack as they finished seventh on the table. The duo scored a combined 940 runs this year with Ponting reserving special praise for Gambhir for managing to put up the numbers in spite of changing his batting positions.

    “I said before the finals started that I’m a bit surprised that he’s (Gambhir)batting in that number three position considering what he’s done at the top of the order for Kolkata for a long time. He’s ended up with nearly 500 runs … that’s a reasonable tournament. I’ve said for a long time that the number three position in T20 cricket is the hardest spot to bat because you’ll generally go in at the loss of a very early wicket and be expected to hit boundaries straight away,” Punter explained.

    “He’s (Raina) just a class T20 player (and) a classy short-form player. He’s got a great one-day record for India as well. (While) he’s got the ability to really dominate spin-bowling. In that role in the middle-order is generally when most of the spinners are bowling, and he’s got the ability to really dominate there.”

    The 3-time World Cup winning cricketer had no problem in naming Ben Stokes, who was named the MVP for the entire tournament, as one of his all-rounders due to the Englishman’s 12 wickets in 12 games and 316 runs with the bat which included a century. The second option, however, is a slightly dodgy one with Ponting showing confidence in Hardik Pandya over his brother Krunal Pandya. Pandya Sr. scored 243 runs while claiming 10 wickets while Hardik scored 250 runs and took 6 wickets.

    “The MVP for the entire tournament (and) the guy that was most talked about before the tournament started was Ben Stokes. (He’s) on a huge deal with the Supergiants and has probably earned every cent of it to be fair. Twelve wickets in 12 games, made that big hundred as well. The thing about him is he does bring that real X-factor to their line-up and he’s someone you can rely on to bowl four overs. He can also make a hundred in the middle-order. I know they paid a lot of money for him but I’m sure they’re pretty happy that they did. Unfortunately for them he wasn’t around for the finals. When it comes down to what it came down to on that last ball of the game, not having your X-factor player there, they sadly missed him,” Ponting said.

    “One guy I’m happy to name in the side is Hardik Pandya, the young allrounder from the Mumbai Indians. I’ve had a chance to work a lot with him the last couple of years. He had a dream-start two seasons ago, (but) found things a bit tougher last year. The thing that I liked was when it was his turn to step up and bowl a couple of overs, either with the new ball or towards the back-end of the innings, he was able to do it and do it well. He closed out a couple of games (with the ball) as well. He’s a pretty complete package now.”

    Bhuvneshwar Kumar(26 wickets) and Jaydev Unadkat(24 wickets) make an interesting pair of specialist bowlers. While Bhuvneshwar has had the advantage of bowling in Hyderabad more often, considering it was a slightly bowler-friendly pitch, Unadkat impressed Ponting with his flexibility in varying conditions and particularly his variations.

    While one was the leading wicket taker of the season of the season, the other was not far behind, having played a lower number of games.
    “If you wind the clock back five or six years, this guy (Unadkat) was touted as the next Indian opening bowler in Test cricket, one-day cricket and T20 cricket. He’s got the ability to swing the ball around as we saw through this tournament and he’s got very good slower ball skills as well. He did a terrific job for his team in varying conditions with new ball and old ball, that’s the sort of flexibility you need in your team as far as your fast bowlers are concerned,” the Aussie said of Unadkat.

    His bowling contingent consisted of two leggies, Imran Tahir and Rashid Khan. Ponting pointed out the difference in their economy rate, with Rashid being miserly in his runs while Tahir was slightly expensive, as the difference between the two players. However, both players showed their effectiveness with Rashid ending up with 17 wickets in 14 matches while Tahir claimed 18 in 12 games that he played.

    “I’ve actually named two leg-spinners in the side, one that started the tournament really well (was) Rashid Khan. One thing you see with the spinners – and certainly the good spinners in T20 cricket – is even if they don’t take a lot of wickets, their economy-rate is always quite low,” Ponting said while explaining the selection of Rashid Khan.

    “(Tahir’s) runs-per-over is slightly higher – 7.85 – which is a little on the high side for a top-class spinner in the IPL but … 12 games, 18 wickets (speaks for itself). You know when you bring these leg-spinners on through those middle-overs that they are going to create some opportunities for you and Imran Tahir has been around for a long, long time.”

    source: http://www.sportcafe.in / SportsCafe.in /Home> Cricket> National> News / Sports Cafe Desk / Tuesday – May 23rd, 2017

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    Role Models: Paintings of General K S Thimayya, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

    Role Models: Paintings of General K S Thimayya, Field Marshal K M Cariappa.

    Kodagu is not just known for its serene landscape and picturesque surroundings, but also for the valour of its people. Rightly, the district boasts of several military heroes. The statues of such brave men can be seen in Madikeri. The Sudarshan Circle in Madikeri is flanked by the statue of Field Marshal K M Cariappa and the equestrian statue of Subedar Guddemane Appayya Gowda.

    One of the earliest revolutionaries from Kodagu, Appayya Gowda, was hanged by the British in 1837. His contemporary revolutionaries from Kodagu included Subedar Naalnaad Mandira Uthayya, Chetty Kudiya and Shanthalli Mallayya who were imprisoned for many years by the British. Further along the main road, you can see a circle with the statue of General K S Thimayya. If you take the deviation to the right, you will find Major M C Muthanna Circle near the town hall and Squadron Leader A B Devaiah Circle near the private bus stand.

    The first family

    In Kunda, near Gonikoppal, lived the Kodandera family, hereditary chieftains of a group of villages. I M Muthanna’s Coorg Memoirs mentions that Naad Parupatyagar (native village official) Kodandera Kuttayya was the grandson of Diwan Mandepanda Thimmaiah. Between 1901 and 1909, he was the assistant commissioner and highest ranked native official in the then Coorg province. When his wife Dechy, or Dechamma, passed away, a locality in Madikeri was named as Dechur in her memory.

    Two members of this family, Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa and General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya, rose to become the chiefs of the Indian Army. Hence, the Kodandera family came to be considered as the first family of Kodagu’s military heroes. Field Marshal Cariappa was the son of Kuttayya’s younger brother Madappa, who worked in the revenue department. General Thimayya was the grandson of Kuttayya.

    Born in 1899, Field Marshal Cariappa, ‘the Grand Old Man of the Indian Army’, studied in the Madikeri Government Central High School and then in the Madras Presidency College. He gained admission at Daly Cadet College, Indore, in 1919 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Bombay’s 88th Carnatic Infantry, during World War I. The following year, he served in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and was promoted as a lieutenant.

    He became the first Indian army officer to attend the Staff College in Quetta. He married Muthu Machia, a forest officer’s daughter, had a son K C Nanda Cariappa, who later rose to the rank of air marshal, and a daughter, Nalini. During World War II, Cariappa was awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). He became the first Indian to become a brigadier.

    Cariappa also served as India’s first commander-in-chief (C-in-C) between 1949 and 1953. Now this position rests with the President of India. He represented India as its high commissioner in Australia and New Zealand from 1953 to 1956. In 1986, he was made a field marshal. Thus, he became one of the two Indian army officers to hold this rank. He died in 1993.

    General Thimayya’s actual name was Subayya, while Thimayya was his father’s name. He was born in Madikeri in 1906. Admitted to the then Prince of Wales Military College in Dehradun, he was one of the six Indian cadets who underwent training in Royal Military College, Sandhurst, England. In 1926, he was commissioned into the Indian army. In 1935, he married Codanda Nina and the couple went to Quetta. During the Quetta earthquake that year the couple rendered outstanding humanitarian service.

    During World War II, Thimayya was awarded Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He represented India during the Japanese surrender. Between 1953 and 1955, Thimayya was the chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission. He gained international fame for the way he handled the exchange of the prisoners of war (POWs) held during the Korean War. In 1954, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. Between 1957 and 1961, he was the chief of the Indian army.

    In 1964, he was appointed Commander of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus, where he passed away. Cyprus released a stamp in his memory, and later, his wax statue was displayed in Singapore. Both Cariappa and Thimayya are iconic figures in India.

    Fond memories

    According to Major General Arjun Muthanna, a great grandson of Kuttayya, Cariappa and Thimayya belonged to a generation of Indian officers who stormed the bastion of India’s colonial masters and deftly navigated unchartered situations. Both had huge responsibilities thrust upon them at a relatively young age and rose to the challenge. Cariappa, commissioned as a lieutenant when Indians were just being permitted to become British Indian Army officers, would ‘Outbritish the British’, probably to be accepted and treated as an equal by the British officers.

    A strict disciplinarian, he demanded punctuality and proper dress code. He was fiercely nationalistic and moulded the Indian Army into its current apolitical position.

    In 1948, the Kashmir situation grew tense and war was imminent. Lieutenant General Cariappa became the head of the Western Command and led Lieutenant General S M Shrinagesh and Major General Thimayya. It was during this war that Thimayya helped India secure Ladakh.

    Cariappa’s contemporary and friend, Lieutenant General Nathu Singh, was first offered the post of C-in-C but he declined and stated that his senior Cariappa, who won the 1948 war for India, was more eligible for the post. It was on January 15, 1949 that the three centuries old colonial army became a national army. That was the first time an Indian, General Cariappa, was made chief of the Indian armed forces.

    Every morning, Cariappa paid his respects to the portrait of his parents and the statue of a jawan. He was ever thankful to the soldiers for protecting the country. Hence, he was called the soldiers’ general. Cariappa would go to the war front, even after retirement, in order to motivate the troops.

    Muthanna narrates a personal anecdote about the Field Marshal, “When I called on him at his residence, in Madikeri, in May 1986, to invite him for my wedding, I was wearing a half sleeve shirt and trousers as appropriate for the hot summer day. After accepting the invitation, he commented on my attire saying ‘You’re an officer in the army aren’t you? In which case, you should be wearing a coat and tie.’ I had no response and thought in my mind I’m calling on my family elder. Pat came his next comment, as if he’d read my mind, ‘In case you’re calling on me as a relative you should be wearing our traditional dress of kupya.’ He walked the talk. He was always dressed formally as a respect to the person who was visiting him.”

    Thimayya was charismatic, approachable and had great interpersonal skills. When Thimayya visited his Dehradun alma mater as an alumni, one of the cadets there wanted to know how to address the general. Thimayya simply replied ‘Call me Timmy’, referring to his nickname!

    Some of the other military heroes of Kodagu are: Major Mangerira Chinnappa Muthanna, who was awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously, and Squadron Leader Ajjamada Bopayya Devaiah, nicknamed ‘Wings of Fire’, the only Air Force personnel to be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously so far.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / Mookonda Kushalappa / May 22nd, 2017

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    Following the many team’s of the T20 League celebrating their 10-year anniversary, Kolkata soon followed suit and threw a lavish bash for its players. Team’s co-owner Shah Rukh Khan was seen attending the event with his youngest son, AbRam.

    Robin Uthappa and Sheethal Gautham

    Robin Uthappa and Sheethal Gautham

    While the party was attended by all the players of the Kolkata team, several took to attending the event with their better halves. Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa was seen alongside talented tennis star wife, Sheethal Gautham.

    Sporting short hair, unlike her previous look, Sheethal was also spotted wearing the same attire that she wore on the day of the duos engagement in 2015. While Robin and Sheethal had a gala time at the event, cricket Umesh Yadav was also seen alongside his wife Tanya Wadhwa and SRK posing for the cameras.

    Having finished in the top 4, Kolkata will be battling against the Hyderabad team on the 17th of May followed by a match with the first qualifier. Considering the team has proven its stand in the 10th season of the T20 league, their 10-year bash seemed well deserved.

    source: http://www.daily.bhaskar.com / Daily Bhaskar / Home> News / by Jasmine Philip / May 17th, 2017

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    Rashmika Mandanna is a Kannada heroine out to conquer the south Indian film industry. This model-turned-actress was roped in for the runaway hit Kirik Party, a college drama, after her photos caught the eye of producer and hero of the movie Rakshit Shetty and director Rishab Shetty. She played the teacher, Anannya.

    Following the success of her first film, Rashmika became one of the most sought after actresses in the Kannada movie industry, and started getting offers from other film industries, including Telugu and Tamil. The actress, who is taking her first steps in Tollywood, has been offered movies with some of the top heroes of the Telugu film industry such as Prabhas, Allu Arjun and Nani.

    The actress has picked a Naga Shourya-starrer for her Telugu debut, and is shooting for it. This will be followed with another Telugu project with hero Ram under Kishore Tirumala’s direction. Rashmika was also approached for Prabhas’ next film, Saaho, but she refused as it clashed with dates of her other movies. She is now busy shooting for Chamak with Ganesh, and is also working on Anjaniputra, directed by A Harsha, starring Puneeth Rajkumar in the lead.

    Rashmika says acting was always on her mind, even when she started her career on the ramp. She learns the language before signing any movie. Her language classes come handy on the sets of her first film, a yet-to-be-titled one, with Naga Shourya.

    “I have been offered movies from other industries. Most are from the Telugu industry. I have been going through a few scripts and I thought the best among them was the one with Naga Shourya. It should be great for a debut, and I will follow that up with a project with Ram, for which the shooting will start in September,” she says.

    Although the young actress is excited to try other regional languages, she says Kannada movies will remain her priority. “I will never forget the overwhelming response I got for my first film in Sandalwood. Movies don’t have a language barrier, and good ones are remade for other regions. I will try to do good films in all languages,” she gushes.

    Rashmika, who always scored a distinction percentage in academics, has to ensure that she completes her graduation and has just written her final year exams for BA in journalism. The Virajpet beauty credits her mother for helping with her career. “She makes sure that I devote all my energy to acting, which helps a lot. I can make a career in another field, besides acting simply by showing my marksheet,” she smiles.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Entertainment> Kannada / by A Shardhaa / May 22nd, 2017

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    The world No 14 recently beat her compatriot and doubles partner Dipika Pallikal Karthik to become the first Indian to win the Asian Squash Championship.



    “It was special.”
    Joshna Chinappa is on a high. Last month, she beat her compatriot and doubles partner Dipika Pallikal 13-15, 12-10, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4 in Chennai to achieve a significant milestone: the first Indian to win the Asian Squash Championship.

    It’s an achievement she has eyed for a long time. “It was something I have wanted to win in my career,” Chinappa told Scroll.in. “There is always added pressure playing at home.”

    Taking the squash world by storm
    It has been an enthralling past 12 months for the 30-year-old. Chinappa broke into the top-10 in July last year and reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship, becoming the second Indian to do so after Pallikal. She lost 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 3-11 to world No 3 Camille Serme of France in the quarter-final. “My run in the World Championship was fairly good and each match was harder than the first,” said Chinappa. “However, I am really grateful to be doing what I do.”

    In November 2015, Chinappa beat the world No 2 Raneem el Welily. Currently ranked 14th in the world, her recent win has given her the desire to get better. However, she feels that to beat the top players in the world, a lot of work has to be done. “It is not easy just breaking into the top-five,” she said. “We [Indians] can definitely do it. But for that we need more support from the time we start our careers and continued support till we our done playing. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been that way, though it has improved over the past few months.”

    A coach does help
    For a major part of her career, Chinappa travelled to tournaments without a coach. However, with Achraf El Karagui now in her corner, Chinappa seems to have taken her a game a notch higher. “I have worked with some of the best coaches at different stages in my career who have all contributed to my game,” she said. “My dad [Anjan Chinappa] and Ritwik Bhattacharya have been the biggest influences. It’s great to have Achraf as part of our team. He is very committed towards helping us and he understands the game really well. He has been able to add more to my game in the past six months.”

    But has the move come a little too late? “It has been tough to play without a coach in my corner for the most part of my squash career,” she added. “Though, if my teammates are around we help each other. But it is something I got use too. However, it is always nice to have your team be there for your matches.”

    Beating and also playing with Pallikal
    Coming into the Asian Championship, Pallikal had a 3-0 win record against Chinappa. So, for Chinappa to beat Pallikal was an extraordinary feat. “Dipika and I are the only ones on tour from India in the women’s circuit, so it is natural to know each other well,” Chinappa said. “We know each other’s game inside out. We also train together most of the time. I enjoy playing doubles with her and we both love playing for India as a team. It works both ways.”

    However, the duo will team up once again to defend their doubles gold at the Commonwealth Games next year and are also playing together for the Asian Games. “I look forward to playing with Dipika at the CWG and defending our gold medals,” said Chinappa.

    The road ahead
    Following her Asian Championship win, Chinappa is back to the grind and slogging it out as she prepares for the World Doubles Championship in Manchester in August. She is back to training and hopes to stay injury-free for the next two years at least. “I train six days a week, twice a day,” she said. “It is usually a combination of squash, weights and on-court fitness. I have an early start and my day usually ends around 7.30 pm after all the training. I have the world doubles in Manchester in the first week of August. I hope to be injury-free and healthy during the next season.” However, she did not reveal her ultimate goal in the sport. “There are certain things I would like to achieve in my career, but for now it is still a secret,” she said.

    Growth of squash
    Talking about the growth of squash in India, Chinappa, who idolises former athlete PT Usha, said that things are slowly but steadily changing for the better. “Squash has definitely grown a lot more in the past few years,” she said. “The Sports Authority of India, the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, and the Squash Rackets Federation of India have been a lot more supportive in the past two years. There are so many juniors coming up. Of course we can improve the game further, so we can really reach the grassroot level and kids from smaller towns. We need to give them facilities and support their career financially if we want to see more results.”

    We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in

    source: http://www.thefield.scroll.in / Scroll.in / Home> The Field / by Bibhash Chatterjee / May 17th, 2017

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    Bengaluru :

    Specialist doubles shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa, who moved on from long-time playing partner Jwala Gutta last year to pair up with Sikki Reddy, suggested that her game was a lot more dynamic now.

    “It’s good although it’s just been a few months,” said Ashwini, who reached the final of the Syed Modi international champion ship with the Hyderabadi early this year, after the pair finished runners-up in the Welsh Open late last year.

    “It’s different because the two of us have similar games and like playing from the back. Neither of us like rushing to the net because we had partners who played well there. But with the realization that one of us had to take charge, we decided that if I move in, she moves back and vice versa,” the 27-year-old said on the sidelines of the 38th Petroleum Sports Promotion Board championship.

    Ashwini, who also reached the mixed doubles final of the Lucknow event, said that partnering Sumeeth Reddy had sharpened her skills. “Playing mixed doubles was a confidence booster. I have been training for it in the past couple of months and I can see the difference it’s made to my net game. I have a better idea of where the shuttle is going to come from and where it has to be played. In the past, I never got into that area of thinking because Jwala was so good. It’s been a learning process combining with these players,” she said.

    Ashwini said she was targeting improved performances in the Sudirman Cup (May 2128) and Super Series events in Indonesia (June 12-18) and Australia (June 20-25) before setting her sights on next year’s Commonwealth Games and world championships. She said the efforts of doubles coach Tan Kim Her – which included pushing her out of her comfort zone by switching her partners – had made her more determined.

    “It’s important to have a doubles coach who knows his craft. I trust in him,” she said.

    source: http://www.timeofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> Sports> Badminton / May 10th, 2017

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    M.R. Poovamma.

    M.R. Poovamma.

    Rajiv and Neeraj also strike it rich

    M.R. Poovamma clocked 52.66 seconds as she beat Jisna Mathew by one hundredth of a second for the women’s 400 metres gold in the second Indian Grand Prix athletics at the Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.

    Arokia Rajiv won the men’s 400m, which was run in three different parts, with a time of 46.94. He was nowhere near the 45.50 mark to meet the qualification standard for the World Championships in August.

    World junior champion and record holder Neeraj Kumar threw the javelin to 80.49m for the gold, comfortably ahead of Abhishek Singh (74.65). The first throw was his best as Neeraj followed up with 75.84, 77.81, 79.29, 79.93 and 79.01.

    Devender Singh, who had clinched the World Championship berth at Patiala with 84.57m, did not compete.

    The results:

    Men: 100m: 1. Amiya Kumar Mallick 10.62s, 2. Safikul Mondal 10.72, 3. Shalin 10.81. 400m: 1. Arokia Rajiv 46.94, 2. Amoj Jacob 47.07, 3. Sachin Roby 47.32. 3000m: 1. G. Lakshmanan 8:11.49, 2. Md. Yunus 8:12.36, 3. Naveen Kumar 8:14.57. 400m hurdles: 1. T. Santhosh Kumar 50.54, 2. M.P. Jabir 51.16, 3. Jithin Paul 51.30.

    Long jump: 1. Ankit Sharma 7.71m, 2. S.E. Samsheer 7.63, 3. Baljidner Singh 7.33. Triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh 16.19, 2. Praveen 14.96. Discus: 1. Baljinder Singh 53.47, 2. Mithra Varun 49.18, 3. Praveen Kumar Nehra 47.30. Shot put: 1. Saurabh Vij 18.83, 2. Kulwinder Singh 17.38, 3. Jaspal singh 16.48. Javelin: 1. Neeraj Chopra 80.49, 2. Abhishek Singh 74.65, 3. Samarjeet Singh 72.95.

    Women: 100m: 1. Merlin Joseph 11.72s, 2. Reena George 11.85, 3. Himashree Roy 11.92. 400m: 1. M.R. Poovamma 52.66, 2. Jisna Mathew 52.67, 3. Debashree Mazumdar 54.00. 1500m: 1. Chinta Yadav 4:29.95. Long jump: 1. LIksy Joseph 6.24, 2. G. Karthika 6.07, 3. Purnima Hembram 6.01. Discus: 1. Parbati Sethi 43.94. Javelin: 1. Annu Rani 59.75, 2. K. Rashmi 47.38, 3. Runjun Pegu 44.14.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Athletics / by Special Correspondent / New Delhi – May 11th, 2017

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    Around 4,800 players will participate in Kodava community’s event

    The Kodava community’s craze for hockey is as legendary as their participation in the Indian army.

    This love for the sport is celebrated by the people of Kodagu with an annual hockey festival, where family teams from the community get together to test each other’s dribbling skills.

    This year’s festival will have a special resonance as the organisers are making a bid to enter the Guinness World Records for the most number of participants at a hockey event.

    The festival which started in 1996 with 60 teams will see the participation of 306 hockey family teams this year.

    Speaking to Bangalore Mirror, Ramesh, the organizer of the festival, said, “This year, we have more than 300 teams, which means that 4800 players will be articipating. Theirs is a Guinness Record for 4000 players taking part in a tournament. This event will break that record.”

    Ramesh also said that they have already entered the Limca Book of Records in 2004 for participation of more than 281 teams in the festival.

    Speaking about the significance of the event, Ramesh said that it has become a cultural festival for the Kodavas.

    “We never call it a hockey tournament, but we call it a hockey festival. It is the 21st year of the celebrations and it has become a cultural milestone for the Kodavas,” he said.

    About the festival

    * The hockey festival in Kodagu was started by Pandanda Kuttappa and Kashi Brothers at Karada in 1996.

    * Kuttappa and Kashi Brothers also founded the Kodava Hockey Academy in 1997 and continuing to be the founder president for the academy till now.

    * The festival follows the international rules for hockey.

    * It also encourages the participation of women and senior members in the hockey team.

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> States / by Bangalore Mirror Bureau / May 12th, 2017

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