Friday, October 19, 2007

Whirlwind tour of th world....

as beijing nears time seems to be flying by... and the trust is in overdrive trying to get the last minute things ready for atleast our kids going to beijing...
so i am off around the globe literally... starting with malaysia, singapore, auckland, chicago, london, paris, germany(maybe) and thenback...
there will be some sporting events to report on like the boxing world championships... along the way...
was in ajmer yesterday watching teh squash junior nationals where there was more politics with various sides fighting each other than squash. It is sad to see people wasting their time fighting instead of just concentrating on improving the quality of the game in the country...
anyway such is life...

Monday, October 8, 2007

fitness... whats that???

There was a tennis tournament in Mumbai a week or so ago and the new fitness trainer/physiotherapist that the Mittal Champions Trust has hired actually was here and got the chance to work on a few of our athletes.
It was a real eye opener for all the kids who are all established in their respective fields as to how far behind they really are in terms of fitness. We lack any sort of a formal program and that is the reason we can't exactly catch up to the rest of the world.
It is something that is goign to be the focus of the trust for the next year or so all the way up to Beijing. My boxer who was very skeptical to start off finished the week realising that he didn't even know how to "breathe correctly" and now agrees all the Indian athletes need to get a lot fitter.
The point being we need to be efficient with our fitness and really have it monitored scientifically so that we prevent injuries and never get to the "over trained" or burnt out phase.
So that has been my order of business for the last month or so and is going to be the focus for the next few weeks ahead.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Asian Archery Championships

Tried to post during the competition but my personal computer didn't work so had to use hotel computer which only typed in chinese so that was something i couldn't master... anyway will recap the situation...
It was a phenomenal Championship from the indian perspective. The men won the team GOLD for the first time in 18 years which was huge. We definitely had the best three archers there (Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Mangal Singh Champia) and we beat all the top asian countries. It was also good for the women who finished with a bronze.
In the individual championships, Chekrovolu Swuro had the best outing and narrowly missed out on a medal by losing by one point in the bronze medal match.
Mangal Singh who was in second place after the ranking round, also finished with an individual bronze.
In the Olympic qualifiers, which was the main interest for our boys there (women already have a berth), we started out the Olympic round (single elimination match play) with Mangal Singh in first place, Jayant Talukdar in fourth and Rahul in fifth.
Rahul and Jayant met each other in the quarter finals with Rahul winning which made up for Mangal vs. Rahul in one semi and a Malaysian vs. Philipino in the other. With the to three qualifying India was thereby assured one berth for Beijing.
Mangal ended up the winner, thereby securing a berth for the country. Rahul had some bad luck and ended up losing in the bronze medal match by one point in a shoot off. That really put a bit of a damper to an otherwise very successful tournament.
Am also proud of both my Mittal Champions Trust kids (mangal and Chekrovolu) who have really matured into world class archers over the last couple of years.
In my next post i would really like to talk about the ugly side of archery in india due to which we failed to qualify as a team at the world championships.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Off to the Asian Archery championships so will have a daily update frm xian, china starting monday... i am sure you are all waiting anxiously but its actually going to be a big one for our boys who are still seeking that elusive Olympic berth...
for the girls its just another day out in the field... will keep all posted

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monkey see... Monkey do??

Just read lately how China had sent a delegation down here to get some insights and hire people for get this kabaddi... yeah its not a typo... Kabaddi...
China is going to be hosting the next Asian Games and for them the 200 odd gold medals they win is just not enough... they want one more...
That shows the level of commitment they have to sports and more importantly to winning no matter what the discipline is. Its interesting to see one of the best in the world aspire to get that much better and really leave their mark in every facet of the word sport.
It should be a huge eye opener for our government, associations and public to get their acts together and really get going. I am hoping we don't just hand over the little edge we do have in kabaddi since when we want something from China it is really a closed market. Hopefully we will bargain hard and be able to get something out of it but that too is doubtful.
The question is what will it take for us to really raise the bar in every sports discipline in the country???
The money isn't the problem, the problem is we don't have people really grooming champions from very young ages because the belief is just not there. We don't believe we can win and until that is instilled there really isn't going to be a culture of winning. Anyway the time is now and hopefully we can stop the petty fights and join hands and get our acts together.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Road to Beijing is long and winding...

well again all the travel dampens my ability to post regularly... regardless have survived and am back in the office (for two days)...

This has been a tough year not only for the people trying to qualify for beijing but also the ones who have already secured a berth...
The Olympics are funny because you have to learn how to peak to qualify and then surpass that peak once you are actually there...
The road isn't that much easier once you know you are going... one of my athletes going wisely pointed out to me yesterday....
"our form is good so we qualify, then once we know we are going we feel the heat to make good into great, hence experimenting with different techniques etc to gain that edge, however in bargain we sometimes lose the 'good'"
that was an interesting point which got me thinking about the huge void in our country for coaches, mentors who have been there and done that and can actually guide our kids in this critical period.
Again it is the chicken and egg scenario, but the important thing is that the athletes and coaches who do actually go out and achieve should take some time to impart their much needed knowledge to the others who are striving to emulate them.

Monday, August 20, 2007

whirlwind tour of the world

again my regularity in writing here has left me... ofcourse it is not my fault... nothing ever is :). Anyway on the road again and it has been hectic, first couple of days were spent with Suma and Abhinav training in dortmund (Germany) and believe me it was action packed... watching these guys who are like statues shooting at a black dot 10m away... just kidding... it was good to see them in a training scenario and a lot was accomplished. Gaby their coach is optimistic and hey i am jumping on the bandwagon. Suma has an important trial coming up so will keep you guys posted on that.
Then to Pontefract (somewhere in north of england) to watch joshana who has just started training with her new coach Malcolm Willstrop. Josh seems happy (phew!!!) working with him and plus the most exciting place in the whole town in the squash club so it looks like she is going to be spending a considerable amount of time there.
Now in london for a few meetings (nothing exciting)....
On a more serious note, i have just learned how all the associations boycotted the ministry's meeting to talk about the new policy. Funny how none want to be accountable... I really don't see the big deal, of being transparent and accountable. For those who haven't already sent in their comments please do so as the deadline is the 25th of Aug... i think all sports lovers will support this policy unfortunately we are again in the minority.
Off to New York tomorrow for some meeting with athletic coaches....

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Back in Action

hey all-
well am back in action after a long lay off since i fell and then had a bout of viral fever but am all mended now and had a few things to put out there...
well the first thing i would like to talk about is the new "policy" that the govt has put out there that has everyone up in arms. The basic fundamental that is being said (you can check it out of govt website) is that all federations should be accountable for all the money they take. Is that so wrong?? I can't get what the uproar is about. If you expect govt. funding then why is it such a big deal to put out a report as to how you are tackling the problems in each sport. That is ofcourse assuming you are doing something. I am befuddled as to what the problem really is.

Ok other news...
Abhinav Bindra has been complaining about his body condition to me ever since i have known him so he has a new australian physio devoted to take care of his different problems. For those who don't know Abhinav, his attention to detail is something else and can't even be compared to anyone or anything else. He is a phenomenal shooter who isn't even satisfied by shooting a 10.9 if it doesn't feel right. Go figure... so lets hope the physio can get everything from his toes to pelvis feeling good so at least he can feel good while shooting those high scores....
I keep telling him who cares as long as the score is high but no no everything has to "feel" right :)

Then there is another physio on his way to take care of the rest of the kids, he is arriving in Kochi tomorrow with Saina being his first assignment... She needs a lot of attention to her fitness so we are hoping that thins should get her on a good foot for beijing.

So more from there day after...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Long time no say!!!!

Have been out of commission for a bit now because of a minor horse riding accident... so have been in bed resting my hurt hip/back and luckily for me have a slew of physiotherapists (for my athletes) who are all helping whip me back in shape...
Just to keep you guys posted on a few developments while i have been laid up....
Our Squash girls Joshana and Dipika faced off in the finals of the nationals two days ago and after a good match Josh came out on top... Congrats to her and am also happy dipika is closing the gap. Am a strong believer that competition is the way to get the best out of us and as a country we need to cultivate strong domestic competition if we want to succeed outside.
Also my boxers have finally made it to Kazakh after a very tumultous few weeks where they were having visa troubles... among other things.... and somehow managed to get them out of here before it got really ugly... They have a good solid couple of weeks of training before they go out to China so hopefully this will all pay off...
This Kazakh expedition has been no easy task right from finding the coach to sending them off but these are things we have to take in our stride. It will all be worth it at the end.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Archery world Championships IV

its my final day here and there is good and bad news... will start with the good since i am learning to be optimistic...
Bombayla Devi and Chekorvolu Swuro have secured two olympic berths for India. Dola had a bad outing and lost in the first round of elimination.
Nevertheless she still has the Asian Championships to qualify and she should have good chances there since a lot of the top archers would also have already got a place by then.

The bad news is the boys... they all lost 2nd round of elimination adn couldn't secure any berths. However tomorrow is the team championships and if we win a round in both men and women that would secure berths for all so we are all anxious that happens....
Keep fingers crossed.... and hope for the best.

From what i can understand the Olympic rounds are like playing russian roulette so its anybody's game...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Archery world Championships III

Just a quick update since the internet connection is on the blink....
The men also had a below par outing at the world championships in the elimination rounds yesterday. They finished in 14th place and the thing going for them is that most of the teams are all equal and its very little margin separating the teams. So coming into the Olympic rounds our guys are positioned well to be able to win a round and thus secure a Beijing berth.

Rahul Banerjee had the best day and is in 10th place overall. Somai Murmu also had a decent day, the team was let down by Tarundeep Rai who shot below his capabilities but will have a chance to make it up in the Olympic rounds.

Today is a rest day, with the individual elimination for both men and women tomrrow.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Archery world Championships II

Yesterday the women were in action, the results were not as good as we expected but still in a good position for the Olympic berth.
The three women had a mixed bag of results with Bombayla and chekrovolu shooting their career best scores with 1312 and 1330 respectively. Dola Banerjee who is India's best shooter had a disappointing outing shooting a lowly 1290. This ended us up in 12spot as a team. So now the 16 top teams will slug it out in match format with the top 8 qualifying for the Olympics. So the format is a simple one with number 1 playing number 16, 2 vs 15 etc. India is playing against either Great Britain or Russia (who are tied) which is a great match up since we have beaten both teams in the recent past.
The Olympic rounds are where all the talent and skill doesn't really matter and its only how big a heart you have that really matters.
Korea dominated the womens (not a surprise) which ended up well ahead of every one else. Our girls still have a ways to go to catch up to the koreans, their top two shooters shot 1385 and 1360. I think archery has come a long way and now we need to take steps to take it to the next level.
Today the men are in action and typically we have posted better results in the Men. My guess is they should finish between 4-7 which should position them well for the Olympic round.
More on that later on in the day....

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Archery world Championships I

Monday, July 9th 2007.
The recurve championships gets under way today with the womens event. The way it works is that today the women will shoot individually for their ranking places at three different distances, 70m, 50m and 30m after which they will be ranked as per their scores. India has three women here Dola Banerjee, Chekrovolu Swuro and Bombayla Devi all of which are vetrans and now need to step up. This is the first opportunity to qualify for Beijing and its always an advantage to secure your berth early.
The field here is a strong one, there are 90 countries participating and everyone here agrees that archery worldwide is growing. India is a country where archery has comes naturally to some living in the tribal belt and now it is just a matter of bringing in that expertise to make the push. This is harder than it seems since Korea which is the best is not so liberal in parting with their knowledge and it is tight lipped about their advantage. However the reason i am here is to secure that exact knowledge.
Archery in europe and americas is played on a part time basis whereas in Asia (including us) we play it full time. This in my opinion is a distinct advantage and a great opportunity for an upcoming coach to make their mark. However to get someone to come and live in india is a tall task and this is a challenge we face in all sports.
That being said if our girls can have a good showing here today I am hoping it will open the door for some of the world's best to take a look and agree to get a piece of the "India Shining" pie.

More updates later on today on the results.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Archery World Championships

Again delay on the posting but trying to catch up with office work after a long time out of the office. Anyway out again this week end and it might surprise everyone its not for a shooting event. Yes yes!!! going to Leipzig for the archery world championships. In the market for a new coach and this is a good opportunity to check out the field. All the good coaches, globally, sign contracts from Olympics-Olympics so need to get our foot in the door to really be able to sign one of the big name coaches after Beijing.
Archery is one of the sports I feel we are really close to winning, the point again being we lack the expertise to get over the edge. If we are able to use scientific methods it is definitely a sport that we can master.
So more updates later on this week from Leipzig.

Monday, June 25, 2007

To Know them is to love them..... (Part I)

Some say you shouldn't talk about people if they aren't there to defend themselves.... They are a 100% right but am not listening...
I am going to talk about Joshana while she is away in LA playing a tournament and this way she won't hear about this for a few days... however she knows i love her and so I am taking advantage of the situation.
For those who don't know her Joshana Chinappa is the country's best squash player and has dominated the Indian circuit for a few years now and we are now trying to prepare her to do the same internationally.
For those of you who don't know the sport of Squash (perfectly understandable) it is for people who want to play tennis but can't :)(she is going to kill me).
I got to know Josh, after we signed her, and I accompanied her on a trip to Egypt to find a coach. She is extremely reserved and shy and it took a while for me to break into the shell. She is a great kid who like all people her age only dresses in Guess, Abercrombie or Tommy Hilfiger and the first impression is that she is this happy go lucky kid who is very content with all in the world. She will never leave the room without ironing her already straight hair and then promptly putting it up in a pony tail... yes go figure...
Scratch the surface and you see how tough she really is, Josh has been through it all and managed to come out of it on top. The hard existence of and Indian sportsperson, from no funding to court cases, to various conspiracies to people writing her off. Amid all this adversity she went on to win the Junior British open and now making her mark in the WISPA.
Her biggest asset is that she can perform when her back is against the wall and that is a great quality to have. On the court she is focused and all athletes will tell you its not easy to play in India.
Here we have to perform under extreme scrutiny and the negative vibes emanate from all sides. She has not only been able to get over that hump but has also played some of her best games and pull out victories when even i have doubted her.
Its one thing to get to the top, but to be able to stay there with younger people constantly gunning for you shows grit, which in my opinion trumps talent and is a reason i believe Josh can get to the top of the squash world.

To Know them is to love them.....

I am going to use this as an introduction to an ongoing series where once a week i will focus on one of my athletes and really try to give you guys an inside perspective from the outside :).... well of course it is always easier to write about other people and when you are as attached to them as i am its even easier.... Plus i would like to talk about these athletes who have become an extension to my family (i think i spend more time with them than my real family) and it is really interesting to get to know how different athletes tick...
People always wonder what i do... besides things like filing papers and making travel arrangements, i am also in pursuit of the ultimate paradox...."what makes a champion" so have spent the last year or so really trying to get to know our players and compare them with the younger crop, their peers, the champions, normal people their age, and just about anyone else, sometimes even throwing animals in the mix. Have you guys played that game where you compare a human to a breed of dog???? Ok am digressing will leave that for another time.... I am in search for the "x" factor that makes them better than the rest... I am also analyzing the athletes that haven't yet had the breakthrough and what is their personality... wish freud was alive to rate my assessments...
It also interesting to see how they cope in different situations and yes ofcourse they have tons of negatives that sometimes drive me up the wall but we are going to focus on the good.... leave the bad and ugly for the arm chair critics who would have nothing to talk about if i addressed those too...
So my next post is going to feature the first athlete signed by the Trust.... Joshana Chinappa. Stay tuned.

PS- a great article by Rohit Brijnath on Abhinav Bindra in "Mint" over the weekend so all sports lovers should check out. Plus if you guys are reading this blog regularly you should know a lot about him...

Friday, June 22, 2007

SHOOTING: Two opposite ends of a spectrum

For the first time i managed to catch two world cups one week after another, I was at the rifle/pistol world cup in Munich followed by the shotgun world cup in Lonato, and was amazed at the difference between the two.... especially since they both fall under the "shooting" banner which is somewhat misleading.
Ofcourse the rifle/pistol guys told me that it's (shotgun) is a different world in their words they are the "royalty" and the rifle guys are the paupers, but i dismissed them since i had been to both venues (sometimes in the same day) at the Doha Games and even though they are different events didn't quite grasp the differences....

Right from the start everything is different...
I arrived to the range in a taxi (all of which are mercedes') and in the parking lot:
In Munich (Air rifle): you see a plethora of campers where the shooters are staying and my
taxi is one of the best cars there.
In Lonato (Shotgun): the taxi seems like an ambassador and a BMW is probably one of the
lower end cars there. The parking lot is dotted with customized buses (the kind the stars
have, which are pimped out with couches etc) which also double up as a repair center for
the equipment.

You walk in and:
In Munich (Air Rifle): There is pin drop silence with people huddled around the main score-
board but no one really saying much. They are all poker faced and staring at the board
which makes you wonder what they are really thinking.
In Lonato (Shotgun): It is like walking into the tokyo fish market at 4am, everyone is still
huddled around the main score board (a similarity!!!) but there is serious chatter. All the
various combination permutations are being discussed, there is chatter, laughter, and
emotion is actually being displayed.

The event:
In Munich: You are in an enclosed space that is usually freezing with weird lighting and as I
said earlier you have to leave your voice box outside. Every one is stoically standing
behind their shooters and its impossible to see if they are happy or sad. It is like you are at a silent auction where you can't read anyone's mind.
In Lonato: It is in the open air and even though it was overcast it felt like a carnival. Everyone
is eating, drinking most importantly talking. There are people walking around all over the
place. Everyone is just hanging out and oh yeah there is also shooting going on which they
are following.

The athletes:
In Munich: Everyone is pretty much by themselves. I used to think twice before even saying
hello to someone. Even after the event everyone says the courteous hello but in the restaur-
ant everyone is scattered around eating by themselves. The athletes are all trying to avoid
everyone so they won't have to even say the hello.
In Lonato: The carnival theme continues. Everyone brings food, drinks and sets it out on a
table which is shared by everyone. They come in between rounds chat with others eat some
snacks and discussing the different scores and performances.

Ofcourse i am a lay person and don't know much so i hope i haven't offended anyone. The shotgun world is for people who are obsessed with guns, hunting and the sound of the gun doesn't make you wince.
The airrifle is for people who aren't really obsessed with guns and people who just don't like to talk to anyone for long durations of time :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Missing In Action

Have been missing in action for over two weeks now and i know everyone is waiting with bated breathe and in withdrawal because they are not getting their fix of my pearls of wisdom.... for that i apologize profusely.
Just to give you a recap i was in Munich, Germany and Lonato, Italy for two world cups one being Air Rifle/Pistol (Munich) and Shotgun (Lonato). And all i can say is "what a world of difference".... Even though they are both shooting events really it is a joke how different everything is and when i say everything i mean everything.... even the grass is greener in the shot gun world.
I want to do full justice to this topic so am going to write a long one later on in the day or maybe tomorrow, since it is my first day in the office for a month i have to sign a million papers.
So more on this topic later....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reality Bites!

Talking to a few friends the other day they brought up the subject of the government and their system of "priority sport" status. The whole concept and way it works is asinine (to put it mildly).
They don't follow any logical benchmarks and criteria and they only look at medals in various events. So if you win a couple of medals here and there you get this status and supposedly a huge influx of funds. The fact that all the "priority" sports don't exactly dominate on the world circuit with maybe the exception of shooting. A good example being tennis, it is a priority sport and we only have 3 decent players. It gets me back to the whole point of how as a country we have no vision and are so stuck up in the present and mostly past.
Also it is not that the life of the athletes in "priority" sports is great altered and they get some unbelievable opportunities. So what is the point? I agree that funding should be incentive based and sports doing well in the international arena should get some breaks but hey is someone really watching and seeing what is really going on? My guess is they are not and just reading the box scores doesn't really give you the exact picture.
Another valid point being... shouldn't the sports where we are absolutely nowhere like a gymnastics, swimming etc etc get more money to actually develop the sport and make a start? Or should they also wait till they get one bright flash in the pan and ride his/her back to "priority status"????

Leave for Munich tomorrow night... have a jam packed schedule with shooting, facilities, more shooting and back...
I am sorry to subject the non shooting fans to more allusions since i am sure the next few entries will either directly relate to shooting or have shooting undertones.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pattiala Part II

Back to the last week end where i boarded a flight to Delhi around 10 hours after i had landed from the US to go and conduct some tests on our athletes. I had spoken about what needed to be done and since in the summer in the US a lot of the coaches have time on their hands so thought i shouldn't waste any time and choose some athletes to send there. Of course there is no co operation from any front and it is mind boggling to see how incompetent everyone really is. I was told that there would be around 8-10 girls there and so i began my journey...
On the track at 6:30am i could only find 3 girls and around the same number of boys along with about 5 coaches. Luckily i had a friend with me so at least someone was on my side because the coaches were all whispering and speaking different languages and it was pretty apparent who their comments were directed at.
The three girls tested were decent and fit most of the required parameters with one of them fulfilling all the requirements. The guys were a disaster!!! They almost have the same times as the women and it is appalling to see such a disparity in quality... Do we just not have good male athletes? Is there no base for any sort of development whatsoever.... what was even more disappointing was the fact that the tests that i did are not event specific but instead just to showcase if you are a decent athlete or not...
Anyway my trip wasn't fully wasted since one of our athletes Abhinav Bindra lives there and i took him up on an offer to get a shooting lesson.
The 10m Air Rifle that is the event of choice for Mr. Bindra and when i was first trying to learn the sport he told me not to go and watch because he said it would be more exciting "to watch paint dry." Of course i didn't heed and delved into watching as much as i could and yes i can see how people could find it "boring." The thing that made me so intrigued was what exactly possessed people to take up this sport and what motivated them to shoot at a little black dot 10m away all day long 24/7/365.
So here was my opportunity and anyone who knows the sport will tell you that i was getting a lesson from one of the top authorities in the sport. So we started off first shooting off a table, then shooting off a stand and then finally working on the right form. It is the weirdest thing but you get this "great" feeling when you are looking through the sights and you shoot a good shot. It is hard to explain and i never understood it when the shooters would all tell me but it is that feeling that you get for 1/millionth of a split second that urges you on to try it again and again and again...
So 6 hours later and one lunch in between we were still at Abhinav's range with him patiently standing behind me correcting every mistake and adjusting my equipment. Even after i was done i was thinking about getting that ever elusive "10" so much so that i got up early the next morning before we were to leave and squeezed in a quick shooting session.
The one revelation i did have (other than getting my 10 on my 37th shot of the morning) was that it was easy to see why Abhinav was the best in the world. It is very rare and heartening to see people so committed and passionate about their sport that the highlight of their day is just to get an opportunity to hold the gun.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Show Me the Money!!!!!

Was in Patiala/Chandigarh the last three days and i guess words like dissapointing, uninspiring, disenchanting, dillusional all would perfectly describe the outing. But i will rave and rant about that later on in the week. There were some bright spots but today i want to focus on one of the brightest spot hitting Indian Tennis. Apollo Tires yesterday announced they are investing 100 crores into Indian tennis for the next ten years.
Mahesh Bhupathi (one of my closest buddies) initiated the deal. I maybe a bit biased towards him but the bottom line is that he has brought in more money (his magic number being 140 crores combining the Mittal Trust and FIST) to Indian sport as a whole than any other human being EVER!!!! Of course his exploits on the tennis court are great but this is so much bigger here is a guy who is proving not to only to be a great athlete but an even better human being. He has single handedly raised money for Indian sport with absolutely no vested interest other than seeing his country move up in the world. Not so long ago this same guy was accused as being non patriotic which is hilarious since here is a guy who has redifined the termed "giving back"!!!!
Anyway for all those who only thought that it was a lack of money that kept us in the doldrums its time to pull your socks up and deliver since the money is coming so now lets get some results going.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wide world of Athletics.

Let me start by apologizing for long gap... there are way too many reasons (some personal) for why i haven't had a chance to update the blog.
Am presently in Knoxville, Tennessee (USA) for some meetings with coaches and in particular the head coach of the Track&Field who has produced 7 Olympic medals in the last two games.
Just to summarize my last week or so I have been from Ottawa, Toronto, Cincinnati and now Knoxville (which is my last stop thank god) in search of an athletic program that will agree to take on some Indian athletes.
Our athletes are decent at junior levels but just like most other sports they don't get the right development and push to the next stage. Have met various coaches who feel that they can take up the challenge. It is so refreshing meeting people here to are so ambitious and even coaches who are in charge of development and coach young kids do their job with so much pride.
I am of the feeling that i would like to base the athletes outside India only because peripherals like nutrition, strength, rehab will get taken care of. This is an area we don't even address at home and it shows.
In Knoxville, the coach here has given me a test that he has devised which he says gives a 99% idea whether an athlete has a chance or not. He specializes only in the 400 and 800 which also seem to be where a bulk of our athletes seem to be. After the fitness test, there is a medical test which is only done in 3 places here that measures the amount of "fast twitch" muscle fibres and compares it to what you need. So it is a pretty fool proof... except that after an athlete passes these two tests, the mental aspect and desire which will come into play.
However am excited at doing these tests, from what i can see of it already the coach said i would be lucky if i found 3-4 people. Anyway headed back to India tomorrow and will keep all posted on the test front....

Monday, May 7, 2007

Back from Bangkok

No idea for some reason the last two posts didn't publish. Well in a nutshell the women were a disappointment and not much to even write about other than maybe Avneet who shot MQS so not much pressure.
There are only two more chances for an Olympic Quota which is Munich starting the 28th and then the Asian Championships later on in the year. Anyway there will be more shooting for me at the beginning of next month since i thought i would go and check out my shot gun athletes as well.
Off to Toronto tonight to try and find an athletic base to send some of our talented athletes and also various testing and fitness facilities. So more on that later.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Today's events were the Men's 10m Air rifle and women's 10m Air Pistol. Few Indians were in action, and from the "Trust's" point of view notably Abhinav Bindra.
The day started at 6am which is when he left for the range. By the time i got there at 7.30am all were standing on the firing line ready to go... and it all began at 8am.
For those who have never been to an Air rifle match (that will be a lot of you) imagine being in a movie hall with deafening volumes of the dolby surround soud system, then imagine the plug being pulled on the system and that sudden silence where you can even hear the seats breathing... now throw in the popcorn machine making the noise it does.... that is the feeling you get in an Air Rifle match arena.
Now the format...there are 2 groups of 55 shooters who shoot one after the other and the top 8 make the final. We had Gagan and Abhinav shooting in the first group followed by Raghu and S. Rajput in the second. Each shooter shoots 6 rounds of 10 shots each.
It wasn't an ideal start for Abhinav shooting a 98 (which is 8 of 10), followed by another 98 and for those of you referencing with Kamesh he will tell you that is not the best of starts. It looked like Abhinav was in a bad mood and basically very unhappy.... he later told me that is how he is all the time. Anyway he then shot a 100,100,100 and 99, which gave him a final score of 595. He managed to be second out of the group but still had to see how the other group scored to know if he would make the final.
He described his performance as sheer determination and power that got him through and said it was more a boxing match than a shooting one. He was having a horrendous day and it was only his strong mind that got him through.
The other group started right after and i can't give you any details since i wasn't really watching but when the dust settled India had two people in the final, Abhinav and Rajput. So that was heartening....
Going into the final (which is 10 shots on command) Abhinav and the other Indian faltered out of the start which quickly took them out of medal contention. Abhinav managed to recover at the end with a 10.8 which was a good finish to the tournament. I think he finished 7th but on the whole a remarkable performance after a 6 month lay off and only his third tournament back.
It is very clear to see why he is such a champion and so well regarded, his attention to detail concerning his sport is phenomenal. He is very clear with not only his goal but also the road he wants to take to the goal. It is one step at a time with each step being ahead of the last and they are all leading to the top of the podium at the Olympics....

Now off to dinner, followed by tomorrow which will be the girls day out... Women's Air Rifle starts at 9am with Suma, Avneet and Anjali in action. Lets hope we can bring home some silverware...

Friday, May 4, 2007


Greetings from Bangkok.... its been a long day so will try to keep this succinct and to the point... got here from Bombay at 6am and before i could put my bags down i got a call from Abhinav who was already up and heading to the gym so i decided that i had to also pretend to kind of be an athlete and so i joined him.
After a shower and food we headed to the range, Abhinav had official practice at 1pm and i was perplexed at why we were heading there at 10am but i decided not to argue. The whole Indian contingent was there and it was good to catch up with everyone. The air rifle and pistol contingent comprises of around 50 people and they have been on the road for the last two months so there is no dearth of good gossip. Of course there are those usual stories of people not having seen three of the five coaches ever since they have reached bangkok but being Indian would we expect any different?? Then there are juicier ones that i (as much as i want to) can't really write about but my point being that it was good.
While all this was going on Abhinav of course was not around he had gone to the armory to get his weapons and was sitting behind his shooting point, i assumed he was focusing so didn't interfere.... then after a while he changed into his shooting clothes (better described as armor) and at around 12.30 was standing at his place aiming at his target but not shooting... there were about 30 others doing the same thing so i didn't think it was too odd. Then as soon as the digital clock showed 1:00pm there was this cacophony of gun fire... it sounded like hail on a tin roof and i jumped since i was still busy shooting the breeze with Suma and didn't expect it.
Exactly 23 minutes later, Abhinav packed up his gun got out of his clothes, went dropped off his gun and we was ready to get out of there. So we went there 2 hours early just to prepare to shoot for 23 mins... Amazing....
So in the next ten mins we were on our way back to the hotel, where we went back to the gym, and then headed to re-fuel our stomachs.
The thing I found odd was that its only Abhinav staying in this hotel. He does his own practice, he makes his own schedules, he does his own fitness and there is no one around. Not anyone of his "team" mates, no coaches... i know he probably likes it this way but it is a great reminder of even though it is a team event it is still very individual.
So tomorrow being the Men's 10M event... we are all off to bed early... all the action begins at 6am (that is the time he is leaving for competition preparations) tomorrow so can't wait to actually be a part of it. The atmosphere at a sporting event is something hard to describe it is unbelievable and watching any sport live is a thrill which no sports lover should pass on....

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Shooting in Bangkok

Alot of people keep asking me why i have to travel the way i do and what i actually do when i go on trips. So i am leaving for Bangkok tonight for the shooting World Cup and will be doing a daily diary situation to give people a better understanding of not only what i do but also of what the shooters really do. I know shooting is not exactly a great spectator sport but still something we are really good at. It is the only sport where we have two World Champions in the same year and have around 6 top ten shooters in the world. It is also a learning experience for myself since it is the first time i will be seeing the shooters in action. I watched shooting in Doha also but was too "green" to know exactly what was going on. I will be also giving my readers (all 2 of them) a behind the scenes insight :) For all technical questions please try and reach Kamesh who in my mind is a authority on the air rifle and pistol events. For those of you who don't know Kamesh... he writes for the Hindu and can be reached on He doesn't know i am throwing his name out there but am sure he would be happy to help those with queries :)
So back to the event, it is the 3rd World Cup in the shooting calendar and all our air rifle and pistol shooters will be in action. We haven't had a great season with only one person securing a quota place. Abhinav Bindra also coming off a long lay off will be in action and i am excited at watching him after months of dissecting the sport through long phone conversations. For those not really interested in the sport, this is going to be a boring read for the next week or so.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Time to Introspect

Sports in India is a 1500 crore industry... of which 1499 crores goes to cricket. It is a sad statistic but true. We have various sport management groups cropping up all over the country to try their hand in managing athletes but finding these athletes is turning out to be a tall task. The truth is there are none..... Why?
Well a not so anonymous reader of my blog has been commenting on how the domestic circuits in all sports need to be revamped with more people playing to be able to find eventual champions. I couldn't agree with that more. The truth is to be able to get thousands of people playing at all levels and have a competitive domestic circuit is the only way to "breed" future champs.
The last year has given me the opportunity to delve into the various sports in India and from what i have seen the sports we are the closest to an Olympic medal are Archery, Shooting and Boxing. Incidentally, these are also the sports where the domestic circuit is the strongest. Our archers come from below the poverty line and so all their major competitions are national ones. The Archery Association has done a phenomenal job in keeping its circuit of National ranking and prize money tournaments hence there is a lot of depth. Other than Korea we are the only nation who have full time archers and it is now just a matter of fine tuning these athletes to be able to compete at the international stage.
Boxing is similar since most of the pugilists are from rural backgrounds. Haryana has done a great job garnering and nurturing talent and there are around 2000 boxers coming out of that state alone. They to function on a strong domestic schedule and the best boxers are constantly participating in different events around the country.
The shooters also participate in a lot of domestic events, that is a bit skewed because they are forced to participate since only the top 20 shooters can acquire a gun licence. This is a good ploy which forces internal competition which is essential before the kids can compete internationally.
I think all associations should take a look and really set up a great domestic circuit before bidding to host various international tournaments. It is great to host these big time events but not at the cost of national tournaments.
It is the only way we will be able to consistently churn out winners and the Mittal Champions Trust is going to look to support long term sustainable circuits that will be able to eventually sustain themselves.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

India Shining....

"India Shining" has been the slogan on all our lips for a while now and guess what the words out.... and everyone from different corners of the world are coming here to see if they can get a slice of the pie. I will only talk about the sports world since i am no authority on anything else.
The last couple of years has had everyone who is anyone in the sporting world head to India to check out what initiatives we have and how they can get their foot in the door to a country with deep pockets. We had people here from the NBA last year (who obviously didn't do much research because the avg. Indian has a height of 5' 5") so not sure how many Shaq's they were trying to target. Then recently we have had Sepp Blatter in town for setting up football ventures. The president of the IOC Jacques Rogge (not sure i got the spelling right) is headed into town for reasons unknown to me but hey they are all coming....
Oh how much i would pay to be a little fly on the wall in the plane on their way back to know what they are really thinking....
The truth is for all the hype we are not ready for sport as entertainment yet. Yes there is cricket and it is very entertaining but the truth is in the West they used various sports as a platform for various other entertaining activities going on. The game being played is sometimes not even the main focus, I myself have gone to numerous baseball games just to enjoy the hot dogs, peanuts, beer and basic atmosphere of a beautiful ball park. I sometimes couldn't even have told you who won.... and no that is not because of the beer :)
So my point is that India has no such infrastructure that the masses can enjoy. Our stadia are dilapidated and so under maintained that even the players don't feel like entering sometimes. So really where are these guys planning to set all these ventures up??? Plus everyone is talking about how the sports industry is the fastest growing industry in the country and lots of management companies are looking to cash in but where are the players???
Our own sports minister came out by saying that he didn't want us to get the Asian Games because it would have been a "waste of 5000" crores, well maybe but at least we would have had some nice facilities (I hope) with which we could have molded to having various leagues and using them as entertainment platforms. It might be wishful thinking but at least there was a slim chance of that happening. If he really wanted he could have forced the national associations to set up various leagues and training facilities where the stadia could have been put to use and not just sat there. But hey by the time 2014 rolls around he isn't even going to be sports minister....
There were world class facilities built in hyderabad for the National Games in 2002 and they are truly awesome but because of the change in govt and bureaucratic red tape no one is allowed to use them. So here are some of the nicest facilities in the country but because this present chief minister didn't agree with the last chief minister the stadia are all collecting dust. So why are the authorities so hesitant relinquish control and let someone else use them?
So the way i see it we are really never going to be able to make any steps in the sports world unless we separate sports with national politics and have people other than politicians running sport. I read a quote some time ago saying how "our country makes most progress at night when the politicians are asleep" and that is pretty accurate even in the sporting world.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

3rd Set High???

Back to tennis parlance, a friend and I began talking about the this thing called "the 3rd set high" the other day over lunch. What i guess he meant it was that in a tennis match when you have gotten to the third set and are on the brink of both defeat and victory your mental state is somewhat in a zone....
That got me thinking really since i have never consciously felt this high but every athlete has a craving for some intangible competitive feeling that we keep going back for more. All professional athletes will refute the theory of exercise endorphins making you feel on top of the world. We have all questioned our abilities after losing a long 4hr battle, or even in some cases sworn that we will never pick up the racket again but of course that never happens. As an athlete of any level we all crave the feeling of being at the edge, of having our hands shake before we are about to serve, or getting to the point of no return.
That is also the point that separates the champions from the rest. The champions crave the opportunity of being able to produce their best with their backs against the walls whereas the others crumble with fear or self doubt. No matter what it is we all still stand back up and go back for more. That is the beauty of sport is that no matter what the outcome and even when the losses feel like the worst possible thing we still head right back down that path because the feeling of being victorious is the best possible feeling that no amount of words can describe.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Close But No Cigar

Just returned yesterday from Kuwait which everyone knows was a disappointment to many since India lost out to Korea to host the 2014 Asian Games.
It was the first time that i have ever been to such an event and it was interesting how the bidding process works. The atmosphere at arrival was jubilant and upbeat, the Indian camp seemed to be exuding with confidence. Everyone spoke of how the bid was pretty much in the bag and were almost on the verge of planning how they were going to run the games.
Well ofcourse there is the usual stuff like presentations which is supposed to convince the voters but it is the stuff behind the scenes that is more interesting. Sports which in acutality is so pure and is a test at overcoming adversity and fear is a really dirty business. The people from all over the world are there just to grab as much as they can get their hands on.
I don't have any idea as to how this all exactly works but over and above the promises that are made in the "official" presentation there are a lot of dealings. It canrange anywhere from a drink at the bar to being offered a Samsung dealership and all the stuff that may fall in between just to get a vote. I can't tell you how this is done or who is busy formulating a strategy to get this done because i don't know but these are all the whisperings that one hears while just hanging around.
India had a contingent there of about 200 strong (you know how our officials would never miss out on a free trip). What role everyone had there is ambiguous at best but for most of us were there just for support.
Going in I was indifferent as to whether we got the bid or not. I actually felt that deep down they would do a better job than us since they have a lot more experience. However while sitting there watching they presentation and how they talked about our great country and people I could feel the patriotism creeping in. By the end of it we were all nervous and when the decision did finally arrive i would be lying if i said i wasn't disappointed.
Every athlete dreams about achieving big goals and to have the opportunity to realize those dreams on home turf make it that much sweeter. However the one thing that is common between sports and its business side is that there is no guarantee to victory.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Accountability is the name of the game

Back on a serious note the main headlines lately are all about the cricketers losing endorsements. Its again all about the Benjamin's!!!! I know i have touched on this before but why is it that the general perception is that it is money that makes or breaks an athlete.
If you ask all in charge of all the various sports why we are not successful they will say its because of the lack of funds, if you ask the BCCI why we aren't successful they say its because the players have an excess of funds.... when is the sports world going to figure out that it might not be because of money.
The reason why Indian sport is languishing at the bottom of all tables is because the people taking decisions are not accountable. The players are constantly blamed, coaches on the hiring and firing merry go-round but the people making the decisions sit pretty. It is a unique scenario we presently function in, either we have amateurs who sit in high positions in most federations and can't be fired because it is all vote based and not performance based, or we have professionals who absolutely have no idea. Again these professionals have got their designations through government office and has nothing to do with their criteria.
The biggest factor is that all the above can "afford to lose" so there can never be any headway. It doesn't matter if we are successful or not the officials will still free load their way to all the best events in the world and continue to churn out years and years of non performance.
Until the day the top brass have to earn their positions we can go no where as a country.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

It takes all sorts to make the world go 'round.

Sitting on my patio on a sultry sunday afternoon looking out onto the beach (yes i live on the beach!!!) something feels odd, for the longest time i can't put my finger on exactly what but it just doesn't feel right.... then it all of a sudden it strikes me.... hey its sunday and i am actually home. That usually doesn't happen since i travel most weekends (for a reason that i rather not say). At first, seat 2A on jet airways was my second home but now over the past year and a half that has moved up to numero uno. My parents refer to me at home as a "fleeting glimpse" and i think if i got a new hair cut or something they wouldn't recognize me :) but hey it has been a good year and i wouldn't change my situation for the world. I love being in sports and even people with the slightest connection to the sporting world become my friend instantly.
So since i am in this pensive mood and i start thinking of my life and all the people i have known over the years and i begin musing how athletes and semi athletes (people who are retired athletes or think of themselves as athletes) are such a different species. We are so much more complex and have the strangest of habits and traits that defy all logic. The most common stereotype is that athletes are stupid but that is the most flawed theory ever. Just as they say genius' are on a different wavelength so are we and most regular Joe's just don't get us but hey, they still love us. We live on a different planet and are the kings of our own world.
In the beginning all my interactions used to be with tennis players and others deeply ensconced in the tennis world. However, thanks to my present job my world has really opened up. I have had the pleasure of learning all about the different sports and had a lot of interaction with athletes from a wide array of different disciplines. That is the beauty of sport that no matter how different we are there are some things that are still the same.
I will try and keep names out(which is hard because people who know me don't tell me any secrets) of this since i don't want to embarass anyone although it is hard to embarass and athlete it is the "semi athletes" (definition above) i would like to protect. We do the oddest things and of course there is that whole "superstition factor" but i will talk about that another day. It might be noted that all the athletes (not semi athletes) i refer to are world class athletes and would be great research bodies for the next author of "the DNA of a Champion." I have this one "friend" whose hair straightening iron is her American Express card (for those who don't know their slogan its "never leave home without it"). She can survive without her passport (which she has forgotten many a time), her rackets, clothes anything but if she doesn't have her iron she is like a fish out of water. Her dependence on this appliance is even funnier because she never leaves her hair loose, but even before she brushes her teeth she will have to straighten the two strands of hair on either side of her ponytail.
Then there is this other "friend" who has a penchant for mascara and eye liner. I don't know what the affinity is but she puts it on even before she goes for a swim. Even if she has to go for a run at 5am (which most of us athletes do regularly) she has to put it on. We have tried to explain to her that it is dark at 5am and also that by the time it is daylight her peers are so tired that they are not checking out the highlighted contours of her almond shaped eyes, but she isn't buying it.
Then there is that other character who came to the tennis court they other day dressed like a cross between rafael nadal and ricky carmicheal (dirt bike racing champion... don't know how i knew that). He was wearing this tight long sleeve body hugger under his t-shirt in 32 C(that 110 F for my american readers) and went on the argue that it was actually making him feel cool, which would have been impossible even if he had an a/c under that thing.
Then there is my other friend who no matter what the scientists said believed that Bacardi and coke was the best pre match hydration, pepperoni pizza was the breakfast of champions and KFC chicken was the ideal pre match lunch. Hey scientists if you are reading this.... he was number one in the world.
No matter how different we all are there are somethings that all athletes do... we just never sightsee. We may travel 40 weeks in the year and be platinum in every frequent flyer program but have never seen anything. We may see the Eiffel Tower on our 4th visit to paris and maybe check out the statue of liberty on our 3rd time in NY but that is about it. The only sightseeing we do is on our way to the hotel from the airport and usually if we have lost we are too pre occupied to be looking out on the way back. However, i would like to add that we are the last word on airports. We can tell you which airport has the best couches for long layovers (my vote goes to Changi) and which airline has the best blankets (BMI wins my vote there).
You might be wondering why we are like this and what causes these idiosyncrasies? No one knows whether our parents genes mysteriously mutate before being passed on to us or whether an overdose of endorphines causes us to behave differently. The truth is we are blessed to be the way we are and no athlete would trade their world for anything.
We may march to a different beat or dance to a different tune but frankly.... it is our world and you guys just live in it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Money!!!! Money!!! Money!!!

Money cannot buy happiness.... it also can't buy gold medals and world championships. This is evident with the dismal performance of the cricket team. I hate to make another reference to the "men in blue" but it is a great lesson for all of us in the sporting world to see that it takes a lot more than funds to achieve success.
There is obviously no doubt that money is an important component to creating champions but it is not the be all and end all. The formula for success is a tricky composition of desire, hard work, talent, planning, competitiveness and money. The problem with us in India is that there has been a dearth of funds. Not that the funds don't exist... they are just flittered away in non productive ways. Planning is one of the most important factors to achieving success but if you talk to most coaches and sports admin officials they don't really have a plan.... and if they do it is not a very good one.
In a lot of cases the coaches who are doing it with the best of intentions, spend so much time trying to raise money for their athletes that they forget to develop a hunger, passion and desire in their wards.
There is no shortage of funds in India what we really need is people who can come in and formulate a plan to create champions. There has to be some accountability to be able to produce results and unfortunately right now we not only have a bunch of over paid, under achieving athletes but also officials.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Happiness is all about looking in the right place

I am sure today could be constituted as one of the darkest days in the country's sports history.... India suffered a crushing defeat to Sri Lanka which in most probability has ended their world cup campaign. So while 99.9% of the population is mourning the loss there are a few of us who are looking at the positive side of things. Because while the whole country will only be ruing the loss, we are focussing on the other bright spots.
For starters Mr. Ronjan Sodhi (double trap shooter) has won a bronze medal in the Santo Domingo World Cup. Well of course no one knows about it and of course most of the people don't care but it is a big deal. He even managed to get a mention in the paper which during the world cup madness might be a even bigger feat. Anyway for those of you who don't have any idea Ronjan is the India's up and coming shooter and shoots the same event as Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (whom i hope you know... and if you don't he is the Olympic Silver medalist). It is a good start to the season and should give ronjan some confidence in his bid to qualify for the Olympics.
Well now that the cricket is over i think it is time for the country to check out the rest of the happenings in the sporting world. Well there is the boxing nationals in Hyderabad, and if one is in the mood to see people knocking each other's lights out then Gachibowli stadium is the place to be. It is a strong field and some of the best pugilists are in action. Then there is also our No. 1 squash lady, Joshana Chinappa who is in action in France against Jenny Wright (WAL). There are a slew of other athletes all starting to get ready for the Olympics and the Qualifiers that they will need to go through. These guys face a tall task and little support from the homeland could take them a long way.....

Now that the cricket is out of the way lets start our campaign for that little event next year.... the 2008 Beijing Games..... OOOH AAAH INDIA!!!!

Changing the face of Indian Sport

The Mittal Champions Trust was set up just over a year ago by Mr. Lakshmi Niwas Mittal. The goal is simple bring India Oympic glory. Simple? Think again. The Trust was set up due to the efforts and urging of Mr. Amit Bhatia (who also happens to be Mr. Mittal's son-in law). Being an athlete himself and an avid sports fan he wanted to do something that would help his country and give back to sport in general.We now support 7 disciplines and over 35 athletes. The selection process has been made following a simple model. We have taken some already established athletes who deserve support for all their hardwork and some promising juniours whom we are grooming for the future. The trust has a long term outlook and is aiming at the 2012 London Olympic Games as our target.We have adopted sports and athletes that we believe India is closest to succeed. Grooming an athlete is not an easy task. We take care of every aspect of our kids that will be necessary for them to achieve success. Their coaching, equipment, travel, nutrition, mental strength, fitness and medical support. We also stand by our kids morally and this gives them a sense of security that they never before had.We are doing something that has never been done and are confident that by taking "the road less traveled" we are going to get India to the top of the Olympic podium.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Attitude: A Small thing that makes a BIG difference

Athletes for a long time have had to do things deemed "impossible" in order to go out there and succeed. It is this ability that differentiates the great ones from the rest. It is this same quality that we need to instill in our guys.
Indians from time immemorial have lacked this thought process. From a young age our coaches don't teach us to over achieve and set targets that will be attainable and hence make everyone look good. However it is this exact reason why we have not been the best.
Ask anyone ten years ago if India would have been leaders in the IT world and they would have said "Nah, Impossible", however we have proved them wrong. That is what we now need to apply to the athletic world.
From a young age we need to groom champions. We should not be aiming to win the national championship, or set a national record. Instead we need to be aiming to win the world championship and set a world record, doing this all the records we wanted will come on the way.
No matter how great an opportunity we provide for our kids if we don't change the way they think it will be an uphill task.
We just need one guy/girl to win, this will give a billion others the biggest belief of them all... that it is "possible".

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Sport In India

The point of this blog is to unite all the sports loving Indians far and wide. I believe that as a community we are one of the most fanatical and sportsloving people... the problem is that we have too few people to cheer for. That needs to change!!! Not next year, next month, tomorrow.... NOW!!!!
Collectively we fans just have to wake up every morning and ask ourselves "What are we going to do for Indian sport today?"
There are a million different problems facing sport today and we have saturated ourselves talking about them, however what we haven't talked about is "What is the solution?" The talent is there, the facilities are somewhat there, the money is slowly creeping in, however the plan and desire to build a champion is missing.
This is in our hands to change. Everybody has some contribution to make. It doesn't mean we have to donate our life savings, even the smallest things make a big difference. Maybe like helping out an athlete during practice, giving them an opportunity to watch a world class event, or maybe even an encouraging word can go a long way. It is these small things that will eventually lead to big change. So my friends the time is now, lets not waste another moment and take matters into our own hands. As the famous quote goes " if we shoot for the stars, maybe we will hit the moon"