India’s week in sports: Footballers turn environmentalists, shooters see bull’s eye again

Indian footballers undertook an afforestation drive while the shooters have restarted their training. Take a look at the top stories of this week.

By Rahul Venkat

Indian football stars from Manipur undertook a noble initiative when they decided to take part in an afforestation drive in a small village, 50 km away from the state capital Imphal.

The group included both young and old stars as winger Udanta Singh was joined by the U-17 players Suresh Wangjam, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Boris Thangjam, Jeakson Singh and former star Renedy Singh.

“It was great that all of us came together for this cause. I hope more people will come forward and sow the seeds of a better future for the next generation,” Udanta Singh told the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

For Renedy Singh, it was a trip down memory lane, for it was the Tentha village where he used to go to play football as a child.

“The pitch is right around the corner from where we were planting and it really did bring back a lot of memories,” the 41-year-old Renedy said.

The activity was therapeutic for the Indian footballers. Photo: AIFF

Badminton gets an Indian line umpire

The state of Telangana, whose capital city Hyderabad is the hub of Indian badminton and has produced champions like Pullela Gopichand, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, has added one more member to the international bandwagon.

Badminton umpire Rajendar Kommu is now an official line judge of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), which means he can now officiate in international events until 2024.

“It all started in 2008 when I first officiated in the state championship and then qualified as a National Grade II umpire in 2010 and then as Grade I umpire in 2013,” the 47-year-old Rajendar, who initially started as a player before turning to umpiring, told Sportstar.

Kommu is the second Indian after Rakesh Rasania to get the honour this year, and the first from Telangana.

And he does not want to stop there. “I am preparing to write the BWF examinations to be a BWF chair umpire next,” Rajendar Kommu added.

Olympics social watch from India

Back in familiar territory

Spending months away from the sport has definitely not been easy for star Indian shooter and ISSF World Cup gold medallist Manu Bhaker.

The 18-year-old Bhaker has been named in the 32-member core group for the national camp in Delhi and it will not be wrong to say she was relieved to be back at the range.

‘Inspired wrestlers’

Motivational quotes seemed to be the flavour of the week for Indian wrestlers.

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who is preparing for a fourth Olympics appearance at Tokyo next year, took inspiration from the famous British author CS Lewis.

Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pawan Kumar had to make do with shadow practice in the absence of a sparring partner but he pumped himself up with inspiring words.

“We may or may not get what we want but it is wrong to not even try,” he wrote on Twitter.

Zooming in

Sprint queen Hima Das is fully fit and raring to go after completing her rehabilitation from a back injury but the 2018 Asian Games silver and gold-medallist has found a new passion off the track.

Best of the week from the Olympic Channel

The past week saw India celebrate the anniversaries of two historic Olympic medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

You can read the story of KD Jadhav, the country’s first individual Olympic medallist here.

The Indian hockey team has a rich legacy at the Olympics and they enjoyed an unbeaten run en route its fifth-consecutive gold medal. Read how they did it here.