Story Title: Pune's Sports Teams

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 594

Pune Warriors, Pune

Pune has always had a great sporting culture and now with many sporting leagues starting in India, Pune has emerged as the home town of many teams. There are many sporting teams which represent Pune or are based in Pune. They include:

Maharashtra: (Ranji Trophy Cricket Team)
The state of Maharashtra boasts of three domestic cricket teams. They are Mumbai, Vidarbha and Maharashtra. The home of the Maharashtra team is the city of Pune. Maharashtra was the runners up in the 2013-14 season of the Ranji trophy. The Mahrashtra Ranji team has won the Ranji Trophy twice.

Pune Warriors India: (IPL Cricket Team):
This was a franchise team in the Indian Premier League. It was owned by the Sahara group. Pune Warriors India was added to the IPL in the 2011 season. The team didn't have much success in the first three seasons and in 2013 the team withdrew from the IPL. The franchise was terminated some time later by the BCCI. Yuvraj Singh was the captain of the team in its first season and notable players like Sourav Ganguly, Michael Clarke, Graeme Smith and Angelo Matthews have represented the team in the IPL. Sourav Ganguly led the team in the second season while Angelo Matthews was the leader in the third.

Pune FC: (I-League Football Team)
Pune Football Club or Pune FC as it is popularly known is a football club team that competes in the I-League, which is India's premier football tournament. The owner of this team is the Ashok Piramal Group. This club was founded in 2007. Pune FC plays their home matches at the Balewadi sports complex. Some of the big names that have represented this team are -: Edmar Figueira of Brazil, Raul Fabiani of Equatorial Guinea, Subrata Paul of India among others. Karim Bencherifa is the head coach of this team.

FC Pune City: (Indian Super League Football Team)
This team is part of the newly launched Indian Super League football tournament. Famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan is the main owner of this team and the Italian Football club ACF Fiorentina has a 15% stake in this team. Some notable names in the team include -: Kostas Kastouranis of Greece, Bruno Cirillo of Italy, and Indian players like Arindam Bhattacharya, Lalit Thapa among others. The team manager is Franco Colomba of Italy.

Football Club, Pune

Pune Strykers (World Series Hockey Team):
Pune Strykers were a hockey team that played in the now defunct World Series Hockey (WSH) tournament. The team was founded in 2011. In the first and only season of the WSH, the team finished as the runners up. Canadian Ken Pereira was the captain of the team.

Puneri Paltans: (Pro-Kabaddi League):
This team plays in the newly launched Pro-Kabbadi League. They were led by their captain Wazir Singh but fared poorly in the first season and finished last in the competition. Their coach was Rampal Kaushik. They played their matches in the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi. Hope we have a better year in 2015!

Pune Marathas: (American Football):
This is a team from the Elite Football League of India which is a tournament of American Football that was launched in India in 2011. The Pune Marathas were the champions of the first season after defeating Delhi Defenders in the final.

It is clear that Pune's teams have a long way to go to do well. The Kalyani group of companies has just announced the launch of one more team in the football I-League. So, can we come out tops for a change? Let's wait & see...


Story Title: Stadia and Sport's Facilities

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 541

Balewadi Stadium, Pune

There have been many major sports events hosted by Pune and that has led to the creation of many international standard sporting facilities here. The Main stadiums and sports facilities in Pune are:

Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex:
This sports complex was built in 1994 for the purpose of hosting the National Games. It is located in the Balewadi area of Pune. It was also the venue of the Commonwealth Youth Games. The main stadium hosts athletics and football. International football matches and games from the I-League have been played here. This stadium has a seating capacity of 20,000.

The complex also has an aquatics centre which plays host to events of swimming and diving, which seats 3500 people. There are two pools in the centre. Then there is the Badminton Hall, which contains 6 courts for matches and 4 for warm ups. This hall can hold 3800 people at a time. The boxing arena has 3 boxing rings for matches and 5 for warm ups. The boxing arena has a seating capacity of 3500.

There are also 15 shooting ranges for different types of shooting events. A 1500-seater Table Tennis hall is part of the complex as well. There are four tables for matches and four for warm-ups in this hall. The Weightlifting Hall has a capacity of 3000.

The tennis complex comprises the centre court plus four other courts, as well as six courts for warm ups. The seating capacity of the centre court is 4200. The wrestling has four rings for matches and six other rings. This hall can hold 4400 people. There is also a basketball court and a velodrome to host cycling events.

The Games village in this complex has 400 rooms for housing athletes and officials. There is also a cultural centre and a fitness centre and several facilities related to sports science.

Nehru Stadium:
This stadium is mainly known for hosting cricket matches. It is the home ground of the Maharashtra Ranji Trophy team. The stadium has a seating capacity of 25000. In all, this ground has hosted 11 one-day internationals. This stadium has played host to two World Cup games as well.

Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium:
The MCA stadium was built because Maharashta Cricket Association was not happy the amount of tickets it used to get from the Pune Municipal Corporation for cricket matches. Pune's IPL matches used to take place here. The first international game played here was between India and England in 2012. The stadium is located near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. At first, the Sahara Group bought the naming rights for the stadium and the ground was named the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium. Today, it is called the MCA stadium.

Pune Race Course:
The Pune Race Course was established in 1830 and is large - more than 100 acres. The race course is located in the Pune Cantonment area. The course is managed by the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC). There are two training tracks along with two racing tracks. There are stables for horses as well as a club-house.

Pune is becoming more prominent as a sporting venue and the presence of so many world class facilities has been a great boost for the sports lovers of the city.


Story Title: Major Sports Events

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 539

Commonwealth Youth Games, Pune

A story about Pune's sporting events must surely deal with events that take place on a regular basis, as well as those one-of-a-kind events that took place. Pune has good sporting facilities, therefore it is no surprise that it has hosted many major sports events.
The major sports events hosted by Pune are/were -:

Commonwealth Youth Games, 2008:
This event was a prelude to the Commonwealth Games in 2010, and were held in October, 2008. The event involved more than 1300 athletes along with 350 officials from 71 countries. India topped the medals table with 33 gold, 26 silver and 17 bronze. The venue for all the events was the Sports Complex in Balewadi. The name of the mascot for these games was "Jigrr" who was a tiger and was described as the younger brother of "Shera", (the mascot of the Commonwealth Games 2010). The name "Jigrr" is an combination of the words Jigar, (which means courage) and "grrr...", (a tiger's growl).

Some side benefits of the games were that the city got cleaned up and new sign-boards were put up; as well as the city got a whole new sports infrastructure.

Asian Athletics Championships, 2013
This event came to be hosted by Pune after the city that was scheduled to host it, Chennai, withdrew. Ranchi and Delhi were in contention to host the event but couldn't. This was the 20th edition of the Asian Athletics Championships . This event took place in July. China, emerged as the leading country in the medals table while India came in sixth. Around 522 athletes from 42 countries participated in this event, again held at the Balewadi sports Complex.

FIVB Volleyball Men's U-21 World Championship, 2009 :
16 nations participated in this event and the winners were Brazil. Brazil defeated Cuba in the final to lift the trophy. India reached the semi-finals and lost to Brazil at that stage. The third position went to Argentina after they defeated India in the play-off.

While these were some of the more famous sporting events held in the recent past, a number of international events have been taking place. The Women's International Rugby Championships, for example. In 1996, Pune was the venue of a great sporting upset when minnows Kenya defeated West Indies in a Cricket World Cup match. Apart from this match Pune also hosted a match in the 1987 Reliance Cricket World Cup between Sri Lanka and England.

Pune, being the base for the Sahara Pune Warriors India, hosted a number of matches in the IPL. Pune FC hosts matches in the I-League, and Pro-Kabbadi League matches have been played in Pune. Pune is also one of the centres of Horse Racing in India. Pune Race Course plays host to several important races in the year. The Pune Derby is a prominent fixture. One of the most famous horse racing events is the McDowell's Signature Indian St. Leger. It is held in Pune. Pune also hosted the National Games in 1994. The Balewadi Complex was first built for the National Games.

Pune's youthful population makes for good participation in sport as well as viewership. The Balewadi Sports Complex consists of good infrastructure. This means that Pune is always ready to stage big tournaments.


Story Title: Sports Academies in Pune

By Akshay Sharma
Word Count: 526

Deccan Gymkhana Sports Club

Pune has not only good sporting facilities like stadia, but also many good sports training centres or academies. Some of the more prominent ones are:

Gun for Glory:
Gun For Glory is the first international shooting academy in India. It is an initiative of Padmashri Gagan Narang and the (then) Assistant Coach of Indian Shooting team, Shri Pawan Singh, to promote shooting sport. Gun For Glory's star line up also includes the Best Athlete of 2006 Commonwealth Games, Samresh Jung and young shooting sensation Ronak Pandit.

The academy is situated at Shiv Chhatrapati Sports complex in Balewadi, Pune. The complex provides world class infrastructure that is required to prepare a shooter to meet the modern day challenges.

The Gun for Glory shooting Academy is housed in the Commonwealth Youth Games village.

Abhijit Kadam Football Training:
The Abhijit Kadam Football Training centre is located in the Bharti Vidyapeeth campus. It has a very good football turf ground for practical sessions and a well equipped gymnasium. They have been associated with international agencies such as KickWorldwide, The FA and Liverpool. They have a highly innovative approach to teaching football.

The Centre is named after Abhijit Kadam, the elder son of Bharati Vidyapeeth founder Dr. Patangrao Kadam. Abhijit, an avid football player, tragically lost his life in a road accident. Since then, his family has devoted a lot of time towards promoting football in Pune in his memory.

Deccan Gymkhana Sports Club:
This club offers training and coaching for many sports and has a large number of members taking advantage of it. Coaching is offered in the sports of Cricket, Basketball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball and Karate. The club offers great coaching facilities and has professional coaches, many of whom are former national and international players themselves. Located in the Deccan Gymkhana area, (which is named after the club), it is easily accessible.

Army Sports Institute:
This is one of India's premier sports institutes. The Army Sports Institute was established to tap vast talent pool of sportsmen serving in the Army and young talented boys (Boys Sports Company Scheme) of our country under "Mission Olympics Programme".

The institute is located at Mundhwa Road in Ghorpuri. The institute provides high quality training in various sports to army personnel. The sports whose training is available here are Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Diving, Fencing, Weightlifting and Wrestling. The institute provides high quality training with national and foreign coaches present to help the sportspersons.

There have been lot of famous sportspersons who are products of this institute. Some examples are Tarundeep Rai in Archery, Manoj Kumar in Boxing, K. Ravi Kumar in Weightlifting.

The Gliding Centre:
Located in Hadapsar, this centre offers courses for learning gliding. This centre is an initiative of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. People can come here to learn or to enjoy the experience of gliding.

SKF India Sports Academy:
This academy was launched by the company SKF along with Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and an NGO called 'NAVAM'. The idea behind this institute is to provide children from underprivileged background an opportunity to succeed in sports.

Apart from these well-known academies, there are hundreds more in the city.