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Sehwag and Rana honoured

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Sportspersons from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation walked away with major honours in the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board's awards function here on Thursday.

At a function that left a lot to be desired on the organisational front, shooter Jaspal Rana and cricketer Virender Sehwag, both from ONGC, received the prestigious Sportsperson of the Year Award, for years 2002-03 and 2003-04, respectively, from the Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Mani Shankar Iyer. ONGC also bagged the PSPB President's Award for 2003-04.

This was also an occasion for the Petroleum sector to parade some of its star sportspersons from various disciplines.

Those present included hockey players Devesh Chauhan, Deepak Thakur, shuttler P. Gopi Chand, National table tennis champion S. Raman, Grandmasters K. Sasikiran, Abhijit Kunte, cricketer Mohammad Kaif, tennis players Vishal Uppal and Rushmi Chakraborty.

Poorly planned

Besides the poorly-planned seating arrangement for the awardees, who had to struggle to make their way to the dais from the narrow aisle blocked by a television camera team, the officials as well as players seemed in a get away from the delayed-function.

On the brighter side, Mr. Iyer, in his entertaining speech, invited all promising and worthy sportspersons to contact him directly with their requests for financial assistance so that he could forward the same to the authorities in the Petroleum sector.

"After all, it is not my money. I feel Petroleum sector should not only recognise genius but also cultivate genius at all levels."

The list of awardees:

Sportsperson of the year: 2002-2003: Jaspal Rana (shooting, ONGC); 2003-2004: Virender Sehwag, ONGC).

Elite Sportspersons of the Year: 2002-2003: Manavjit Singh (shooting, IOCL), Virender Sehwag (cricket, ONGC), K. Sasikiran (chess, ONGC), Zaheer Khan (cricket, IOCL).

2003-2004: Poulomi Ghatak (table tennis, BPCL), Viren Rasquinha (hockey, IOC), K. Sasikiran (chess, ONGC) and Deepak Thakur (hockey, IOC).

Meritorious Sportspersons of the Year: 2002-03: Anil Kumar (athletics, ONGC), Ratish Nair (volleyball, ONGC), Devesh Chauhan (hockey, IOCL), Neer Gulia (kabbadi, ONGC), Deepak Thakur (hockey, IOCL).

2003-2004: Vishal Uppal (tennis, GAIL), Mohammad Kaif (cricket, ONGC), Rushmi Chakraborty (tennis, IOCL), Devesh Chauhan (hockey, IOCL) and Anil Kumar (athletics, ONGC).

The PSPB President's Award 2003-2004: 1. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (128 points), 2. Indian Oil Corporation Limited (92), 3. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (52).

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