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Gurunathan’s contribution to sports journalism recalled

Special Correspondent

— Photo: R. Ragu

MAKING A POINT: C.D. Gopinath (second from right) converses with N. Murali, as Mrs. Y.G. Parthasarathy and V.V. Kumar look on, during a function to mark S.K. Gurunathan’s birth centenary in Chennai on Tuesday.

Chennai: The contribution of S.K. Gurunathan (SKG), former Sports Editor of The Hindu to sports journalism was recalled with a touch of nostalgia at a function to mark his birth centenary at the Kasturi Srinivasan Hall here on Tuesday. Gurunathan, who joined The Hindu in 1928, died in harness in 1966.

Speakers, headed by former Test cricketer and former chairman of the BCCI selection committee, C.D. Gopinath, paid glorious tributes to SKG’s professionalism and painstaking work.

Acknowledging SKG as the mentor, Mr. Gopinath recaptured with a feeling of poignancy SKG’s guiding role during the tour of England in 1952. Mr. Gopinath recounted the bitter moments created for him by the insensitive team’s leadership and explained how SKG always managed to assuage the ruffled feelings. “He was a real Guru,” observed Mr. Gopinath.

Paying compliments

Mr. Gopinath complimented Gurunathan’s family for not only celebrating the centenary year but also informing this generation of youth about the role SKG played in shaping sports journalism across the country.

Describing SKG as the “trend setter” in cricket reporting through his “simple and uncomplicated writing”, N. Murali, Managing Director, The Hindu, substituting for N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, who could not make it to the function, pointed out that SKG was a role model for many sportswriters.

Mr. Murali compared SKG’s writings with those of Neville Cardus and Jack Fingleton, and hailed the effort that went behind Gurunathan’s initiative to bring out the Indian Cricket almanac on the lines of Wisden. He also lauded Gurunathan’s multifarious interests.

Former Test player, V.V. Kumar, recalled the quality and content of SKG’s writings in The Hindu and in Sport & Pastime. He described how the writer managed to refrain from sensationalising any incident on the field but at the same time told the reader everything without missing a salient point.

Extraordinary things

Ms. Y.G. Parathsarathy, Educationist and Dean/Director of PSBB, touched upon SKG’s passion for theatre and how he enjoyed playing even minor roles. “He was an ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things,” she added.

While expressing happiness at being a part of the celebrations, Ms. Parthasarathy said that an effort must be made to bring out SKG’s writings in book form to help the present generation understand the ebb and flow of sports writing in the country.

The highlight of the function was the announcement of the institution of the S.K. Gurunathan Birth Centenary Fund at the Hindu High School, where SKG was a student.

The SKG family has contributed Rs. 50000, with another Rs. 25000 coming from an undisclosed donor. Both Ms. YGP and Mr. Gopinath announced they would enhance the value of the scholarship to be awarded to the best sportsman of the school.

Thirumalai, Headmaster, Hindu High School received the cheque and thanked every one in the family for the gesture.

S.G. Balakrishnan, eldest son of SKG, welcomed the gathering, and S.G. Sekhar, while proposing a vote of thanks read out an e-mail tribute to SKG by Raju Bharathan from Mumbai.

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