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A SPRINT TO SUCCESS

Very few colleges can match Al-Ameen, which, over the years, has become a nursery for sports talent on the campus. An enlightened management and a sports-conscious faculty have nurtured the growth of Al-Ameen as a formidable collegiate sports power


STEEPED IN sporting success, Al-Ameen College has nursed many a champion and is easily the envy of other institutions. True, Sri Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain College and Christ College have managed to bridge the gap in what was perceived as a two horse race — Al-Ameen and St. Joseph's — in the Bangalore University's Sports Calendar. Nestling opposite the famous Lalbagh Gardens, what is today the only lung space for Bangaloreans, apart from the Cubbon Park, Al-Ameen College has a tradition that abounds in plenty in games such as athletics, volleyball, football, and hockey.

Set up in 1968 with a meagre 54 students by the visionary founder, Mumtaz Ahmed Khan (see box), the Al-Ameen group of Institutions now number around 140 in Karnataka and all over the country. Be it in education or health care, the Al-Ameen Education Society has mushroomed to cater to the society in big measure.

But it has been its sporting success that has catapulted Al-Ameen College into a much sought after institution. In the campus opposite Lalbagh gardens, the Al-Ameen institution has six colleges catering to varied streams from pre-university, degree, post-graduation Institute of Management, College of Pharmacy, and Law College to the Al-Ameen College of Education.

Eighteen years of successive triumphs in Bangalore University's Inter-Collegiate athletics championship is by no means a small feat. India's most promising athletic talent today is none other than Mohammed Muddassir, a student of this institution who has sprinted to recognition in a short span of two years. Muddassir, after a sedate start, shot to stardom in the last season winning everything around him in the junior ranks with impressive timings, best being his dipping in 10.5 seconds at the junior nationals.

Today, the College boasts of having the entire state sprinters (men) on its rolls with names such as K. Parmesh, Mohd. Mustaqueen, and Vilas Nilagund (who very recently shifted to Karnatak University) among others. Among the recent pass outs are Murli Mohan, India International in basketball, Arjun Halappa in hockey, Joby Joseph, Harron Khan, Rajesh and Praveen Kumar in volleyball, and Chandrashekar and Manju N.S who represented the country in the under-19 football championship at Tehran recently.

Prof. Mohammed Javed, the present principal, who has been with the Al-Ameen College in various capacities for the last 28 years and is heading the institution since 2002, attributes the success to the "support and co-operation of the management, the staff and the students who have worked singularly in pursuit of excellence". But then, it has been the induction of Mohamed Ilyas as the Director of Physical Education in 1982 that saw the graph shoot up to where it is now. Ilyas, a volleyball player of repute, who donned the university colours in the 70s, thanks to his sincerity and dedication has been instrumental in bringing the college to the forefront. "We have about 34 students — football 10, athletics 9, volleyball 8, judo 4, wrestling 2, and netball 1 — representing Bangalore University this academic year... And this figure is more or less maintained each year," says Ilyas.


The institute, despite producing sportspersons in large numbers, does not have a playground of its own, although it has maintained a lush green lawn and ample open space.

"This is the topmost priority for the management... We are working on doing something to solve this lacunae," says Prof. Javed. Athletes and volleyball players use the facilities at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium for their training, while the footballers practice at other grounds. Ilyas, however, is quick to point out that it has not been a hindrance.

"Although, the sportspersons are scattered, a steady check on their daily sessions are closely recorded and the teams are a well-knit lot."

Al-Ameen college hockey team, a formidable side in the recent past, has the enviable record of being among the top three for four yeas in the Jawaharlal Nehru Intercollegiate Champions tournament in New Delhi and finished second best in 1999. Al-Ameen College did conduct the All India Invitation inter-collegiate volleyball and hockey tourneys that were much sought after. But in the last few years the tourneys have been a non-starter. "We should be reviving both the tournament's in quick time," feels Prof. Javed.

Volleyball player T.J. Shaji being chosen the "Best Sportsman of the Bangalore University" this year is but one of the many accolades and honours the College students have been bestowed with. Many more are surely in the offing.

AVINASH NAIR

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