Dilip Vengsarkar Visits Sanjeewan Vidyalaya, Panchgani
On the 9th of March, 2018 there was a palpable air of expectancy on the campus of Sanjeewan Vidyalaya, a 95 year old residential school in the picturesque hill resort of Panchgani. Excitement was writ large on the faces of the students and the members of the faculty. The reason was the impending visit of noted former cricketer and erstwhile chairman of the selection committee Mr Dilip Vengsarkar, a key member of the legendary team known as “Kapil’s Devils”, which won the first ever cricket world cup for India in the year 1983. Also on the cards was the simultaneous visit of Mr Indra and Mr Sabyasachi, representatives of the Gopichand Academy of Badminton.
The purpose of the visit was to explore the possibility of striking a tie-up with the school, known for its state-of-the-art sports facilcities, to set up an academy offering specialised coaching in cricket and badminton which might subsequently extend its scope to incorporate other sports disciplines.
The visit started on schedule, with a survey of the badminton courts by Mr Indra and Mr Sabyasachi at 12:45 pm. This was followed shortly thereafter, by the arrival of the cricket legend himself, who was warmly received at the Visitors’ Lounge. After a brief audio-visual presentation of the school and a quick business lunch, the high profile visitors were taken round to have a look at the facilities, specifically the living spaces for resident students and the various sports venues available on the school premises, and get relevant information about their usage from the students themselves. Both Mr Vengsarkar and the representatives of the Gopichand Academy were visibly impressed with the eight and a half acre Sharad Pandit Stadium, the multi-purpose astro turf designed for tennis, basket ball and five-a-side hockey and football, and the mini Olympic size swimming pool. The ‘Multipurpose Hall’, an indoor facility for badminton and table tennis, and an auditorium, was the last stop on their tour. It was also the venue for the cricket icon to have an impromptu interaction with sports enthusiasts from the student community, who could not wait to see and hear the legend at close quarters. The great man, humble to the core, did not disappoint them either, answering questions, freely sharing his views and his insights into the game, stressing the importance of discipline and hard work, and the need to improve all the time in order to excel in sports. He was unreserved in his praise of the excellent sporting culture being nurtured in the school and exhorted the students to make the most of it. He also sounded upbeat about the wonderful possibilities offered by this conducive environment – the possibility of a tie-up with his own cricket academy, of getting qualified, trained coaches to identify and hone cricketing talent here.
All in all it was a dream come true for all sports minded Sanjeewanites – one which could open the door to the fulfillment of an even higher dream – the dream of taking sports in Sanjeewan and in the entire region, including the rural areas, to the next level!