Russi Mody steals show among great sports personalities

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Kolkata, Apr 29 (UNI) A forgotten business mogul stole the limelight at a function when sporting greats of past and present showered encomiums on him for his peerless contribution to sports.

Russi Mody was felicitated last night by the Calcutta Sports Journalists' Club for a magnificent job for development of sports in the country.

The annual awards were conferred on sportspersons for 2007-08.

Commentator Ravi Shastri took the lead recollecting how he was helped by the nonagenarian former Tata Steel chairman in his early cricketing years.

The former Indian Test captain said when he needed support the most to augment his skill in cricket, Russi Mody came as an angle offering him a job instantly.

Shastri made himself available to share the dais with Mody in Kolkata by staying at a cheaper hotel near Mumbai aiport so that he did not miss his Kolkata flight, amply proving how Mody commands admiration by the best in cricket business.

The former all rounder said hundreds of sportspersons had been indebted to Russi Mody and the Tata Groups for their immense contribution by setting up academies for development of sports. He said with active support from JRD Tata, Russi Mody took centrestage in Tisco.

Australian world cup winning coach John Buchanan, now Kolkata Knight Riders coach, listened intently and admitted the potentials among Indians in sports.

Olympian Chuni Goswamy, who once headed Tata Football Academy, said, ''the TFA in Jamshpur, has produced over 200 soccer players, scores of them representing India. It was the brainchild of Russi Mody.'' His sussccessor in the TFA and compatriot P K Banerjee, India's all time great shuttler Prakash Padukone, Sourav Ganguly and 'Ananda Bazar Patrika' Editor Avik Sarkar stood on the dais around Mody as Ravi Shastri read out a citation presented by the CSJC on how the former Tata Steel chairman had contributed towards development of sports in India.

All the people on the dais were felicitated by the CSJC for their contribution towards the soceity.

Former All England Badminton Champion Prakash Padukone, who was presented the lifetime award by the CSJC, said Russi Mody was an icon for sports administrators.

Padukone said to excel in any sporting discipline someone like Russi Mody was needed, instead of sports federations.

Mody, now 90, said he did what he could as he loved both sports and Kolkata.

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