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Distinguished Service Award for senior sports journalists

Distinguished Service Award winners with guests Dilip Vengsarkar (seated left) and Olympian Eddie Sequeira (centre)
Distinguished Service Award winners with guests Dilip Vengsarkar (seated left) and Olympian Eddie Sequeira (centre)
By Gordon D’ Costa, SJAM EC member

MUMBAI, May 31, 2024 – In what was a momentous and heart-warming occasion for the sports journalistic fraternity in Mumbai and India, the SJFI founder-member Sports Journalists’ Association of Mumbai (SJAM) celebrated 18 senior sports journalists for their enduring and successful careers as full-time sports Journalists, photographers, and freelance writers.

The function was held at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s PD Hall on May 29. Olympian middle distance runner Eddie Sequeira, who took part in the 1972 Munich Olympics and a 5,000m silver medallist at the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok and Dilip Vengsarkar, a former India captain and who was capped in 116 Tests, presented a shawl and an exquisitely designed gold-plated coin to the 18 chosen by the SJAM Committee.

Many of the Distinguished Award Winners shared their inspiring journeys, with Prabhakar Shirodkar reminiscing about his first picture published on the sports page of the ‘Times of India ‘ in 1962. Another photographer, Mukesh Parpiani, recalled the iconic picture of Boxing legend Mohammed Ali that he had shot and was published in the Free Press Journal.

Suhas Joshi, a very senior sports journalist who wrote in Marathi language, expressed his delight at being felicitated by his peers: ” I may not have made money over a period of four decades and more, but sports journalism enabled me to meet people and make friends for a lifetime.”

Satish Mishra, Vinayak Dalvi and Sharad Kadrekar expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the honour bestowed upon them by their own fraternity. Raymond Fernandes thanked the people who encouraged him, and news agency stalwarts S.S. Ramaswamy and Jemi Bardoliwala added to the jovial atmosphere in the hall while engaging with the past and present generations.

A veteran cricket administrator, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, said, “I was very keen to attend the function. I am happy I came. I am also happy to note that the SJAM has acknowledged the contribution of the sports journalists who played their part in shaping the career of young sports journalists.”

 

The 18 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award are:

P.M. Shirodkar: 1962, Times of India 

Peter Rodrigues: 1969, Free Press Journal 

Raymond Fernandes: 1971, Free Press Journal

Mukesh Parpiani: 1973, Free Press Bulletin 

Jemi Bardoliwala: 1975, United News of India 

Anthony Azavedo: 1976, Sportsweek-Inquilab 

S.S. Ramaswamy: 1978, Free Press Journal 

Vinayak Dalvi: 1979, Mumbai Sakal 

Ayaz Memon: 1979, Sportsweek 

Sharad Kadrekar: 1979, Mumbai Sakal 

Satish Mishra: 1979, Navjivan

David D’Souza: 1979, Free Press Journal

Suhas Joshi: 1980, Daily Sang, Tarun Bharat 

H. Natarajan: 1980, Indian Express 

 

Freelance category:

Fredun De Vitre

Makarand Waingankar

Dwarkanath Sanzgiri

 

After the mementoes were presented, Vengsarkar, while taking an overview of India’s chances in the forthcoming ICC Men’s World Twenty20, said: “If India play to their potential, they will go all the way to win the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup,” (to be played at many venues in the USA and the West Indies).

“India will start as the tournament favourite. The current Indian team is amongst the best in the world. If they had to keep players like (Shubman) Gill (K.L) Rahul and Rinku (Singh) out, then they have to be a good side. If they play as per their ability, I’m sure they’ll win the Cup, but they must believe they are the best in the world,’’ said Vengsarkar, who also asked the SJAM to nominate a promising under-19 cricketer from Mumbai for a cash award of Rs. 25,000.

The SJAM said it was a joy to honour the 18 DSA winners and thanked the people who made the event a success.

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