Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, November 04:
The US-Manipur baseball project named First Pitch will begin its sojourn in the State with the kick-off of the nine-day intensive coaching programme from tomorrow.
The programme christened 'Camp Manipur' in Imphal would cover over 30 local baseball coaches and 100 players.
Noted US baseball coaches namely Jeff Brueggemann and David Palese would conduct training for the local players and coaches.
First Pitch programme chairman Muriel Peters said at a press conference here today that Camp Manipur is a joint venture of Major League Baseball International (MLBI) and First Pitch with the support of Spalding Baseball and the US Embassy.
The programme has been initiated in Manipur since the State has potential for the development of the game, she said, adding that necessary promotional measures would be taken up after assessing the talents of the State athletes.
After Manipur, similar camps would also be conducted in seven other cities of the country including at Kolkata, Goa, Delhi and Chennai.
David Palese, who is the assistant baseball coach at Rochester University, New York and has conducted many such camps and clinics in various countries said the body movement of the game resemble dance rhythm and expressed optimism that Manipuri players would excel in the game because of the land's rich dance and energetic art forms.
Supporting observation made by Palese, Jeff Brueggemann said he was inspired by the body movement of Manipuri art forms after witnessing plays of renowned theatre personality Ratan Thiyam at Kansas University.
"So I have full conviction that local players would be joining the programme," said Jeff who has not only been a baseball coach for the last 15 years, but was also a pitcher for six years with the Minnesota Twins apart from coaching the Chinese Junior team.
Executive Director of the programme L Somi Roy said under the project plans are afoot to build a baseball centre that could support 20 clubs and 700 players in Manipur.
A local lady baseball coach, who was also present at the media briefing, highlighted that State players particularly women teams have been dominating the game in India and remained unbeaten in National championships since 1985.Tomorrow's inaugural function of the project at Khuman Lampak would be attended by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh as chief guest.
Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Govindas Konthoujam is also expected to attend the function among other dignitaries.