New Delhi: Brushing aside all the controversies of soured relationships between them, the principal of Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College, Valson Thampu, on Tuesday felicitated u-19 World Cup-winning captain Unmukt Chand, and called him ‘a man of character’.
Thampu said that it wasn’t a mere accident that his college had produced a first-rate sportsman in Unmukt, adding that with constant encouragement to such talent he expects the college to produce many more illustrious sportspersons.
Ironically, it was Thampu, who had barred Unmukt from appearing in the examinations because he was not meeting the minimum attendance criterion.
The cricketer had later approached the Delhi High Court.
But Unmukt and Thampu seemed to have buried their differences, as on Tuesday, the cricketer was back to his college, for the first time after he led India to the world cup victory.
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At the felicitation ceremony, the principal, vice-principal and heads of various student bodies, were present. Unmukt is reported to have met Thampu earlier during the day at the latter’s residence.
The principal was fulsome in his praise for the champion cricketer. “I have watched the under-19 World Cup final. After watching Unmukt’s innings, I was amazed not only by his timing and power of shots, but also by the character he showed during the innings. We want sports to be a medium of shaping characters and this is the reason that we promote sports in the college,” said Thampu, speaking in the college auditorium packed with students.
Steering himself clear of the controversy regarding Unmukt’s academics, he commended DU’s vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh for resolving the issue by exercising his official powers.
When asked to address the audience, vice-principal, Clement Rajakumar could not stop himself from clearing the air on the controversy. “It was for the first time that sportspersons were barred from appearing in the examinations. The students, who went to the Delhi High Court regarding their academics, were not against the principal or any particular person but ‘system’. It is the fault of the system that excellent sportspersons like Unmukt are not being encouraged to do better. Unmukt has beaten ‘the system’.”
Unmukt said that he was proud of his college and “enjoyed every moment he spent there.” He said while he was away from the country for the national duty, he desperately waited for the moment to return to St.Stephen’s and resume his college life.
Since India’s World Cup win, the young cricketer is busy with functions and felicitations. The Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) also felicitated him in a function recently.
Unmukt on Tuesday also spent some time in his school, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, where he was also felicitated.
In the school, Unmukt celebrated Teachers’ Day in a special way. He made it a point to meet all his teachers and touched their feet.
News of his arrival spread like a wildfire and in no time the entire corridor in the school was flooded with autograph seekers.
DELHI GIVES RS 25 LAKH
The Delhi Government on Tuesday announced an ‘appreciation award’ of Rs 25 lakh for Unmukt.
The Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday announced the award and congratulated him on his “marvellous feat” on the first day of state assembly’s monsoon session.