Mangaluru: In any sports, the announcers are expected to captivate the audience. The announcement of the results has to be made in various regional dialects. Sports announcers work in a career which has both its perks and challenges.
On the plus side, announcers hold a prestigious place where a steady stream of sporting events is in progress. They keep the show alive by presenting the minute-by-minute picture, while also offering their opinions.
At the same time, the announcers also work for long hours and perform to cater to large crowds in the world of sports, which is by and large unpredictable and unscripted in nature.
At the 19th Federation Cup National Senior Athletic Championship 2015 which was held in the city’s Mangala stadium just recently, a voice kept reverberating over the public address system all through the days.
The man who showed his oratorical skills on the occasion was A Satish, an announcer in international athletics. On the sidelines of the athletic meet, he took time off to share his experience with our correspondent.
Satish is 60 years old and was employed in the Postal department as a senior accountant. He joined the Postal Department under the sports quota and was a former 400m runner. After passing the Athletic Federation of India’s technical official examination in 1984, he took up the job of a technical official. In one of the meets, there was no announcer and so, he was asked to do the announcing job. From that day onwards, he has been working as an announcer. He started announcing in schools and taluk level meets, later developing his skills and becoming a full-fledged announcer for state level meets. His first major sports meet was the Open National Athletic Meet in 1987 in Mangaluru. He has announced at many major meets since, including the Commonwealth Games held at Delhi in 2010, incidentally being his first international debut. He was one of the announcers for the 2014 Lusofonia Games held in Goa. He has also been the official announcer for most of the sports meets held in Karnataka, and has also taken part at meets in various states like Chennai, Bengaluru etc. He was also the announcer for the Inter-varsity Athletic Championship held at Moodibidri, where he was honoured by Dr Mohan Alva for his service.
Harsha Bhogle and Charu Sharma were his inspirations. “I watched and listened to their commentary. I was inspired by it and decided that one day I should become a good commentator and try to popularise athletics, in Karnataka as well as in our country, as they had popularized cricket. I wanted to be like them in athletics. That was my intention, now at 60 my intention is the same and I am doing my job with the same interest I had 30 years ago..”
Speaking to mangalorean.com, Satish said, “I started my career as an announcer 30 years ago. The first major meet was the Open Nationals meet which was held in Mangaluru in 1987. A close friend of mine Anand Shetty, who passed away recently, had taken part in the 100m and 200m run. That was a memorable meet for him. P T Usha also won first place in the Mangala stadium. I had never seen such a crowd. It was jam-packed, and I saw an old woman requesting the cops to allow her to get into the stadium to see P T Usha. The police told her that the stadium was already full and that they had orders not to allow any further entry. The old woman repeated her keen wish to see Usha. This moved me. I got down and requested the policemen to allow her inside. I brought her up to the announcer’s gallery and told her, ‘Nodu ajji, alli odutta iddale P T Usha’. Such was the enthusiasm that time.
“Now, I feel disappointed to see this crowd. It maybe because of the weather, and also because of the live transmission. These appear to be the reasons for the poor turnout. I had asked one of my friends why he had not come to the stadium to watch the events, he said he was watching it live on TV, sitting at home.
Satish further said, “The presence of the crowd will be an inspiration to our athletes to give a good performance. That was lacking in this meet and that was the difference I can tell between then and now. But as for infrastructure, there was a clay track back in 1987 and now, it is synthetic. The infrastructure has vastly improved and there are good facilities. An old shopkeeper beside the stadium told me that even though the district administration has spent a lot of money for this event, the people did not support the event or attend it. The shopkeeper was at the same place during the 1987 event too. If an old man can say that, then we should think about it. Manjunath Bhandary and his team have put in a lot of efforts to make the athletes and technical officials comfortable. The conduct of the meet is also good; there are no hurdles”.
Satish went on to say, “The hospitality has been very good. As soon as the officials landed, they were given proper accommodation. The transportation was also arranged so that the officials / athletes would be picked up from their respective places. Transportation is provided every half an hour. The food served is also very good and hygienic, and everybody liked it. Everybody is happy with the hospitality that the organizers have extended, and many of them felt that the accommodation provided here was far better than that in the previous meets. No national meets had provided accommodation in hotels. Only in international events would our athletes see accommodation in hotels since the Games Village would be built like that”.
“But as far as national meets are concerned, this is the first time I can say that accommodation have been provided in hotels and that too in AC rooms. The decision for this was taken during the Mangalore Half-Marathon press conference and the DC was very particular that the athletes should be accommodated in hotels with AC. The organizers have kept their word. We are all very happy with the organizers. Even the technical officials are very happy about their payment since the organizers never asked us to wait to collect the money. We were paid a day ahead; so as soon as we completed our event, we could travel back to our home town. In other places, we have to submit the bills and wait for the payment till the entire meet was over which would delay us to travel back home. Everything here has been done in an organized and professional manner. Overall, I can say that it was a memorable meet”.
Satish also said that should there be another sports meet of the kind in Mangaluru, he would definitely take part as an announcer.