ACP Ashok Kamte was a sports fan
THE Mumbai Police vouch for the bravery of additional commissioner Ashok Kamte, who was killed during Wednesday's terrorist attack in Mumbai. Fighting crime was his duty, but he was a sportsman at heart.
During his student days at St Xavier's College, Mumbai he excelled in athletics at the University level. His favourite disciplines being shotput, javelin and discus throw. He was a fitness freak and loved bodybuilding.
Hats Off! Late Addnl Commissioner Ashok Kamte
His friend and club mate, former National 100m champion Adille Sumariwalla recalled: "He was very keen on sports. We represented Juhu Sports Club and used to train together at the University Sports Pavilion (Marine Lines).
He was very good in throwing events and represented the State and Police squad. He was also into bodybuilding.
"In fact, he recently told me to recommend some athletes, especially sprinters. He wanted to recruit and train them. It is a big loss for athletics," said Sumariwalla.
It is said, a good indicator of a sportsman's personality is the way he competes. Kamte's personality came shining through during an exhibition cricket match witnessed by celebrated cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle, at the Police Gymkhana in 2003.
Bhogle was playing for the Media XI and Kamte for the Police Commissioner's XI. After Bhogle, a former Osmania University batsman, had helped the Media XI total around 200 with a half-century in the 25-over game, the Commissioner's XI team made a poor start in their chase.
The cops lost half their side with just 70 on board and all looked lost. However, the journos had reckoned without the fighting spirit of Kamte, who was DCP Zone 1 at the time.
With the entire Police top-brass in attendance and his force's reputation at stake, (they had never lost the annual fixture to the journos), Kamte showed no signs of nerves as he slowly brought his team back into the game.
Bhogle recounted yesterday: "He was not very tall, but solidly built. He hit the ball really, really hard. I remember, I was bowling leg breaks and he smashed one really hard back at me.
I reminded him light-heartedly, 'listen, we are only playing an exhibition game'. To which he laughed back with a comment. He came out as a very fun-loving, jolly guy."
This journo remembers Kamte hitting three sixes in an over against a Media XI off-spinner.
Skipper of the Police team, Sr Inspector Iqbal Shaikh, who was involved in the fighting partnership with Kamte said: "We were in a hopeless position but he (Kamte) helped us make a match of it and brought us just four runs away from victory. He scored 64 not out."
His other passion in sports was shooting. A journalist who featured him in The Asian Age, said: "He showed us a wooden box with all different guns.
He had a fantastic collection. He said, 'I love collecting all the weapons and shooting is my biggest passion'."
Sadly, a gun caused his end!