Baseball? Tennis? Nah...gimme some elephant polo instead!

When the good old Greeks began the Olympic Games, they were hoping to start an atmosphere of healthy competition where national pride was the only motive.

Today, sports is big bucks. And big news. Go to your neighbourhood gym, walk over to the biggest [dumbest?] guy around and ask him about sports, and you'll spend the next two hours wondering where the world went wrong as the apparent "moron" talks about carbohydrates, fitness, long-term benefits, cardio-vascular atrophy and other gobbledygook normally spouted by "Eastern gurus" in Los Angeles.

So it's no wonder that the 'Net is full of sites dedicated to each and every type of sport and game ever thought of. In this edition of The HITG Report, we focus on bringing the juice closer to home, with a few of the major Web directories and some sport-specific sites. So, whether you're major athlete or just a sport junkie, there's something here for you!

http://sports.yahoo.com

Just like the mother organization, this one too is pretty nifty. Besides covering the usual fanatical American games in some detail, it also has good reports on other sports. But the best section is its world coverage. A pretty impressive selection of countries is featured, and major sporting events around the globe are covered quite comprehensively. The site also features regular columns on different aspects of different games.

http://espn.go.com

Arguably the best of the lot. The updates are quite nearly instantaneous, along with sufficient photos. Its selection of audio and video highlights is quite admirable, but expected, considering it's all from television coverage. There are regular columns which also focus on stuff like nutrition [so you know which fruits are good] and how to deal with injuries. So the next time you sprain your back trying to lift weights like Arnie, you know where to go. But the coolest deal is their segment on sports careers, where you can browse for a career in sports and even put your profile up for potential employers to check out. Coaching, anyone?

http://www.sportingnews.com

Another biggie amongst the directories. Carries all the usual stuff - latest news, detailed analysis et al. It also features an on-line service of the magazine by the same name [free, but only for a few issues.] And just in case you happen to be a "couch sportsperson", it has a decent section on trivia, crosswords and quizzes - so even though you may not be able to hold a racquet straight, you can at least find out who won the first Wimbledon men's title!

http://www.msnbc.com

Because this is a major partnership between two big American companies [MSN and NBC], it definitely deserves a look-see. True to form, the focus lies predominantly on the land of the free, with its almost maniacal pursuit of the NHL, NFL, NBA and what-not. However, it does have a big database of other sports, including extreme games and fantasy sports. It's a little like Hotmail though - lots of potential, but that nagging feeling of discontent....

http://www.nba.com

If you've ever even attempted to shoot the hoop, then this is one site you just have to visit. Live scoreboards, full details of every team, every match played, every sensational shot scored - the works. The photos are quite comprehensive and smashing. It features something called NBA.com TV, which is a mixture of the Web and television, but this may be a pipe-dream for most of us.

The best feature is the review of the All-Stars matches, and the videos of the slam-dunking competition are too good for any platitudes.

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~qtluong/gallery/

This is a site dedicated to mountaineering. Put up by a self-confessed mountain lover, this one has photos of different hiking trips in American and European mountains. The stupendous views, aided by some brilliant photography make this site a must-see.

Of course, it doesn't have too many details on how to go about a mountain-hike, but we think that if the photos can't convince you, nothing can.

http://www.utexas.edu/students/mothers

If there ever was a misnomer, this has to be it. Called "Mothers Against Boomerangs", this site is in fact totally dedicated to the curvy Australian device. Beginning with questions and answers on every detail of boomerangs, the site has a lot of features, including "Boomer Lingo" and "How To Use A Boomerang".

And for all those of us who've never had anything useful to do in class, there's a cool segment on how to create boomerangs in class using normal materials. Perfect for distracting that real boring professor, wot say?

http://www.elephantpolo.com

Now here's a game we didn't even know existed! The featured site is the official site of the Elephant Polo Association. It has details on the teams which participate in the World Championships every November in Nepal, including one which is called "The Screwy Tuskers" [!].

There are rules and guidelines, which lay down what's allowed and what's not [and that includes making the elephants lie down to block the ball!]. It is accompanied by some photos of the prancing pachyderms in all their sporting glory. Definitely worth a visit!

http://www.bstt.cjb.net/

Though table-tennis has always been less media-savvy than tennis, there are still a sizeable number of adherents to this game, especially in Asia. This site is one of the best, definitely far better than the official ITTF Web site. It has a pretty snazzy lay-out and provides all the latest news. There are interviews with players, a reader's forum and a free magazine devoted to the game.

A great section on rules and regulations in language that Winnie The Pooh could read is one of the better things on this side - the section includes information on what types of rackets are allowed, what balls are to be played with and other such interesting stuff.

And that's about it this week. Till next time...stay healthy!

This article was first published on 15 Jul 2000.