We will review why batters are failing in 3rd innings of Test matches: Dravid
Birmingham, Jul 5 (Cricket News) India head coach Rahul Dravid on Tuesday said the repeated failures of his batters in the 'third' innings of a Test match is a matter of concern and they will sit with the national selectors to address the issue.
The Indian team, under Dravid's tutelage, has lost its last three overseas Test matches -- two in South Africa and one in Birmingham. It failed to defend a whopping 378-run target in the just-concluded game against England.
India scored 266 in their second innings in Johannesburg, 198 in Cape Town and 245 in Birmingham, which has been effectively third innings of a Test match.
In all these three games, India failed to defend targets like 240, 212 and now 378.
Asked how he plans to analyse, the Indian coach gave a glimpse of his humorous side.
"There is so much of cricket that we aren't having any time to reflect. In two days, we will be talking to you about something entirely different," Dravid said, referring to the T20 International series starting in less than 48 hours.
"...But we will certainly try and reflect on this performance. Every match is a lesson for us and you tend to learn something. We have to reflect why we aren't able to bat well in the third innings of a Test match and why we aren't able to take 10 wickets in the fourth innings," he said on a serious note.
India play their last six games of the current World Test Championship cycle in the sub-continent and Dravid plans to sit with Chetan Sharma (chairman of selectors currently in England) to analyse the shortcomings.
"Now the next six Test matches are in sub-continent (2 in Bangladesh and 4 in India), and our focus will be on those remaining games but obviously, coaches and selectors would sit down and analyse this defeat.
"That review happens after every game and so when we next travel to SENA land, we are well equipped to deal with it," he said.
Variety of reasons for losing sustained intensity --------------------------------------------------- The current team has been losing steam during the third and fourth innings of a match and it could be because of a variety of factors, including bowlers' fitness over a passage of time.
"It is something that we need to look at and work on. We have been very good in last few years being able to take those wickets but yeah we haven't been able to do it over last few months,' he admitted frankly," said Dravid.
He then listed out the factors roughly.
"Could be a variety of factors -- may be we need to maintain that intensity and may be we need to maintain that level of fitness, maintain that level of performance right through a Test match." The batting is a cause of concern, he said time and again.
"Also in all these Test matches, the batting has also not been up to the scratch in the third innings as well. So both in SA and here, we have started well but haven't been able to finish well. Certainly, we need to get better at that and improve," he added.
The conditions didn't warrant a second spinner ---------------------------------------------------- Ravichandran Ashwin's absence has been debated but Dravid defended the team's strategy.
"It's not easy to leave someone like Ash out in a Test match but when we looked at the wicket on first day, it had a pretty even covering of grass, and we felt that there was enough in it for the fast bowlers," Dravid explained the team's position.
"Also, if you see, wicket hasn't spun much either for Jack Leach or Ravi Jadeja, who bowled through the match. Weather also played a part as for first three days, there wasn't long phases of sunshine. Probably, it didn't spin as much as we expected it to." Dravid said that everything looks different in hindsight but reality is a bit different.
"It actually would have looked nice to have second spinner but it didn't turn enough to justify inclusion," he added.
Don't know about 'BazBall' but England have been exceptional ------------------------------------------------------------------- Dravid smiled when asked about 'Bazball', the popular lingo about Brendon McCullum's positive influence on England's Test batting over the past month.
"I don't know what it is. The cricket they played for four Tests, chasing like this in fourth innings doesn't happen often in this country but the brand of cricket you play depends on players and their form. You can play positive (cricket) when you have form players," Dravid said.
No excuses that this is one-off Test -------------------------------------- When the series was halted at 2-1 last year due to COVID outbreak in the Indian camp, Dravid was still the head of NCA and by the time it ended, he was the head coach.
Did a one-off Test become an impediment and preparations were hampered.
"Look, I don't want to make excuses. I wasn't a part of the team back then (in 2021). India was on a roll back then and England was probably in a slightly different situation when the series was on.
"They had now come here on back of three consecutive wins against NZ and we have had a long gap in between Test cricket and that's why Test cricket is hard. So no excuses, you got to put in performances through five days and they did that and we didn't so they deserve to win the Test match," he concluded.
Also Read : We let the game slip away after dominating three days, says Bumrah
News Source : PTi
CWG-bound women's doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand exits from Malaysia Masters
Kuala Lumpur, Jul 5 (Badminton News) India's Commonwealth Games-bound women's doubles duo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand made a first round exit from the Malaysia Masters badminton tournament, losing to local pair of Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan here on Tuesday.
The Indian pair was outplayed by the Malaysians 14-21 14-21 in the opening round match that lasted just 33 minutes.
None of the Indians won any match on Tuesday with two other women's doubles pairs also suffering first round defeats.
The combination of Ashwini Bhat and Shikha Gautam lost 7-21 10-21 to Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota of Japan while Pooja Dandu and Arathi Sara went down to Bulgaria's Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva 17-21 17-21.
In the women's singles, Malvika Bansod also suffered a 10-21 17-21 defeat against host country's Goh Jin Wei in 33 minutes to exit from the Super 500 tournament.
Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal will feature in the women's singles first round matches on Wednesday.
Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth will also open their campaigns in men's singles on Wednesday.
Also Read : Badminton Asia Technical Committee apologises to Sindhu for 'human error'
News Source : PTI
We let the game slip away after dominating three days, says Bumrah
Birmingham, Jul 5 (Cricket News) India stand-in captain Jasprit Bumrah on Tuesday blamed his side's defeat to England in the rescheduled fifth Test here to the batting failure in the second innings, saying they let the match slip away from their hands after dominating major part of it.
England rode on Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow's majestic centuries to thump India by seven wickets and register their highest-ever successful run chase in Test cricket.
England overhauled the 378-run target in the morning session of the fifth and final day with Root and Bairstow remaining unbeaten on 142 and 114 respectively.
"That's the beauty of Test cricket, even if you have three good days. We fell short with the bat yesterday and that is where we let the opposition in to let the match slip away from us," Bumrah said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"Ifs and buts can always be there. If you go back, if there was no rain in the first match, we could have won the series. But England played really well." England's win meant that the five-match Test series, which spilled over to this year due to COVID-19 cases in the Indian camp last year, ended in 2-2 draw.
"We have drawn the series and both teams played very good cricket and it was a fair result," Bumrah said.
Bumrah lauded Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja for their tons in India's first innings.
"Pant takes his chances. He and Jaddu got us back into the game with their counter-attack. We were ahead in the game. He takes his chances, backs himself and very happy for him," he said.
Bumrah said he thoroughly enjoyed the captaincy responsibility and it was a pleasure to lead the national team.
"The captaincy is not what I decide. I like responsibility. It was a good challenge, a new challenge. It was an honour to lead the team and a great experience." England skipper Ben Stokes said his team was trying to rewrite the way Test cricket is being played in the country with its new-found attacking brand of the game.
"When the lads play like this, it makes my job easier. When you have clarity like we have in the dressing room, it makes chasing totals like this easier. 378 would have been scary five weeks ago, but now it's all good.
"We are trying to rewrite how Test cricket is played in England. All our plans from the last four-five weeks is what we want to take ahead. Bowling on the top of off isn't important, it is all about taking ten wicket," he said.
"We want to give some new life to Test cricket. Inspiring the next generation is what we want to do. We want to bring in new fans and want to leave a mark on Test cricket," he added.
Stokes was all praise of his batters for pulling off the historic run chase for England.
"Jonny and Root will get all the credit, but the precedent was set up by the way the openers played against Bumrah and Shami with the new ball." Man-of-the-match Jonny Bairstow, who smashed centuries in both the innings, said he was never afraid of failure and just wanted to put the pressure back on the opposition.
"It is great fun at the moment. I am stripping it back to the basics. The last few years have been tough on me but the last few months have been fantastic.
"Day five was over in 90 minutes. I just have an enjoyment factor now. I am not afraid of failing and just want to put the pressure on the opposition. We are going to lose games with the approach we have, but it is a positive fun brand of cricket to play," he said.
He said England were always in control of the chase.
"India have some world class bowlers and you just have to soak the pressure. They try to intimidate, they have some fantastic players and it was about trying to shift the pressure on them.
"There was a period when it started reversing as well. And this morning was a different morning. Root and me are just two lads from Yorkshire. We have grown up playing together and spent a lot of time together from the Yorkshire academy days to the Test team now. Special to play with him," Bairstow said.
England's man-of-the-series Joe Root said they were always confident of chasing down the target set by India.
"It's as simple as that. The environment has been great and the guys are having fun in the last four weeks. There is absolute clarity that we were chasing it down and there was total belief," he said.
Asked about his own form, Root said: "It's something you are constantly searching for and something you rarely find. You want to keep it as fun as possible. Watching Jonny bat is great, I just wanted to give him strike.
"We have been riding a brilliant wave of confidence after brilliant performances against NZ. The start the two openers got us off to was superb and they put the pressure back on."
Also Read : Root, Bairstow script England's sensational win against India in 5th Test
News Source : PTI
Hira Mondal signs two-year deal with Bengaluru Football Club
Bengaluru, Jul 5 (Football News) Bengaluru FC on Tuesday announced the signing of full-back Hira Mondal on a two-year deal that will run until the end of the 2023-24 season.
The 25-year-old Mondal, who had earlier turned out for SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League, is the Blues' fifth signing under Simon Grayson, following the acquisitions of Prabir Das, Javi Hernandez, Faisal Ali and Amrit Gope.
The Kolkata-born full back made 16 appearances for SCEB in his debut season in the ISL.
Named in the I-League's team of the season for 2020-21 following a string of stellar performances for Mohammedan SC, Mondal signed a one-year deal with SC East Bengal in 2021.
The rookie was a standout performer in what was a rather difficult season for the Red-and-Gold brigade who finished at the bottom.
A full-back who loves to push forward into attacking positions, Mondal has previously turned out for Kolkata-based sides Rainbow SC, Tollygunge Agragami and Peerless, having started his youth career with Calcutta Port Trust in 2015.
"The core of the Indian team plays for BFC, and to think that I will be able to share a dressing room with them is an amazing feeling," said Mondal.
"I had never imagined that I would get an opportunity to move to a club like BFC so soon. I want to make the most of this experience and give my best both on and off the pitch." Mondal, who won the GTA Governor's Gold Cup in 2018 with the East Bengal Reserves and the I-League 2nd Division with Mohammedan SC in 2020, has also represented Bengal in the Santosh Trophy.
Also Read : Brentford poised to sign Aaron Hickey from Bologna for £18.9m
News Source : PTI
Brentford poised to sign Aaron Hickey from Bologna for £18.9m
(Football news) Brentford are expected to confirm the signing of Aaron Hickey from Bologna, with the Scotland defender due to fly to England on Tuesday for a club medical. The Premier League club have agreed to pay £18.9m for the 20-year-old, who joined Bologna from Hearts just under two years ago. Hickey has gone on to play 48 times for the Serie A club, starting 34 games in Serie A last season. The left-back, who can play in various other positions, is poised to sign a contract until 2027.
The fee will eclipse the club-record £13.5 million fee they paid to sign Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic last summer transfer window. Hickey made 36 appearances in total and scored five goals for Bologna in 2021-22 as he helped them finish 13th in Serie A. The Scotland international joined Bologna from Heart of Midlothian in September 2020. Brentford will travel to Germany next week for a pre-season training camp and if the Hickey deal is completed in time, he should link up with the team for the tour. Brentford are also pushing closer towards an agreement with Hull City over the signing of Keane Lewis-Potter.
Thomas Frank’s side made offers for Keane Lewis Potter last summer and in January, but it appears that they will finally secure his signature at the third attempt. Brentford offered Hull a package which is worth £20 million last week. Brentford are confident of finally signing long-term target Lewis-Potter, and while fee is yet to be agreed, there's a belief that it will be made official. The Bees hope an initial £16m fee will be enough to complete the deal as the fee will rise to £20m. Thomas Frank's side also remains in the market for another goalkeeper. David Raya, who ended the season by getting a Spain international cap and has since retained his place in Luis Enrique's squad.
Real Madrid agree to sell Luka Jovic to Fiorentina for free
(Football news) Luka Jovic has been linked with a move to Fiorentina on loan for quite a while now but now things have changed as Real Madrid have agreed to sell Jovic on a permanent basis. It is an unusual transfer with a lot of unusual terms. Real Madrid will let Jovic leave for free despite the Serbian having 3 years left on his contract. Fiorentina will pay the strikers wages but Real Madrid will pay a compensation to Jovic as Fiorentina cannot match his current Real Madrid wages. Jovic will sign a 2 year deal with an option to extend for 2 more years. The Los Blancos get 50% of any future sale from Fiorentina.
The deal is very complicated but one thing is pretty clear that Real Madrid are taking a massive loss on the player. The club signed Luka Jovic for €60 million from Eintracht Frankfurt and paid him £166,000 per week as wages. Jovic has only played 36 games for the team and despite being a pure goal scoring striker, he has scored only 3 goals. Real Madrid signed a 21 year old Jovic in 2019 which was the same window they brought in Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo. The latter 3 have settled into the team well while the other two have truly struggled. Jovic was on a 6 month loan period at former club Frankfurt to try and bounce back but he couldn't bring his old form back.
The obvious reason why Jovic hasn't been able to settle at Real Madrid is Karim Benzema. The Frenchman is one of the best players in the world who is rarely injured or rested. The reason for Jovic's failure is definitely more than just that. Jovic never made the most of his opportunities even though they were limited. Other youngsters like Eduardo Camavinga and Fede Valverde were also given limited opportunities but they made the most out of it. Now it's time for Jovic to start fresh in a new league with Fiorentina. His career could still shoot up if he puts in good performances with Italy. Because of the sell-on clause Real Madrid will also be hoping for the same.
Real Madrid have been spending big on young players and one of them was bound to fail. Madrid might have to rethink their strategy if this becomes a regular occurrence but it hasn't yet. Failure of Jovic next to the success of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr is in fact a good ratio for Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti has been thinking about using Hazard through the centre according to reports which could be a good idea. Real Madrid could also sign a back-up for Benzema in the coming weeks.
Also read: Eden Hazard to play in a new position at Real Madrid next season
Root, Bairstow script England's sensational win against India in 5th Test
Birmingham, Jul 5 (Cricket News) Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow scored majestic centuries as England pulled off their highest-ever successful run chase in the longest format for a convincing seven-wicket win over India in the rescheduled fifth Test here on Tuesday.
England overhauled the 378-run target in the morning session of the fifth and final day with Root and Bairstow remaining unbeaten on 142 and 114 respectively.
England's win meant that the five-match Test series, which spilled over to this year due to COVID-19 cases in the Indian camp last year, ended in 2-2 draw.
This was the fourth time England chased down a target of over 250 in the fourth innings, the earlier three being against New Zealand -- 277, 299, 296 -- in their 3-0 home Test series win last month. Resuming the day at 259 for 3, England hit the required 119 runs in 19.4 overs.
Root's 173-ball innings was decorated with 19 fours and one six while Bairstow struck 15 boundaries and hit once over the ropes in his 145 ball innings.
It was Bairstow's second ton of the match as he had made 106 off 140 balls in the England first innings.
The Indian bowlers toiled the whole of the morning session without success, Captain Jasprit Bumrah (2/74) was the only Indian bowler to take wicket in the England second innings. He ended the match with five wickets. Mohammed Siraj had taken four wickets in the England first innings. Brief Scores: England: 284 & 378/3 in 76.4 overs (Joe Root 142 not out, Jonny Bairstow 114 not out, Alex Lees 56; Jasprit Bumrah 2/74) beat India 416 & 245 by seven wickets.
Also Read : Women's ODI rankings: Mandhana jumps to 8th; Deepti, Shafali also gain
News Source : PTI
PSG part ways with Pochettino with Galtier to be the replacement
(Football news) Paris Saint-Germain have announced that they have parted ways with Maurcio Pochettino with Nice manager Christopher Galtier lined up as a replacement. Despite winning the Ligue 1 title with a 15 point margin, the highest in the top five leagues, the club’s performance in the Champions League was considered unsatisfactory by the hierarchy. PSG were 2-0 up against Real Madrid with only 45 minutes remaining but the Los Blancos were undone by a second half hat-trick by Karim Benzema.
His potential replacement Christopher Galtier was instrumental in guiding Lille to the Ligue 1 title in the 2020/21 season and finished fifth with Nice last term. The 55 year old is said to have agreed to a two year contract in what will undoubtedly be the most challenging job of his career. While he remains a relatively unknown figure internationally, Galtier has an impressive resume, taking Nice from ninth to fifth and reaching the French Cup final but losing to Nantes. One of the most challenging aspects of his new job will be managing the likes of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar along with the other big names in the dressing room.
A statement released by Paris Saint-Germain read “Paris Saint-Germain confirm that Mauricio Pochettino has ended his role at the Club. The Club would like to thank Mauricio Pochettino and his staff for their work and wish them the best for the future.” Galtier is expected to be announced as Paris Saint-Germain manager imminently and will be taking over the club’s three preseason matches in Japan this month. PSG will face J1 League sides Kawasaki Frontale, Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka on July 20, 23 and 25 respectively.
I want to inspire girls to pursue combat sports: Sonia Bhardwaj
Currently ranked 69th in the world, Sonia Bhardwaj is one of India’s top talents in taekwondo. The 21 year old is currently a part of the Peace Taekwondo Academy and is fully focused on improving her rankings to qualify for the Olympics. In this exclusive interview, Sonia speaks about her journey in taekwondo, winning the gold medal at the India Open, overcoming challenges, the importance of mental strength, future goals and much more!
Q 1) When were you first introduced to taekwondo and what made you pursue it professionally?
I started Taekwondo in 2011 as I wanted to learn martial arts. The atmosphere in my house was a little conservative, my sister got married at the age of 21. When I started Taekwondo I had to listen to a lot of taunts and I was asked to concentrate on my studies. In my household it's not even like you can complete your studies to make your career. It's like you study till the 12th standard and then do the rest after marriage. I wasn't interested in getting married and I didn't want that life. My brother was my first coach and I trained with him for a year before getting a silver medal in the nationals. That silver medal gave me a lot of motivation and even my family was really happy with that. They were mainly impressed by the prize money which showed them that girls' income isn't dependent just on studies but they can earn via sports as well.
After that I kept on progressing and winning more medals. When you get a medal in nationals, the Haryana Government gives you a scholarship. That gave me a lot of support and motivation. Then I found out that taekwondo is played in the Olympics as well and that pushed me to work harder. From my background not a lot of girls play sports so that is a kind of responsibility on my shoulders. Everyone in my family and a lot of other people think that girls can only study and do nothing after that. I want to become an example and prove them wrong, so that more girls can start playing sports.
Q 2) You won the gold medal at the India Open in 2019. Was it the most special achievement in your career? If not, which are the other most memorable achievements?
I would say that the India Open is my biggest achievement. After that win my family seriously started supporting me. Before that it was just like I was getting medals and earning money but then they found out that I was making a name for myself. The event was broadcasted live on DD Sports and everyone in my neighborhood and family were watching it live and cheering for me. My father was also happy to see that I am doing really well because the Nationals didn't get telecasted live and I didn’t get any fame from it. I got a little famous after that and people got to know about me. That was the first time I got a compliment from my father which was a proud moment for me.
Q 3) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your taekwondo career? How did you overcome them?
Financially I faced a lot of problems because my parents weren't that stable but they did support me as much as they could. A lot of times I didn't have money to participate in championships. After the India Open, I was All India rank 1 but I still didn't have sponsors to participate in championships. That was the time when I was at the peak of my game and I would've won more medals had I got more support. After that I kept getting demotivated and then as I was searching for sponsors the whole world went into lockdown. I became very frustrated and didn't understand what to do while age was also catching up. People also started talking about how I wasn't winning medals anymore and it was sort of like I was getting the blame. After that I started getting injured as well which was very demotivating. Even paying the physiotherapist after an injury was getting very expensive.
Also read: Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee inspired me to take up martial arts: Radha Bhati
Q 4) How important is mental strength for a taekwondo athlete to become successful at the highest level?
In taekwondo, mental strength is the most important thing. If you're not mentally strong then it becomes difficult to strategize. As taekwondo athletes we have to do meditation to keep our mental side of the game active.
Q 5) Who are the taekwondo athletes that you look up to and why?
When I was kid I didn’t see many athletes, but you can say my brother used to show me taekwondo moves when I was young, I initially started taekwondo thinking it was karate. My brother used to show me a lot of taekwondo videos and there I used to follow a Chinese player called Wu Jin Yu. I still follow her moves as she was a former Olympic champion. She is an inspiration also as she won a World Championship medal at the age of 33 after giving birth.
Q 6) What are your future goals as a taekwondo athlete? How do you plan to achieve them?
Firstly, my main goal is to improve my ranking to qualify for the Olympics. I plan to achieve this by participating in small international tournaments by winning medals there. My current rank is 69 in the world and my Olympic rank is 120. If I come in the top 8 of the Olympic ranks, then I will get direct entry into the Olympics. Once I qualify for the Olympics then I plan to win a medal now that the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation is sponsoring me till the 2024 Olympics.
Anand Vardhan aims to elevate Indian football to international standards
With the interest in Indian football on the rise, more kids are considering the sport as a viable career option now than ever before. However, the Indian men’s national team continue to languish at 104th, behind the likes of New Zealand and Kenya. While the interest may be on an upward trajectory, the focus needs to shift on improving the basics of aspiring footballers at the grassroot level in order to develop talent that can compete against the best in the world.
In this exclusive interview, Anand Vardhan, Performance Analyst and Academy Coach at Sudeva Delhi FC speaks about his responsibilities, the development of football in India, overcoming challenges, the increase in popularity of the sport amongst the younger generation, getting the maximum performance from players and his future goals for the sport in India.
Q 1) Tell us about your role and responsibilities as performance analyst and academy coach at Sudeva Delhi FC?
The role of performance analysts revolves around but is not limited to pre-match analysis, post match analysis, data analysis, match coding, training analysis, scouting and most importantly opposition analysis. Analysts are often the first people the head coach wants to talk to before and after a game, decoding the opposition's gameplay and tactics is the primary task an analyst has in hand during the course of a season. As an academy coach, I often find myself assisting the head coaches in training for one of the U-13, U-15 or U-18 academy teams. Having completed my AIFF D coaching certificate, I'm slowly getting into the technical side of things on the pitch which has certainly made my understanding and my analysis better.
Q 2) As someone who works closely with the academy, what do you think needs to be done to raise the standard of football in India?
Since the inception of the ISL the standard of Indian football has no doubt gone up, with the influx of capital and infrastructure in the game we are definitely moving in the right direction. I remember the time when not so long ago we were languishing 173rd in the FIFA rankings which to be honest for a country as huge as ours is shambolic. Things are moving in the right direction but we still aren't anywhere as we are supposed to be. For the sport to grow, all the stakeholders i.e. the clubs, the federation, the players, the state FAs, the government and above all the fans have to come together and work towards a common goal. More grassroot programs, affiliation with schools and promotion of local tournaments is the only way forward.
Q 3) What are the biggest challenges Indian football is facing today? How can it be rectified?
I feel there are two major hurdles that we need to cross for us to become a superpower in the sport, first qualifying for the FIFA World Cup and second is to be able to create a sustainable business model for all the clubs. If you see the numbers, even the top ISL clubs don't make any profits throughout the season. There is definitely work going on in the background to rectify this and with promotion and relegation from ISL and I League to be installed from this season, we are giving a small town club from any city from the country a pathway of making it to the biggest stage. This is what football is all about in my opinion, everyone having a fair chance of competing for the top most league and not just some clubs who can afford to pay the franchise fee.
Q 4) Do you see an increase in popularity in domestic football with more youngsters wanting to enrol in the academy?
Yes of course, with the amazing work that Mr. Anuj Gupta and Mr. Vijay Hakari have been doing to promote the sport in the national capital we see there are a lot of young players not just from New Delhi but from across the country wanting to come in and join the academy. All players are selected on the basis of trials and the best ones are here on 100% scholarship. You guys at different forms of media have also helped tremendously in popularising the sport across the country among the youth. Fun fact: there are more Manchester United fans here in India than in the UK.
Q 5) What are the key factors that are responsible for getting maximum performance out of footballers?
I won't sugar coat it, being a professional footballer isn't easy in this day and age. Just by being the most skillful or the fittest or the most intelligent player on the pitch you are not going to make it. Today's top players have to be in the best physical shape, need to be technically very sound and most importantly need to understand how the coach wants them to play. Being able to follow instructions is one of the first qualities coaches look for in a player.
Q 6) What are your future goals and aspirations? How do you plan to achieve them?
I want to keep working towards closing the gap between India's top footballers and the rest of the world's top footballers. When Igor Stimac comes out and says that the national team's players haven't got their basics right he's got a point. We need to work towards an overall holistic development of a player from a young age, technically, physically and tactically. Hopefully not long from now we'll see one of our very own dominating the European leagues and battling it out with the best in the world on a weekly basis.
Feel free to drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee inspired me to take up martial arts: Radha Bhati
At just 25 years of age, Radha Bhati has become an accomplished taekwondo athlete, winning laurels domestically and around the world. She is now setting her sights on the upcoming 2022 Asian Games and the World Championships in 2023 with the ultimate goal of not just representing India but winning medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
In this exclusive interview, Radha Bhati speaks about her journey in the sport, representing India internationally, overcoming challenges, importance of mental health, special achievements, future goals and more!
Q 1) Tell us about your taekwondo journey, how were you introduced to the sport and what made you pursue it professionally?
My taekwondo journey started in 2011 when I went to the stadium just to have a look around. It was during my summer holidays so I wanted to join a sport. I saw martial arts classes at one corner and it grabbed my interest. I used to watch Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, so I really loved to watch the fight. I then joined martial arts and started training which was a lot of fun, my interest started to increase with every day I trained.
Q 2) You represented India in the Under 46 kg category at the China Open where you won your first international medal. Tell us about your experience at that tournament and how did the success propel you to greater achievements?
That was actually my second medal but the first one on foreign soil. I was a little nervous but there was a lot of excitement as well because I was getting a chance to play outside India. The quarter final match was really interesting as it was decided by a golden point. The points were tied after three rounds and there were only 0.6 seconds left when I got the golden point. The feeling of winning an international medal outside India was amazing.
Q 3) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge was travelling because I used to travel from Faridabad to Chhatarpur. By metro it used to take around 3 hours one way and I would often reach home at 12 am which was pretty difficult. My parents would get worried because I’m a girl and they would often ask me to quit which was another challenge I had to deal with.
Also read: 'My ultimate goal is to win gold at the Paralympics'- Mohit Singh
Q 4) How important is mental health in becoming a successful taekwondo athlete and why?
To become a successful taekwondo athlete, mental health becomes an integral part. Even if you have the physical aspect of the game, an athlete needs to have the mental aspect as well. If you are mentally strong you tend to have the capability of achieving a lot of things in taekwondo.
Q 5) What would you say is your most special achievement in your career and why?
The most special achievement in my career was my first international medal at the India Open. This medal helped my confidence a lot and in turn helped in my performance as well.
Q 6) What are your future goals? How do you plan to achieve them?
If we talk about short term goals, then I want to prepare well for the upcoming international tournaments especially the Asian Games this year and the World Championship next year as I hope to win a medal there. The long term goal is to represent India at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
'My ultimate goal is to win gold at the Paralympics'- Mohit Singh
Hailing from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, 22 year old Para Taekwondo athlete Mohit Singh has been training at the Peace Taekwondo Academy since the last three and a half years. He has already represented India at the Asian Championship in 2019 and played at the 9th World Para Taekwondo Championship in 2021. The player has now set his sights on the 2022 Asian Para Games later this year.
In this exclusive interview, Mohit Singh speaks about his taekwondo journey, experiences, memorable achievements, expectations from the Para Asian Games, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) How did your journey in taekwondo begin? When were you introduced to the sport and what made you pursue it professionally?
I started taekwondo in 2018. It all began because the taekwondo classes were held at the same time as the morning assembly in school and in order to avoid it I joined the sport. Since I’m a para athlete with a hand problem, learning to defend myself was very important for me. I always enjoyed watching martial arts and that’s what motivated me to take up taekwondo. I didn’t have much knowledge about it at the beginning and it started off as a hobby but slowly evolved into a career path.
Q 2) You have been at Peace Taekwondo for three and a half years. How has your experience been so far?
Despite starting taekwondo in 2018 I felt no changes in my body and mind even after practicing it for a year. That’s when I joined Peace Taekwondo and since then, my confidence has risen and the experience has been amazing! I received a lot of support from the senior players and the coaches which motivated me so it has been great.
Q 3) What is the most special memory from your taekwondo career so far and why?
Being selected for the Asian Para Games was the most memorable for me so far. Despite starting taekwondo in 2018, I haven’t won any medals despite putting in the effort to succeed. My family were also very happy for my selection at the Asian Para Games. I have also received support from the Peace Taekwondo Academy and I’m glad that someone from the academy is being represented at the Asian Para Games.
Also read: My dream is to represent India at the Olympics: Afreen Hyder
Q 4) You have been selected for the 2022 Asian Para Games, what are your expectations from it?
My expectations at the Asian Para Games are that I don’t want to just go there and represent my country, I want to go and win a medal. To win a medal I have to work and train even harder than before.
Q5) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I feel is that even after giving your 100% it still feels less, especially when you're away from family. I feel I have let my coach and my parents down by not training hard but then again in taekwondo, losing is a part and parcel of the game. For me the more I lose, the more motivated I become to perform better in the next tournament.
Q6) What are your future goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
My ultimate goal in the future is to win the Paralympics gold medal. In order to achieve that I need to train even harder and try to achieve the best possible outcome.