(Football news)Kolkata, Jul 29 Fijian star striker Roy Krishna will continue with ATK Mohun Bagan, the club announced on Thursday, ending speculations about his future with the former ISL champions.
The announcement coincided with the club's Mohun Bagan Day which was celebrated virtually on Thursday.
"I am honoured to declare on a special day that I will be on the field again wearing the Green-Maroon jersey. I hope the members-supporters of the club will be happy and will support me like before," the 33-year-old told ATKMB Media.
"I was a little hesitant to come here because of the COVID-19 situation. But after the club management assured me and my family of safety, I signed the new contract." The Fijian was linked with reigning champions Mumbai City FC after the Mariners roped in Islanders star French midfielder Hugo Boumous for the upcoming season.
But the city giants put to rest all speculations by declaring that Roy Krishna would stay on for a third successive year and will be seen alongside their two other star signings -- Bumous and Finnish midfielder Joni Kauko.
The team has already begun its preparatory camp for the upcoming AFC Cup in Maldives where they would take on the winners of Bengaluru FC and Maldives' Club Eagles in their Group D (South Zone) opener on August 18.
"For the first time in my life, I will play in the AFC Cup. All the teams will be well prepared for this tournament. We will also try our best to win all the matches," he added.
"Our goal will be to go to the next round. We have a great opportunity to establish the club in Asia. I am confident we will do well in this tournament." On the club's new signings that also include top Indian players Liston Colaco and Amrinder Singh, he said: "I am looking forward to practicing with them. I hope I can show some magic in the matches with all of them." After coming to Kolkata for the first time, he scored 15 goals in 2019-20 helping ATK FC win their third ISL title.
Last season, Krishna scored 22 goals in 23 matches and won the Golden Ball award.
SSCB, Haryana boxers dominate on day three at junior nationals
(Boxing news) Sonipat, Jul 29 Defending champions Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) extended their impressive run at the third Junior Boys National Boxing Championships as seven of their pugilists progressed to the quarter-finals here on Thursday.
Harsh started the proceedings for SSCB with a flawless unanimous victory against Madhya Pradesh's Gaurav Baghel in the 46kg round of 16 bout.
Neeru (48kg), Nikhil (52kg), Ashish (54kg), Vinay Vishwakarma (57kg), Henthoi (60kg) and Preet Malik (63kg) were the other SSCB pugilists who entered the quarter-finals in their respective categories.
Haryana -- the second-placed team of last edition, also had a glorious day with an equal number of boxers making their way into the last-eight stage.
Sahil provided the winning start for his team when he outperformed Punjab's Sumit 5-0 in the 48kg last-16 bout.
The 2019 Asian Schoolboy Championships gold medallist Yashwardhan Singh further extended the momentum and registered unanimous victory against Maharashtra's Huzef Apradh.
Saurabh (50kg), Pankaj Kumar (52kg), Akshat (54kg), Anshul (57kg) and Milan Deswal (63kg) also emerged victorious for Haryana in their respective pre-quarterfinals.
The third edition of junior boys and fourth edition of junior girls nationals, with participation of nearly 500 boxers (298 boys and 201 girls), is significant as the top performers will be selected for the 2021 ASBC youth and junior boxing championships, which is slated to take place in Dubai from August 17 to 31.
Day 7: India’s medal prospects looking bright as athletes inch closer to podium finish
1) Indian men’s Hockey team enter quarter-finals after 3-1 win over Argentina
Indian men’s Hockey team defeated the reigning Olympic champions Argentina to progress into the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics. Varun Kumar, Olympic debutant Vivek Sagar Prasad gave India the lead followed up by Harmanpreet to assure Manpreet Singh’s team that they will at least finish 2nd in Men’s Pool A.
2) PV Sindhu marches on to quarterfinals in Tokyo
In the Women’s Singles Badminton match PV Sindhu looked strong in the round of 16 with a victory over Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the Tokyo Olympics. She beat her opponent in 41 mins with a score of 21-15, 21-13 to progress into the quarterfinals. She will face Akane Yamaguchi tomorrow for a place in the Semifinals.
3) Atanu Das progresses to the pre-quarters after defeating Korea's Oh Jin-hyek 6-5
It was a closely contested battle between Atanu Das and Oh Jin-hyek in the men's individual Archery 1/16 Eliminations with very little to separate the two. Both Das and Jin-hyek matched each other point for point without giving anything away but it was India’s Atanu Das who emerged the winner as he beat the former Olympic and World Champion 10-9 in the shoot-off to progress into the pre-quarterfinals.
With this result, both Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das have now progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of the individual archery events and stand a chance to win medals in Tokyo.
4) Satish Kumar progresses to the quarter-finals with 4-1 win over Jamaica's Ricardo Brown
Satish Kumar convincingly defeated Jamaica’s Ricardo Brown 4-1 in the men’s Super Heavy (91kg) Boxing category to qualify for the quarter-finals. Brown could not keep up with Satish Kumar’s counter attacks as the Indian made full use of his light weight to win the clash. Satish Kumar will now face World Champion Bakhodir Jalalov and the Indian is just one win away from an assured medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
1) Mary Kom crashes out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing 3-2 to Ingrit Valencia
In an extremely close contest between Mary Kom and Ingrit Valencia, it was the Colombian boxer who emerged the winner. She was awarded the fight by three of the five judges, knocking out Mary Kom in the Round of 16.
2) Manu Bhaker looks to shoot up hopes in women’s 25m Pistol in Tokyo
Manu Bhaker finished 5th place with a score of 292 and Rahi Sarnobat was placed 25th with a score of 287.The qualification rapid will be held tomorrow and both of them will try to shoot their way into the finals.
3) Indian swimming competition ends as Sajan exits in 100m Butterfly
Sajan Prakash finished second in heat 2 of the 100m Butterfly event with a timing of 53.45 in the Tokyo Olympics. Even though the timing was impressive, he couldn't make it to the top 16 as he finished 46th overall.
4) Golfer Anirban Lahiri T-8th after Round 1 in the Tokyo Olympics
Anirban Lahiri is playing in his second Olympics and started off strongly with a 4-under 67 in the first round at the Kasumigaseki Country Club. By the end of the first round, the former Asian Tour number 1 was Tied-8th while his countryman Udayan Mane had a difficult day in the office, carding 5-over 76 to be at the bottom - 60th.
5) Indian Laser sailors find themselves in rough waters but 49er pair takes huge leap in today’s final race
In the Men's One Person Dinghy Laser, Vishnu Saravanan stands 23rd overall with two more races to go before the final. He finished 27th in race 7 and 23rd in race 8. In the Women's One Person Dinghy Laser Radial, Nethra Kumanan finished 22nd in race 7 and 20th in race, overall she stands 31st with the last two races to go tomorrow before the final.
In the Men's Skiff 49er, the pair of Varun Thakkar and Kelapanda Ganapathy pulled off a spectacular performance in the 6th race. The Indian pair stands 17th overall as they finished 16th in the 5th race and came an impressive 7th in the next one.
6) Indian Rowers finish 11th in Tokyo
In Lightweight Men's Double Sculls India finished 11th overall as they came fifth in the final B race in the Tokyo Olympics. Arjun Lal Jat and Arvind Singh campaign ended on a positive note as this is the best ever finish for the country in rowing.
Indian swimming competition ends as Sajan exits in 100m Butterfly
(Swimming news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Sajan Prakash finished second in heat 2 of the 100m Butterfly event with a timing of 53.45 in the Tokyo Olympics. Even though the timing was impressive, he couldn't make it to the top 16 as he finished 46th overall.
Mary Kom crashes out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing 3-2 to Ingrit Valencia
(Boxing news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: In an extremely close contest between Mary Kom and Ingrit Valencia, it was the Colombian boxer who emerged the winner. In Round 1, Valencia came all guns blazing and put Mary Kom’s defense to the test with quick punches. Subsequently, Valencia was awarded four 10’s and a 9 at the end of the first round while Mary Kom got four 9’s and a 10.
In Round 2, six time World Champion Mary Kom showed her prowess with quick reflexes and timely dodges to win the round 3-2 against four time Olympic gold medallist Ingrit Valencia. However, it was evident that Valencia is considerably quicker than Mary Kom, being six years younger than the Indian boxer.
Mary Kom landed a right hand punch just as Round 3 began while Valencia remained in defense. Valencia appeared more confident of the two at the end of the round and rightly so, as the Colombian was awarded the fight by three of the five judges, knocking out Mary Kom in the Round of 16.
Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri T-8th after Round 1 in the Tokyo Olympics
(Golf news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Anirban Lahiri is playing in his second Olympics and started off strongly with a 4-under 67 in the first round at the Kasumigaseki Country Club. By the end of the first round, the former Asian Tour number 1 was Tied-8th while his countryman Udayan Mane had a difficult day in the office, carding 5-over 76 to be at the bottom - 60th.
Round 1 of the Olympic golf tournament was temporarily suspended because of a lightning storm at Kasumigaseki Country Club just before 2 pm local time. 27 out of the 60 player field were yet to finish their 18 holes and could only do so after play resumed several hours later. Austrian golfer Straka S finished in first position followed by Thailand's Janewattananond J and Pieters T of Belgium.
Take your time, you owe explanation to no one: Shastri on Simone Biles' withdrawal from Olympics
(Olympic news) London, Jul 29 "Take your time, Simone Biles. You owe explanation to no one," said Indian cricket team's chief coach Ravi Shastri as he lent his support to the multiple Olympic medallist American gymnast after she pulled out of the team and all-round individual events at the Tokyo Games citing mental health concerns.
The 24-year-old Biles, one of the most decorated gymnast of all times, had withdrawn from the women's team final on Tuesday and all-around final on Wednesday to focus on her mental health.
"Take your time @Simone_Biles. You have earned the right to owe it to yourself at this tender age. 48 hours or 48 days it might take. Just do it Champion. You owe no explanation to no one. @naomiosaka, you too. God bless you girls #Olympics," Shastri wrote on his twitter handle.
In his comments, Shastri, who is currently in UK with the Indian team for next month's Test series against England, also referred to star Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, who had mentioned about the mental toll of her profession as the reason for her third round exit at the Olympics.
A five-time World all-around champion, Biles, who had won four individual gold medals in Rio Olympics, had brought the spotlight back on mental health after she decided to withdraw.
"I have to do what's right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardise my health and my wellbeing," she had said.
Following her decision, Biles received support from different corners of the world with fans and celebrities in different fields taking to social media to express themselves.
Indian laser sailors find themselves in rough waters but 49er pair takes huge leap in today’s final race
(Sailing news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: The sailing events have almost come to an end as the sailors are preparing for the last few races at the Tokyo Olympics. In the Men's One Person Dinghy Laser, the 7th and 8th races were held today as Vishnu Saravanan stands 23rd overall with two more races to go. He finished 27th in race 7 and 23rd in race 8 and will look to improve tomorrow in the last two races before the final.
In the Women's One Person Dinghy Laser Radial, the 7th and 8th race completed today, Nethra Kumanan finished 22nd in race 7 and 20th in race 8. Overall she stands 31st with the last two races to go tomorrow before the final. In the Men's Skiff 49er, the pair of Varun Thakkar and Kelapanda Ganapathy pulled off a spectacular performance in the 6th race. The Indian pair stands 17th overall as they finished 16th in the 5th race and came an impressive 7th in the 6th. The pair surprised everyone as they improved over 10 places and if they can continue in the same spirit can also finish in the top 15. They still have 6 more races to go to climb up the ladder and will be looking for positive results in the three races tomorrow to achieve their goal.
Solid start by Lahiri in Tokyo as top stars Thomas, Matsuyama trail
(Golf news)Tokyo, Jul 29 India's Anirban Lahiri playing his second Olympics got off to a solid start with a 4-under 67 in the first round of the Tokyo Games golf competition at the Kasumigaseki Country Club here on Thursday.
The former Asian Tour No. 1 Lahiri had six birdies against two bogeys and was Tied-sixth though many players were yet to finish.
The other Indian, Udayan Mane, who made the field of 60 at a late stage, also had a fair start as he 1-under through 10 holes. He was T-30 though his position will change as the round ends.
The field was led by Austrian Sepp Straka, who came into the Games after six missed cuts in last seven starts. He equalled an Olympic record of 8-under 63. Straka lipped out his birdie attempt on 18th that would have set the record.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Mexican Carlos Ortiz shot 6-under 65 each, while Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond was also 6-under with three holes left when play was stopped due to dangerous weather in the area.
Lahiri, coming off a third place in Barbasol Championships on the PGA Tour, was happy with the start.
"It was good. I started off a little dodgy first few holes, couldn't get my rhythm going early. But then I settled down nicely. I probably feel like I could have taken some more chances, some opportunities on the back nine I didn't make as many birdies as I could have.
"But I'm playing well, so I have to build on this and as you can see already there's a lot of opportunities if it keeps playing like this, soft, there's not much rain today, then you have to go out there and just really be aggressive and make a lot of putts.” Lahiri managed good practice too, helping him on day one of the competition.
"I got a full 36 in, nine every day the four days leading up to the event, so I felt pretty comfortable on the golf course. Obviously the tournament setup's going to be a little different but I feel like it wasn't as hard as they could make it.” "Today we barely had any wind, so a good day to go out and take advantage. The greens are beautiful, they're perfect, they're rolling great, golf course is immaculate," he said.
Lahiri shrugged off a bogey start on first by later sinking some huge putts. Two of his birdies on ninth and 15th came from 28 feet.
He had a super run of four birdies in five holes from fifth to ninth. Then he had back-to-back birdies on 15th and 16th and closed with two pars. His dropped shots came on first and 12th.
Among the world stars, who did not have a great start, former World No. 1 Justin Thomas started with even par 71, while 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama shot 2-under 69.
Rory McIlroy was 1-under with five holes left, while former World No. 1 Justin Thomas had all 18 pars in his 71.
Reigning British Open champion Collin Morikawa was 2 under through 11 holes and Patrick Reed was 4 under through 10 holes.
Straka, ranked 161st in the world, equalled the record of 63 set by Matt Kuchar (US) and Marcus Fraser of Australia who shot 63 in the 2016 Rio Games when golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in more than a century.
Back in 2016, Lahiri, coming off an injury had finished 57th out of 60 players, and is keen on making amends for that result.
Dutee, Sable to kick off India's athletics campaign; medal hope Neeraj in action on Aug 4 & 7
(Olympic news)Tokyo, Jul 29 Pinning their slim medal hopes on the sprightly but under-prepared star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, India will begin their Olympic campaign in athletics on Friday, hoping to make amends for the disappointing performances in the last edition.
The 23-year-old Chopra, currently ranked fourth in the world, is the brightest prospect for an Olympic medal though he is short on preparations, having competed in only one top-class international event in the run-up ro the Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Athletics Federation of India had planned training-cum-competition tours abroad for the athletes prior to the Games but had to cancel them due to the global travel restrictions triggered by the pandemic.
Out of the 26-member Olympic team, only Chopra was able to train and compete in Europe in early June before arriving in Tokyo on Tuesday.
He had just three international events before the Olympics but the first two were minor ones with local athletes competing.
In his only top-class international event this year, Chopra finished third with a throw of 86.79m at Kuortane Games in Finland while Tokyo Olympics gold medal hot favourite Johannes Vetter (93.59m) of Germany won the event.
Chopra, who began the season by breaking his own national record with a 88.07m throw at the Indian Grand Prix in March, has spoken about his frustration at the lack of top-class international events in the build up to Olympics.
The 2017 world champion Vetter (personal best 97.76m, season best 96.29m) has been unbeatable this season with 90m-plus throws in seven events between April and June.
If he continues his form, Vetter seems to be sure-shot for his first Olympics gold.
Chopra's competitors for other medals could be Poland's Marcin Krukowski (PB & SB 89.55m), 2012 Olympics champion and 2016 Rio Games bronze medallist Trinidad & Tobago's Keshorn Walcott (PB 90.16m, SB 89.12m), and Latvia's 2014 under-20 World champion Gatis Cakss (PB & SB 87.57m).
Chopra, who has been based in Uppsala in Sweden with bio mechanics expert Klaus Klaus Bartonietz, will have his first throw in an Olympics during the qualifying round on August 4 before the finals to be held three days later.
The field was depleted after reigning Olympic champion Thomas Rohler of Germany pulled out with a back injury. World champion Anderson Peters, on the other hand, has not been in great form this season.
Estonia's World Championships silver medallist Magnus Kirt has also pulled out due to a leg injury.
Other than Chopra, none have a realistic chance for a medal but some of them would look to qualify for the final round.
In Rio five years ago, only Lalita Babar could make it to the finals in the women's 3000m steeple chase.
Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur, ranked sixth in the world with personal best of 66.59m, could be gunning for a top-5 finish if not for a medal provided she can continue her strong form which helped her break the national record twice recently.
Asian Games champion shot putter Tajinder Singh Toor, who bettered his own national mark at IGP 4 in June with a 21.49m throw, can also make it to the final though the event will be extremely competitive going by what had happened in the 2019 World Championships.
If the likes of Shivpal Singh (javelin throw), Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase) and M Sreeshankar (long jump) can better than their personal best, they can also make it to the final round.
Sreeshankar's form though has dipped after his national record breaking 8.26m jump during the Federation Cup in March and the AFI was even mulling on dropping him, along with 20km race walker K T Irfan, after he cleared just 7.48m in the 'fitness trial' held on July 21.
They were retained but AFI president Adille Sumariwalla warned that action will be taken against all those who do not perform well here.
Sable will kick off proceedings on Friday, followed by Dutee Chand (100m) and M P Jabir (400m hurdles) in their respective heats in the morning session. The mixed 4x400m relay team will be in action in the evening for a place in the final.
National record holder Dutee, who has qualified for Olympics on the basis of world rankings, has admitted to the gulf between her timing and that of the medal contenders and she would be looking to reach the semifinals by bettering his personal best.
(Archery news)Tokyo, Jul 29 Indian archer Atanu Das on Thursday expressed his disappointment for being denied the chance to play the mixed team event with his world no 1 wife Deepika Kumari, whom he credited for his stunning win over two-time Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek here.
A week after their mixed team partnership was split up, the duo's bonding was well evident during Das' upset last-32 win over Oh Jin Hyek, who had won the men's team gold here.
Deepika was seen shouting from the gallery to cheer her husband who came from being 2-4 down to win in the shootoff.
The duo thus remains the only Indian archers in medal fray, advancing to their respective pre-quarter finals.
"I was listening to her full time. She was pushing me: 'believe in myself', 'you can do it', 'just stay calm and handle the situation'," Das said in the mixed zone after his 6-5 (10-9) win.
"She is world number one and I'm privileged to have my wife in this competition. It was a great support and motivation for me." Das was denied a chance to recreate his chemistry with Deepika in the mixed pair section after he slipped four places behind Olympian debutant Pravin Jadhav, who stood 31st in the ranking round.
The Indian think tank went by the rankings, ignoring the star couple's gold medal feat at the Paris World Cup, less than a month back.
The duo of Jadhav and Deepika, pairing up for the first time, made a quarterfinal exit going down to their Korean rivals.
"I expected to play with her in the mixed team but unfortunately it was not possible. I don't know why...," Das said.
"But it's quite satisfying (as we both are in the last-16). We are giving our best. Let's see what happens." He next faces home favourite Takaharu Furukawa, an individual silver medalist at London 2012 and a team bronze medalist here.
Das and Deepika, who tied the knot in June last year following a two-year courtship, are the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline in the Olympic Games.
Asked whether they stay together at the Games Village, he said: "I stay with the men's team. She stays separately in the Village, but most of the time we are together." "Please pray for us, please encourage us. We need your support and hopefully we’ll come out with the flying colours," Das concluded.
How do the numbers stack up for The Hundred after its first week
(Cricket news) The newest competition in the cricketing world, The Hundred has been a platform to unearth new cricketing talent and give them a stage to show their ability to the world. Let’s have a look at how the numbers stack up of The Hundred so far.
103,650 - The number of people that have been in attendance at the stadiums in the last week.
13,537 - The attendance of a professional women’s domestic game between London Spirit vs Oval Invincibles at Lord’s that set a new record.
496,000 – The number of tickets sold and issued for The Hundred comprising 89,000 for kids and 109,000 for female buyers.
100,000 – Number of tickets sold in the first week of The Hundred out of which 21% has been for kids and 24% buyers were female.
The Hundred was also broadcasted on Sky Sports and the BBC in the last week for those who were not in attendance at the stadiums.
8,540,000 - The number of people who watched The Hundred on tv out of which 3.33m had not seen any other live ECB cricket on TV this year.
2,500,000 – The number of people who saw the opening match of the men’s competition between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals. Sky’s first exclusive match between Birmingham Phoenix vs London Spirit had an audience of more than 1 million.
1,950,000 – The number of people who saw a women’s fixture across Sky and BBC in the opening game.
The Hundred app is also a way for fans to engage with the competition, buy tickets, play fan games and more!
6,700,000 - The total number of video views online so far across The Hundred.
46,000 – The number of votes in the polls on The Hundred app. Fans can vote for their Match Hero, Fanfare Music and more.
3,700 – The number of fans who have voted for Northern Superchargers’ Jemimah Rodrigues as player of The Hundred so far.
The Hundred is also giving a platform for new talent to showcase their skills to the rest of the world.
16 – The age of Oval Invincibles’ Alice Capsey who hit a half-century and won Match Hero on her debut at Lord’s.
24 – The number of runs that rookie Chris Benjamin smashed from 15 balls, taking his Birmingham Phoenix side to victory against London Spirit, in only his fourth first class game.
152 – The number of runs that leading scorer Jemimah Rodrigues has smashed in the competition so far. She’s also the current leader of the favourite player vote in The Hundred app.
Sanjay Patel, Managing Director, The Hundred, said: “The opening week of The Hundred has seen world class cricket and millions of fans enjoying the action live at games, from home or online. To see over 8 million people tuning in and so many families and children going to games so far shows how the competition can support cricket in future.
“There’s still a long way to go if The Hundred is to truly achieve its aim of throwing open cricket’s doors. But this is a promising start, thanks to the amazing talents of the men and women we have the privilege of watching on the pitch, as well as those bringing the entertainment off it, and I hope fans continue to be wowed with the show we’re putting on for the rest of the competition.”
Mirza’s horse ‘Seigneur Medicott’ certified as 'sound in health'
(Olympic news)Tokyo, Jul 29 Indian equestrian Fouaad Mirza’s equine partner ‘Seigneur Medicott’ was on Thursday certified as “sound in health” and fulfilling in necessary criteria to begin Tokyo Olympics action on Friday.
The judging committee cleared Mirza's horse for the eventing event which is scheduled between Friday and Monday.
“Seigneur Medicott was certified as sound in health and has fulfilled the necessary criteria as per the judging committee," said a statement issued by the Embassy Group, which is backing Mirza.
"With the completion of the horse inspection round, Mirza and ‘Seigneur Medicott’ will be participating in the upcoming events scheduled between July 30 and August 2.” The inspection round is conducted before any equestrian event by a judging committee to ensure that the horse is fit to participate in upcoming competitions.
Horses are presented for inspection to the judges who then walk with the equine to make sure it is not lame and has no injuries. If any injuries exist, the horse is eliminated from participating in future competitions.
In cases of doubt, the horse is sent to a holding box for further inspection and called to examine further.
Earlier, barely days before the Tokyo Olympics, Mirza had decided to change his horse, preferring to go with Seigneur Medicott, which helped him win two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games, as his equine partner.
Mirza had first announced that he would take his horse 'Dajara 4' to the Tokyo Games but later changed his decision.
Spain still eyeing a quarterfinal berth at the Tokyo Olympics
(Hockey news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: An Oceania derby match triumph over New Zealand guaranteed the Aussies a top two finish in Men’s Pool A, while victory for Spain’s men over host nation Japan has kept their hopes alive of reaching the quarter-final stages of the Tokyo 2020 Hockey competition. In Women’s Pool B, Australia and Argentina both earned crucial wins to strengthen their respective positions within the standings.
Women’s Pool B
Japan 0-1 Australia
Australia’s Hockeyroos made it a hat trick of victories and opened up a three-point lead at the top of Pool B, battling to a narrow victory over hosts Japan to all but confirm a berth in the competition quarter-finals. The result leaves Japan still searching for their first points of the competition, currently three points adrift of the quarter-final qualification places with two rounds of matches remaining.
Japan was arguably the better team in the first two periods, but Australia who have scored ten and conceded just once in their three matches played so far in Tokyo had the best chance when a deliberate foul led to a penalty stroke. However, Kaitlin Nobbs’s flick towards the bottom right corner was blocked by Japan’s impressive goalkeeper Sakiyo Asano, leaving the two teams level at the break. Madison Fitzpatrick scored what proved to be the winning goal three minutes into the third quarter, sending a low penalty corner flick from the left of the circle into the bottom right corner of the Japanese net. Japan tried to fight back in the final stages of the match but could not get the breakthrough that they were so desperately searching for.
"Our focus was that the Japanese were going to come out, without a win yet, and they were just going to come out and throw everything at us”, said Australia’s Edwina Bone. “We were going to be in for a bit of a scrappy fight of a game, which I think it turned out to be. But at the end of the day we still got the result, so I'm pretty proud of how the girls kind of ground it out."
Argentina 3-2 China
Agustina Gorzelany scored twice that helped Las Leonas move up to third in the Pool B standings as her team claimed a 3-2 win against China, who finished the day just outside those all important top four qualification positions. Argentina finished the day in third position with two rounds of matches left to play.
Following a goalless first quarter, Gorzelany scored two goals in six second quarter minutes with expertly placed penalty corner drag-flicks. Argentina’s two goal advantage remained in place until eight minutes from full time when Li Hong halved her team’s deficit from a penalty corner, with Julieta Jankunas moving Argentina into a 3-1 lead just two minutes later. Liu Meng’s penalty corner four minutes from time set up a tense finish, but it was not enough to stop Argentina from claiming all three points.
Spain gave their chances of securing a place in the quarter-finals a real boost with a 4-1 win over hosts Japan, a result which moved the Red Sticks for the time being, at least into the qualification positions. Japan’s hopes of qualifying look all but over, with the Samurais needing a big win against the Indians in their final pool match to have any chance of progressing.
A poor tackle on the ever lively Kenta Tanaka saw Japan awarded a penalty stroke within two minutes of the start, with Hirotaka Zendana firing home from the spot. Spain levelled almost immediately thanks to Xavi Lleonart’s penalty corner, with the Red Sticks taking over in the second quarter courtesy of a brilliant Pau Quemada penalty corner drag-flick and a deflected strike from David Alegre. Japan worked incredibly hard to find a breakthrough, but Spain were in no mood to let the three points slip through their grasp, with Lleonart completing the match scoring with a penalty stroke five minutes from the end of the contest.
Despite the disappointing scoreline, it was a day to remember for Japan’s Masaki Ohashi and outstanding goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa, with both athletes earning their 100th international caps this evening.
Australia 4-2 New Zealand
The men’s Oceania derby match was won by pool A leaders Australia, defeating New Zealand 4-2 to make it four wins from as many matches to guarantee a top two finish in Pool A. The Kookaburras are six points clear of second placed India, who have a game in hand over the Australians. Despite defeat, New Zealand remain very much in the hunt for a quarter-final berth.
Australia, who have been in irresistible form here in Tokyo, took the lead in the ninth minute courtesy of a classy field goal from the excellent Tim Brand. It was an advantage that they could hold just four minutes, with Kane Russell tying the scores with a penalty corner. The match remained locked at 1-1 throughout the second and third quarters, but three Australian goals in seven fourth quarter minutes changed the whole story, with Brand, Blake Govers and Wickham sealing the win before New Zealand’s Russell completed the scoring with his second of the match. The match was certainly special for Australia’s Jeremy Hayward and New Zealand goalkeeper Leon Hayward, with the brothers facing each other on the world’s greatest sporting stage at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Commenting on the situation, Leon Hayward said: “It's ridiculous isn't it? It's a good feeling. It's a strange feeling and I guess everyone's really proud of what's happened but unfortunately I didn't win today so I'm not the happiest guy."
Uninspiring India face must-win situation against Ireland to keep Olympic campaign alive
(Hockey news) Tokyo, Jul 29 Staring at an early exit after three consecutive losses, the Indian women's hockey team can't settle for anything less than a victory against Ireland in its penultimate pool match here on Friday to keep its quarterfinal hopes alive in the Olympic Games.
But after three morale-shattering defeats, it would be a Herculean task for the Indians to lift their confidence and outplay a higher ranked side like world no.7 Ireland.
India are currently placed fifth in the six-team Pool A, just below Ireland who have registered just one win and two losses from their three games.
India and South Africa are yet to open their accounts. The top four teams from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage.
The road ahead is tough for India as they would need to win both their remaining two games -- against Ireland and South Africa (on Saturday) -- and improve their goal difference to be on the safe side.
They would also need favourable results from other games and hope for a Great Britain victory over Ireland on Saturday.
But these equations will come into picture only if India can beat Ireland on Friday.
So, it would be a do-or-die match for the Sjoerd Marijne-coached team and he would desperately hope for a better showing from his players against Ireland.
India, who are featuring in consecutive Olympics in women's hockey, finished a lowly 12th in the Rio Games and another heartbreak here won't do any good for the sport in the country.
In their first three games, India lost 1-5 to world no.1 Netherlands, 0-2 to Germany before suffering a 1-4 defeat at the hands of defending champions Great Britain.
It was not as if India didn't create any chances in all the three games but the mis-firing forward-line disappointed the team.
India committed elementary errors in all departments of the game, with midfield and defence being as guilt.
A livid Marijne described the 1-4 loss to Great Britain as his side's "worst match" of the Games and lambasted the players for failing to raise their game in the crucial match.
"This was our worst match. We always try to play for a six (out of 10) for each individual, and I don't think each individual today played for a six. Bad decisions, bad choices and I'm pretty disappointed by this," the Dutchman had said.
"...but the individual performances just weren't good enough. I can keep analysing what went wrong tactically, but it starts with every individual reaching their level." But Marijne insisted that all is not lost as they still have a chance of progressing to the knockout round.
"We still have chances. There are still six points to get and that can be enough for the quarters. That's what we're all about, that's our goal and that's what I said to the girls," the coach said.
But it would be easier said than done as the faltering Indian defence will need to keep the trio of Elena Tice, captain Kathryn Mullan and Hannah McLoughlin in check.
Though ranked below Ireland, world no.11 India can beat Ireland and have beaten them in the past as well.
In February 2019, India defeated Ireland 3-0 and drew 1-1 against the same opponents in a two-match series during a tour of Spain.