International Weightlifting Federation confirms Mirabai Chanu's Tokyo Olympics qualification
New Delhi, Jun 12 The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on Saturday conformed that star Indian lifter Mirabai Chanu has qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in the women's 49kg category.
Chanu, the 2017 world champion in weightlifting, had secured her place in Tokyo by winning a bronze medal in the Asian Championship in Tashkent in April with a world record in clean and jerk.
The 26-year-old from Manipur has qualified on the basis of her standings on IWF's Absolute Ranking list. The Indian lifter is ranked second in the 49kg category with 4133,6172 points in her kitty.
"Many congratulations to #TOPSAthlete weightlifter @mirabai_chanu who has qualified for #Tokyo2020 after @iwfnet published its Absolute Ranking list where she is placed 2nd in the women’s 49 kg," Sports Authority of India (SAI) tweeted.
Chanu was earlier ranked fourth but North Korea's withdrawal from the Olympics lifted the Indian to the second place.
This will be Chanu's second appearance in the Olympics, five years after a disappointing outing in Rio, where she failed to lift any of the weights in clean and jerk to bow out of the showpiece.
In the men's 67 kg category, India's Jeremy Lalrinnunga is ranked 12th and lost the continental quota to Korea's Hak Myeongmok, but the 18-year-old still has a chance to qualify.
The final list will be released on June 25.
China's Hou Zhihui is top-ranked in 49kg with 4926,4422 points.
As per IWF rules, the top eight lifters in each of the 14 weight categories, including seven in the women's group, are eligible to compete in the Games. New source PTI
Naushad Moosa inks new three-year deal with Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru, Jun 12 Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC on Saturday announced that Naushad Moosa has penned a fresh three-year deal as assistant coach that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2023-24 season.
Moosa, an AFC Pro-Licensed coach who has been at the helm of the Blues' Youth Development Programme along with being part of the coaching staff with the senior team, will be working alongside chief coach Marco Pezzaiuoli.
"In the time I have spent here, we have seen many young players come through the ranks, and in the last year especially, many of them have knocked on the doors of the senior team.
"I am looking forward to now seeing them cement their place, and hopefully represent the national team as well," said Moosa, who joined Bengaluru FC in 2017.
"Last season I had the opportunity of leading the senior team as interim head coach and I don't think I've learned as much in five years as I have in those five months.
"I've also spent the last few months working very closely with Marco and it has been an education that I am looking to further build upon with this role," he added.
A former footballer himself, Moosa has turned out for Air India, Churchill Brothers, East Bengal FC, Mahindra United and Mohammed Sporting in a career that spanned over 12 years.
As head coach of the Bengaluru FC reserve team, he guided the Blue Colts to back-to-back BDFA Super Division League title wins in 2019 and 2020.
The 49-year-old said he was also eager to continue the good work of the club's youth development programme.
"At Bengaluru FC, we have a systematic player pathway and a winning mentality across our teams. This is something that drew me to the club when I joined, and one of the biggest factors in my decision to extend my stay.
"I want to see our youth teams do well, and for as many players as possible to climb the ladder and help the senior team achieve its goals," Moosa added.
Moosa, who took charge of the Blues on an interim basis during the 2020-21 ISL campaign, worked alongside Pezzaiuoli during the club's most recent AFC Cup qualifying campaign.
"We've all been able to see Moosa's growth as a coach in the four years that he's been here. We have achieved a lot that we set out to initially, in terms of player development and progression.
"A lot of our players are graduating into the first team, and it was an easy decision for us to hand him this extension," said club CEO Mandar Tamhane.
"We believe in Moosa's capabilities, and while player development is paramount to us, we also want to ensure that our coaches are given adequate opportunities.
"We are positive that he can develop into one of the best Indian coaches and in the brief spell that he has worked alongside Marco, we have been really impressed with their relationship and handling of the players," he added. New source PTI
England cricket squad announced for IT20 series against Sri Lank
Chris Silverwood, the England Men’s Head Coach has picked a 16-member squad for The Vitality IT20 Series against Sri Lanka commencing from Wednesday, 23 June 2021 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
England IT20 Squad
Eoin Morgan (Captain)
All-rounder Chris Woakes received a call up in the squad for the first time since 2015. His last international game in this format was against Pakistan in November 2015, while seamer David Willey last competed at this stage in May 2019 .
Spinner Liam Dawson, who last represented England in an IT20 in February 2018 in New Zealand, is one of three specialist spinners picked.
Players like all-rounder Ben Stokes (fractured finger), seamer Jofra Archer (right elbow) and Surrey’s Reece Topley (side strain) were not considered for selection due to their current injuries.
England Men’s Head Coach, Chris Silverwood, said: “With the T20 World Cup only a few months away, this summer is about perfecting our team and continue to progress on the field. We want to approach every series with an influx of players aiming to win every match and giving us the best preparation as we get closer to the tournament.
“With several high-profile players missing through injury, it allows me to look at some of our experienced players who have not featured at this level for some time. The likes of Chris Woakes and David Willey are very experienced cricketers, and to have them both in the mix is exciting and shows the depth of squad we have available.
“I want our team to play an attacking form of the game. I hope we can continue to excite the England fans with our approach.”
The Vitality IT20 Series
1st IT20: England v Sri Lanka, Wednesday 23 June 2021, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (6.30pm BST)
2nd IT20: England v Sri Lanka, Thursday 24 June 2021, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (6.30pm BST)
3rd IT20: England v Sri Lanka, Saturday 26 June 2021, Ageas Bowl, Southampton (2.30pm BST)
Bangladesh cricketer Shakib Al Hasan banned for 4 games of Dhaka Premier League: Reports
Dhaka, Jun 12 Star Bangladesh cricketer Shakib Al Hasan has been let off lightly with a four-match suspension from Dhaka T20 Premier League, following his on-field meltdown during a match between Mohammedan Sporting and Abahani Limited.
According to leading Bangladesh cricket portal 'BDCrictime', "Mohammedan Sporting Club captain Shakib Al Hasan has been banned for four matches due to his arrogant behaviour in the Dhaka Premier League. He will not be able to play the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh round matches of the DPL." While his team Mohammedan won the match easily by DLS method, Shakib lost his cool twice during the game -- once when he kicked the stumps after a strong leg-before appeal against his Bangladesh teammate Mushfiqur Rahim and secondly when umpires called for covers with one ball left to complete a minimum of six overs of the Abahani innings which would be required for a result. This time, he rushed from mid-off and uprooted the stumps.
The match did start and Shakib's team won easily but he aso misbehaved with rival team officials and former Bangladesh captain Khaled Mahmud Sujon.
Later Shakib tendered an unconditional apology on his official facebook page, but his act of trying to damage match property is as good as Level III offence.
The portal also reported that the decision was taken by Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) chaired by Kazi Imam.
Shakib's boorish behaviour went viral as video footage of him uprooting the stumps has since then been shared more than million times from various social media handles.
Shakib is Bangladesh's most prolific international cricketer with more than 10,000 international runs across formats along with nearly 600 wickets.
He has already been banned for one year after failing to report a corrupt approach during an earlier edition of Indian Premier League. New source PTI
Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri makes cut despite string of bogeys at Palmetto
Ridgeland (US), Jun 12 Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri managed to make the cut despite carding a disappointing 2-over 73 in the second round of the Palmetto Championship here.
Lahiri, who shot 69 in the opening round, had three bogeys in the last four holes on day two to total an even par 142 and make the cut, which fell at 1-over.
The Indian, who was tied-31st after the first round, dropped to tied-44th.
Lahiri despite his erratic form has missed more cuts than he deserves to, but this time around, he would heaved a sigh of relief after being inside Top-20 at one point.
He had a roller-coaster day with four birdies against six bogeys. Starting from the 10th tee, Lahiri bogeyed 13th and 14th but recovered from that with three birdies in a row immediately after that from 15th to 17th.
Taking the turn at 1-under, he again dropped a shot on 10th but made up on third. Then came a string of bogeys on sixth, eighth and ninth. He did have a fine run of three birdies, but otherwise his iron play and approaches left him with a lot of work to do to make pars and he often missed them from between 10-15 feet.
Chesson Hadley shot 5-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead over World No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Hadley was at 11-under 131, his lowest total through 36 holes since 2016.
Brooks Koepka struggled for a second straight round and missed the cut after a 73 left him at 3 over.
Johnson, five shots behind Hadley, was tied for the lead through 17 holes, but then drove the ball into a thick, deeply rooted patch of tall grass and after taking an unplayable lie he ended with a double-bogey for a 68 and is 9-under 133.
American Tain Lee, in just his third career PGA TOUR event, was third at 7 under after a 68.
A group of six that included Harris English and South Africa's Erik van Rooyen were five shots behind at 6 under. First-round leader Wes Roach followed his opening 64 with a 77 to fall 10 shots behind Hadley. New source PTI
Veteran England cricketer Stuart Broad wants ICC to do away with soft signal rule
Birmingham, Jun 12 Veteran England pacer Stuart Broad wants the ICC to scrap the soft signal rule as he feels the system is not up to the mark and unnecessarily puts match officials in a "tricky position".
Broad aired his views following a controversial decision involving New Zealand batsman Devon Conway on the second day of the second Test here on Friday.
Broad felt Conway was lucky not to have been dismissed on 22, after being caught at slip by Zak Crawley. But the on-field umpires referred the decision to the TV umpire, Michael Gough, with a soft signal of not out.
Equally uncertain, Gough went with the on-field umpires' decision despite TV replays showing Crawley had his fingers under the ball. Conway cashed in on the chance and made 80, guiding New Zealand to a strong position.
"You can see from our reaction on the field that we thought it was out," Broad told Sky Sports before the third day's play on Saturday.
"Zak thought he had his fingers under the ball and you only have to look at Joe Root's reaction at first slip and James Bracey's reaction behind the stumps -- who are a yard away from it -- to know that that ball has carried.
"But I feel for the umpires in this situation. It's not the umpires' fault that they're 40 yards away - potentially 60 yards in white-ball cricket - with maybe an obscured view.
"It's actually the ruling that's putting the umpires in a really difficult situation. It's having to get a soft signal. You're going upstairs because you're not sure whether it's carried or not.
"So then to have to give an opinion whether you think it has, puts the umpire in a really tricky position. Then the third umpire's hands are tied a little bit with whatever that on-field call is," he added.
Broad has called on the ICC to look into the matter and take corrective steps.
"So, my question is: do you think that the ICC need to look at changing that rule because it just seems to put their staff in a tricky position?" Asked if he wants the rule to be changed, Broad replied: "I do, absolutely. When you calmly look at the pros and cons of the soft signal, the cons completely outweigh the pros. So to me that looks as if it's a poor ruling." "I don't really see the point of waiting for another ICC meeting in September or wherever it comes to discuss what's going on in the game. Surely the umpires are now in a position where they get unfairly criticised for a decision that they're not sure about because they want to go and use the technology.
"Let's just do away with it now. The ICC should just come out and say 'the soft signal is gone'. If the umpires are unsure, let's go through the amazing technology we've got and get the right decision," he added.
The ICC introduced the soft signal to counter the dangers of foreshortening from TV cameras, which are placed high above the action and unable to illustrate the action in 3D.
Broad isn't the first player to question the ruling.
Former West Indies captain Jason Holder is also not in favour of the soft signal rule.
"How much longer will the soft signal cloud the game?" he tweeted. New source PTI
When I am sad, I watch Messi's videos and it makes me happy: Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri
Doha, Jun 12 Lionel Messi's mesmerizing runs on a football pitch can make a sad Sunil Chhetri happy, the talismanic India captain said on Saturday, and made it clear that comparing him with the Argentine virtuoso is akin to living in a "stupid cocoon".
The 36-year-old Chhetri has more than once brushed aside any comparison with Messi whom he has overtaken to be the second highest international goal-scorer among active players.
"When I am sad, I watch Messi's videos and it makes me happy, so when I meet him, I will tell him I am a fan (of him), give him a nice handshake, and that is about it," Chhetri said in an AIFF interview to mark his 16 years of international career.
"I would say 'Hi, I am Sunil Chhetri and I am a big fan'. I will not trouble him. If I meet him, I will be happy, if I don't, I am still good," he said when asked what he would do if he meets Messi.
Chhetri overtook Messi (72 goals) with his second goal -- and 74th overall -- in India's 2-0 win over Bangladesh in a World Cup qualifying round match on June 7 here.
"Along with everyone else in the world, I am also a huge fan of Messi. There is no comparison whatsoever. I am just happy that I get an opportunity to score for my country and I feel proud.
"(But) I don't get into the stupid cocoon of comparing myself with all those great players. There are thousands of players who are better than me, and all of them are also fans of Lionel Messi. That’s the gap." It was on this day 16 years ago that Chhetri donned the India jersey for the first time, in a match against Pakistan in Quetta under then head coach Sukhwinder Singh.
Since then, he has gone on to play 117 matches for India, scoring 74 goals -- the second-most for an active international player. He is just three goals shy of the great Pele's tally.
"It has been a wonderful and amazing journey. To play for the number of years for the national team, to represent the country the number of times I have, it's been outstanding. It is beyond a dream." When Chhetri came to the scene in the national team, there were stalwarts like Bhaichung Bhutia, Renedy Singh and Mahesh Gawli. Now, at 36, he is the senior-most player and he sometimes feels lonely among the "kids".
"... (it feels like) just yesterday, that these two kids came in - Sandesh (Jhingan) and Gurpreet (Singh). And now those two are the main players here, that’s how time flies.
"There are so many kids who are now calling them 'Sandesh bhai', 'Gurpreet bhai'. The gap is huge now. I don't have anyone even close to my age or era.
"But it's good to be around kids. They teach me a lot of stuff with their excitement and fearlessness. I try to grasp whatever I can from this lot." Chhetri still takes advice from former captain Bhutia who has a huge influence on him.
"Just two days back, I was having a chat with Bhaichung da. I was telling him how I miss the old camp, purely because now I don't hang out with anyone. I'm in my room only.
"I learnt a lot from him. He was relentless in the way he approached a game. His mentality was bulletproof. He was at it, every game. The first challenge, the first tackle was always Bhaichung da.
"The one to fight for lost causes was always Bhaichung da. And when as a senior you saw that our captain, the most senior guy was working so hard, it rubbed on us. There's nobody better than Bhaichung da." Chhetri said his competitive spirit came mostly from his mother, a former Nepal international footballer, who would play with him many indoor and outdoor games during his childhood.
"I remember I always wanted to beat my mum, but till the time I was 13, I could not beat her. And she never wanted to lose either. I think the fact that I don't like losing, a big part of that comes from my mum.
"One day, I was complaining that I had nobody to play with, and my mum came to play with me in the heat of Delhi summer. There would be loo blowing outside. For the whole 10-15 days of summer vacation, I used to play foot tennis with my mum, and that was amazing." New source PTI
Five best sports movies you should stream right now!
We all love sports movies. The thrill, action packed drama, songs that make you feel super motivated, rags to riches stories, they have it all. Sports documentaries and movies give rare, behind the scene access to the journey, hard work, dedication, obstacles and what really goes behind making an athlete or a team successful. Even if you’re not a sports enthusiast, there are valuable lessons of teamwork, dedication, passion and following your dreams that can be applied to any aspect of life.
We’re sharing our pick of our top five sports movies that you can watch while you’re at home during this never ending lockdown.
All or Nothing
While not a ‘movie’ but a brand of sports documentary series, the All or Nothing series on Amazon Prime is a must watch. It provides exclusive, behind the scene access to some of the biggest teams in the world of sports such as Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, New Zealand national rugby union team, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. They will also be featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs in the upcoming season. The All or Nothing series is a complete sports treat for your visual entertainment with in depth insights of sports teams which are expertly edited with brilliant soundtracks. We cannot recommend this enough!
Produced and directed by Bennet Miller, Foxcatcher is an American biographical sports drama loosely based on the events surrounding multimillionaire wrestling enthusiast John du Pont when he recruited two 1984 U.S Olympic gold medallists Mark and David Schultz for various wrestling championships. Despite its slow narrative, the movie is undeniably gripping and is one of the best sports drama’s you can watch on Amazon Prime.
Inside Borussia Dortmund
This behind the scenes series 4 part docu-series takes you up close and personal with the everyday life at Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. Explore how one of the biggest Bundesliga clubs prepares to compete for the highest honours in Europe, groom some of the most exciting football prospects in the world, locker room drama and the personal lives of the players. A must watch for football fans!
Released in 2011, Moneyball is an American sports drama film by Bennet Miller. It is based on Oakland Athletics baseball team and general manager Billy Beane’s attempt to create a competitive team with a limited budget. Peter Brand, a Yale economics graduate with radical ideas of player valuation joins Beane as assistant general manager and acquires undervalued players despite the resistance from the scouts. The movie then goes on to depict how the Athletics become a winning team for a record 20 consecutive times. This utterly engrossing baseball film is a must watch for all sports lovers.
This entertaining blockbuster is a classic, collaborating two unlikely superstars in Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. Directed by Joe Pytka, the movie provides a fictional account of the events that took place between Jordan’s retirement in 1993 and his comeback in 1995. The Looney Tunes kidnap Jordan to help them win a basketball match against a group of aliens looking to enslave them as theme park attractions. The movie grossed over $250 million worldwide and is the highest grossing basketball film to date. If you’ve not seen it already, what are you waiting for?
Real Kashmir FC coach David Alexander Robertson honoured with British Empire Medal for his football work in valley
New Delhi, Jun 12 David Alexander Robertson, coach of Kashmir's famous football club Real Kashmir FC, has been honoured with British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community in the valley and strengthening UK-India relations, a feat he dedicated to the people of Kashmir and the team he has been engaged with.
According to the list released on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's birthday on Friday evening, "Manager, Real Kashmir Football Club, India, receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Kashmir and UK-India relations." The awards were announced on Saturday by the British government to mark the monarch's official birthday.
The 52-year-old Robertson, who has been coach of Real Kashmir Football Club, has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to the local community.
"The award recognises Mr Robertson's outstanding contribution to the sport and the community as head coach of RKFC since January 2017. This included guiding the football team into the I-League – the first time the team has competed at this level," the official list read.
"The last season of the I-League saw RKFC attain the highest number of home ground match attendees, averaging 25,000 people per match." Robertson said he was "absolutely delighted" and honoured to have been recognised and awarded this honour for his work in Kashmir.
"I have enjoyed every minute spent in Kashmir. It has been a real pleasure to have worked and met so many wonderful people. I think of Kashmir as my second home," he said.
The BEM is a British and Commonwealth award for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.
When contacted, Robertson told PTI from his home in Scotland that it has been an amazing journey of almost five years of working with the people of Kashmir and the club.
"I remember the initial days when barely a few dozen turned up for a match of RKFC to a crowd watching from even trees and nearby building tops and cheering the team," Robertson said.
"I dedicate this to my club especially my owner Sandeep Chattoo and people of Kashmir." The story of RKFC is all about determination to achieve the best in football and win millions of hearts across the globe, he said.
Talking about his owner, David said Chattoo is unlike other club owners and added, "He treats everyone in the club as his own family member. This definitely makes a difference." "I thank him for all the support extended to the club because his aim is to win hearts of the people in the Valley through the game of football." Chattoo congratulated Robertson for being awarded the medal by the British government and said this would help in further boosting the morale of people as well as the team.
"David Robertson has been associated with the team since 2017 and once I made it clear to him about my dreams of RKFC, there was no looking back.
"A minute observer of the game, he used to mark every move of his team and later tell the players about the shortcoming irrespective of whether we won or lost," Chattoo told PTI from Srinagar.
He said the last season was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic and hoped that the forthcoming one would bring the game back to the home crowd.
The club, which came into existence in 2016, shot to limelight by winning the second division I-league in May 2018. They stood third in the main I-league in their maiden season.
Popularly known as 'Snow leopards', the team won last year's IFA Shield tournament, the club's first major victory since its inception.
The club has received attention the world over and BBC Scotland made a documentary named "Return to Real Kashmir FC" that followed the team and their Scottish manager Robertson.
The documentary won the 'Single Documentary' category award at the British Academy Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). New source PTI
World Test Championship Final: I will be looking forward to Boult vs Rohit contest, says former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag
New Delhi, Jun 12 Opener Rohit Sharma countering Trent Boult's incoming deliveries will make for a fascinating contest, something that Virender Sehwag will be looking forward to during the World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, starting in Southampton on June 18.
Sehwag, who redefined the art of opening batting in Test cricket, feels that Rohit's qualities and recent form at the top of the order certainly makes him a candidate to succeed during the six Test matches in England this summer.
"No doubt Trent Boult-Tim Southee combination will pose a lot of challenge for Indians. They can move the ball both ways and are brilliant while bowling in partnerships also," Sehwag told PTI during an interview.
"Boult vs Rohit Sharma will be a contest that I would be looking forward to. If Rohit gets set and see off Boult's opening spell, it will be a treat to watch," feels one of India's greatest match winners in the longer format.
While this would be Rohit's first shot at opening in English conditions, the experience of playing Tests in 2014 will certainly help him.
"Rohit is a fantastic batsman and he has played Test cricket in England earlier also (2014) so I think he can manage well as we have seen in recent times when he has opened the batting. I have no doubt that he will score runs in England this time.
"Obviously, as it is for any opener, he would have to be careful for the first 10 overs and see off that new ball to understand the conditions first. I am sure he will get a chance to show his range of strokes," said the man, who has scored more than 8000 Test runs.
If there is one player apart from Rohit, who can be as maverick as Sehwag was during his glory days, it is Rishabh Pant, who is going through a purple patch in his international career.
Sehwag wants Pant to bat the way he knows and not get bogged down by too much analysis and dissection about technique and temperament needed to be successful in England.
"Rishabh Pant knows his batting better than anybody else and he should focus on what he can do best for the team rather than get worried about what ex-cricketers, commentators and media is saying," Sehwag said about the keeper, who has already scored a hundred in English conditions during the tour of 2018.
"The focus for Rishabh should be one one ball at a time. If the ball is there to be hit, he should hit it. I don't think he needs to change approach as he has got success with the same approach and Test matches are different ball game.
"Of late, he has understood his role in the team and he is a very critical player for India in Test matches coming in at No 6. If he gets set and starts scoring runs, he can change the game in a session and we have all seen that." Once and for all, Sehwag also wants to put at rest the debate around Cheteshwar Pujara's "strike-rate" and "intent".
"In Test cricket, I don't think strike-rate has ever mattered. When I played Test cricket for India, after me there was a Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman coming into bat. All of whom played with a Test strike rate of 50s mostly which was perfectly fine," Sehwag said.
"The most important aspect will be to bat well and for that you need to stay and build an innings. I am happy as long as Pujara is scoring important runs for the team. Till he scores runs at whatever strike rate it is, I am okay with it," he said.
Sehwag also believes that rather than going in with four pacers, India should go with two spinners in their five-man bowling line-up as it would also strengthen their lower middle-order batting.
"I don't how the wicket would look like on June 18th but one thing I have always believed is that you need to play to your strengths. If India can play with five specialist bowlers that will be great thing because I still believe that two spinners will come into effect on fourth and fifth day.
"Two spinners will be good for India because both Ashwin and Jadeja are capable all-rounders. That also adds depth to your batting. You don't need a sixth batsman with both of them around." Mindset is very important in modern day game, especially for the younger players, feels Sehwag, who is now part of a website 'Cricuru' where more than 30 past and present international cricketers speak about how to deal with situations.
It includes Sehwag himself, Chris Gayle, Jonty Rhodes, Muttiah Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh, Jemimah Rodrigues to name a few.
"The mental toughness questions are very relevant in today's day and age and more than 30 top players have addressed those queries and shared their knowledge and experience.
"I remember talking to Chris Gayle when he first came to the Windies team and didn't score runs. He couldn't sleep for a couple of days and he made sure whenever he gets chance he wont let it go," Sehwag signed off. New source PTI
Staying calm in crunch situations will be key in Olympics: Hockey player Navneet Kaur
Bengaluru, Jun 12 Indian women hockey players have all the skills to compete against the world's best but they will need to stay calm and take the right decisions in crunch situations to be able to do well during the upcoming Olympics, feels forward Navneet Kaur.
Kaur, who has played 79 matches for India, said the team should try to cut down on the errors during the Tokyo Olympics which opens on July 23.
"We all have the skills and talent to take on the best in the world. However, making key decisions on the pitch is a crucial factor for any side. Therefore, it will be very important for us to stay calm during crunch situations," she said.
"Even one wrong pass could hurt us deeply, therefore, we have to ensure that we are thinking clearly and not making too many unforced errors on the pitch during the Olympics," said Kaur.
The 25-year-old said the Indian team management is ensuring that all players are clear about their roles on the pitch.
"There should be no confusion amongst the players on game day. The coaches and captain have been ensuring that everyone knows about their roles and how they can execute their plans so that we coordinate well on the pitch during matches.
"The Olympics is going to be a big challenge for us, and we have to play at our absolute best to garner good results," said the forward in a release.
Talking about the Indian team's training sessions, Kaur said, "We are having high-intensity training at the moment. We try to simulate match situations during practice and give everything we have during training sessions.
"We are very confident about our abilities and it's just about executing our plans properly on game day. If we play to our potential, we will surely do very well in Tokyo." New source PTI
New Zealand cricketer Trent Boult hopes playing Edgbaston Test will put him in 'good stead' for World Test Championship final against India
Birmingham, Jun 12 Initially not expecting to feature in the ongoing second Test against England, New Zealand pacer Trent Boult is hopeful that achieving game fitness rather than bowling in the nets will put him in "good stead" in the upcoming World Test Championship final against India.
Boult, who missed out on the first Test against England as he opted to spend time with his family after the suspension of the IPL in May, was also set to sit out the second match as well.
However, the pace spearhead was out of quarantine sooner than expected as UK relaxed its quarantine rules.
"Initially I wasn't expecting to play this game but everything fell into line, and I gave myself that chance to get out there and I think I'll definitely be better off for that head out," Boult was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"It's one thing loading and getting through numbers in the nets but to simulate that kind of game fitness and having to come back three, four or five times in a day … there's no real other way to do that. So I'm hoping it puts me in good stead (for the WTC final)." The inaugural WTC final between Indian and New Zealand is scheduled to be held in Southampton from June 18-22.
"The toes are a bit sore but that's what happens when you ram into the shoes for 30 overs. I'm excited about what lies ahead next week in Southampton but equally excited with the opportunity here over the next couple of days," Boult said.
The first Test between the Blackcaps and hosts England ended in a draw and New Zealand made six changes for the second match which began on Thursday.
"What worked really well was the travel went well and I managed to get out of isolation in the UK quicker than was expected.
"As you can imagine, I was very excited with the prospect of playing the second Test. I felt like I gave myself the best chance with preparing with that week back at home and then getting straight into it here.
"Hopefully, we can get the job done and win a very important series." New Zealand have plenty of bowling options ahead of the marquee Test next week with pacers Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry performing well in ongoing series but Boult feels some "hard calls" are on the cards.
"Healthy competition," Boult said about their pace-bowling options for the WTC final.
"The boys are very excited about the prospect, but they've put in a lot of hard yards not just over the last couple of weeks but over a couple of years of a Test Championship cycle.
"Some hard calls will have to be made but the big picture is the collective goal of lifting the world title," he added. New source PTI
London: The innovative off-road racing series Extreme E on Friday confirmed that it is actively looking for alternate locations for the last two races in Season 1 due to the current COVID-19 situation in South America.
Extreme E was due to stage its Amazon X Prix at Pará in Brazil during October 23-24, before moving further south in Patagonia, Argentina to hold the Glacier X Prix on December 11-12. However after assessing the global situation with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision has been made to postpone touring the region until Season 2.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We’ve been closely monitoring the situation regarding all Extreme E locations for 2021 and have chosen to make this preemptive decision on racing in South America this year. As a new series embarking on our opening Season, our priority is to deliver a five-race calendar of events which are safe and responsible for our global participants, partners and staff to travel to and attend.
“This was not a decision made lightly, however current travel advice and restrictions have also meant we have been unable to visit the race areas in advance to undertake the necessary reconnaissance visits, which are especially vital due to the remote nature of our operations.
“We will of course continue to support our important reforestation and agroforestry initiatives which are already well underway in the region thanks to the help of Dr Francisco Olivieira and our partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Brazil. We would also like to thank the local authorities in Brazil and Argentina who have been supportive throughout the whole process and we hope we can return in 2022.”
Alternative racing venues are currently being explored and will be confirmed in due course. Options include the possibility of the Western Isles, Scotland before Glasgow hosting COP26 in November.
The series has already concluded two of its five X Prixs in its maiden season – the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia and Ocean X Prix in Senegal – and is now preparing for its Arctic X Prix, to be held in Greenland at the end of August.
Extreme E, through each of its X Prix event uses its sporting platform to underline a different environmental issue our planet is facing, alongwith raising awareness about these problems and highlighting solutions leaving a long-lasting positive effect in its race locations through its Legacy Programmes.
How a Volleyball league is giving Assamese youth a chance at sporting glory
The beauty about sports is that it has the power to unite people and work collectively for a single cause. It gives people a platform to showcase their talent irrespective of factors that plague our societies in a merit based industry. The Brahmaputra Volleyball League (BVL) in Assam is playing a big role in giving a sense of purpose to the youth in the remotest corners of the state. It all began in September 2019, when former volleyball players started the Assam Volleyball 100 and little did they know that spark would light a fire.
The league not only showcased the sporting talent of the state, but also the hospitality of the villages. With a home and away format, children under the age of 16 play a minimum of 6 matches divided equally at home and away. Not only do the youth get an opportunity to broaden their horizons by visiting other villages, the host village prepares food for the two teams who eat together. Each group features 12 matches with the top team from each group qualifying for the 2nd round where the fixture is held at a neutral venue. The four best teams in the boys and girls category go on to play in the Super League.
The Brahmaputra Volleyball League (BVL) is the brainchild of Abhijit Bhattacharya, but the credit for its success is not only down to him. The initiative is a collective effort by a number of people, right from the parents of the players, village elders, ONGC to generous friends, who have all played an important role in making this league a reality. The sport didn’t just reach the players, but the coaches as well, when a three week training programme was organized to upgrade the skills of the coaches associated with teams of the BVL.
For a league organized with no budget, the challenges were plenty. The COVID-19 pandemic wrecked havoc on the league’s plans just when it was getting momentum. Engaging children by teaching volleyball online was easier said than done due to poor internet connectivity. With a league format already set in stone, another major blow was when the Jagiroad team pulled out because of internal problems. Arranging kits for the village teams was an uphill task, as the kit manufacturer from Jalandhar pulled out 10 days before the inaugural match because of transportation problems due to farmers agitation. This led to a last minute scramble for another distributor who managed to fulfill his end of the bargain.
While a few teams could manage the transportation costs for the away fixtures, many could not. Soon enough, word spread around that the Brahmaputra Volleyball League was looking for sponsors who would be interested in covering the kit, uniform and travel costs of the team. Notable names from the sporting community such as former Indian national badminton players Aparna Popat, Krishna Hazarika Rao, former table tennis player Madalasa Hazarika and Arjuna Awardee Monasila Baruah Mehta to name a few agreed to adopt a team by pledging a sum of 15,000 rupees.
As the date of the league’s inauguration drew closer, Dr. Pranab Sandliya, owner of Niz-Pokuwa composed a theme song and Keshab Baruah gave it a tune to bring the song to life. The logo was revealed by none other than Indian athlete Hima Das. Despite all odds, the Brahmaputra Volleyball League became a reality thanks to the collective efforts of innumerable people.
A league of this nature epitomizes what sports is all about. It’s not just a bunch of athletes running around with a winner or loser declared after each game. Just like any sporting achievement, the league became a reality due to the joint efforts of many selfless individuals. Women folk in the villages prepared pitta, coconut ladoo and Assamese traditional dishes for 500 guests at a time, referees officiated games without charging any fees, vegetables were donated, grounds were prepared, tents were installed and it only became a reality thanks to the goodness of many hearts.
Most importantly, Volleyball has breathed new life into some of the remotest areas in Assam. It has given a sense of purpose for its youth where about 90% of them wore a personalized jersey and ventured beyond their village for the first time. Volleyball has won the hearts of not just children but entire communities and will continue to influence the lives of many for years to come.
World's first ever LGBTQ+ cricket match to be played between Graces CC and Unicorns CC in Birmingham
For the first time in cricketing history, Graces CC and Unicorns CC will be contesting in what is believed to be the first match of cricket competed between two wholly inclusive LGBTQ+ cricket clubs.
The two sides will take on each other at Weoley Hill CC in Birmingham this Sunday.
ECB has extended its support to the game with the ECB ACO providing officials for the day alongside Warwickshire County Cricket Club, setting up a coaching session for both the sides.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “It’s really fantastic to see two teams like Graces and Unicorns – teams formed with LGBTQ+ inclusion at their heart – joining together to take part in this historic match.
“We want cricket to be for everyone, we want everyone to feel welcome, and we want to help remove barriers to entry to our sport.
“Teams like Graces and Unicorns, and events like Sunday’s, can play a big role in helping to further welcome LGBTQ+ cricket fans and cricket players alike, and I’m really excited about the game of cricket coming together to break down barriers and become more inclusive.”
Graces CC chairperson Leo Skyner said: “Our club was founded to promote inclusivity in cricket, and we are incredibly excited to be playing the Birmingham Unicorns in the first LGBTQ+ inclusive game of cricket some 25 years on.
“With the match getting such good coverage and support from such a range of partners, we are looking forward to it becoming a stepping-stone towards making the fabulous game of cricket more LGBTQ+ inclusive - for players, supporters, officials and for anyone and everyone who enjoys the game."
Unicorns CC captain Lachlan Smith said: “We are really proud and excited to be able to play in what we think is the first-ever LGBTQ+ inclusive game of cricket anywhere in the world.
“Making cricket as inclusive as possible is important to grow the game and give more people an opportunity to engage in a sport where LGBTQ+ people haven’t always felt at home. This match is a crucial milestone in creating a legacy and providing a foundation to improve LGBTQ+ involvement in cricket.”