Premier League: Manchester United defeat Brentford and close top 4 gap
(Football news) Manchester United closed the gap to two points with fourth placed West Ham after a 3-1 win over Brentford in the Premier League. The result meant that the club won their 300th Premier League away game, becoming the first team to do so with second place Chelsea on 259. Cristiano Ronaldo was reintroduced into the starting XI after recovering from a hip problem while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were on the bench. For Brentford, Jonas Lossl was handed a debut in goal while Sergi Canos, Mathias Jensen and Mads Sorensen also featured in the starting lineup. Thomas Frank opted to drop Shandon Baptiste, Kristoffer Ajer, Alvaro Fernandez and Rico Henry on the bench for one of the biggest matches the Brentford Community Stadium has seen in a very long time.
It was all about luck and David De Gea for Manchester United in the first half as Brentford completely dominated the proceedings but were very unlucky to not score a goal. The hosts also came close to scoring the opener in the 13th minute when Bryan Mbeumo passed to an unmarked Jensen but De Gea was quick to react and saved the ball with his feet. Victor Lindelof was forced to make two blocks in quick succession, denying Vitaly Janelt while Alex Telles stopped Mads Sorensen's shot from resulting in a corner. Christian Norgaard’s effort from Jensen’s pullback hit the crossbar soon after and the stadium grew louder with every attempt at Manchester United’s goal.
Despite having the majority possession, Ralf Rangnick’s team failed to create opportunities with their first attempt coming from Diogo Dalot whose shot from distance failed to hit the target and test goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. It was evident that while Brentford didn’t have as big names as Manchester United, they worked harder and ran 4.5 kms more than the visitors in the first half. It was evident that Rangnick was unhappy with the first half performance and the players responded appropriately with the second half beginning with Ronaldo’s header from Fernandes’ cross grazed the crossbar. The visitors then broke the deadlock when Fred’s cross found Anthony Elanga who found the back of the net with his second touch.
Manchester United almost scored their second goal when Scott McTominay’s long-range effort was parried unconvincingly by Lossl. However, the Red Devils scored their second of the night when Ronaldo chested the ball into Fernandes’ pass who unselfishly passed to Greenwood in front of goal and the 20 year old tapped the ball into the net. With the game quickly slipping away from Brentford, Thomas Frank made three substitutions but Manchester United’s momentum provided them another goal as Fernandes provided the assist for substitute Rashford who scored the third goal for his side and his first since October.
Brentford did manage to score a consolation goal when Fred failed to clear a long throw by Sorensen and Toney capitalized on the opportunity to score from two yards out. Speaking after the match, Thomas Frank said “"It was one of those nights, fair play to David de Gea. We get those chances again, one will go in the back of the net. Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half. We played the Brentford way. It was a miracle they weren't two goals down by half-time. He was by far the best Manchester United player today. Their first goal changed the momentum of the game. Of the three goals, the second is most disappointing and difficult to come back from. The way we smashed them in the first half was fantastic. I'm so proud of my team."
Just one month to go before Extreme E returns for Season 2
(Motorsports news)19 January 2022, London: With the first season of Extreme E just finishing, it is now one month to go until Extreme E’s sport for purpose campaign is back with new faces, a new team, and a new continent to visit, but with the same amount of thrilling wheel-to-wheel on track action being showcased across the toughest terrains on the planet.
Building on the success of its debut year in 2021, Extreme E Season 2 ‘ The Race For the Planet’ promises to captivate on and off track on a another level, whilst delivering on its overall purpose to tackle climate change through sport, starting with the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, 19-20 February.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “Using our sport for purpose platform, Extreme E delivered truly groundbreaking action in its first season, on and off the race course, and now we are ready to go and do it all again, with more experience and more determination than ever.
“As we embark on the second chapter of our story, we are proud to finally welcome Zak Brown and his McLaren team to the party and know they will make a huge impact, which we are all excited to see. We also add a new continent to our journey as we take our voyage to South America, a hugely important home, both for motorsport fans and the climate.
“In all this, however, we cannot lose sight of our overall purpose, that we are all together in a race for the planet. We feel more passionately than ever about the importance of using the platform of sport to raise awareness for climate issues and the solutions we can all be part of, under the great direction of our Scientific Committee, as we as a global community strive to keep temperature rise levels below 1.5°C. This is the race we can, and must win, and we all need to play our part.”
The inaugural Extreme E season was a thriller and went down to the wire, with Rosberg X Racing (RXR) taking the Championship on count back of victories after finishing the campaign tied on points with perennial fastest qualifiers in Season 1, Lewis Hamilton’s X44.
Nico Rosberg, inaugural Extreme E Champions RXR Racing Founder and CEO, said: “Winning the inaugural Extreme E championship was just incredible. But our team is about more than just winning. We’re also here to promote an important message. A key reason we exist is to drive awareness, educate and help tackle climate change and we aim to leave a lasting legacy that drives localized change in each location that Extreme E visits. Last year we were able to achieve some incredible things through this series and that was just the beginning. Looking forward to an exciting new season and hopefully another win for RXR!”
As well as returning to Saudi Arabia, Italy and possibly Senegal, Extreme E will make its highly-anticipated debut in South America with its final two X Prix of the campaign taking place in Antofagasta, Chile, and Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Excitement for Extreme E Season 2 is boosted further with motorsport giants McLaren joining the Championship for 2022.
McLaren has been a leader in electric motorsport from the outset, supplying the battery powertrain to the FIA Formula E Championship for the Gen 1 and Gen 2 seasons, employing the same technology pioneered in the McLaren P1 hypercar. With its entry into Extreme E, McLaren Racing will continue to build its know-how and expertise in the all-electric racing space.
Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, said: “From the outset, McLaren Racing has never been afraid to push new boundaries. This new venture is true to our roots of innovation and bravery. Extreme E is paving new ground in motorsport as a force for good in confronting some of the biggest challenges facing our world today and in the future.”
World Rallycross ace Tanner Foust was announced as the team’s male driver in August 2021 before Emma Gilmour was signed up to become McLaren’s first-ever female driver during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last November.
Both drivers will bring plenty of off-road prowess to the Extreme E grid for Season 2. Foust is a four-time and current U.S. Rallycross Champion (2019, 2012, 2011, 2010) and has also won four X Games gold medals (2013, 2010, 2007), alongside two Formula Drift Championships (2008, 2007). Gilmour became the first and only female to date to win a New Zealand Rally Championship event and also won the FIA Women in Motorsport and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) cross country rally selection in 2015. The New Zealander also competed in two rounds of Extreme E Season 1 for Veloce Racing.
Extreme E’s Legacy Programmes are integral to the series and aim to provide both social and environmental support at each race location. Project selection is led by the location’s scientist and all five members of our independent Scientific Committee actively support these programmes.
The sport for purpose Championship selects projects that prioritise the empowerment of local communities, build resilience by helping the vulnerable to adapt to climate change, provide long lasting sustainable solutions and promote renewable energy sources that will grow economies while reducing carbon emissions. The series will continue to work with world leading experts in science, education and environmental research, to ensure the Championship’s credibility and effectiveness.
Extreme E is the only motor racing series in the world today that mandates that every team taking part must field both a male and female driver. This was a world first in motorsport, and as well as providing opportunities at the highest level of sporting competition, the series is strengthening this commitment to development at the grassroots level in its second season.
At the 2021 season finale in Dorset, UK, Extreme E was delighted to host an event for 50 local schoolgirls with the female motorsport initiative Girls on Track UK. Girls on Track UK (formerly known as Dare To Be Different) is an initiative started back in 2016 by former Formula One test driver, Susie Wolff. Now managed by governing body Motorsport UK, as part of FIA’s global Girls on Track programme, it focuses on inspiring, connecting and showcasing females in motorsport as well as through science, technology and math (STEM).
The girls, all aged between 11 and 12 years-old, got to experience life behind the scenes of Extreme E – as well as being shown the many future potential career opportunities within the sport, with the series intention being to build on this work and inspire girls all over the world with these memorable insights throughout this new season.
With less than five weeks to go until the opening X Prix of the campaign, Extreme E Season 2 is all set to be another spectacular campaign.
Also read: Maserati joins Formula E from the 2023 season
Robert Lewandowski and Alexia Putellas take top honours in FIFA Awards
(Football news) Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski retained the title of FIFA’s Best Men's Player of the Year at The Best of 2021 ceremony, thereby equalling Cristiano Ronaldo’s record (with two awards) after a successful season in which he scored 41 goals. Lionel Messi finished second while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah came third. In the women’s category, Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won the FIFA’s Best Women’s Player of the Year award.
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel beat Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Italy national team’s manager Roberto Mancini for the Manager of the Year award after leading his side to the Champions League trophy. Chelsea and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy won the Goalkeeper of the Year award over the likes of Manuel Neuer and Gianluigi Donnarumma while Sevilla’s Erik Lamela won the Puskas award for his “Rabona” in Tottenham Hotspur’s match against fierce rivals Arsenal.
The Fair Play award was given to the Denmark team and staff after their timely action when Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest at the Euro 2020 while the Best Fan award was given to fans of Denmark and Finland for their unified chanting to express support for Eriksen when he was taken off the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo was given a special award for breaking the international men’s goalscoring record and was also the first footballer to win back to back Men’s Player of the Year awards in the first two years since the ceremony began.
Also read: Late Courtois heroics help Real Madrid clinch the Spanish Super Cup title
FIFA FIFPro Men's World XI
Gianluigi Donnarumma - Paris Saint-Germain, Italy
David Alaba - Real Madrid, Austria
Ruben Dias - Manchester City, Portugal
Leonardo Bonucci - Juventus, Italy
Jorginho - Chelsea, Italy
N'Golo Kante - Chelsea, France
Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City, Belgium
Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United, Portugal
Erling Haaland - Borussia Dortmund, Norway
Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich, Poland
Lionel Messi - Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina
X44 win innaugral Extreme E Sustainability Award
(Motorsports news)17 January 2022, London: X44 have become the winners of the first ever Extreme E Sustainability Award after topping the standings in the series’ inaugural Count Us In Challenge aimed at tackling the climate crisis.
Extreme E and Count Us In came together ahead of Season 1 to launch the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge - a campaign using the power of sport and the excitement of motor racing to inspire fans to take practical steps on climate change.
The sport for purpose series asked fans to take real pledges to lead a less carbon intensive lifestyle to reduce their footprint and, in doing so, urge governments, cities and businesses to accelerate progress on climate action.
The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge includes a variety of actions available to fans to contribute towards a greener future, including not using single-use plastic, walking and cycling more, eating more plant-based foods and driving an electric vehicle. Each step is attributed to the fans’ favourite team, and the team with the most steps at the end of Season 1 would win the inaugural Extreme E Sustainability Award.
This was achieved by X44, who claimed the award with 792 steps pledged, with JBXE (749 steps) and Rosberg X Racing (RXR) (422 steps) completing the top three. In total, the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge inspired 1,231 fans to take 3,207 steps saving 1,241,223 KG CO2.
The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge will return for Season 2 with fans once again urged to take climate action through their passion for the sport.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to present X44 as the winners of the Extreme E Sustainability Award via the series’ first-ever Count Us In Challenge.
“Sport is an incredible platform to not only raise awareness of the climate crisis, the single biggest threat to our planet today, but also inspire action to tackle it. At Extreme E we will continue to push the boundaries and shine a spotlight on the issues we face, along with the need to act now to help protect our futures.
“Our first season working with Count Us In has been a huge success and I am looking forward to us building on this momentum for Season 2 to go further in taking climate action.”
Sébastien Loeb, X44, said: “I was very happy to learn that X44 won the Extreme E Sustainability Award for 2021. I joined the team hoping to discover more about the environment while doing what I love, and I have learned so much from the series and the different places we visited - in fact I even bought my first electric car last year!
“To know that our fans have come on this journey with us and are making their own commitment to have a positive impact on the planet is inspiring and I feel good about what we can achieve when we work together.”
Shivani Rudra, Count Us In, said: “Through the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge, teams and their fans have demonstrated their commitment to a cleaner, healthier, thriving future for all.
“By taking meaningful, simple steps in their own daily lives, Extreme E fans have not just reduced their own carbon emissions, but they’ve added up to a growing movement of people and communities showing leaders it’s time to accelerate progress on climate action.
“Huge congratulations to X44 and its fans for their engagement in Season 1! We look forward to continuing to work with Extreme E and the teams in Season 2 to further their legacy through their passionate fanbase.”
Extreme E aims to accelerate the adoption of clean and electrified transport to help protect people and the planet, with the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge also supporting the UN's Race To Zero campaign.
In 2022, Extreme E will continue to race across the world’s most remote environments to demonstrate the performance and benefits of electric vehicles and clean technology, whilst highlighting the impact that climate change is already having on these ecosystems, such as melting ice caps, deforestation, desertification, retreating mountain glaciers, and rising sea levels.
Extreme E Season 2 begins in Neom, Saudi Arabia (19-20 February), before heading to Sardinia, Italy (7-8 May), Senegal or Scotland (9-10 July), Antofagasta, Chile (10-11 September) and Punta Del Este, Uruguay (26-27 November).
Inter beat Juventus in a dramatic Supercoppa Italiana final
(Football news) Inter continued their golden run as they picked up their first trophy of the season by beating Juventus 2-1 in what was a drama filled final. The home crowd, reduced to 50% capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, exploded with joy when the Chilean substitute profited from a defensive mix-up to strike in the 120th minute and decided the 'Derby of Italy' clash between two historic rivals.
In the first half Juventus took the lead and struck in the 25th minute when McKennie headed home from six yards. The lead lasted only 10 minutes, as Mattia De Sciglio tripped Edin Dzeko in the area to give Martinez the chance to bury a spot kick. In the second half, Denzel Dumfries went closest with his header but it was palmed onto the post by Mattia Perin, as it became the first Supercopppa to go to extra time since 2016. A penalty shootout was looming on the horizon as both sides appeared to be struggling to create chances. But in the dying moments of the match a moment of hesitation in the defence cost Juve, as Alex Sandro tried to chest a cross back to Perin, allowing Matteo Darmian to pounce on the weak pass who then set up Alexis Sanchez who buried the ball in the back of the net cooly.
This was Simone Inzaghi’s first trophy ever as he was happy with the performance and the result, and so is the club President Zhang, he stated.“He was very happy, he congratulated us and the players asked for a gift,” he stated. “I think he’ll make them happy.”Of the match, he stated that “We came up against a great team who showed what Juve are all about. They didn’t give us too many problems, but we also played a great match.They were always in it, they wanted to win”
He added. “Beating them is never easy, even if I’ve done it before against them in the Supercoppa. I’m very happy with how things went.”Of goalscoring hero Alexis Sanchez, Inzaghi stated that. I think everyone always wants to play, from time to time I have to make decisions. Remember that Gagliardini was the best player against Lazio, but he didn’t play a single minute here,” he added. I have four very good forwards, today Vidal also contributed, and Dimarco was important for the decisive goal. We have to keep on going like this, Inter hadn’t won a Super Cup for twelve years. It’s been too long for this club.”
"The more a champion plays, the better he is, and he does things nobody else can do. Today it was like that. I thought I would start because I was in form, I respect the coach but I was hungry to win... I felt like a caged lion."Sanchez told the media after starting the game on the bench
Inter take on Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana final
(Football news) The reigning Italian Champions Inter Milan face the reigning Coppa Italia champions Juventus at the San Siro to see who wins the first silverware of this season. This encounter of league and cup winners will be just the second Derby d'Italia in the Supercoppa, after the 2005 edition and giving it an even greater occasion.
Inter will be making their tenth appearance in the Supercoppa as it will subsequently be the club's first since 2011 when they lost to their city rivals Milan. The Nerazzurri have a 5–4 winning record in Supercoppas, having lifted the trophy in 1989, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, but will now look to break that decade-long duck. Having ended Juve's Serie A dominance by claiming the Scudetto last season, Simone Inzaghi's side will bring a long unbeaten run with them into their attempt to consolidate outright supremacy in the Italian game in this new year.
Juventus is Italy's most decorated club and have claimed the Supercoppa trophy nine times since it was introduced in 1988. They are the defending champions after defeating Napoli at Sassuolo's Mapei Stadium and will make their tenth consecutive appearances in the Supercoppa. Juventus have been champions for the last nine seasons as the Turin giants were finally defeated by their Inter counterparts. Last year they faced Inter across two legs in the Coppa Italia semi-final last season and they defeated them on their way to lifting the trophy for the 14th time in their club history. Allegri has imposed some authority on a situation after their dismal start to the season as now after few victories under their belt, his rejuvenated side return to San Siro hoping to win against a inform Inter team.
For Juventus, they will be without the suspended Juan Cuadrado and Matthijs de Ligt while both Leonardo Bonucci and Danilo are sidelined due to injury. The major blow to their season happened when Fedirco Chiesa tore his ACL and might be out of the rest of the season. For Inter, the majority of their side is fit and firing as Edin Dezko and Lautaro Martinez are going to start up front again.
Bharath Subramaniyam becomes India's 73rd chess GM
Chennai, Jan 9 (Chess News) Fourteen-year old Bharath Subramaniyam on Sunday became India's 73rd chess Grandmaster, securing the third and final GM norm at an event in Italy.
The Chennai-based player scored 6.5 points from nine rounds along with four others to finish seventh overall in the event held at Cattolica.
He obtained his third GM norm here and also touched the requisite 2,500 (Elo) mark.
Fellow Indian player M R Lalith Babu emerged winner in the tournament with seven points, winning the title on the basis of a better tie-break score after he tied with three others including top-seed Anton Korobov (Ukraine).
He finished with six wins and one draw while losing two games - against Korobov and Lalith Babu.
Bharath achieved his first GM norm after securing 11th place at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow in February 2020. He secured the second norm after placing 4th in the Junior Roundtable Under 21 tournament in Bulgaria with 6.5 points in October 2021.
To become a GM, a player has to secure three GM norms and cross the live rating of 2,500 Elo points.
His coach M Shyam Sundar, a GM himself, congratulated Subramaniyam and tweeted: "Congratulations Bharath for becoming the latest GM of India!! Let's focus on new goals in this new year!!" Subramaniyam had become an International Master at the age of 11 years and 8 months in 2019.
Mitrabha Guha had become the country's 72nd GM in November last, two days after Sankalp Gupta became the 71st GM.
Also Read : Thalaivas face Steelers, Dabang Delhi K.C. hope to maintain unbeaten run
News Source : PTI
Spain beats Poland to reach finals for second time of ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 7 of ATP Cup saw the first semi final match between Spain and Poland. Spain was the runner up in the 2019 edition and reached the finals last year. Now they have a second chance at winning the title as the opponents will be decided in the match between Russia and Canada.
Spain defeated Canada 2-1
Things went according to plan in the first match as it looked like Pablo Carreno Busta wanted to save as much energy as possible for the final. The world number 20 had magical footwork and Jan Zielinski could only take notes as he could not interrupt the flow. The Spaniard hit 11 winners in both the sets and had only 1 unforced error in the second as opposed to 2 in the first set.
Zielinski was in good spirits as he saved a matchpoint by playing a trick drop return which even shocked the crowd as they started cheering him on and then he hit a blazing forehand cross court winner to save another. It got the crowd going but after 53 minutes it was time for both of them to sit and cheer for their teammates as Spain was now in the lead.
The second match was filled with intense competition between Roberto Bautista Agut and Hubert Hurkacz. The players had met each other twice before with Roberto winning both and each match had a tie break. Both of them did honour the tie break tradition as this time there were two and it took almost 3 hours for the 2nd point to emerge.
The stats were enough to read what was going on the court. Hurkacz hit 61 winners, 24 aces and came to the net 46 times in which only lost 10 of them. Roberto had 28 winners, a single ace and came to the net 27 times while losing just 6 of them and both of them won 108 points. Hubert was leading in the first set tie break by 4-2 until Roberto started attacking every point and went on to win the set in 55 minutes which was longer than the first match itself.
In the second set, Roberto’s smash hit the net cord and went wide as Hubert broke his serve in the first game which was the overall tone of the set. Hubert leveled the score in half an hour as the match now looked in favour of Hurkacz. Roberto became more defensive in the set as he came to the net thrice, in the previous set he did the same 11 times and ended up doing 16 times in the third set. In the final set, Roberto had three match points before the tie break but Hurkacz’s skill at the net saved him. In the tiebreak Hurkacz again came into the front and saved two more match points until a forehand volley went into the net as Spain won the tie and the team mobbed Roberto as he walked in the box.
In the final doubles match, Poland signed off with a victory as Zielinski and Szymon Walkow won the last two sets after losing the first one to Pedro Martinez and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Pablo defeated Zielinski 6-2, 6-1, Roberto defeated Hurkacz 7-6(8-6), 6-2, 7-6(7-5), Walkow and Zielinski defeated Martinez and Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-3, 10-6.
Bopanna-Ramkumar pair cruise to final in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 8 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan upstaged fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Santiago Gonzalez in straight sets to reach the final of the Adelaide International, here on Saturday.
The unseeded Indian duo ousted the Bosnian-Mexican duo 6-2 6-4 in the doubles semifinals.
The Indians will now lock horns with top seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Brazilian Marcelo Melo in the summit clash of the of the ATP 250 event.
It will be an interesting match as the 41-year-old Bopanna and Dodig have often paired up together, the most recent being in the US Open in September when the duo was knocked out in the third round.
Bopanna and Ramkumar, who have paired up for the first time on the ATP tour, have enjoyed a good week so far.
The two have notched straight-set wins in the tournament barring the second round match against the American duo of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow when they were stretched to a super tie-breaker.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Russia prevail over Italy to reach semi finals of ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Russia prevail over Italy to reach semi finals of ATP Cup
(Tennis news) In day 6 the final group stages of the ATP Cup saw the top two teams of two groups qualify for the semifinal. The day also had exits from top two teams from Group C and B as Italy fell short of making it into the final stages even though they had a strong team and Britain missing out the spot by a whisker.
Russia defeated Italy 2-1
Russia picked up its biggest victory so far as they became the third team to qualify for the semifinals. Jannik Sinner put Italy on front with a top class performance over Roman Safiullin as the Russian could not handle the power of the next gen. In the second singles match, Daniil Medvedev kept the hopes alive with a three set win over Matteo Berrettini as he only committed 13 unforced errors and played it safe. The pressure was on Medvedev but the world number 2 did not let his country down after losing the second set, the final set saw the Russian excel as he kept the rallies long.
In the final doubles match, Medvedev and Safiullin were again in the danger zone after losing the first set but did not let the Italians celebrate in the next two sets as they will now aim for a second consecutive title.
Sinner defeated Safiullin 7-6(8-6), 6-3, Medvedev defeated Berrettini 6-2, 6-7(5-7), 6-4, Medvedev and Safiullin defeated Berrettini and Sinner 5-7, 6-4, 10-5.
Australia defeated France 2-1
France ended their journey in the event without a victory as Australia too reached the finish line with an inspiring victory. Arthur Rinderknech gave the home crowd bad news in the opening match as France got their first point, Alex De Minaur was” le destructeur” as he beat Ugo Humbert after losing the first set. In the second set, the Aussie lad saved crucial breakpoints to take the match into the final set. In the doubles, John Peers and Luke Saville saved three match points as they made sure not lose their way at home.
Rinderknech defeated James Duckworth 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), Alex defeated Humbert 3-6, 7-6(7-2), 6-1, Peers and Saville defeated Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 5-7, 11-9.
Britain defeated USA 2-1
Britain had hopes of qualifying for the semifinal but it suffered a major breakdown in the first match. Cameron Norrie fell in the last few points of the match which proved to be crucial for the team as Taylor Fritz gave the first point to his team. In the second match, Daniel Evans resisted strong serves against John Isner to give the team chances for a semifinal finish with a win against John Isner. In the final match, Evans again played a key role with Jamie Murray to secure the final point of the tie.
Fritz defeated Norrie 7-6(7-4), 3-6, 6-1, Evans defeated Isner 6-4, 7-6(7-3), Evans and Murray defeated Fritz and Isner 6-7(7-3), 7-5, 10-8.
Canada defeated Germany 2-1
Canada put an end to Britain’s wait as they grabbed the final semifinal spot of the event. The two youngsters confirmed the victory in the first 5 hours of the match. Denis Shapovalov hit 10 plus winners in each set as the left hander did half the job but the next match was a difficult one. Felix Auger-Aliassime was up against Alexander Zverev as it was expected the German would halt the opposition from reaching the last four but Felix left it all out on court to clinch the match and the tie. The 21 year old lost 6 points at the net out of 23 and saved 7 breakpoints out of 9 to give the team a last four place. In the doubles match, Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz were too late as they won a point for the German side.
Shapovalov defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(7-5), 4-6, 6-3, Felix defeated Zverev 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, Kevin and Tim defeated Steven Diez and Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-4.
France suffers second consecutive defeat in ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 4 of the ATP Cup witnessed Italy and Russia recording vital victories as the knockout stages are going to be held later this week. Group B and C played their matches and still have one more match to go before the semifinals.
Russia defeated Australia 3-0
Russia continued its title defence by blanking the home team for its second consecutive victory. Roman Safiullin gave the early lead once again by taking out James Duckworth in the first match. Daniil Medvedev got his first victory of the season by beating Alex De Minaur as the doubles saw both the Russian singles players pitting against seasoned doubles players and finished the ordeal.
Safiullin defeated Duckworth 7-6(8-6), 6-4, Medvedev defeated Minaur 6-4, 6-2, Medvedev and Safiullin defeated John Peers and Luke Saville 7-6(9-7), 3-6, 10-6.
Italy defeated 3-0 France
Italy recorded its first win of the event as it now hopes for a spot in the semifinal. France have confirmed their exit from the semifinal race with their second consecutive defeat as they are in the bottom place of Group B. Jannik Sinner gave the right signal at the start as he defeated Arthur Rinderknech in straight sets in which the second set was stretched to the tie break. In the second match, Matteo Berrettini confirmed their first victory as he beat Ugo Humbert. In the final doubles match, Berrettini and Sinner regrouped to make it three out of three.
Sinner defeated Rinderknech 6-3, 7-6(7-3), Berrettini defeated Humbert 6-4, 7-6(8-6), Sinner and Berrettini defeated Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-7(7-9), 10-8.
Germany defeated USA 2-1
Jan-Lennard Struff came out on top against John Isner who hit 34 aces in the opening match which lasted over 3 hours. The second match saw Alexander Zverev take on Taylor Fritz and give the Germans the victory. In the final doubles match, Isner and Fritz did not let themselves be whitewashed as they bageled the first in their way to take the last point of the tie.
Struff defeated Isner 7-6(9-7), 4-6, 7-5, Zverev defeated Fritz 6-4, 6-4, Isner and Fritz defeated Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz 6-0, 6-3.
Canada defeated Britain 2-1
Group C has now seen the four teams win one match and lose the next as Canada got their first victory at the event. Daniel Evans gave Britain the first point as he won the match of single handed backhands against Denis Shapovalov who had not played the earlier match due to fatigue. Felix Auger-Aliassime then carried his form from the previous season to beat Cameron Norrie as Canada got back their hopes for a semifinal spot. In the doubles match, both the next gen players upset Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray to end the tie with a crucial win.
Evans defeated Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4, Felix defeated Norrie 7-6, 6-3, Felix and Shapovalov defeated Salisbury and Murray 6-4, 6-1.
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku issues a public apology after Inter Milan comments
(Football news) Romelu Lukaku has issued a public apology to Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, his team-mates and supporters over his recent interview in which he expressed his desire to return to Inter Milan after just six months at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian striker said it’s up to him to “restore trust” and is now in contention for Chelsea’s Carabao Cup semi-final fixture against Tottenham after being dropped in the weekend’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool.
In an interview on the club’s website, Lukaku said “To the fans, I'm sorry for the upset that I caused. You guys know the connection that I have with this club since my teenage years, so I totally understand you guys being upset. Obviously, it's up to me now to restore your trust and I'll do my best to show commitment every day on the training ground and in the games, trying to make sure that we win games. And also to the manager, I apologise, and also to my team-mates and the board, because I think it was not the right moment also and I want to move forward from this and make sure that we start winning football games and that I perform for the team in the best manner.”
Lukaku and Tuchel had a meeting on Monday to clear the air after the striker's recent comments and the German manager said that the Belgian feels responsible and determined to "clean the mess up". Tuchel said “First of all, we were even in the background happy that we took the time that it needed to look calmly on it and talk calmly. He has apologised and is back in the squad for today's training [session] later. We have had enough time to clear the air and move on. For me, the most important thing was to understand and clearly understand and believe that it was not intentional. He did not do this intentionally to create noise in front of such a big game."
Thomas Tuchel has also revealed that Lukaku will be fined for taking part in the interview with Sky Italy. He also praised the close relationship he has with the Chelsea board after forging robust links with directors Petr Cech and Marina Granovskaia. “There will be some disciplinary actions," said Tuchel. "Something happened, he will be fined and of course, he needs to accept it. It's not about I push my opinions through or the club pushes their opinions through. We are adults and we reflect on the situation. The more the story went on, I had a clear opinion and I was happy that was OK with the club to go with it.
“We have a very open, close relationship and we can find very quick solutions, without any political interference, putting any disturbing factor aside and just looking at the isolated issue. We went from there. It was very nice to be a part of it. Between Petr, Marina and me, it was very calm, quick and open. Maybe we will still have a bit of smell still from it of course. He can handle it, but he also has no other choice. He cannot expect everybody to be super happy the very next day. But he's still our player and we have good, good reasons and a lot of reasons to make him play for us, and to convince him and to fight hard that he's our player. We're happy he's our player, we will protect him."
Argentina and Spain closing in on top finish at the ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 3 of the ATP Cup saw Argentina and Spain maintain their perfect record for the second time. The teams will be looking to win matches in the next two days as the bottom placed teams will be eliminated and won’t proceed to the knockout stages later in the week. There were two matches in Group A and two in Group D as Norway along with Greece lost their second consecutive tie.
Chile defeated Serbia 2-1
Chile secured their first victory in the event with a long fought victory over Serbia. The three matches altogether spanned for over 6 hours as Chile is now second placed behind Spain in Group A. Cristian Garin had a bumpy start against Dusan Lajovic as the Serbian took the first set even though there were many chances of breaking the serve for both the players. In the later stages of the second set, Lajovic started getting cramps which brought down his game and finally losing the set and retiring midway of the match.
Filip Krajinovic had stalled Chile for a period of time as he secured the first point for Serbia with a win over Alejandro Tabilo. Krajinovic held on to every bit of hope he could in the final set as it was won over a tie break. In the doubles, the young Chilean pair of Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo confirmed the win in an hour and 20 mins as the tie finally came to an end.
Garin defeated Lajovic 4-6, 6-4, 3-0, Krajinovic defeated Tabilo 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7-5), Tomas and Alejandro defeated Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.
Poland defeated Georgia 3-0
Poland recorded their second victory in as many matches as they are one win away from making the semifinal stage. Kamil Majchrzak demolished Aleksandre Bakshi as he won under an hour to give Poland a satisfying victory and then in the second match there was a little hope from the Georgia camp. Hubert Hurkacz played Aleksandre Metreveli instead of Nikoloz Basilashvili and was taken aback losing the first set in a tie break. Hurkacz then re-energised and sealed the tie for Poland.
In the doubles, Szymon Walkow and Jan Zieliński completed a full sweep with a win over Aleksandre Bakshi and Aleksandre Metreveli.
Majchrzak defeated Bakshi 6-1, 6-1, Hurkacz defeated Metreveli 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-1, Walkow and Zieliński defeated Zieliński and Metreveli 6-7(2-7), 6-2, 10-6.
Spain defeated Norway 3-0
Spain maintained their winning record as they did not lose a single set in three of the ties against Norway. Pablo Carreno Busta got off to a flying start as he had no trouble against Viktor Durasovic in the opening match and Roberto Bautista Agut continued his fine form by beating Casper Ruud for victory. The young Spaniards Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez once again laid down the final touches by beating Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen and Andreja Petrovic in the doubles match.
Pablo defeated Viktor 6-3, 6-3, Roberto defeated Ruud 6-4, 7-6(7-4), Fokina and Martinez defeated Andreja and Lukas 6-4, 6-1.
Argentina defeated Greece 3-0
Federico Delbonis gave the early positive news for Argentina with a smooth victory over Michail Pervolarakis. The second match gave a classic lesson on defense and tackling high balls with ease as Diego Schwartzman toppled Greek god Stefanos Tsitsipas to confirm their second win. In the final match, Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni beat Markos Kalovelonis and Petros Tsitsipas in a close encounter for a clean slate.
Delbonis defeated Pervolarakis 7-6(7-5) ,6-1, Schwartzman defeated Tsitsipas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-3, Gonzalez and Molteni defeated Kalovelonis and Petros 6-3, 4-6, 11-9
Sania-Kichenok, Ramkumar-Bopanna advance in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 4 (Tennis News) On an all-win day for Indian tennis players, Sania Mirza and the pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious in their respective first round matches, albeit in contrasting fashion, in the ATP and WTA tournaments, here on Tuesday.
Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok overcame a first-set thrashing to knock out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the WTA 500 event.
In the ATP 250 men's event, the Indian combination of Ramkumar and veteran Bopanna, pairing up together for the first time on the ATP tour, had an easy day out.
They trounced American Jamie Cerretani and Brazilian Fernando Romboli 6-2 6-1 to set up the pre-quarterfinal with eighth seed American pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow.
"We had a good match. Both of us served And returned well. We combined well and stuck to the plan," Ramkumar told PTI.
"We had practiced once with the same team before the draw which helped us.
"I am always happy to play with Bops (Bopanna), who is so experienced and is someone who has always been of good support and helps me with my tennis with all the experience he has," he added.
Since India will host Denmark on grass courts in New Delhi in their next Davis Cup tie in March, it is a possibility that Bopanna and Ramkumar, who has developed a fantastic serve and volley game, may pair up for the doubles.
This tournament will give them that opportunity to find out what works for them, if at all the captain decides to field them as a team.
Interestingly, Ramkumar got a chance to play with Denmark's top singles player Holger Rune in the singles Qualifiers and lost 4-6 6-7(7) in a close first round match.
Rune, ranked 103, eventually qualified for the main draw.
The match must have given him a fair idea of what to expect from Rune when he lands in Delhi for the Davis Cup.
"It was a good match. I think, I started off a bit slow where I got broken in the first game. But After that it was an extremely close and hard fought match "I was just a bit unlucky to not have converted those set points. He played good on a few of them and he is quick, so all credit to him. Hopefully I can get him back on grass," Ramkumar said.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Australia overpower Italy as Humbert puts up a show against Russia in ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Australia overpower Italy as Humbert puts up a show against Russia in ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The second day of the ATP Cup got off to a startling start as the results ignored all the predictions. Russia seems to be the most motivated at the start of the season as joined by Australia. The teams will have to pull up their socks as the next round matches will have to be careful as it will determine the top positions in the group and any more prediction fails are expected tomorrow.
Russia defeated France 2-1
Ugo Humbert played one of the best matches at the event as he brought down world number 2 Daniil Medvedev as France got off to a shocking start. Russia’s Roman Safiullin got his inspiration from Humbert as he pulled off an upset win over Arthur Rinderknech to bring things back to normal. In the doubles, the pair of Medvedev and Safiullin pulled the plug for France for a final victory to seal the tie.
Humbert defeated Medvedev 6-7(7-5), 7-5, 7-6(7-2), Safiullin defeated Rinderknech 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, Medvedev and Safiullin defeated Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 6-4.
Australia defeated Italy 2-1
The home crowds made sure their heroes did not lose in front of them as they cheered on when they beat the most powerful team in the event, Italy. Alex De Minaur's speed was too much for Matteo Berrerttini’s forehand as the Australian wore his cape to give his team an early lead. In the second match, Jannik Sinner took the perfect revenge over Max Purcell as he only gave away four games on his way to victory. The doubles killed all the suspense in the match as it gave the crowd a straight set win over Berrettini and Simone Bolelli.
De Minaur defeated Berrettini 6-3, 7-6(7-4), Sinner defeated Purcell 6-1, 6-3, John Peers and Luke Saville defeated Berrettini and Bolelli 6-3, 7-5.
USA defeated Canada 3-0
Taylor Fritz had to sweat it out for 2 and half hours as he got the much needed win against Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first point for the USA. Denis Shapovalov had to withdraw from the second singles match due to fatigue as Brayden Schnur replaced him and faced the giant John Isner who sealed the win for the team with a high intense performance. In the doubles, Shapovalov made a return with Felix only to be defeated by Fritz and Isner who showed no signs of tiredness from the earlier singles matches.
Fritz defeated Felix 6-7(6-8), 6-4, 6-4, Isner defeated Schnur 6-1, 6-3, Isner and Fritz defeated Shapovalov and Felix 6-4, 6-4.
Britain defeated Germany 2-1
Germany suffered a setback in the opening tie as for Britain things went just as they planned. In the first match, Cameron Norrie put up a good fight against Alexander Zverev in the first set but the next set was totally one sided to give Germany the first point. In the second match, it was a battle of 31 year olds where Daniel Evans played his heart out against Jan-Lennard Struff to come in line with Germany. In the third match, it was between two singles and doubles players as Kevin Krawietz partnered with Zverev and Jamie Murray got along with Evans. The German team lost in the final match to lose the tie as Britain played out a well designed and managed victory.
Zverev defeated Norrie 7-6(7-2), 6-1, Evans defeated Struff 6-1, 6-2, Jamie and Evans defeated Zverev and Krawietz 6-3, 6-4.
Argentina sets the benchmark against Georgia on opening day of ATP cup
(Tennis news) The first day of the ATP cup saw four ties take place as only the Serbia vs Norway tie is yet to finish. There are still two matches remaining in the tie as only the first singles has been completed with Serbia taking the lead. Group A and D were in action on the 1st day as Stefanos Tsitsipas withdrew from his opening match showdown due to a right elbow injury. Tsitsipas as of now will still be seen in action in the next few matches.
Spain defeated Chile 3-0
World number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta started the proceedings for Spain as he was up against Alejandro Tabilo. Tabilo made most of his chances in both the sets as Busta had to cover the lead but made up for his poor start with a dominating performance in the end. Tabilo put up a brave show as he was ranked 100 places below Busta but did not let Chile down with his performance as he took the Spaniard to the tie break in the second set. Busta defeated Tabilo 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
Roberto Bautista Agut brought his new celebrations onto the court as he bageled the opening set against Cristian Garin. Garin was two places above Roberto but could not match the Spaniard’s A game as the first set got over in half an hour. In the second set, Roberto continued his onslaught as he took the first four games until Garin won his first game of the match but the party never started for him as Spain closed out the tie with two straight set wins. Roberto defeated Garin 6-0, 6-3.
In the doubles match, it was the turn for youngsters to blow the final whistle as Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez defeated Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo. Spain lost a set only in the doubles match as Tomas and Alejandro scrambled to try and get hopes up and did come close but it was a hat trick of victories for Spain. Alejandro and Pedro defeated Tomas and Tabilo 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 10-7.
Argentina defeated Georgia 3-0
Argentina gave a warm welcome to Georgia to the event but it did not last long. Federico Delbonis only lost three games in the opening match against Aleksandre Metreveli as the first singles match wrapped up in no time. Delbonis was making his event debut and his forehand took the chance to push Metreveli further away from victory. Delbonis defeated Metreveli 6-1, 6-2.
Diego Schwartzman followed his teammate with a surprisingly swift victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili. Basilashvili is known to possess one of the fastest groundstrokes on the ATP tour but the firepower did not ignite as Schwartzman confirmed victory for the team with the second victory. Schwartzman defeated Basilashvili 6-1, 6-2.
In the third match of the tie, Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni put their experience together to beat Saba Purtseladze and Zura Tkemaladze. With the win already on their hands, the Argentinian pair did not want a single point taken from the tie as they too played like their singles players for a comprehensive win. Gonzalez and Molteni defeated Purtseladze and Tkemaladze 6-1, 6-2. Argentina had the same scores in all the three matches as the team only lost 9 games in the tie.
Poland defeated Greece 2-0
Greece suffered a huge setback as Tsitsipas had to withdraw in the second singles match against Hubert Hurkacz. Kamil Majchrzak opened up with an impressive performance against Michail Pervolarakis With constant support from the sidelines, Majchrzak did not let the spirits down to get the points on board. Majchrzak defeated Pervolarakis 6-1, 6-4.
The second singles match result was predicted as soon as Aristotelis Thanos was set to face Hurkacz. Hurkacz was a 1000 places above Thanos in the rankings and the match went as expected for Poland. Hurkacz secured the tie in under an hour and conceded three games in the process. Hurkacz defeated Thanos 6-1, 6-2.
Also read: Sinner and Berrettini boost Italy's chances of maiden title at ATP Cup
Romelu Lukaku expresses desire to return to Inter Milan after 6 months at Chelsea
(Football news) Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has expressed his unhappiness at the situation he finds himself in at Chelsea and has questioned manager Thomas Tuchel’s system in an interview with Sky Italy. The 28 year old moved to Chelsea this summer for a record fee of £97.5m after spending two seasons at Inter Milan, winning the Scudetto earlier this year. Lukaku rejoined Chelsea a decade after he first joined the club and has scored seven goals in 18 appearances, resulting in the striker completing 90 minutes only once in Chelsea’s last 13 matches.
Speaking to Sky Italy, Lukaku said “Physically I'm doing great. I'm just not very happy with the situation, but that's normal. I think the boss has decided to play a different formation but I have to stick at it and get on with it professionally. I'm not happy with the situation but it's my job and I mustn't give up." The Belgian striker was in prolific form for Inter Milan, scoring 34 goals in 51 appearances in his first season followed by 30 goals (24 in the Serie A) as the I Nerazzurri won their first Scudetto in 11 years.
Lukaku added: "I don't think any of it should have happened the way it did. The way I left Inter and the way I communicated with the Inter fans. I'm annoyed about that because it's not the right time now but it wasn't the right time when I left either. I always said that I love Inter and I'll play for them again. I really hope so. I fell in love with Italy. "Now is the right time to talk about it and tell people what really happened, without saying anything bad about anyone, because I'm not like that.
"I want to really apologise to the Inter fans because I don't think I should have left Inter the way I did. I should have spoken to you guys first, especially after everything you did for me, for my family, my mum, my son. I'll never forget that. I hope from the bottom of my heart to go back to Inter and not at the end of my career but when I'm still at a good enough level to win more trophies."
If we are to analyze what Lukaku meant by Tuchel changing the formation, it raises more questions than answers. Tuchel previously employed a 3-4-2-1 formation but after the Belgian striker signed for the club the manager said “We now have the chance also to play with two strikers, like they did at Inter with [Lukaku], or to continue with three strikers. We will see now how this works out."
However, it’s unclear if Lukaku is referring to a strike partner as the Belgian has only partnered with TImo Werner five times this season while he consistently had Lautaro Martinez or Alexis Sanchez alongside him at Inter Milan. However, the more obvious answer seems to be that the Belgian is unhappy with his playing time at the club, having suffered an injury which has resulted in others being given more time. In the interview, Lukaku said “I think I'm in a moment where the boss could play me a little more but I have to respect his decisions, continue to work and wait for my time to come. We're trying to find a middle ground where we can meet, a system which can help the team perform at its best because right now we're in a complicated situation. The boss made a choice, I have to keep working and at some point we will talk with Tuchel and see how it's going."
Novak Djokovic looking to keep next gen waiting in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is on the edge of breaking more records in the 2022 season. Djokovic will not be playing at the ATP Cup and will be eager to make his return at the 2022 Australian Open. He has played 62 matches this year and only lost 7 of them including a 27-1 record at the Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s 2021 season was a constant reminder that the next gen will have to pull off a near impossible stunt to take the Grand Slam titles away from the big three. The Serbian won his record 9th Australian Open for a hat trick of victories at Melbourne. Djokovic had an early exit at Monte Carlo as Daniel Evans handed him the first defeat of the season, at Belgrade it was a semifinal exit and Aslan Karatsev did not hesitate in a three setter match.
The world number 1 then met his arch rival Rafael Nadal at Rome in the final as it took almost 3 hours when Nadal finally lifted the trophy. It was the Spaniard’s 28th victory over Djokovic and was trailing by one in their career head to head meetings. Djokovic then got a second chance at home as he won his second title of the season, at Roland Garros the 34 year old became the first man to defeat Nadal twice at the event. Djokovic recorded his 30th victory over the king of clay and went on to win the title after losing the first two sets against Stefanos Tstisipas.
Djokovic then moved on to grass as he was one Grand Slam away from equalling Roger Federer and Nadal’s record of 20 titles. Although he looked a bit hungover from clay madness as he dropped the first set in the opening round against world number 253 Jack Draper but did not drop a set after that until the final. The record books had to be edited as Djokovic won his 20th major.
Djokovic was aiming to repeat Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, his hopes took a huge hit when Alexander Zverev defeated him in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. The 20 time major winner was visibly upset in his bronze medal match, even throwing the racquet at one point as the pressure took a toll on the champion. His next stop was at US Open, he got the Tokyo revenge over Zverev in the semifinals but Daniil Medvedev got his for the Australian Open loss. Medvedev played so well that even Djokovic’s cheeky smile disappeared and he lost the opportunity to be in the likes of Rod Laver who was the last one to win a calendar slam four decades back.
Djokovic got the final laugh over Medvedev at Paris Masters but his all year charm was turned to dust at the US Open. Although he was on top this year, the pressure has affected him to the extent that he was in tears in the middle of the match against Medvedev in the final at US Open. The record breaking run came to an end which clearly devastated Djokovic, a similar picture was painted earlier when Federer lost the Melbourne final to Nadal in 2009 as it moved the Swiss player to tears.
The 2022 season has mainly two targets. The first one is to stop the big three from winning any more Grand Slams and the second is for the big three to win a few more until they bid farewell from the game. A few more heartbreaking victories can hurt the big three more than any physical injury as the next gen will be focused on starting a new era and the time has come.
Sinner and Berrettini boost Italy's chances of maiden title at ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The third edition of the ATP Cup is due to start from January 1st 2022 as the 16 teams have been divided into four groups. Former champions Serbia will be without Novak Djokovic as defending champions Russia are also without Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy. There are strong chances for the third time that a team will get its maiden trophy. Italy seems to be one of the favourites as they have their top players participating. Here are the top four teams to watch out for at the season opening tournament.
Italy: Group B
The strongest team in the event has four players in top 40 including two players in the top 10 and a doubles player ranked in the top 25. Among the top three ranked singles players, the oldest is Lorenzo Sonego who is 26 as the youngest is Jannik Sinner aged 20. Sinner and Matteo Berrettini will be leading the attack in singles as Simone Bolelli can team up with Sonego or Fabio Fognini for the final blow in doubles.
They can run into trouble against Daniil Medvedev when they play against Russia other than that Italy can finish as table toppers or can come second behind Russia. Group B will be one of the most competitive as compared to the rest of the groups as France and Australia will take every opportunity they get.
Great Britain: Group C
Britain has a complete set up for singles and doubles as they have seasoned players to stir up trouble. Cameron Norrie alongside Daniel Evans will be on the singles front while Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray will be up for the doubles matches. Norrie has been the top player on his team this season and if the matches go till the decider then their doubles pair are also capable of making a comeback.
They can face tough competition from Germany as Alexander Zverev will be making the move in singles, Canada can pose problems with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov forming a match winning singles combination. Britain will also be facing the US team which can field Taylor Fritz and out of form John Isner in their attack; they also have doubles multiple Grand Slam winner Rajeev Ram and next gen star Brandon Nakashima.
Spain: Group A
Spain will be playing without their hero Rafael Nadal but has Tokyo Olympics Bronze medalist and world number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta who is ranked just one below Roberto Bautista Agut. Their singles squad looks to be sorted but the doubles pair will have to be tested as youngsters Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez will have to provide support for the team.
The seniors in the team will have to do double duty as it will get tiring but if their singles matches go well then the workload will vanish. They will be up against Chile in the opening match as Spain will also play against Norway and Serbia.
Argentina: Group D
The team has the oldest players on their side with their youngest player being 29 years old. Diego Schwartzman and Federico Delbonis can be in the singles tie as Federico Coria can also walk in for crucial points. Their senior most player, Maximo Gonzalez aged 38 will be working his magic in doubles with Andres Molteni, the team has work to do but has the strongest chance to top Group D.
Argentina will be facing Greece, Poland and Georgia as their doubles pair will hold the final call on crucial matches. Stefanos Tsitsipas will be on top of Greece as Hubert Hurkacz will do the same for Poland but both the players don’t have enough support and experience like Argentina. The 2022 season will start in grand fashion as 16 countries will battle with each other and one will walk away with the trophy after 9 days of combat on court.
Bajrang begins 26-day training camp in Moscow ahead of busy season
New Delhi, Dec 27 (Wrestling News) Tokyo Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia reached Moscow on Monday for a 26-day pre-season training camp scheduled till January 21.
This is Bajrang's first training stint after the performance in Tokyo.
"This is my first training camp after the Olympics and I'm hoping this turns out to be a very good one," mentioned Bajrang from Russia in a statement.
"I've chosen Russia as its wrestlers win the most medals in the Olympic Games and World Championships. I will draw benefit from training with the experienced wrestlers here." The Sports Ministry's Mission Olympics Cell (MOC) approved his trip at an overall cost of Rs. 7.53 lakh.
Jitender and Anand Kumar have accompanied Bajrang as his sparring partner and physiotherapist respectively.
Bajrang is set to compete in international meets including UWW Ranking events, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as well as the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
"I have to compete in Ranking Series in Italy and Turkey this February and then the Asian Championships in Mongolia in April. I'm going to give my best as I aim is to change the colour of my medal in Paris 2024," Bajrang added.
Also Read : India's Ritu Phogat to face Stamp Fairtex in MMA finals
News Source : PTI
Should the EFL cup be cancelled from next season to reduce fixture constraint?
(Football news) Ever since the 3rd wave has hit the world of football the Premier League is the only league which has had fixtures cancelled. Leagues in Spain, France, Germany and Italy despite having positive cases are functioning smoothly. One of the main reasons is that the Premier League has the least percentage of vaccinated players amongst the top five leagues.
Many managers have called for the games to be called off till the next year but the F.A is adamant to continue the games if possible. Two boxing day fixtures have already been cancelled and there is a high possibility that more cancellation will take place. The reason the F.A is reluctant to postpone fixtures is due to the constraints later. After the turn of the year the fixtures come hard and fast. Teams in Europe will have a difficult time. There are not enough windows to fit in the postponed fixtures. Which once again brings the question of the amount of games that are played in world football. The Premier League is also the only team to have matches during the Christmas period which has been subject to debate.
Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick was recently asked about his thoughts on the fixture list in England. The German said that the Carabao Cup has to be abolished. England is the only country that has two cup competitions. France Football cancelled their 2nd cup competition in 2020. It may be something that the Premier League could potentially look at. The Carabao Cup is nowhere near as prestigious as the F.A Cup and wouldn't be missed that much if it didn't exist.
Due to there being only one cup competition in the La Liga, the Copa del Rey doesn't start till January for the 1st division clubs which gives them more midweek fixtures in the first half of the league. The downside to cancelling the Carabao cup is the revenue it generates for the lower division clubs. With the FIFA World Cup happening in December next year it may be a very good idea to have just 1 cup competition in England just like it is in every other country.
Inter Milan and Christian Eriksen terminate contract by mutual consent
(Football news) Italian football club Inter Milan and Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen have parted ways with the termination of the 29 year old’s contract by mutual consent. Eriksen has been suspended from playing in the Serie A due to having a cardiac device fitted and hasn’t played a professional game since Denmark’s Euro 2020 match against Finland in June where he received life-saving treatment on the pitch.
Eriksen is ineligible from playing in Italy due to an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator as per the health regulations but is free to continue his career in another country with different rules. Having joined Inter Milan in January 2020 from Tottenham, Eriksen’s contract was due to expire in 2024 and the midfielder has played 60 matches for the Italian outfit, winning the Serie A last season and scoring eight goals. The 29 year old recently resumed training at Odense Boldklub, a Danish club where he started his career.
In a letter to Christian Eriksen released by Inter, the club said “We can still remember that moment, of excitement mixed with expectation. When you're waiting for something you know will be good, you almost want to wait a bit longer so you can enjoy it more.
"Jan. 28, 2020: the curtains were raised at La Scala theater, the stage where first appearances are always special. And when class met elegance, Christian Eriksen and Inter, it couldn't be anything but special. There was the Danish maestro weaving his magic in our midfield.
"The thud of the ball striking the bar melted into the 'ohhh' of amazement from the Nerazzurri faithful as Christian fired off a rocket free kick from a ridiculous distance, mere centimeters away from glory. From that moment, we knew this was a composer of the finest music.
"We shared moments of class, battles, unexpected goals, like when he scored straight from the corner flag against Napoli, along with a few disappointments, like in the summer of that interminable 2019-20 season, when we went on a magnificent run, only to just miss out.
"Another free kick, another derby, in the Coppa Italia. An iconic moment in Inter's recent history. A splendid, crucial strike -- not just to send us through to the next round, but also to give renewed energy to the story of Christian and Inter, a bond which grew stronger game after game.
"Christian was a key figure in our march to the Scudetto -- a team effort which Eriksen contributed to with his vision, intuition, passing, assists and goals, including some big ones. Against Napoli. Against Crotone, in what ultimately clinched the title. Then another delightful free kick to celebrate the title at San Siro on the last day of the season.
"That is our final, happy, wistful memory of Christian on the pitch in an Inter shirt. Because sometimes life takes a turn for the unexpected and sends you down a path you didn't imagine.
"Every Inter fan, every football fan, looked on in silence, hoping for Christian. Seeing him back in Appiano Gentile with his teammates, as Italian champions, was a joy to behold and one we will never forget.
"Although Inter and Christian are now parting ways, the bond shall never be broken. The good times, the goals, the victories, those Scudetto celebrations with fans outside San Siro -- all this will remain forever in Nerazzurri history. All the best, Chris!"
ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team quickest ahead of Extreme E Season Finale
(Motorsport news) 16 December 2021, Dorset: The action got underway in Dorset today as the nine sides took the Jurassic X Prix course for the first time ahead of Extreme E’s Season 1 Finale.
The 3.8 kilometre course has a unique set of challenges for the Extreme E grid, with a mixed surface of clay, sand, gravel and mud dominating the terrain in Dorset, giving the teams a good amount of variables to overcome if they are to get big points in the final X Prix of the campaign.
The potential threat of showers, a sight so common across the United Kingdom at this time of year, may offer a further challenge for those out on the course.
After a brief shakedown session, the pace setters in Free Practice were ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team who posted a combined time of 10:10:006 to head the standings. In second were ABT Cupra XE, nine seconds adrift and continuing their recent good form out on course.
Championship challengers X44 were third quickest, just over 10 seconds behind ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team’s leading time, and 13 seconds faster than title rivals and Championship leaders Rosberg X Racing who finished the session in fourth.
XITE ENERGY RACING enjoyed a trouble-free session to complete the top five. Veloce Racing had a new driver line-up this weekend in the form of returning Jamie Chadwick and debutant Lance Woolridge, but showed no signs of slowing their speed to finish sixth fastest.
Laia Sanz, ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team: “Many things can happen in every race, but we need to be confident. We have been a bit unlucky this season so I am hoping for more good luck this weekend.
“The season has been great, but challenging – I came from two-wheel racing and everyone else has plenty of experience on four wheels. I think I am improving, though, and definitely feel like I have the best teacher in Carlos [Sainz Snr.].
“The start will be crucial on Sunday and I hope we can continue to do well for Qualifying.”
Jutta Kleinschmidt, ABT Cupra XE: “It’s completely different out there, but it is Extreme E after all – we have to face many conditions.
“The challenge has been to find the right speed, particularly over the Knife Edge section, and that will be key. If the wipers are not working you might not see anything!
“We had a good Free Practice session, though, and we’re looking forward to Qualifying.”
Sébastien Loeb, X44: “It felt really muddy out there, but the car coped well which was great.
“It feels like a rally stage with fast and slow corners, with big jumps, and overall the course looks great.
“We don’t have a lot to lose – mathematically the Championship is still possible so we just need to concentrate, push hard, and then we will see. Hopefully this weekend we can pull everything together to finish the season as well as possible.”
Molly Taylor, Rosberg X Racing: “It has been great to experience so many incredible places this season. We are excited to be here and it has been a great adventure to this point. We just need to keep our heads down and keep doing the job.
“The terrain is very different to the other courses, mainly down to the mud! It is cool we have experienced so many different terrains throughout the season. It’s a lot of fun out there, though, with a lot of sliding around – it has a bit of everything.
“We need to have a solid weekend – there is all to play for and we are looking forward to it.”
Oliver Bennett, XITE ENERGY RACING: “I’ve actually driven here before – one of my first ever rallies took place here so it is a little bit familiar.
“The mud is deep and slippery, so it is very easy to go off-line, and that makes it a bit like a home from home!
“From what we have seen so far it is going to be entertaining.”
Jamie Chadwick, Veloce Racing: “Its good to be back and feels like a long time since I was in the paddock.
“It has definitely helped my driving to compete in different series – when I went back to W Series earlier this season I really felt the benefit of competing in the opening two X Prix.
“I think we can enjoy the weekend. Lance and I are racing without pressure and a fresh mindset. We’re going to enjoy it and take what we can.”
Lance Woolridge, Veloce Racing: “It is great to finally be here. I’ve been working closely with the team for the past year and I am really looking forward to Qualifying now.
“We’ve set a goal of getting into the Final this weekend and hopefully that can lay some solid groundwork for Season 2 next season.”
There was disappointment for JBXE, Andretti United Extreme E and SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing, though, who finished the session in seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, with all three teams encountering difficulties out on the course.
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, JBXE: “I expected it to be muddy, but the start-line was insane!
“Nevertheless, I have been really impressed with how the ODYSSEY 21 handles the conditions – it should make for an interesting race. Visibility will be a big challenge and the start will be really tough.
“We want to have a good weekend – our team is based in the UK, while our team boss Jenson [Button] is also here. We came in late to the series and did no testing before the season started and so I am really proud of what we have achieved together. We are now just looking forward to a fun weekend trying to take the car over the finish line.”
Catie Munnings, Andretti United Extreme E: “It’s a home race for me and for the team, which is really special for everyone. It’s certainly been a year to remember.
“Its pretty high-speed out there and quite narrow, which reminds me of rallying. It’s really fun to drive. The conditions improved as the Free Practice session went on so Qualifying will be interesting, but I think everyone just wants to have a good race to end the year now.
“You might see a different approach from me when attacking the Knife Edge, though!”
Kyle LeDuc, SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing: “It’s a good layout and a fairly trouble-free course, although we did have a couple of issues in practice.
“We’ve got to get people excited and this track should be something for the fans to tune into. There should be some good spots for racing to get people hyped.
“The start is going to be massively crucial for us.”
The Finals will be shown in more than 200 countries by 85 broadcasters including ITV, Sky Sports, BBC digital channels and BT Sport in the UK, FOX Sports in the USA, Prosieben MAXX in Germany, Mediaset in Italy as well as Eurosport across most European Markets.
A full list of broadcasters can be found here.
PLEASE NOTE ALL TIMINGS ARE GMT
Saturday 18 December
1000 – 1200 GMT Qualifying Round 1
1300 – 1500 GMT Qualifying Round 2
Sunday 19 December
1000 – 1130 GMT Semi Finals
1200 – 1400 GMT Final
The former Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco has been appointed as the new RB Leipzig manager till 2023
(Football news) RB Leipzig have yet again appointed a young manager in the form of Domenico Tedesco as the club acted quickly after the departure of Jesse Marsch. The 36 year old who previously coached Schalke and Spartak Moscow, has signed a contract to 2023 and will be on the bench for their home against Borussia Moenchengladbach. He is a former youth coach at Hoffenheim and Stuttgart as the Italian-born Tedesco has limited Bundesliga experience having spent less than two seasons at Schalke but in those seasons he took them to Champions League also. This year he left Spartak Moscow.
Tedesco hasn't coached in the Bundesliga since he was fired by Schalke after a humiliating 7-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League. Schalke were subsequently relegated the season after he left the club as they finished bottom with just three wins in 34 games. After Schalke, Tedesco spent two seasons in Russia with Spartak Moscow where he helped them finish second in the 2020/21 season. RB Leipzig will be hoping he has the same impact as Nagelsmann as both base their game on the same footballing philosophy.
Domenico Tedesco was born in Italy and raised in Stuttgart in Germany, as he started his coaching career at the youth teams of VfB Stuttgart and Hoffenheim. His first major role in management was with second-tier side Erzgebirge Aue, before prompting Bundesliga side Schalke offered him the job that summer. Schalke had finished the 2016/17 campaign 10th as then club’s sporting director Heidel decided a change was required. Heidel is known for giving both Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel a start at Mainz, and this time he offered 31-year-old Tedesco his first top-flight experience. It was no surprise as Tedesco led Schalke to a second-place finish in his first season in charge, and in so doing helped them return to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in four years.
Domenico Tedesco has a huge task of guiding this young and exuberant side back to the top, currently RB Leipzig are suffering their worst starts since winning promotion back as they lie 11th in the table, although they won midweek against Man City, Tedesco needs to instill a certain playing style that the Red Bull franchises are known for. Tedesco’s gameplan often revolves around his defense as we saw with his Schalke team, in contrast to the high-intensity style that Leipzig fans have become accustomed too, as he needs to firstly find the proper balance in the team and mainly move them up the league table. Former Cologne coach Achim Beierlorzer, who was Marsch's assistant, was in temporary charge for Leipzig's 2-1 win over City, is now leaving the club. Tedesco will be allowed to bring his own coaching set up as well
Jonathan Ikone has reportedly reached an agreement to join Fiorentina in January
(Football news) According to reports, Fiorentina have reached an agreement with Lille for the transfer of Jonathan Ikoné with a baseline fee of €21m. The move will also see his former club Paris Saint-Germain receive between 45% and 50% of the fee as part of the sell-on clause in his 2018 transfer, as a result the league leaders will gain around €10m from this move. The 23-year-old Ligue 1 winner, who was under contract with LOSC until 2023, will now move to Italy in January, although the full details are still to be ironed out. Leipzig had also registered some interest in the number 10.
Jonathan Ikone was one of the key members in last year's title winning run for Lille, but this season the French international has often been a substitute this season, seeing his playing team reduced under Jocelyn Gourvennec and only appearing in 16 league matches. The 23 year old has made 143 appearances for Lille scoring 16 goals and assisting 25. The versatile attacker has established himself as one of Ligue 1’s most exciting talents since swapping his boyhood club Paris Saint-Germain for Lille back in the summer of 2018. Last season, the young Frenchman played a vital role to claim their first Ligue 1 title in 10 years for Lille, scoring four goals and providing five assists in 37 top-flight appearances.
Ikone is a player who doesn’t score many goals but provides an attacking threat from the right or even from the center, the four-cap France international has averaged 1.2 shots per league game in 2021/22, one key pass and 0.8 dribbles, placing him in the top-five amongst his teammates. Fiorentina have got themselves one of the most promising young French players in the squad and maybe the right move especially with Vlahovic still in the club. These can form a formidable duo and once Vlahovic leaves the club he might have the potential to replace him also.
Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire looking to end title drought next season
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw a lot of next gen players taking the centre stage as the older players struggled to get their form on court. There have been some players who have had a poor run this season which saw their rankings drop and though they are expected to hit back the critics next season, it is a sign of the dominance of the latest sensations on court. Given below are some of the players who couldn't get their mojo up and working.
Fabio Fognini: Italy
The 34 year old is the second oldest in the list but has won the most titles among the four. This season, he finished with 22 wins and 22 losses, his last title came 2 years ago at Monte Carlo Masters 1000. The Italian team was the runner up in the ATP Cup where Fognini won two matches out of four, he lost to Denis Novak of Austria who was ranked 100 at the time. Fognini began the year ranked 17 and ended the season ranked 37. He is known for his comebacks at the Grand Slams and usually has a powerful groundstroke with minor movement but his on court behaviour has been known to create issues. He was the world number 9 two years ago which remains his best till date.
Benoit Paire: France
Paire is known for his backhand drop shots which has a great amount of spin and his powerful forehand return of serve which has been measured upto 183 km/ hour. He has a huge swing for his forehand and a very unorthodox style of play, he is known to play it too casually sometimes. Paire won his last title in 2019 at Lyon and reached the finals at Auckland last year, but this year he hasn't been able to progress beyond the quarterfinals. Paire has played 43 matches this year in which he won 13 of them and was ranked at 28 at the start of the year, now he is in 46th position.
Adrian Mannarino: France
The only left hander in the list, Mannarino has a shorter swing than Fognini in his forehand but is also known for his backhand dropshots from the baseline. Mannarino most famous dropshot was in 2017 at Rome against Pablo Cuevas where he hit a backhand drop shot from the baseline which made a bounce on the other side of the court and spun back into his own court. Mannarino is a crafty left hander, his best finish this year came at Mallorca where he reached the semifinals. His first title came 2 years ago and then reached a final last year which was his 9th career runner up finish. This year he won 14 matches out of the 40 played which resulted in his ranking drop from 34 in the start of the year to 71 by the end of the season.
Grigor Dimitrov: Bulgaria
The only one handed backhand player in the list, Dimitrov played 42 matches this season in which he won 24 of them. His best run came at the Indian Wells where he reached the semifinals defeating Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Dimitrov started the year by reaching three consecutive quarterfinals, at the Australian Open he defeated Dominic Thiem in the fourth round even bageling the world number in the third set. After that his best winning streak was 2 matches for a few months until in San Diego and Indian Wells where he reached back to back semifinals. The Bulgarian last won a title in 2017 at the Nitto ATP Finals and last reached a final three years back at Rotterdam. Dimitrov started the year with a ranking of 19 and now is 28th, his career best ranking of 3 came four years back.
India to host Denmark for next Davis Cup tie in March
New Delhi, Dec 6 (Tennis news) India have got their first home Davis Cup tie since February 2019 as they have been pitted against Denmark in World Group I contest, scheduled for March 4-5 next year.
India travelled to Finland (2021), Croatia (2020) and Kazakhstan (2019, Pakistan tie) for their last three ties.
India hosted Italy at home in February 2019 and lost 1-3 in Kolkata.
Even though Denmark has a singles player in Holger Rune (103), who is higher-ranked than all the Indian players, it can still be considered a favourable draw for the hosts.
It will be the first tie between the two nations since September 1984 when India won 3-2 at Aarhus.
The two teams have not clashed much as the only other time they played was in 1927 when Denmark whitewashed India 5-0 in the quarterfinal in Copenhagen.
"Thank God, after many ties, we have got a home match. Previous two ties were tough for us, we played Croatia who made the Davis Cup finals. Then we played Finland and everyone thought Finland was an easy team, which was not the case," India coach Zeeshan Ali told PTI.
"India on paper are supposed to be a strong team but except Ramkumar Ramanathan, who is 190 in the world, we don't have anyone in top-200 in singles. We don't have anyone in top-100 for long.
"We were always underdogs but we always had the players to perform very well in Davis Cup but right now we are struggling, so whoever we are playing it's going to be a challenge," he said.
Zeeshan felt a lot would depend which players will be available for the tie.
"The last time we did not have our number one player with us, then Yuki was down with injury. If we have a full strength team, if Sumit is fit by March and Yuki is also available, we have a very good chance of beating Denmark in India," he said.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran (215) has dropped out of top-200 and Nagal, who recently took a break to undergo hip injury, is now ranked 218.
Ramkumar re-entered top-200 after winning a Challenger recently.
Also Read : Croatia’s Borna Gojo is amongst the best performers at the Davis Cup
news Source : PTI
Croatia’s Borna Gojo is amongst the best performers at the Davis Cup
(Tennis news) The Davis Cup came to an end yesterday as Russia triumphed over Croatia to win their third title. Even though Russia was the most powerful team, there were many others who played well above their expectations to give their country crucial points. Given below are some of the notable performances from the Davis Cup this year.
Borna Gojo: Croatia
Borna was arguably the hero for Croatia as the world number 279 was making his second appearance at the Davis Cup. He won three matches this time and three of them were against opponents ranked in the top 70. His best win came against Italy in the quarterfinals as he was up against world number 27 Lorenzo Sonego in the first match.
In the first set, Sonego was 4-1, 40-30 until Borna took three consecutive games to level the score. Sonego held his serve the next game as Borna did the same as it went to a tiebreaker and after more than an hour, Borna took the set. Sonego hit back in the second set but in the third set Borna took hold of an early break as he fell on the court when he won the match which was crucial for Croatia.
Feliciano Lopez: Spain
Feliciano Lopez was up against Andrey Rublev in the final match of Spain against Russia in group A. Lopez had made his ATP debut in 1997, a month before Andrey Rublev was born. Rublev was the favourite as he was a top ranked player who was known for his hard hitting while Lopez had to play the singles as their top three players could not play this time. The last time Lopez played a singles match was in 2019 against Edmund Kyle and the last time he won was in 2016 when he defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Lopez style is serve and volley which has died out in recent years and Rublev played from the baseline with his rocket shots. Lopez lost the first set but when the clock struck an hour, Lopez took the second one as his volleys kept getting better and Rublev could not find a way past him. In an hour and 45 minutes, Lopez gave Spain their first point in the tie but a surprise win for Russia in the doubles gave them the spot in the knockout phase.
Zsombor Piros: Hungary
Piros was playing in his third Davis Cup and had beaten John Millman in the opening tie against Australia. In the second tie, he was up against a much higher ranked opponent as Croatia’s Marin Cilic had experience too in his hand. Piros lost the first as his comeback was too late but in the next set his grunts kept getting louder and his shots were finding the target as the scores were level. In the third set, it looked over for Piros as he was down 1-4 but took the next five games in one of the best matches at the tournament.
Mikhail Kukushkin: Kazakhstan
Kukushkin has been representing Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup since 2008. Kukushkin had lost the first match in the group stage against Sweden but won the second one as the team progressed into the quarterfinals against Serbia. Kukushkin was up against Mimoir Kecmanovic who was ranked more than 100 places above him, Kukushkin took the opening set and was leading 4-2 in the second until Kecmanovic took the next four games to deny him a straight set win.
In the final set, Kecmanovic took a 5-3 lead and had two match points which Kukushkin saved like a true tennis veteran and went to save another two. After 3 hours and 23 points in the final set tie breaker, Kukushkin finally won the match to give Kazakhstan an edge over Serbia but lost the doubles match as it couldn’t enter the last four.
Russia seals semifinal spot with victory over Sweden in Davis Cup
(Tennis news) Russia seems to be having no trouble as of now as they only needed 3 hours to beat Sweden for a place in the semifinal of the Davis Cup. Russia didn’t have to play the third rubber as the doubles team can get the maximum rest, Andrey Rublev looked a bit out of form in the second and third set in the opening match as he was stretched by Elias Ymer who is 166 places below him. In the second match, Daniil Medvedev beat Mikael Ymer in just over an hour as Mikael even broke the World number 2 a couple of times but did not pose a major issue.
The results were as expected in both the matches but Rublev survived a scare in the second and third set. In the first set, Elias was aided by huge forehands as he took a 2-1 lead but an unforced error in the 4th game prevented him from breaking Rublev who seized the opportunity with 5 consecutive games to take the set. In the second set, Rublev was down 0-2 as Elias played like a top 50 player with quality groundstrokes to keep the Russian camp at bay.
Rublev leveled the scores with powerful serves and even went on to take a 5-3 lead as victory was just a game away but Elias took the next four games to take the set. Elias even hit service return winners as Rublev had no answer in the last few rallies of the set, Elias tested Rublev even more in the final set as both players held their serves which called for a tie breaker. In the tie break it was Rublev who had a good start and kept the momentum going his ball striking made Elias exhausted. With a backhand unforced error, it was the end of the first tie as Rublev secured victory as Russia got its first point of the match.
In the second match Medvedev faced Mikael who has been quite a player this year with a runner up finish at Winston Salem and had defeated Frances Tiafoe, Albert Ramos Vinolas on the way. Mikael also defeated Carlos Alcaraz twice this year and reached the third round at French Open and Australian Open. But in the tie against Medvedev, Mikael was down 1-3 in the first set until he won the next three games to take a one game lead over him. Medevedev took the next game to seal the first set and in the second set saw Mikael down with a 0-3 lead. Mikael fought back with two back to back games with frequent visits to the net which worked well and in the end Medvedev raced for a third straight win at the event.
Russia defeated Sweden 2-0
Rublev defeated Elias 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(7-3), Medvedev defeated Mikael 6-4, 6-4.
The first semi final will take place today between Serbia and Croatia. Serbia had to play all the three matches against Kazakhstan in the quarterfinal as Novak Djokovic won the singles and doubles to confirm the semi final place. Miomir Kecmanović will play a major part as his victory will give the team enough confidence as Djokovic showed his supremacy in the previous match and will be able to do it again. As for Croatia, their doubles team of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic have won the last three matches but will need Marin Cilic to be in form and Borna Gojo will have to play like how he played against Italy. Predicted score is 2-0 or 2-1 for Serbia.
Also read: Novak Djokovic wins back to back matches to push Serbia into the semifinals at Davis Cup, Russia faces Sweden in quarterfinals
Maurizio Sarri is expected to sign a contract extension till 2025 for Lazio
(Football news) Maurizio Sarri has reportedly reached an agreement with President Claudio Lotito to stay at Lazio till 2025, but he expects the club to invest in the transfer market. Sarri, who arrived at the Olimpico ahead of 2021-22 season is expected to pen a new deal until June 2025 with the club or a deal until June 2024 with an option for a further year extension. The former Scudetto and Europa League winner with Juventus and Chelsea has been assigned the task to bring back the glory days and finally compete in the forefront for Lazio.
Sarri’s current contract costs around €11 million gross on the budget around €6 million net in the two-year period and with the renewal, the figures would rise past €20 million gross in total. Claudio Lotito wants Sarri to instill his playing philosophy in the team as he believes in his capability and experience. The first thing promised by him is to invest in the squad, the Lazio squad lacks quality and it is not upto the standards of the big teams in Serie A. Although having a weakened squad Lazio have produced clinical performances against the likes of Inter and AS Roma.
Lazio are currently 8th in Serie A and are 10 points behind Atalanta at fourth, as the coach has targeted some players in the transfer market. According to reports in Italy, he is looking for a new full-back, goalkeeper and a striker to support Ciro Immobile. Sarri would like to instill his playing style in Lazio but he hasn’t been able to do that, mostly because he hasn’t got the right personnel in the team. This season, Lazio are having a topsy turvy start as they have lost five matches and won six matches only, as they currently have 21 points from 15 matches.
Maurizio Sarri when asked about his contract extension said, “I always want to win games, However, the difficulties are evident. In the three games after the national break, we scored three points. We also scored a few points after the Europa League. If you look at normal games, on the other hand, we have a very high average. It’s not an easy problem in today’s football, because unlike in the past, we always play every three days. It’s not a tactical problem, but a mental and unconscious problem. The nervous system is discharged.
“On Sunday, we already knew we were going to lose during the warm-up. It was evident. It gave me a sense of frustration. You need to have clear ideas. Liverpool didn’t win immediately with Klopp. The first year they finished 11th and eighth in the second. We need a broader view. I’m not Klopp, that’s clear. The problem is not tactical. The team is passive, and you lose, tactics don’t matter. We need to recharge after a tiring moment and in this moment, we sometimes succeed, others not. I have never talked about names to the club, just mentioned the needs. In my opinion, you need to sit down and plan two or three transfer markets ahead. You can’t stand in the window looking for opportunities.”
Serie A: AC Milan and Inter Milan both win as they close the gap to Napoli at the top of the table after their disappointing draw
(Football news) AC Milan bounced back in style as they defeated Genoa 3-0. Milan came into the game looking for an important victory after back-to-back league losses to Fiorentina and Sassuolo as they took control early when Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired home a 10th-minute free kick just before half-time as Junior Messias pounced on a deflected shot to send a looping header over Salvatore Sirigu fingertips. In the second half, Brahim Diaz teed up Messias in the box for his second goal of the game and third in two games for Milan as he neatly placed the finish into the bottom corner. Messias continues a remarkable career journey that has gone from delivering fridges to now becoming a star in Milan, he moved to Italy from Brazil in 2011 and initially managed playing amateur football with a job of delivering fridges before slowly climbing up the football ladder. With this result AC Milan moved within a point of Napoli at the top of the table as they have 35 points from 15 matches.
“Today I did the best I could. These guys make me enjoy myself and make me feel young.Unfortunately we lost the last two games but the season is still long. There are ups and downs over the years,”Ibrahimovic said.
Inter Milan continued their amazing form as they beat Spezia 2-0. The champions took a deserved lead after 36 minutes when Gagliardini met Martinez's backheel flick to sweep home a well placed finish. Inter wasted a lot of chances as Joaquin Correa rattled the underside of the crossbar before Martinez calmly dispatched his penalty in the 58th minute following a handball in the penalty box. Inter stayed on 34 points in third, one behind AC Milan in second and two behind leaders Napoli.
“We did what we needed to, which is to win at home, but the pitch wasn't in a good state. We struggled to play our game, we hope it improves. We are fighting for important things, the pitch must be at its best." Martinez said after the match.
Juventus went back to winning ways as they won 2-0 against Salernitana, in the first half Dybala fired Juve in front in the 21st minute after his shot went in the bottom corner, but Salernitana were close to an equaliser when Luca Ranieri hit the post after the break. In the second half Juve asserted their dominance as Alvaro Morata came off the bench and doubled his side's lead by flicking a cross through the goalkeeper's legs in the 70th minute. With this result Juventus remain seventh with 24 points from 15 games, seven points away from the top four and 11 behind leaders Napoli, while Salernitana are bottom of the league with eight points.
“Juventus has given so much to all of us and there are moments in life when it is time to give back. Now we need to stay close to this club, and we will come out of it together," Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini said after the match.
Napoli couldn’t extend their lead at the top as they drew 2-2 against a spirited Sassuolo side. Luciano Spalletti's side looked set to maintain their three-point lead at the top, second-half strikes from Dries Mertens and Fabian Ruiz put Napoli in a comfortable position, but a superb goal from Gianluca Scamacca on the half volley with 19 minutes remaining put the hosts back in the game before Gian Marco Ferrari snatched a draw in the final minutes with a bullet header. Sassuolo thought they had won right at the end, in which Spalletti was sent off when Gregiore Defrel slotted home a powerful shot but the referee was called to check a Domenico Berardi foul on Amir Rrahmani as VAR ruled out the goal. With this result AC Milan are just one point behind in second and Inter Milan are two points behind in third following their respective wins over Genoa and Spezia.
"It would have been a shame not to draw a match that I think we played on equal footing with Napoli, we kept playing at 2-0 and we deserved to draw," said Sassuolo coach Alessio Dionisi
"He (Ruiz) is having issues as is Koulibaly ,It'll be difficult to get them back in time, but we'll see because we have good doctors here” Spalletti said after the game.
Also read: Premier League: Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea secure three points to keep title race in the balance
The other results were:
- Fiorentina 3 (Callejon, Vlahovic, Sottil) - 1 Sampdoria (Gabbiadini)
- Atalanta 4 (Pasalic x3, Koopmeiners) - 0 Venezia
- Bologna 1 (Svanberg) - 0 AS Roma
- Verona 0 - 0 Cagliari
Croatia cruises into semifinals at Davis Cup, Britain to face Germany for semi final berth
(Tennis news) Croatia became the first team this year to qualify for the semifinals of the Davis Cup as they beat Italy in a highly tense quarterfinal. Italy was expected to go through the last four but found trouble from the start as world number 279 Borna Gojo got the first point for Croatia with a win over Lorenzo Sonego who is ranked almost 250 places above him. Jannik Sinner kept the team alive with a three set win over Marin Cilic as the youngster played through the pressure and proved how much he has grown over the past few months.
In the final match, Croatia had the advantage as their doubles pair were the best in the world and they did what they were supposed to do. Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic won the tie for Croatia and did not even face a breakpoint in the match. The loss in the first tie against Borna proved to be too costly for the Italians as their singles players were all top ranked and experienced. Croatia had the doubles tie sorted as it was the singles which were a concern but Borna turned it all round for the team. Croatia were the first unseeded nation to win the Davis Cup when they defeated Slovakia in 2005. Their second title came in 2018 when they defeated France and now they have a chance to win a third one.
Croatia defeated Italy 2-1
Borna Gojo defeated Lorenzo Sonego 7-6(7-2), 2-6, 6-2, Sinner defeated Cilic 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 6-3, Mektic and Pavic defeated Sinner and Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4,
Great Britain will face Germany in the next quarterfinals today. 10 time champions Britain are the favourites to progress into the semifinals as they have higher ranked singles and doubles players. Cameron Norrie and Daniel Evans will spearhead the singles team for Britain as Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski will be looking to win the doubles tie. For the Germans, they have won the title three times and had lost at the same stage to the same team in 2018. Jan-Lennard Struff is leading the singles tie along with Dominik Koepfer but their doubles pair did the trick against Austria as they won the final tie. The pair of Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz will once again try to push the team when they are up against a spirited opponent.
The expected score will be 3-0 or 2-1 for Britain but will be an upset if Germany scrapes through. Norrie is the highest ranked player in both the teams and his win will provide a good chance as their doubles pair are also the favourites. With Croatia's result against Italy now an upset in the singles will be a huge motivating factor for Krawietz and Puetz as Jan-Lennard or Dominik will have to pull off something sensational for the team to enter the last four.
Also read: Russia end hopes for defending champion Spain in Davis Cup, Kazakhstan reaches quarterfinals
Russia end hopes for defending champion Spain in Davis Cup, Kazakhstan reaches quarterfinals
(Tennis news) Defending champions Spain’s run came to an end as powerhouse Russia sealed their place into the Davis Cup quarterfinals. Russia had won the title back in 2002, 2006 and are now in contention for a third title; they had lost the semifinals in 2019 to Canada. Feliciano Lopez did inspire the team in the opening tie as he beat world number five Andrey Rublev in the opening tie but it proved to be insufficient as Daniil Medvedev beat Pablo Carreno Busta to bring back the game for Russia. In the final match, Rublev and Aslan Karatsev beat Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers to progress into the last eight. Lopez had played the singles in both their ties and won both of them even though he did not expect to win especially against Rublev.
“This is above any expectations to be honest,” Lopez said. “For me, it is just amazing to be representing my country at 40 years old. I did not expect to play singles, but we had some issues, so I took that role. Today, playing against Andrey, World No. 5, at this stage in my career in my hometown, is above my expectations.”
Russia defeated Spain 2-1
Lopez defeated Rublev 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, Medevedev defeated Carreno Busta 6-2, 7-6(7-3), Rublev and Karatsev defeated Lopez and Granollers 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Kazakhstan reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 as it won all of its matches against Canada. Mikhail Kukushkin started the tie with a win over Brayden Schnur as trick shot enthusiast Alexander Bublik confirmed the victory when he won his match against Vasek Pospisil. In the final doubles match, Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov made it three out of three as they beat Peter Polansky and Brayden.
Kazakhstan defeated Canada 3-0
Kukushkin defeated Brayden 6-3, 6-7 (5-7) , 7-5, Bublik defeated Pospisil 6-2, 7-6 (8-6), Golubev and Nedovyesov defeated Polansky and Brayden 6-4, 6-7 (8-6), 6-1.
Croatia also secured their place into the quarterfinals with a hard fought victory over Hungary. Nino Serdarusic gave the team a good start by winning the first tie but Zsombor Piros played one of the best matches this year to upset Marin Cilic to take the second one. In the final match, the pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic proved they are the world number one as they beat Fabian Marozsan and Peter Nagy to march into the quarterfinals.
Croatia defeated Hungary 2-1
Serdarusic defeated Marozsan 6-4, 6-4, Zsombor defeated Cilic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, Mektic and Pavic defeated Marozsan and Nagy 7-6(8-6), 6-2.
Russia vs Sweden, Britain vs Germany, Italy vs Croatia, Serbia vs Kazakhstan
Portugal and Italy drawn in same World Cup playoff with only one set to qualify for Qatar
(Football news) With the 2022 Qatar World Cup just being a year away, Euro 2020 winners Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will be hoping to qualify for the ultimate stage in international football through the play-offs where only three teams from 12 will earn their ticket to the Middle East. However, as it turns out that only one of the two heavyweight nations will book their place at next year’s World Cup as both the teams have been drawn in the same qualifying playoffs bracket.
The format is such that out of the 12 teams, 10 of which finished as runners up have been split into three teams of four with a semifinal and final played amongst them. The winning team from each path is guaranteed qualification for the World Cup in Qatar which means that either Italy or Portugal will not be eligible for the tournament. The reigning European champions Italy and the 2016 European Champions Portugal will play their home games against North Macedonia and Turkey and if both were to defeat them, they will face each other in the final.
Not being able to qualify for a World Cup would be a disaster for either of the teams as four times World Champions Italy had already failed to qualify for the 2018 iteration in Russia, missing out on the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. Moreover, Roberto Mancini’s team is the current Euro 2020 champions and would undoubtedly be one of the favourites to win if they do qualify. For Portugal, it would probably be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last opportunity to win the World Cup as the Portuguese superstar will be 37 years old by the time the World Cup begins. He will undoubtedly want the ultimate footballing glory at least once in his career before he hangs up his boots.
One thing is for sure, it will be a loss for both fans and the players as one of the European heavyweights will fail to qualify for a tournament as prestigious as the World Cup. Both teams have the potential to win the Jules Rimet Trophy and for many players in the Italy and Portugal squads, it would be their last opportunity to do so. What we do know is if both the sides were to meet in the finals of ‘Path C’, they will give their all to qualify for the World Cup.
Feliciano Lopez and Carreno Busta deliver as Spain begins title defence with victory at Davis Cup
(Tennis news) Spain had lost three crucial players before the start of the match at the Davis Cup but 40 year old Feliciano Lopez gave Spain exactly what it needed as he put the first point on the scoreboard when he beat Roberto Quiroz in straight sets. Next, it was the turn of Tokyo Olympics Singles bronze medalist Pablo Carreno Busta who had a tougher battle than his team mate, he lost the first set and could not end the match early onto the third set as a tiebreaker brought things to a conclusion.
In the doubles, Busta and Marcel Granollers gave them their third and final victory in a match which lasted for almost 3 hours as it also had two tiebreaks. Spain is up against a tough Russian team on 28th November.
Spain defeated Ecuador 3-0
Lopez defeated Quiroz 6-3, 6-3, Busta defeated Emilio Gomez 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), Busta and Marcel Granollers defeated Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 7-6(7-2).
Italy’s youngsters were on fire as they won both their singles rubber to confirm victory over USA. The first match was a clash between world number 26 Reily Opelka and world number 27 Lorenzo Sonego but it was the Italian who gave the perfect start as he defeated Opelka in straight sets. In the second match, Jannik Sinner had played at the Nitto ATP Finals a few days earlier and paid no heed to size as John Isner was bageled in the second set to confirm victory for the Italians.
In the doubles match, US Open winner Rajeev Ram paired with former US Open winner Jack Sock as they got a consolation point by defeating Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti. Italy will next play against Colombia today.
Italy defeated USA 2-1
Sonego defeated Opelka 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), Sinner defeated Isner 6-2, 6-0, Rajeev and Jack defeated Fognini and Musetti 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Captain Viktor Trovicki would not have expected any other result from Serbia as they won all the three matches against Austria. Austria was missing the company of injured Dominic Thiem who went out the season early and it did reflect on the team. Dusan Lajovic played a long match against Gerlad Melzer as two of the sets needed an hour to settle when he finally gave Serbia its first point. In the second match, Novak Djokovic did the complete opposite as he closed out two sets under an hour to confirm victory for Serbia and in the doubles the pair of Nikola Cacic and Filip Krajinovic added the finishing touches. Serbia is up against Germany today.
Serbia defeated Austria 3-0
Lajovic defeated Melzer 7-6(7-5), 3-6, 7-5, Djokovic defeated Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2, Cacic and Krajinovic defeated Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald 7-6(7-4), 4-6, 6-3.
Daniil Medvedev leading a strong Russian team at the Davis Cup
(Tennis news) With the end of the ATP season, the Davis Cup will be starting today as players get ready to represent their countries on court. It will be held in Madrid, Innsbruck and Turin with a total of 6 groups where each group will comprise three countries, it will be a round robin format at first and then will proceed to the knockout stages. The final is scheduled to be held in Madrid. The event is being held after a year’s gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled last year’s event, in 2019 Spain defeated Canada in the final to win their 6th title.
Each tie will consist of two singles and one doubles match and it will be best of three sets. The top players are expected to play as defending champion Spain will be without Rafael Nadal although Carlos Alacarz will be making his debut for the team along with Jannik Sinner who will play for Italy.
At the top of the singles for Britain is Cameron Norrie, the 26 year old is 12th in the World Rankings after winning the ATP Masters 1000 in the Indian Wells. The left-hander had made an unbelievable comeback from two sets to beat Roberto Bautista Agut on his Davis Cup debut in 2018. If Norrie can live up to his potential, he will lead the attack along with world number 25 Dan Evans, doubles specialist Joe Salisbury who made the doubles at the ATP Finals in Turin and Neal Skupski.
Russia has one of the top players in their team as Daniil Medvedev will spearhead the attack along with Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev and Evan Donskoy. Khachanov and Karatsev have not been in top form in recent months which means Medvedev along with Rublev will be expected to bring crucial points in singles. The team had won the ATP Cup at the start of the season.
USA will open their tie with tough competitors Italy as both the teams have the top players. Sinner, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti will battle against John Isner, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in addition to Rajeev Ram in the doubles match.
Colombia made their entry after defeating Argentina as doubles pair of Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal will lead the attack as the singles players are all ranked out of the top 100 and their experience is also very limited. There will be three matches as each group will start out their day in respective venues.
Serie A: Juventus face a tough test away to Lazio as both Napoli and AC Milan will look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season
(Football news) With the international fixtures all done and dusted, Italian football is back with some mouthwatering fixtures. Juventus will hope that the international break acts like a blessing in disguise as they will want to go on a string of positive results but it won’t be easy as they face their former manager Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio. The fight at the summit of the table is intensifying, with both Napoli and AC Milan are level on points and just separated on goal difference.
Juventus face Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico with both teams sitting outside the top four as it will be an intriguing watch to see which manager comes out on top. While the fifth-placed hosts have been undermined by inconsistency, Juve trail Lazio by three points and three places in the standings after a miserable first 12 matches of the domestic campaign. For Lazio, their talisman Ciro Immobile will be sidelined for this crucial encounter as he has got a calf injury, while Pedro also might be out after spraining his ankle. For Juventus they have to be without Rodrigo Bentancur and Giorgio Chiellini, but one positive for the Juve fans is that Paulo Dybala’s injury does not seem to be serious as he can start off the bench.
Juventus Vice-President Pavel Nedved said, “it was time to rejuvenate the squad’ at the Allianz Stadium. We aim to be competitive in Italy and Europe. We won for many years, and it was time to rejuvenate the squad – Juventus. With the right mix of experienced players like [Gianluigi] Buffon, [Giorgio Chiellini] and [Leonardo] Bonucci, and young players like Chiesa and De Ligt.We have tried to build the present and the future of the club, with the aim of being competitive in Italy and in Europe, to continue winning.”
Fiorentina host AC Milan at the Artemio Franchi as Dusan Vlahovic comes up against his idol Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Rossoneri have won 10 of their 12 league games following a Milan derby draw, while Fiorentina have been inconsistent as they have both won and lost half of their fixtures. Milan could become the second team in Serie A history to win 16 away games in a single calendar year after Napoli racked up 18 away wins four years ago. They are also one of just two sides yet to lose a single point from a winning position in Serie A so far this term. For Fiorentina, they will be without their star defender Nikola Milenkovic as he picked up a red card against Juventus, Lorenzo Venuti and Gaetano Castrovilli are the injury concerns for La Viola. For Milan Samu Castillejo, Junior Messies and Mike Maignan are long term injuries as Theo Hernandez also looks doubtful for the clash.
Vlahovic told the broadcaster, “I certainly like Ibra more for his character and the desire to never give up . He never allowed anyone to command him, then the monstrous plays… Let’s leave it. When we lost 3-2 in Florence, I took advantage of the fact that he might not be very angry and asked him for the shirt. He signed it for me, we took a photo and wrote the dedication in our language. He told me to continue and never give up. I’m not very good at speaking when I meet an idol.”
Current Serie A leader Napoli face their tough test this season as they face Inter at the San Siro. In 34 head-to-head encounters between the two sides, the record is fairly even. Inter Milan have won 12 games, lost 13 and drawn nine. For Simone Inzaghi’s side this is an opportunity to close the gap between the runaway leaders as they can cut down the lead to 4 points if they win the fixture. For Inter they are going through a mini injury crisis with Edin Dzeko among those who looked to be out but who should be at least be available in the matchday squad, they will missing centre back Stefan De Vrij as he will be replaced by Alessandro Bastoni who apparently has recovered from his muscle injury, Lautaro Martinez is another doubt for this fixture. For Napoli, they will have Kalidou Koulibaly back following his suspension for a red card as Luciano Spaletti will have a full squad to choose from.
The other fixtures are:
- Atalanta vs Spezia
- Verona vs Empoli
- Genoa vs Roma
- Bologna vs Venezia
- Sassuolo vs Cagliari
- Torino vs Udinese
Pramod Bhagat, Sukant Kadam register easy wins
Kampala Nov 18 (Badminton news) World number one Pramod Bhagat defeated Deada Jean Yves Yao from Ivory Coast in under 22 minutes in the Uganda International Para Badminton tournament here on Thursday.
This was his second win in the singles SL3 category. The score read 21-13 21-9.
The ace shuttler also won his mixed doubles match where he partnered Palak Kohli. The pair defeated India's Shanthiya Viswanathan and Uganda's Bashir Mutyaba in straight sets 21-11 21 12.
In SL3 classification, athletes with lower limb impairment compete.
Sukant Kadam, in SL4 category, did not break a sweat in beating Nigeria's Ousmane Habi Adamou in 18 minutes. The world number five breezed past his opponent to win 21-4 21-5 in straight games.
He along with Jyothi Jyothi also won their first mixed doubles round against Italy's Davide Posenato and Rosa Efomo De Marco 22-20 21-17. The match lasted for 29 minutes.
Also Read : BWF gives Prakash Padukone lifetime achievement award
News Source : PTI
FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: France and Belgium ease their way into Qatar 2022 as Netherlands win against Norway
(Football news) France comfortably made it into next year's World Cup after a 2-0 victory over Finland. On the other hand Finland missed out on playoff position after Ukraine won 2-0 against Bosnia Herzegovina. For France it was a straightforward victory as substitute Benzema combined with Mbappe for the first goal in the 66 minute, the provider of the first goal then got into the act after Mbappe curled a glorious strike into the far corner, this was Mbappe’s fifth goal in two matches for France. Reigning world champions France have now scored in their last 18 games, matching a record that dates back to 1999-2000. With this result France finished the Group with 18 points, 6 points clear of Ukraine.
"We wanted to finish on a high and we're happy we did it. Now we're looking forward to the World Cup. With the team we have it's natural to think about (winning) it”, said Benzema
Belgium already secured their qualification last match week, drawing 1-1 against Wales, who will go into the playoffs in order to qualify for Qatar 2022. Roberto Martinez handed a lot of debuts as Kevin De Bruyne silenced the home team at 12 minutes after he scored a beautifully curled goal but Wales levelled shortly after the half an hour mark when Daniel James cross evaded everyone and found Kiefer Moore who took a touch and scored. As it transpired, the draw was enough to seal what could be a crucial home advantage in March's play-off semi-finals. Wales had already guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their success in the Nations League, and their point against Belgium was enough to secure second spot in Group E despite the third-place Czech Republic's win over Estonia.
“When the crowd is behind us like it was tonight, we'll take on anyone. I was a blubbering wreck in the huddle with the players at full-time – a very emotional time for me. We're not done yet, we're dreaming of a World Cup but it's definitely achievable.We're always going to miss Gareth Bale but there's so much he brings to this team off the pitch too, just having him around the dressing room.I couldn't be prouder. I was very emotional at the end. We'll go against anyone at home. We respect the teams but we don't fear anyone. Bring it on. To be part of a World Cup would be unbelievable.'' said boss Page
Netherlands won 2-0 against Norway, which was a costly loss as they missed out on a playoff spot to Turkey. Netherlands on the other hand booked their place at the World Cup after missing out on the last two editions. Two late goals from Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay made sure that this time around they topped the group and earned automatic qualification. Norway have not qualified for the finals of a World Cup since France 1998, while they have not reached a European Championship since 2000. As a result Turkey now have the chance to qualify after a 2-1 comeback win over Montenegro
Also read:FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: Kane drives England to Qatar as Italy suffered a shock draw and will have to play in the playoff
The other significant results were:
Montenegro 1 (Beciraj) - 2 Turkey (Akturkoglu, Kokcu)
Bosnia 0 - 2 Ukraine (Zinchenko, Dovbyk)
Czech Republic 2 (Brabec, Sykora) - 0 Estonia
The awareness in sports medicine is increasing but a lot of improvement is required - Dr. Aashish Contractor
Sports medicine is an integral but an often underappreciated aspect of the sporting industry, especially in India where in comparison to other aspects of the medical field, it’s still finding its own feet but is quickly growing with the rise of sporting leagues in the country. To know more about sports science and medicine, Dr. Aashish Contractor, Director: Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital spoke exclusively to SPOGO about how the industry has grown over the years, it’s accessibility across all levels of sport, the awareness of sports medicine amongst athletes, adopting practices from the western world and much more!
Q 1) Please share your view on sports medicine in India? Has sporting leagues / participation in sports, helped in bringing some much needed attention to the industry?
Firstly, it’s important to realize that when we use the word sports medicine, it actually covers a very large area of services. Traditionally, people view sports medicine as if somebody gets injured, the treatment of that injury is sports medicine. While that is definitely one aspect of sports medicine, it’s certainly not the only aspect and it’s very limiting to think of it in those terms. Sports medicine, or rather a better terminology is sports science and medicine tends to also include things like sports physiology (exercise physiology), biomechanics, nutrition, strength and conditioning, sports psychology and all of this falls under the broad umbrella of sports medicine with sports injuries being just one aspect of it.
If we look at this broad array of sports medicine, certainly there is no question that its presence is increasing in India over the last few decades and it’s getting unquestionably more and more. When defined in those terms, the sports medicine industry is growing. The presence of sporting leagues has definitely brought some much needed attention to the industry. Starting with the IPL, the emphasis on fitness, strength and conditioning, nutrition, psychology has definitely increased. Obviously, the IPL is the major league in the country but as the other leagues are coming up they are also helping in spreading the movement.
Q2) How has the sports medicine industry grown over the years and how do you envision it to evolve in the future?
Sports injury physiotherapy has been around there for a long time and has been constantly evolving as it is getting more sophisticated. The other services have home grown professionals and even today a large majority are those who have worked and returned from Western countries, but now more courses are offered in India as there is rapid interest growing in the local market.
Q 3) According to you, what is the reason athletes travel abroad for treatment, is it because we lack the infrastructure or we do not have adequate experienced doctors to cater to the sports medicine segment? Is anything being done to rectify the issues?
From what I see, athletes are usually travelling abroad for surgeries. There are surgeons who specialise in certain surgeries and the volume of sports speciality surgery is higher in the west. Surgery is done specially for sports, but today there are skilled surgeons across India and the need for athletes to travel abroad for surgeries has lessened. In terms of sports, the number of orthopedic doctors have increased a lot over the past decade.
Q 4) What must be done to ensure sports medicine is accessible to athletes across all levels, especially the grassroots?
Wherever the government and it's authorities are involved, they at the very least need to have a good sports physio with emphasis being on the term 'very least'. It's been a bit of a chicken and egg situation in the past where there have been individuals who haven't been trained properly and because of that the services weren't utilised. Other side of it is where because the services weren't asked for, people didn't get trained. I think all of that is changing, as more trained people are available, services will be more accessible and the cost factor will also drop.
Q 5) Do you think there is enough knowledge and information amongst the athletes, about the need of sports medicine, as this is a critical component of any athletes’ performance lifecycle?
It's a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion. Today most athletes certainly recognise the benefits and requirement of having a physio as a part of their team. In the other aspects of sports medicine it is certainly growing. It could've been more but it is growing.
Q 6) Currently, Italy is said to have the best public pre-medical screenings with athletes needing to obtain periodical certification of eligibility to compete in sports. Do you think a similar practice needs to be widely adopted in India across sports?
The Italy screening is always been an area of debate in the sports medicine world, there is an European camp which tends to believe in screening and using in ECG’s, whereas Italy is unique because they use ECG’s for everyone from high school formal teams and upwards, the thing is that it is not the same in certain parts of Europe and completely different in America. There has been a controversy that doing this will save lives or in the long run it is not safe and may cut so many careers short. The thing that happens is that when you see the abnormalities on the ECG, you then tend to do further testing and there are some other abnormalities you can live with or some of them you have to get treated. I think today on a country wide level we need good screening programs and protocols, it is not necessary we follow the Italian method of screening, we can follow an Indian model as well.
Q 7) Recently, footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during a Euros group stage match and was resuscitated by a defibrillator. Do sporting events in India also ensure such medical equipment is accessible in case of emergencies and if not, why?
The awareness is certainly increasing and as far as I know the major events have medical equipment that include ambulances and defibrillators, in the smaller events it is non-existent but the main goal is to raise awareness and personally I’m trying to get medical equipment in the well known clubs at least. To answer your question, yes, the awareness is increasing but a lot of improvement is required.
England set to join Norway, Germany and the Netherlands to protest against Qatar 2022 World Cup
(Football news) The Qatar 2022 World Cup has been marred by controversy ever since the country was announced as a host on 2nd December 2010. There have been allegations of bribery to FIFA officials amounting to an estimated $880 million in secret deals to the human rights violations. Moreover, the World Cup is traditionally held in the summer months but with temperatures in Qatar reaching upto 50 °C (122 °F), the 2022 edition will be held in the months of November and December, resulting in a complete overhaul of club calendars for the year as the international tournament will take place in the middle of the domestic seasons.
According to a media report, an estimated 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka have lost their lives in Qatar during the preparations for the 2022 World Cup with harsh working conditions, wage abuse, lack of rights to migrant workers cited as some other factors that have resulted in protests amongst international football teams against the World Cup. Despite Qatar’s government telling Al Jazeera that they have made several reforms over the years to improve working conditions and labour rights, it has done little to pacify many who are appalled by the death toll and the state of affairs leading to the tournament.
Amnesty International have sent a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, asking the football authority to use its leverage against the Qatari authorities to end the abuse of migrant workers. The Netherlands national team have publicly expressed support for the migrant workers by wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Football supports change”. The Norwegian players wore t-shirts stating “HUMAN RIGHTS” and “On and off the pitch”. The German team wore black shirts, each with a single letter that spelled “HUMAN RIGHTS” when they stood together.
In August 2020, Qatar announced changes to the labour law, including removing the need for an NOC - requiring the employers permission to switch jobs and said it has “always been transparent about the health and safety of workers”. A spokesperson said “Since construction [of stadiums] began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths,” a representative said. “The SC [organising committee] has investigated each case, learning lessons to avoid any repeat in the future.”
Qatar’s Government Communication Office (GCO) in a statement said that the country “has made substantial progress on labour reforms and it continues to work with NGOs… to ensure that these reforms are far-reaching and effective. We have improved health and safety standards for workers, strengthened the capacity of labour inspectors… increased the penalties for companies that violate the law.” With England having qualified for the 2022 World Cup, Gareth Southgate’s players are also expected to join the Netherlands, Norway and Germany players by expressing solidarity with the migrant workers.
FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: Kane drives England to Qatar as Italy suffered a shock draw and will have to play in the playoffs
(Football news) England secured a safe passage to Qatar 2022 as they routed San Marino 10-0, this was the first time that England hit double figures in a competitive game. England's captain Harry Kane scored all four goals in the first half including two penalties, to move his international goal tally to 48 which is tied with Gary Lineker and only five goals away from Wayne Rooney to become the country’s all time leading goal scorer. Kane finished 2021 with 16 goals for England which is also a national record for a calendar year. Goals from Harry Maguire, Emile Smith Rowe, Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, Bukayo Saka and an own goal from Filippo Fabbri sealed a historic win for the three Lions. With this result England finished on top of Group I with 26 points, six points clear of second place Poland on 20 points.
"Fantastic. It came to the last game and we were expected to win tonight but we've done a good job. Fantastic to go through," the 28-year-old Kane said
England coach Gareth Southgate said, “If we left him for another half an hour, we would have had Wayne Rooney's family on the phone. He is a phenomenal goal scorer. We wanted to give him the chance tonight and he took it well. We cannot do anything about the level of opposition, but the mentality and the way they applied themselves was terrific.”
Northern Ireland produced a spirited performance against the European Champions Italy to deny them an automatic qualification spot as they drew 0-0. Now subsequently Italy will have to qualify for Qatar 2022 the hard way as they are into the playoffs, Italy knew that they had to win after Switzerland beat Bulgaria 4-0 as the Jorginho penalty miss will hurt even more. The Azzurri's were not at their usual best, they were missing captain Giorgio Chiellini, first choice striker Ciro Immobile and key midfielder Marco Verratti but Italy still had a lot of match winners on the field. The Italians hardly created any clear cut opportunities as they kept bumping against a green and white wall. With this disappointing draw Switzerland topped the group C with 18 points as Italy finished second with 16 points.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini after the match said, “We can't do anything about it now, we have this game in March and will try to give our best. At the moment we are struggling to score goals, despite dominating possession. Northern Ireland put everyone in defence and we struggle to break sides like that down.We missed two penalties in the two key matches, that means that we had things under our control, but if you don't create chances you're going to find yourself in difficulty, I have faith, let's see in March, but we might even win it”
Switzerland against all odds stamped their ticket to Qatar 2022 after a 4-0 win against Bulgaria. In the first half, Switzerland dominated from the get go but couldn’t really score before half time but in the second half Noah Okafor converted with a header after Xherdan Shaqiri found him with a inch perfect cross, the second goal came in the 57th minute after Ruben Vargas lashed home a finish at the near post, and two late goals from Cedric Itten and Remo Freluer capped of an historical night in Lucerne.
Shaqiri said, “It's like a dream for me in my 100th game for Switzerland," an excited Shaqiri told reporters. “I have to pay a big compliment to the team. We believed in it, we went into this match with confidence. Seldom has a day been as beautiful. We also have to say thank you to (coach) Murat Yakin”, Shaqiri said. “It was not easy for him to follow in Vladimir Petkovic's footsteps. He did a great job, the team is in excellent shape. It's fun to play with this team. A lot of players were missing, it would be nice if everyone could have been there ... we're all going to Qatar together!"
The other results were:
- Scotland 2 (Souttar, Che Adams) - 0 Denmark
- Austria 4 (Arnautovic x2, Trimmel, Ljubicic) - 1 Moldova (Nicolaescu)
- Poland 1 (Swiderski) - 2 Hungary (Schafer, Gazdag)
- Albania 1 (Cekici)(pen) - 0 Andorra
The fixtures for today are:
- Finland vs France
- Netherlands vs Norway
- Wales vs Belgium
- Bosnia vs Ukraine
- Czech Republic vs Estonia
FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: Portugal get shocked as Spain and Croatia qualify for next years World Cup
(Football news) Portugal suffered a massive dent in their hopes to qualify for Qatar 2022 as they lost 2-1 against Serbia. With this loss, Ronaldo and co will head into the March playoffs with the other group runner ups in a bid to reach the World Cup next year. In the first half, Portugal got off to a dream start as Renato Sanches scored within the first 2 minutes after Bernardo Silva robbed Nemanja Gudelj off the ball at the edge of the box and fed the ball to Sanches who drove past Rajkovic from 15 metres. However, the lead did not last for too long as Tadic’s deflected shot from 20 metres was spilled by Patrico’s in the 33rd minute. The story of the second was completely different, both the sides looked cagey as second half substitute Mitrovic had the last laugh after he rose highest to meet Tadic’s cross from the right to score one of the most important goal in Serbian football history.
Dragan Stojkovic after the match said, “We came here to play football and having been the better side, we earned it all. We are reaping the rewards of hard work and the belief that we would be able to defy the odds and beat Portugal. We are overjoyed, for our country and the people first and foremost. We deserved to win tonight as the lads showed so much character. This is a massive accomplishment for Serbian football. The team showed maturity and composure under the most intense pressure and I would have said the same thing if it had stayed 1-1 and we got confined to the playoffs."
When asked about the World Cup playoffs, Santos said, “It looked like it was going to be, but it wasn't. We scored the goal, we had the initial moments. But then we started to drop deep. The players tried. But then we didn't turn the game on. Every time we did, we created problems. But most of the time we couldn't. Serbia were better. We tried. Our DNA is to have the ball on our feet and play. Bernardo Silva wanted the ball, but he was the only one. We played with fear and anxiety. It's my responsibility. We'll be in Qatar. We know we didn't do what we should, but we'll be there. We've always played to win and think about the offensive moment. But it doesn't always turn out as we want. And it's my responsibility."
Spain confirmed their place in Qatar next year with a 1-0 victory over Sweden, Luis Enrique’s side knew that a point would have been enough for them to qualify but the pressure on La Roja was a lot. Spain as usual started dominating possession but without making proper inroads at Robin Olsen’s goal, on the other hand Sweden were sitting back and playing on the counter. The Swedes created the best opportunities through Emil Forsberg and Alexander Isak on the counter attacks. It looked like the game would head for a draw but when Dani Olmo’s stunning strike rebounded off the woodwork, Morata calmly slotted the ball into the net. It will be Spain's 16th appearance in 22 World Cups and the last time they failed to qualify was in 1974.
“We knew it was a life and death situation and we wanted to qualify at any cost. Nobody said it was going to be easy and I'm happy for our people," Sergio Busquets told reporters.
Luis Enrique after the match said, “I have taken off a 100 kilo backpack. I have felt more pressure in this qualifying phase than in the Euros or the ‘Final Four’ of the Nations League, I have taken a great weight off my shoulders. I am focused on having a good World Cup and I know that if a coach does not win, he receives criticism. This is how this wonderful circus of football can be and I accept it. When there is salsa, we dance salsa. And when it’s time to dance pegaditos, we do that. What really motivates me is seeing the response of the players and of all the people who are part of the Federation.”
The 2018 runners up Croatia qualified for the World next year after a narrow 1-0 victory over Russia. A late own goal from Fyodor Kudryashov saw Croatia leapfrog Russia in Group H on the last matchday. Germany finished off their qualification campaign in style after a 4-1 victory over Armenia. Goals from Havertz, two from Gundogan and Hofmann were enough to secure the three points for them, With this result Germany finished with 27 points, eleven clear of North Macedonia.
Also read: FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: England overwhelm Albania as Italy held to an unwanted against Switzerland
The other results were:
- North Macedonia 3 (Alioski, Elmas x2) - 1 Iceland (Porsteinsson)
- Slovenia 2 (Zajc, Cerin) - 1 Cyprus (Kakoullis)
- Malta 0 - 6 Slovakia (Rusnak x2, Duda x3, Morlacchi)
- Greece 1 (Masouras) - 1 Kosovo (Rrahmani)
- Luxembourg 0 - 3 Ireland (Duffy, Ogbene, Robison)
Sergio Aguero might be forced to retire from football due to heart problems
(Football news) Heartbreaking reports have emerged from Barcelona as Sergio Aguero who had been ruled out for 3 months after heart problems might be forced to hang up his boots. Aguero had to be subbed off at the 42nd minute against Deportivo Alaves after he complained about chest pains.
The Argentine’s incredible career may come to a premature end which is something football fans all around the world would not want to happen. After 10 glorious years at Manchester City, Aguero returned to Spain where he previously played for Atletico Madrid. His tenure didn't start well as he picked up an injury before the season started and his mate Lionel Messi who was one of the reasons he signed for the Blaugrana left the club.
The 33-year-old has struggled with injuries for the past couple of seasons and had to wait for 2 months after joining Barcelona to make his debut. This time he has been officially ruled out for 3 months but now the issue has been reported to be much more severe than it seemed at first. Despite the reports, Aguero said via twitter that he is following the instructions of the medical experts and will see his progress after 90 days. The striker also said that he is always positive in any situation.
Christian Eriksen also had a similar issue after he collapsed at the Euros. The Danish midfielder isn't allowed to play in Italy but can continue his career elsewhere. The cases of heart problems in footballers are rising day by day. What is surprising is that the medical staff is not able to diagnose any of these problems. The ridiculous amount of fixtures being played in football these days is definitely one of the reasons. VAR could be identified as another with the play being allowed to continue further than it was before causing players to work more and unnecessarily. The good thing is that the issue has now come to light and hopefully football doctors all around the world can come up with a solution.
If Aguero's career is indeed over then what a career he has had. With 282 career goals including that iconic last minute goal against QPR, Aguero's name will be written in football history in gold letters. His absence is a huge blow to new Barcelona manager Xavi who would've surely loved to have Kun at his disposal.
FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers: England overwhelm Albania as Italy held to an unwanted against Switzerland
(Football news) England almost confirmed their place for next year's World Cup as they won 5-0 against Albania. Gareth Southgate’s side need just a point from their last match to confirm their automatic qualification spot for Qatar 2022. In the first half, England were in rampant form, Harry Maguire started the party with a header but then England just went strength to strength as Harry Kane completed a first half perfect hattrick, Jordan Herderson also got in on the action as England just completely killed the game in the first half. The second half failed to live upto expectation, the hosts continued to maintain control of the match as Albania did stifle some threats but the second remained goalless. With this result England moved to 23 points, three clear of Poland.
Southgate said “Form is always temporary, what pleased me most was his all-round performance. We know he’s going to score goals. I liked the way he was aggressive in his hold-up play and running in behind. His link play was on song. We had good movement around him, particularly from Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden. We’ll make a decision on the team on Monday. There are a few thousand England fans going to San Marino. We’ve still not qualified for the World Cup. We want to put a performance on.”
Italy could have secured their position in next year’s World Cup but couldn’t as they drew 1-1 against Switzerland. In the first half the visitors took the lead when a rocket of a strike from Silvan Widmer found the back of the net in the 10th minute, eventually the Euro 2020 champions found their way back as Givoanni Di Lorenzo made it 1-1 before the break. In the second half there were plenty of opportunities for both of the teams, Italy had the best chance in the 90th minute but Jorginho skied his penalty over the bar. With this result it all comes down to the final match as both the teams are level on 15 points but Italy are ahead on goal difference.
Roberto Mancini said after the match, “We missed a penalty in the first leg and one in the return, these things happen. Jorginho felt like kicking it and it’s right that he did. He is one of the penalty takers in the teamIn the first half we suffered and struggled. Then we came out well but missed the winning goal against Northern Ireland. We started with an advantage, and that’s not a small one. If we play well and score the goals we didn’t score today. It was a difficult game and we were conditioned by the goal conceded, it’s a shame that we didn’t score in the second half.”
Already qualified Denmark continued their amazing run in the World Cup qualifiers as they won 3-1 against Faroe Island. Goals from Olsen, Larsen and Maehle were enough to maintain their perfect record in the qualification record but they also conceded their first goal this qualification campaign. Poland maintained their World Cup qualification dream as they secured second place in Group I as they won 4-1 against Andorra. Two goals from Robert Lewandowski, Jozwiak and Milik were enough to seal all three points for them. Scotland also confirmed second place in Group F with a 2-0 victory over Moldova as goals from Patterson and Adams was enough for them to move to 20 points from 9 matches.
The results of the other fixtures were:
- Austria 4 (Arnautovic(pen), Schaub x2, Sabitzer) - 2 Israel (Bitton, Peretz)
- Hungary 4 (Szoboszlai x2, Gazdag, Vecsei) - 0 San Marino
- Northern Ireland 1 (Stakus)(og) - 0 Lithuania
Today's fixtures are:
- Bosnia vs Finland
- Norway vs Latvia
- Belgium vs Estonia
- France vs Kazakhstan
- Montenegro vs Netherlands
2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Preview: Europe’s big teams in action to book a place in Qatar
(Football news) European champions Italy will face Switzerland at the Stadio Olympic on Friday with the likes of Niccolo Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Ciro Immobile currently injured. Roberto Mancini has already announced a strong squad for the fixture with the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Nicolo Barella, Jorginho and Lorenzo Insigne expected to feature. There is also a possibility that Lazio’s Danilo Cataldi and Torino’s Tommaso Pobega could be handed their debuts.
For Switzerland, goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, Nico Elvedi, Steven Zuber, Breel Embolo, Gregor Kobel and Granit Xhaka are currently injured while Yann Sommer, Fabian Schar, Remo Freuler and Xherdan Shaqiri are expected to feature. The two sides have met 59 times with Italy winning 29 games, 23 draws and seven losses. Roberto Mancini’s team will not just be the favourites to win this particular encounter but one of the favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar and any result apart from a win for the Gli Azzurri will be an upset.
Germany will have a lot to prove at the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, having endured extremely disappointing campaigns in the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the Euros this year. However, the team looks to have found its form under coach Hansi Flick and became the first team to qualify for the Qatar World Cup with a 4-0 victory over North Macedonia. Germany will take on Liechtenstein who are currently at the bottom of Group J with only one point from eight matches so far.
Germany are in fine form, winning four out of their last four matches and have a 100% record against Liechtenstein, winning all five of the previous fixtures. Timo Werner, Florian Wirtz and Nico Schlotterbeck are currently injured while a positive COVID-19 result of Niklas Sule has resulted in Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and Karim Adeyemi to self isolate. Despite the number of absentees, Hansi Flick’s side are expected to secure all three points and maintain their impressive form in the World Cup qualifiers.
Also read: Bundesliga: Bayern on course for their 11th consecutive title after Dortmund dropped all three points to RB Leipzig
In Group B, Greece will host Spain in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, hoping to make amends after their 2-0 defeat to Sweden and are currently in third place with nine points. It’s a must win game for them if they have any hope of qualifying for the World Cup but face a tough test in Spain who have won back to back matches against Georgia and Kosovo and are currently 2nd in the group with 13 points. Luis Enrique will be hoping for a positive result as La Roja need only a point to secure qualification to Qatar and a win will ensure they go ahead of Sweden at the top of the group.
For Greece, there are no injuries but Pantelis Chatzidiakos is suspended after receiving a red card against Sweden. For Spain, Ansu Fati is currently recovering from an injury and has been replaced by Raul de Tomas. Yeremi Pino is also injured and has been replaced by Brais Mendez while Diego Llorente takes the place of Eric Garcia who is also injured. Anything less than a win will be a big blow for Greece and the home side will be under immense pressure with what’s at stake heading into the match.
Fernando Santos’ Portugal are set to face off against Republic of Ireland in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the Seleção das Quinas are currently 2nd in Group A behind Serbia by one point but have a game in hand and will be looking to make it count in the upcoming fixture. The last time the two teams met, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace in the 89th and 96th minute to secure all three points and the 36 year old is looking in fine form for his national team, scoring a hat-trick against Luxembourg in the last match. Portugal are expected to win this fixture and it’s likely that Ronaldo will be on the scoresheet again, having already scored 11 goals in nine appearances for the national team so far.
The Yacht Club of Hyderabad has given me a platform to compete at the highest level - Indian sailor Veeravamsham Vaishnavi
Hailing from Hyderabad, 15 year old Veeravamsham Vaishnavi is already making a name for herself in the sailing world. This year, she has already won the silver medal at the Monsoon Regatta, the gold medal at the 35th Hyderabad sailing week, a bronze medal at the Radial YAI Senior national and has now set her sights on bigger and better honours.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Veeravamsham Vaishnavi speaks about her journey in sailing, her idols in the sport, the influence of her coach Mr. Suheim Sheikh and the Yacht Club of Hyderabad, her experience at the World Sailing Championship in Italy, overcoming challenges and her future goals.
Q 1) When did you first start sailing and what made you get into the sport?
I started sailing in September 2017, the uniqueness of the sport is what caught my interest as I had never heard about sailing before. My coach and mentor Mr. Suheim Sheikh has played a big role in motivating me in my career.
Q 2) Who do you look up to in sailing and why?
I look up to Mr Vishnu Saravanan because I like the way he sails, with style and confidence. In addition, the fact that he is an Olympic sailor motivates me to become more like him, he’s very inspiring!
Q 3) How has the journey transformed since joining the Yacht Club of Hyderabad under coach Mr. Suheim Sheikh?
Ever since I’ve joined the Yacht Club of Hyderabad, I’ve been very happy as they have given me a platform to perform at both the National and International tournaments, something I could never have imagined and that exposure has given me a lot of confidence both personally and professionally. I feel blessed to have Mr. Suheim Sheikh, my coach and mentor in my journey as a professional sailor.
Q 4) You had participated in the World Sailing Championship in Italy, what impact did it have on you?
The experience in Italy was very good, I learned a lot of things that improved my qualities as a sailor and I also became familiar with the international sailing rules. I have realized that to improve myself professionally, I need to participate in more International Championships and compete at the highest level.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
Sailing is a lot more challenging than it may appear. Some of the challenges we face are wind, waves and weather.
a) Determining the position and maintaining direction depends on the knowledge of wind and the current weather
b) Keeping a calm and clear mind before Championships and executing plans perfectly.
c) Reading the mind of the opponent and observing their mistakes to gain an advantage
Q 6) What are some of your future goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
My future goal is to get into the army or the defence forces and I also want to become a sailing coach in the future.
Carlos Alcaraz and Sebastian Korda leading the young field at Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals
(Tennis news) The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals will begin from tomorrow as the young superstars will battle with each other for the crown. The withdrawal of defending champion Jannik Sinner has made way for Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune making his debut at the event as Felix Auger Aliassime has also skipped the event since he is playing at the ongoing Stockholm Open. This year all the 8 players will be making their debut and these are the top four players to watch out for.
The Spaniard is the highest ranked player in the field and also the youngest player. The 18 year old had reached the fourth round at Paris Masters by beating world number 9 Jannik Sinner in the third round, he also reached the semifinals at Vienna by beating Mario Berrerttini on the way. One of the rising stars this year, Carlos became the youngest quarterfinal at the US Open in the open era and can make it big here this time. Carlos won his first ATP tour title at Umag this year. Carlos is an aggressive baseliner who uses his raw power in his groundstrokes.
The 21 year old is the oldest player in the draw, Korda started the year with a runner up finish at Delray Beach and reached the quarterfinals at Miami Masters 1000. Korda won his first ATP tour title at Parma without dropping a set and went on to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon. One of the most skillful players in the draw, Sebastian can play from the baseline as well as come up on the net for some neatly played volleys.
Brandon made a breakthrough this year when he reached two consecutive finals in two weeks at Los Cabos and Atlanta. He defeated John Isner in straight sets at Los Cabos and lost to him in the finals at Atlanta, he again defeated the giant server at the US Open. Brandon also defeated Fabio Fognini at San Diego and also reached the quarterfinals at Antwerp. Brandon has the ability to play well in pressure along with returning strong serves which was clearly evident in matches against Isner.
Gaston was ranked 103 in the world before his quarterfinal run at Paris Masters which pulled his ranking to 67. He was the final player to qualify for the event and with his current form is the dark horse. Gaston has incredible court coverage although he is one of the shortest players on tour as he is 5 feet 8 inches and defeated Alcaraz at Paris which involved coming back from 0-5 to take the next seven games to win the match. Gaston is the second oldest player after Sebastian and can manage more upsets when he lands in Italy.
Christian Eriksen is considering leaving Inter Milan after the Italian FA ban
(Football news) The 30 year old midfielder collapsed during Denmark's match against Finland at Euro 2020 and needed to be treated on the field before being rushed to the hospital. He was subsequently fitted with an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) to monitor his heart beat and it also sends shocks to the heart if necessary, but the Italian FA have ruled out Eriksen’s fitness as they cannot rely on ICD heart starter and therefore he is not allowed to play in Serie A.
Italy bans players both professional and amateur players from competing in the league if they have any significant heart abnormalities and the FA revealed that the Dane must have it removed to play in Italy again, as it will show that he would have no further heart problems. This will certainly make Erisken move out of Italy and go somewhere else. Former Manchester United player Daley Blind was also fitted with an ICD after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation, but has continued to play for Ajax as well as play for Holland internationally.
In a club statement on Thursday, Inter Milan said: "With reference to the registration rights of the player Eriksen, it should be noted that following a serious injury which occurred during the European Championship in June 2021, the player has been temporarily inhibited by the Italian medical authority from sporting activity in the current season. Although the current conditions of the player don't meet the requirements of achieving sporting fitness in Italy, the same could instead be achieved in other countries where the player could resume competitive activity,"
Leading NHS cardiologist Dr Scott Murray claimed: “It probably is (the end of his career) for him. The Italians stop people participating in sport if they are found to have a significant cardiac abnormality, it's in law. They've been doing that for a long time, beyond 20 years and they've reduced the death rates from cardiac arrests in sport from beyond 3 percent down to below one percent. He (Eriksen) comes from an Italian club so he must have had all of the tests before he started (playing for Inter). The Italians are the best at screening for heart disease in competitive athletes. Italy has the greatest pre-participation screening in the world which tries to reduce events, but he still has an event on the pitch. So even if you screen, it can still happen. It's going to be difficult for him to eliminate, he's still going to (be) that 0.01 percent of people who will still have something happen”
According to the rumour mill Erisken might be tempted to go back to Dutch side Ajax if there is a possibility, the Everdivise does not have the same restrictions as Serie A which could mean he would be able to continue playing with an ICD. It is thought that the nineteen-time Italian champions do not expect to sell Eriksen for a fee, but instead will terminate his contract and allow him to join another club.
The risk of playing with a heart problem is quite serious as we saw with Sergio Aguero who has been ruled with a cardiac evaluation, after he complained of chest pain during Barca’s 1-1 draw against Alaves. Heart issues are something that over the past years have been taken very seriously as the intensity and physical exertion of the sport sometimes takes toll on the body, the FA’s have made it mandatory for clubs to conduct regular medicals of the players to check their fitness and any other problems.
Tottenham Hotspur announce Antonio Conte as new head coach
(Football news) Tottenham Hotspur have announced that Antonio Conte will take over the role of Head Coach until the summer of 2023 with an option to extend. The London based side sacked Nuno Espírito Santo after just 4 months yesterday after Spurs lost to Manchester United 3-0. Conte has a wealth of experience and success as a manager, having won a hat-trick of Scudettos for Juventus, winning the Premier League with Chelsea and leading the Italy national team to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. He also guided Inter Milan to their first Serie A title in 11 years in 2020/21, thereby ending Juventus’ dominance.
Antonio Conte said: “I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again. Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world. I can't wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.
“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching. But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”
Commenting on the appointment, Managing Director - Football, Fabio Paratici, said: “We are delighted to welcome Antonio to the Club. His track record speaks for itself, with vast experience and trophies in both Italy and England. I know first-hand the qualities Antonio can bring to us, having worked with him at Juventus, and look forward to seeing his work with our talented group of players.”
Conte is expected to be in charge of Tottenham’s match against Vitesse in the Group Stage of Europa Conference League which will be broadcast on Friday, 5th November at 1:30 am IST.
Boxing World C'ships: Nishant, Sanjeet enter quarters
Belgrade, Nov 1 (Boxing news) Indian boxers Nishant Dev (71kg) and Sanjeet (92kg) made the quarterfinals of the AIBA Men's World Championships following impressive victories in their last-16 stage bouts here.
Nishant defeated Mexico's Marco Alvarez Verde 3-2 in a late night bout on Sunday to set up a clash with Russia's Vadim Musaev.
Sanjeet, a quarterfinalist from the previous edition, got the better of Georgia's Giorgi Tchigladze 4-1 to enter the last eight stage for a second successive time.
He will face Italy's Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine.
Later tonight, Rohit Mor (57kg), Akash Sangwan (67kg), Sumit (75kg) and five-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) will look to secure quarterfinal berths.
Rohit will face Kazakhstan's Serik Temirzhanov, while Akash will fight Cuba's Kevin Brown. Sumit will also be up against a Cuban in Yoenlis Hernandez.
Thapa will be fighting France's Lounes Hamraoui.
The gold winners at the showpiece will walk away with a prize money of USD 100,000.
The silver medallists are to be given USD 50,000, and both bronze-medallists will be awarded USD 25,000 each. The total prize purse stands at a whopping USD 2.6 million.
India are being represented by its reigning national champions across weight categories.
Also Read : AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships features ‘Fair Chance Team’ for the first time
News Source : PTI
Swimming: Kushagra Rawat and Srihari Nataraj shine with new national records
Bengaluru, Oct 26 (Swimming news) Three national records were rewritten, including one by ace Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj, who bettered his own mark, on the opening day of the 74th Senior National Aquatic Championships here on Tuesday.
Nataraj improved his own national record of 55.63s in the 100m backstroke by clocking 55.10s.
Nataraj's personal best in the event is 53.77s which he clocked in Italy earlier this year to directly qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
However, that is counted as the "Best Indian Performance" and not national record. A timing is only considered a national record when it has been achieved at the National Aquatic Championships.
Dominating the race right from the start, Nataraj got off to a strong start and was ahead of the pack in the first 50m and took further lead in the second 50m after a good turn.
Siva S of Karnataka finished second with a time of 57.60S, while Zavier Michael D'Souza of Goa won bronze clocking 58.96s.
"It’s good to be racing again after the Olympics. Though not my personal best, I am quite happy to have gone under the national record.
"I have tapered only for seven days for this meet. My focus will be on the FINA World Short Course meet this December in Abu Dhabi,” Nataraj said.
In another brilliant swim, Delhi's Kushagra Rawat came up with a sensational effort in the 400m freestyle for men as he eclipsed Sajan Prakash's record of 3:54.93 seconds set in 2018 in Trivandrum.
Rawat clocked 3:53.68s to create a new national record. He was more than three body-lengths ahead of second place finisher Aneesh Gowda of Karnataka, who timed 3:59.66s.
Shoan Ganguly of Karnataka took home the bronze with a timing of 4:00.14s.
Meanwhile, in the 100m backstroke for women, 14-year-old Ridhima Veerendrakumar shocked Olympian Maana Patel of Gujarat as the youngster from Karnataka beat her for the gold medal.
Though Ridhima missed the national record of 1:04.33s held by Maana since 2018, she finished the race with a timing of 1:04.40s to take a gold.
Maana clocked 1:05.31s and Nina Venkatesh of Karnataka finished third with a time of 1:06.39s.
In the 50m butterfly for men, two-time Olympian Prakash lived up to the billing as he clinched the gold with a time of 24.90s It was a close race with Mihir Ambre of Maharashtra and Adhitya D of TNSA giving a tough fight but Prakash, representing Kerala Police, did well to finish the race ahead of the two who ended up settling for silver as both clocked 25.08s.
In the 4x200m freestyle for men, team Karnataka broke Railways Sports Promotion Board's record set in 2016.
The team comprising of Sambhavv R, Aneesh S Gowda, Tanish George Mathew and Srihari clocked 7:37.65 to erase the previous record of 7:45.24s.
Also Read : Para-swimmer Mukundan granted bi-partite quota for Tokyo Paralympics
News Source :PTI
Indian Premier League: An analysis of everything related to the two new franchises
The Indian Premier League is undoubtedly one of the hottest properties in the sporting industry, with a value estimated to be around 7 billion dollars before the events that occurred yesterday which saw two new franchises from Lucknow and Ahmedabad being added to the existing eight. A combined amount of 12,715 crores was spent on the two teams from The RPSG Group, who spent a whooping INR 7090 crores, by far the highest bid at the auction while the surprise winners were CVC Capital, who bid INR 5625 crores.
Who are the owners?
RSPG Ventures Ltd, owners of the Lucknow franchise are previously acquainted with the Indian Premier League, having owned the Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016 and 2017 which featured the likes of MS Dhoni, Ben Stokes and Steve Smith. They have not only owned an IPL team but are the current owners of ATK Mohun Bagan in the Indian Super League (ISL) and the RPSG Mavericks Kolkata from the Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) League. Their Lucknow franchise will be competing at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium which has the capacity to seat 50,000.
CVC Capital were the surprise winners of this auction as the Adani Group were favourites to be named as one of the franchise owners. The private equity firm has been very active in the sports industry, having owned Formula 1 from 2006 to 2017, investments in rugby, international volleyball and La Liga. CVC had also entered a consortium to buy a stake in the media business of Italy’s top football league, the Serie A but the deal eventually fell through due to disagreements with some clubs.
Here are all the bidders from the auction:
The lowest bid came from none other than Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family bid an extremely conservative sum of 4128 crores for the Ahmedabad franchise and 4023 crores for the Lucknow franchise and many fans from the two states would have breathed a sigh of relief, especially considering the dire state of affairs at one of the most iconic club in world football, straddled by debt from the Glazers.
The two new franchises are set to take part from the 2022 season onwards where there would be 10 teams and 74 matches, each team would play 7 matches home and away. According to reports, the 2011 model is likely to be replicated where 10 teams were split into two loose groups where 70 league matches were played followed by four play-off games.
For the existing owners of the eight other franchises, the valuations of the two winning bids would be music to their ears as it will invariably increase the value of their own properties. When Jindal South West (JSW) bought 50% ownership of Delhi Capitals from GMR Group, the franchise was worth an estimated 1100 crores and JSW paid half of that. The total expenditure at the auction for the new franchises lays a benchmark for future negotiations in partial or full ownership of the existing franchises, as and when the situation occurs.
How sustainable is the business model?
With a massive amount of money paid for the two new IPL franchises, the question remains if it’s a good financial decision. For any franchise, there are three main revenue streams: central rights income (share of media rights and central sponsorship), team sponsorship and gate revenue. When Star India bought the rights for the Indian Premier League in 2017, each franchise received an estimated INR 200 crores as revenue. With the inclusion of two more franchises, it’s estimated that each team will now receive between INR 275 - 300 crores as revenue for the next 10 years.
However, it’s important to note that the two new franchises have to pay their bid amount in a 10 year period, after which a 20% franchise fee from it’s overall revenue to the BCCI. What this means is that the new franchises will take a lot longer to start making profit and are looking at the IPL as a long term investment. According to Amit Mathur, a seasoned cricket administrator, an investment of this nature doesn’t make sense. He took to social media to say:
One thing is clear, few would have predicted in 2008 that the Indian Premier League would become as lucrative a business opportunity as it is today and as former England captain Michael Vaughan rightly said “With two new franchises going for huge numbers it is very clear the IPL is the most powerful aspect of the game now."
Matteo Berrettini secures ATP finals berth, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line
(Tennis news) Matteo Berrettini’s sparkling season continued as he qualified for the season ending championship for the second time. The Italian reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and then went even further by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open. His Wimbledon performance was his first breakthrough in the Grand Slams where he lost in the finals to Novak Djokovic.
This season, Berrettini has had 40 victories in 50 matches. After losing in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Djokovic in September, he climbed to a career-high No. 7 in the ATP Rankings. In April, the Italian won the Serbia Open in Belgrade, defeating Aslan Karatsev of Russia. In May, he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final, losing to Alexander Zverev of Germany and in June, he won the Cinch Championships in London, defeating Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.
He became the first Italian male tennis player to reach the fourth round of every Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. He has been impressive on all surfaces and excels in a team setting, as he powered Italy to the ATP Cup finals in January. Berrettini, an aggressive all-court player with a booming serve that can reach speeds of 146 mph (235 km/h), blasted his way to the No. 8 ranking in 2021 across all surfaces, the highest for an Italian male in more than four decades. He won two Championships, one on grass and the other on clay.
To finish off points, he uses his attacking groundstrokes and net game, and he has been known to serve-and-volley. Many have compared him to Fernando González and Juan Martin del Potro because of his aggressive style, which is based on huge serves and forehands. His play style has earned him the moniker "The Hammer."
“My words aren’t going to describe the happiness I feel in my heart," said the world number seven. “2020 was a tough year for me on and off the court. Here I am about to play my second ATP Finals and I can’t believe it.
“I always have to remember where I started. I didn’t dream about this, because it was so big, but now it’s happening. I want to do my best."
Berrettini will compete at the ATP Finals against world number one Novak Djokovic, U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and Andrey Rublev, with Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line.
Also read: Unvaccinated tennis stars will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open after fulfilling two weeks hard quarantine and regular testing
X44 set the pace in practice ahead of the Enel Island X Prix
(Motorsports news) The action got underway in Sardinia today as 18 drivers had their first taste of the 7-kilometre Enel X Island X Prix course, it was the most anticipated and challenging experience so far this season.
Solid rock bases and water splashes were the new challenges in the Extreme E field, and being able to master these difficult conditions quickly ensures there is a lot of scope to improve in the series’ inaugural European round.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We love this location and it’s great also to see St. Helena from the course. It’s really great to be in Europe and the response we have had to the race has been fantastic.
“I would like to thank our hosts, the Italian Army, and the region of Sardinia which is truly an amazing place. It is also great to have the Island X Prix’s title sponsor, Enel X, here this weekend. We have a very long relationship with Enel X, first from Formula E and now with Extreme E.
“Sardinia has proven to be a very different setting to our last race in the Arctic in Greenland. It’s been great watching the cars out on the course, especially as it’s really tough here. We will have to see how it is with the dust and if we have rain over the weekend. We have many things in motion, and so we will have to see how it is tomorrow and during the racing on Sunday.”
Michele Cecchini, Head of E Motorsport at Enel X, said: “We at Enel X are very proud to be here as part of this championship. It’s extremely fascinating in terms of sustainability and how we can improve motorsport, and we are super excited to be a part of that.
“We want to develop technologies, we want to develop effective solutions and we believe that in motorsport we can really define what the real requirements are. We like the idea of accelerating what we are doing with motorsport, particularly in Sardinia.
“It has been hard to see what has happened here in Sardinia, and so alongside developing sustainable solutions we are very pleased that we have been able to be part of the recovery programme here.”
A brief Shakedown session was followed by Free Practice, seeing the cars back on the course for the first time since August certainly set the tone for tomorrow’s qualifying runs and Sunday’s all-important Finals.
Championship challenger X44 was the fastest out of the blocks in the Free Practice session, posting a total time of 11:53:421 to lead the field. SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing were second quickest, just under 20 seconds off X44’s pace. Behind them were the early Free Practice pace-setters Veloce Racing, who ensured they finished third fastest. XITE ENERGY RACING enjoyed a solid start to the weekend and ended the session in fourth ahead of Championship leaders Rosberg X Racing who completed the top five in the practice session.
The top-two last time out in Greenland endured a troubled start to the Enel X Island X Prix. Both Andretti United Extreme E and JBXE suffered significant damage in Free Practice which meant they were unable to complete their respective runs, with both squads in a race against time to get their cars fixed ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying sessions.
Sébastien Loeb, X44, said: “I have some good memories from Sardinia in WRC, so I like this surface to drive on. It is a bit different from what we had in the other events with a lot of sand and big ruts, so you know it is hard. It is a bit more like a rallying style of driving, with more routes and some tight corners.
“Hopefully it will be fine for us and hopefully the other teams will find the solutions to the different problems they had so we will have a good fight this weekend.”
Sara Price, SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing, said: “I like this kind of terrain – it reminds me of home and also the Baja. It is going well so far and we just want to keep it that way, so we’re going to go out there and do the best we possibly can.”
Carlos Sainz Snr., ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team said: “In terms of driving I really like the course. It is very complete – you have low, medium and high-speed elements and I would say it is a complete course. It is challenging and that’s good.
“We are hoping for a good weekend, but we have unfortunately not started well. We had an issue in practice which meant we couldn’t complete the run – we lost our power steering which meant that I nearly lost the car on the course. It is a pity, especially for Laia [Sanz] being unable to get a true feel for the car. It means we go into qualifying with a lot of unknowns, but hopefully we can prepare well and have a good run tomorrow."
Molly Taylor, Rosberg X Racing, said: “You have to take every corner as it comes. It is interesting because you can see that there is a lot of attrition and typically on a course like this it is more of an endurance course, but then you only have 7-kilometre of it so it is also a sprint. Managing that is certainly a challenge here. We just need to take every corner as it comes and see where we’re at and put our best foot forward.”
Catie Munnings, Andretti United Extreme E, said: “When I did the course walk, I was really nervous about it as it’s really rough and bumpy. I would say it’s one of the hardest courses we’ve had in the championship, especially after coming off smooth Greenland - but I’ve actually really enjoyed it. I thought it would be one of those things where you are trying to survive, but I managed to get in the flow with it.
“Timmy [Hansen] touched a rock on his run and that broke a rear damper. It wasn’t a perfect run for me either, but the sectors were fast and we’ll look to build on that tomorrow.”
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, JBXE: “We had a rough start. Neither Kevin nor I managed to do a lap in free practice so it is going to be tough for sure for tomorrow. But we had a good weekend in Greenland, we showed good pace, and we just want to keep going that way.
“We have been watching the others, though, so we will try to figure out what are the best lines and then just drive after what we see. It is a challenging course, so I think it is about pushing where you can push and keeping it safe where you have to keep it safe.”
Qualifying for the Enel X Island X Prix gets underway tomorrow and will be shown across a number of broadcasters including Mediaset in Italy, Fox Sports in the USA, ITV, Sky Sports, BBC digital channels and BT Sport in the UK, Teledeporte in Spain, Prosieben MAXX in Germany, as well as Eurosport across most European Markets.
All times CEST
Saturday 23 October
1100 – 1300 CEST Qualifying Round 1
1600 - 1800 CEST Qualifying Round 2
Sunday 24 October
1200 – 1330 CEST Semi Finals
1600 – 1800 CEST Final
Valtteri Bottas will take five place grid penalty at US Grand Prix as Mercedes change engine again
(Motorsport news) Mercedes have installed a sixth Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) in Valtteri Bottas’ car ahead of the United States GP with the Silver Arrows using twice as many engines than the permitted limit in the Finnish racing drivers car. Bottas has had too many penalties in the last few weeks, with fresh power units installed in Italy, Russia and now the USA, which would result in a five place grid penalty.
Team principal Toto Wolff said in an interview “We've unfortunately had since mid year some reliability issues that keep coming back. I think we understand now much better what it is, but it means that there is no durability in running them and that means potential DNFs.The penalty is less than the previous one but it's still not nice because it's such a tight battle. Even if you're on the pole, you're going to have a difficult time to have back."
The unexpected inclusion of a sixth ICE component has raised doubts about Hamilton’s car as well, with only six races to go it’s a genuine possibility that the seven time World Champion may need another replacement to avoid a possible DNF and as a result, incur a grid penalty which would provide Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with an advantage in an already tight title race.
Three Mercedes powered cars will have a grid penalty at the United States GP as Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin and George Russell’s Williams have multiple elements being changed in their engines including Turbos and MGU-Hs. With Bottas incurring a grid penalty, it’s fair to say that we will indeed see a Verstappen vs Hamilton battle for the top spot with six points separating the two drivers at this stage of the season with only six races to go.
Serie A: Inter take on Juventus as Napoli look to maintain their 100% start to the season with a victory over AS Roma
(Football news) With the Serie A heading into the month of November, Napoli will look to maintain their two point lead over AC Milan as they face Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma, for Milan they will be taking advantage of this situation as they face Bologna away from home. The fixture of the week is probably between Juventus vs Inter as both clubs look to consolidate their position in the table.
After a miserable start to the season, Juventus have bounced back remarkably and will take Inter Milan in the ‘Derby of Italy’. Juve vs Inter has become one of the biggest rivalries in recent times as both clubs have regained ambition to win the Scudetto. Although Juventus haven’t looked at their ruthless best, what they have done over the past few weeks is that they have grinded out results, which in turn has helped them move up the table. Inter will be hoping for a different outcome after they suffered a defeat to Lazio last week, Inzaghi’s will be hoping that they take confidence from the Champions league win over Sheriff. For Juventus, Dybala and Morata both will be fit for the match as for Inter most of their first team will be fit.
Napoli take on AS Roma in a mouth watering fixture in store for the fans, Jose Mourinho’s side suffered an embarrassing loss against Bode in the Conference League as they will be hoping for a better performance this weekend. Napoli on the hand will be full of confidence after a dominant victory in Poland against Legia Warsaw, they will aim to win their 9 match in a row which will be their clubs best ever start. Mourinho had rested all his starters against Bode midweek but he must bring the likes of Tammy Abraham and Pelligrini back into the starting XI, for Napoli Osimhen is in red hot form and will be one of the key players to watch out for.
AC Milan take on Bologna in what is a must win match for Stefan Poli’s side as they need to maintain pressure on the top of the table. The Rossoneri suffered a midweek loss to Porto in Champions league and would hope to leave that result behind and focus on their domestic form which has been outstanding, with only two points dropped so far. AC Milan’s 22 points is the club's best start since 1954-55, but the task in hand will be difficult as both Theo Hernandez and Brahim Diaz will be ruled out because of Covid 19. While new signings such as Mike Maigan and Alessandro Florenzi are both out, Zlatan could make an unexpected start for Milan this week.
The other fixtures to keep an eye on are:
- Atalanta vs Udinese
- Verona vs Lazio
- Fiorentina vs Cagliari
- Sassuolo vs Venezia
- Torino vs Genoa
- Sampdoria vs Spezia
Enel X Island X Prix course revealed by Extreme E
(Motorsport news) With Extreme E’s Enel X Island X Prix on the horizon - which has been supported by the Automobile Club Italia (ACI), Regione Sardegna and Esercito Italiano - the electric off-road series is excited to reveal a thrilling course that brings the nine teams and 18 world-class drivers to the shores of Sardinia.
The Mediterranean island will present one of the toughest challenges to date for both the drivers and the ODYSSEY 21. Coming off the back of a hot Italian summer, which saw a record high of 48.8 degrees centigrade in Sicily, the dry terrain will be baked hard compared with the relatively forgiving sands of Saudi Arabia and Senegal.
Inland from the coastal town of Porto Pino on Sardinia’s southwest coast, the undulating course sits within the Capo Teulada training area. The elevation change is not as dramatic as Saudi Arabia or Greenland, with a modest change of 28 metres, but it is the rutted terrain that will provide the toughest challenge.
The start of the course provides a unique opportunity for the drivers, with a multi-lane section offering very different approaches before the cars rejoin and resume battle. Doing their homework on the course will form a crucial part of team preparation, as the optimal combination of speed and distance could prove elusive.
Having rejoined the main course, the drivers will take a sharp left and traverse a more open, but bumpy plain. Another left followed by a right will take the all-electric SUVs over one of the small inland hills, before a fast, downhill section leads them into the first of two water splashes. Small trees and bushes form the scenery of the next section of the course, which the cars will carve their way through before dipping their Continental tyres in the water for a second time.
The course then winds its way through narrow turns and over more inland rises, before heading out to one of the fastest sections. This long, flat run down to a tight ninety-degree left turn will provide a good opportunity to exploit Hyperdrive.
More carefully navigated turns bring the drivers to the last section of the lap. A short, twisting portion is soon followed by a fast trip over the largest inland hill, where the ODYSSEY 21s are likely to go airborne. The drivers will then need to hit the brakes for a short but steep ten metre drop and another ninety-degree left-hander.
A fast and flat section leaves just a final right turn to go, finishing off the striking seven-kilometre course of the Enel X Island X Prix.
Championship Drivers Timo Scheider and Tamara Molinaro have been testing the course ahead of racing getting underway this weekend.
Timo Scheider said: “The challenge is really high this time. It will be totally different to what we’ve seen in the entire season. We have a solid rock base here and water splashes which are brand new to the challenges we’ve had so far this year, but for me the biggest challenges in Sardinia are the hidden bumps.
“We have some medium to high speed corners so weight transfer is very crucial, you have to be super sensible on the surface, the hidden bumps will create trouble I’m sure so for people watching it at home, it will be mega. The drivers will have to be very focused.”
Tamara Molinaro adds: “Like always in Extreme E, for sure it’s very difficult,” she said.
“It’s really tricky in some places with bumps and compressions that you can’t really spot from being in the car, so it will be an interesting weekend. We have a really hard compact gravel, which has a different grip level compared to the surfaces we’ve seen so far.”
Shakedown and Free Practice are set to start tomorrow with Qualifying on Saturday and Finals on Sunday. A number of global broadcasters such as Mediaset in Italy, ITV, BT Sport, Sky Sports and BBC digital channels in the UK, Eurosport throughout Europe, FOX Sports in the USA will be broadcasting the event.
UEFA punishes England with Wembley Stadium ban for Euro 2020 final crowd trouble
(Football news) England will be playing their next UEFA game behind closed doors with one more game suspended after crowd trouble both inside and outside the stadium during the Euro 2020 final. A number of ticketless fans fought stewards and police officers and made their way into the stadium, violating the permitted capacity of fans in the stadium and COVID-19 protocols.
UEFA’s disciplinary investigators have cited an ineffective security operation around Wembley Stadium for the final between hosts England and Italy as the reason for the crowd trouble. The FA will also face four charges relating to the behavior of the fans as violence erupted outside the stadium in what was England’s first major final since 1966. The ban will take effect in England’s UEFA Nations League match in June 2022 with a possible second ban - which is currently suspended for a probationary period of two years for the "lack of order and discipline inside and around the stadium”.
The FA have also been fined 100,000 euros (£84,560) for "the invasion of the field of play, for throwing of objects and for the disturbances during the national anthems". A statement by the FA read “Although we are disappointed with the verdict, we acknowledge the outcome. We condemn the terrible behaviour of the individuals who caused the disgraceful scenes in and around Wembley Stadium at the Euro 2020 final, and we deeply regret that some of them were able to enter the stadium.
"We are determined that this can never be repeated, so we have commissioned an independent review, led by Baroness Casey, to report on the circumstances involved. We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to take action against those responsible and hold them to account."
Due to COVID-19, only 60,000 tickets were handed out in a 90,000 capacity stadium which meant that ticketless fans were aware that they would have seating if they forced their way into the stadium. With the kick off scheduled at 8 pm, the Olympic Way leading to Wembley Stadium was already packed with fans by 3 pm, which made it difficult for fans with tickets to enter the stadium. The security and COVID check cordons were breached by 5:45 pm with ticketless fans outnumbering the police and stewards.
It was too late by the time a lockdown was enforced around Wembley Stadium at 6 pm as police horses were being brought to restore order as thousands of ticketless fans had already made their way inside and refused to move from seats. 49 arrests were made while 19 police officers were injured while confronting volatile crowds. The debacle at the Euro 2020 final will dampen England’s hopes of hosting the World Cup 2030.
The legacy of the Maldini dynasty at AC Milan
(Football news) It was back in 1954 when a defender named Cesare Maldini arrived in Milan after a few years at Triestina. Before long, Cesare became the captain of the Rossoneri and led his side to four Serie A league titles and one European Cup during his twelve years at AC Milan, featuring in 412 appearances for the club in all competitions. Cesare Maldini is what one might describe as a Rolls Royce defender with excellent technique, dynamic passing range, good physical attributes and the ability to read the game well. For his contributions, he is still remembered as a world class defender and one of Italy’s greatest ever defensive players but his biggest gift was not the trophies he won for AC Milan, it was his son Paulo Maldini.
Paulo made his debut for AC Milan at the tender age of 16 on January 20th 1985. At his time at AC Milan, Paulo Maldini won five Champions League titles, 7 Scudetti, two Intercontinental Cups, one Club World Cup, five European Super Cups, five Italian SuperCups, a Coppa Italia and more individual accolades than can be counted. Paulo Maldini is regarded as one of the best left backs in his history of the game and just like his father, Paulo served as captain for both AC Milan and Italy and was fondly referred to as "Il Capitano" ("The Captain"). The defender won a total of 25 trophies in 25 years at Milan and when he finally retired in 2009, the Rossoneri retired the number 3 shirt in a fitting tribute to a player and captain who has given the club so much.
However, just like his father before him, the Maldini legacy continues to this day through Daniel Maldini, the third generation from his family to represent the Rossoneri. A product of Milan’s Youth Team since 2010, Daniel had been steadily rising through the ranks right from the Under-10 to Under-19 level until his senior debut in February 2020. In his first start for AC Milan, Daniel scored his first goal in a 2-1 away win against Spezia. Despite starting his career as a defender, just like his father and grandfather before him, Daniel plays as a free roaming attacking midfielder and is known for his playmaking skills, dribbles, vision and ball control. The 20 year old will undoubtedly hope that his career can be as successful as his father and grandfather in another illustrious period in the club’s history.
In an era of money and a lack of loyalty amongst footballers, the Maldini dynasty is something that can probably never be replicated at any other club. When Daniel made his sixth appearance for AC Milan, it also marked an important milestone as the Maldini family had made 1000 appearances in the Serie A for just one club. Given the number of matches that AC Milan have played in Serie A history, the ‘Maldini’ name has been at the back of a Rossoneri shirt for roughly a third of the club’s history. A staggering record to say the least and one that will be very difficult to replicate. The Maldini legacy continues at AC Milan for the foreseeable future and it’s a breath of fresh air in an industry that is increasingly becoming money oriented over old values such as loyalty, history and love.
Formula 1 reveals provisional race calendar for the 2022 season with record 23 races
(Motorsport news) A record number of 23 races will be held in the Formula 1 2022 season with the season kicking off in Bahrain on March 20th followed by the Saudi Arabian GP the weekend after. The world’s most premier racing competition will also return to Melbourne’s Albert Park for the first time in two years in what has traditionally been the opening race of the season.
The Chinese GP has not been featured in the 2022 calendar, instead Formula 1 will return to Emilia Romagna GP at Imola for the fourth reason after Melbourne. More excitingly, America will be hosting two Formula 1 races for the first time since 1984 with the Miami GP in May featuring an unfamiliar circuit for both drivers and fans around the Hard Rock Stadium, home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
The calendar will then shift it’s attention to Europe with the Spanish and Monaco GP followed by races in Baku (Azerbaijan GP) and Montreal (Canadian GP). The British GP at Silverstone will be held on July 3rd. Two triple headers are scheduled for the 2022 season, the first being in Belgium, Netherlands and Italy just like this season and the second in Russia, Singapore and Japan.
Formula 1 will return to Marina Bay (Singapore) and Suzuka (Japan) for the first time since 2019 before concluding the season with races in the USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. The 2022 Formula 1 season will end on November 20th, a day before the start of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar. Despite a 10 year agreement in place for a Qatar GP, the race is absent from the 2022 calendar as the deal starts from the 2023 season.
On the announcement, CEO Stefano Domenicali said: "We are excited to announce the 2022 calendar as we prepare to enter a new era for the sport. This season has been incredible so far with great battles on the track, large audiences tuning in and fans returning to the races after the impact of the pandemic.
"We look forward to welcoming more fans back next season and hope 2022 feels more normal than the life we have all experienced in the past two years. We are very pleased with the interest in Formula One from places that want to host races and the growth of the sport, and believe we have a fantastic calendar for 2022 with destinations like Miami joining famous and historic venues. The pandemic is still with us, and we will therefore continue to be vigilant and safe - to protect all our personnel and the communities we visit."
Formula 1 are yet to confirm which of the 23 races will feature the Sprint format.
Provisional 2022 F1 calendar
20 March: Bahrain (Sakhir)
27 March: Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
10 April: Australia (Melbourne)
24 April: Emilia Romagna (Imola)
8 May: Miami (Miami)
22 May: Spain (Barcelona)
29 May: Monaco (Monaco)
12 June: Azerbaijan (Baku)
19 June: Canada (Montreal)
3 July: Great Britain (Silverstone)
10 July: Austria (Spielberg)
24 July: France (Le Castellet)
31 July: Hungary (Budapest)
28 August: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
4 September: Netherlands (Zandvoort)
11 September: Italy (Monza)
25 September: Russia (Sochi)
2 October: Singapore (Marina Bay)
9 October: Japan (Suzuka)
23 October: USA (Austin)
30 October: Mexico (Mexico City)
13 November: Brazil (Sao Paulo)
20 November: Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois blames FIFA and UEFA for prioritizing money over player welfare
(Football news) Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois gave a damning assessment of football’s global calendar and blamed governing bodies such as FIFA and UEFA for prioritizing revenue over player welfare in a post match interview after UEFA Nations League third place play-off. The 29 year old called the match ‘pointless’ as both countries made wholesale changes to their starting line-up.
Courtois did not mince his words in the post match interview and said “This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it. We just play it because for UEFA it's extra money. Look at how much both teams changed [line-ups]. If both teams would have been in the final there would have been other players in the final playing. This just shows that we play too many games.”
Courtois also criticized FIFA for considering proposals of staging the World Cup every two years. He said “They [UEFA] made an extra trophy [UEFA Conference League]… it is always the same. They can be angry about other teams wanting a Super League but they don't care about the players, they just care about their pockets. It's a bad thing that players are not spoken about. And now you hear about a European Championship and a World Cup every year, when will we get a rest? Never."
If the proposal to host a biennial World Cup does go through, football players will be playing more games than ever before and Courtois says the schedule will only result in more frequent injuries. So in the end top players will get injured and injured and injured. It's something that should be much better and much more taken care of," said Courtois.
"We are not robots! It's just more and more games and less rest for us and nobody cares about us. Next year we have a World Cup in November, we have to play until the latter stages of June again. We will get injured! Nobody cares about the players anymore. Three weeks of holiday is not enough for players to be able to continue for 12 months at the highest level. If we never say anything it [will be] always the same."
Courtois is currently plying his trade at Real Madrid, one of the founding clubs of the European Super League which ironically was a money making concept for a select few clubs. However, it’s been clear that UEFA and FIFA have long enjoyed their monopoly at domestic and international competitions and perceived the Super League as a threat to the status quo. It’s about time player welfare is given a higher priority than generating revenue because the current international and domestic calendar is reaching a dangerous tipping point and may not be sustainable for years to come.
Italy comfortably defeat Belgium to claim 3rd place finish in the UEFA Nations League
(Football news) Italy finished 3rd behind France and Spain in the UEFA Nations League after defeating Belgium. After the Euro triumph, Roberto Mancini has guided Italy to a respectable 3rd place finish in the Nations League making them firm favourites in the World Cup next year.
The first half much like the final was a goalless stalemate. Thibaut Courtois pulled off a few good saves including a one vs once against the in-form Federico Chiesa. Belgium did come close to taking the lead when Alexis Saelemaekers hit the bar. Italy were the better side as they created more chances and were also much more effective with the ball.
The second half started with a bang as Nicola Barella scored a volley to break the deadlock just 1 minute after the restart. Belgium weren't able to create chances so Roberto Martinez finally brought on Kevin De Bruyne. Minutes later Michy Batshuayi fired a shot past Donnarumma which hit the crossbar again. Italy extended their lead in the 63rd minute after Chiesa won a penalty for Domenico Berardi to score.
Belgium created three very good chances, one of which again hit the woodwork. Charles De Ketelaere pulled a goal back in the 86th minute. Italy managed the game well to protect their advantage and won the game. Roberto Martinez' Belgium have been number 1 in the World rankings for 3 years but have failed to win any trophy. Although they were missing Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, the performance was not up to the standard.
UEFA Nations League: Spain and France go head to head for the big prize
(Football news) The 2nd addition of the UEFA Nations League has been a huge success with 2 very entertaining semi-finals. Football fans all over the world will be hoping for an even more action packed final between Spain and France. Spain booked their place in the final by beating a 10-man Italy while France defeated Belgium in dramatic fashion to reach the finals.
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, David de Gea, Robert Sanchez.
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro Porro, Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Inigo Martinez, Sergio Reguilon, Marcos Alonso.
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri Hernandez, Pedri, Mikel Merino, Koke, Gavi, Bryan Gill, Pablo Fornals.
Forwards: Ferran Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Mikel Oyarzabal, Yeremi Pino.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Mike Maignan, Benoit Costil.
Defenders: Lucas Digne, Leo Dubois, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Jules Kounde, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Raphael Varane, Theo Hernandez.
Midfielders: Matteo Guendouzi, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot, Aurelien Tchouameni, Jordan Veretout
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder, Karim Benzema, Moussa Diaby, Antoine Griezmann, Anthony Martial, Kylian Mbappe.
Strikers of both the teams Karim Benzema and Ferran Torres are in excellent touch. Torres scored twice against Italy while Benzema scored a goal that laid the foundation for France's comeback against Belgium.
Spain will play possession based football trying to attract the press and play between the lines. France on the other hand usually stay compact and play on the counter. The biggest concern for the Spanish defence will be Kylian Mbappe's pace. Spanish fullbacks Caesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso aren't the quickest and may struggle to keep up with the PSG forward who will keep switching wings.
France will go for a 3 man back line because of the absence of N'golo Kante and not having a proper CDM in the squad. The front three of Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann will have the license to move around freely to exploit spaces. Presnel Kimpembe was left out of the side to accommodate a pacey back 3 of Raphael Varane, Jules Kounde and Lucas Hernandez. It'll be interesting to see if he does return to the starting XI.
After an impressive performance on his debut against Italy, Barcelona youngster Gavi should retain his place in the side. The midfielder brings much needed pace and energy that add to the quality of Koke and Sergio Busquets.
AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade to have 105 participating countries
(Boxing news) Boxers from 105 different countries are to take part in the XXI AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. There are 650 registered boxers, which is a record in the tournament’s history.
The contest will be held in 13 different weight categories for the first time in the history of AIBA. The weight classes were extended from August 2021, and the Belgrade Championships will become the first major competition with such a format. The event will feature Andy Cruz Gomez, Roniel Iglesias, Arlen Lopez, Julio La Cruz, as well as Lazaro Alvarez, all from Cuba who are all AIBA World champions.
Belgrade will also welcome such top-class boxers as Hovhannes Bachkov (Armenia), Loren Alfonso Dominguez (Azerbaijan), Wanderson de Oliveira and Abner Teixeira (Brazil), Javier Ibanez and Radoslav Pantaleev (Bulgaria), Yuberjen Martinez Rivas (Colombia), Billal Bennama and Sofiane Oumiha (France), Nelvie Tiafack (Germany), Sanjeet Sanjeet and Sachin Kumar (India), Simone Fiori (Italy), Reito Tsutsumi (Japan), Saken Bibossinov and Aibek Oralbay (Kazakhstan), Azat Usenaliev (Kyrgyzstan), Enkhmandakh Kharkhuu (Mongolia), Eumir Marcial (Philippines), Vsevolod Shumkov and Dzhambulat Bizhamov (Russia), Atichai Phoemsap (Thailand), Tsotne Rogava (Ukraine), Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov, Hasanboy Dusmatov and Shakhram Giyasov (Uzbekistan).
The prize fund is set at $2.6 million by AIBA. Gold medalists of each category will receive $100,000, while silver medalists are to be given $50,000, and both bronze medalists(semi-finalists) will be awarded $25,000.
“I believe that this World Championships will start a new chapter in AIBA’s history. We have a record number of participants competing in 13 new weight categories, which is a sign of boxing’s strength and extensive global development. We are providing our athletes with the best opportunities to succeed and we will do our utmost to ensure a fair chance and fair fights for every participant. I am truly looking forward to the opening of the Championships in Belgrade,” said AIBA President Mr. Umar Kremlev.
The AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships are scheduled for October 24th – November 6th, 2021.
UEFA Nations League preview: Belgium and Italy lock horns for the 3rd place after semi-final disappointment
(Football news) After losing their semi-final games, Belgium and Italy look to end the tournament on a high with a 3rd place finish. A new change in format means that the match will go straight to penalties if the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes instead of the classic 30 minutes of extra time.
Both teams lost the semis due to one bad half. Italy had a terrible first half against Spain where they conceded 2 goals and lost the game there. Belgium on the other hand gave away a 2 goal lead to concede 3 against France. Roberto Martinez and Roberto Mancini will be hoping that their respective sides go out and end the tournament well to take that momentum into the World Cup next year.
Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet.
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Timothy Castagne, Jason Denayer, Thomas Foket, Jan Vertonghen.
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Alexis Saelemaekers, Youri Tielemans, Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel.
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Yannick Carrasco, Charles De Ketelaere, Romelu Lukaku, Dodi Lukebakio, Leandro Trossard.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alex Meret, Salvatore Sirigu.
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Emerson Palmieri, Rafael Toloi, Federico Dimarco.
Midfielders: Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marco Verratti.
Forwards: Domenico Berardi, Federico Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa, Moise Kean, Lorenzo Insigne, Giacomo Raspadori.
Belgium captain Eden Hazard has withdrawn from the squad after suffering yet another injury in the match against France. Leonardo Bonucci will be unavailable due to suspension after his red card against Spain. Apart from that the two teams are likely to go with the same starting XI.
This will be the first time these two sides meet since the Euro 2020 quarter-finals. Italy won that game 2-1 and were eventually crowned champions. The result could be completely different this time as Italy will be without their first choice striker and first choice centre-back.
2021 Ballon d’Or award: 30 players shortlisted with Messi, Jorginho, Kante, Lewandowski and Ronaldo amongst favourites
(Football news) A 30 player shortlist was announced with Lionel Messi, who won the Copa America with Argentina favourite to be awarded his seventh Ballon D’Or with the likes of Jorginho, who won the Euro 2020 and Champions League, N’Golo Kante, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo the leading contenders.
Five Chelsea players are amongst the nominees including Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Romelu Lukaku and Mason Mount. Kante was awarded the UEFA Player of the Match in the semi-final legs against Real Madrid while Lukaku enjoyed a successful domestic campaign in Italy by winning the Serie A title and Mason Mount won the Champions League with Chelsea and reached the Euro 2020 finals with England.
Premier League champions Manchester City also have five players shortlisted while Man Utd have two. Harry Kane is amongst the 13 nominated Premier League players for his successful Euro 2020 campaign while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is also shortlisted.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Jorginho (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham),
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Simon Kjaer (AC Milan), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedri (Barcelona), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
Sustainability Title goes to Extreme E at Leaders Sports Awards
London, (Motorsports news): Extreme E, the pioneering sport for purpose, have been rewarded with The Sustainability title at the prestigious Leaders Sports ceremony held at Twickenham Stadium.
The category is set out to recognise organisations that use sport as a catalyst to promote and combat environmental and ecological issues within society, using sport as a vehicle to spread awareness and initiate changes.
This is something central to Extreme E which, in its first season, has successfully shown a new way to deliver motorsport events in a sustainable fashion through all-electric vehicles and zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell car charging. The championship also powers its paddock with a second-life battery, utilising a ship to transport its freight in order to reduce carbon emissions all while inspiring fans to take actions to reduce their carbon footprint through its Extreme E Count Us In Challenge.
Julia Fry, Head of Communications at Extreme E, said: “We are delighted to win this accolade from Leaders Sports, an organisation which recognises the strongest players in the industry. As our first award, in our inaugural season this will always be very special, and we are honoured to receive this huge endorsement for our efforts to create the most sustainable motorsport championship possible.
“Our thanks must go out to our supporting agencies at Aurora Worldwide Media, North One, NEP, Interstate Creative Partners and MPA Creative, who have all played a huge role in our success. I would also like to thank our partners for their faith and vision at the beginning of the championship journey, with special thanks to Philipp von Hirschheydt of Continental, Rodrigo Barjas Amado of Niobium, Tommaso Buti of LUISAVIAROMA, Marc Coltelli of EY and Julien Tornare of Zenith, for believing in this series from the start.
“This is just the start of the journey and there is far more to come yet.”
The series was up against some tough competition including Formula One, Southampton Football Club, and Formula E.
Extreme E has future targets around climate change, they are planning to raise awareness of the issues faced globally and inspire action, while also promoting the benefits of clean mobility. It works with its own Scientific Committee made up of world-renowned academics that inform the series and help select long-lasting positive Legacy Programmes at each race location, and have included planting one million mangroves in Senegal. In addition, climate education in collaboration with UNICEF in Greenland.
The penultimate X Prix, the Island X Prix will take place in Sardinia, Italy from 23-24 October.
France come back from a two goal deficit against Belgium to book a place in the UEFA Nations League final
(Football) France defeated Belgium by 3-2 in the UEFA Nations League Semi Final. Belgium were leading by 2 goals at half time but couldn't manage to hold the incredible French attack.
Didier Deschamps started his side with a 3 at the back formation to compensate for N'golo Kante's absence. Roberto Martinez set out his regular 3-4-3 formation. Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were given the freedom of movement. Unlike the 1st Semi Final the game had a very cagey start with both teams defending well. Kevin De Bruyne had one shot on target which forced Hugo Lloris into an excellent save.
The game blew wide open when Yannick Carrasco broke the deadlock by wrong footing Lloris with a near post finish. Romelu Lukaku doubled the lead just before halftime with a wonder goal. France came out in the 2nd half with more intent and a very high press tactic which was working wonders. After some missed chances, Karim Benzema pulled one back in the 62nd by getting a shot away through 3 Belgian defenders.
France continued to attack and got their equaliser when Antoine Griezmann won a penalty for Kylian Mbappe to score. Both teams were attacking to try and win the game in normal time. Romelu Lukaku looked to have won the game in the 87th minute but VAR intervened and ruled it out for a marginal offside call. Theo Hernandez then scored his first international goal to win it for France in injury time.
Belgium went very defensive and negative in the 2nd half trying to soak up the pressure. But the French attack was too good to not score two goals with so much possession. France will now play Spain for the Nations League title while Belgium will play Italy in the 3rd place match.
UEFA Nations League preview: Belgium and France go head to head for a place in the final
(Football news) Belgium are all set to play France in the Nations League semi final for a chance to play Spain in the final. France will be looking to bounce back from their shocking round of 16 exit at the Euros while Belgium will be very keen to end their trophy drought.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Mike Maignan, Benoit Costil.
Defenders: Lucas Digne, Leo Dubois, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Jules Kounde, Benjamin Pavard, Dayot Upamecano, Raphael Varane, Theo Hernandez.
Midfielders: Matteo Guendouzi, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot, Aurelien Tchouameni, Jordan Veretout
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder, Karim Benzema, Moussa Diaby, Antoine Griezmann, Anthony Martial, Kylian Mbappe.
Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Timothy Castagne, Jason Denayer, Thomas Foket, Jan Vertonghen
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Alexis Saelemaekers, Youri Tielemans, Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Yannick Carrasco, Charles De Ketelaere, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dodi Lukebakio, Leandro Trossard.
The last game between these two teams was in the 2018 World Cup Semifinal. France grabbed a narrow 1-0 victory on that occasion. Karim Benzema is in red hot form at the moment having scored 10 and created 7 goals in 8 games for Real Madrid this season. Romelu Lukaku on the other hand has had a decent start to his 2nd spell at Chelsea with 4 goals in 8 games.
N'golo Kante will be a big miss for France after recently testing positive for Covid. Mattéo Guendouzi could make his senior international debut in the absence of Kante. Thomas Meunier was initially named in the squad by Roberto Martinez but the fullback had to withdraw after an injury.
It is high time that this 'Golden generation' of Belgium wins a tournament. Despite being no. 1 in the world rankings for quite a while Belgium has never played in a tournament final. The Nations League will be a perfect time to do this. As for France there wouldn't be a better way to bounce back from the Euro disaster than winning the Nations League.
Spain end Italy's undefeated streak to reach the UEFA Nations League final
(Football news) Spain defeated 10 man Italy 2-1 in the Nations League semi final. The loss ended Italy's 37 game unbeaten streak. Spain will play the winner of France Vs Belgium for the Nations League championship while Italy will play the loser for a third place finish.
Spain started the game in classic La Roja fashion with lots of possession and patient build up. They took the lead in the 17th minute after Mikel Oyarzabal set up Ferran Torres with a beautiful cross. Italy tried getting back into the game but Spain's low block and heavy press was making life very difficult for them. Things went from bad to worse when captain Leonardo Bonucci was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in 12 minutes. His first yellow card was for dissent while his second one was for a clumsy elbow hit. Roberto Mancini decided not to bring on a centre half which ended up costing his team. Ferran Torres scored his second with a header just before half time thanks to another sublime delivery from Mikel Oyarzabal
Mancini did make the necessary change by bringing on Giorgio Cheillini. Luis Enrique's side came with the clear tactic of sitting deep and breaking on the counter. Lorenzo Pellegrini did pull back a goal in the 83rd minute but the man disadvantage proved to be too much for the Italians. Federico Chiesa was the standout player for Italy, assisting the goal after a great run from the halfway line. His work rate and pressing in particular was commendable and drew applause from the San Siro crowd.
17-year-old midfielder Gavi had a dream international debut. Enrique took a big gamble by calling up and starting Gavi who has very little first team experience with Barcelona. The youngster repaid his manager's pace by dominating the midfield. Gavi was all over the pitch with his countless challenges and intricate passing. The performance of Gavi and Torres indicates a very bright future for Spanish football and there might be a new era of dominance for La Roja once again.
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Milano Cortina 2026 prepares to take the spotlight after Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022
(Sports news) As it prepares to take centre stage upon the conclusion of both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee used this week’s Delivery Partners Meeting to share important progress updates with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Speaking about the meeting, the IOC’s Milano Cortina 2026 Coordination Commission Chair, Sari Essayah, said: “We must congratulate the team in Milan for the ongoing progress during these difficult times. Strong foundations set by the continually evolving Organising Committee have made this possible. Throughout all of their updates, we were really encouraged to see their avid determination to create Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that are sustainable. This is fundamental to the future of the Olympic Games, as outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020+5 and the New Norm ”.
She continued: “We heard that Milano Cortina 2026 continues to build on strong engagement following the launch of its new brand in March, with several exciting initiatives planned for the coming weeks. This will culminate, early next year, when the eyes of the world turn towards Italy as Beijing 2022 hands over the Olympic and Paralympic flags. Having seen the passion, excitement and professionalism within the Organising Committee, it’s clear that Milano Cortina 2026 is on time and ready to step up into the spotlight this winter.”
Giovanni Malagò, the President of the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee, also reflected on the positive meetings. He said: “Our relationship with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee is excellent and essential to have the best workflow, now and for the following months. We are proud to have received positive feedback on the achievements of the Fondazione Milano Cortina 2026 during recent times. Of course, we are aware that the next months will be very important for us because, at the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, we will officially acquire the title of ‘Host Country of the next Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games’. This will be a reason for pride but also an assumption of more responsibility that we will be able to manage efficiently, thanks to the passion and expertise of those who are working every day to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2026 the Games for all.”
The discussions with the IOC and IPC tracked the developments made since the last Coordination Commission meeting in April this year.
The team from Milano Cortina 2026 talked about their learnings from the Games Education Programme held during Tokyo 2020. There, several members of their Committee obtained access to invaluable knowledge that is helping them advance their delivery plans.
Latest news on the ongoing development of their venue design were also given. There are a number of innovative solutions for events, such as combining the freestyle events in Livigno. As part of this discussion, the onboarding of ski mountaineering was proposed. This follows the decision by the IOC Session in Tokyo this year to admit the sport to the Milano Cortina 2026 programme at the request of the Organising Committee.
There were also a number of operational and business matters discussed. A highlight of Milano Cortina 2026’s organisational design was presented. To display the growth of the Milano Cortina 2026 team, it was noted that the Organising Committee staff have recently moved into new headquarters. Situated in the Allianz Tower in Milan, these offices are set to be officially inaugurated later this month.
This topic also presented an open door to explain the development of close relationships with the local organising committees whose areas of expertise will help deliver Olympic and Paralympic events in each of the host regions.
On the theme of building relationships, the Milano Cortina 2026 team gave a report to show their continued efforts which is helping them to grow their brand following the launch of their Games emblems earlier this year. This has been supported by the establishment of their ambassador network, which includes former international footballer Francesco Totti, Olympic gold medallists Federica Pellegrini, Alberto Tomba and Deborah Compagnoni, and Paralympic gold medallist Bebe Vio.
The foundation of all of these are a very ambitious sustainability and legacy strategy, which aligns with the goals of the IOC and IPC in this area. With their concentration on the economic, environmental and social impact the Games will have, Milano Cortina 2026 earned praise for what they have done in such a short period of time.
About their future plans, the Milano Cortina 2026 team explained how they will capitalise on the handover from the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. A number of national engagement programmes are set to be announced soon, they will be aimed at generating excitement amongst the local population whilst also sharing the best of Italy with the world.
The Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 will take place between 6 and 22 February, while the Paralympic Winter Games will be held from 6 until 15 March.
On this day 20 years ago David Beckham scored that injury time free-kick to take England into the World Cup final
(Football news) The England team of this generation has reached new heights having played the World Cup semifinal in 2018 and Euro final in 2021. There was a period of time when England was never the team to look out for. The famous 'Golden Generation' of English football that included the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and the captain David Beckham never found success in big tournaments.
In 2001, England were pitted in a 2002 World Cup qualifiers group with arch rivals Germany. According to the format back then only the top team of the 5 team group would achieve direct qualification while the 2nd placed team had to play a playoff in order to qualify. Before their last game against Greece on 6th October 2001, England were on 16 points while Germany were top of the group with 17 points. Thanks to their superior goal difference England needed just 1 point from the game to qualify for the World Cup.
England conceded in the 36th minute and had to chase the game from there. Teddy Sheringham's 68th minute equaliser was almost immediately cut out by Demis Nikolaidis. Trailing 2-1 England got a free-kick in David Beckham's range around the 3rd minute of extra time. The England captain left Old Trafford in a frenzy when he launched the free-kick into the top left corner leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
England ended up qualifying for the World Cup. Although Germany had to go through a playoff game against Ukraine, they did qualify for the World Cup and won the silver medal as well. In hindsight if Beckham hadn't scored the goal there is a high chance that England would've still made it to South Korea and Japan for the tournament.
20 years later the goal is still fresh in the memory of football fans not just in England but all around the World. In the quarter finals, England were defeated by the eventual champions Brazil. Had it not been for David Beckham's magical right foot, there may have been a World Cup played without England.
Inaki Williams the iron man of football as he breaks the all time La Liga appearance record
(Football news) The Athletic Bilbao striker has not missed a single La Liga game since April 2016 and played his 203 league matches in a row to beat the previous record which was held by former Real Sociedad player Juan Larrañaga. Five coaches have come and gone in the Athletic dugout but one thing remained ever present was his name on the team sheet.
The gravity of this record sometimes will go unnoticed but it's truly an amazing feat especially in modern day football where the sport is much more physical, with high intensity football played day in day out and also the amount of fixtures an average footballer plays becomes very difficult to stay fit. The centre forward has been with Bilbao since the youth level and was promoted to the first team in 2014, since then he has been an integral part of the squad. Williams in 2019 signed a contract extension with Bilbao till 2028, a nine year renewal which is the most in the club's history. In 242 appearances in the La Liga he has scored 48 goals and provided 33 assists for Athletic Bilbao.
His streak of games started off against Atletico Madrid on 20th April 2016 when subsequently he was making a comeback after a long term injury, which had kept him out for the majority of the 2015/16 La Liga season. After playing the final 5 matches of the season he went on to play all 38 games from the 2016/17 season till now. He was first spotted by former Barcelona coach Ernesto Vaverde who handed out his debut against Cordoba aged just 20, later on he went to become the clubs talisman with Aritz Aduriz forming a deadly partnership with him. Inaki Williams biggest attribute to his game is his pace and the fact that he is keeping himself injury free in such a demanding sport is quite a remarkable feat.
Athletic's coach Marcelino Garcia Toral spoke about Inaki and said: "Inaki Williams is such an important player for us. He has stand-out abilities compared to other players. He is very quick, he stretches the opposition defence, he gets stuck in. Like any striker, he goes through more and less prolific spells, but his attitude is always incredible. His performance is excellent and he will improve because he wants to. He has been in the first team for many years and yet he is only 26 so as a striker he is moving into his peak years. Together with his teammates, we think he’ll be a cornerstone of this club for many years to come,"
Also read: UEFA Nations League Preview: Italy look to add another trophy as they take on Spain in the 1st Semi final
While speaking about his childhood and wanting to add to Athletics legacy Inaki said, "I miss those days. I was very happy. The only responsibility we had was going to school and then playing football. It was a beautiful time, I had come to Lezama to watch training sessions with my godfather. Then we would go to the park to play football. I also spent a lot of time playing football with my brother Nico. Summers of endless football, my mother used to shout at us on the street to get us to come back home. You always dream of winning a title with Athletic. You see images of when Athletic won the league, the team out on La Gabarra, I wasn’t even born back then! You hear (Jose Angel Iribar) talking about those times and you get goosebumps. Now we are in with a chance of winning two trophies, and an opportunity to leave our mark. We all dream of making Athletic champions again, it's all we want,"
UEFA Nations League Preview: Italy look to add another trophy as they take on Spain in the 1st Semi final
(Football news) After their triumph earlier this year, European champions Italy take on Spain in the Nations League semi final. The last time these two teams met was in the Euro semi finals where Italy won on penalties.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alex Meret, Salvatore Sirigu
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Emerson Palmieri, Rafael Toloi, Federico Dimarco
Midfielders: Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marco Verratti
Forwards: Domenico Berardi, Federico Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa, Moise Kean, Lorenzo Insigne, Giacomo Raspadori
Ciro Immobile and Matteo Pessina were named in the initial squad but had to withdraw due to injury. The pair was replaced by Moise Kean and Federico Dimarco
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, David de Gea, Robert Sanchez.
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro Porro, Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Inigo Martinez, Sergio Reguilon, Marcos Alonso.
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodri Hernandez, Pedri, Mikel Merino, Koke, Gavi, Bryan Gill, Pablo Fornals.
Forwards: Ferran Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Mikel Oyarzabal, Yeremi Pino.
Luis Enrique once again did not name a single Real Madrid player in the squad. Eric Garcia and Pablo Sarabia are in the squad despite poor performances this season. Barcelona youngster Gavi earned a surprise maiden call up. Brahim Diaz and Marco Asensio's good start to the season wasn't enough to convince the manager. Sergio Ramos is yet to feature this season due to injury and it'll be interesting to see if the 35 year old ever plays for Spain.
Italy haven't lost any of their last 37 games. Roberto Mancini's side are in red hot form at the moment. Spain on the other hand had a good Euros with a young squad that exceeded the expectations but it is tough to see Italy lose the game. Having said that, Italy did needed penalties to beat Spain the last time. The winner of the game will face either France or Belgium in the finals while the loser will play the 3rd place match.
Jannik Sinner wins the Sofia Open for the second time
(Tennis news) Jannik Sinner defended his title at the Sofia Open as he beat Gael Monfils in straight sets. Sinner has won three titles this season and all of them in hardcourts, he has now entered the top ten rankings and is the youngest of the group.
Sinner has faced Monfils at the US Open in the third round and has three victories over Monfils in four matches. Sinner played aggressively right from the start in the final as Gael kept returning the ball, Sinner kept hitting forehands across the court to take the first set. In the second set, Monfils came into form as he hit speeding forehands and even slam dunked a smash but Sinner’s form was not affected as he came into the net to finish off points against Monfils. Sinner defeated Monfils 6-3, 6-4.
Monfils has had a rough year as he is yet to win a title, his last title came a year back at Rotterdam. The 35 year old has reached the finals for the first time this year and his best performance at Metz where he reached the semifinals losing to Pablo Carreno Busta. As for Sinner, his first title came at the same tournament a year back and has won multiple titles this year and now has a chance to play in the world tour finals given his performance at the handful of tournaments left in the season.
Sinner started the year with a title at Melbourne and then reached the quarterfinals in Dubai but his highlight was reaching the finals of the Miami Masters 1000 where he lost to Hubert Hurkacz. He also reached the semifinals in Barcelona and the fourth round of the French Open. The 20 year old has already qualified for the Next Gen ATP finals which will begin next month, he won it in 2019 and can continue his winning streak at home in Italy.
Sinner had won the title here last year beating Vasek Pospisil in the final and this time had not dropped a set while capturing the title. With his third title of the year, Sinner has slowly transformed himself into a probable for the majors next year. This season has seen the youngsters play the major role in most of the events, especially in the second half of the year. With one more month to go in the tennis calendar, Sinner will look to climb up the rankings ladder.
Shooting: Ganemat Sekhon wins women's skeet silver at Junior World
Lima, Oct 1 (Shooting news) Rising Indian woman skeet shooter Ganemat Sekhon won a silver medal at the ISSF Junior World Championship here.
This was India's fifth medal of the day.
The Chandigarh shooter, who picked up her first senior ISSF World Cup stage medals in New Delhi earlier this year, went down in a shoot-off to American Alisha Fayth Layne, after both were tied on 46 hits in the 60-shot final.
Sara Bongini of Italy won bronze.
It was a fruitful Thursday for the country with Manu Bhaker claiming gold in the women's 10m air pistol leading an Indian 1-2 in the event with teammate Esha Singh claiming silver.
Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil of Mumbai had begun the medal rush with a silver in the men's 10m air rifle and Ramita followed that up with a bronze in the women's 10m air rifle.
The second Indian in the women's skeet final, Raiza Dhillon could not get going and finished sixth after hitting 14 of the first 20 targets.
India also finished outside the medals bracket in the men's 10m air pistol with Naveen finishing fourth, Sarabjot Singh sixth and Vijayveer Sidhu ending eighth after all three had made the finals.
In men's skeet, none of the three Indians in the fray, Rajveer Gill, Abhay Singh Sekhon and Ayush Rudraraju could make it to the six-man finals.
Also read : 36-member batch of Indian shooting contingent reaches Peru for Jr World Championship
News source : PTI
Copa America winners Argentina to face off against European Champions Italy in a friendly
(Football news) A partnership between Europe’s football governing body UEFA and CONMEBOL has led to an agreement that will see Euro 2020 winners Italy face off against Copa America winners in a friendly next June with the venue still to be decided. In addition, the next two Euros and Copa America tournaments will see their winners play against each other as well.
A statement between the two governing bodies said “UEFA and CONMEBOL have today announced the broadening of their existing cooperation as well as the staging of a match between the UEFA EURO 2020 winners Italy and the CONMEBOL Copa America 2021 winners Argentina during the international window in June 2022 at a venue to be confirmed.
“The organising of this match is part of the expansion of the cooperation between UEFA and CONMEBOL, which notably includes women’s football, futsal and youth categories, the exchange of referees, as well as technical training schemes.
“The agreement reached by the two organisations currently covers three editions of this match between the respective continental winners, and also includes the opening of a joint office in London, which will be in charge of coordinating projects of common interest.
“By reaching this agreement, UEFA and CONMEBOL express their commitment to the development of football beyond their geographical zones, as a bridge uniting people, countries, continents and cultures.”
The significance of this partnership is that both the governing bodies have opposed FIFA’s plan for a biennial World Cup and strengthening ties with each other could bring new possibilities in football between Europe and South America. In a statement by CONMEBOL, the governing body said “In the current conditions, it is already complex to harmonize times, schedules, logistics, adequate preparation of equipment and commitments.
“The situation would be extremely difficult with the proposed change. It could even put the quality of other tournaments, both club and national, at risk. A World Cup every two years could distort the most important football competition on the planet, lowering its quality and undermining its exclusive character and its current demanding standards.
“The World Cup is an event that attracts the attention and expectations of billions of people because it represents the culmination of a process of elimination that lasts the entire four-year period and has its own dynamics and appeal.”
Champions League preview: PSG set to face off against Manchester City and other blockbuster clashes to look forward to
(Football news) Lionel Messi is set to reunite with his former manager Pep Guardiola as Man City clash with Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes in Matchday 2 of Group A. Fans will hope that the fixture lives up to the hype with the amount of talent on display. Both teams have long standing ambitions of winning the Champions League but have failed to do so, both are also owned by rich Arab families and both the teams are favourites to win the elite European competition this season. One can almost say that it’s a final that is happening too soon.
Manchester City will be without Ilkay Gundogan who suffered a knock against Southampton and will be unavailable until after the international break. The only other absentee in City’s squad is Oleksandr Zinchenko, the left back is recovering from a calf issue. Aymeric Laporte and Rodri are back in contention for Man City and it remains to be seen if Pep Guardiola will use them against PSG or Liverpool later in the week. The likes of John Stones, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling look likely to make the starting XI after being among the substitutes against Chelsea.
Mauricio Pochettino will breathe a sigh of relief as his countryman Lionel Messi is back in training for PSG and available for selection against Manchester City. The Argentine missed two Ligue 1 fixtures due to a bruised knee but seems to have recovered in time for this crucial fixture. Marco Verrati is also back in the squad after missing four games with a knee problem and will give the attack-heavy PSG side some much needed balance with defensive contributions.
Paris Saint-Germain will look to win their first match against Man City, having drawn 2 and lost 3 previously, especially considering that the French giants were held to a draw against Club Brugge in the first match of Group A. The match will be broadcasted on 29th September, 12:30 am IST in India.
Liverpool travel to Estádio do Dragão in a clash against Porto in Matchday 2 of Group B. The Reds are currently on top of their Group, being the only team to have won a fixture in Matchday 1 and will be looking to all but cement their place in the next round. Porto are without their goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin who is out after a knee surgery last month. Chancel Mbemba will also not be available for selection after receiving a red card against Atletico Madrid while 38 year old Pepe is currently injured. Trent Alexander-Arnold has not travelled with the Liverpool squad despite resuming training on Monday while Naby Keita is available for selection. However, Klopp is expected to make changes to ensure the squad is fresh and ready to face Manchester City this weekend.
AC Milan will be looking forward to welcoming Champions League nights at the San Siro for the first time in seven years when Atletico Madrid visit Italy’s fashion capital. AC Milan are currently in red hot form, having won five out of the last six matches in the Serie A and currently occupy 2nd place behind Napoli. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Rade Krunic are expected to be out from the fixture due to injuries while Simon Kjaer, Alessandro Florenzi, Davide Calabria and Olivier Giroud are expected to be available for selection. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have had a stuttering start, winning only one out of the last five games in all competitions. Stefan Savic is unavailable due to suspension because of which Jose Gimenez is expected to take his place.
Also read: UEFA drops legal charges against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus for involvement in the European Super League
Boxing: 'Stressed' women's High Performance Director Raffaele Bergamasco to head back home
New Delhi, Sep 28 (Boxing News) Indian women's boxing's High Performance Director Raffaele Bergamasco has decided to head back to his home in Italy after spending nearly a month here "waiting" for the national federation to respond to his queries on whether he would be "retained".
Bergamasco's contract officially ends on Wednesday and the 50-year-old, who joined in 2017, told PTI that he is exhausted and stressed after getting no response from the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).
"I will go home now. I will wait for the BFI to respond to me in the next two weeks on my status before the women's national championship happens in mid-October. I am very stressed and in a bad situation," he said.
"If they call me, I will come back on October 15 before the Nationals and if they don't, then I will decide what to do next. I will send an e-mail like I have been doing," he added.
"I have no bitterness, I just want some communication." The BFI had sought a three-month extension for Bergamasco and his men's team counterpart Santiago Nieva. However, the Italian is not keen on a short-term renewal of his contract.
The BFI has said that a decision on further extension would be taken based on the performances in the upcoming world championships for men (in October) and women (in December).
Bergamasco would be leaving for his home base Assisi on Thursday. He said only the Sports Authority of India (SAI) got in touch with him after he sent out several e-mails seeking clarity over his status.
"The SAI got back to me and told me that they are waiting for the BFI to take a call and cannot say anything beyond that. I have been in my room at the Indira Gandhi Stadium for the last one month and I think I need to go back to my family," he said.
The women boxers will reassemble for a full-fledged camp only after the national championships.
A federation source told PTI that the BFI will submit a report to SAI on its Tokyo Olympics review by September 30 and a decision on all matters will be taken only after that.
"Once that report goes to SAI, we will be able to communicate," the source said.
Both Bergamasco and Nieva have expressed their desire to continue despite the current uncertainty.
India had its biggest ever boxing team -- five men and four women -- competing at the Olympic Games in July-August. But only Lovlina Borgohain (69kg)could finish on the podium with a bronze medal.
It was India's first boxing medal at the Games in nine years, but more was expected given the top form the pugilists had shown leading up to the showpiece.
None of the male boxers could make the medal rounds with Satish Kumar (+91kg) being the only one to enter the quarterfinals in Tokyo, earning plaudits for fighting his last-eight bout with 13 stitches on the face.
The source said that BFI, as of now, is sticking to its position, taken after the Olympics, of offering a three months' extension to Nieva and Bergamasco to ensure continuity for the two big events, where the national champions will represent the country.
Their contracts were originally meant to end after the Tokyo Games.
BFI president Ajay Singh had backed the boxers as well as the coaching staff in Tokyo, saying that he would not overlook the unparalleled results of the past four years which included two medals for the first time at the men's World Championships and never-seen-before hauls in the Asian and Commonwealth Games.
Federation sources had recently hinted that there could be an overhaul of the coaching staff for both men and women as there is "dissatisfaction" with the Tokyo Olympics performance.
Also Read : AIBA World Boxing Championships to allow spectators
News Source : PTI
Extreme E releases their calendar for 2022 season
(Motorsports news) The electric off road racing series is at the midpoint as it celebrates its first season as Extreme E has its eye on the future as it unveils the provisional Season 2’s calendar in 2022.
The electric racing series takes place in off-road locations as part of its mission to drive awareness of climate change issues, such as global warming, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, wildfires and extreme weather and desertification, whilst promoting sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles to help protect the planet.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, explained: “We’ve had a hugely positive response to Extreme E throughout this opening Season, from governments to NGOs, who see great potential, not only for utilising our purpose driven sports platform to educate on climate issues, but also to showcase the solutions that they and the wider global community can all be part of.
“As we approach the tail end of our first Season, we wanted to be transparent about how our second season is shaping up in order to help enable our teams, drivers and partners to prepare. We’ve had lots of interest, both in retaining events in locations we’ve visited in Season 1, and from new locations and we are currently at a stage where we have multiple options for some of our races. As an engaged championship which aims to put fans at the heart of decision making, we are also keen to hear input and opinions on where we should go in future Seasons too.”
Provisional Extreme E Season 2 calendar (2022):
February 19-20: Saudi Arabia
May 7-8: Senegal / Egypt / Tanzania
July 9-10: Greenland / Iceland
September 10-11: Brazil / Argentina / Uruguay / Italy / Costa Rica
November 26-27: Chile
St. Helena, the former Royal Mail Ship will provide the championship’s floating centrepiece as they will carry the series’ vehicles, logistics equipment and paddock infrastructure as well as playing host to scientific research with its on board laboratory. This is done in a bid to lower the impact of the travel logistics compared to air travel.
Head-to-head races, known as an X Prix, will take place over two days as the area is no larger than 10 km2, with each team fielding a male and a female driver to compete in the race, including a Driver Switch incorporated midway. Course designers have carefully selected course options, which provide the most challenging, exciting action, using obstacles and features with elevation changes and jumps, to entertain the audience and also raise environmental awareness
Race organisers undergo thorough environmental, social and economic assessments of each location with a local third party, as they oversee the environmental protection, social inclusivity and fair practices. Extreme E in a systematic manner as they operate from water consumption, waste management, lighting on-site through to land management and ensuring the series races without a trace after the X Prix has finished.
Additionally, in each location, Extreme E works alongside governments and NGOs to implement positive legacy initiatives dependent on regional needs. Examples of Legacy Programmes in Season 1 have included; the funding of a turtle conservation project along the Red Sea coastline; the planting of one million mangroves with NGO TO.org and Oceanium in Senegal; cocoa agroforestry and Amazon conservation with The Nature Conservancy in Para state, Brazil; and the creation of a climate education syllabus for over 3,500 school children across Greenland with UNICEF.
Professor Carlos Duarte, Extreme E’s Climate Change Scientist said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of Extreme E this year and very much look forward to continuing our good work into Season 2.
“The legacy and scientific aspects are a true cornerstone to the series and already this year I’ve been able to conduct research in Saudi Arabia and collect ice samples from the Russell Glacier with Extreme E. This championship gives me and my peers the opportunity to reach people outside of our usual networks, it gives us a voice to reach the masses and educate on climate issues and the solutions we can all be a part of.”
As well as providing a platform for climate and environmental awareness, Extreme E provides strong economic impact to the host countries. YouGov Sport, calculated the series’ inaugural event in Saudi Arabia contributed more than €47 million local value. These figures include employment of local personnel, logistics, transportation, local food ,beverage, provisions and hotel stays.
The media exposure of the Desert X Prix majorly factors in the overall economic impact. Extreme E’s broadcast in 190 broadcasting markets as they cater to 18.7million audiences which has resulted in an unprecedented media value of almost €32 million for the championship.
Extreme E has already surpassed its end of Season 1 targets on social media hitting 100 million video views, a 400 per cent increase in engagement plus more than one billion impressions across all digital platforms.
Also read: ABT CUPRA XE announces new design in IAA Mobility Show at Munich
Top athletes register to take part in the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Belgrade
(Boxing news) With a month to go until the XXI Men's World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, top athletes from around the world have already registered for the prestigious tournament. The grand opening ceremony will take place on October 24th at the Štark Arena and the finals are scheduled for November 5th and 6th with six weight categories on the first day and the seventh category on the second day.
Andy Cruz Gomez, Julio La Cruz, Lazaro Alvares Estrada, Arlen Lopez, Roniel Iglesias from Cuba; Keno Machado, Abner Teixeira, Wanderson de Oliveira from Brazil; Hovhannes Bachkov from Armenia; Yuberjen Martinez Rivas from Colombia; Eumir Marcial from the Philippines; Saken Bibossinov from Kazakhstan; Sanjeet Sanjeet from India; Hasanboy Dusmatov, Shakhobiddin Zoirov, Mirazizbek Mirzahalilov, Abdulmalik Khalokov, Shakhram Giyasov from Uzbekistan; Salvatore Cavallaro, Simone Fiori, Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine from Italy; Loren Alfonso Dominguez from Azerbaijan and others are among the stars of the tournament.
Medal winners at the upcoming AIBA World Boxing Championship will be rewarded with significant prize money ($2.6 million) for the first time in AIBA’s 75 year history. The prize for first place is $100 000 USD. Silver medalists receive $50 000 USD, and both bronzes in each weight category receive $25 000 USD.
AIBA World Boxing Championships schedule (all CET)
October 24, 19:00 – Grand Opening Ceremony
October 25 – November 2, 13:00 and 18:00 – Preliminaries
November 3 – rest day
November 4, 13:00 and 18:00 – semi-finals
November 5-6, 18:00 – finals
Preview: Could Max Verstappen increase his Championship lead at the Russian Grand Prix or will Hamilton achieve his 100th win
(Motorsport news) Formula 1 is heading to the Sochi Autodrom for the 2021 Russian Grand Prix with the title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen more intense than it has ever been. Verstappen has a three place grid drop after the collision with Hamilton’s Mercedes at Monza, which means the Dutchman would be at a significant disadvantage heading into the weekend in Russia. This means that even if Verstappen finishes first in qualifying, the highest he will start the race will be fourth. It will be the first time the Red Bull driver will not be in the top 3 this season, finishing seven out of the last eight races in pole position.
The man to watch out for at Sochi is neither Hamilton or Verstappen but Valtteri Bottas. The Flying Finn won the race last year, has never started outside the top 4 in seven attempts in Russia and showed a blistering pace in Italy by being fastest in Friday qualifying and Sprint. Red Bull will not be too downhearted by Verstappen’s penalty as the long straights and DRS zones will help their fast car catch up and they would undoubtedly remember when the Dutchman started the race in 19th position in 2018 and finished fifth within the first eight laps.
However, it’s Mercedes who look favourites at Sochi Autodrom, having won every race at the venue since 2014, leading for 309 out of a possible 340 laps. Hamilton has already won four races and will hope to capitalize on Verstappen’s grid penalty by gaining points in the Drivers Championship. Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris of McLaren will also be hoping to maintain momentum in Russia after finishing first and second at Monza. In a power sensitive circuit, the McLaren MCL35M is expected to be competitive and a possible podium finish might be on the cards.
Ferrari will be debuting their new power unit in Russia, which means that Charles Leclerc will be forced to start at the back of the grid. As per the regulations, Ferrari are restricted to one upgrade of each component every year and have been running the 2020-spec hybrid system. The introduction of the new hybrid system will help Ferrari gain experience for the 2022 car project amidst new technical regulations. Unfortunately for Leclerc, the Monaco based driver has already used up his permitted allocation of power units this season, which means the new upgrade will automatically trigger a grid penalty. Carlos Sainz is expected to use his old power unit in Russia and the new upgrade in Turkey, which will also result in a grid penalty as and when the upgrade is implemented.
One thing is for sure, it’s going to be another action packed weekend full of drama, excitement and controversy in the most competitive Formula 1 Championship in years. Be sure to tune in on Sunday, 26th September from 5:30 pm onwards.
Davis Cup: Indian players need to give their all against Finland
Espoo (Finland), Sep 16 (Tennis news) India's singles players will need to back their talent with some killer instinct for the team to emerge victorious against a reasonably strong Finland in the Davis Cup World Group I tie, starting here on Friday.
Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan have the experience of playing the big matches.
They have rubbed shoulders with better players but it's time for them to move forward from playing mere close matches. They need to deliver that knockout punch that will take India to the next year's Qualifiers.
If Ramkumar can play the same way he competed against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the previous tie against Croatia and does not miss the chances he gets, India will have a very good chance in the tie.
As the second-best ranked player from India, Ramkumar will be up against Finland's number one player Emil Ruusuvuori, who is placed 74 in the world, on the opening day of the tie.
If Ramkumar takes the court first and puts India on board, that will be a huge result for the visitors and take the pressure off Prajnesh (ranked 165) who will most likely compete against Otto Virtanen (ranked 419).
Prajnesh too gets close to wins with his talent but has the tendency of giving up advantageous positions, like the one against Borna Coric in the last tie against Croatia.
Maybe it's pressure of playing for the flag but the left-hander from Chennai insists it is not the case.
"Matches against good players are always close if I'm playing well. I have won matches against good players being in the lead and I have also lost matches being in the lead. That's just the way they go," Prajnesh told PTI.
"Matches which are closely fought can go either way. There is no pressure of playing for India that influences me...Sometimes there's more pressure, other times that's less.
"Again, just depends on how well I cope on that particular day," he added.
India considered the doubles point in their pocket till the time Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi competed together but now things have changed.
Rohan Bopanna (44) has immense experience of the big stage and he needs to use all of that to shepherd the team with Divij Sharan (86) since their opponents -- Henri Kontinen (ranked 46) and Harri Heliovaara (ranked 76) -- will be a tough nut to crack.
Bopanna and Sharan have played only one tie together, winning against Italy in March 2019.
Most of 40-year-old Bopanna's doubles wins have come either with either Paes or Saketh Myneni.
It remains to be seen if captain Rohit Rajpal fields Bopanna with Sharan or Myneni, who is the fifth member of the squad.
Kontinen has played three of the four Grand Slams this year with Edouard Roger-Vasselin but paired with Heliovaara at the US Open, probably to get ready for this tie.
They had a decent first round before losing in a close three-set match.
Non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal feels that the conditions are not entirely in the favour of the hosts since the low bounce of the courts will benefit the Indian players, who can play the chip-and-charge game to counter their rivals.
Also Read : Low bounce, not-so-fast court surprises Indian Davis Cup team in Finland
News Source : PTI
East Bengal sign Croatian stopper Franjo Prce
Kolkata, Sep 15 (Football News) Croatian U-21 national team stopper Franjo Prce on Wednesday signed up for SC East Bengal, making him red and gold brigade's third foreign recruit.
Prce, who has played a match for Lazio senior team, has joined East bengal from Croatian club NK Slaven Belupo. Slovenian midfielder Amir Dervišević and Tomislav Mrcela are the two overseas recruits.
"I have played with some of the big names in world football and it has helped me grow on and off the field. I think I can use my experience here in the ISL and try to help my team do well," he said.
"I am eagerly waiting to experience India and I also know this club has a massive fan base. It’s a shame that they can't be with us in the stands but we will play for them. We always play for the fans." At Lazio, Prce shared the locker room with the likes of former Germany striker Miroslav Klose and Ciro Immobile who earlier this year helped Italy win the European Championships.
Inter Milan centre-back Stefan de Vrij was also with Lazio during that time as was Italy's Antonio Candreva and Lucas Biglia of Argentina.
Born in Čapljina in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prce started his career with the youth academy of Croatian club Hajduk Split. After his stint in Italy, Prce moved to Croatian club Istra 1961 again on a loan deal before shifting base to Cyprus where he turned out for AC Omonia.
Prce also had spells with FC Karpaty Lviv in Ukraine besides playing for NK Varaždin and NK Slaven Belupo at home in Croatia. Prce was included in the Croatian under-17 team for the 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championships. He also featured for the team in the 2013 FIFA under17 World Cup.
Prce is a no-nonsense defender who will add to the squad’s experience despite being only 25 years of age. The six foot tall footballer is well travelled and has played with and against the best.
SC East Bengal take on Jamshedpur FC in their opening game of the Hero Indian Super League 2021-22 season, on November 21 at the Tilak Maidan.
Also Read : Star A-League defender Tomislav Mrcela joins SC East Bengal
News Source : PTI
Juventus take on Napoli in a mouth watering clash as both the Milan clubs look to continue their winning start
(Football news) After a two week long break with International football, club football is finally back with some mouth watering fixtures. Italian football has some enticing clashes in store for the fans as matchweek 3 games can help let the fans figure out where their teams stand in the season.
The match of the week is surely between Napoli vs Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri’s side will be under a lot of pressure to get a victory as they were left disappointed after getting only one point from the two matches. Allegri will be hoping for a change in fortune but it will not be an easy task as Napoli are the in-form team and will be playing in the Diego Maradona stadium in front of the Naples crowd. Juventus’ task becomes even more difficult as they will be without their entire South American contingent, who are still in their respective countries thanks to the CONMEBOL qualifiers. Juventus will also be without their talisman Federico Chiesa because of precautionary measures after he picked up a hamstring injury in the International break.
AC Milan take on in-form Lazio at the San Siro as both sides seek to go on top of the league with a victory. “Sarri- ball” seems well and truly alive as Lazio have made a blistering start to the season scoring 9 goals in two matches which is a new record in the Serie A. Stefan Poli’s side too have been in good form and will be welcoming their star players Zlatan and Kessie back from injury to bolster their side even more. AC Milan also might give debuts to new signings Bakayoko and Junior Messias in what could be a very enthralling match between two giant teams.
Also read: Ronaldo's homecoming headlines matchweek 4 of the Premier League
Inter Milan take on Sampdoria away from home as a victory will help them reclaim top spot in the table. Despite the departure of Conte, Lukaku and Hakimi, the Nerazzurri have made a strong start to the season as new signings Dzeko and Calhanoglu have settled into the squad brilliantly. Heading into the match Inter have no injuries except the uncertainty of Lautaro Martinez playing due to the quarantine rules in Italy.
AS Roma take on Sassuolo at home in what could be Jose Mourinho's toughest match in charge. Mourinho’s Roma have played scintillating football to win their two matches as they will be facing giant killers Sassuolo who tend to perform when they are under pressure.Roma’s squad will be bolstered by the welcome return of Chris Smalliing and after serving his one match suspension Nicolo Zaniolo.
Other matches to keep an eye for:
Atalanta vs Fiorentina
Spezia vs Udinese
Torino vs Salernitana
Brazilian forward Jonathas joins Indian Super League club Odisha FC
(Football news) Odisha FC is excited to announce the signing of experienced Brazilian striker Jonathas Cristian de Jesus ahead of the upcoming Hero Indian Super League 2021-22 scheduled to be played in Goa.
32-year-old Jonathas has played in some big football leagues in countries such as Brazil, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Germany. Jonathas made his professional debut with Brazilian club Cruzeiro in 2006 after playing for their youth team. He had also Played Ipatinga and Villa Nova on loan in Brazil before signing for Eredivisie club AZ in 2009.
The experienced Attacker has played in the Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga and represented clubs like Pescara, Torino, Elche, Real Sociedad, Hannover 96 among others. Jonathas has more than 100 career goals to his name.
Before joining the Bhubaneswar-based side, he played for Hatta Club in the UAE Pro league on loan in 2021. Jonathas played for the Brazil U-19 team in Sendai Cup in 2008.
Also read: Atlético Madrid travel to Espanyol while Real Madrid return to the Bernabeu after 18 months in matchweek 4
After joining the OFC camp, Jonathas expressed, “I am very excited for this new challenge in my career. The project that Odisha FC showed me had a big impact on my decision. I am very motivated and I am looking forward to playing in the ISL and achieve greater things with Odisha FC. Ama Team Ama Game!"
Head Coach Kiko Ramirez stated, "Jonathas has to be our goal scorer. He will give us work inside the pitch and he will make it very difficult for opposing defenders. In addition, he comes to the club with a lot of hunger and motivation to make a big impact in the ISL. Apart from his great character, he has a lot of quality, he is good in the air and he can create chances on his own."
Speaking about the new foreign signing, Odisha FC Club President Mr. Raj Athwal commented, "We are thrilled to have signed a player of Jonathas’ quality and experience. His record speaks for itself, having played and scored in all the top leagues worldwide including Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga. Jonathas is a huge signing not only for Odisha Football Club but Indian football in general."
Experienced Brazilian forward Jonathas joins Odisha FC
Bhubaneswar, Sep 9 (Football News): Odisha FC on Thursday announced the signing of experienced Brazilian centre-forward Jonathas Cristian de Jesus ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League season scheduled to be played in Goa.
The 32-year-old Jonathas has played in various leagues in countries like Brazil, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Germany.
He started his professional career with Brazilian club Cruzeiro in 2006 after playing for their youth team. He had also represented Ipatinga and Villa Nova on loan in Brazil before signing for Dutch club AZ in 2009.
The experienced striker has played in the Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga in Europe and represented clubs like Pescara, Torino, Elche, Real Sociedad, Hannover 96 among others and has more than 100 career goals to his name.
Before joining the Bhubaneswar-based side, he was with UAE Pro League club Sharjah FC and played for Hatta Club on loan in 2021. Jonathas had also donned the Brazil U-19 colours during Sendai Cup in 2008.
"I am very excited for this new challenge in my career. The project that Odisha FC showed me had a big impact on my decision. I am looking forward to play in the ISL and achieve greater things with Odisha FC," Jonathas said in a release from Odisha FC.
Odisha FC head coach Kiko Ramirez said, "Jonathas has to be our goal scorer. He will give us work inside the pitch and he will make it very difficult for opposing defenders.
"In addition, he comes to the club with a lot of hunger and motivation to make a big impact in the ISL. Apart from his great character, he has a lot of quality, he is good in the air and he can create chances on his own."
Also read: FC Bengaluru United first team to reach knockouts of Durand Cup
News source: PTI
England stunned by Poland as Italy and Germany cruise past their opponents
(Football news) As the last set of international matches went ahead a lot of drama and enthralling football was on display. With the players returning to their respective clubs after matchweek 6 teams like Italy and Germany maintained their position at the top of their group, although England fluttered they too looked in good position to qualify.
England played a entertaining 1-1 draw against Poland in Warsaw, Gareth Southgate’s side were not at their usual ruthless best as they were put on the back foot by Robert Lewandowski in the first half but in the second half a brilliant shot which curled in the far corner from Harry Kane gave England the lead. It was looking like the three lions were going to maintain their perfect record but in the second minute of stoppage time, substitute Szymanski rose well at the back post to nod in a floated cross from Lewandowski as it helped keep Poland their hopes of qualification alive. With this result, England are still in a commanding position in the group as they have 16 points from 6 matches, with Albania in second with 12 points and Poland in third with 11 points.
Newly crowned European champions Italy won 5-0 against Lithuania in what was a dominant performance from the Gil Azzurri. Robert Mancini’s side created history as they now have the longest unbeaten streak for an international team, now standing at 37 games unbeaten. Mancini made a lot of changes as he wanted to give youngsters the opportunity to shine, which they did as within the first 30 minutes Italy scored 4 goals courtesy of two goals from Moise Kean and Giacomo Raspadori. Eventually Italy cruised to a 5-0 victory which helped them maintain top position in Group C with 14 points from 6 matches followed by Switzerland with 8 points.
“It was important to have won this game with young players, who played very well, especially in the first half,"."They (Kean and Raspadori) have a great future, everything will depend on them. Mancini told RAI
Germany won 4-0 against Iceland as they further extended their lead in the group. Hansi Flick’s side opened the scoring just after six minutes when Leroy Sane crossed perfectly for Serge Gnabry to convert from close range. Antonio Rudiger doubled their lead with a towering header, before Leroy Sane and Timo Werner put the finishing touches in what was a very convincing performance from the Germans. After this victory Germany extended their lead to 15 points from 6 matches followed by Armenia in second with 8 points.
Also read: Memphis and Haaland were on fire as Denmark ran riot
Spain also won 2-0 against Kosovo to get back to winning ways after a disappointing loss to Sweden. Luis Enrique handed Pablo Fornals his first start after a long time which paid dividence as he scored his first goal in Spanish colours, Ferran Torres scored late on to give Spain a much deserved victory. Sweden were shocked by Greece as they lost 2-1 as goals from Bakasetas and Pavlidis helped keep their dream of qualifying for the World Cup alive.With these results Spain now have 13 points from 6 matches followed by Sweden in second with 9 points from 4 matches in Group B
The other notable results were:
Belarus 0 - 1 Belgium (Praet)
Northern Ireland 0 - 0 Switzerland
Wales 0 - 0 Estonia
Hungry 2 (Szalai, Botka) - 1 Andorra (Llovera)
Memphis and Haaland were on fire as Denmark ran riot
(Football news) As the final stretch of international matches are taking place, there have been plenty of moments to keep the audience engrossed in matchweek 6. The French finally broke off their winless streak and Portugal also maintained their winning run without Ronaldo.
Netherlands won 6-1 against Turkey in what was a rampant performance from the Dutch. Louis Van Gaal's first home match after returning back couldn’t have gone much better as his side completely dominated them. The dutch were ahead after just 54 seconds after Davy Klaassen scored but the show stopper was Memphis Depay who scored a brilliant hattrick. Later on, the substitutes Guus Til and Donyell Malen completed the rout .The only blip in the performance would be the injury concern for Virgil Van Dijk as Liverpool fans will be hopeful that it isn’t serious. With this result Netherlands leapfrog Turkey to take the lead in Group G as they have 13 points from 6 matches.
Norway beat Gibraltar 5-1 to go level on top with the Dutch in Group G. The Norwegian looked at their rampant best as Erling Haaland continued his early goal scoring form by scoring a wonderful hat-trick, the performance was rounded off by Alexander Sorloth and Kristian Thorstvedt to put the Norwegians in a comfortable position to qualify for the World Cup next year. With this win it takes Norway to 13 points from 6 matches in Group G.
France won 2-0 against Finland to end their 5 match winless streak, Dider Deschamps side finally looked like the World Champions as they completely dominated the Fins from the kick off. France broke the deadlock through Antoine Griezmann after beautifully curling the ball in the corner, it was Griezmann again who doubled the lead for Les Bleus’ to put the final nail in the coffin for Finland. After this victory, France extended their lead in Group D as they have 12 points from 6 matches.
Also read: England and Denmark win to put one foot in Qatar next year but France and Italy both stutter
Portugal won 3-0 against Azerbaijan as their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was suspended for this match. Fernando Santos' side stamped their authority from the get go as Bernado Silva scored a wonderful goal from a Bruno Fernandes cross to give them a much deserved lead. The performance was rounded off by Andre Silva and Diego Jota who helped Portugal reach 13 points from 6 matches to take a two point lead over the Serbians in Group A
Denmark won 5-0 against Israel to maintain a perfect record in the World cup qualifiers. At this moment Denmark are the best side in the qualifiers as they have scored 20 goals and not conceded a single goal in 6 matches. Denmark have just continued their magnificent form from the Euros, they ran riot over the Israelis as goals from Poulsen, Kjaer, Skov Olsen, Delaney and Cornelius have almost guaranteed them a place in the World Cup next year. With this win the Danish have 18 points from 6 matches in Group F
The other notable results were:
Ireland 1 (Nikola Milenkovic(OG) - 1 Serbia (Sergej Milinkovic Savic)
Austria 0 - 1 Scotland (Dykes)
Croatia 3 (Livaja, Pasalic, Vlasic) - 0 Slovenia
Russia 2 (Smolov, Bakaev) - 0 Malta
Boxing Federation seeks three-month extension for foreign coaches; review after that
New Delhi, Sep 7 (Boxing news) The Boxing Federation of India has sought a three-month extension for its foreign coaches, whose contracts were expiring this month, saying a review will be done after the World Championships for men and women later this year.
Indian boxing has two foreign recruits in men's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva of Sweden and his women's team counterpart Rafaelle Bergamasco from Italy. Both of them came on board in 2017 and their contracts were to end after the Tokyo Olympics.
"We have sought a three-month extension (from the Sports Authority of India) for both of them. The men's World Championship is due next month and the women's one is scheduled some time in December, we want continuity," Boxing Federation of India Secretary General Hemanta Kalita told PTI.
The decision was taken at the BFI's Executive Committee meeting recently.
"Our review of the Olympic performance is still an ongoing process and we would take a decision on any further extension after the two World Championships," Kalita explained.
"This is going to take some time. An extension will ensure that our preparations are not disrupted. There is very little time in hand," he said.
An unprecedented nine Indian boxers, five men and four women, qualified for the Tokyo Games of which only Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) could finish on the podium with a bronze medal.
Among the men, only Satish Kumar (+91kg) could reach the quarterfinals, while four others, including world number one Amit Panghal (52kg), lost in their opening round bouts.
BFI President had backed both the boxers as well as the coaching staff, saying that he he cannot overlook the unparalleled results of the past four years which included two medals for the first time at the men's World Championships and never-before-seen hauls in the Asian and Commonwealth Games.
Both Nieva and Bergamasco have expressed the desire to continue.
The 47-year-old Nieva is a member of the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) coaches committee and Vice President of the Asian Boxing Confederation's (ASBC) coaches committee.
Kalita also informed that after men's National Championship from September 15, the BFI will conduct the women's national event in the second week of October.
Also read: National Boxing gold-winners to make team for World Championships; Head Guards brought back
"The dates will be finalised in some days but the window would second week of October. We plan hold the tournament in Hisar in Haryana. The World Championships are due in December so that window is perfect to have the Nationals," he said.
Both the men's and women's National Championships could not be held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gold medal winners of the men's Nationals will qualify for the World Championships.
News source: PTI
Brazil vs Argentina abandoned after health officials invade the pitch due to COVID-19 regulations
(Football news) The World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was abandoned at Sao Paulo’s Neo Quimica Arena when Brazilian health authorities intervened shortly after kickoff for the breach of quarantine rules and COVID-19 protocols by four Argentinian players.
Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa) and Cristian Romero (Tottenham) were accused of providing ‘false information’ upon their entry in Brazil about spending time in the United Kingdom 14 days prior to their arrival in Brazil. According to Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), the four players were expected to remain isolated while awaiting deportation but their failure to comply combined with taking part in the game were serious breaches of Brazil’s COVID-19 regulations.
According to a government order dating June 23rd, foreign tourists from the United Kingdom, India and South Africa were prohibited from entering Brazil to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and it’s many variants. The agency had apparently forewarned the Argentinian delegations that the four players in question must play no role in the game and must remain isolated.
"By decision of the match referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the qualifiers for the World Cup is suspended," CONMEBOL said in a statement.
"The referee and the match commissioner will submit a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which will determine the steps to follow. These procedures adhere strictly to current regulations."
Also read: England and Denmark win to put one foot in Qatar next year but France and Italy both stutter
England and Denmark win to put one foot in Qatar next year but France and Italy both stutter
(Football news) After a scintillating matchweek 4, the World Cup qualifiers were in full flow, with victories for England and Denmark they maintained their perfect record in the qualifiers to put one step in Qatar next year. World Champions France and European Champions Italy are still yet to find their mojo in these ongoing qualifiers.
England won comfortably 4-0 against lower ranked opponents Andorra. Gareth Southgate completely changed his playing eleven as he handed out full international debuts to Patrick Bamford and Sam Johnstone. The star of the show was Jesse Lingard as he bagged two goals and an assist for Saka who scored his first goal for England on his birthday. Harry Kane put the finishing touches by scoring a penalty on a dominant performance for the Three Lions. With this result, England have 5 wins out of 5 matches and lead Group I with 15 points.
The World champions France drew 1-1 to Ukraine in what was their fifth consecutive draw. Dider Deschamps made changes to the starting line up by deploying out of favour Manchester United striker Anthony Martial who only scored his second goal for Les Bleus. Ukrainians under new management showed a good account of themselves as they put the French under the back foot in the first half which resulted in them scoring through Mykola Shaparenko. With this draw, France still lead Group D with 9 points from 5 matches.
European Champions Italy were held to a dull 0-0 against Switzerland, Robert Mancini’s side couldn’t break the resolute defence of the Swiss as they had majority of the possession and more shots on goals. The Italians won a penalty in the 53rd minute which was taken by Jorginho but it was brilliantly saved by Yan Sommer who was arguably the man of the match as he kept the Swiss in the game. With two draws the Italians now have 11 points from 5 matches in Group C but have played two more games then Switzerland.
Also read: Rampant Belgium and England win comfortably but European Champions held at home
Germany won 6-0 against Armenia in a resounding performance, this was Hansi Flick’s first home match and they were rampant in the first half as two goals from Serge Gnabry, Marco Reus and Timo Werner put the contest to an end in the first half itself. The story of the second half was of the debutants as goals from Jonas Hoffman and Karim Adeyemi helped put the Germans top of Group J as they have 12 points from 5 matches.
The Dutch won 4-0 against Montenegro as two goals from Depay helped them consolidate their 2nd position in a tough group G consisting of Turkey and Norway. Spain won 4-0 against Georgia as goals from Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler, Ferran Torres and Pablo Sarabia helped them reclaim top spot in Group B but have played two matches more than Sweden. Belgium continued their winning run as they won 3-0 against Czech Republic as goals from Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Saelemaekers helped the Red Devils to 13 points from 5 matches to lead Group E from the Czech’s.
The other notable results were:
Denmark 1 (Jonas Wind) - 0 Faroe Islands
Belarus 2 (Lisakovich, Sedko) - 3 Wales ( Gareth Bale x3)
Slovakia 0 - 1 Croatia (Brozovic)
Gibraltar 0 - 3 Turkey (Dervisoglu, Calhanoglu, Karaman)
Latvia 0 - 2 Norway ( Haaland, Elyounoussi)
Rampant Belgium and England win comfortably but European Champions held at home
(Football news) The biggest upset yesterday came from Sweden as they beat Spain 2-1 in a match which changed the group dynamics a lot. The match started with Spain on the front foot which resulted in debutant Carlos Soler scoring inside 4 minutes but Sweden right from the kick off equalised through a brilliant goal from Alexander Isak. The story of the second half was completely different as Sweden asserted their dominance over the former world champions, this constant pressure finally paid dividence as Dejan Kulusevski did brilliantly on the wings to provide Victor Claesson a wonderful assist to take the lead at the 57th minute mark. This result means that Sweden have won all three matches in group B and sit two points ahead of Spain who have played a match more.
England beat Hungary 4-0 to make it four wins out of four, Gareth Southgate’s side looked very sluggish in the first half but in the second half they came out all guns blazing with Raheem Sterling opening the scoring from a Mason Mount cross. Raheem Sterling took off his shirt and paid tribute to his long time friend and twitch streamer Steffie Gregg, this wasn’t appreciated by the Hungary fans as they started throwing cups at the England players. Motivated by all the abuse the England players were getting, they went to score three goals from Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice to win the match comfortably in the end. England lead Group I with 12 points followed by Poland and Hungary who are on 7 points in second position.
Belgium beat Estonia 5-2, the world number 1 side were shocked when Estonia took the lead through Mattias Kait in the 2nd minute but Belgium showed why they are ranked number one as they quickly equalised through Hans Vanaken in the 22nd minute. With a brillant brace from Romelu Lukaku and goals from Axel Witsel & Thomas Foket ensured a rampant victory over the Estoninas. With this result Belgium are in a good place to qualify group E as they have 10 points from four matches.
Italy were held to a surprising 1-1 draw to Bulgaria, Roberto Mancini’s side lacked the cutting edge instincts as their performance was very lackluster. They started off on the front foot and took the lead courtesy of a wonderful goal from Federico Chesia in the 16th minute but were quickly pegged back by the Bulgarians as Atanas IIiev equalised for them. This draw also means that Italy haven’t been beaten in 35 matches, a run which started off in 2018 it also equals Brazil and Spain’s unbeaten runs. The draw means that Italy are on top of Group C with 10 points but have played two less matches than Switzerland who are in second place with 6 points from two matches.
Also read: Ronaldo magic sinks Irish hearts, France held by Bosnia and Herzegovina
Germany beat Liechtenstein 2-0 in what was a comfortable night for the Die Mannschaft. This was Hansi Flick’s first game in charge as he gave Ridle Baku and Jamal Musiala their first starts for Germany. The Germans took the lead in the 41st minute through Timo Werner and doubled the lead in the 77th minute through Leroy Sane to round off an easy victory for them. This result puts Germany second in group J as the loss against North Macedonia in the third match week meant that they have 9 points from four matches, Armenia sit on top of the group with 10 points.
The other notable results were:
Poland 4 ( Lewandowski, Buksa, Krychowiak, Linetty) - 1 Albania ( Cikalleshi)
Iceland 0 - 2 Romania (Man, Stanciu)
North Macedonia 0 - 0 Armenia
Harvinder Singh and Vivek Chikara keep Indian medal hopes alive in Archery at the Tokyo Paralympics
Tokyo, Sep 3 (Paralympic news live update): Indian recurve archer duo of Vivek Chikara and Harvinder Singh kept medal hopes alive, sailing into their respective pre-quarterfinals of the men's open section in the Paralympic Games here on Friday.
World number 23 Singh, who became the first athlete from India to win a gold medal in para archery at a major competition in Asian Games Jakarta 2018, overcame a stiff challenge from Stefano Travisani of Italy to win 6-5 (10-7) via shootout.
The 30-year-old, who qualified as 21st seed, squandered a 4-0 lead after shooting a 7 in the third set as the Italian slowly bounced back to make it 5-all and force a shoot-off.
But Singh, who hails from a remote village Kaithal in Haryana, clinched the issue shooting a perfect 10 in the tie-breaker as his rival managed just 7.
An economics scholar from the Punjabi University, Singh will face Russian Paralympic Committee's Bato Tsydendorzhiev later in the day.
Hailing from a middle-class farming family, Singh had dengue at one-and-a-half years and a local doctor administered him with an injection that had an adverse effect and his legs stopped working properly since then.
Asian Para Championship winner in 2019, Vivek Chikara, who finished in top-10 in the rankings round, stormed past Sri Lankan Sampath Bandara Megahamulea Gadara 6-2 to set up a last-16 clash with Great Britain's David Phillips.
World number 13 Chikara, who competes with a prosthetic left-leg, overcame a blip in the second set when he misfired a 6 as he wrapped the issue with some consistent shooting.
An MBA and leading a corporate life, Chikara was about to marry his long-time girlfriend but life took a twist as he met with an accident on the New Year's day of 2017.
Travelling to be with his family from Saharanpur, the Meerut lad's motorcycle was hit by a speeding truck and his left leg had to be amputated below the knee.
Chikara then took up archery with the guidance of Athens 2004 Olympian Satyadev Prasad and won his major medal, winning a gold in Bangkok.
The Open event combines W2 (wheelchair) and ST (standing) classes, including athletes who have an impairment in the legs and use a wheelchair or have a balance impairment and shoot standing or resting on a stool.
In archery, the use of assistive equipment or an assistant is allowed depending on the impairment, while a variety of techniques may be employed, including pulling the bowstring with the mouth.
Also read: Prachi Yadav finishes last in 200m canoe VL2 final at the Tokyo Paralympics
Ronaldo magic sinks Irish hearts, France held by Bosnia and Herzegovina
(Football news) With the club football on hold International World Cup qualifiers are in full flow as teams like France, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark all played their fourth match of the group. With Portugal and Denmark winning they look in a strong position to qualify as respective group leaders.
Portugal won 2-1 against the Republic of Ireland in the most dramatic fashion as two late goals sank the Irish spirit. The match began with Portugal dominating and this dominance showed as Bruno Fernandes won a penalty in the 15 minute which was taken by Ronaldo but the unthinkable happened as he missed it. The Irish were buoyed by the penalty save from the young 19 year old keeper Gavin Bazunu which in turn inspired them to score just before the first half ended through Joe Egan’s header. The second half began in the same manner but resolute defending from Ireland kept Portugal at bay for 90 minutes, then came Ronaldo who had the last laugh by scoring the winner with the last kick of the ball. With this win Portugal sit on top of group A with 10 points from four matches.
Also read: Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the all-time record goalscorer in International football
France were held to an unexpected 1-1 draw by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Didier Deschamps fielded his strongest eleven but an unnecessary challenge from Jules Kounde resulting in a red card meant that France played most of the second half with 10 men. Bosnia took the lead through their record goal scorer Edin Dzeko in the 36th minute but France quickly responded through a fortunate goal from Antoine Griezmann. France even after this draw sit on top of group D with two wins and two draws but the fight for the second position in the group is intensifying as Bosnia, Ukraine and Finland anyone can come second.
The match between Norway and Netherlands ended in a 1-1 draw as this was Louis Van Gaal’s first match back in charge. The Norwegians took the lead courtesy Erling Haaland in the 20th minute but were pegged back by the dutch through Davy Klaassen in the 36th minute. This draw makes Group G very interesting as Turkey lead the group but only by one point as Netherlands, Norway and Montenegro are all tied on 7 points.
Denmark took one step closer to qualification as they won 2-0 against Scotland as goals in the first 15 minutes from Daniel Wass and Maehle were enough to secure victory. With this victory Denmark have won all four matches in group F and currently sit on top with 12 points.
The other notable results were:
Austria 2 (Baumgartner, Arnautovic) - 0 Moldova
Russia 0 - 0 Croatia
Turkey 2 (Cengiz Under, Yazici) - 2 Montenegro (Marusic, Radunovic)
Slovenia 1 (Stojanovic) - 1 Slovakia (Bozenik)
Fixtures to keep an eye today:
Germany vs Liechtenstein
Italy vs Bulgaria
Estonia vs Belgium
Sweden vs Spain
Hungary vs England
Shubhankar Sharma set for star-studded Italian Open
Rome (Italy), Sep 1 (Golf news) Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma will try to put behind the disastrous final round last week when he tees up at the Italian Open at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, here on Thursday.
The course, located on the outskirts of Rome, last hosted the Italian Open in 1994, and has undergone some major changes in recent years as it prepares to host the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Sharma has had a modest season though he seemed to be getting back to form with T-16 at Hero Open and then T-9 at Cazoo Classic. He plays with Oliver Fisher and George Coetzee in the first two rounds.
Also read: Gaurika Bishnoi leads field as Hero WPGT resumes with 7th leg at DLF
Ross McGowan will be returning to the Italian Open, looking to win consecutive titles.
The 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari will also play alongside Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood this week. Molarini famously won five points from five matches at Le Golf National.
Bernd Wiesberger, winner of the Italian Open in 2019, will hope to build on his runner-up result at last week’s Omega European Masters as he looks to force his way into the Ryder Cup side.
News source: PTI
Recap of all the transfers deadline activities from the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga
With the players away on international duty, the transfer market was in full flow as significant moves were made which will have a direct effect on the league titles. Let us take a look at the major signings in the La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1:
1. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Atletico Madrid pulled off the coup of the season as they re-signed Antoine Greizmann from Barcelona on an initial loan deal with an option to buy him for 40 million pounds next season. This signing makes Diego Simeone’s side as the outright favourite to win the La Liga crown as he would be forming a lethal striking partnership with Luis Suarez to instill fear in the opposition.
2. Luuk De Jong (FC Barcelona)
In a move which saw Barca desperately try to sign a striker on the final day as they approached Edison Cavani and Joao Felix but ultimately signed the 31 year old Dutch international from Sevilla on an initial loan with an option to buy next year. Barcelona will not pay any loan fee to Seville but will take his wages on board to unite him with his dutch compatriots Depay and Frenkie De Jong.
3. Hector Bellerin (Real Betis)
The former Gunner returns to his homeland after spending 12 years in England to join Real Betis on loan with no buy option in his contract. Arsenal meanwhile signed Takehiro Tomiyasu which in turn paved his exit away from the club. Real Betis were desperate to sign a full back after the departure of Emerson Royal and got their man on deadline day.
4. Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid)
The teenage sensation joined Real Madrid from Rennes on a fee of 40 million with add-ons. He signed a long-term contract till June 2027 which will see him act as a natural replacement for the aging Modric and Kroos in the midfield. Perez wasn't expected to sign anyone after PSG rejected their approach for Mbappe but a change of mind prompted them to sign the 18 year old prodigy.
5. Radamel Falcao (Rayo Vallecano)
Rayo Vallecano signed Falcao on a two year free transfer after he left Galatasaray which has seen him return to Spain for the first time since he left Atletico Madrid. Rayo Vallecano were crying out for a proven goalscorer and went with Falcao’s experience and previous records.The move also acts as an added incentive for him to make the Columbia squad for the 2022 World cup.
Also read: Recap of all the transfers that happened on deadline day in the Premier League
6. Florentino Luis (Getafe)
The young Portuguese midfielder joined Getafe on loan from Benfica with a 10 million pounds buy option next season. Luis was one of the most sought after young midfielders in the world but injury last season really hampered his market value and he is going to Getafe with hopes to revive his career.
7. Moise Kean (Juventus)
Juventus have signed Moise Kean on a two year loan from Everton with buy obligation in 2023 following Ronaldo’s departure to Manchester United. Kean, a youth product of the ‘Old Lady’ , comes back to the club where it all started as the move with Everton really didn’t work out for him. He’ll be hoping a fresh start at Juventus will help reinvigorate his career.
8. Yacine Adil (AC Milan)
AC Milan signed the Algerian prospect from Bordeaux for 8 million who signed a contract with them till June 2026, Yacine will subsequently join Bordeaux back on loan for one more year. The PSG youth product is very highly rated in France as he has scored 9 goals in 72 appearances for Bordeaux.
9. Ethan Ampadu (Venezia)
The Welsh prospect from Chelsea will spend a season-long loan in Italy with newly promoted side Venezia. He spent a very productive loan spell in Germany with RB Leipzig and will hopefully continue the same form to keep the club in Serie A for one more season.
10. Junior Messia( AC Milan)
AC Milan signed the Brazilian forward from Crotone for an initial loan fee of 3million with an option to buy him permanently next season for 6 million euros. The former delivery man makes an incredible rise to the top of the game as he is going to play Champions league football with Milan. His versatility is the biggest reason Milan bought him into the club as he can play right winger, attacking midfielder and centre forward.
11. Nuno Mendes (PSG)
PSG signed Nuno Mendes from Sporting Lisbon for an initial loan fee of 7million with an option to buy him for 40million euros. The move completes an amazing transfer window for PSG as they got Lionel Messi and several other players to make them the strongest team in Europe.
12. Pablo Sarabia (Sporting Lisbon)
The Portuguese champions took Pablo Sarabia on loan for a season in a move which saw left back Nuno Mendes move to Paris.Sarabia is a very good signing for Sporting because he would like to elevate his game to make the squad for Spain in the World Cup in 2022.
13. Ilaix Moriba (RB Leipzig)
RB Leipzig have signed the 18 year old from FC Barcelona for 16 million pounds with a 6 million performances bonus on a 5 year contract. One of the most talked-about product of La Masia joins Leipzig to replace their talisman Marcel Sabitzer. Ilaix Moriba didn't want to leave Barca but high wage demands along with Barcelona’s financial problems meant that he had to leave.
14. Marcel Sabitzer ( Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich signed the Austrian midfielder from Leipzig for 16 million pounds in a move which saw him join his former coach Julian Nagelsmann. Marcel Sabitzer will make the Bayern midfield even stronger as he has scored numerous important goals for RB Leipzig in very important matches.
Went all out in Rome qualifier, was hard to re-peak in the Olympics soon after it, say Indian swimmers
New Delhi, Aug 19 (Sports news): Top Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj may have had an underwhelming Tokyo Olympics but the duo feels that experience gained would help them in future events as they train their sights on a podium finish at next year's Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Prakash wrote a new chapter in the history of Indian swimming by becoming the first swimmer from the country to qualify for the Olympics by breaching the 'A' standard time at a qualifying meet in Rome on June 26. A day later, Nataraj replicated the feat to seal his berth for the Tokyo Games.
Both swimmers consistently shaved off times to achieve the elusive A mark in their respective events.
However, they couldn't repeat their performance in Tokyo, failing to qualify for the semifinals. Nataraj clocked 54.31s to finish 27th overall in 100m backstroke, while Prakash managed 1:57.22 in the 200m butterfly event to be ranked 24th among 38 swimmers.
The two weren't even able to match their personal bests, which they had clocked a few weeks earlier.
"I didn't have enough time to compete in the Olympics after Italy. We only had three weeks to start again. If I had three months it would have been better performance," said Prakash.
"I already tapered to the maximum for the qualification meet, went all out and then I had to come back again and start with the aerobic work, build it up and then reduce till the competition day. It needs at least six weeks time," Prakash added.
Tapering refers to the practice of reducing training volume while increasing rest in order to prepare one's body to achieve the best times at important meets.
"I tapered for a good two-two-and-a-half-weeks for Rome. After that I had to re-train to get my base back and that causes fatigue. I require a lot of tapering, we had only three after Rome. I didn't have time to train and re-taper," said Nataraj.
"I prepared my best, tried to return into training and re-peak within 3 weeks after Rome but it seemed quite hard,” he added.
Also read: Indian Swimmer Sajan Prakash to undergo two-week treatment for long-standing neck issue
But that's not to say that the two were satisfied with their performance, especially Nataraj. Had the Bengaluru swimmer replicated his personal best, he would have made it to the semifinals.
"It was disappointing but I remember I was so exhausted after the race that I couldn't even stand. I struggled to walk. It was just pain," Nataraj said.
It has been a tough one year for the both the swimmers, while Prakash struggled with a slipped disc, Nataraj, who trains in Bengaluru, grappled with inconsistent training periods as swimming pools were shut in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To add to the 20-year-old’s woes he also suffered an injury when he resumed training.
"Absolutely (disappointed), I was expecting to go faster but I just didn't happen. With the injury and coming back from it to qualify in such less time, it was a mess," said Prakash, who will now undergo a two-week Ayurvedic treatment for his neck issue.
Nataraj was also not happy with his training module going into the mega event.
"I wasn't coming off the best training cycle, my fitness was low. The load wasn’t as well distributed. I had to work on my capacity, base, threshold, opening and closing speed, technique, everything had to be done in a short span and also not overload because I was coming off an injury," Nataraj explained.
The Olympics taught both swimmers valuable lessons and the duo plans to use the experience at future events.
"Standing there on the block made me realise a lot of things. Getting close to the world standard with the A time and this experience will be very helpful for me in the future, moving towards the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Worlds and maybe the next Olympics," Prakash said.
"I knew what went wrong. But more than the swim, I've learnt how to prepare myself before, after the swim, during the meet. How to work on my fitness, recovery, what I eat," Nataraj said.
"My main target now are the Commonwealth and Asian Games. Hope to get 2-3 medals at these two events," he added.
News source: PTI
Extreme E in search of new superstars with the announcement of Rookie Invitational test
London (Motorsports news): Extreme E, the electric motorsport series designed to raise climate change awareness, has today announced the Rookie Invitational test as it seeks to welcome the next generation of off road racers.
The Rookie Invitational will start on Monday 25 October 2021 after the fourth round of the inaugural Extreme E season in Sardinia, Italy. Each of the nine Extreme E teams, will be allowed to test two drivers at the Rookie Invitational, one male and one female, in a bid to give more drivers the opportunity to advance in the world of professional motorsport and also join the electric racing revolution.
Each team will have the choice of the drivers it brings and those selected will join up with their respective teams for the duration of the Island X Prix in Sardinia to take part in the event. They will get to grips with the unique nature of the series and immerse themselves amongst the Extreme E paddock.
Also read: Five car final confirmed by Extreme E for Arctic X Prix
Drivers taking part in the Rookie Invitational will be given practice time in the car ahead of completing timed course laps. In between time out on the course, Extreme E will conduct a number of workshops focussed on careers in professional motorsport from drivers in the series, including 2001 Dakar Rally winner and ABT CUPRA XE driver Jutta Kleinschmidt.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “I’m delighted to announce the Rookie Invitational at the penultimate X Prix of Season 1. It aims to offer drivers interested in competing in Extreme E the opportunity to not only get behind the wheel but immerse themselves in our unique series.
“The idea came about from various conversations with our teams that identified a gap in talent - particularly female drivers - so we wanted to organise this testing day to give more racers the opportunity to throw their hat into the ring and get behind the wheel of our all electric ODYSSEY 21. I’m looking forward to seeing which drivers the teams select, and the wealth of driving talent out there that just need that chance to show off their skills.”
Jutta Kleinschmidt, ABT CUPRA XE driver and President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Cross Country Rally Commission said: “I’m super happy that so many female drivers have the chance to race in Extreme E. The series is the only motorsport event where men and women are mixed 50/50.
“Through the series, and now the Rookie Invitational, we have the chance to discover even more female talents. It is a huge chance for all drivers dreaming of competing in Extreme E that want to prove their skills and talent. I'm very excited and looking forward to seeing a lot of applications. It is an honour to be part of the test programme and have the chance to share my knowledge from my years of experience.”
Fixtures that you must keep an eye on in the new Serie A season
(Football news) It has been an offseason of change as the Serie A giants are undergoing a major reshuffle ahead of kick off. Last year's champions Inter Milan won the title after 11 years but before the fans could celebrate their Scudetto, Antonio Conte left his managerial position through mutual consent amid reports that club hierarchy were going to sell players because of their financial constraints. The problems for Inter have opened up the title race wide open in Italy as the likes of Juventus, AC Milan, Napoli, Atalanta will be rubbing their hands off to get an opportunity at the Coppa Campioni d'Italia trophy.
The defending champions will be facing Genoa at home in their first fixture. It's going to be interesting to watch as Inter will be without their two star players Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi who were integral pieces in last season's title run. This season, Inter’s new manager Simone Inzaghi will have a difficult task on hand to retain the Scudetto but not an impossible task as he still has world class players at his disposal like Lautaro Martinez and Nicolas Barella. With the Inter board in debt they have still managed to get Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Edin Dzeko who may not be very attractive signings but the experience they bring will be invaluable.
Juventus will be taking on Udinese away from home in their first match. After a run of 9 consecutive Serie A titles they finally lost out last season in what was an unenterprising season under Pirlo’s management. It was inevitable that Pirlo got sacked and was replaced by the former “son of Turin” Massimiliano Allegri who has been assigned to bring back parity by winning the Serie A title. With Ronaldo confirming that he is going to stay with the Bianconeri for one more season at least, it should be encouraging news not only for the fans but also for the squad as well. This season, the Juve board have made one notable signing in Manuel Locatelli who can straight up slot into the aging midfield.
Also read: Cristiano Ronaldo slams “disrespectful” media reports linking him back to Real Madrid
AC Milan take on Sampdoria in their first match which could be a tricky fixture. AC Milan, this season have opted for the theme of continuity and development as most of their squad is unchanged. Last season before the winter break AC Milan were leading but a dip in form meant that they finished second behind their city rivals. Paolo Maldini over the last five years has completely revamped the squad with astute signings, mixing youth with experience has been his mantra. Stefano Pioli will be heavily reliant on Ibrahimovic and Giroud to score the majority of goals and offer guidance to the youngsters.
Napoli take on newly promoted side Venezia in the Diego Maradona stadium in their first match. Last season Napoli endured a tough season as they missed out on a Champions league position on the last day of the season to Juventus. This season under the management of Luciano Spalletti, Napoli fans will be hoping to mount an unlikely title challenge as most of their star players like Fabian Ruiz, Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly will most likely stay at the club.
Atalanta takes on Torino in a mouth watering first match. Atalanta have always been labeled as the underdogs or dark horses for the title but if the last two seasons gave us any indication it is that they are serious title challengers. With an experienced coach in Gian Piero Gasperini who knows how to grind out results against big teams will be an interesting watch on how they go about their season. The players to watch out for will be Duvan Zapata and Robin Gosens as they will be key figures if they are to mount a title challenge.
The match of the week will certainly be AS Roma vs Fiorentina as both these teams along with Lazio who will be facing Empoli will be most likely challenge for the European places. It's certainly going to be an interesting watch on how Jose Mourinho manages a Serie A club after winning the treble with Inter almost 11 years ago when he last managed a Serie A team.
Indian Paddlers Sathiyan Gunnasekaran and Manika Batra enter second round of WTT Contender Budapest
Budapest, Aug 18 (Sports news) Tokyo Olympic-returned Indian paddlers Sathiyan Gunnasekaran and Manika Batra entered the pre-quarterfinals of their respective events at the WTT Contender Budapest 2021 tournament here.
While Gunnasekaran beat France's Can Akkuzu 3-1 (14-12 11-5 7-11 11-4) in the men's singles opening round, Manika got the better of Sabina Winter of Germany 3-2 (8-11 11-7 11-6 15-13 11-5).
In the next round, Gunnasekaran will be up against Niagol Stoyanov of Italy, while Manika will play Italy's Giorgia Piccolin.
Among other Indians in fray, Harmeet Desai also progressed to the men's singles second round, beating Csaba Andras of Hungary 3-2 (6-11 7-11 13-11 11-7 11-4), while Manav Thakkar beat Pavel Platanov of Belarus 3-0 (12-10 11-9 11-6).
Harmeet will Dang Qiu of Germany in the next round, while Manav will be up against Kirill Skachkov of Russia.
Also read: Wrestler Ravinder earns semifinal spot at junior world championships
Among other Indian women in the competition, Archana Kamath also entered the second round with a 3-2 (11-8 11-9 6-11 5-11 11-9) win over Yana Noskova of Russia.
Archana will next play another Russian in Mariia Tailakova.
Sreeja Akula is the other Indian woman paddler to move into the round of 16 with a 3-2 (11-8 6-11 14-12 2-11 11-7) win over Linda Bergstrom of Sweden.
She will next face Barbora Balazova of Slovakia.
News source: PTI
Cristiano Ronaldo slams “disrespectful” media reports linking him back to Real Madrid
(Football news) Cristiano Ronaldo has broken his silence in a social media post, denying the media reports that linked the five time Ballon d’Or winner to a sensational return to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Currently plying his trade in Italy, Ronaldo is entering the final year of his Juventus contract and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Manchester City amongst other clubs. The transfer speculation has resulted in Real Madrid’s manager Carlo Ancelotti releasing a short statement on social media that said, “Cristiano is a Real Madrid legend and he has all my love and respect. I have never considered signing him. We look forward.”
Ronaldo himself took to Instagram where he has 328 million followers, the most for any account on the social media platform to say, “Anyone who knows me is aware of how focused I am on my work. Less talk and more action, this has been my guiding motto since the start of my career. However, in view of everything that’s been said and written recently, I have to set out my position.
More than the disrespect for me as a man and as a player, the frivolous way that my future is covered in the media is disrespectful to all the clubs involved in these rumours, as well as to their players and staff.
My story at Real Madrid has been written. It’s been recorded. In words and numbers, in trophies and titles, in records and in headlines. It’s in the Museum at the Bernabeu Stadium and it’s also in the minds of every fan of the club. And beyond what I achieved, I remember that in those nine years I had a relationship of deep affection and respect for “merengue afición”, an affection and respect that I retain to this day, and that I will always cherish. I know that the true Real Madrid fans will continue to have me in their hearts, and I will have them in mine.
As well as this most recent episode in Spain, there have been frequent news and stories associating me with a number of clubs in many different Leagues, with nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth.
I’m breaking my silence now to say that I can’t allow people to keep playing around with my name. I remain focused on my career and in my work, committed and prepared for all the challenges that I have to face. Everything else? Everything else is just talk.”
Ronaldo has scored 101 goals in 133 appearances for Juventus, an impressive tally for the 36 year old. He has won two Serie A titles with the Italian giants as well as the Coppa Italia last year but has failed to lead his side beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League since he joined Juventus.
Also read: Germany and Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller passes away at the age of 75
Five car final confirmed by Extreme E for Arctic X Prix
London (Motorsports news): Extreme E, the full electric off road racing series today announced a slightly updated sporting format for the upcoming Arctic X Prix in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland which will have a five car Final.
The changes start at qualifying, which spreads over two sessions in which the first one will be in the morning and second one in the afternoon on Saturday 28 August. Each team will have to race two laps of the course, one lap per driver with a driver switch, and the times recorded across the morning session will equate to classification points meaning first place receives 9, second place 8, third place 7 points and so on. The cycle repeats itself in the afternoon with classification points awarded on the same scale.
The combined overall of these classification points will provide the intermediate standings, which is noted on points instead of times as seen in Saudi Arabia and Senegal, meaning a fairer opportunity for all racers to progress, particularly if a poor time or DNF for example is recorded in a particular session.
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It is important to note, the classification points do not come under overall Championship points, these continue to be awarded in the same way as per previous rounds at the end of Qualifying as follows:
1st - 12 points, 2nd - 11 points, 3rd - 10 points , 4th - 9 points, 5th - 8 points, 6th - 7 points , 7th - 6 points, 8th - 5 points and 9th - 4 points.
From the Qualifying rounds teams in first, fifth and sixth place will proceed to Semi-Final 1, with second, third and fourth spots advancing to Semi-Final 2 and teams finishing in seventh, eighth and ninth will proceed to the Crazy Race.
Greenland will provide Extreme E’s first five car Final, made up of the top two teams from Semifinals 1 and 2, plus the winner of the Crazy Race, offering every single team on the grid an opportunity to reach the final race of the Arctic X Prix on Sunday 29 August.
Following the Final, Championship points will be awarded as follows:
1st - 25 points, 2nd - 19 points, 3rd - 18 points, 4th - 15 points, 5th - 12 points, Semi-Final 1 3rd - 10 points, Semi-Final 2 3rd - 8 points, Crazy Race 1st - 6 points and Crazy Race 2nd - 4 points.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E said: “As a series we are always ready to evolve in order to create the absolute best result, and we believe these changes to the sporting format will offer greater competition and even more exciting racing for our global fanbase.
“I can’t wait to witness some of the biggest names in racing take part in the first motorsport event ever hosted in Greenland, and see who will take the top step on the podium. The course itself looks incredible and I’m sure it will offer some close battles, but it is important to note we are racing on an area which was once a glacier, but has retreated at an accelerated rate due to the climate crisis.”
With only 10 days to go, the Arctic X Prix and preparations are almost complete for holding this world first event in Greenland. Following this, the series will move to Sardinia in Italy for the Island X Prix taking place from 23-24 October.
Indian Swimmer Sajan Prakash to undergo two-week treatment for long-standing neck issue
New Delhi, Aug 16 (Sports news) Ace Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash will take some time off from the swimming pool to undergo a two-week Ayurvedic treatment in Kerala for a long-standing neck issue.
Prakash, the first-ever Indian swimmer to breach the 'A' standard time for the Olympics, had suffered a slipped disc in 2019 which has been radiating pain towards his left hand while swimming.
"I'm going to get an Ayurvedic treatment. It's a two-week plan. It involves massage etc, it's like totally resetting your body," Prakash, who is with the Indian Olympic contingent here, told PTI.
"When I start swimming again after this treatment it will be like starting again from the basics, slowly slowly building up. It's a good investment for the future," he added.
The 27-year-old butterfly specialist had completed a four-month rehabilitation program for his slipped disc before the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed globally last year.
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Resuming training after staying away from the pool for eight-nine months, Prakash had to start from scratch as he struggled to execute even a single stroke of butterfly, often considered the most difficult swimming style, which requires not only good technique but also strong muscle.
He swam freestyle and backstroke before venturing back into butterfly and made a remarkable comeback that saw him make the 'A' cut for the Tokyo Games, a day before the qualification period ended, in a meet in Italy in the last week of June.
Although, the Kerala swimmer has consistently improved his performance in the past one year, he is still not 100 per cent fit and feels pain on his left side while swimming.
"I have the slip disk on my neck C4 C5 C6 which triggered to the left shoulder, where I feel weakness. I can't really pull with my left hand properly," Prakash said.
"When I swim butterfly, when I try to swim really fast I go towards the left side because there is less power in my hand.
"I tried to fix my shoulder as much as possible with treatments but still I have not had full power on my left hand," he added.
Prakash, who trains in Dubai with coach Pradeep Kumar, has shortlisted two places in Kerala for the treatment.
He had competed in two events at the Tokyo Games -- the men's 200m and 100m butterfly -- but was unable to advance to the semifinals of either of the two.
In the 200m butterfly, his pet event, Prakash finished 24th among 38 swimmers.
News source: PTI
Valentino Rossi: The man, the myth and legend who will never be forgotten
(Motorsports news) Legend, Icon, GOAT, Prankster, Idol whatever you label him, Valentino Rossi will be the biggest name transcended around all of motorsports. There have been quite a few mega motorsport icons in the world but none had the astounding influence as “the doctor” on the youngsters and fans. Those who might have been captivated with his iconic number, vibrant designs on his bike or his post race theatrics, quickly became die hard followers of him. One can rarely say that a sport is defined by one man only but in Rossi’s case he created a gravitational pull of its own, sucking fans and gaining international recognition and interest from all over the world who would tune in to see him showcase his magnificent racecraft.
The most famous son from Tavullia rewrote the record books by winning 9 World Championships in all MotoGP classes in a career which spanned over 26 seasons. Pundits have been predicting his retirement ever since he won his last world championship but an unexpected return to form in 2014 where watched his rivals arrive with a gusto only to be left destroyed by his sheer talent and mental gymnastics. Time and time again Valentino is proving that age is just a number but the 42 year old has eventually decided to hang up his leather to join the paddock as a team manager.
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His career will always be remembered for his charisma and lust for bike racing but after retirement, this season there is going to be a huge void left by him. Valentino’s impact is so much so that most of the riders in the current MotoGP grid idolised him growing up. Rossi over his career has managed 115 victories out of which 89 have come in the premier class putting him second to Giacomo Agostini with 122 victories. Rossi ranks third with 9 world championships only behind Agostini 15 and Angel Neito 12.
After retirement, Valentino Rossi will become the team manager of VR46 a team which was started in 2014 in moto3. Now VR46 team has bikes in all the premier racing classes in MotoGP, along with that he also owns the VR46 academy which is producing world championship calibre riders to compete in MotoGP from Italy. Already a legend in the sport, he wants to develop the grassroots of MotoGP by encouraging youngsters through his popularity to take up bike racing.
The retirement of such an icon will not only be felt in MotoGP but the whole of the motorsport world. He's a once in a lifetime generational talent that used to fill out stands with only his ‘number 46’ and ‘doctor’ posters, but with him gone that amazing spectacle will never be witnessed anymore, no one will ever come close to the impact he's had on MotoGP and motorsports in general. The likes of Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez have all fallen to the great Valentino Rossi at some point of their career, quite an extraordinary feat to say the least. More than his amazing riding skills fans will miss out on the aura and presence he had on the grid which made them fall in love with the sport to begin with.
India's Raunak Sadhwani wins Spilimbergo Open chess tourney
Spilimbergo (Italy), Aug 15 (Sports news) Young Indian Grandmaster Raunak Sadhwani on Sunday emerged winner in the 19th Spilimbergo Open chess tournament here with seven points from nine rounds.
The 15-year old Sadhwani (Elo 2579) remained undefeated in the tourney, notching up five wins and four draws.
Seeded fourth, the Indian faced five GMs in the event and beat Oskar Wieczorek of Poland and drew his games against the four others.
His wins came against Italian Joshuaede Cappelletto, Aron Pasti of Hungary, Lorezno Lodici of Italy and France's Loic Travadon.
He played out a draw in the ninth and final round against GM Adam Kozak of Hungary.
Sadhwani and Italian GM Pier Luigi Basso finished level on seven points after nine rounds but the Indian emerged on top on the basis of a better tie-break score.
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The Indian GM had last month won the St Veiter Jacques Lemans Open international rating tournament in Austria.
Indian Grandmaster R Vaishali finished 14th with six points and was the best among the women competitors. She recorded four wins apart from four draws and a loss.
Among her wins were one over higher-rated GM Michele Godena of Italy.
Over 120 players participated in the tournament.
News source: PTI
Lovlina Borgohain looks forward to start afresh in every aspect for Paris 2024 after success in Tokyo
New Delhi, Aug 9 (Olympic news) She had the time of her life in Tokyo with a medal on Olympic debut being the icing on the cake but Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain says all of it is "done and dusted now" and she will start afresh in every aspect of her game for the Paris edition in 2024.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Borgohain, who clinched the welterweight (69kg) bronze, spoke about the hardships she endured to get where she is, the joy of watching the triumph of human spirit at the Games and how her regular life now becomes much more eventful thanks to overnight fame.
The 23-year-old from the tiny Baro Mukhia village of Assam's Golaghat district became only the third Indian boxer to finish on the Olympic podium, joining two of the biggest icons in Indian boxing -- six-time world champion M C Mary Kom and the very decorated Vijender Singh.
She had vowed to touch upon her sacrifices only after her campaign was over and she did exactly that.
"My first sacrifice was to stay away from my home for the past eight years and not being there for my family in times of their problems and watching from a distance. This is the biggest sacrifice," she said.
"Personally, I have sacrificed some desires that youngsters like me would have. For example not eating things that so many others of my age eat (fast food), I wouldn't take leave from training to concentrate on the game. And this continued for eight years," she revealed.
She does plan to take a holiday now that the job is done before getting down to prepare herself for a better medal in Paris in three years from now.
"This Olympics is done and dusted. I will have to start afresh in every aspect, not just one," she said, when asked what changes she would make to her technique after the Tokyo campaign.
Would those changes include additional strength in her punches, which despite being accurate, seemed to be slightly low on power, especially in the semifinal loss to reigning world and now Olympic champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey? "It is not like strength and conditioning hasn't been worked on. It was being done. You can say it was not up to the level of what it should have been ideally. I could work on my strength and conditioning only in the last four months of what was a four-year cycle.
"I was benefitted by the work but for something as big as Olympics, four months is not enough. Uss se kuch nahi hota, you need such work in a four-year cycle," she explained.
Borgohain defeated former world champion Nien-Chin Chen in the quarterfinals to reach the semi-final and with that triumph, she also beat the fear, which she experienced previously before stepping into the ring.
The pent up emotions finally came out in the form of an ear-splitting scream when her hand was raised by the referee.
"For so many years, several emotions were just inside me, I had internalised them. But in this Olympics, when I realised the support that I was getting from the country every time I was stepping in the ring and landing any punch, that scream was an ode to that support and emotion," she explained.
"It was an expression of my own pent up emotions and also an ode to the support that I got," the youngster said.
The quarterfinal win was one of the two special memories that, Borgohain said, will remain with her for the rest of her life.
The other being the first ever shared gold medal in the Games in which she saw the triumph of human values.
"The best memory is that I finally managed to beat a boxer who had beaten me four time before coming here. To beat her at the Olympics is a special moment of my career.
"Second was the gold medal shared by Qatar and Italy in the high jump. It showed that humanity is alive and sport is the only medium which can connect two different countries like this, two human beings like that," she said.
Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar shared the honours after both cleared the same height of 2.37 meters in men's high jump. It was Barshim who offered to share the top prize with Tamberi, his good friend, despite officials offering a jump off to decide the winner.
High jump allows sharing of the gold if both athletes agree and Tamberi and Barshim became the first set in over a 100 years to agree to that.
"No matter how hard somebody tries to cause frictions, sports can bring everyone together, I learnt this while watching that moment," Borgohain said.
The youngster, who started out as a kick-boxer, had a rough build-up to the Games, enduring a bout of COVID-19 while battling the anxiety of her mother's kidney transplant last year.
Borgohain couldn't be there when the surgery took place as she was training at the national camp and COVID ensured that she missed a crucial training trip to Italy.
Was there ever a moment when she felt it was too much to deal with? "Difficulties of my life are not a story of last few months, they have been there for eight years. I am sure they will be there even going forward. I have never lost hope and will never do so either.
"I have always felt confident of facing adversity and that will never change," she asserted.
Someone who likes to meditate to keep calm, Borgohain also felt that mental health assistance is not needed to battle challenges if one has self belief.
"If you have faith in yourself, then I don't think you need mental health assistance," she said.
Finally, her life has changed drastically in a matter of days. Despite being a two-time world championship medallist, it is this Olympic bronze that has made Borgohain a household name.
Distinctly Aware of the spotlight she will be under, Borgohain said she will learn from the experiences of several other achievers to conduct herself well as a public figure.
"There are a lot of role models in India who have taken the burden of expectations on their shoulders. I would take a cue from how they manage themselves to perform my duties," she said.
"I will not change myself, I would change the colour of my medal. I would always remain a student of boxing," she signed off.
News source: PTI
Indian boxer Vikas Krishnan vows to come back stronger from shoulder surgery setback after Olympic heartbreak
New Delhi, Aug 8 (Olympic news) Indian boxer Vikas Krishan, whose Olympic campaign ended abruptly after a dislocated right shoulder caused an opening-round loss, has undergone a surgery to fix the injury which will keep him out of action for the next three months.
The 29-year-old, who was competing in his third Olympics in Tokyo, was forced out early after "fighting with one hand" in the opening clash against Japan's Sewon Okazawa.
The surgery on his dislocated shoulder was performed at Mumbai's Kokilaben Hospital by renowned surgeon Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala, who operated and fixed a career-threatening shoulder injury that newly-crowned Olympic gold-winner Neeraj Chopra had suffered in 2019.
Dr Pardiwala has also operated top cricketers like Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer along with star shuttler Saina Nehwal among others.
"I will be back in three months, I have been assured by Dr Pardiwala. My shoulder had dislocated and a crucial muscle, called Subscapularis muscle, and a ligament had been torn," the decorated boxer told PTI after his surgery that took place on Thursday.
The subscapularis muscle is important for movement and strength in the shoulder.
Vikas picked up the injury during the training trip to Italy before the Olympics. Unaware of the severity of the damage, he competed in the Olympics after taking painkilling injections.
Dr Pardiwala said given the scale of the injury, painkillers were never going to be enough.
"It was quite valiant of him to have gone ahead and fought the bout. But I guess that's what top athletes do, they blank out pain," Dr Pardiwala told PTI.
"He told me that he experienced a dead arm during the bout. It will take three weeks for the healing to be completed and another three months for rehab before he can fight again," he said.
Vikas was among the strongest bets for a medal at the Games but the injury shattered his hopes in the very first bout.
"He perhaps thought it was just pain and he could pull through. It is common for athletes to feel that. But the injury was quite severe. However, we have repaired everything now, it was a two-hour surgery," Dr Pardiwala said.
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After his loss in Tokyo, India's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva had also said that the former Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallist fought with one hand because of the injury.
Vikas dislocated the shoulder during the bout and could not move his right hand all through, leading to a loss.
"I believe all that bad that could have happened to me has happened and I will come out of it stronger and better. I am not going to give up," he said.
The Indian men's boxing contingent of five had a disappointing outing as only Satish Kumar (+91kg) could log a win in the Games. He went out in the quarterfinals.
News source: PTI
Day 15: Bajrang Punia still hunting for a medal; Golfer Aditi Ashok inches closer towards podium finish
1) Bajrang Punia to contest for bronze after losing the semi final to Haji Aliyev from Azerbaijan
Bajrang Punia advanced to the quarter-finals with a point margin. Ernazar Akmataliev added two with two pushouts after falling behind 1-3. The game ended 3-3, but Bajrang won due to a high-scoring move (2-pointer) late in the game.
The Indian wrestler progressed to the semifinals of the Men’s Freestyle 65kg quarterfinals after defeating Morteza Ghiasi Cheka from Iran. The Indian started off strongly, but was given a warning by the referee to not attack before being given his second passivity charge and the Indian trailed 1-0. However, the former World Number 1 made a stunning comeback by pinning down Morteza Ghiasi Cheka to win by fall.
India's major hopes for a medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Bajrang Punia missed a chance to play the gold medal match. Punia lost the 65 kg freestyle category semi-final to Haji Aliyev from Azerbaijan.
Bajrang Punia was dominated by his opponent throughout the match as he lost 12-5. The Indian wrestler did take the first point but was trailing by points for the rest of the game. The three-time world champion proved to be too strong for Bajrang Punia.
2) Indian golfer Aditi Ashok holds 2nd spot in Round 3 at the Tokyo Olympics
Aditi Ashok continued her fine form at the Tokyo Olympics as she carded a three-under 67 to remain in a strong position to get India’s maiden Olympic medal in golf. After three rounds, Aditi was 12-under 201 and is the only golfer in the 2nd position, three strokes apart from leader Nelly Korda of the United States who carded two-under 69 in the second last round. This is a significant improvement in Aditi’s performance before her debut Olympic Games in Rio where she finished tied 41st.
3) Seema Bisla faces opening bout exit in 50 kg freestyle category
Bisla was on the back foot throughout the game. Her opponent was awarded a point due to the passivity of the Indian wrestler. Entering the second round down by a point, Bisla tried to grab hold of Hamdi's legs to no avail and was sent out of bounds. Seema Bisla did get a point back to make it 2-1 with a minute to go. Her efforts were subdued when Hamdi got another point. The bout ended 3-1 in favour of the Tunisian.
Seema Bisla's qualification in itself was an achievement as no one expected her to make it to Tokyo. She managed to book her ticket to Tokyo at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Sofia, Bulgaria in May 2021. There is still a chance for Seema to win a bronze medal via the repechage round if Sarra Hamdi makes it to the final.
4) Heartbreak for Indian women’s hockey team as Great Britain emerge victorious in a 7 Goal thriller
The Indian women’s hockey team fought bravely right from the start but their opponents played even more fiercely to finish third in the Tokyo Olympics. The defending champions beat India 4-3 in a nail biting encounter as both the teams were going head to head till the final whistle. In the first quarter neither of the teams found the net, the second quarter saw plenty of action as five goals were scored between the teams. Britain started off with a goal in the second quarter as Elena Sian Rayer scored in the 16th minute and eight minutes later extended the lead with another goal in the 24th minute by Sarah Robertson.
The Indians fought back with a goal the very next minute as Gurjit Kaur scored from a penalty corner shot and in the 26th minute leveled the scores. In the 29th minute, Vandana Katariya scored to give her team instant inspiration as the Indians came back from a two goal deficit and were now leading as the second quarter came to an end. In the third quarter Hollie Pearne-Webb scored in the 35th minute as the scores were once again leveled and in the final quarter Grace Balsdon scored in the 48th minute off a penalty corner shot to take home the Bronze medal.
5) Heat and humidity take its toll as Gurpreet Singh fails to finish Men’s 50 km race walk
Race walker Gurpreet Singh endured a disappointing start to his Olympic ambitions as the Indian was forced to drop out of the race as he was cramping due to heat and humidity. Singh was in the 49th position at the halfway point of 25 km with a time of 2:01:54.
6) Indian Women finish 17th and 32nd in 20km Race Walk at the Tokyo Olympics
Priyanka Goswami and Bhawna Jat competed in the Women's 20km Race Walk in the Tokyo Olympics. Priyanka was on the top until the 8km mark but finished 17th with a timing of 1:32:36 and Bhawna finished 32nd with a timing of 1:37:38. Antonella Palmisano of Italy finished 1st with a timing of 1:29:12, Sandra Arenas of Colombia finished 2nd with a timing of 1:29:37 and the winner in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Liu Hong from China finished third with a timing of 1:29:57.
India was fielding two debutants in the race today and Bhawna is a former national record holder while Priyanka is the current national record holder. Representation in Athletics has gone way up in this year’s Olympics and with only two days to go there are still a handful of Indians left in the competition.
7) India break Asian record, but fall out of the running for Men's 4x400m relay
India ran the race in the second lane. The first lap was run by Anas, second Noah, Arokia completed the third lap, Amoj Jacob the fourth. Amoj Jacob had a fantastic run. By the end, the sprinter pulled ahead of the middle of the group. India came in fourth place. Amoj Jacob put in an impressive final lap. With a time of 3:00.25, India finished fourth in their heat. They did not make it, but only by the tiniest of margins.
India has set a new Asian record with their timing. They came in ninth place overall. Missing out on the final by less than a second was heartbreaking. A fantastic but painful performance from the Indian men's quartet of Muhammed Anas, Nirmal Noah Tom, Arokia Rajiv, and Amoj Jacob, who placed fourth in the 4X400m relay (Heat 2) in 3 minutes 00.25 seconds, setting a new Asian mark. They came in ninth place overall, just missing out on a spot in the final.
What to look forward to for tomorrow
India will be competing in three medal events tomorrow. We can expect young Indian golfer Aditi Ashok to finish on the podium after an impressive performance in the last 3 days where she managed to maintain a higher rank than some of the biggest names in the sport.
Bajrang Punia will be competing for a Bronze medal in wrestling against someone who is yet to be determined. We can expect to see an entertaining and suspenseful performance by the two. Afterall only one of them will walk away from the fight with a medal.
India’s favourite javelin thrower and medal hopeful Neeraj Chopra will be at the top of his game as he has shown great potential in the qualifying rounds. Tomorrow is the much awaited medal event for the game and it is safe to say India has its eyes set on Gold.
Tomorrow will undoubtedly be an action packed day. Will India breach its all the time high medal tally? Only time will tell if the odds are in our favor.
Also read: Day 14: India’s medal haul increases with a silver and bronze on a day of mixed fortunes
Indian Women finish 17th and 32nd in 20km Race Walk at the Tokyo Olympics
(Athletics news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Priyanka Goswami and Bhawna Jat competed in the Women's 20km Race Walk in the Tokyo Olympics. Priyanka was on the top until the 8km mark but finished 17th with a timing of 1:32:36 and Bhawna finished 32nd with a timing of 1:37:38. Antonella Palmisano of Italy finished 1st with a timing of 1:29:12, Sandra Arenas of Colombia finished 2nd with a timing of 1:29:37 and the winner in the 2016 Rio Olympics Liu Hong from China finished third with a timing of 1:29:57.
Also read: Bajrang Punia progresses to the semifinals after defeating Iran's Morteza Ghiasi Cheka
India was fielding two debutants in the race today and Bhawna is a former national record holder while Priyanka is the current national record holder. Representation in Athletics has gone way up in this year’s Olympics and with only two days to go there are still a handful of Indians left in the competition.
Tokyo heat takes its toll on 20km Men’s walk as Indians struggle to make a mark
(Athletics news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Men's 20km Race Walk saw three Indians participating in the Tokyo Olympics which featured one debutant. K.T Irfan finished a disappointing 51st with a timing of 1:34:41, he had previously finished 10th in the London 2012 Olympics. Debutant Rahul Rohilla finished 47th with a timing of 1:32:06 and Sandeep Kumar who broke the national record this year gave some hopes as he finished 23rd with a timing of 1:25:07, he had competed in 50km Walk in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was placed second till the 8km mark and soon started slipping away after that.
Also read : Indian golfer Aditi Ashok tied 2nd in Women’s Individual round 2 at the Tokyo Olympics
Massimo Stano from Italy finished first with a timing of 1:21:05, while Japan took the next two spots as Koki Ikeda finished second with a timing of 1:21:14 and Toshikazu Yamanishi finished third with a timing of 1:21:28. The Men’s Race Walking has one more Indian left in the competition as Gurpreet Singh will be competing tomorrow in the 50km Race Walk.
Indian shooting staring at radical changes after Tokyo flop show
New Delhi, Aug 2 (Olympic news) The Indian shooters entered Japanese shores with hopes of winning a handful of medals but are leaving with only their baggages both material and psychological.
The Indian shooting ecosystem underwent radical changes after its marksmen and markswomen fired a blank during a horror run at the Rio Olympics five years ago, belying a billion hopes after promising to deliver like never before.
Instead of stepping up their performance in Tokyo, the 15-strong squad crumbled under the mighty Olympic pressure.
What does it take to win at the Olympics? In the course of their stay in the Japanese capital, the Indian shooters failed to answer the question, having entered their biggest examination on the back of an unprecedented run and soaring expectations.
By some, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh's promise to "overhaul" the coaching staff after the ongoing Games, with the 25m and 50m events still to go, was seen as "premature".
However, it didn't have any impact on the squad as its shooters ended their campaign on a disastrous note, failing to win a single podium with Saurabh Chaudhary being the lone finalist.
The campaign also had its share of controversies with stories on the long-standing conflict between young pistol ace Manu Bhaker and her former coach Jaspal Rana grabbing the limelight and doing an already demoralised team no good.
On the final day of competitions, the young Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and the seasoned Sanjeev Rajput failed to make the finals of the men's 50m rifle 3 positions event, finishing a lowly 21st and 32nd respectively in the qualifications.
Admitting that the performance was below expectations, Raninder said there will be a postmortem and he would look into an overhaul of the coaching staff to better prepare the players for big events.
"Definitely the performances have not been on expected lines and I have spoken of an overhaul of coaching and support staff as I feel something is lacking in getting our shooters prepared for these big occasions...
"Clearly the talent is there and we have seen it here as well," he said.
Was it the coaches, hype or pressure? What was the reason behind the Indian shooters' failure that no one had expected? Was there anything lacking in preparation, was the reported factionalism among coaches the reason or the problem lay in the attitude? It's the second straight time in five Olympics that the Indian shooters are returning from the Games empty-handed, having met the same fate at the 2016 Rio Games five years ago, after which an Abhinav Bindra-led panel recommended a slew of reforms in the way shooting was run in the country.
Also read: India's shooting campaign comes to a disappointing end
Tough questions will certainly be asked of the national federation, the coaches and the shooters as well, about why they were not able to replicate their excellent showing of the ISSF World Cups in recent years, in Tokyo.
To be fair to the NRAI, the federation put in a lot of effort and achieved success too, in arranging a long training-cum-competition tour of Croatia at a time when India was reeling under a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"At the end of the day, the only thing I have to say is I can't excuse non-performance.
"On our part, we have done whatever that is humanly possible in the build-up for preparing the shooters. We followed the recommendation of the (Bindra) committee to the tee, analysing after Rio where things might have gone wrong," Raninder said.
The NRAI boss also pointed out that most of the shooters competing in Tokyo were very young and may have fallen to the pressure of participating at an event as grand as the Olympics.
In the entire shooting competition, six countries shared one gold medal apiece while a total of 19 nations claimed medals in the sport at the Games.
Among major shooting powerhouses that failed to win a medal were Germany, Sweden, Norway and Hungary, besides India.
Other major countries like Britain, Italy and France won a medal each. San Marino pulled off the biggest surprise in the Games, winning two medals.
But, as far as shooting in the Tokyo Games is concerned, India ended up being the biggest letdown.
News source: PTI
Panghal's Olympic disappointment, coaches dissect what went wrong
Tokyo, Jul 31 (Olympics news) It was a loss that not many saw coming, that's how good Amit Panghal (52kg) has been for the past four years but on Saturday, he suffered the first big setback of his career, unfortunately for him, it happened at the Olympics.
It was something that has "perhaps never happened before", world number one flyweight Panghal being dominated.
The spunky Army boxer had never been pushed to the back-foot like he was here this morning by Colombia's Yuberjen Martinez, the light flyweight silver-medallist from the Rio Games.
"Yes, I don't think he has been dominated like this before. All his losses have also been close, he never lets this happen," Indian Boxing High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI, the disappointment hard to miss in his voice.
So what went wrong, was it the pace of the Colombian? Or the relentless body shots? Or was Panghal not up to it? "It is never just one factor. He would have liked an evening bout, he somehow prefers that but it is not an excuse to not do well. He had struggled against this guy in sparring. When we were in Italy, he was struggling against him in sparring, on all three occasions," the Swede said.
"He was getting tired. Now, you can say it is a conditioning issue but this never came up against any other boxer he has fought and he has fought some world-class boxers, beaten them too," he reasoned.
"We tried another boxer of the same class (Asian silver-medallist Deepak Kumar) during the Italy training stint, even he struggled badly against this guy. Martinez is relentless." It has been an underwhelming performance from the country's five male boxers so far after a fantastic buildup.
Only Satish Kumar (+91kg) has managed to win his opening bout and he too sustained a couple of cuts which would have a bearing when he takes the ring against reigning world champion Bakhodir Jalolov on Monday.
Vikas Krishan (69kg) fought with an injury and the debutant duo of Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) were also not up to it in their opening round losses.
But the defeat that is going to sting the most is Panghal's. He came in as the overwhelming favourite for a medal and has been sent packing after his very first outing.
Nieva did not believe that Martinez was some sort of an unbeatable machine that Panghal couldn't have outwitted but admitted that the Colombian upstaged the Haryana-boxer in pace and aggression.
"He did not have a great defence, it is just that he was landing some 100 punches in a minute. Amit could not keep pace with him, which was a first because he usually sets the pace," he said.
The 25-year-old definitely does and this morning's result cannot undermine his record.
Panghal has been India's most successful male boxer in the past four years, during which he became the country's first world championships silver-medallist and Asian Games gold-medallist.
He has also won a medal every time he has taken the ring in the Asian Championships, including a gold.
Those achievements don't come easy.
"But we tend to look at things in a black and white manner. A loss always hurts and this hurts, he is hurt too. The right approach would be to try and refocus, forget this and learn from mistakes but it would sound cliched to everyone right now.
Also read: Yuberjen Martinez Rivas knocks out Amit Panghal 4-1 in Men’s Flyweight Round of 16
"But that's the way to go because we have a world championship coming up in a few months time," Nieva said.
National head coach C A Kuttappa can foresee the barrage of criticism coming their way.
"We would have liked it to be better, none more than the boxers but it hasn't been the case and we are disappointed. I can understand the criticism that will come and we accept that," he said.
For Nieva, who joined the Indian camp in 2017, it is clearly a huge setback and he acknowledges that but he does not want to get into the talk on what the future holds in the middle of the campaign just yet.
"I have no idea what will happen. I can only say that we have tried our best," he said.
News source: PTI
Day 8: A day of glory and upsets for the Indian Olympic Contingent
1) Lovlina Borgohain assured of an Olympic medal after defeating Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei
India was assured their second medal at the Tokyo Olympics after Lovlina Borgohain won her women’s welterweight quarterfinal against Chinese Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen. With this win, Lovlina became only the second Indian woman to win an Olympic medal and joined the elite club featuring only Mary Kom. The 23 year old won her quarter-final clash 4-1 and will now look to improve her medal color by attempting to win the semi-final.
2) PV Sindhu wins against Yamaguchi and advances to the semi-final
The match began at a very high tempo with both PV Sindhu and Yamaguchi cancelling each other out but Sindhu showed immaculate skills and presence of mind to win the first set comfortably 21-13. The story of the second set was completely different as Yamaguchi came back from a 6 point deficit to lead the set but PV Sindhu manifested amazing temperament and net skills, something that she has added to her arsenal which in turn helped her win the match in straight sets 21-13, 22-20 against the world no 4.
3) Indian Women’s Hockey wins against Ireland keeping chances of Quarterfinal alive
In Pool A of Women’s Hockey, the Indian team managed a win against Ireland 1-0 to keep hopes up for the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics. They have played four matches so far, losing three while winning today against Ireland. The teams did not score in the first three quarters until Navneet Kaur finally scored the winner in the 57th minute of the final quarter.
4) Vishnu Saravanan puts ups a spectacular performance as the rest continue to struggle
In the Men's One Person Dinghy Laser, Vishnu Saravanan raced in his 9th and 10th race today. He finished an astonishing third in the 9th race and in the next finished 15th. He is placed 20th overall and the medal race is on 1st August. He can finish in the top 10 if he is able to repeat his 9th race heroics.
5) Deepika Kumari progresses to the quarter-finals after beating Ksenia Perova of Russia in the Women's 1/8 Elimination Round
Indian archer Deepika Kumari defeated Russia’s Ksenia Perova to progress to the quarter-finals of the women’s individual event at the Tokyo Olympics. She started off strongly, winning the first set with scores of 9. 10 and 9 but lost out on the second when Ksenia scored 27 points. The World Number 1 then went on to win her third set with scores of 10, 9 and 9 while the fourth set ended in a draw as each archer scored 26 and got 1 point. After Deepika Kumari lost the fifth set, a shootout ensued which the Indian archer subsequently went on to win 6-5.
6) Indian men’s hockey team finish 2nd in the group and qualify for the quarterfinals
India had already secured the 2nd position in the group before the match as Spain and Australia had already played out a 1-1 draw. Japan on the other hand were playing for pride and it certainly showed when they played a thrilling 5-3 loss to the Indians. The Indian Hockey team scored two early goals in the second quarter thanks to Harmanpreet and Gurjant Singh but the Japanese quickly recovered and pegged them back for a goal. The match was played at a very intensity and the action was back and forth, but 3 more goals from Shamser, Nilikant and Gurjant put the finishing touches on what has been a very memorable group stage for the Indians.
1) Avinash Mukund Sable misses out on qualification for the finals of Men's 3000m Steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics
India’s track and field campaign kicked off in Tokyo today with Sable beginning the heat with his personal best of 8:20.20 to break the national record. Sable then went on to clock 8:18.12 to break his own national record at the Men’s 3000m Steeplechase but finished in the 7th position which was not good enough to qualify.
2) Indian shooters Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat fail to enter 25m Pistol final
It was a disappointing display by the Indian shooting contingent at the Tokyo Olympics and the trend continued as Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat failed to enter the 25m Pistol final. Manu Bhaker shot 96 in Series 1, shooting seven 10s, two 9s and one 8 for a total of 388 to be in the 9th position, top 8 qualify. She started Series 2 strongly, shooting five 10s in a row, overall seven and two 9s but dropped down a position to 9th.
Approaching the last series (Series 3), Manu Bhaker had a total of 485 and shot four 10s and one 9 in her first five shots. However, she shot an 8 in her sixth shot to eventually take her overall total to 582, (Precision 292 and Rapid 290) in the 25m Pistol Women's Qualification.
Having needed at least 584 to stay in contention, Manu Bhaker narrowly missed out on making it to the top 8 while Rahi Sarnobat was already out of contention.
3) Indian boxer Simranjit Kaur loses to Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand in the Round of 16 clash
In a disappointing display, Simranjit Kaur lost to Sudaporn Seesondee in Women’s 60kg Round of 16 bout. Despite Simranjit starting aggressively, Seesondee utilized her height and light weight to unanimously win the first round. It was clear that Simranjit lacked the experience of competing at the Olympics, letting her frustration get the better of her as she could not respond to Seesondee’s aggressive punches, resulting in a unanimous decision in Sudaporn Seesondee’s favor in the second round.
4) Deepika Kumari crashes out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing 6-0 to An San of South Korea
One of India’s brightest medal prospects at the Tokyo Olympics, Deepika Kumari has been eliminated in the Women’s Individual Quarterfinal by An San of South Korea. In what can only be described as a whitewash, An San could not have hoped for a better start, shooting three 10s to get a perfect score of 30 in the first set and clinching two points.
5) M.P Jabir fails to progress in 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics
India’s first male athlete to compete in the 400m hurdles at the Olympic Games Madari Palliyalil Jabir clocked 50.77 to finish seventh in the first round of Heat 5. Rai Benjamin from the United States finished first, clocking 48.60, Rasmus Magi from Estonia finished second with a time of 48.73, Sokwakhana Zazini from South Africa finished third with a time of 49.51 and N. Smidt from the Netherlands finished fourth with a time of 49.55.
With this result, 25 year old M.P Jabir ranked 33rd out of 36 athletes and failed to progress to the next round.
6) India’s Fouaad Mirza finishes seventh at Day 1 of dressage event
The evening competition of Equestrian triathlon involved three phases: Dressage, Cross-Country, and Jumping. Fouaad Mirza, who was initially planning to compete with another horse Dajara 4 changed his mind days before the Olympic Games and selected Seigneur Medicott, with whom he had won two silver medals at the Asian Games in 2018. In the dressage phase, both Fouaad and Seigneur Medicott looked promising, especially while transitioning from one move to another.
With the objective to score as low as possible, Fouaad Mirza scored a total of 28 penalty points to be ranked 6th in the individual category. However, after Laura Collett of Great Britain scored 25.80, Fouaad moved to 7th place at the end of Day 1 in the individual ranking at the dressage event.
7) Indian mixed relay team fails to make it to the finals
The Indian team finished 8th in heats 2 of 4 x 400m Relay Mixed team in the Tokyo Olympics. They recorded a timing of 3:19.93 which was their best this season. The team consisted of Muhammed Anas, Revathi Veeramani, Subha Venkatesan, and Arokia Rajiv. The first leg was run by Muhammed Anas in 46.13, the second leg was run by Revathi Veeramani in 53.20, the third leg was run by Subha Venkatesan in 54.32 and the final leg was run by Arokia Rajiv in 46.28.
Also read: Day 7: India’s medal prospects looking bright as athletes inch closer to podium finish
Avinash Mukund Sable misses out on qualification for the finals of Men's 3000m Steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics
(Athletics news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: India’s track and field campaign kicked off in Tokyo today with Sable beginning the heat with his personal best of 8:20.20 to break the national record. Sable then went on to clock 8:18.12 to break his own national record at the Men’s 3000m Steeplechase but finished in the 7th position which was not good enough to qualify.
The top 3 from Heat 2 comprising A. Kibiwot of Kenya with a timing of 8:12.25, G. Wale of Ethiopia with a timing of 8:12.55 and A. Abdelwahed of Italy with a timing of 8.12.71 qualified for the next round.
Also read: Dutee, Sable to kick off India's athletics campaign; medal hope Neeraj in action on Aug 4 & 7
Indian fencer Bhavani Devi’s journey ends at the Tokyo Olympics after defeat against Brunet in Round of 32
(Fencing news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Despite Bhavani Devi’s journey at the Tokyo Olympics coming to an end, it seems like the beginning for her and Indian fencing after the 27 year old became the first Indian to win a fencing bout in Olympic history.
Facing World Number 3 and fourth seed Manon Brunet of France was always going to be a tough task but Bhavani Devi gave her a good fight, going into the break trailing 2-8 but collecting 5 more points in the 2nd round before eventually succumbing to a 7-15 loss.
Despite the defeat, Bhavani Devi will be written in the history books of Indian Olympics as one of the most influential athletes who started her career playing with bamboo sticks to become the first Indian in history to reach the Round of 32 in fencing.
She has not just made her Italian coach Nicola Zanotti proud with her performance, especially against Tunisia’s Ben Azizi but also the whole of India with her pioneering journey.
Also read: Bhavani Devi beats Tunisia’s Ben Azizi to win India’s first ever fencing match in Olympic history
New events add more excitement in the Tokyo Olympics with only 2 days to go
At This year’s Tokyo Olympics we are going to experience a few things which we have never seen in previous Olympic Games. For the first time spectators will be missed, this is also the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed. The positive side is that we are going to witness new events in the games, there will be newly crowned champions and more reasons to watch the games starting from 23rd July till 8th August. There will be 339 medal events in the games, which will give us more than what we asked for.
Four games will be making their debut this year along with the athletes. They are Karate, surfing,sailing and skateboarding.
With its origins in Japan, it will be a perfect time and place to make its debut in the Olympics. There are two types, Kata and Kumite. In Kata athletes will showcase their skills and moves on a virtual opponent and in Kumite two competitors of the same weight category will come face to face in a three minute battle. It will take place on Nippon Budokan which hosted the First ever World Championships in 1970. It won't be present in the next Olympics in Paris. The top athletes in men’s and women’s kata karatekas per the World Karate Federation, Damián Quintero and Sandra Sánchez both from Spain are expected to take the top honours.
In kumite, men’s medal probables include 2018 world champion Steve Da Costa of France and Italy’s Angelo Crescenzo in the under-67-kg category. Five-time world champion Rafael Aghayev of Azerbaijan under 75 kg and Turkey’s Ugur Aktas (over 75 kg) will also fight for spots on the podium. Croatia‘s Ivan Kvesic over 75 kg finished top in the World Championships and the European Championships and has the ability to finish strong in Tokyo.
Ukraine’s Anzhelika Terliuga under 55 kg is the number one in her weight class. Serbia’s Jovana Prekovic under 61 kg and Azerbaijan’s Irina Zaretska over 61 kg, both finished on top in the 2018 world championship and are competing in Tokyo. The events start on August 4th and will go on till the 7th.
Also read: We will definitely beat our London Olympics medal count in Tokyo: Sprinter Arokia Rajiv
Multiple Athletes will be facing waves in a 20 to 25 minute fight in each round. The bigger the waves the higher the score. It will be interesting to see many games in the water as opposed to land. This time there is surfing and the other usual games like sailing and rowing. The sport will take place at the Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya. It starts from 26th July till 29th, Australian Stephanie Gilmore has seven world titles in the women’s tour, the most recent in 2018, from the USA Carissa Moore has four world titles on the women’s side and John John Florence won consecutive world titles in 2016 and 2017.
Rock climbing will include speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering. Athletes in speed climbing will race each other on a 15 metre wall, in bouldering athletes will have to clear as many as routes on a four meter wall and athletes don’t wear a harness but there are crash pads at the base. Lead climbing athletes will have to climb a wall which is more than 15 metres tall with complicated rock combinations to race through. Parts of the wall are not vertical, which means in some combinations the athletes will be hanging in the air to go past it . Whichever athlete can climb the highest in six minutes wins.
The last full World Cup was in 2019 and the overall men’s winner was Tomoa Narasaki and Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret has won the last four combined World Cup trophies from 2016 to 2019, making her the favourite overall.
In this the participants will have a hollowed out court and incline for Athletes to give the audience an adrenaline rush. The next one will have rails, stairs and ramps. We can see the athletes performing flips and nose grinds. India has a few skateboard parks, but the first rural skate park has come in Rural Madhya Pradesh Janwaar village. It was built by German Activist Ulrike Reinhard and the park is free for all the children. In a few years we can see an Indian in the skateboarding event. In Olympic news it has already been approved for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Sky Brown is a 12 year old Anglo-Japanese skateboarder, who competes for Great Britain. She is the youngest professional skateboarder in the world. In Olympic news she will be the second youngest Olympian in Tokyo as Syrain Table Tennis player Hend Zaza will be the youngest to compete in the Games. The event will start from 25th july and go on till 5th August.
Interesting Fact: Tokyo is the only Asian city to host the Summer Games twice. (1964, 2020
Forced to pick fencing in school, Olympic-bound Bhavani is now competition ready
Chennai, Jul 19 (Olympics news) Fencing happened out of compulsion for the Tokyo Olympic-bound C A Bhavani Devi.
From choosing the sport at school as that was the only option left for her, to qualifying for the Olympics, it has been one memorable as well as arduous journey for Bhavani.
The 27-year-old from Chennai, who made history by becoming the first fencer from India to make it to the Olympic Games, trained extensively in Italy and is heading to Tokyo in a positive frame of mind.
"Training has gone very well. I am working hard and preparing well for my first Olympic Games. Took part in some camps with the Italian national team where other international fencers too joined. I also trained in France," she told PTI in an interaction.
Bhavani, who is expected to reach Tokyo on Tuesday, is aware that the competition will be intense.
"The Olympics is a very special competition and the most important for all the athletes. So every match is going to be tough and everything is possible." Asked how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her training schedule and if the postponement of the Olympics helped, she said, "At the beginning we had lots of confusion about tournaments and the Olympics.
"Later, I understood the situation but I wanted to be ready whenever the competition started. So I did some training at home, on the terrace. Somehow, we managed to prepare during the lockdown and once I came back to Italy, I began my full-fledged training." Having missed out on qualifying for the Rio Games in 2016, the fencer said she had put too much pressure on herself before realising the importance of staying in the moment.
"It was affecting my performance. I realised the importance of staying in the moment. Also, the experience I gained during this period made me stronger and helped me to work harder for Tokyo," she said.
When asked how she kept herself motivated during the lockdown last year, Bhavani said she managed with whatever she could, especially footwork and basic fitness workout.
"Training got affected for sure. Because for fencing you need to feel the opponent to move accordingly. But the whole world was in a pandemic." Training with Italian coach Nicola Zanotti helped improve her performance and also the ranking.
"My Italian coach will be travelling with me to Tokyo. His training helped me a lot, to improve my ranking and performance and especially this qualification. We worked together well continuously and the result of that is this qualification." Bhavani's competition in Tokyo is expected to come from the likes of Bianca Pascu (Romania), Sophia Pozdniakova (Russia), Gabriella Page (Canada), Caroline Queroli (France) and Japan's Chika Aoki among others. She said she is ready for them.
Also read: Indian athletes start training ahead of Tokyo Olympics
"The Olympics is a very special competition and the most important for all the athletes. So every match is going to be tough and everything is possible. I want to give my best and be ready to face it," she said.
Having her mother C A Ramani, who will be by her side in Tokyo would be a big boost, she said.
Ramani has been named in India's fencing contingent and accredited as P-TAP (Personal-Training Assist Programme).
"It will motivate me to perform at my best. She has been my biggest supporter and I hope I will live up to her expectations," she said.
"My mother was there when I needed it the most. My parents backed me though we were struggling financially. Now, how I perform will be my gift to them," she added.
Talking about how she took up fencing, Bhavani said she chose it because the other options were filled by the time she joined.
"In school, there were six sports options, including fencing. All the others were filled by the time I joined and was left with fencing. It was a sport about which not many knew much and I decided to try my hand," she said, adding, "I am happy I did (try it) because now I love it." After her initial struggles, her perseverance paid off and the fencer said winning medals in competitions outside India gave her confidence.
Her first international medal came in 2009 -- a bronze in the team event of the 2nd Commonwealth Championship in Malaysia -- and she subsequently won medals in the Asian Fencing Championship in 2010 and a bronze (individual) in Commonwealth Championships in 2012.
She also won a silver in the Tournoi Satellite Fencing Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland, twice (in 2017 and 2018), which the ace fencer said gave her the confidence to aim higher.
News source: PTI
Time for final exam now: Santiago Nieva talks about Indian boxers and his own Olympic debut
New Delhi, Jul 18 (Olympics news) "It's like the big final exam after studying hard," said Indian boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva, a touch nervous but mostly excited ahead of his own Olympic debut, aware that all the "good work of past four years wouldn't count if there is no medal to show in Tokyo".
In a telephonic interview to PTI before the nine Olympic-qualified boxers left for Tokyo on Saturday, Nieva spoke about the many changes that have been brought in to the boxers' approach and technique for a successful Olympic outing.
"A little tense, not all the times but sometimes. Mostly I am excited because it is like the final exam after all the hard work," Nieva said when asked about his thoughts heading to Tokyo.
"This is my first Olympics, I was there in London 2012 as an expert on the sport, if that counts for anything," he added.
The nine boxers and the support staff landed in the Japanese capital this morning and cleared the COVID-19 related health safety protocols to enter the Games village smoothly following expected procedural delays.
"Everything that we have done so far, all that we have worked on will not be appreciated if we don't get an Olympic medal. I am aware of that," Nieva said.
Before being appointed by the Boxing Federation of India in April 2017, Nieva was with the Swedish men's team and quit the position after the Rio Olympics.
The 47-year-old former bantam and featherweight boxer has also served as a manager of the Argentine boxing team and even competed for the country at the 1997 World Cup. Nieva was born in Argentina.
The five Indian male boxers who will compete in Tokyo are world number one Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Choudhary (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg).
The women in fray are six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).
Nieva is primarily in charge of the men and he said several aspects of their game have improved considerably to give them a fair shot at a medal. Indian boxers could not win any medal at the 2016 Rio Games.
"I believe we have achieved the training targets that we set for ourselves, especially with this last trip to Italy, we could log the sparring sessions that we wanted," he said.
The aspects that needed to be addressed in the Tokyo-bound boxers included balance in the ring, punching while being held in clinches and the ability to think of a plan B without looking towards their corner for ideas.
"Clinch was a major issue in Indian boxing. We were not used to making the time in clinches count. It was random and poorly executed mostly. Now, I can say the scoring rate in clinches is 70-80 per cent better. The idea is not to stagnate," he explained.
"Also, lack of strength in close range boxing, that was an issue. For example, Amit is a fantastic long range boxer and we have made sure that he improved in close range as well. He is not the tallest boxer in his category, so he had to be better in close range boxing," he said.
Apart from this, Nieva said Indian boxers will step inside the ring in Tokyo with a better control over their minds.
"I am confident that it will be a stronger performance. They have to take control of the centre of the ring. They cannot evade that and expect to win. They have to control the pace, ease up a bit when in lead. The disbalance problem is also sorted now.
"They have to think quickly and adapt quickly to any situation without looking at the corner for tactical guidance. We have worked on all these aspects," he elaborated.
And what about the uncontrollables, like the COVID-19 threat, which is looming heavily over the Games? "We are dealing with it for over a year now. It is not coming as a shock to anyone anymore. We have kept ourselves in a good state of mind and made the health safety protocols a habit," he said.
With the Olympics, starting July 23, it is the completion of a cycle for Nieva and women's High Performance Director Raffaele Bergamasco, both of whom joined in quick succession.
"It has been an amazing ride. I was made to feel welcome from the very first day. My suggestions and inputs were taken in good spirit and I found it very easy to work in India. I can say I have been fortunate to work in the country," he said.
"I am also aware that nobody will like any of what I did if there is no medal in Tokyo and I am confident that we will meet the expectations of medals. But even otherwise, we have done our job to the best we could," he added.
Also read: World champion Gitika makes winning start at youth national boxing championships
Being an Argentina-born, football is Nieva's other passion and he recently drew happiness from Lionel Messi finally getting his hands on an international trophy -- the Copa America.
"Hopefully we can also do something great in Tokyo. I mean, watching Messi lifting Copa was so much happiness. He deserved it because he had worked so hard. Nobody deserved it more than him," he said.
News source: PTI
Olympics: India's contingent checks in at Tokyo, training from Monday
Tokyo, Jul 18 (Olympics news) Excited and cautious in equal measure, the first batch of athletes from India's Olympic contingent arrived in Tokyo on Sunday, clearing the exhaustive COVID-19 related protocols at the airport before entering the Games village on a day when two sportspersons staying there tested positive for the dreaded virus.
All 88 athletes underwent COVID testing at the airport and were found to be negative. They will start training from Monday, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a press release.
"The infection control protocol has been briefed to all the contingent members and COVID testing kits have been distributed to the respective coaches," SAI added.
The delegation was received by Dr Prem Verma, India's deputy chef-de-mission and COVID Liaison Officer at the Games.
The contingent from India, which left on Saturday night after a grand send-off, was joined by the shooters and boxers who were training in Italy and Croatia.
The group travelling from India included archers, badminton players, table tennis players, both the men's and women's hockey teams, and qualifiers from judo, gymnastics, and swimming among others.
They landed in the Japanese capital aboard a chartered Air India flight from New Delhi.
"It was a six hour wait at the (Narita) airport where we underwent COVID-19 tests but that was expected. All came out clear and we have checked into the Games village. All smooth so far," a contingent member told PTI.
The group included stars such as world champion shuttler P V Sindhu, six-time world champion boxer M C Mary Kom, world no.1 boxer Amit Panghal, world no.1 archer Deepika Kumari and TT player Manika Batra among others.
"Their PVC (pre-valid cards) were also validated at the airport. All athletes coaches and support staff have been conveniently accommodated in the village and all are comfortable.
"They enjoyed their meals at the dining hall and all of them are at ease and relaxed." The Indians arrived on a day when two athletes staying at the Games village and one at a designated hotel were confirmed COVID positive by the organisers, who insisted that they are prepared for some cases given the influx of people in the city.
The Indians were duly masked, some of them even wore face shields as they went through the paperwork at the airport before boarding buses to the Games Village.
The total number of Games-related COVID cases have now risen to 55 as per the OC records.
The Games will be held behind closed doors as infections soar in the Japanese capital, which is recording more than 1,000 cases per day for the past few days.
Despite the scepticism, IOC President Thomas Bach has insisted that the Games pose "zero risk" for the residents of Olympic village and the Japanese people in general.
On Saturday night, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur gave a formal send-off to the contingent at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi amid loud cheers, claps and plenty of good wishes.
Also read: Indian shooting team looks forward to first training session in Tokyo
The IGI witnessed unprecedented scenes as a red carpet was laid out for the contingent. Such was the euphoria surrounding the send-off, that the Government of India had arranged for a special Olympic Contingent Clearance immigration line for the Tokyo-bound members.
The send-off ceremony was also attended by Minister of State for Sports, Nisith Pramanik, Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials, including President Narinder Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.
Some Indian athletes reached Tokyo a few days earlier from their respective training bases abroad.
India's lone weightlifter in fray, Mirabai Chanu entered Tokyo on Friday from her training base in St Louis, USA.
India will be represented by a 228-strong contingent, including 119 athletes, at the Games.
Four Indian sailors -- Nethra Kumanan and Vishnu Saravanan (laser class), KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar (49er class) -- were the first from the country to reach Tokyo from their training bases in Europe. They started training on Thursday.
Besides, the rowing team has also reached the city.
The ones still to arrive include wrestlers, led by the redoubtable Bajran Punia and Vinesh Phogat, tennis star Sania Mirza along with the rest of the team and the athletics contingent, which features strong medal hope javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.
News source: PTI
COVID scare at Olympics: 3 athletes test positive for COVID-19, 2 staying at Olympic Village
Tokyo, Jul 18 (Olympics news) Three athletes, two of them South African football players staying at the Olympic Village, have tested positive for COVID-19, the Games Organising Committee announced on Sunday, adding to the scepticism that surrounds the troubled event slated to open on July 23.
It is the first instance of athletes staying at the village catching the infection. Their identities were not revealed by the organisers but the South African Football Association issued a statement to make that information clear. The third infected athlete is staying at a designated Games hotel and his/her identity is not yet known.
"Three members from Team SA's men's under-23 football team have produced positive tests for Covid-19 and are in isolation in the Tokyo 2020 isolation facility," the South African Football Association (SAFA) stated.
"The three members are players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi and video analyst Mario Masha, who produced a positive result in the latest round of daily sputum (saliva) testing," it added.
A total of 10 cases were detected on the day, including five "Games concerned personnel", one contractor, and a journalist, according to the COVID-19 Positive Case List uploaded by the OC here.
"A fourth Team SA member, Sevens rugby coach Neil Powell, has also produced a positive result and has been admitted to an isolation facility in Kagashimo where the Sevens squad are currently in at a pre-Games training camp," SAFA stated.
The total number of Games-related COVID cases have now risen to 55 as per the OC records.
"When there is a positive COVID 19 case -- it means action. There is a clear procedure to identify close contacts. A case is not just data in a spread sheet but leads to action, including immediate follow-up testing," International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi stated.
"We can safely say that 40,000 COVID 19 tests have been carried out before coming to Japan for 18,000 Games participants. Then there is the screening on the airport followed by regular screening, testing for athletes every day," he added.
IOC Games Operations Director Pierre Ducrey, however, insisted that there is no cause for concern at this moment.
"Since 1 July more than 18,000 games participants arrived from overseas. All of them had at least 2 negative tests before arrival. When they arrived, they had another test. When they are here, there is a strict testing regime in place," said Ducrey.
"The participants of the Olympic Games are the most controlled population in the world," he added.
The development comes a day after a non-athlete at the village tested positive for the dreaded virus and was shifted out of the premises.
"...we believe we have the situation under control. As such, properly if cases are found, the individuals are isolated and we trace all close contacts if there are any other cases, that's what is most important," Hide Nakamura, chief Games delivery officer for Tokyo 2020, said in a press conference. "Even with all measures fully taken, there will be some positive (coronavirus) cases. Under the coronavirus situation which encompasses the entire world, so it is inevitable that there will be cases.
"What is important is that when such cases arise, we properly systematically isolate them so that there will be no further transmissions." Team South Africa's Chief Medical Officer Dr Phatho Zondi said the previous negative results of the infected athletes suggest that the virus was incubating in their bodies at that time.
Also read: Quarantine not required, Indian shooters to start training at venue from Jul 19
"They are now in isolation where they will continue to be monitored and will not be allowed to train or have any physical contact with the rest of the squad, he said. The first batch of Indian athletes for the Games arrived here this morning.
The 88-strong Indian delegation comprised, archers, the two hockey teams, table tennis players and swimmers among others.
The shooters and the boxers also landed from their respective training bases in Croatia and Italy this morning and on the wee hours of Saturday respectively.
The Games will be held behind closed doors as infections soar in the Japanese capital, which has been recording more than 1,000 cases per day for the past few days.
Despite the scepticism, IOC President Thomas Bach has insisted that the Games pose "zero risk" for the residents of Olympic village and the Japanese people in general.
The Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay will house 11,000 athletes and thousands of support staff.
News source: PTI
Quarantine not required, Indian shooters to start training at venue from Jul 19
New Delhi, Jul 17 (Olympics news) Not required to undergo any quarantine ahead of the Olympics, the Indian shooters will begin training at the venue from July 19, having got their rooms allotted at the Games Village after arriving in Tokyo in the wee hours of Saturday.
The shooting events will be held at the Asaka Shooting Range, which is located in Saitama Prefecture, north west Tokyo. The venue also hosted the shooting competition at the 1964 Olympics.
"They have settled down at the village, rooms are being allotted at the Games Village and they will begin training from 19th July. There is no quarantine or any isolation required as they have arrived from Croatia," National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajiv Bhatia told PTI.
He said the formalities on arrival at the Narita international airport were carried out smoothly and the contingent did not face any hassle with provisions for social distancing in place.
On Monday, the shooters might visit the range to get a feel of the Games.
"There is jet leg after the long flight from Europe. So they will train after taking proper rest. They might check out the range tomorrow." The Olympics are scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, with the shooting events starting a day after the opening ceremony and covering the first 10 days of the extravaganza, which will be held without spectators owing to the pandemic.
Members of other disciplines arriving from India and few other nations hit hard by the coronavirus are supposed to do a three-day mandatory quarantine on arriving in the Japanese capital.
The Indian shooting team left Zagreb on Friday after completing an 80-long competition-cum-training stint in the Balkan nation.
In Amsterdam, its stopover before taking the flight to Tokyo, the 13-member pistol and rifle team were joined by the two skeet shooters -- Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Angad Vir Singh -- who were training in Italy.
The Indian contingent had shifted base to Zagreb in May as it was considered safer for them to train there at a time when the country reeled under a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
Also read: Our shooters certainly among India's top prospects: NRAI president Raninder Singh
During their stay in Croatia, the Indian shooters took part in the European Championships in Osijek, from May 29 to June 6, before participating in the last World Cup before the Olympics, from June 22 to July 3, at the same venue.
India will be represented by a record 15 shooters at the Tokyo Games.
The Indian team has eight rifle, five pistol and two skeet shooters, besides coaches and support staff members.
Before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Indian shooters consistently dominated the sport, finishing top of the table in four ISSF World Cups in 2019.
News source: PTI
'Nav Ratna': Meet India's nine boxing gems
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Boxing sport news) An unprecedented nine Indian boxers will be taking the ring at the Tokyo Olympics, conscious of the fact that medal expectations from them are at an all-time high.
PTI takes a look at the five men and four women, who would be aiming to make amends for the no medal show in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the competition starting July 24 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena, primarily a sumo wrestling venue, in the Japanese capital.
MEN: === AMIT PANGHAL (52kg) -- This flyweight is shouldering expectations that would be enough to bog down a super heavyweight in some cases. The world number one, the top seed, Panghal is being seen as a sure-shot medal for India in Tokyo. He knows it and he is revelling in the spotlight.
The Armyman from Haryana is a nice mix of controlled aggression and tactical acumen. His cabinet already has the World Championships and Commonwealth Games silver medals, an Asian Games gold medal, and multiple Asian Championships medals.
Competing in his maiden Olympics, the 25-year-old has been unstoppable for the past four years, starting with a breakthrough Asian Championships bronze back in 2017. Even in loss, he has hardly ever looked outplayed. But he does know his weaknesses well. A late starter and someone who tends to wear off a bit in the final three minutes, Panghal says he has addressed the issues in his desperate pursuit of an Olympic medal.
MANISH KAUSHIK (63kg) -- Also a debutant, also an Armyman and also a 25-year-old. Kaushik is the classic dark horse. He isn't the one hogging spotlight but before you know it, he might just have booked a medal.It happened at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (silver), it also happened at the 2019 world championships (bronze).
The soft-spoken son of a farmer from Devsar village of Bhiwani, that famed cradle of Indian boxing, Kaushik has harboured Olympic dreams since the time he saw Vijender Singh win that historic bronze in the 2008 Beijing edition.
Last year he was out of action for nearly 10 months after picking up a bicep injury during the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jordan. The Olympic postponement was actually a blessing for the boxer, who has worked on making his punches more impactful and improve stamina.
A bout of COVID-19 kept him from competing in the Asian Championships earlier this year but he has recovered well enough to be a strong bet if not the best bet for a medal.
VIKAS KRISHAN (69kg) -- Here comes the veteran of the pack. A two-time Olympian, among the most decorated boxers of all time in India, a man so experienced that he could well put together a list of dos and don'ts for all the debutants with him.
Another Haryana-fighter, Krishan personifies tact in boxing. He likes to plan is every move and on most times, he executes them to perfection. Having dropped the nonchalance of his early days, Krishan has grown into a more sorted fighter, thanks in no small measure to his stint in the US professional boxing circuit.
The 29-year-old will compete in his third and final Olympics and has ironed out some major chinks in his armour -- balance in the ring, close range boxing and the jab. He says his jab is now nearly perfect.
To get there, he has made sacrifices -- big and small -- the big one being staying away from his young children. He has seen them "grow up in photographs" in the past one year.
ASHISH KUMAR (75kg) -- The gritty customer from Himachal Pradesh's Sundar Nagar. He made the cut for Tokyo, a month after losing his father last year. The 26-year-old has been making steady progress in a weight category which a certain Vijender Singh made his own by scripting history more than once.
Ashish's Olympic journey hasn't been the easiest. He lost the man who wanted to see him reach this point a month before he made the cut.
And this year, COVID-19 caught him during a tournament in Spain. His athletic body absorbed the blow and he showed no symptoms.
Ashish seemed a bit off-colour in the recent Asian championships where a bronze came his way but the way he has battled adversities outside the ring, the Tehsil Welfare Officer in Himachal Pradesh's social justice department won't be the one to be taken lightly at the Games.
SATISH KUMAR (+91kg) -- The first super heavyweight to qualify for the Games but the one about whom not many are talking about. The 32-year-old is the oldest of the five-strong men's squad but surprise, surprise, he is an Olympic debutant.
Another farmer's son from Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahar, Satish has medals at the Commonwealth as well as the Asian Games.
"Hamara naam kabhi akhbaar mein aata hi nahi, bout hi itne late hote hain hamare. Meri biwi ko doubt hota hai kabhi kabhi ke main boxer hun bhi ya nahi (My wife sometimes doubts if I am a boxer at all)," he had once said with a straight face reflecting on his relative anonymity caused by order of bouts which leaves the heavier categories for later and thereby out of newspaper reports.
He claims to have worked on a secret strategy for the Olympics and pace is another aspect in which he hopes to be a step ahead of the rest as heavier weight divisions are not particularly quick-moving in the ring.
WOMEN: ===== M C MARY KOM (51kg) -- If there is a name in Indian boxing which needs no introduction, it is Mary Kom. This 38-year-old icon would be eyeing a second Olympic medal, something that puts her heads and shoulders above all else in the Indian team.
A six-time world champion, her achievements and medals have become a bit difficult to keep count of. And the astonishing part, the Manipuri isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
The ring is quite literally her playground and it has remained so for more than two decades now.
Among the sharpest movers in the ring at the peak of her prowess, Mary Kom is, however, candid enough to admit that she has slowed down but to make up for that, she has worked on adding more muscle and thereby more power to her punches.
It remains to be seen how she handles the younger competition which awaits her at the Games. She is fittingly one of the two flag-bearers of the Indian contingent and has sharpened her hook to make sure that nobody takes her lightly.
SIMRANJIT KAUR (60kg) -- A powerhouse of talent from Punjab's Chakar village in Ludhiana, the 26-year-old lost her daily wager father in 2018, four months before she picked up her maiden world championship medal.
The sole breadwinner of her family, Kaur fought a battle of sorts outside the ring too when she kept knocking on Punjab government's door for a job to ensure that her sporting ambitions do not fall by the wayside in desperation to support her mother and two younger brothers.
She still hasn't got the job despite innumerable promises from the worthies in her state government. Aggression is the biggest asset of this fighter with an imposing frame and her punches have hard-to-miss power but she would like to be a bit more in control when up against dogged defenders, who are good at taking advantage of her natural instincts to launch into an offensive.
She endured a bout of COVID-19 in May when there was a virus outbreak in the national camp and her symptoms were quite severe for a good 2-3 days.
LOVLINA BORGOHAIN (69kg) -- The youngest in the Tokyo-bound women's boxing team is a low-profile, high-performing asset. The 23-year-old started out as a kickboxer, took to boxing in school and has since become a two-time world championship medallist already (2018 and 2019).
Her build-up to the Games has also been rocky. The youngster missed a training trip to Italy at the fag end of last year, testing positive for COVID-19 a day before departure. She had travelled to her hometown in Assam to visit her ailing mother and came back to test positive for the virus, robbing her of crucial training and competitive exposure.
Considered a technically sound boxer, it would be interesting to see how she responds to the pressure of being at the biggest sporting show.
POOJA RANI (75kg) -- A battle-hardened veteran, who felt shy to wear the gloves at the beginning of her career as "they look awkward on a girl". The 30-year-old has come a long way since those days to be an Olympian.
Also read: Boxer Saweety Boora wanted to quit sport after she was denied Olympic qualification chance
A product of Bhiwani's robust boxing culture, she had kept her sporting foray a secret from her father as she feared being stopped, even going to the extent of hiding her injuries by staying over friends' places.
She hasn't had the easiest of journeys. Her troubles began when she burnt her hand during Diwali celebrations in 2016, which was followed by a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2017.
She had given up on herself by that time but not entirely. Alone with no sponsors, she fought back to save her career and the perseverance paid off. She is now bound for Tokyo, where a bit of that perseverance might just help her get to the pinnacle.
News source: PTI
Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu lands in Tokyo ahead of Olympics
Tokyo, Jul 16 (Olympics news) Ace Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu on Friday reached Tokyo from her training base in the USA for the upcoming Olympic Games, beginning on July 23.
Chanu, India's lone weightlifter at the Olympics, landed here along with national coach Vijay Sharma and assistant coach Sandip Kumar after undergoing a 50-day training stint in St Louis, USA.
Another coach Pramod Sharma and physiotherapist Aalap Javadekar also accompanied Chanu for the Tokyo Games, which was delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 26-year-old Indian will be competing in the 49 kg category in her second Olympics.
Chanu, who won gold medals in the 2017 World Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 48kg category, had a disappointing outing at the Rio Games, faltering in all her three attempts.
India will be represented by a 228-strong contingent, including 119 athletes, at the the Tokyo Olympics, being held under strict health protocols and without spectators in the wake of the raging health crisis.
The first batch of athletes will depart for Tokyo on Saturday from the national capital.
Also read: Tokyo Together programme unveiled ahead of the Olympics
The sailing team has already reached Tokyo after their training in Europe.
The boxers and shooters are due to land in the Japanese capital on Sunday from their respective training bases in Italy and Croatia.
News source: PTI
Football at the Olympics is not the ultimate glory
An Olympic medal is something that an athlete craves, he works all his life to achieve it at the biggest stage of them all, but, when it comes to football, an Olympic medal is not really as important. In football, an Olympic medal doesn’t really define a player's career whereas a World Cup, Euro, or Copa America does speak a lot about his quality as a professional.
People don’t really talk about football in the Olympics because a majority of the superstars don’t feature in the event. An age restriction of Under 23 is imposed on the teams which means that the majority of them are future prospects. However, each team can have 3 players above the age of 23 but unfamiliarity with the majority of the players somewhere kills the interest of fans. FIFA has imposed these age restrictions in order to ensure that the event doesn’t overshadow the World Cup.
The teams that qualify for the Olympics, qualify on the basis of underage competitions. In Europe, the Euro U-21 Championship decides the qualification. Whereas in other parts of the world a U-23 event decides which teams will take part in the event.
Only 16 nations take part in the Olympics whereas 32 teams are a part of the World Cup. Italy missed the 2018 World Cup as they couldn’t qualify and when it comes to Olympics, a lot of teams with similar calibre miss out.
Each continent has a fixed number of slots available at the Olympic games. Europe has 4 slots while Asia and Africa have 3 each. Some of the best footballing nations are a part of Europe. The likes of Italy, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, and France are all part of Europe but only 4 of them make it to the Olympic games which obviously hampers the quality of the competition.
No Involvement of British Teams
The British teams don’t take part in the Olympics. The United Kingdom takes part in the Olympics as Team Great Britain which consists of England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland is a part of the UK but they are not a part of Team Great Britain. These nations don’t agree on fielding a football team together because they don’t want to lose their independence in the eyes of FIFA.
They did feature in the 2012 Olympics because London hosted the event but apart from that, they haven’t featured at the games in the recent past. They will not be a part of the upcoming games which means that the young stars from these nations miss out.
The top domestic leagues all across Europe start around mid-August and the Olympics is also scheduled for July-August. This leads to further problems for players to be released by their clubs for the Olympics.
The domestic leagues like Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga are much more appealing than the Olympics because they feature all the big-name players from across the globe. People prefer watching these leagues rather than watching unknown U-23 young lads at the Olympics.
Efforts still on for pistol coach Pavel as Indian shooters leave Zagreb for Tokyo
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Olympics news) Hoping to join the Indian shooting contingent in Tokyo at a later date, foreign pistol coach Pavel Smirnov stayed back in Zagreb as the others on Friday headed for the Olympics via Amsterdam.
The Olympic-bound team left Zagreb after completing an 80-long competition-cum-training stint in the Balkan nation. All the members of the Indian contingent tested negative for COVID-19 in the tests conducted over the last two days.
In Amsterdam, the 13-member pistol and rifle team will be joined by the two skeet shooters -- Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Angad Vir Singh -- who were training in Italy.
Also read: Exploring how mental wellness will influence sporting performance at the Tokyo Olympics with sports psychologist Madhuli Kulkarni
Before the Indian contingent's departure, the Croatian and Zagreb shooting federation felicitated the visitors during a farewell organised by the gracious hosts.
"Looking at the arrangement made by them one can say that it was as good as a dinner party, the only thing was that it was held in the evening," a member of the contingent told PTI.
The Indian contingent will have a layover in Amsterdam before taking the flight to Tokyo, while three members -- coaches Jaspal Rana, Ved Prakash and Manoj Kumar -- will be leaving from Delhi.
Two other members will return to India on July 17.
"Pavel is staying back as efforts are being made for him to be with the team in Tokyo. So he is not leaving with the team," he said.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has been trying to get approval for an additional coach to join the seven support staff permitted in Tokyo, at the expense of office-bearers.
"The biggest problems is the availability of flights on the day he is supposed to leave. Though Jaspal is coming back to India today, the federation is also trying to send him to Tokyo," an NRAI source said.
On Pavel, nothing has been finalised yet.
"The Indian shooting team has departed from their Zagreb base & reached Amsterdam. They will leave later tonight for @Tokyo2020," the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) media wing tweeted.
The Indian contingent thanked the Croatian federation for being a gracious host during their stay there.
"Thank you #Croatia ! At the farewell organised by our gracious hosts, the #Zagreb Shooting Federation. Croatian T-shirts presented to the whole squad including one for our President @RaninderSingh," the NRAI wrote on its Twitter handle.
On the final day of their training on Thursday, the Indian shooters took it a bit easy but made sure their equipments are in place before leaving for sport's biggest showpiece.
The Olympics are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8, with the shooting events starting a day after the opening ceremony and covering the first 10 days of the extravaganza, which will be held without spectators owing to the pandemic.
The Indian contingent had shifted base to Zagreb as it was considered safer for them to train there at a time when the country reeled under a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
During their stay in Croatia, the Indian shooters took part in the European Championships in Osijek, from May 29 to June 6, before participating in the last World Cup before the Olympics, from June 22 to July 3, at the same venue.
India will be represented by a record 15 shooters at the Tokyo Games.
The Indian team has eight rifle, five pistol and two skeet shooters, besides coaches and support staff members.
News source: PTI
IOA names Security Attache B K Sinha as Press Attache of India's Olympic contingent
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Olympics news) Retired IPS officer B K Sinha will perform the dual role of Security as well as Press Attache of India's Olympic contingent at the Tokyo Games, which begins on July 23, the IOA announced on Friday.
Sinha is a former Haryana DGP and also a recipient of the President's Police Medal.
"Mr B K Sinha (Retd DG Police, IPS) who is going with Indian contingent for Tokyo Olympics as Security Attache, will now, along with handling the responsibilities of Security Attache, will also be handling the responsibilities of Press Attache," Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said in a joint statement.
Also read: International Olympic Committee guidelines for medal ceremony: Participants to wear mask all times, no group photo on podium
"Mr B K Sinha will be departing from Delhi for Tokyo on 22nd July, 2021." India will be represented by a 228-strong contingent, including 119 athletes, at the the Tokyo Olympics, being held under strict health protocols sans spectators in the wake of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The first batch of athletes will depart for Tokyo on July 17 from the national capital.
The sailing team has already reached Tokyo after their training in Europe.
The boxers and lone weightlifter in fray, Mirabai Chanu, are due to land in the Japaneses capital on Sunday from their respective training bases in Italy and the USA.
News source: PTI
The role of social media in amplifying hate, racism and hooliganism in football
“I am German when we win, immigrant when we lose” was a powerful and hard hitting statement by five time German Player of the Year Mesut Ozil as he announced his decision to no longer play for the German team. The German-Turkish footballer was pictured with Turkish president Erdogan, sparking a series of debates across Germany and the world about his loyalty, not just as a footballer but a German citizen.
Fast forward to three years later and England lost to Italy 3-2 in the finals of Euro 2020. Three black players, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka missed their penalties, as reported by the football news media. What was conveniently left out was that two out of the three had barely featured all tournament and expecting them to score a penalty at such a crucial stage of the competition, having barely kicked a ball was a recipe for disaster. Moreover, Bukayo Saka, a 19 year old was entrusted with the most crucial penalty kick of them all, despite the presence of more senior and experienced players in the squad.
It came as absolutely no surprise that what followed was a barrage of hate on social media. There was an outrage by a section of disgruntled England fans who could not bear the fact that ‘It was not coming home’ anymore, and the scapegoats for the result were none other than the three black players who missed their penalties. If that wasn’t bad enough, public places were vandalized, Italian fans were beaten up, a stampede took place outside the Wembley stadium in a chaotic aftermath.
Even the nation's darling Marcus Rashford was not spared, despite his exceptional contribution off the field in feeding the nation's underprivileged children. There was vile abuse for the speedy winger to return to Africa, monkey emoji messages and even death threats despite the fact that Rashford chose to play for England even though he requires surgery on his shoulder and foot.
However, there were also fans who spoke against the outspoken minority of racists, expressing their support for the Three Lions’ admirable Euro 2020 campaign and sent letters of love and support at Marcus Rashford’s mural in Withington, Manchester, covering the abhorrent vandalism of the artwork in a fitting tribute to the selfless contribution of the player.
Most importantly, the racism that athletes face on a regular basis on social media is just a reflection of the issues that plague society at large. Social media is giving them a platform to amplify their messages of hate and more needs to be done to regulate these accounts. However, a band aid of social media censoring is not the long term cure for a persistent problem that dates back centuries, there needs to be a reform in the educational system to eradicate hate and racism from the minds of our impressionable future.
Shooters Ronak Pandit, Oleg Mikhailov and Samaresh Jung among 7 shooting coaches bound for Tokyo
New Delhi, Jul 13 (Sports news) Ronak Pandit, who has been training medal prospect Manu Bhaker for past six months, Oleg Mikhailov and Samaresh Jung are among the seven coaches travelling with the Indian shooting squad to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
"Logistical hurdles" arising out of the coronavirus situation came in the way of the National Rifle Association of India's (NRAI) plans to rotate all its coaches during the Games.
Mikhailov, appointed in 2017, will be in charge of the rifle team along with Deepali Deshpande and Suma Shirur.
While Samaresh Jung and Ronak Pandit will be training the pistol contingent comprising Saurabh Chadhary, Manu Bhaker, Abhishek Verma, Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Rahi Sarnobat.
Former India shooter Mansher Singh, chief coach of the Indian shotgun team, will be helping out skeet shooters -- Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan -- Tokyo.
Apart from the coaches, also accompanying the team will be physiotherapist Zeinia Samar.
Members of the rifle and pistol team and their coaches, who are currently training in Zagreb, Croatia, will join the Italy-based skeet shooters in Amsterdam before leaving for Tokyo on July 16.
Jaspal Rana, a pistol ace of his time and one who has played an influential role in the emergence of talented young shooters in recent years, is not part of the travelling contingent and so is foreign pistol coach Pavel Smirnov.
Also read: National chief coach JP Nautiyal: Indian shooters capable of winning 4 medals at Paralympics
Rana has been, of late, not training any Olympic-bound shooters and it was also felt that the team could do without the services of long-standing foreign coach, Smirnov, in Tokyo.
"Ronak has been training Manu for the past six months, before the New Delhi World Cup, so he is there," a source in the NRAI said.
The Olympics are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8, with the shooting events starting a day after the opening ceremony and covering the first 10 days of the extravaganza, which will be held without spectators owing to the pandemic.
The Indian contingent shifted base to Zagreb as it was considered safer for them to train there at a time when the country reeled under a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During their stay in Croatia, the Indian shooters took part in the European Championships in Osijek, from May 29 to June 6, before participating in the last World Cup before the Olympics, from June 22 to July 3, at the same venue. News source: PTI
Former Cricketer Kevin Pietersen slams racial abuse of England's black footballers after Euro final loss
London, Jul 12 (Sports news) England's former star cricketer Kevin Pietersen on Monday condemned the racial abuse of three black players on social media after their loss in the Euro final and wondered if the country should get hosting rights of the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
Pietersen, a former national team captain, got caught in the chaos that broke out after England's loss to Italy in the penalty shootout of the summit showdown at Wembley.
The cricketer joined British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Football Association (FA) in slamming those who abused the three players of colour after they failed to score in the shootout.
Also read: Euro 2020: England will have to wait for it to come home
"The walk I took with Dylan to get our car home last night was scary absolutely HORRENDOUS! This behaviour in 2021?? The abuse of the players who gave us so much joy?? "Do we actually deserve the 2030 World Cup?," Pietersen tweeted.
Earlier in the day, the PM said on twitter the players "deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media." "Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves," Johnson tweeted.
The FA, the country's apex football body, also condemned the racial abuse of its players.
FA pointed out that this England team has been highlighting the issue of racism throughout the tournament, taking the knee before all their matches.
In the shootout, England's two goals were scored by captain Harry Kane and Harry Maguire.
Their next three shots were taken by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Saka -- all Black teammates.
Sancho and Saka's shots were blocked by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Rashford's hit the upright.
Italy netted two goals in their final three shots to win their first Euro title since 1968.
In another tweet, Pietersen wrote, "The media in UK is probably the most powerful in the world. It should be a responsibility of theirs, to enforce the social media giants into verifying EVERY SINGLE PERSON that has an account.
"No robots & no fake accounts! ACCOUNTABILITY for all! It's destroying society!" The United Kingdom are among the bidders to host the World Cup in 2030 Last month, Spain and Portugal made their bid to host the tournament, joining the UK and Ireland and another bid from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile, aimed to coincide with the centenary of the first World Cup, which was played in Uruguay.
News source: PTI
National Rifle Association of India trying to add two more coaches to Tokyo-bound shooting contingent
New Delhi, Jul 12 (Olympics news) The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is trying to get approval for two more coaches to accompany the seven permitted to travel with the country's Olympic shooting team to Tokyo, at the expense of office-bearers.
The federation is working with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in this regard and there are chances that the number of support staff could go up.
The 13 Olympic-bound Indian shooters in pistol and rifle, seven coaches, five physiotherapists and a two-member video crew had left for Zagreb in a charter flight on May 11, for an 80-day training-cum-competition tour of the Balkan nation.
They were later joined by three more coaches -- Pavel Smirnov, Samaresh Jung and Ronak Pandit.
"We are trying to send nine coaches, instead of seven, to Tokyo. The NRAI has already started processing and is working with IOA on this," the federation's secretary Rajiv Bhatia told PTI on Monday.
Considering the extraordinary circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bhatia said the "(NRAI) secretary general (D V Seetharama Rao) has said that he will not be going to the Olympics, and two places can be given to the coaches, instead." The Olympics are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8, with the shooting events starting a day after the opening ceremony and covering the first 10 days of the extravaganza, which will be held without spectators owing to the pandemic.
NRAI president Raninder Singh is likely to be the only top official from the national shooting federation present in the Olympics.
However, Singh will not be there in Tokyo as a representative of the NRAI but as the vice-president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), a post he has been holding since November 2018.
Earlier, it was decided that foreign rifle coach Oleg Mikhailov and his pistol counterpart Pavel Smirnov are going to be the only instructors staying with Indian shooters for the entire duration of the Olympics, with the others serving the team in turns as per a ruling necessitated by the pandemic.
The coaching staff was likely to constitute only 30 per cent of the whole squad in the upcoming sporting extravaganza.
Currently in its final phase of preparation in Croatia, the Indian shooting contingent will leave Zagreb for Tokyo on July 16 and reach the host city the following day.
In Tokyo, the shooters and their support staff are likely to be in quarantine for three to four days as they are entering Japan from a country where the COVID-19 situation is under control.
The two skeet shooters -- Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan -- who are currently based in Italy, will leave for Tokyo on the same day as the rifle and pistol shooters.
The Indian contingent had shifted base to Zagreb as it was considered safer for them to train there at a time when the country reeled under a devastating second wave of the pandemic.
Also read: Ahead of Olympics, skeet shooter Angad receiving lessons remotely from Norwegian coach Tore Brovold
During their stay in Croatia, the Indian shooters took part in the European Championships in Osijek, from May 29 to June 6, before participating in the last World Cup before the Olympics, from June 22 to July 3, at the same venue.
India will be represented by a record 15 shooters at the Tokyo Games.
The Indian contingent has eight rifle, five pistol and two skeet shooters, besides coaches and other support staff members.
News source: PTI
Euro 2020: England will have to wait for it to come home
Football News: Italy are champions of Europe, they have defeated England in the final of UEFA Euro 2020. The Three Lions' wait for an international trophy continues as they lost 3-2 on penalties. It was a game of two halves, England dominated the first part and were forced back by some brilliant possession game by the Azzurri’s. Gianluigi Donnarumma was the difference between the two teams, his heroics in penalties gave Italy the edge on the night.
England went into the game with 3 at the back (3-4-3 formation), they tried putting pressure on the Italians with the help of their wingbacks. It did work, as the wingback’s Trippier and Shaw combined to give England the lead. A great cross towards the far post by Trippier was sent home with a delightful volley by Shaw. England dominated the entire first half and it seemed as if it will be coming home. Italy hardly had any of the ball and they were far from their best.
The half-time team talk surely did wonders for the Italians as they started to press higher up the field. They were quick to recover balls and put pressure on the home team. Federico Chiesa of Juventus was by far the biggest threat for the men in white. He kept running towards the English defence and took shots at every possible opportunity. Pickford somehow managed to deal with the Chiesa threat but Italy managed to bounce back with the help of a corner. The veteran centre-back Leonardo Bonnuci stepped up and equalised with a close-range tap in.
Everyone expected a stronger response from the English camp but Italy were in no mood to let them have possession of the ball. Italy kept pushing for a second goal and Roberto Mancini’s substitutions were on point. He made a majority of his substitutions in the second half and fresh legs did help his team's cause.
With both scores level, the Euro 2020 final went into extra time. The substitution of Jack Grealish did cause Italy a lot of trouble. Suddenly, England had a lot of the ball and were creating chances at will. Jadon Sancho and Rashford were subbed on in the 120th minute of the game, all they could do was take a penalty kick if asked to. The second half of extra time was dominated by England but with no goals in extra time, penalties are how it was decided.
It was time for the goalkeepers to step up to the occasion and Gianluigi Donnarumma did step up with some big saves. The 22-year-old goalkeeper made life difficult for the English penalty takers. Belotti’s miss did put a lot of pressure on Gigi but it was meant to be his night as he saved 3 penalties in a row to guide Italy to glory. Italy did win on the night but England have shown some character throughout this journey. This group of young English players will come back stronger in the upcoming World Cup.
Is football coming home or going to Rome?
The stage is set at the iconic Wembley stadium, home of the England national football team as they welcome Italy in the Euro 2020 finals. It’s been 53 years since the Italians won a EURO title while the Three Lions are looking to be crowned European champions for the first time ever. In their journey leading up to the final, it can be argued that the Italians have had the tougher draws, having faced the likes of Spain and Belgium so far while England have defeated Ukraine and Denmark in their previous two fixtures.
England are currently on a high and the nation has truly rallied behind their players, rooted in the firm belief that football is finally coming home. Gareth Southgate’s squad have looked defensively solid so far and also lethal in attack, having enjoyed their biggest Euro final tournament victory with a 4-0 win over Ukraine. If there was ever a time for the Three Lions to win a major piece of silverware, it’s now as England have never lost a final of a major tournament in Wembley with 11 wins and four draws. Only three teams have ever won the Euro’s on home soil, France (1984), Spain (1964) and Italy (1968) and England will hope to be the fourth.
Also read: An analysis for all the Euro 2020 quarter-final results
Italy on the other hand have never lost to England at a major tournament, winning thrice and drawing once. They won 1-0 in Euro 1980, 2-1 at the 1990 and 2014 World Cups and drew 0-0 in Euro 2012. Roberto Mancini’s men have looked rock solid so far, winning all three matches of Group A without conceding a single goal and are unbeaten in 33 matches in all competitions, scoring 86 goals and conceding only 10. A staggering record to say the least. Having won 28 games and five draws in their 33 match run so far, breaking a national record that lasted since the 1930’s. It’s fair to say that we definitely have a game on our hands!
Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane look to have found their scoring boots for England, with Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire also displaying their fine form. For the Italians, Federico Chiesa scored his second successive goal at the Wembley Stadium against Spain and is one of five Italy players who have scored two goals at Euro 2020 along with Matteo Pessina, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile. Another ridiculous record set by Italy is that goalkeeper Donnarumma has never conceded more than one goal in any of his last 32 games for Italy, keeping 19 clean sheets.
In conclusion, it promises to be a blockbuster clash between two European heavyweights with very little between them. The Euro 2020 final is a fixture that promises to deliver a blockbuster event in a tournament that has delighted fans across Europe and the world with goals galore, shocking upsets and most importantly, the fans back in the stadiums.
Ahead of Olympics, skeet shooter Angad receiving lessons remotely from Norwegian coach Tore Brovold
New Delhi, Jul 9 (Olympics news) Indian skeet shooter Angad Vir Singh Bajwa's Olympic preparation has a distinctive feel about it.
Currently based in Italy, Bajwa has been "receiving his lessons remotely" from his foreign coach in Norway, Tore Brovold, while training alongside members of Kuwait and Qatar national teams in the northern Italian town of Lonato.
It is quite different from the programme charted for the rest of his Tokyo-bound compatriots, who are being trained together by a handful of coaches at the same venue in Zagreb, Croatia.
Mairaj Ahmad Khan, who is going to shoot alongside Bajwa in the skeet men's skeet event in Tokyo, is in his final stretch of preparations in another Italian town under longtime coach Ennio Falco.
"Angad is receiving his coaching lessons from Tore Brovold remotely. And he has been practising alongside shooters from Qatar and Kuwait," a National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) source told PTI on Friday.
"They were training together under Ennio Falco but Angad came over to Lonato after both of them got their vaccine shots in Croatia. I think his coach wanted him to train in Lonato," he added.
An accomplished shooter, Norwegian Brovold won the silver medal in the Beijing Olymipcs and gold in the prestigious ISSF World Cup Final in the same year.
Bajwa, who has a shotgun range at home and had tried his hand in pistol shooting before switching to skeet, has been constantly in touch with his coach via video calling during the COVID-induced lockdown last year too, something that has helped him become better after the pandemic delayed the Games by a year.
Both Bajwa and Mairaj drove all the way from their training base in Montecatini, Italy to Zagreb to get jabbed last Thursday.
Also read: Indian shooters doing dry firing, will hit range on May 19
Training in Italy for the upcoming Tokyo Games, both the Indian skeet shooters skipped the ISSF World Cup in Osijek, Croatia on the insistence of Falco, but decided to undertake a journey of over 1000 km across the European continent to get themselves vaccinated.
After Falco advised the skeet shooters against competing in the World Cup in Osijek, and to remain in Italy, the NRAI became aware that it was not going to be easy to get the two shooters vaccinated because of the Italian government policy against inoculating foreigners.
However, thanks to the effort of Sports Authority of India, NRAI and Croatia's top marksman Peter Gorsa, the two shooters got their jabs in Zagreb without much ado.
Bajwa holds the world record in skeet with 60 out of 60, achieved at the Asian Shotgun Championships in Kuwait, in 2018. He shot another 60/60 next year, in New Delhi, to getter the better of Mairaj on way to defending his Nationals crown.
News source: PTI
Inaugural FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup to be hosted by Spain
In hockey news, the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Executive Board has appointed Spain as the official host of the inaugural FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup which will take place from 10th to 17th December, 2022 in Valencia.
The yearly event aims to offer the best ranked teams that are not participating in the FIH Pro League a top-level competition for a chance to be promoted to the Pro League the next season. By inaugurating the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup, they are effectively introducing a promotion-relegation principle for the FIH Pro League.
These are the following eight teams that will be participating in the very first edition: Spain, Canada, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea and South Africa.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank wholeheartedly the Royal Spanish Hockey Federation for hosting this inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey Women’s Nations Cup, a new competition in our portfolio which will bring further excitement to our sport. Nothing less than a place within the FIH Hockey Pro League is at stake. This promises to generate great and hard-fought matches between excellent teams! That is really good for the growth of our sport worldwide.”
“We are very happy that the FIH has given us the organization of the FIH Hockey Women's Nations Cup. Another great women's hockey event that we will be able to organize in our country. We are proud to be the chosen ones and we are very grateful. It is an opportunity for the women's team to qualify for the FIH Hockey Pro League and, like the men's team, play this great hockey competition", said Santiago Deó, President of the Royal Spanish Hockey Federation.
Crores spent on me, no longer indisciplined and reliant on luck: Boxer Vikas Krishan ahead of 3rd Olympics appearance
New Delhi, Jul 8 (Boxing news) Among the most accomplished names in Indian boxing and a strong Olympic medal hope he might be but Vikas Krishan has no qualms admitting that he has been "indisciplined" and "too reliant on luck in the past", problems that he claims to have fixed ahead of the Tokyo Games.
Currently in Assisi, Italy for training, Vikas is the only one among the five Olympic-bound men to have the experience of competing in the Games. He made the 64kg pre-quarters in the 2012 London edition, the 75kg quarters in the 2016 Rio Games and is ready to present his challenge in the 69kg category in Tokyo.
Speaking exclusively to PTI about his preparations, concerns and the pressure ahead of his third and possibly final Olympic appearance, the Asian and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist owned up to his mistakes as well.
"I was too reliant on luck earlier, the draw mattered more than it should. I was indisciplined, I did not train as rigorously as I should have in previous years, didn't care for my health as much as I should have," he conceded when asked about his evolution as a boxer since his previous Olympic appearances.
"But it has changed now. I have made a lot of sacrifices in the past one year. I have hardly seen my family to ensure that my training is not disrupted. You can say I have seen my children grow up in photographs," he said.
"Thankfully, I have had my close friend (and fellow boxer) Neeraj Goyat with me through all this. He has been my family and always supported me even though he is a full-time professional boxer," he added.
Unbeaten in his own on-again-off-again professional stint, the Haryana-boxer has been a medal contender for India almost every time he has stepped into the ring in the amateur circuit too and he has rarely faltered, except for the Olympics.
"This time I have paid attention to my nutrition properly, trained with a lot of focus. I cannot be more prepared than what I am right now. Isse zyada nahi ho sakta. I can feel it actually that this is going to be my best Olympics," said the DSP in Haryana Police.
"You know what, if things go as I have planned, then I will win a gold medal. And if things go as God might have planned, then also I will win a gold medal," the confidence was hard to miss.
"Several crorers have been spent on me by the government and my sponsor JSW, I have to make all this count. I have got everything that I have needed to build myself up, it is time to deliver now," Vikas asserted.
He has multiple Asian Games and Asian championships medals and along with a bronze in the world championships. Vikas was also a youth world champion and a bronze-winner at the Youth Olympics.
But those are past achievements for the Hisar-man, who said he has gone through extensive self-analysis after the disappointment in Rio Olympics.
"I sat down with coaches and asked them to tell me bluntly my shortcomings and they did. They told me so many things and I decided I will make amends and I have," he said.
"I used to get disbalanced in the ring frequently, it was pointed out to me. That is no longer the problem. I have learnt to be cool, composed and calm. I decided I will make my jab the best in the world. It is not yet perfect but it is close," he elaborated.
"My rear hand (straight punch) was weak, it is stronger now. My close range boxing has improved. So yes, I have closely analysed my weaknesses and one by one, I have addressed them," he added.
Speaking of analyses, his decision to switch to welterweight (69kg), after trying for long to find a footing in the middleweight (75kg) division, has also worked out well for him.
"For the first time, I have reduced weight in my career. But it works for me. It is another one of the small sacrifices I have made. This move has got me good results," he said.
Vikas said he has also learnt to be less anxious about what next in his journey of self discovery.
"I have tried to let go of things which I can't control, like the draw or the current situation with regards to COVID-19. I can't control certain factors, so I have learnt not to spend my time and energy thinking about them," he said.
The Tokyo Games are scheduled to open on July 23.
Also read: My ambition is to fulfill my father’s dream of winning an Olympic medal - Indian boxer Gaurav Bidhuri
News source: PTI
An analysis for all the Euro 2020 quarter-final results
We’re moving on to the business end of the Euro 2020 tournament with the quarter-finals just wrapped up and it did not disappoint fans one bit! Before the tournament took place, some fans were apprehensive about the overall quality, especially considering stadiums would not be packed to the brim with fans, and players being burnt out after playing too many fixtures for their respective clubs.
However, those doubts were cast aside once the opening fixtures proved why we all love the beautiful game and the Euro 2020 has moved from strength to strength since then. In case you missed out on the quarter-final fixtures and failed to catch up with the football news in its aftermath, don’t worry because we have you covered!
Here is SPOGO’s analysis of all the results in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
Ukraine vs England
It’s a common belief amongst strikers that all it needs is a single goal and the rest will follow and that’s exactly what former England striker Michael Owen echoed on Twitter after Harry Kane netted the winner in the Three Lions clash against Germany and he was right! The match had scarcely begun when Kane opened the scoring after four minutes at the Stadio Olimpico after going nearly eight hours without finding the back of the net for his country. Admittedly, Ukraine was one of the easier opponents England could have faced in the quarter-finals but, in a tournament of surprises, Gareth Southgate’s men were not complacent and thoroughly executed their job to perfection. Another Harry scored a powerful header at the beginning of the second half (Harry Maguire) before Kane netted his second of the night and Jordan Henderson added the cherry on top with a fourth goal around the hour mark. Manchester United and England left back Luke Shaw continued his fine form with two assists as the Three Lions prepare themselves to face Denmark in the semi-finals on Thursday, July 8th at 12:30 am IST.
Belgium vs Italy
In a clash of the two titans, Italy emerged the winners as they eliminated the number 1 ranked team Belgium in a sensational 2-1 victory. Two first half goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne gave the Gli Azzurri the edge over their opponents to take them through to the semi-finals. While this Italian side may not boast of the star power of previous teams, Roberto Mancini’s men have proved time and again that they are a well coached, drilled and a compact unit that are extremely difficult to defeat, the proof being that Italy have won 13 consecutive games and remain unbeaten for 32. After this win, another blockbuster clash awaits us when Italy face Spain at the Euro 2020 semi-finals at the Wembley stadium on Wednesday, 7th July at 12:30 am IST.
Also read: Everything you can expect from the Euro 2020 quarter-finals
Switzerland vs Spain
By far the most interesting match in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, the two sides fought to the death for a place in the semi-finals against Belgium. Spain started the match strongly when Jordi Alba’s shot took a big deflection off Denis Zakaria into the back of the net in the eighth minute. However, the Swiss were already on a high, having defeated world champions France in a penalty shootout and did not give up easily. Their attempts paid dividends in the 68th minute when veteran Xherdan Shaqiri scored after a defensive disaster by Luis Enrique’s team. Despite Switzerland’s Remo Freuler being sent off in the 77th minute, Spain could not find an equalizer and the game moved onto extra time and penalties. In a nail-biting conclusion at St. Petersburg that left fans at the edge of their seats, Spain emerged the winners after Mikel Oyarzabal’s winning penalty led his side through with a 3-1 victory.
Czech Republic vs Denmark
The reason why football is widely considered to be the ‘beautiful game’ is because of fairy tale stories such as Denmark’s Euro 2020 campaign. The tournament started on the worst possible note for Danes, with Christian Eriksen collapsing during the opening match due to a cardiac arrest as Denmark lost against their Nordic cousins Finland to now reach the semi-finals after a nervy win against the Czech Republic in Baku. Goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg were all it took for Denmark to go through to the semi-finals, having now scored an impressive 10 goals in their last three matches in a fantastic turnaround that began with two defeats. This is the first time Denmark has reached the European Championship semi-finals since their historic win in 1992 and the inspired side will hope to give a fight against tournament favourites England.
My ambition is to fulfill my father’s dream of winning an Olympic medal - Indian boxer Gaurav Bidhuri
From being a formidable boxer with an impressive CV of winning the bronze at the World Boxing Championships in 2017, the 2nd Indian to win on his debut and the 4th overall, to being a motivational speaker and vlogger, Gaurav Bidhuri is a man of many talents. Winner of the Boxing Award of the Year in 2018, he has been nominated for the Arjuna Award for three consecutive years between 2018 to 2020 and became the only Indian boxer to have featured with the Italy team in 2015 and the USA team in 2016. The word impressive doesn’t come close to defining this career so far.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Indian boxer Gaurav Bidhuri speaks about how it all began and taking up boxing professionally, his ultimate goal, overcoming challenges, boxing idols and the importance of mental resilience.
Q 1) How old were you when you first started boxing? Who introduced you to the sport and what motivated you to take it up professionally?
I started boxing when I was 7 years old. My father, Dharmender Bidhuri was a national level boxer and also my coach. It was his dream to represent India at the Olympics and win medals, but due to family problems he could not continue his boxing career. Despite that, his love for boxing couldn’t keep him away from the sport and he started a boxing club where he used to train local people for free!! That’s where I started my boxing career, at the Bidhuri Boxing club. My father’s dream is my dream and I would like to win medals at the Olympics to fulfill his ambitions as well as mine.
Q 2) What are the various tournaments that you have participated in so far and what is your ultimate goal?
The first competition that I won was the Junior Delhi State Boxing Championship in 2004. That’s how my journey began and soon I won many more State and National Championships. My first International competition was the Junior World Boxing Championship in 2008 and brought laurels for our country and many Junior and Senior International competitions. Today I’m a world medallist and my aim is to win a medal for India at the Olympics.
Q 3) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your journey so far? How did you overcome injuries with a positive mindset?
From the perspective of others, I’m a world medallist and have created history, but just like any other sportsman, I have endured hard times and faced criticism. When I started boxing, everyone was against it and my family members would accuse my dad of spoiling my life. My dad ignored their comments and kept training me and it is because of his hardships that I reached the state levels. After that, I worked hard to become the champion in my first sub junior Delhi State Championship. We had trials for the National Championship the very next day and I got selected after defeating everyone. We were about to leave for Bhilai the next morning but that night, the people at the Federation replaced my name with another boxer. Nobody helped us when we looked for help but that’s when the real journey began.
I played many National Championships later and won the gold medal and represented India at the Junior International event. I lost in the quarterfinals and could not get a medal because of which people back home criticized me for not performing at the international level. However, I didn’t give up, remained patient, believed that my time would come and beat some of the best boxers at the World Championships to win the bronze medal.
Also read: International Boxing Association increases bout reviews per team to 3, no fee to be charged either
Q 4) Who were some of your boxing idols growing up and why?
My idols when I started boxing were Mary Kom Didi and Vijender bhai (Vijender Singh). The latter has really inspired me as he has achieved medals for India at the biggest events and has also been involved with modelling, acting etc. Athletes disappear after achieving so much after they leave sports, which is why I’m involved in motivational speaking, guest appearances, modelling, being involved in media and so on. I hope to act in movies in the coming years.
Q 5) How important of a role does mental resilience play in becoming a successful boxer?
We have learnt the importance of the body and mental strength during the pandemic. Those who are weak mentally have suffered at this time and being a sports person, I have to be strong both physically and mentally. An athlete's life is full of ups and downs but it’s important to overcome them and keep moving forward. I have faced a lot of things in my boxing career and I use that experience as a motivational speaker.
Swimming Federation of India nominates Sajan Prakash for Arjuna, Kamlesh Nanavati for Dhyan Chand
New Delhi, Jul 3 (Sports news) Sajan Prakash, first-ever Indian swimmer to achieve a direct qualification for the Olympics, has been recommended for the coveted Arjuna award by the Swimming Federation of India (SFI).
The SFI has also nominated veteran coach Kamlesh Nanavati for the Dhyan Chand Award, for his lifetime contributions to aquatic sports.
While Tapan Panigrahi has been nominated for the Dhronacharya Award (lifetime category) for his contribution towards producing many national and international champions in para swimming as well as able bodied category.
This is the second consecutive year Prakash, who is set to compete in his second Olympics in Tokyo, has been recommended for the Arjuna.
The 27-year-old from Kerala scripted history last week by breaching the 'A' standard time for the Tokyo Games, clocking 1:56:38 seconds in the men's 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy.
Also read: How swimmer Srihari swam his way to the ‘A’ mark despite disrupted access to pools
"By making the A qualification for TOKYO 2020 in the 200 meter butterfly event, Sajan Prakash has broken the glass ceiling and goes down in the history of Indian swimming as the 1st Indian to have achieved this feat.
"His achievement will inspire many more swimmers in time to come. We believe this achievement will place Sajan Prakash's nomination for the Arjuna Award at the forefront amongst equals," SFI Secretary General, Monal Chokshi said in media release.
Nanvati represented India in water polo at many international competitions and subsequently as a swimming coach.
In a career spanning four decades, he has produced numerous national medallists and record holders. He has also made a mark for himself in officiating as "Director of Competitions" at national and international meets and has remained on the technical committee of FINA for Waterpolo.
"Kamlesh Nanavati has reason to be satisfied today, as Maana Patel who he has coached for the better part of her career becomes the 1st Swimmer from Gujarat to represent India at the Tokyo Olympics.
"Blessed is the coach who has the privilege to witness his or her protegee go on to represent the country at the biggest sports platform in the world," SFI President, R N Jayaprakash said.
News source: PTI
Touchtennis is making the sport accessible to the masses to live happier, healthier lives
Tennis has always been associated as a rich man’s sport. Memberships at exclusive tennis clubs were always restricted to the rich and influential, unlike football, it’s a sport that requires proper coaching which is an added expense. Adding to that is the cost of equipment such as racquets, balls, strings, shoes, shock absorbers and it all amounts to a sport that has rarely been accessible to those who could not afford it.
However, with the introduction of touchtennis, that perception has drastically changed. Not only has the sport never been more affordable, it can be played on any flat surface with no added expenses with the company of your friends and family. In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, we learn more about this unique initiative with the founder of touchtennis himself, Mr. Rashid Ahmad who spoke about coming up with the idea, the difference between touchtennis and traditional tennis, overcoming challenges, making people active and future goals!
Q 1) How did you come up with the idea of touchtennis, what sort of reception has it received and how quickly has the sport grown?
In all fairness, Tennis as a sport has been around for so many years and all I did was use the space I had available to play with my daughter and then with my friends. We started with a silly idea, some friends and I and before we knew it, it grew into something a lot bigger than what we thought it was ever going to be.
Q 2) What is the difference between touchtennis and the traditional format of tennis?
The main difference is that we use a compact court which is a quarter of the size of a tennis court. Other than that we use a foam ball, a 21-inch racket and a compact net so the court is much more condensed and allows us to play the compact version of the game. The scoring is very similar, 15-30-40. The main differences are that you only get one serve, and that if the ball clips the net and goes in, it is considered in play as there are no lets. The other fun rule is that you are allowed to throw your racket to make a shot. You can do that and can continue to play on.
Q 3) What are some of the challenges that you have faced as the founder of touchtennis? How is the sport being promoted around the world?
As far as the sport is concerned, it's never something we’ve actively tried to promote. We create content and we share it on the internet on various platforms, but we don’t actively market the sport to anybody. That has made it very simple for us. We just have fun playing and that is all we ever meant to do. We were never really out to globally dominate some sport. We just wanted to have fun, some friends and I. Now, we have ended up having barbeques all around the world. We somehow ended up in India and we have a license there and in other countries like South Korea, Italy, France, Spain, the UK, America, Saudi Arabia and all these countries.
Q 4) How important of a role does touchtennis play in making people live active, healthier lives because its more accessible than the traditional format of tennis?
As you saw during the lockdown, nobody was able to play tennis at all. It was impossible to go to a tennis club and play, the only alternative was to play in your garden. Touchtennis really exploded in the last couple of years because everyone was able to play the sport in their garden, either with our equipment or buying cheaper equipment from somewhere else. It does make tennis more affordable, friendly and welcoming than other adaptations out there that have very expensive equipment. Some of the paddles you can buy are 150 pounds whereas with touchtennis, you can buy the entire court including the nets, racquets and balls for 150 pounds.
Q 5) What is your goal and ambition for touchtennis in the future? How do you plan to achieve it?
Without giving too much away, the plan has always been rather loosely put together. We have never really had a concrete plan, Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has got a plan until they get punched in the face” and the same goes for touchtennis, we don’t ever want to get punched in the face, we just want to have fun! As the sport grows, my dream is to have kids from the streets win major tournaments and earn life changing amounts of money. That’s the dream and I’m looking at this as the route out of poverty for so many people and to change our perceptions of one another. My other dream is to have a touchtennis court across the India and Pakistan border, so that people can play on it and realize there are really no differences apart from what politicians tell us. If we can do that and have some fun along the way, what a great way to live!
Everything you can expect from the Euro 2020 quarter-finals
The Euro 2020 has been an action packed competition already, with shock eliminations, high scoring matches and most importantly, fans back in the stadiums. The emotions are running high after the round of 16 fixtures as you may have read in the football news, but with the quarter-finals just around the corner, we’re here to give you a peek into what you can expect ahead of another set of exciting Euro 2020 fixtures.
Belgium vs Italy
Current world number 1 Belgium may have defeated the defending champions Portugal, but the ‘golden generation’ are currently struggling with injuries. Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are doubtful against Italy, having suffered injuries in the round of 16 clash. Neither of them have trained in the Belgium camp and doctors are working around the clock to have them ready against Italy. In comparison, Italy is on a high at the moment and are currently unbeaten in 31 games. They will definitely prove to be the toughest competition Belgium have faced so far in the Euro 2020 and it will be a clash that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Switzerland vs Spain
It’s fair to say that Spain will be approaching this fixture cautiously because while it might seem like a mismatch on paper, Switzerland defeated the current world champions France to reach the Euro 2020 quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Spain defeated Croatia, runners up of World Cup 2018 in an action packed 120 minutes which finished with a 5-3 victory for La Roja. Switzerland will be missing their skipper Granit Xhaka due to suspension, Denis Zakaria will replace the Arsenal midfielder and will be hungry to show his qualities while many European clubs are hunting for his signature. While the current Spanish side does not have the oomph of the old, Luis Enrique’s team still features some notable stars who could turn the tide in their favor in an instant. We predict a win for Spain, but it’s football and one thing is for sure that nothing is certain.
Ukraine vs England
Despite being overwhelming favourites in every international tournament, England last made a semi-final appearance in the European Championships back in 1996. Meanwhile, dark horses Ukraine have qualified for the Euros only thrice before and this is their first ever appearance at the knockout stage. In their last seven meetings, England have won four times, drawing twice and losing once and it’s likely that the Three Lions will continue their fine form to reach the semi-finals of the Euro 2020 this time around.
Czech Republic vs Denmark
Nobody would have predicted that Czech Republic and Denmark would have made it to the quarter-finals of the Euro 2020, but here we are and Baku Olympic stadium will witness one of those two sides progress to the semi-finals of the tournament. Czech Republic have only made it to the knockout rounds twice previously, as runners up in 1996 and semi-finalists in 2004. Meanwhile, Denmark are making their eighth appearance in the competition, having failed to qualify in 2016 the Danes have made a strong comeback this year. This evenly contested match has ended with two wins for Denmark and three wins for Czech Republic and seven draws in their last twelve meetings. Despite Czech Republic causing one of the many upsets by defeating the Netherlands, we predict Denmark to go through.
IOA President Batra to Indian athletes: Need to overcome 'unfair' protocols to succeed in Tokyo
New Delhi, Jun 30 (Sports news) There is "no way out" of some "unfair" restrictions that Tokyo Olympics organisers have imposed on Indian athletes in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, IOA President Narinder Batra conceded on Wednesday, asking the country's contingent to be mentally prepared for added curbs.
Batra said the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is still awaiting clarifications on several issues like athletes' training and food arrangements during the Games and hopes to have resolution for some of the issues before the event opens on July 23.
"We are trying to prepare ourselves mentally according to the present situation and if there are certain situations, we have to live with them, there is no way out," Batra told PTI in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
India is among 11 countries identified as high risk by the Japanese authorities, who have asked the athletes travelling from here to get tested for COVID-19 for seven days before departure and be in hard quarantine for three days after landing in Japan.
Batra said negotiations are still on to ease restrictions on training during quarantine.
"Tokyo organising committee has been very co-operative and very helpful. Every country has different guidelines. Guidelines related to the pandemic are not laid down by the organising committee, these are always laid down by the respective governments.
"So, it takes time to discuss and negotiate with the government and get response. They are trying their best, and whatever responses we are getting are positive," he asserted.
"Many issues have been resolved, and on many things, we have asked for more clarifications but there is still sufficient time and we hope to get all the clarifications we need." The clarifications that the IOA has sought is with regards identification of training areas for the Indians.
"Clarifications like where athletes will have their food, where they will have their gym training, where they will be able to train. About first three days, it's not quarantine but there are some special conditions.
"We are still awaiting replies on those parts, rest all have been clarified, testing labs have increased and many other issues have been sorted." The stricter regulations will not apply for Indian athletes travelling from non- high risk countries, like Italy or other parts of Europe where a lot of them are training right now.
"...the conditions that have been put that we cannot train 3-5 days before events are unfair because that is the time when the athletes attain their peak. If you let them sit idol and their diets are not taken care of, it is unfair.
"So we still await clarification, it might be that these things are resolved but as of today, I feel that the conditions are a little unfair for these 11 countries but I can only speak for India," Batra said.
He was, however, hopeful that elite athletes, who have trained for a good five years for the Games would be able to overcome some of these challenges in pursuit of medals..
"...you have trained for this Games for five years but I do know these things remain at the back of your mind. I feel one has to overcome these issues and go and give their best.
"There has been no compromise in preparation of the athletes. Proper training has happened all the time in India and outside India. The athletes are fully fit and raring to go to the Olympics," he said.
The IOA chief feels it would be a logistical nightmare if they are required to send the Indian athletes individually just before their events.
"We have asked for clarifications on this matter. For example, shooting starts on July 24 but the events are scattered all over, so do we have to send athletes one by one or everybody checks in at July 24 or five days before that? Sending athletes individually would be a logistical nightmare. "We had a flight on 17th and 18th July but both got cancelled. We have spoken to Air India and Spicejet to give us special flights. So let's see what works out. We are planning to send the contingent of 70 or 80 athletes from India on 17th." Over the last one year, the IOA chief has maintained that he expects a double digit medal count from the Tokyo Games. However, on Wednesday he toned down his expectations, saying it would be unfair to put pressure on the athletes in such a difficult time.
"I had made a statement in the past which has been going on consistently for the last one year, but now taking cue from our Hon'ble Prime Minister and I think he is very right that we should not put any pressure on the athletes.
"So I am not talking anything on medal count but I am pretty sure that our athletes will give their best and bring glory to the country." Batra also thanked the BCCI for donating Rs 10 crore for the country's Tokyo-bound contingent.
"We are thankful to BCCI, they are also into promotions and athlete support. The kits are the same but they will go unbranded. Everyone who comes on board, we are thankful to them," he said.
He said there would be two flag-bearers for the opening ceremony and one for the closing and the names would be announced as and when the contingent list is finalised.
More than 100 Indian athletes have qualified for the Games so far. News Source: PTI
Mary Kom heads to Italy for training to avoid travel restrictions for Tokyo Olympics
New Delhi, Jun 29 (Boxing News) Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom has decided to join the rest of India's Olympic-bound boxing team in Italy for training to avoid the added restrictions on those travelling to Tokyo from here amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary Kom will take off for Assisi in a day or two to join the eight other Olympic-bound boxers, who are set to leave for Tokyo from there itself.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist was training at Pune's Army Sports Institute so far for the Games starting July 23.
"I have changed my plans. I have returned to Delhi and will leave for Italy may be tomorrow or day after. There are stricter quarantine restrictions on those who are travelling from India. I want to avoid them," the 38-year-old Mary Kom told PTI.
"After training so hard for so long, no point in taking such a risk as a hard quarantine can break the rhythm," she said.
She would be accompanied by her personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav and a physio.
The Indian athletes and officials have been asked by the Japanese government to undergo daily COVID-19 tests for a week prior to their departure to Tokyo and not interact with anyone from another country for three days upon arrival.
The stricter rules which have been framed for 10 other countries apart from India will, however, not apply on those who will be landing in Tokyo from training bases like Italy.
The Indian boxing contingent, which went to Assisi early this month, was earlier expected to return to India on July 10 and then leave for Tokyo a week before the start of the Games.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has asked the Tokyo Games Organising Committee to allow relaxations in the COVID-19 testing protocols, citing the logistical hassle it would cause for the athletes and officials before their departures.
The Japanese authorities have refused to reduce the number of required pre-departure tests but have given some relaxations in the medical updates that the athletes have to fill online.
"The protocols are obviously tough given the circumstances and you don't want additional stuff to deal with while trying to focus on your performance," Mary Kom said.
An unprecedented nine Indian boxers -- five men and four women -- have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. News Source: PTI
Swimming Federation of India announces Rs 5 lakh cash reward for Olympic-bound Sajan Prakash
New Delhi, Jun 28 Swimming Federation of India on Monday announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for Sajan Prakash who scripted history by becoming the first swimmer from the country to earn a direct qualification for the Olympics.
Prakash qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games on Saturday by breaching the 'A' standard time, clocking 1:56:38 seconds in the men's 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy.
"SFI president Shri R N Jayaprakash announced a personal cash award of Rs 5 lac to Sajan Prakash, who is the first Indian to achieve the Olympic 'A' qualification time in 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome," SFI said in a statement.
"Mr. Jayaprakash lauds the youngster’s achievement and has termed this as a watershed moment for Indian Swimming," it added.
The Tokyo Games will be the Kerala swimmer's second Olympics participation, having competed in Rio 2016 through a Universality quota.
A day after Prakash's feat, Srihari Nataraj breached the elusive 'A' standard time by clocking 53.77s in the men's 100m backstroke at the same event.
However, since his effort came at a time trial, his participation in the Olympics will be confirmed only if FINA approves the timing.
If Nataraj's time is confirmed, the Tokyo Games will mark the first time two Indian swimmers take part in the Olympics through direct qualification. News source PTI
On a roll: Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash sets national record in 200m freestyle
New Delhi, Jun 27 A day after achieving the elusive 'A' cut for the Olympics, swimmer Sajan Prakash continued his purple patch by setting a new national record in the 200m freestyle event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy on Sunday.
Prakash clocked 1:49.73 seconds in the heats at the FINA-accredited Olympic Qualifier, bettering the 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist Virdhawal Khade's previous national mark of 1:49.86 seconds.
Prakash has been on a record-breaking spree recently. This is his third national mark this month.
On Saturday, he created history by becoming the first-ever Indian swimmer to breach the Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT), clocking a record-breaking 1:56:38 seconds in the men's 200m butterfly event.
With the historic sprint, Prakash rewrote his own national record of 1:56.96s that he had set last week at the Belgrade Trophy swimming competition. News source PTI
Euro 2020 round of 16 matches that you should not miss out on
After a year’s delay, the Euro 2020 is finally here and the group stage matches lived up to all the drama, excitement, hype and emotions that fans wanted. For most international tournaments, the fixtures tend to be too cagey, ultra defensive with conservative tactics just because of what’s at stake, however we have seen plenty of open ended contests at this early stage of the competition and it is making us crave for a lot more!
Without further ado, let’s look at some of the epic clashes from the Euro 2020 round of 16 stage that you should not miss out on!
1) England vs Germany
Over the many years, this particular fixture has had its fair share of controversy, goals and free flowing attacking football. A clash between two big names in the football world, England are all set to face Germany in the round of 16 clash at the Wembley stadium. If football news over the years has taught us one thing, it’s that the sport is unpredictable and it would be foolish to announce a winner. Both the sides have looked underwhelming in the competition so far, with Germany losing to France and narrowly avoiding defeat against Hungary. However, they have also convincingly defeated Portugal which tells us that the team can switch on and beat one of the best teams in the competition. That is a factor that England will be vary of, after all Germany is that one team that should never be underestimated. For England, while the team is full of talented individuals, they appear to have not found the right balance and consistency. Two goals, two wins and three clean sheets is not convincing enough so far for a team that is touted to win the competition. Whatever it may be, this is a match that you should not miss out on!
2) Belgium vs Portugal
If there was ever an exciting fixture, it’s definitely this one! In the last seven matches between the two sides, four have ended with both the teams registering themselves on the scoresheet. Belgium is in red hot form, having scored at least one goal in each of their last six international matches, but defending champions Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo in goal scoring form can never be underestimated. They have convincingly defeated Hungary 3-0 at the group stage of the competition and held off world champions France to qualify for the round of 16. Keep your popcorn ready because this will be one action packed match!
3) Croatia vs Spain
Mark our words, this contest between the two will be one of the closest match ups there could be at the Euro 2020. Both the teams started the competition poorly, but gradually found their footing and are now in momentum for an entertaining match. World Cup runners up Croatia won their last match against Scotland 3-1 at Hampden, with Luka Modric scoring a beautiful goal. This Croatian side may be old, but it has plenty of experience from players who represent some of the biggest football clubs in the world. As for Spain, a decade ago they would have been overwhelming favourites to win the competition but despite their 5-0 thrashing of Slovakia, the La Roja look toothless in attack and lack a clinical forward and decisive playmakers who can turn fixtures in their favour. On the plus side, Spain’s defense looks rock solid and the side has kept four clean sheets in the last five games. Keep an eye out, it might just be one of those fixtures you would regret not watching!
4) Wales vs Denmark
While not the most glamorous fixture compared to the others, it’s one between two teams that are very evenly matched. Wales may not have featured in many international tournaments, but their squad is brimming with talented players such as Gareth Bale, Daniel James, Aaron Ramsey to name a few. Having finished 2nd in the group stage (behind Italy), Wales convincingly swept aside Turkey with a 2-0 win and drew 1-1 against Switzerland. In comparison, Denmark were superb against Finland at the group stage but failed to score after losing their leader Christian Eriksen. They also lost to one of the tournament favourites Belgium but convincingly defeated Russia 4-1 to progress through to the round of 16. In the last ten fixtures between the two, the Danes have won 6 times compared to four victories for Wales. It is an interesting and underrated match up between two closely contested sides that we would recommend you don’t miss out on!
Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj sets national record but fails to make A 'cut' for Tokyo
New Delhi, Jun 25 Star Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj came agonisingly close to achieving the elusive Olympic qualification time in the 100m men's backstroke event before falling short of the mark at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy on Friday.
The 20-year-old Bengaluru swimmer clocked 53.90 seconds bettering his own national record in the 100m men's backstroke event. However, it was not enough to make the 'A' mark for the Tokyo Games set at 53.85 seconds.
Another Indian swimmer, Advait Page also set a new national record, clocking 15:23.66 in the men's 1500m freestyle at a qualification event in Los Angeles, USA.
The effort saw Page, who has already achieved a 'B' mark in 800m freestyle, make the 'B' cut in the 1500m freestyle event.
This was the last chance for Srihari to make the 'A' cut as the qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics ends on Sunday.
However, since Srihari has been nominated for the Universality places, he can still compete at the Olympics if no other Indian male swimmer qualifies for the Games or receives a FINA invite based on his or her Olympic Selection time (B time).
Sajan Prakash, who represented India in the 2016 Rio Olympics, will be action in Rome on Saturday. The 27-year-old is vying for the 'A' standard in the men's 200m butterfly event. News source PTI
'Restrictions on Olympic-bound departing from India not applicable on those training abroad'
New Delhi, Jun 25 India's Olympic-bound athletes, who are training abroad right now and scheduled to reach Tokyo directly from their current bases, will not face the stricter restrictions that have been put in place for those travelling from the country, Deputy Chef de Mission Prem Verma said on Friday.
While the Indian contingent will be allowed to train during their three-day on-arrival quarantine, they won't be allowed to meet athletes from other countries during the hard quarantine.
"Indian athletes preparing for the Games overseas and reaching Tokyo directly would not face the restrictions applicable to those who have been residing in India for 14 days before departure," Verma was quoted as saying by the Sports Authority of India in a statement.
This is likely to benefit the shooters, who are currently training in Croatia and Italy, top wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, tennis star Sania Mirza and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra among others.
Verma also said Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee has increased the list of accredited laboratories for COVID-19 tests to a number of cities across the country.
Verma told the athletes and support staff that a number of issues raised by the IOA have been addressed by the Tokyo OC to India's satisfaction.
He said there would no restriction on training of Indians, but they cannot meet athletes from other countries for the first three days.
India is clubbed with Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in group 1 countries with serious COVID-19 situation.
The Indian contingent departing from New Delhi will have to upload its health status for each of the seven days prior to departure on the Organising Committee health app along with negative RT-PCR reports from approved labs, 96 and 72 hours prior to the journey.
Apart from this, the Tokyo-bound contingent will also undergo sensitisation workshops on three modules titled "Life in Tokyo, Playing Clean and From India with Pride." Life in Tokyo explains the preparations for travel in the fortnight before departure, the formalities to be completed before travel, including vaccination, and anti-bodies test reports.
Athletes and support staff from Hockey, Judo, Rowing, Boxing and Wrestling attended the opening session on Life in Tokyo on Friday.
Athletes like Badminton player PV Sindhu, ace paddler Sharath Kamal, fencer Bhavani Devi and equestrian athlete Fouaad Mirza were among those who attended the first 'Playing Clean module', an anti-doping session conducted by officials of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Thursday.
At the formal launch on Friday, SAI DG Sandip Pradhan congratulated the athletes, and the coaching and support staff for staying committed to their preparation for the Olympic Games. He said the members of the contingent were the country's brand ambassadors and were the pride of the nation.
"It is important that we understand the protocols laid down by the organising committee. The Olympic Games is being held under different circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is the duty and responsibility of each member of the contingent to feel comfortable and safe in the environment," Pradhan said.
Over 100 athletes from India have qualified for the Games. News source PTI
People call my journey a miracle, I call it a process - Indian martial artist Chinmay Sharma
We love watching it in movies but martial arts is far from a popular sport in India. A sport just like any other that requires immense dedication, hard work, years of sacrifice and an innate desire for victory, martial arts continues to be largely associated with countries such as Korea, Japan, China to name a few and is rarely covered by the sports news in India.
However, the perception that Indians have not yet ‘arrived’ in martial arts is rapidly changing. Let’s explore the inspirational story of Chinmay Sharma, a 21 year old martial artist from Delhi and his story about overcoming all odds and achieving success in this exclusive interview with SPOGO.
Q 1) How old were you when you started martial arts?
I started my martial arts journey at the age of 5. My elder brother forced me to participate in the sport because he was a martial arts instructor. I was a very aggressive boy in my childhood and he turned my aggression into motivation, which completely changed my life.
Q 2) When did you begin to represent India internationally?
In the last year, with the blessings of God my applications got accepted which means that I can represent India internationally. Thankfully, not just one but 10 applications were approved so I’m sure that in the future I will not just represent India but also win titles for my country.
Q 3) Currently, a Pakistani player is the holder of the title you’re competing for. Are you looking forward to facing him for the title?
Yes, but my focus is to win the title for India, it doesn’t matter if Pakistan, Italy or any other country are the current winners. My aim is to win and I believe that records are meant to be broken.
Q 4) In a cricket crazy country, how difficult is it to become a professional martial artist? What are the difficulties that you faced as a Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate) player?
We all know that India is a country dominated by cricket fans and most people do not aim to be a martial artist. However, I’m representing India for the World Title and since the current title holder is from Pakistan the top brands of our country have given their support to me. From Shiv Naresh, Puma to BodyFirst, everyone is supporting me for the world title. It wasn’t always like this though as I do Tang Soo Do, a form of Korean Karate for which I initially got no sponsorship. I have trained for almost 16 years and won over 50+ medals to get sponsorship and get noticed by the big brands, but I still believe a lot more awareness is needed about this sport. Hopefully I can change that and things get much better in the future.
Q 5) For a martial artist who was unknown to suddenly coming into the limelight, how did this transition take place for you?
I’m not sure, but I think representing India internationally may be the reason that I’m in the limelight now as well as Tang Soo Do as nobody is doing that. I believe the rivalry between India and Pakistan is another reason why I’m getting attention. Martial Arts is an underrated sport, so getting support from Shiv Naresh and Puma, who sent their kit for the world event will always be unforgettable. Last year I became the most endorsed and established Tang Soo Do athlete in India which has boosted my career and there is nothing better than getting support from Indian brands. People call it a miracle, I call it a process.
Q 6) How are you preparing for the year ahead and what is your training regime?
I am preparing like a beast as I have a strict training schedule. I train for 4 hours everyday under the guidance of master Devender Dutt Gaur and Puneet Sharma, two of the most respected teachers in the sport. The training is divided into two hours of weight training and cardio in the morning and two hours of event practice in the evening. My nutrition support is coming from the actor Suniel Shetty’s brand BodyFirst Wellness and my training equipment is provided by Lew Boxing India. I have the best Tang Soo Do teachers, so I have many aspects in my favour and I’m looking to create history for India.
Q 7) Tell us about the injury you sustained in 2017 which meant you could never do Martial Arts again? Do you think your doctor is watching your achievements?
I don’t know whether my doctor is watching but in 2017 my lower back got injured and I was unable to move for a month. My doctor said that I might get lifelong paralysis if I continue martial arts and I may never walk again. However, watching my teammates win medals for India was very difficult for me and I decided to risk it all. That year, I played the SGFI games with a medical belt and achieved my fifth back to back gold medal. I was undefeated in the five times that I played and won a gold medal everytime. Everyone called me a miracle boy and I received a medal from Padmashree Mahabali Satpal Ji Pahalwan.
Q 8) How would you describe your career’s ups and downs?
It’s a good feeling to be the best but I think it was meant to happen. When I got injured, my life stopped but everything is alright now. Nobody would believe that a boy whose back is broken can go on to become India’s only Tang Soo Do (Korean karate) athlete who is supported by nutrition and equipment partners. It was all meant to be but I remain focused and I only want to make the game, my parents, teachers and India proud.
Q 9) Do you truly believe you can win 10 world titles in one year?
If the lockdown doesn’t happen, I truly believe I can be prepared in 6 months. My training, diet and routine are on track and I have complete confidence in my capabilities, despite the fact that others believe I have announced my ambition too early. I’m not only participating, I believe India will win 10 world titles in one year.
Q 10) Is your aim to announce your presence in martial arts by winning 10 world titles or making the game more popular?
My aim is to show the world that India is not behind other countries in the field of martial arts. Everything that I’m doing is to make our country proud and my motive is to showcase our talent to the world.
Q 11) What is your view about inequality in sports where some are prioritized over others? Does it affect your game?
Yes, it does affect my game because we are hardworking and dedicated sportsmen but don’t always get what we deserve. No game is more or less valuable and the sport doesn’t define players, the players define the sport. If Kapil Dev had not won the World Cup, nobody in India would know about cricket. Similarly, if Mary Kom had not won a medal at the Olympics, nobody would know about boxing. It’s always the player who makes the difference, irrespective of the sport. If you’re giving your 100%, you will succeed and I’m the prime example of that. All the top brands have their eyes on me and the expectations are high about what I will do for India. That’s why I always say, don’t go for the best sport, be the best at any sport and you will succeed.
Indian archer Deepika Kumari remains in hunt for fourth individual World Cup gold
Paris, Jun 23 Indian archer Deepika Kumari stayed in hunt for her second successive gold by moving to the women's recurve individual semi-finals of the World Cup Stage 3 here on Wednesday.
The world number three, who had won the World Cup Stage 1 in Guatemala City in April this year, overwhelmed 2012 London Olympics silver medalist Aida Roman of Mexico 6-0.
Shrugging off her disastrous show in Sunday's Final Olympic Qualifier team event, Deepika reigned supreme with scores of 29, 28 and 28 that included four perfect 10s with two closest to the centre (X) to knock out the veteran Mexican.
The second seed Deepika has another Mexican challenger in sixth seed Ana Vazquez.
Rest of the Indians, including World Cup stage one champion Atanu Das, made early exits as the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist remained the only hope in the individual recurve section.
Following her disastrous show in the Final Olympic Qualifier team event, Deepika shot consistently as she began her elimination round by blanking Elena Tonetta of Italy 6-0.
Ankita Bhakat also joined Deepika in the last-16, defeating Angeline Cohendet of France 7-1, while teenager Komalika Bari lost to Ines De Velasco of Spain 4-6.
In the pre-quarters, Deepika bounced back from being 1-3 to defeat Charline Schwarz of Germany in a hard-fought five setter 7-3, while left-handed Ankita made an exit, going down to Russian Elena Osipova 2-6.
In the men's individual events, Das lost to Jack Willimas of USA 5-6 (8-9) in the shootoff, while Pravin Jadhav lost to Patrick Houston of Great Britain 2-6 in the pre-quarters.
Veteran Army archer Tarundeep Rai made a last-32 exit, losing to Nicholas D'Amour of Virgin Islands in shootoff 5-6 (9-10).
Earlier, Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha Vennam emerged the best placed Indians with their respective 11th and 15th place finishes in the qualification round of men's and women's compound sections.
In their first international competition in about two years, the Indian compound archers appeared rusty.
The two-time World Cup champion Verma logged 706 points. Aman Saini was next best at 21st place (704) and was followed by Rajat Chauhan's lowly 42nd (697) place finish.
The trio tallied 2107 points to take the sixth place to set up an opening round clash against 11th placed Sweden.
Indian compound women's team finished sixth with 2066 points and it will face 11th ranked France in the opening round elimination match.
Individually, Jyothi shot 695 points to take 15th place while Saanchi Dhalla (690) and Akshita (681) occupied the 22nd and 32nd places respectively.
In the mixed pair event, Verma and Jyothi are placed ninth and will get a bye into the last-16 where they will face eighth-ranked Russia.
The Indian compound archers had last competed in the Asian Championships in Bangkok in November 2019 where the duo of Verma and Vennam had upset Chinese Taipei to clinch a gold medal.
The compound team was forced to withdraw from the season-opening first stage of the World Cup in Guatemala after its coach's "false positive" report of COVID-19. News source PTI
India's Olympic-bound shooters eye strong show in International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup
Osijek (Croatia), Jun 23 India's Olympic-bound rifle and pistol shooters will take part in the International Shooting Sport Federation's (ISSF) final World Cup of this year beginning here from Thursday, their last competitive outing before the Tokyo Games.
The first day of competitions has four finals, basically all the individual 10m air events in rifle and pistol lined up, and will see as many as 11 from the ountry vying for the coveted ISSF World Cup medal.
India have fielded three participants in each of the four medal events on Thursday, barring the men's 10m air pistol, where they have two shooters in world numbers one and two, Abhishek Verma and Saurabh Chaudhary.
Deepak Kumar and world No. 2 Divyansh Singh Panwar will begin the day for in the men's 10m air rifle qualification round.
They will be joined by three positions (3P) exponent Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, allowing them to also compete for the men's team event.
That will be followed by the women's 10m air rifle qualifiers where Elavenil Valarivan, also currently world number one, will start alongside teammates Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil.
Rahi Sarnobat, Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Deswal will then feature in the women's 10m air pistol qualification.
Finally, Abhishek and Saurabh will compete in the men's 10m air pistol qualification round.
India will send 15 shooters to Tokyo Olympics which opens on July 23 and 13 of them have been training in Croatia for close to two months now.
The two skeet shooters for Tokyo Games, Mairaj Khan and Angad Bajwa, are training in Italy and have opted out of the World Cup on the advice of their coaches.
That leaves India without an entry in the shotgun category in the World Cup.
A total of 520 shooters from 47 countries have assembled here.
This will be their final international assignment before the Olympics.
The world's top shooters, including strong contingents from heavyweights like Russia, Germany, France, Italy, besides hosts Croatia, will be looking to fine-tune their skills before heading for the Tokyo Games.
Some top names to watch out for besides the Indian stars would be the likes of Olympic and world champion Anna Korakakki of Greece, reigning Olympic champion Christian Reitz of Germany, world number one in rifle Istvan Peni of Hungary, as well as shooting legends such as Rajmond Debevec of Slovenia.
India have of-late dominated the ISSF World Cups, particularly in rifle and pistol events and have finished on top of the medals tally in the previous New Delhi combined World Cup as well.
The Indian shooters are expected to come up with a rich haul of medals in the next nine days of competition. There are a total of 30 finals in the World Cup. News source PTI
Indian golfer Tvesa Malik to have long shot at Olympic berth at Czech Ladies Open
Beroun (Czech Republic), Jun 23 Indian golfer Tvesa Malik, who has been having a good run on the Ladies European Tour, will get one final chance to qualify for Tokyo Olympics when she tees up at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open this week.
Nothing less than a win will give her a chance to join Aditi Ashok in the Tokyo Olympics. Aditi is assured of a berth as she is 44th in the current list of qualifiers.
Tvesa, who has had two Top-10s in her last three starts, will also need some luck in the form of withdrawals from among the qualified players to get into the Top-60.
Tvesa, who opened the season with T-23 in South Africa, was T-10 in Italy and then T-6 at Jabra Ladies Open in France. She then missed the cut at Scandinavian Mixed.
Apart from Tvesa, the other Indians in the fray in the tournament are Diksha Dagar and Astha Madan.
The top stars in the field include Lee Ann Pace, Carly Booth, Annabel Dimmock, Pia Babnik, Felicity Johnson, Nuria Iturrioz, Sanna Nuutinen, Liz Young, Emily Pedersen, Becky Morgan, Camille Chevalier and Christine Wolf.
The world's top-15 players are eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a country. Beyond the top-15, players are eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top-15.
The host country is guaranteed a spot, as is each of the five continents. Only Korea and the United States, who have more than four players in the top-15 of the world, are allowed four players. News source: PTI
Mercedes-AMG driver Arjun Maini endures difficult DTM Championship debut
Monza (Italy), Jun 21 Mercedes-AMG driver Arjun Maini finished 14th in race one before a mechanical issue forced him to retire in race two on his debut at the DTM Championship here.
Maini, who became the first Indian to race in DTM over the weekend, faced a stern challenge from the championship's more experienced campaigners.
Racing for the GetSpeed team, Maini made steady progress over the course of the weekend with the Indian feeling more comfortable in his Mercedes AMG GT3 car as the sessions progressed.
The high point of Maini's weekend came in race two when he was locked in a battle with Mercedes stablemate Vincent Abril (who finished second in Race 1) before a mechanical failure ended his weekend prematurely.
"Today (Sunday) we were fighting for points before we had to retire with an ABS issue. We had a Good start and we were Three Cars Side by side between Turn 1 and 2 . I held on to my Position but a small contact at that point caused the final failure later on in the race.
"We had good pace in the second race and there was definitely significant progress made over the course of the weekend. Becoming the first Indian to race in the DTM for me personally was a very special moment," Maini said.
The second round of the DTM Championship will take place at the Lausitzring in Germany from July 23-24. News source PTI
Archery: India women's firm favourites to make Tokyo cut
Paris, Jun 19 On a high after winning a World Cup gold in the first stage, Indian women's recurve trio of Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari will start as firm favourites to grab the team's quota from the final Tokyo 2020 Qualifier here on Sunday.
Paris represents the final opportunity for India to upgrade their single women's quota place to team invitations in Japan as India would look to qualify a second and third recurve archers to join the Deepika who is all set for her third successive Olympics.
All they would have to achieve is finish among the top-three in a field of 28 teams which include heavyweights Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Mexico, which gave India a stiff challenge in the World Cup final in Guatemala City.
Less than two months after they lost the final in an intense shootoff in the first stage of the World Cup, the Mexican team of London Olympics silver medalist Aida Roman, Alejandra Valencia and Ana Vazquez will again stand in their way.
Of the 28 teams, four teams will be eliminated from the qualification round while the top-eight will directly make the quarterfinals as world number three Deepika along with southpaw Ankita and teenager Komalika would look to start well.
In their last attempt, Indian women's team had failed to qualify, losing to Belarus 2-6 at the World Championships in Den Bosch, the Netherlands two years ago, while the men's team had secured the first quota.
Since then India made a solitary change with Ankita making the cut to the team and it worked well as they won the World Cup first stage -- the women's team's first gold medal since Wroclaw-2014.
In the women's section, India so far have an individual quota secured from the Continental Qualification during the Bangkok Asian Championships in November 2019 as India number one Deepika is already bound for her third successive Olympics.
So the pressure will be evident for the less experienced duo of Ankita and Komalika.
"Of course we are under pressure," 19-year-old Komalika said after Friday's practice session.
Incidentally, at the same Stade Charléty, Deepika had clinched one of her four World Cup Final silver medals in 2013 and the former world number one is confident of a good show.
"Technically, we all are up there but all it takes is to shoot with a calm, uncluttered mind, without doubting your abilities," Deepika told PTI.
"A bit of pressure is good to bring out your best. We are confident of making it." So far, Belarus, China, Chinese Taipei, Great Britain, Germany, Korea, Russia, Ukraine and hosts Japan have already qualified for the Olympics slated from July 23.
Qualification round: 12.30pm IST. News source PTI
Ski Mountaineering set to be proposed as an additional sport to the official programme of Milano Cortina 2026
Ski Mountaineering will be proposed as an additional sport to the programme of the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, the International Olympic Committee said in a statement released on Friday. The IOC Executive Board has forwarded this proposal to the next IOC Session in July in Tokyo.
The Sport is governed by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) and the Organising Committee of the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 had officially proposed the inclusion of Ski Mountaineering as an additional sport to the programme of this particular edition of the Games.
The proposal to include Ski Mountaineering consists of 5 new medal events - two men’s events (Sprint/Individual), two women’s events (Sprint/Individual), one mixed-gender relay event along with 48 athlete quotas (24 men/24women) to be found within the overall framework of the 2,900 quota.
The same five Ski Mountaineering events had also contributed to the success of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020
The IOC Executive Board also highlighted some key features of ski mountaineering to support its potential inclusion.
These included the popularity of Ski Mountaineering in Italy, with deep historical and sporting roots across the alpine regions.Also, Ski Mountaineering has become a fast-growing winter sport among amateur/weekend practitioners with Europe being the continent where ski mountaineering has the biggest development. However, over recent years more and more participants, at both professional and amateur level, have been detected all over the globe.
The recommendation for the inclusion of ski mountaineering in the sport programme of Milano Cortina 2026 will be discussed and finalised at the IOC Session on 20-21 July 2021 in Tokyo. The determination of the full event programme and athlete quotas will be held at the IOC EB meeting in June 2022.
EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships medalists to receive $320,000 USD prize money
In the latest boxing news, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has set $320,000 as a prize fund for the medalists at the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships.
AIBA will award a sum of $8000 to the winners, $4000 to silver medalists and $2000 to the bronze medalists. The winnings are equal in all 10 weight categories amongst men and women. In a press release by AIBA, their president Umar Kremlev said, “We are taking care of our athletes’ well-being, therefore, it is crucial that we provide prize money for the medalists.”
“Boxers’ achievements should be recognized and valued. Personally for me, as a President, it is important to give opportunities to our athletes. Their hard work and dedication are outstanding and very respectable. I want to encourage them for further progress,” he concluded.
The EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships began on 17th June at Villaggio Lido d'Abruzzo, Italy with the finals being played on June 24th.
Grand opening ceremony begins the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships
In the latest boxing news, the opening ceremony of the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships was held in Roseto degli Abruzzi with Roseto Major Mr. Sabatino Di Girolamo and FPI Vice President Mr. Fabrizio Baldantoni greeting the participants and officials. The first fights are scheduled to begin on June 17th.
EUBC President Mr. Franco Falcinelli declared the tournament’s opening by saying, “'The EUBC U22 European Boxing Championship is a further testimony that our continent has shown great courage and a strong commitment that we will defeat the Covid-19 pandemic. There are 41 countries that have registered their boxers and we can expect a high number of participants: 211 men and 96 women,’ Mr. Falcinelli said.
‘From the 17th to 22nd of June boxing fans can follow the event on live streaming from the preliminary contests until the semi-finals while the finals will be broadcasted by the Italian National TV, RAI at the Palazzo dello Sport, Pala Maggetti of June 24,’ he mentioned.
‘In addition, the AIBA R&J 2 Star Course will take place during the Championship with many European candidates. They will be evaluated based on their performance during the Championship where they will act as Referees & Judges. I am sure that the European boxers, men and women, will be able to demonstrate their technical skills to ensure a bright future of the European boxing,’ Mr. Falcinelli concluded.
AIBA President Umar Kremlev greeted all the participants by saying, “I am confident that the participants will show their outstanding skills at the tournament in Italy. They are young but already elite fighters. I am glad to see them motivated to do their best. The fact that we have 41 countries participating makes me proud. This is a good sign that boxing is developed on the continent.”
The first fights of the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships are scheduled to begin on June 17th.
Here’s everything you need to know about UFC 263 and the blockbuster clash between Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori
UFC 263 is one of those non-missable cards put together by the promotion that includes superstars clashing against each other to settle a score and some fan favorites coming back to the octagon for an absolute war!
Let's have a look at the complete fight card below:
The banger of a main card starts in the light heavyweight (205 lbs) division where Scottish star Paul Craig takes on ‘Sweet Dreams’ Jamahal Hill. Followed by Jiu-Jitsu master Demian Maia who faces Chicago’s very own Belal Muhammad.
That’s brings us to the 3 marquee fights of the evening:
Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori
Let's start off with the welterweight (170 lbs) fight – Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards welcoming Nate Diaz back to the octagon after almost 19 months.
The contest is highly anticipated to be one of the best of the card and the UFC have bent the rules by making this the first non-title, non-main event 5 round fight. Originally slated at UFC 262, Diaz and Edwards were all guns blazing till Diaz pulled out due to an injury.
The pair was left intact to compete at UFC 263.
on an 8 fight win streak, Englishman Leon Edwards will look to come forward and dominate Diaz from the bell. Diaz on the other hand, gets better and dangerous in the later rounds. Putting Diaz away too, isn’t the easiest task and Leon will certainly have his hands full on this one.
Fan favorite Diaz has been getting big money fights lately and his fight with Jorge Masvidal for the BMF belt created a stir in the MMA world.
Stylistically, a brilliant match up. Leon is looking to rake up another win and climb towards the belt while Diaz is looking at a win to earn another money fight.
Crystal Ball Prediction: Leon Edwards gets his hand raised.
The co-main event is a grudge match in the Flyweight (125 lbs) division between champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Mexico’s Brandon Moreno is going to be stellar. The hyper vs the calm. The champ vs the challenger. There are so many ways to look at this contest.
Hard hitting Figueiredo has promised a quick finish but the Mexican cannot be put out easily, especially after what we saw in their first encounter.
Moreno stepped in on 18 days’ notice to fight for the title and put up a Fight of the Night performance versus an extremely pumped Figueiredo. The fight eventually ended in a draw and it was just about time the rematch would take place.
Both fighters have had full camps and are extremely confident of taking home the W.
Crystal Ball Prediction: Figueiredo gets his hand raised.
The main event of the evening is for the Middleweight (185 lbs) championship between the champion, Israel Adesanya and Italy’s own, Marvin Vettori.
The pair met earlier in 2018 at the same venue (Gila River Arena) where Israel Adesanya got a split decision victory over Vettori, a decision that Vettori still feels wasn’t fair. This time the Italian Dream looks to shut the critics and settle the score with his arch rival, Israel Adesanya.
From Adesanya’s point of view, a few top fighters saying ‘No’ has given the opportunity to Vettori. Adesanya also feels Vettori hasn’t fought a legit contender in order to get a title shot. But with Costa and Whittaker out of the picture for a few months, a hyped Vettori answered the call and rose up to the occasion.
Will the Italian Dream shock the world and become Italy’s first UFC champion? Or will Israel prove why he is the best Middleweight to walk planet earth?
Crystal Ball Prediction: Israel Adesanya gets his hand raised.
Make your predictions on the top 3 fights and get a chance to win some cool merchandise from Monster Energy.
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And you’re set!
To watch the live action, tune into Sony Ten this Sunday 13/June at 07:30 am and get a piece of adrenaline!
About the author
Somesh Kamra is a professional mixed martial artist specializing in Muay Thai. He has designed many effective training programs for Superhuman Gym and the Police Academy. His knowledge of hand to hand combat is unbeaten and has been a success story for many students. Somesh Kamra is educated from the University of Gold's Gym in the field of physical fitness that includes strength training, plyometrics & cardiovascular training for muscular conditioning.
He works closely with the UFC for India and serves as the panelist for the TV Show – The Ultimate Guide to UFC and Pit Stop on Sony Sports Network.
Somesh runs India’s first combat podcast – The Fighting G.O.A.T produced exclusively by the IVM Podcast Network.
I see myself on Olympic podium: Indian boxer Pooja Rani
New Delhi, Jun 9 A second successive Asian championship gold adding to her confidence, Olympic-bound Indian boxer Pooja Rani (75kg) on Wednesday said she can visualise herself winning a medal at the Tokyo Games next month.
Pooja defended her gold in the Asian Championships in Dubai a few days ago by beating Mavluda Movlonova of Uzbekistan in the final. That was her lone bout of the event as she got a bye and a walkover earlier.
"I will give my best in the Olympics and the rest is up to God. Of course, I see myself on the Olympic podium," Pooja said during a virtual interaction from Pune where she is currently training.
"I am happy with my preparations for the Olympics and this gold (in Asian Championships) has given me more hope and confidence." The 30-year-old from Bhiwani in Haryana said she expects tough competition from boxers of China, Wales, the Netherlands and Russia in the Olympics.
Five Indian women boxers have qualified for the Games, including six-time world champion M C Mary Kom.
"Four of us are going for a training stint in Italy on June 15. We will train there with sparring partners who will be Europeans. So, that will be good for me," she said.
"There are no more competitions before the Olympics, so foreign exposure with European sparring partners can be beneficial," she added.
She said she got her first jab of COVID-19 vaccine on June 2 and will get the second dose after returning from planned trip to Italy. The assignment is still being finalised right now by the national federation.
"I am supposed to get the second dose after 84 days under rules but I am hearing that all of India's Olympic contingent will get second dose before heading to Tokyo. Let's see," she said. New source PTI
Indian golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu slips to 29th as Armitage wins title and place in US Open
Hamburg, Jun 7 Indian golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu endured a forgettable final round at the Porsche European Open to finish tied 29 after being in the reckoning for a top-10 finish here.
Sandhu, hoping for his first top-10 in 20 months, did have five birdies but he also had three bogeys, a double bogey and a crippling triple bogey in his 4-over 75 and fell from overnight 2-under to 1-over for 54 holes.
The tournament had been reduced to three rounds.
Meanwhile, an emotional Marcus Armitage claimed his maiden European Tour title after a sensational final round at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
Armitage's win moved him into the top 30 in the Race to Dubai and earned him a spot at the US Open Championship.
England's Armitage, 33, made six birdies and an eagle to race to eight under for the day through 14 holes and was nine under for the week.
Armitage was four shots clear but he bogeyed the 16th after a misjudged putt from over 100 feet and needed a remarkable chip to save par on the 17th following an overly cautious tee shot. He carded 65.
Armitage then had to wait to see if anyone was going to catch up at his eight under total. Fellow Englishman Matthew Southgate did get to 7-under when he got to the 18th tee. He hit the drive into the water on the 18th and gave away a bogey and finished at 6-under.
After starting the final round four behind leaders Southgate and Maverick Antcliff, Armitage swiftly made ground with two birdies in his first three holes and never took his feet off the accelerator.
Southgate's closing bogey left him to share second on six under with Italy's Edoardo Molinari, Belgium's Thomas Detry and Dutchman Darius Van Driel. New source PTI
Indian golfer Tvesa Malik makes disappointing start in France
Evian-Les-Bains (France), Jun 3 Indian golfer Tvesa Malik made a disappointing start in the Jabra Ladies Open as she shot 4-over 75 in the first round on Thursday.
This week, the players started from the 15th and sixth, as those are the holes close to the clubhouse for them to come back and go around.
Tvesa, who had finished a creditable T-10 last week in Italy, teed off from the 15th and started with a bogey on Par-5 15th but quickly made up with a birdie on the Par-4 17th.
She dropped shots on second, fifth and seventh, but made amends with birdies on eighth and ninth. Three pars followed before she dropped another bogey on Par-4 13th and a double on Par-3 14th, which was her closing hole.
Defending champion Annabel Dimmock got to a superb start with a round of 4-under 67 and she led by a shot over German Olivia Cowan (68).
A big group of players, including last week’s winner amateur Lucie Malchirand and Ann-Lise Caudal of France besides Thai Atthaya Thitikul, Scot Kylie Henry and Slovenian Pia Babnik, finished at 2-under 69.
Three more players, who were yet to finish, were also at 2-under. New source PTI
Indian golfer Tvesa Malik ready to roll in France after fine Italian show on Ladies European Tour
Evian Les Bains, Jun 2 Coming fresh off a top 10 finish at last week's Italian Open, Indian golfer Tvesa Malik will be back on the tee again for the Jabra Ladies Open starting on Thursday.
Among other Indians, Astha Madan too will be in the fray but Diksha Dagar is not playing this week.
The 25-year-old Tvesa, who got off to a fine start in 2021 with a T-23 finish in Investec Women's South Africa Open and T-10 at the Italian Open, is lying 14th on the LET Order of Merit.
The finish in the Italian Open was Tvesa's third Top-10 in his career and for a while it looked like she was close to a breakthrough win as she rose into joint lead soon after the start of the third and final round.
Then the birdies dried up and let down by her putter she finished T-10, a fine finish but less than her own expectations.
Tvesa's best finish on the LET came in 2019 when she was T-6 at the Hero Women's Indian Open and she has Top-10s in France (ladies Lacoste Open in 2020) and now Italian Open.
Astha, who is playing as many events as she can get to gain experience and a foothold on the Ladies European Tour, will tee off with Hannah Burke and Florentyna Parker. They are off in the first group in the morning.
Tvesa plays with Spaniard Marta Martin and South Africa's Lejan Lewthwaite, who travelled with her from Italy to France and they tee off at 8.47 am.
The field includes amateur last week's winner and home heroine Lucie Malchirand, the 18-year-old, teeing up in only her third LET event.
All three former champions of the event – France's Isabelle Boineau (2017), Astrid Vayson de Pradenne (2018) and England's Annabel Dimmock (2019) are in the field for this year's event.
Other top stars include the 2016 Order of Merit winner Beth Allen alongside 2020 tournament winners Amy Boulden, Alice Hewson and last season's LET Rookie of the Year Stephanie Kyriacou.
She's joined by Christine Wolf, Meghan MacLaren, Marianne Skarpnord, Becky Morgan, Jenny Haglund and European Solheim Cup star Caroline Hedwall.
The 2017 and 2019 winner of Ladies European Thailand Championship, Atthaya Thitikul, is also in the field. New source PTI
Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma ends T-8 for first Top-10 in almost 18 months
Forso (Denmark), May 31 Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma registered his first top-10 finish on the European Tour in 18 months with his Tied eighth-place result at the Made in HimmerLand event here.
Sharma, a two-time European Tour winner, closed his final round with birdie-birdie for an aggregate of 4-under 68.
His last top-10 on the European Tour was in November 2019, when he was T-7 place at the Turkish Airlines Open. He had a similar result at the Italian Open a month before that.
Sharma's 68 in Denmark came with four birdies, including two in last two holes, after settling for pars in his first 10 holes on the final day.
With 10 places up for grabs for the US Open in June, Sharma needs to finish in Top-10 of a mini-series list to get one of the slots.
A top-5 in Porsche European Open could get him and that also propel him into contention for an Olympic berth.
Meanwhile, Austria's Bernd Wiesberger defended the title he won in 2019. He claimed his win in style as he led after every round.
He started the final day with a one-shot advantage and then dominated proceedings with eight birdies in a closing 64 to finish at 21-under and claim his eighth European Tour title.
Italy’s Guido Migliozzi shot a closing 63 to finish second on 16-under, with English pair Richard Bland and Jordan Smith sharing third with Australia's Jason Scrivener on 15 under.
Migliozzi's runner-up finish was his second in as many events after he also finished second to Bland at the Betfred British Masters and his third overall this season. New source PTI
Indian golfers Diksha joins Tvesa Malik in Italian Open on Ladies European Tour
Piedmont (Italy), May 26 India's Diksha Dagar and Astha Madan will make their first start of the year as they play the Ladies Italian Open this week at the Golf Club Margara here.
Diksha and Astha will join Tvesa Malik, who has already played at the opening event in South Africa last to last week. This is the second event of this season's LET schedule.
The last time the Ladies European Tour came to Italy seven years ago, none of the Indian trio had turned professional.
Tvesa had an encouraging start in South Africa as she finished tied 23rd, while Dagar is a past winner in South Africa. Astha, a regular on the domestic Indian circuit, is looking to make a mark in Europe.
It's been seven years since the Tour last came to Italy and all eyes will be on Piedmont to see who will come out on top.
Back in 2014, England's Florentyna Parker was crowned champion at Perugia Club when she clinched a one-shot victory. It was an albatross on the 14th hole in the final round which ensured Parker finished on seven-under-par for the tournament. It was her second victory on the LET as she edged out compatriot Holly Clyburn.
This year's tournament will be the 25th edition of the Ladies Italian Open, which first took place on the LET in 1987 when Laura Davies claimed victory and the English legend has claimed four wins in Italy through the years.
Some of the well-known stars in the field include Christine Wolf, Becky Morgan, Caroline Hedwall, Amy Boulden, Alice Hewson, Marianne Skarpnord, Camille Chevalier and Liz Young. New source PTI
Sharp shooters Elavenil, Saurabh put up strong show in European Championship
Osijek (Croatia), May 24 World number one in women's 10m air rifle, Elavenil Valarivan, and world number two in men's 10m air pistol, Saurabh Chaudhary, put up a strong show in the European Shooting Championship here on Monday.
As many as 10 members of the 13-strong Indian Olympic-bound rifle and pistol shooting squad got their first taste of competition during their ongoing training-cum-competition tour of Croatia.
Shooting in the MQS (Minimum Qualification Score) section, the sensational Chaudhary shot more than the tournament proper's topper in the men's 10m air pistol event.
World Cup and Asian Games gold medallist Chaudhary shot 589 to top the chart in his event's MQS, while compatriot Abhishek Verma was fourth with 579.
The Tokyo-bound Chaudhary was way ahead of Ukraine's Oleh Omelchuk, who topped the main qualification with 586.
Both Chaudhary, a Youth Olympic gold medallist, and his equally talented compatriot Verma, will be headed for Tokyo after their training-cum-competition stint in Croatia.
In the women's 10m air rifle, Elavenil shot 630.4 to finish on top ahead of Iranians Armina Sadeghian (629.8) and Fatemeh Karamzadeh (628.7). Elavenil's score would have seen her make the finals in second place, behind world number two and New Delhi World Cup gold medallist Ziva Dvorsak of Slovenia.
Apurvi Chandela was fourth with 627.8, while Anjum Moudgil was seventh with 624.7.
Dvorsak topped the main women's 10m air rifle qualification with 630.8 and she was followed by Norway's Jeanette Hegg Duestad (630.6) and Italian Sofia Ceccarello (630.2).
"Dusting off from Delhi WC score .. training in Hyderabad with @gagunnarang has been productive with a 630.4 .. in Euro Champs," Elavenil tweeted after her event.
In the women's 10m air pistol, world number one and two Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Manu Bhaker shot scores of 572 and 573 respectively. They have shot much better earlier and the pair would have missed Monday's final as well, given the 10th place in regulars logged 574.
It was a high-class field, nonetheless, with reigning Olympic and world champion Anna Korakaki shooting the same score as Bhaker to finish 13th and outside the finals spots.
The talented Divyansh Singh Panwar (628.10) was second in the men's 10m air rifle qualification. The other Indians -- Deepak Kumar (627.4) and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (625.0) -- were third and fifth, respectively, in the event.
China's Lihao Sheng finished ahead of Divyansh, with 630.5.
Russia's Vladimir Maslennikov topped the main qualification with 631.8, with 627.1 being the cut.
Sharing her thoughts on behalf of the squad, rifle coach Deepali Deshpande said, "This competition is the best possible start for our final preparations for Tokyo. Though this competition is non consequential in terms of medals, its a very good competition exposure for the team.
"Everyone looked good today. At the Delhi World Cup itself all except Apurvi looked ready technically. Today our focus was Apurvi and thankfully she is back on track. Even Deepak Kumar after COVID recovery and surgery, looks good. Some more training and they will be ready." Participating in the continental tournament as guest invitee, the Indians only shot in the MQS section, and hence, their scores were not considered for medals.
India's 13-member Olympic-bound squad arrived here from Croatian capital Zagreb on Saturday, which is the team's training base in the run-up to the Olympics.
The Indian shooters are taking part in the men's and women's individual Olympic events only.
A total of 15 Indian shooters have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.
Skeet shooters Mairaj Khan and Angad Bajwa, who have also qualified for the Games, are training in Italy. New source PTI
Everything you need to know about Extreme E's Ocean X Prix in Senegal
London: The innovative off road racing series Extreme E is all set to stage it's second X Prix , the Ocean X Prix this weekend (29-30 May) in Lac Rose, Dakar on the West African Senegalese coast.
Rosberg X Racing (RXR) emerged victorious in the debut X Prix last month in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, but with the top three ranked sides within seven points of each other, the Ocean X Prix guarantees to offer exciting motorsporting action in a location brimming with its heritage.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO or Extreme E said: “I am delighted to be back in Dakar, a place with a vast motorsport heritage, and I can’t wait to see our world-class line-up of drivers compete on this latest course we have devised. The Desert X Prix delivered some truly thrilling racing with a stunning backdrop and I’m sure Senegal will provide the same.
“But in Lac Rose we find an area suffering at the hands of the climate crisis, which is the true reason we are here. It doesn’t take long upon arrival to see one of the biggest issues, plastic pollution, which is affecting the local community and its marine life. Through our Legacy Programmes, we are supporting the local community to make change, and I can’t wait to see it for myself and help where I can.”
Nico Rosberg, RXR Founder said: “The team did an incredible job in Saudi Arabia to get the win and we’re very proud to be the first X Prix winners in Extreme E history, but we know we need to stay focused if we are to remain at the front. The series is already so competitive, but this team loves a challenge, and we can’t wait to go racing again in Senegal.”
Dakar, situated 37km from the capital, it's shores of Lac Rose was the host for the finish of the world’s most famous cross-country rally – the Paris-Dakar - on several occasions between 1979 and 2007. It will now serve as host to the Extreme E's second race, the Ocean X Prix this weekend.
Once again, nine teams and 18 drivers will be seen competing, but in a slight amendment to the Saudi Arabia race format, the Final will be a four-car contest, with two sides from each of the two Semi-Finals advancing to the summit race of the weekend.
Saturday 29 May
Qualifying, just like the Desert X Prix, will consist of 2 rounds of time trials. The starting order of the team will be decided by a draw for Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2. All races have two laps with the incorporated feature of driver ‘Switch’
Sunday 30 May
Three races are scheduled as follows:
The teams will be listed 1st to 9th place based on the total combined time of each team’s two Qualifying runs.
The top three teams go into the Semi-Final 1, where the top two finishers claim spots in the Ocean X Prix Final.
The middle three teams (4th, 5th, 6th) go through to Semi-Final 2, where again the top two progress to the Ocean X Prix Final.
The bottom three teams (7th, 8th and 9th) head to the Shoot Out.
Four cars will feature in The Ocean X Prix Final - The top two finishers from each Semi-Final.
Teams can also take advantage of a HyperDrive boost, which will be available to each driver on each lap of the race. They will enjoy an extra push of continuous power for a few seconds that will be activated after the driver presses a button on the steering wheel.
New in the Ocean X Prix is the ‘Super Sector’ – a section of the course where the fastest driver in that section over the weekend will bag five points for their side. This will ensure that whatever position the sides find themselves in there will always be an incentive to push to the limit to gain more points.
The teams and driver line-up will take charge of the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 – a 550 bhp all-electric SUV charged with zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell technology.
ABT CUPRA XE - #125 – Mattias Ekström / Claudia Hürtgen
ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team - #55 – Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz
Andretti United - #23 – Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings
Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing - #99 – Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price
XITE ENERGY RACING powered by myenergi - #42 – Oliver Bennett / Christine GZ
JBXE - #22 – Kevin Hansen / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky
Rosberg X Racing - #6 – Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor
Veloce Racing - #5 – Stéphane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick
X44 - #44 – Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez
For each race, teams can decide as to which driver goes first, and decisions are kept secret until the last minute.
Shakedown and qualifications will be aired via Extreme E’s official website – www.extreme-e.com and social channels (@extremeelive on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch).
The Finals will be aired in over 180 nations by 75 broadcasters including Fox Sports in the USA, ITV, Sky Sports, BBC and BT Sport in the UK, Teledeporte in Spain, Proseiben MAXX in Germany, Mediaset in Italy as well as Eurosport across most European Markets and SuperSport in Africa.
148 athletes, mostly Olympic-bound, across sports get COVID vaccine first dose, 17 fully vaccinated
New Delhi, May 22 As many as 148 athletes across all sports, including those who have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Games, have already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, according to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Out of these 148 athletes, 17 have got both the doses and 131 have received their first shot, IOA president Narinder Batra said.
These 148 include potential athletes who can make it to the Tokyo Olympics which is opening on July 23.
Besides this, 13 Tokyo Paralympic-bound athletes have got their first vaccine shot while two have received both doses. The Tokyo Paralympics opens on August 24.
The total number of athletes (including para-athletes), who have got at least their first dose till May 20, is 163.
Giving the 'vaccination status of Tokyo-bound Indian athletes and officials in the long list as on May 20', Batra said 87 officials have got single dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 23 are fully vaccinated.
More than 90 Indian athletes across sports have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics which was postponed from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Olympic-bound shooters who are currently training in Croatia will be vaccinated there as they are expected to directly fly to Tokyo from there, the NRAI has said.
Some of them have already got their first jabs in India before departing for Croatia and they will get their second dose in that country.
Fencer Bhavani Devi also got her first jab at her training base in Italy while weightlifter Mirabai Chanu is expected to get her shots in the United States. News source: PTI
Extreme E's inaugural X Prix draws world audience of 18.7 million
London: Extreme E’s debut X Prix – the Desert X Prix concluded in April at AlUla, Saudi Arabia, and the effect of the race has now been assessed with the broadcast bringing in a cumulative global viewers of 18.7 million, headlining the craze for this new sport for purpose.
The Championship has worked alongside YouGov Sport – global sports, sponsorship and entertainment research company -- to collect data and insight into the viewers of Extreme E’s inaugural event and the report has made for an exciting read.
Overall, the broadcast audience was 18.7 million covering nearly 900 million households in around 180 nations. There were 1,500 plus hours of broadcast coverage as China topped the table followed by Europe and Asia closely.
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme E said: “We’ve seen a phenomenal success for Extreme E’s first ever event. Our strategy of attracting strong free-to-air partners, and a digital first, always on approach, when combined with our exciting and innovative racing format and a sporting platform with pitted males and females racing equally together created a truly winning combination.
“The diverse nature of Extreme E meant there was plenty of action across the weekend, with some truly memorable performances, with our female driver line-up coming out as clear winners. These numbers demonstrate the massive appeal, not only of our racing format, but also our wider messages around the climate crisis, both of which featured heavily in our broadcast.
“As a sport without spectators on site, these figures are fantastic as they show our broadcast only model really does work to engage people on so many levels, whether that be through broadcast, social or press. We are looking forward to building on these statistics as we continue through Season 1 and bringing the messages of our series around environment, electrification and equality to as many people as possible.”
Frank Saez, Managing Director of YouGov Sport, said: “For a first-time event, these figures are incredibly promising and show that Extreme E has tapped into something that looks to have real potential for growth. When we watched the event, what leapt out immediately was the shareable content it would produce – and that’s exactly what the data has shown. A billion social impressions for an inaugural race tells us that Extreme E could be on to something very special here, especially with the strong broadcast partners they have.”
YouGov Sport also assessed online media articles as over 5,000 were published around the X Prix, totalling the readership of 1.6 billion, with the highest surge seen on the race day itself. The UK and USA were the top countries with regards to readership, with the USA and European nations featuring the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy with the most articles published.
There were over a billion impressions from a social media point of view with an impressive performance especially on TikTok and Facebook.
Extreme E is now fully focussed on delivering its second X Prix at Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal which will be held from 29-30 May. The action will be available in over 180 nations through more than 60 broadcasters including FoxSports in the USA and Asia, ITV, BBC, Sky Sports and BT Sport in the UK and Eurosport in Europe.
Indian shooters doing dry firing, will hit range on May 19
New Delhi, May 14 In quarantine till May 19, India's Olympic-bound shooters are keeping themselves busy with dry firing in their respective hotel rooms at Zagreb before they hit the range next week.
Accorded a warm welcome by the Croatian shooting fraternity, including world number three rifle shooter Peter Gorsa, the Indian team will take part as a guest invitee in the European Championship from May 20 to June 6 at Osijek.
After the continental event, the Indian shooters will compete in the ISSF World Cup, slated to be held in same city from June 22 to July 3.
"We are being taken care of very well here, including getting Indian food. We are in quarantine at the moment and the shooters are doing dry shooting in their rooms and working on keeping the mind and body healthy," a coach associated with the team said from Zagreb.
"The ammunition has been deposited in the range and we are scheduled to go to the range on May 19, after we have completed the one-week quarantine.
"The Croatian shooting federation is doing everything possible to make our stay pleasant. We also thank the NRAI for this and also Peter Gorsa, who has been really helpful all along," the coach added.
The 13 Olympic-bound Indian shooters, seven coaches, five physios and a two-member video crew landed in Zagreb in a chartered flight on Tuesday, after which they were received by the Croatian shooting federation with Gorsa going the extra mile to ensure that everything is in place for his guests.
Gorsa, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on his arrival in New Delhi for the ISSF World Cup in March, was looked after well by the National Rifle Association of India during his stay in India with NRAI president Raninder Singh even inviting him to stay at his residence.
The two and a half months training-cum-competition tour of Croatia is the Indian team's final tune-up to the upcoming Tokyo Games.
The two Olympics-bound skeet shooters -- Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad -- are currently based in Italy. News Source : PTI
How coach Paramjeet changed Seema's wrestling career
Farrukh Nagar (Haryana), May 12 Qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics was an unimaginable dream realised for Seema Bisla, who did not even think of winning a national title until she bumped into a "guru" who believed in her talent more than anyone else.
Disheartened and dejected at her repeated failures and lack of support from coaches, all Seema wanted was a job that would help her sustain in a tough sport. Competing at the Olympics never crossed her mind.
Daughter of a cancer-stricken farmer father, she did not want to be a burden on the family. With the help of Paramjeet Yadav she appeared in trails for a sports vacancy in the Indian Railways and landed a clerk's job in 2017.
Little did she know that a casual help taken from Paramjeet would change her life and goals forever. She expressed her desire to train under him after getting the job and shifted base to his academy, first in Gurugram and then in Farrukh Nagar. Now she is only the fourth Indian woman to have made the cut for the Tokyo Games. She won the 50kg quota last week at the World Qualifiers in Sofia.
"Main to kabhi ye bhi nahi socha tha ki National jeetungi (I did not even think of winning the national championship). Abhi bhi Vishwas nahi ho raha hai maine Olympic ke liye qualify kar liya hai (It has not sunk in yet)," Seema told PTI in an exclusive interview.
Someone who had not even won a national title till 2017, earning the right to compete at the biggest stage was even beyond dreams.
Paramjeet, himself a former wrestler, says that despite having fire in her belly, a decent technique and a big heart for fight, Seema did not have enough strength in her body.
"It's the body with which you make moves. Your mind only strategises but execution has to be done by the body. She had everything but not strength. Lack of proper diet was the reason behind it," Paramjeet said.
"She would just take milk and home made food. How she would have competed with stronger rivals. She came from a humble family, which could not afford the required, yet expensive, diet for this sport.
"Now that she had a job to support her, I suggested adding supplements, dry-fruits and multi-vitamins to her diet and her game started to change," he shared. Seema, 27, says it was the first time in her career that someone was taking interest in her game. She was dying to get some attention and guidance but got nothing when she trained at Chhotu Ram stadium in Rohtak.
"I wanted that coaches train me hard like they did with other girls but my sessions would not last more than few minutes. Most of my training was outside the mat. I would get irritated, lose focus easily but no one paid attention to me. I don't know why.
"You can't do anything if you do not have support of an able 'guru' (coach). And I found mine in Paramjeet sir. Diet is something which is basic but no one told me what I needed to do.
"The day when I had to take the mat for Olympic qualification in Sofia, sir called me that morning and said I just needed to execute what I do in practice and the quota is mine. He has so much confidence in my ability that it surprises me. And each time he has been proved right," she said.
The turning point came Seema wrestled with Divya Kakran in a Mat-Dangal in 2017 and despite being severely underweight (Seema was 55kg and Divya 70kg) and under-skilled, she forced her experienced rival to use all her might to prevail against her.
When Seema sent the clip of that bout to Paramjeet, she had something "strange" to hear from her coach. "Coach sir told me that I will win the nationals with ease. I did not believe him. I thought he has gone crazy. But I actually won the title in Indore with ease and we have not looked back after that," she said.
Paramjeet says what struck him about Seema in that bout was that she had no fear in her eyes. Divya was already an established name in Indian wrestling but Seema did not care for reputation.
Seema also revealed that she had almost given up when WFI held trials in February for Asian Qualifiers but Paramjeet lifted her spirit.
"I could have lost the first round when I injured my left foot. I was not able to move. But sir told me, no wrestler in this world is 100 per cent fit. He asked me apply ice pack and get ready." Where is she in terms of Olympic preparations? "She needs to work more on technique. If she can repeat her performance of Yasar Dogu (Istanbul) and Sassari (Italy), winning an Olympic medal is no big deal," said the 42-year-old coach.
Seema, who has five international medals, does not have a contract with the WFI and is without any sponsorship deal but would not mind one now so that her coach is by her side when she competes at the biggest stage. News Source : PTI
India's Olympic-bound shooting team leaves for training-cum-competition tour of Croatia
New Delhi, May 11 The Olympic-bound Indian shooting team on Tuesday left for Croatia for a two and a half months training-cum-competition tour, its final tune-up to the upcoming Tokyo Games.
With coaches and support staff in tow, a 13-member Indian shooting team took off for Croatian capital Zagreb, where it will undergo a training camp before leaving for Osijek to take part in the European Championships (May 20 to June 6) followed by the combined ISSF World Cup (June 22 to July 3).
"Team India takes off in 20 mins. Bon Voyage, Get the nose to the ground and work hard for your inevitable success team," Raninder Singh, president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) tweeted just before the team's departure.
The two Olympics bound skeet shooters Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan will be based in Italy.
The Indians, including Gurjoat Singh Khangura, took part in the ongoing shotgun World Cup in Lonato, where they could not make the final of the men's skeet event on Monday.
Former India shooter Suma Shirur, who is now the high-performance coach of the national rifle team, sought blessings before their departure.
"With a "Bharat Mata ki Jay" we get ready to depart for Croatia. From there straight to Tokyo2020 Olympics. 80 days in total. The Indian Shooting team needs your blessings to give their best," Shirur wrote on her Twitter handle.
The team left in a chartered flight arranged by the NRAI.
After the stint in Croatia, the team will directly leave for Tokyo to participate in the Olympics, beginning on July 23.
The ISSF World Cup in Osijek is being organised in place of the one earlier scheduled in Baku, Azerbaijan (from June 21 to July 2), which got cancelled due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in that country.
There will be nine coaches for the 13 rifle and pistol shooters but some coaches like Samaresh Jung, Jaspal Rana and Ronak Pandit could not travel with the team for various reasons.
Foreign rifle coach Oleg Mikhailov was also a part of the travelling contingent but longtime pistol coach Pavel Smirnov could not leave on Tuesday as he did not get his visa. He is likely to join the team next week.
As per the standard COVID-19 protocols in Croatia, the Indian contingent will serve a mandatory quarantine before starting the training. World Cup gold medallist Sanjeev Rajput and world number in 10m air pistol, Elavenil Valarivan, also issued pre-departure tweets from their respective handles, both hoping to lift the spirit of the coronavirus-ravaged nation with their achievements in the sporting arena.
"Long tour ahead, wish us luck. Hope we are able to win medals and raise spirits of the nation," Elavenil wrote.
Alongside a few pictures of the shooters, two-time Olympian Rajput tweeted, "Off to Croatia for our preparation leading up to Tokyo2020. Hopefully the next time we enter India is with a handful of Olympic Medals. Thank you for the support as always. Do keep blessing us with your wishes! Jai Hind." News Source : PTI
Three T20 WC European qualifiers cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
Dubai, May 7 Three T20 World Cup sub regional Europe Qualifiers, pathway tournaments to the 2022 men's showpiece event in Australia, have been cancelled due to COVID-19, the governing body ICC said on Friday. Finland was set to host their first ICC event with the Sub Regional Europe A and B qualifiers starting next month.
The Europe B Qualifier, involving the hosts, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Luxembourg and Sweden, was due to be hosted between June 30 and July 5.
The A qualifier was scheduled to start three days later with Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Israel, Italy, Malta, Norway, Spain all competing until July 13.
The Europe C qualifier which Belgium was due to host between July 5 and 10 involved Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Isle of Man, Portugal, Romania, Serbia.
"We have unfortunately had to cancel the three T20 World Cup Sub Regional Europe Qualifiers due to start next month as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said in a statement.
"...due to COVID-19 restrictions and the short timelines that the European season provides to allow us to progress with the next step in the pathway, there has been no other option than to cancel.
"I would like to thank Cricket Finland, the Belgium Cricket Federation and all participating Members for their collective support in coming to this decision." Italy, Germany, and Denmark will now qualify from the Europe sub regional qualifiers A, B and C respectively determined by their position in the ICC T20I Team Rankings as on April 30, 2020.
They will now join Jersey in the T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier scheduled to take place in Spain between October 15 and 21, 2021 with two qualifier spots up for grabs in the A or B global qualifiers.
Two other events in the 2022 T20 World Cup pathway have also been postponed.
The T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier, due to be hosted in Canada between July 17 and 23, involving the hosts, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Panama and the USA, has been postponed due to government and travel restrictions.
New dates and host country will be confirmed in due course.
The Asia B Qualifier, involving Bhutan, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Hong Kong and Thailand, due to be hosted in Malaysia between July 11 and 17, has also been postponed.
It is now scheduled to be played between November 9 and 15 in Malaysia. The decision was taken to postpone due to extensive quarantine requirements in Malaysia and for the visiting teams on their return to their respective countries.
In addition, the Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier hosted by Malaysia has new confirmed dates of November 22-28.
Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Myanmar, Nepal, Malaysia and the UAE are all set to compete, with the date change allowing Malaysia to host both events back-to-back. News source: PTI
COVID-19: FC Goa head coach, foreign contingent leave India ahead of final AFC Champions League game
Margao, Apr 29 Indian Super League side FC Goa on Thursday allowed its foreign staffers, including Spanish head coach Juan Ferrando and some footballers, to leave the country ahead of its last AFC Champions League match in view of the restrictions being imposed on flights from India globally.
As India grapples with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries, including Australia, Italy and Germany, have imposed travel bans on India.
The club said that it was a "pre-emptive measure in view of recent policies being taken by European and other countries in regards to travellers from India" "FC Goa would like to inform that the club's foreign contingent including the Head Coach and foreign staff have been advised to travel back home immediately," a club statement read.
"This comes as a pre-emptive measure in view of recent policies being taken by European and other countries in regards to travellers from India as the nation battles the second wave of COVID-19 which has engulfed the country," it added.
FC Goa, the first side from the country to feature in the continental club competition, are scheduled to play their last group match against Abu Dhabi-based club Al Wahda later on Thursday.
"While the AFC Champions League remains an important competition for FC Goa, the club management felt that the well being of the players to be its first and foremost responsibility. We will continue to ensure the same in the days to come." Apart from Spaniard Ferrando, the FC Goa set up includes the Spanish trio of Ivan Gonzalez, Edu Bedia and Jorge Ortiz and James Donachie of Australia.
FC Goa have so far drawn three games and have lost their two matches against Iranian giants Persepolis.
With three points from five matches, the ISL side is not in contention of a Round of 16 berth from the group.
The spike in cases has affected the the ongoing Indian Premier League as well with a few players, including off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Australians Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, pulling out of the tournament midway. News Source : PTI
Indian women bag seven gold medals at 2021 AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships
Indian women boxers notched up stunning performances as they scripted history at the 2021 AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships in Kielce, Poland by winning seven gold medals on Thursday.
All the women finalists --Gitika (48kg) Naorem Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg), Poonam (57kg), Vinka (60kg), Arundhati Choudhary (69kg), T Sanamacha Chanu (75kg) and Alfiya Pathan (+81kg)— recorded wins and finished their campaign on the top of the podium. Previously Indian women pugilists had clinched five gold medals at the 2017 Youth World Championships that took place in Guwahati. India women’s team also sealed their position at the top with the No.1 ranking in the ongoing Championship followed by Russia who won seven gold medals.
Asian Youth Champion Sanamacha, who trains at boxing legend MC Mary Kom’s academy in Imphal, contributed to the historic sixth gold for India when she defeated Kazakhstan’s Dana Diday 5-0 in the 75kg final. Later, Alfiya the Young boxing sensation hailing from Maharashtra secured the seventh gold for India as she upset her opponent, Moldova’s Daria Kozorez, the European Youth Champion 5-0 in the final.
“This has been an amazing effort from our youth boxers especially when the players had to be confined at home for most part of the last year and only make do with online training sessions. Our coaches and support staff did a stellar job despite the limitations and challenges. I congratulate all the winners on this unprecedented medal haul. This achievement is a testament of the talent we have in the upcoming generation of Indian boxing,” Boxing Federation of India President, Ajay Singh said while talking about the unprecedented medal haul by India at the AIBA Youth World Championships.
Earlier, Gitika spearheaded India's dominance and delivered a perfect start for the day. The Haryana pugilist , who walked into the final defeating two-time European Champion Italy’s Erika Prisciandaro, thrashed local girl Natalia Kuczewska 5-0 in the women’s 48kg final and earned the first gold medal for the country in the Championship.
The Asian Youth Champion Babyrojisana (51kg) and Poonam (57kg) carried on to Indian winning momentum as both of them registered identical 5-0 wins to add two more golds in the Indian tally. While Manipur boxer Babyrojisana looked in brilliant rhythm during her dominating victory against the European Junior Champion Russian Valeriia Linkova, Poonam too switched onto her aggressive mode right from the start and out performed her experienced competitor Sthelyne Grosy. The sharp and immaculate punches Poonam deprived her opponent from France to score any point before sealing a comfortable 5-0 win in the final contest.
Vinka (60kg) also produced a stellar performance as her power packed punches proved to be too strong for Kazakhstan boxer Zhuldyz Shayakhmetova. Referee had to stop the game and announce Indian as the winner. Rajasthan boxer Arundhati contributed with one more gold for India when she clinched a stunning 5-0 triumph against Polish boxer Barbara Marcinkowska in the 69kg final.
The 20-member Indian contingent had already scripted history by securing 11 medals at the current Championships moving ahead of their previous best of 10 medals in 2018 Championships. The only Indian men in the final, Sachin (56kg) will be competing on Friday. Earlier in the men’s category Bishwamitra Chongthom (49kg), Ankit Narwal (64kg) and Vishal Gupta (91kg) earned three bronze medals for India after finishing their campaign in the semis.
The 10-day biennial event, which featured men’s and women’s championship played simultaneously for the first time during the 2018 edition in Hungary, has been a testimony to high competition in presence of 414 boxers from 52 nations.
11 medals assured as 8 Indian boxers advance into the finals at AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Championships
Indian boxers put up a stellar performance at the AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships as 8 boxers, including 7 women and 1 male boxer cruised into the final on the eighth day at Kielce, Poland.
All the 7 Indian women boxers performed flawlessly as the boxers had triumphed in their bouts to sail into the finals and would aim to clinch the yellow metal.
In the first contest of the day, Gitika (48kg) gave the Indian contingent a flying start with a brilliant 5-0 win over Italy’s Erika Prisciandaro. She will face Poland’s Natalia Dominika in the final. In another fight, with a great show of speed and skill, 2019 Asian Youth Champion Babyrojisana Chanu (51 kg) defeated Italy’s Elen Ayari comfortably. The Manipuri boxer fought intensely throughout the fight and bagged a unanimous 5-0 verdict in her favour. She will take on Russia’s Valeria Linkova in the finals on Thursday.
Poonam (57kg) carried on to her unbeaten International record as she thrashed Uzbekistan’s Sitora Turdibekova 5-0 with a solid performance to stage the final clash against France’s Sthelyne Grosy.
Vinka (60kg) displayed an equally brilliant performance to ensure a 4-1 victory on Veronika Gajdova of The Czech Republic. She will take on Kazakhstan’s Zhuldyz Shayakhmetova in the summit clash. Rajasthan’s Arundhati Choudhary (69kg) also outperformed her competitor from Uzbekistan Khadichabonu Abdullaeva to record a resounding 5-0 win in the semi finals. She will lock horns with Poland’s Barbara Marcinkowska in the finals.
Sanamcha Chanu faced some initial resistance from local girl Daria Parada but after understanding her opponent’s strategy, Chanu bounced back strongly in the last two rounds to win the contest with a split verdict (4-1), in the 75 kg middleweight semi final game. She will challenge Kazakhstan’s Dana Diya in the gold medal bout.
Another star boxer, Alfiya Pathan (81kg) endured some tough competition from Poland’s Oliwia Toborek as she couldn’t find the momentum in the starting round. In the second round, she launched an all-out attack and continued in the next round too and in the process, recorded more punches than her competitor to sustain in a 3-2 split verdict in a busy and intense contest.
Alfiya will take on Moldova’s Daria Kozorev in the summit clash.
Sachin (56kg) was the only Indian Boxer in the men's category to cruise into the finals as he conveniently triumphs 2018 European Junior Champion Michele Baldassi of Italy 5-0 to fix summit game with Kazakhstan’s Yerbolat Sabyr.
Other male Indian boxers, Bishwamitra Chongthom (49kg), Ankit Narwal (64kg) and Vishal Gupta (91kg) failed to progress further as they lost their semi-final fights and finished with bronze medals.
Overall, Indian Youth Boxing Team has scripted history by securing 11 medals. The former best was 10 medals that the Indian contingent clinched at the 2018 World Youth Championships held in Hungary.
All the women pugilists will play their final bouts on Thursday while Sachin will contest the final on Friday.
AIBA Youth Men’s and Women’s World Boxing Championships: Medal Tally after quarter-finals
According to a press release by AIBA, a total of 80 boxers from 23 countries remained in actions at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships and bagged medals in Kielce:
– India, Russia: 11 medals
– Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan: 10 medals
– Poland: 8 medals
– Ukraine: 6 medals
– Cuba, Italy: 3 medals
– Bulgaria, Mongolia, Thailand: 2 medals
– Armenia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Turkey: 1 medal
Medalist countries in the women’s event:
– India, Poland: 7 medals
– Uzbekistan: 6 medals
– Kazakhstan: 5 medals
– Russia: 4 medals
– Italy, Thailand: 2 medals
– Czech Republic, France, Latvia, Moldova, Mongolia, Turkey, Ukraine: 1 medal
Medallist countries in the men’s event:
– Russia: 7 medals
– Kazakhstan, Ukraine: 5 medals
– India, Uzbekistan: 4 medals
– Cuba: 3 medals
– Bulgaria: 2 medals
– Armenia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland: 1 medal
Medals by Confederations at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships:
– Europe (EUBC): 39 medals
– Asia (ASBC): 37 medals
– America (AMBC): 4 medals
Milano Cortina 2026 presents significant progress at the IOC Coordination Commission meeting
As per a press release by International Olympic Committee (IOC), The second IOC Coordination Commission held a virtual meeting with Milano Cortina 2026 on Monday, 19 April 2021.
In spite of the ongoing difficulties pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee could showcase the significant progress it made since the last Coordination Commission meeting in September 2020.
Speaking after the meeting, Commission Chair Sari Essayah said, “Since our last meeting in September 2020, the Milano Cortina 2026 Organising Committee has made great progress despite the ongoing pandemic. The most visible highlight was the selection process for the new Milano Cortina 2026 emblem, which saw over 871,000 votes cast. Futura, the winning emblem, will become one of the most recognisable symbols in Italy over the next five years. I am confident that it will also be one of the most loved.”
She continued, “It is not just in the high-profile areas like the official emblem that Milano Cortina has progressed but also behind the scenes, with a lot of groundwork being laid in areas like engagement, marketing, operations and venue planning. This hard work has allowed the Milano Cortina organisers to set themselves up to deliver superb Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2026. I congratulate the whole Italian team for their efforts despite the challenging circumstances.”
Milano Cortina 2026 Presidente Giovanni Malagò commented, “I am very pleased with the positive view expressed by the IOC Coordination Commission about Milano Cortina 2026. I would like to thank Chair Sari Essayah and all the members of the Commission for their judgement. My appreciation also goes to the Milano Cortina 2026 team who, in these difficult months of the pandemic, carried on their work with great enthusiasm. Let’s continue on this path: many challenges await us, but I am sure that we will be ready for them with the professionalism that we are known for by everyone.”
The successful emblem selection procedure featured over 871,000 votes cast from 169 countries around the globe. Around 75% of entries selected “Futura” as their favourite. This was a major engagement activity for Milano Cortina this year, as is just the start of its engagement plans for the nation and beyond.
Milano Cortina 2026 demonstrated to the Commission an exciting outline of its engagement strategy that will be followed in near future that will engage all generations with a view to promote the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 along with spreading the Olympic and Paralympic values. It will also be a crucial component when Milano Cortina’s commercial programme gets underway in the near future.
The observation programme held by the Milano Cortina team enabled the Italian organisers not only to visualise what the elite event would look like in 2026 but also to understand the abilities of the local organisers.
Discussions regarding the Venues were also held during the meeting, and a consortium has been picked to craft the blueprint for the Milan Olympic Village.
Concerning Cortina d'Ampezzo sliding track and the endeavours of the Working Group formed by the IOC Executive Board to look after this subject, the Coordination Commission yet again pointed out its concerns regarding the legacy of the track. It was stated that the IOC had several proposals for alternative tracks but none of them were accepted.
Besides, the Commission also noted that the final plans for the venue will not be an investment in a sliding track for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter events but form a part of a broader entertainment park project, that has no relation to the Games.
It has been confirmed to the IOC and the Organising Committee that this will not be a part of the investment budget for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Milano Cortina 2026. The track will thus be only used out to the Organising Committee during the course of the Games.
Discussions on the Speed Skating Oval, which was also underlined by the IOC’s Evaluation Commission in its pre-election report, are continuing.
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AIBA announces the start of the establishment of Continental European Boxing Academy
According to a press release by AIBA, the official agreement on the establishment of the Continental European Boxing Academy was signed on Wednesday. AIBA President Umar Kremlev visited the city of Assisi to meet the head of the city and region and the leaders of the Italian Boxing Federation along with giving an official start to the foundation of the academy.
Assisi has been serving as the historical center of European boxing as many notable Italian boxers started their career from here. And now the region will host the first European academy.
European Boxing Confederation (EUBC) came up with the initiative of establishing the AIBA European Boxing Academy and AIBA decided to uphold the initiative. The Academy will also have educational programs for boxers and coaches.
Stefania Proietti, the Mayor of Assisi, highlighted the close connection between boxing and the city of Assisi, where the national Italian training center is placed during the official meeting.
‘The foundation of the Academy is an important event for our city. In the post-pandemic world, it will attract more and more sports fans and athletes. We are grateful to AIBA and the Italian Boxing Federation for this project,’ Proietti said.
Franco Falcinelli, President of EUBC expressed gratitude to AIBA and personally Umar Kremlev for supporting the foundation of the academy.
‘Creation of the academy in Assisi is an essential part of AIBA and boxing in general renewal. AIBA President is a leader who believes in the bright future of our sport. He came today to implement his obligation given during his election campaign. Assisi was chosen because our city always paid special attention to preparation for the Olympics and other international events. The priority task for sports managers is to fulfill dreams and expectations of boxers who represent their nation at competitions’, Mr. Franco Falcinelli said.
Kremlev said that the task is “the massive development of boxing in every country”.
‘Here in Italy the boxing culture has been preserved, I am glad that this is the place where the boxing academy will be built. Everyone will come and see the boxing culture. We create the academy for our athletes and coaches. We must think about the future today. I am grateful to all my colleagues, the Italian Boxing Federation, the government of the city and everyone involved in the process. Thank you for your work, for your ideas. Today we are launching the academy. Congratulations to everyone!’ Umar Kremlev claimed.
Domenico Ignozza, the President of the Olympic Committee of the Umbria region underlined the significance of the academy for the development of European boxing and also expressed gratitude to all the participants.
President of the Italian Boxing Federation also stressed on the social part of the foundation which is to engage young people into sport and healthy life.
All the results, highlights and analysis from UFC Vegas 23
What an exciting main card it was for UFC Fight Night – Vettori vs Holland also known as Vegas 23. We had a week off after UFC 260 only to be welcomed back with yet another exciting fight card by the UFC. It was the 30th event at the APEX Centre Las Vegas only to be behind the iconic MGM Grand to host the most live UFC events (43).
Let’s have a look at what went down at UFC Vegas 23 with the results stated below:
I had 66% accuracy on my predictions this time around. Mike Perry didn’t do as expected and fell short to Daniel Rodriguez’s strategy.
Rodriguez camped at the BMF Ranch with Donald Cerrone at his native Albuquerque, New Mexico and the difference was evident from his previous fight versus Nicolas Dalby. Rodriguez started off with a few leg kicks and immediately got his range figured within the first minute of the fight. Perry was finding it difficult to find his range and the few haymakers he threw were way off target. Rodriguez used his jab perfectly and timed the cross to perfection. So much so it broke Perry’s nose in Round 2. Even though Perry landed a body lock takedown in Round 2, the offense by Rodriguez was too much and the judges had it in favour of Rodriguez.
Round 3 started off badly for Perry as he looked visibly damaged coming out of his corner. It started no differently where Perry was the aggressor and made some wild swings only to miss Rodriguez completely. Rodriguez by now has read Perry perfectly and is cracking him with his one-two’s easily. Perry is slowly fading away but his heart isn’t giving up. Perry lands a few solid leg kicks only to be countered beautifully with a Rodriguez combination. Rodriguez does try a take down to fluster Perry and quickly pushes him towards the fence.At the end of round 3, there was no surprise that Daniel ‘D-Rod’ Rodriguez showed his true potential in a full camp.
Mackenzie Dern proved to be a handful for Nina Ansaroff now Nunes as she dismantled her clean in Round 1 itself. The fight was slated to be the return of rank 5 Nina Nunes versus the ranked 11 Mackenzie Dern. It was a classic striker versus grappler contest till the bell went off. Nina was returning to the octagon after 2 years and wanted to carry on the momentum of her life partner Amanda Nunes. As the bell went off Dern was aggressive to take the centre and land some immediate strikes that caught Nina off guard. Dern, known to be a BJJ specialist, has been camping with veteran striking and MMA coach Jason Parillo and the striking technique of Dern is immediately seen as a massive improvement. Dern throws a leg kick followed by a punch and immediately goes for the takedown that she secures very easily. Dern continues to ground n pound Nina and sets up the arm bar. Even though Nina is tough and holds on to it pretty tight, she’s dealing with a world class black belt BJJ fighter. Dern doesn’t rush in but strategically isolates Nina’s arm for a perfect arm bar. Dern ended this with 12 seconds to go in the very first round skyrocketing her in the women's strawweight rankings. A Performance of the Night bonus for Dern for that slick arm bar.
And now… to the main event of the evening – Italy’s own Marvin Vettori taking on Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland.
For those of you who didn’t know, Kevin Holland accepted this fight on 9 days’ notice as the original opponent Darren Till was forced out due to a broken collar bone. Holland was coming off a gruelling 5 round battle with Derek Brunson not even a month back making him the tied for the fastest turnaround between two consecutive main events. Surely seems like a companys man!
The brash talking happy Holland went back to his old ways of being serious and grim before the fight as he knew he was stepping up to a betting favorite and if he had to pull this one off, he would need to give it his 100%. Vettori on the other hand was taking a lesser experienced opponent to save the main event. Another company's man in my eyes. The back and forth war between the two warriors was gruelling to watch. Holland went 10 rounds in a span of three weeks over two main events but unfortunately didn’t secure a victory in either. Vettori had the perfect strategy of taking advantage of Holland’s weakness (ie: the takedowns) and showed a gaping loophole in Holland’s game. Whilst Holland landed more significant strikes (37) compared to Vettori’s 24, it was the 11 takedowns that gave a clear unanimous decision to Italy’s own Marvin Vettori.
Camping at Kings MMA with Rafael Cordeiro and training partners like Kelvin Gastelum has clearly worked for Vettori as he looks to make his way to the top and have a rematch against the champion Israel Adesanya. Standing in Vettori’s way is obviously, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker that takes on Vettori’s team mate Kelvin Gastelum in the coming Fight Night with Paulo Costa hanging in the wings somewhere.
It's an exciting time to be a fan of the sport and the UFC.
Tune in to more of the UFC action only on SPOGO News and do not forget to tune into my latest podcast – The Fighting G.O.A.T available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts via the IVM Podcast Network.
About the author
Somesh Kamra is a professional mixed martial artist specializing in Muay Thai. He has designed many effective training programs for Superhuman Gym and the Police Academy. His knowledge of hand to hand combat is unbeaten and has been a success story for many students. Somesh Kamra is educated from the University of Gold's Gym in the field of physical fitness that includes strength training, plyometrics & cardiovascular training for muscular conditioning. He works closely with the UFC for India and serves as the panelist for the TV Show – The Ultimate Guide to UFC and Pit Stop on Sony Sports Network.
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Mary Kom, Amit Panghal among 12 in quarters of Spanish boxing tourney as draws unveiled
New Delhi, Mar 2 (PTI) Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom and Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal are among 12 Indian boxers who stand just a win away from securing medals at the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain after finding themselves in quarterfinals when draws for the event were unveiled.
The tournament features all of India's nine Tokyo Olympics-bound boxers along with five others.
Mary Kom (51kg), competing for the first time since qualifying for the Olympics last year, will take on Italian Giordana Sorrentino in her opening bout on Wednesday.
Panghal (52kg), who won a gold medal at the Cologne World Cup in Germany in December last year, will be facing local favourite Gabriel Escobar in his quarterfinal clash after getting an opening-round bye.
Vikas Krishan (69kg), another strong medal contender for Tokyo, is also in the quarters after getting a bye and will take on Vincenzo Mangiacapre of Italy.
Also through to quarters due to the relatively small size of the draw were Asian silver-medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg), and Sumit Sangwan (81kg), who is returning to competition after enduring a period of turmoil due to a doping suspension that was later lifted after he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Of the two, Ashish is bound for Tokyo along with Satish Kumar (+91kg), the first super heavyweight from the country to qualify for the quadrennial showpiece. Satish is also in quarters at this tournament.
Joining them in the last-eight stage is Sanjeet (91kg), a promising name coming up who found spotlight with his India Open gold in 2019.
Among the women, Jasmine and Manisha, in the 57kg category, are also through to the quarters after getting byes.
The Olympic-bound trio of Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) will also be competing in the quarterfinal stage on Wednesday.
Manish Kaushik (63kg), assured of a Tokyo spot and making a comeback after an injury layoff, did not get a bye and will fight Spaniard Abdellaoui Raddouane for a place in the quarters on Tuesday.
Also in action would be Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg), who will be up against another local hope in Joan Manuel Torres.