AIBA reforms push to secure boxing's Olympic future: polls in 2022, liaison officer to work with IOC
Lausanne, Nov 27 (Boxing news) Desperate to save boxing's future as an Olympic sport, the suspended International Boxing Association (AIBA) has accepted crucial governance reforms suggested by an independent group, including holding elections by June next year, elevating the Secretary General's role and appointing a liaison officer to handle its troubled equation with the IOC.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which suspended AIBA in 2019 and conducted the Tokyo Olympics boxing event through a task force, has reiterated "that serious concerns about AIBA's governance, finances and refereeing and judging remain" and the future of boxing in the 2024 Paris Games is not secure.
The AIBA has responded by stating that it would do all that the IOC demands of it.
"...the Board of Directors is recommending to the Congress that elections shall be conducted no later than 30 June 2022," the AIBA stated.
"As an option, these elections may take place during the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul, that were rescheduled to May 2022, however, the exact date to be determined by the Board on 31 December 2021 at the latest," it added.
The decision to implement the reforms came ahead of the AIBA Extraordinary Congress on December 12 at a meeting of its Board of Directors.
The Board unanimously approved the recommendations and constitutional amendments in a report by independent Governance Reform Group (GRG), led by Professor Ulrich Haas.
"Throughout the last year, AIBA has made continued progress in terms of sporting and financial integrity as well as good governance. Professor Haas and his team of independent legal experts have pointed us in the right direction, so that we can achieve a level of governance that is best practice for international federations," said AIBA President Umar Kremlev.
"I also urge all AIBA Member Federations to study the recommended changes and make a decision with the best interests of the future for our sport and our athletes in mind. Boxing should always come first," he added.
The enhancement of Secretary General's role would include assigning the responsible person the tasks of a CEO.
"...a person who not only administrates, but leads and manages AIBA's affairs," and to be overseen by the President.
"...the Secretary General should be, in principle, the sole legal representative of AIBA," the recommendation stated.
Among other proposed reforms, the independent GRG has recommended reducing the number of AIBA Board of Directors, and the world body has responded by agreeing to limit the size of the Board to 18.
Comprehensive eligibility checks will be in place to "ensure the best possible leadership team." The developments are in addition to the establishment of an independent Boxing Integrity Unit which will be empowered to address competition manipulation, abuse, harassment, eligibility checks of election candidates and other issues.
The GRG also proposed establishing a new interdisciplinary Strategy Committee to review AIBA's long-term strategy, develop mid-term and short-term goals.
"The proposed constitutional amendments aim to significantly improve AIBA's governance with focus on integrity, democracy, checks and balances," said Professor Haas.
"While they are yet to be approved by the Congress, this decision by the AIBA Board of Directors to adopt the measures proposed by our group can certainly serve as a basis for real and positive change," he added.
Also Read : AIBA President Umar Kremlev pledges to support grassroot development of boxing in Nepal
News Source : PTI
Premier League: Chelsea to face Man Utd at Stamford Bridge while Arsenal, Liverpool and City expected to secure three points
(Football news) The Premier League weekend is on the horizon with the blockbuster fixture of the week being the one between league leaders Chelsea and eighth place Manchester United. While their positions in the table might suggest otherwise, it’s the rivalry that makes this clash one to watch out for as Thomas Tuchel’s side have won nine of their last 12 league games and a win against Manchester United will at least maintain the three point gap over Manchester City.
The Blues will be without N’Golo Kante and Ben Chilwell who were substituted in the midweek clash against Chelsea due to knee injuries while Mateo Kovacic is also ruled out due to a thigh injury. Romelu Lukaku is expected to start against his former side but Kai Havertz remains a doubt after picking up a thigh injury against Leicester City last week.
Caretaker manager Michael Carrick will be hoping Man United can avoid a defeat at Stamford Bridge with a draw being an acceptable result under the current circumstances. The Red Devils sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week after a humiliating 4-1 defeat by Watford at Vicarage Road but are now boosted by the return of Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw. Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba remain sidelined due to injury while Mason Greenwood will be unavailable for selection after testing positive for COVID-19 and Harry Maguire is suspended for the clash.
At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal will face relegation-threatened Newcastle United in the first Premier League match of the weekend. The Gunners were defeated 4-0 by Liverpool last weekend and will look to get back to winning ways, especially considering West Ham, who are currently three points ahead, will be facing Manchester City. The hosts don’t have any fresh injury concerns, the likes of Granit Xhaka and Saed Kolasinac remain sidelined due to injuries. Kieran Tierney is expected to replace Nuno Tavares after his poor performance at Anfield and Albert Sambi Lokonga is expected to retain his midfield spot despite pressure from Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
For Newcastle, Fabian Schar picked up a hamstring strain against Brentford and will be unavailable for selection, Emil Krafth is expected to feature in the defensive line-up. Joe Willock is a strong possibility to start against his former club despite his goal scoring drought as well as Isaac Hayden and Martin Dubravka. Most importantly, it will be interesting to see if Newcastle’s new manager Eddie Howe is cleared to appear on the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19 soon after taking charge of the club.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Southampton this weekend hoping to secure three points and apply pressure on league leaders Chelsea and 2nd place Manchester City. The Reds have scored at least two goals in their last 16 matches across all competitions and are yet to suffer defeat at Anfield. To make matters worse, Southampton have the worst Premier League away record this year but managed to defeat Liverpool 1-0 at the St. Mary’s Stadium last term. Naby Keita is expected to be available for Liverpool this weekend but Roberto Firmino, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Joe Gomez remain sidelined.
For Southampton, Nathan Redmond is available for selection after missing last weekend’s clash against Norwich due to the birth of his child while Stuart Armstrong and Moussa Djenepo remain doubtful. Jack Stephens is still recuperating from a knee injury and will remain unavailable while Ibrahima Diallo is expected to be on the bench after Redmond’s return. Anything less than three points for Liverpool would be considered a disappointment in this fixture.
Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City face a tough test at the Etihad Stadium as they welcome fourth place West Ham this weekend. Pep Guardiola’s team will aim to make it five straight wins but will face a vengeful West Ham side who lost to Wolves last weekend. City will be without Kevin De Bruyne after the Belgian tested positive for COVID-19 while Jack Grealish and Phil Foden remain doubtful for the match. Ferran Torres is a long term absentee for Pep Guardiola’s side as the Spaniard is currently recovering from a fractured metatarsal.
West Ham have already defeated Man City in the EFL Cup this season but will need a special performance to come away with three points at the Etihad Stadium. The Hammers will be without Angelo Ogbonna who requires a knee surgery which means Craig Dawson is expected to partner alongside Kurt Zouma for the foreseeable future. The hosts are favourites to secure a win against West Ham but a draw is not out of the realm of possibility for David Moyes’ team.
Tamim out of New Zealand tour with thumb injury
Dhaka, Nov 23 (Cricket news) Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal will miss the upcoming tour of New Zealand due to a thumb injury sustained during the Everest Premier League in Nepal.
According to a report in cricbuzz.com, Tamim has been advised one month's rest after he consulted a physician in England on Monday.
"He (Tamim) met the physician and they have advised him to take one-month rest though he won't require any surgery," Bangladesh Cricket Board's chief physician Debashish Chowdhury said.
"In that case, he's missing the New Zealand tour." Bangladesh will play two Tests in New Zealand as part of the teams' new World Test Championship cycle.
The opening Test will be held at the Bay Oval in Tauranga from January 1-5, followed by the second fixture at Christchurch starting on January 9.
Also Read : Two-year T20 World Cup cycle important for growth of cricket: ICC
News Source : PTI
AIBA President Umar Kremlev pledges to support grassroot development of boxing in Nepal
(Boxing news) Umar Kremlev, AIBA’s President has made an official visit to Kāthmāndau, Nepal and has held several meetings with government officials such as resident Ms. Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Minister of Sports and Youth Mr. Maheshor Jung Gahatraj and Prime Minister Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba as part of AIBA Financial Support Program (FSP) for supporting developing countries.
“Everyone who gathered here today, is committed to developing our sport. We aim to see more and more champions appear, more competitions emerge,” Mr. Kremlev said. “I want to express sincere gratitude to the government of the country, the Ministry of Sport, the Nepal Boxing Federation for their support in developing sport for young people actively all across the country.”
So far, AIBA has helped boxers from 18 countries participate in the 2021 Men’s World Boxing Championships which took place in Belgrade from October to November. Mr. Kremlev assured that a tight collaboration will be implemented between AIBA and Nepal with joint training camps, exchanging experience between coaches and judges, and ensuring an additional qualification programme for Nepali sports officials. The possibility of hosting the Asian Championships in Nepal was also discussed at a venue that can seat 20,000 spectators.
“Here in Nepal, we are developing sports for health and various activities, which unfortunately due to the pandemic are not now at full speed. We are thankful to the AIBA President for coming and contributing to the development of boxing all around the globe and in our country in particular. Nepal has great natural opportunities for training camps to be arranged at the highest point of the earth,” Minister of Sports and Youth Mr. Maheshor Jung Gahatraj stressed.
“I am glad to see how the AIBA President is developing boxing. Boxing is the most popular sport in Nepal and it would be great if AIBA could provide assistance for educational programs in schools and institutes. I am sure that we will be successful in our cooperation. From our side we will provide full support to the Nepal National Federation,” Prime Minister Deuba concluded.
The AIBA President also visited “Late Prakasha Dahal Memorial'' and the 2nd National Men’s and Women’s Boxing Championships which is set to take place from 15th to 19th November to personally greet fans and gift sports equipment. Mr. Kremlev also met up with President of Nepal Ms. Bidhya Devi Bhandari to discuss gender equality in sports and the development of boxing in the country.
“I want to express big gratitude for taking care of the development of sports and personal involvement of the Head of Nepal. From the AIBA side we fully understand the importance of the gender equity question and work at this issue very actively to create equal conditions for men and women in boxing. For example, we created the same level of prize money for Men’s and Women’s Championships,” Mr. Kremlev said.
“Boxing is one of the most popular sports in Nepal. From our side we will provide all kinds of support for the development of sports in the country and to work more closely with Nepal Boxing Federation. We really appreciate the ideas to implement special boxing programs to schools and institutes, to create training camps in the mountains and to hold significant Asian tournaments here,” President Bhandari stated.
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.
Yadav best among Indians, pips mentor Verma to take third place in ranking round
Dhaka, Nov 14 (Archery news) Upcoming compound archer Rishabh Yadav pipped his mentor Abhishek Verma for the third spot in the ranking round and hogged the limelight in the Asian Championships that got underway at Bangladesh Army Stadium in Banani here on Sunday.
Overall, the Indian archers took the second place in the team and mixed events of recurve and compound sections, as heavyweights Korea dominated the qualifications on expected lines.
Making his Asian Championships debut, the 19-year-old Yadav, who shot to prominence by bagging a bronze at the Youth World Championships earlier this year, scored 708 points to pip Verma by one point.
A product of SAI Centre of Excellence in Sonepat, Yadav, who is being coached by Verma since 2012, was lying second at the halfway mark with 356 points, three behind the eventual topper Choi Yonghee of Korea.
But Yadav slipped to third place in the final six ends with Kim Jongho joining his Korean teammate to seal the top-two places, while Yadav and Verma took the third and fourth spots.
"He's been consistent this year and today I lost to him! It's good to see our young archers doing well ahead of next year's Asian Games," the former Asian Games champion Verma told PTI.
Verma has been coaching Yadav at the Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi since 2012 before he was picked by SAI NCOE.
World Championships silver medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam stood fourth with 701 points as the Koreans took the top three places in the women's compound section.
Cadet archers Parneet Kaur, Priya Gurjar also impressed for the Indians, taking the fifth and sixth places, while Muskan Kirar had to settle for the seventh spot.
In the recurve section, Kapil (675) outshone Tokyo Olympic-returned Pravin Jadhav (670) and senior national champion Parth Salunkhe (670) to take the fifth, sixth and seventh places respectively.
Reigning world youth champion Komalika Bari had a disappointing outing, slipping to eighth place with 644 points. Ankita Bhakat, Madhu Vedwan and Ridhi were the top-three among the Indians, taking the fifth, sixth and seventh places overall.
Also Read : Archery to have full 10 events at next Asian Games
News Source : PTI
Perfect ending for Nisha Dahiya at Nationals, emerges 65kg champion after 'murder story'
Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 11 (Wrestling news) It was a "perfect and happy ending" for Nisha Dahiya as she emerged national champion in the women's 65kg category a day after her dramatic "murder story" turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The title clash ended in just 30 seconds with Nisha, the U23 world championship bronze medallist, pinning her rival Jaspreet Kaur from Punjab.
Except for her semifinal against Haryana's Priyanka, it turned out to be an easy day in the office for the 23-year-old Nisha, who represents Railways. "It indeed is a happy and perfect end to my campaign. I was so stressed yesterday. I could not even sleep. I was already low on energy due to weight cut and this incident just proved too much to handle," Nisha told PTI after winning her third gold medal at the Nationals. It was reported that Nisha had been shot dead in Sonepat but later it came to light that the deceased was her name sake and an upcoming wrestler.
Nisha's agility and attacking moves were too hot to handle for her opponents. She stood out with her leg attacks. "Of course, an athlete wants to be discussed and talked about but I am sure not in this way. I want people to know for my performance and not for such freak incidents," she said. "I got so many calls that I had to switch off my phone. It was becoming tense and I wanted to stay focussed on my competition. Eventually, it did not affect my performance," said Nisha, who is coached by Arjuna awardee Satyawan Kadian. Shafali and Priyanka, expectedly, won bronze medals by winning their respective play-offs. If groomed well, both the youngsters are expected to be good prospects for India in future. Before the final, both the 65kg semifinals were fast-paced and furiously fought. Jaspreet edged out Haryana's Shafali 6-4 while Nisha prevailed 7-6 against Priyanka. In the women's 76kg event, 37-year-old Gurhsranpreet Kaur won the gold medal after her rival Pooja Sihag left the mat in tears after twisting her right arm when the Punjab wrestler made a move on counter-attack as the match ended in the first period itself. It was the seventh gold medal for Gurusharanpreet at the Nationals. The 76-category seemed headed for a title clash between familiar names -- veteran Kiran and Gursharanpreet but Pooja prevented that with her 3-1 win over the Railways player. Gursharanpreet on the other hand had an easy win by fall against Bipasha, a talented Delhi youngster, who had won a silver medal at the junior world championship recently. Bipasha and Kiran won bronze medals. Competition for women was held only in two categories on Thursday while the Greco Style event concluded on the opening day of the championship. The two finalists in each category will represent India at the Commonwealth Championship, scheduled to be held in Pretoria, South Africa from December 3-5. While the gold medal winner will travel at the government's expense, the runner-up will have to go on his own. The WFI may ask for trials in men's freestyle 92kg since Deepak Punia, who skipped Nationals due to injury, has expressed interest in competing.
Also Read : Hot topics at Nationals: SAI's cold response to national camps, withdrawal of awards, policy change
News Source : PTI
Premier League: Manchester United’s misery continues while Liverpool and Chelsea drop points
(Football news) It took no more than seven minutes for Manchester United to be a goal behind their neighbours Manchester City, this time it was Eric Bailly’s own goal as City’s mounting pressure got the better of the Ivorian whose attempt to stretch for the ball at the near post sent it flying past De Gea and into the back of United’s net. Manchester United haven’t kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford since March and Bailly’s own goal was the first in a derby fixture since Arthur Albiston scored one in March 1986.
Manchester United had next to no positives against the Premier League champions, David De Gea made five magnificent saves to ensure there isn’t another embarrassing scoreline against a bitter rival but was also partly responsible for Bernardo Silva’s second goal in the 45th minute. The 2-0 scoreline flatters Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team in an utterly dominant performance by the visitors in blue.
It was so comfortable for Man City that Pep Guardiola did not feel the need to make any substitutions while Man Utd introduced Sancho, Rashford, Telles and Van De Beek in the second half but they all failed to make any impact whatsoever. The match ended with Manchester United only having one shot on target and 32% possession at home, with only four touches in the opposition box compared to City’s 32. Despite jeers and boos being heard at Old Trafford, it’s unlikely the Manchester United hierarchy will dismiss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as there is no clear plan about replacements, an indication of the ineptitude of those in charge.
At Stamford Bridge, Premier League leaders Chelsea welcomed Burnley, hoping to extend their lead against rivals Liverpool and Man City. With Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner still sidelined due to injury, Kai Havertz played as a stand-in striker and the Blues created some early chances but were denied by Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope. However, Havertz found the back of the net in the 32nd minute, heading home Reece James’ cross as Chelsea dominated 80% of possession in the first period. Chelsea’s wastefulness in front of goal came back to haunt them as Matěj Vydra scored the equalizer in the 79th minute to secure a priceless point for Burnley.
Arsenal moved into the top five of the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Watford at the Emirates Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s 100th game in charge ended with an important three points as Emile Smith Rowe scored in his third Premier League game in a row to ensure the Gunners remain unbeaten in 10 games. The scoreline should have been more in Arsenal’s favor but Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang could not convert his penalty as it was stopped by Ben Foster 10 minutes before the break. Mikel Arteta’s team are just two points behind fourth placed Liverpool and three points above Manchester United in the Premier League.
In one of the most surprising results of the weekend, West Ham United ended Liverpool’s 25 game unbeaten run with a 3-2 win at the London Stadium and are now in 3rd position in the Premier League. The hosts took the lead in the 4th minute with Pablo Fornals’ corner hitting Alisson’s glove and going into the back of the net. Liverpool equalised in the 41st minute with a stunning freekick from Trent Alexander-Arnold but West Ham scored the second of the night through Fornals in the 67th minute to regain the lead. Kurt Zouma scored a third from Bowen’s corner in the 74th minute and the Hammers held on despite Liverpool substitute Divock Origi scoring his side's second goal in the 83rd minute. With this result, David Moyes’ team have won four straight matches and are only three points away from league leaders Chelsea.
Haryana recurve archers grab top honours in first Khelo India North Zone meet
Sonepat, Nov 7 (Archery news) Haryana topped the medal tally in the recurve section, while Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, SAI National Centre of Excellence and Punjab also impressed in the first Khelo India Archery Tournament (North Zone) here on Sunday.
Sachin Gupta of Haryana led the show in the senior recurve section and his fellow archers made a clean sweep in the junior recurve women's section to ensure a top finish.
The tournament was conducted for the archers from the northern zone -- Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan -- to give them exposure at the domestic level.
A total of 91 recurve archers -- 53 men and 38 women -- and 76 compound archers -- 49 men and 27 women -- took part in the inaugural edition.
The Khelo India Archery events would gradually be held regularly in different times of the year by incorporating them in the calendar, Archery Association of India president Arjun Munda said.
"Initially, the plan is to hold the Khelo India event on the first Sunday of every month, provided there is no conflict with other important events," Munda said.
"The purpose is to identify the hidden talents and nurture them by providing competition opportunities to those who do not get enough competitions.
"Both AAI and SAI hope that such an event will boost the development of grassroots and hidden archers and at the same time improve the performance of elite archers," he added.
Also Read : Surekha and Verma to lead India's charge at Asian Archery Championship
News Source : PTI
Our goal is to create future champions in the sport of Taekwondo for India - Vinay Kumar Singh, Peace Taekwondo Academy
Taekwondo was first introduced in India in 1975 but despite the martial art being around for nearly half a century, it isn’t considered a “mainstream” sport by any means. However, taekwondo athletes in the country have been letting their achievements do the talking and are going strength to strength in promoting the sport amongst the masses. Since the last seven years, Peace Taekwondo Academy has been grooming talented athletes at the grassroots to become future champions in the discipline and have made significant strides to achieve their goals.
To know more about Taekwondo in India, Mr. Vinay Kumar Singh, owner of Peace Taekwondo Academy spoke exclusively to SPOGO about the objectives, achievements of the academy, getting support from sports authorities and government, rising stars and the common difficulties faced by athletes pursuing the sport.
Q1) When was this Peace Taekwondo Academy started and how long did it take for the project to gain momentum?
We started Peace Taekwondo Academy in November 2014 at Malviya Nagar, Delhi. We will be celebrating 7 successful years of our existence on the 10th of November next month.
Q2) What are the objectives that the Peace Taekwondo Academy tries to achieve on a long term basis?
Our long term objective, which has been our only objective since inception, is to get an Olympic medal for India in Taekwondo. One of our star athletes, Kashish Malik, was in the National Team for Asian Qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Unfortunately, the Indian Taekwondo Team wasn’t allowed to participate in the Asian Qualifiers because of Covid reasons.
Q3) What would you say are some of the academy's best achievements?
1) Highest World Taekwondo Ranking of 25 achieved by Aman Kadiyan of the academy in the Males, Under 54kg weight category. Result published: 28th October 2021.
Majority of our athletes are top rankers. Details below:
Radha Bhati (All India Rank 1); Sonia Bhardwaj (All India Rank 2) in the Female, under 46kg
Anisha Aswal (All India Rank 1) in the Female, under 49kg
Kashish Malik (All India Rank 1) in the Female, under 57kg
Sonam Rawal (All India Rank 1) in the Female, under 62kg
Aman Kadiyan (All India Rank 1) in the Male, Under 54kg
Shivam Tyagi (All India Rank 3) in the Male, Under 58kg
Shivansh Tyagi (All India Rank 1) in the Male, Under 74kg
2) Aman Kadiyan and Shivam Tyagi represented India in the World Taekwondo Grand Slam Champions Series. This was the first time Indian athletes were representing the nation at the Grand Slam.
3) Quarter finalist at 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, Indonesia. Kashish Malik in the Female, under 57kg
4) Gold & Bronze medal from the 2019 South Asian Games, Kathmandu, Nepal. Gold won by Kashish Malik in the Female, under 57kg and Bronze won by Radha Bhati in the Female, under 46kg.
5) Athletes from the academy have represented India in Asian Championship, Asian Games, South Asian Games, World Universiade, and World Championships.
Also read: Winning a medal at the 2024 Paris Paralympics is my ultimate objective - Indian para-shuttler Nehal Gupta
Q4) Do you get adequate support from other sports authorities and the government?
Majority of the support has come from private bodies and NGOs. Our top athletes are supported by organizations like Go Sports Foundation, Virat Kohli Foundation, Welspun Group, JCB through Lady Bamford Charitable Trust. We also have our own NGO - Peace Sports Trust which supports the athletes. We have officially written to both the Central Government and State Government but there has been no response so far. We are hopeful that with major achievements at International level, the government will reach out to us to extend its support.
Q5) Who are some of your athletes that our audience should look out for in the upcoming competitions?
We have created so many champions in the last so many years in Taekwondo, but Aman Kadiyan, Kashish Malik, Radha Bhati, Sonia, Anisha, Shivam Tyagi, Sonam Rawal are some of our top performers that you should look out for.
Q6) What are the most common difficulties your athletes have faced and how do you help them?
1) Taekwondo is an Olympic Sport but it is still not recognized in the list of priority sports published by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Government of India). The recognition is long due, the athletes and the entire taekwondo fraternity is at great loss because of this. Their certificate carries no value at government offices.
2) No major championship or league tournaments at National level. If this happens, our athletes will get a lot of exposure.
3) The support system, especially the financial support is almost nonexistent or lacking. Except for a few athletes, the majority are self-funded. Self-funding cannot be a long term solution. Majority of the athletes collapse because of this.
4) Lack of proper infrastructure and training venues.
5) Lack of professionalism at all levels.
6) Rewards and recognition
7) Athletes need support in terms of Sports nutrition, Physiotherapy, Sports Psychology, Video analysis.
We literally have no/zero intervention in what the Government or the national federation is doing to lift the level of the sport in the county. Maybe once we have brought a major medal for India (like an Olympic medal) things will start falling in place. Mary Kom was a five times World Champion still no one knew her. She got one Bronze medal from the London 2012 Olympics and people started recognizing her. Same goes with Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu or any other sports person in India. The national federations (irrespective of who is leading it) must have a national calendar and a roadmap. They must have pre-defined goals and targets they want to achieve over a period of time through the federation or athletes. They must sell their vision and results which is not happening currently.
There is a dearth of quality championships both at the grassroots and at the elite level. The athletes need exposure which they cannot get at their academies alone. The elite athletes and line 2 athletes must also have a proper support system. Right now it is all happening from their own pocket. This is not a self-sustainable model and will collapse in the long run.
The sporting ecosystem, especially that of taekwondo in India must imbibe professionalism and values at the core of whatever they are doing and this should be done at all levels. Whatever is done must be measured. The good initiatives or results must be rewarded and the bad ones must go through a root cause analysis. Everyone from top to bottom must realize that it is a collective and collaborative effort that will yield the result.
Lastly, athletes need to be loved and they must equally spread love and peace through sport.
Tiger Shroff roots for Indian gamers at World Esports Cup 2021
(Esports news) The World Esports Cup 2021 will kick off on November 25th with a prize pool of $100k up for grabs. Athletes from India, Pakistan and Nepal will compete at Free Fire with Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff urging fans to join him in the #GameHaiToFameHai campaign.
“Esports has shown a great potential in India as well as globally. I’m really excited to cheer for
the Indian gamers in this action-packed mega tournament and urge fans to join us, extending
their support to the participants.” Tiger said.
Tiger Shroff is known for his passion for sports and mixed martial arts and was named brand ambassador for the 2021 Esports Premier League. The World Esports Cup 2021 will be played over three months with livestreaming on Youtube and Facebook channels of India Today and Aaj Tak along with their official websites.
Once the qualification ends, the top 4 squads from each country will compete in the Grand Finals of the World Esports Cup 2021. World Esports Cup Director Vishwalok Nath said, “Tiger cheering the Indian contingent will go to make the competition extra special and more exciting to watch out for. And not to forget the famous rivalry that has been so far a blockbuster in cricket and will now be seen in esports too which will test the ultimate strategies, coordination and tactical skills.”
The title sponsor of the event is Infinix Smartphones and the registration for the event will begin today (23rd October), athletes and esports enthusiasts from the three regions can register themselves until a month from now (23rd November). Registrations can be done at: https://www.itg.gg/
SAFF Championships title not a 'special success', aim is to qualify for 2023 Asian Cup
New Delhi, Oct 19 (Football news) India winning the SAFF Championships for an eighth time is not a "special success" as the country is dominant in the South Asian region and the bigger aim is to do well in the 2023 Asian Cup qualification, national football team head coach Igor Stimac said on Wednesday.
India won the regional tournament after beating Nepal 3-0 in the final in Male on Saturday to hand Stimac his first trophy as in-charge of the team.
"I don't consider it (the SAFF title) as a special success because it is normal that India wins when it goes to SAFF but it demonstrates that we are very dominant in this competition and we can progress in our game a lot more," Stimac said at a virtual interaction.
He, however, admitted that his team was under a lot of "result pressure" after drawing Bangladesh (1-1) and Sri Lanka (0-0) in the first two round-robin league matches. The results had put India in danger of going out of reckoning for the final.
India then beat Nepal 1-0 and hosts Maldives 3-1 in must-win matches before outplaying the Himalayan country 3-0 in the summit clash to stamp their authority.
"It was obviously a difficult situation we found after the first two matches but they looked bad only because of the results. There was no big difference in approach, the numbers and statistics, we had enough shoots, scoring chances, movement and energy by players.
"We scored sometimes and didn't score sometimes and that made the difference. So, we had a lot of results pressure on our shoulders but we dealt with it the way it should be and in the end we won the trophy which was really important." Stimac was speaking from Bengaluru after his return from Maldives and he is leaving for Dubai Tuesday night with the U-23 national team, which he has taken charge of for the 2022 Asian U-23 Championships qualifiers in the UAE from October 25 to 31.
The Croatian gaffer said that the side's aim is to make it to the 2023 Asian Cup for which the qualification third round is set to begin early February next year.
That could be tricky as the Asian Cup qualification matches would be outside of FIFA window and the federation will need to convince the Indian Super League organisers and clubs to release players for national duty.
"We don't know yet who we are going to play, we don't know our group yet. But we need to prepare ourselves because we have been told our first game will be on February 1.
"If we are going to succeed in this qualifier which are games to play outside FIFA window, we need to sit down with other stakeholders in domestic competitions (read ISL), how much time the national team players will get for preparation." The ISL organisers have issued the fixtures of the first leg of the league from November 19 to January 9. They have not yet announced the second leg fixtures.
He said the national team would need good preparation time to produce good results in the Asian Cup qualification matches.
"Otherwise, we are going to gamble, as simple as that," he quipped.
"Because the players will begin ISL season now and we need to make sure as soon as possible that this February opening of the third round of qualifications (for Asian Cup) is part of the ISL calendar so that the players are released for national team duty." Stimac was also all praise of the talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri, who at 37 is one of the fittest players in the team.
"His influence is keeping the team going. He is a role model and leader off and on the field. He is the most passionate player in the dressing room and his fitness level is unbelievable.
"He is in the best shape possible and that is why he played in all the matches (of SAFF Championships). When somebody who can score better and who has better fitness (comes along), only then he can be replaced, otherwise you cannot replace him and he keeps on playing till the time he is with the team." Chhetri netted five out of India's eight goals to emerge as the best player and highest scorer in the regional tournament in Maldives.
He was named the most valuable player for the third time in as many appearances in the tournament, the earlier instances being in 2011 and 2015.
He was the highest scorer in the 2011 edition in New Delhi with seven goals while finishing joint second with three goals in the 2015 tournament in Thiruvananthapuram. India won all the three editions Chhetri played in.
Also Read : Chhetri credits youngsters in Indian team for SAFF C'ships triumph
News Source : PTI
South East Asia's premier championship, the World Esports Cup set to start on December
(Esports news): World Esports Cup (WEC '21), South East Asia’s tri-nation esports tournament will be conducted between gamers from India, Pakistan and Nepal. The objective of the World Esports Cup will be to give gamers an opportunity to represent one’s own country, something not everyone gets to do quite often in the esports community in the South Asia region in one of the most popular Battle Royale games. The tournament will have a huge prize pool of $100k (INR 75 lakhs approx). Smartphone maker Infinix Smartphones is the title sponsor for the inaugural edition as the registration of WEC’21 will begin on Saturday, 23rd October 2021 as the athletes from across the three regions can register themselves till November 23.
Esports athletes from India, Pakistan and Nepal will get the chance to compete virtually in open qualifiers to take a shot at becoming the champion of the region. While talking about the launch of World Esports Cup (WEC), WEC Director, Vishwalok Nath said: “We all know how intense it becomes when it comes to any India-Pakistan match and we want fans to witness this epic clash in esports as well. The World Esports Cup will also aim to connect the gamers and gaming community from the South Asian Countries in one platform which will be a first of its kind initiative.”
The tournament, which will be played over a period of three months, in the beginning will have rounds of two open and closed qualifiers across three regions to screen the best 24 squads from each country. Then, those countries will battle out to get their best 12 squads which will lead them to finals which will feature their top 4 squads. In the Grand Finals, top 4 squads from India, Pakistan and Nepal will display their strategies, coordination and tactical skills to decide the top teams from the region. The tournament will be live streamed on official YouTube and Facebook channels of India Today and Aaj Tak along with their websites.
Mr Nath further added regarding its association with Infinix Smartphones, “Mobile gaming with the advent of economical and more advanced smartphone technology has clearly pushed the esports ecosystem to a much wider audience, tapping the still untapped markets across the region and I believe our partnership with Infinix Smartphones consecutive for the second IP property is a strong indication of the potential that WEC brings forth. We are expecting a phenomenal response for this Tri-Nation tournament.”
In its inaugural edition WEC will witness 33+ Days of streaming. The Hong Kong based smartphone giant, Infinix Smartphones is geared up with multiple upgrades and innovations specifically designed to give a mindblowing and exceptional gaming experience with Dar Link game boost technology, which increases the gaming interaction and visual experience in heavy-duty Games like Free Fire.
We at Infinix are working to provide the best gaming experience to our customers with our value driven product offerings. We want to give more power to gamers and make gaming-focused smartphones available for everyone, even for those from the remotest areas of the nation. We have been focusing on R&D like never before and are constantly trying to better ourselves with each product that we bring to the market. Our indigenous DarLink game-boost technology is just one proof of our efforts in this direction. With this partnership, we aim to open doors and give new platforms to the growing gaming talent in India. We are confident that Indian players will not only win but will also encourage the Indian gaming pool in a global platform like WEC. Mr. Anish Kapoor, CEO of Infinix Smartphones said while announcing the association.
While Esports is now a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games as well as few other upcoming Asian Championships in the near future. It is expected to see a full fledged induction in Paris Olympics in 2024. WEC’21 aims to play the role of a catalyst to develop, support and grow the Esports ecosystem in India and its neighbouring countries and get esports recognized as a mainstream sport. To participate in the league, gaming enthusiasts and gamers above 16 can register themselves on: https://www.itg.gg/.
Also read: Team India CS:GO and Tekken7 star Hitesh Khorwal secure berth at 13th Esports World Championship Global Finals
Chhetri credits youngsters in Indian team for SAFF C'ships triumph
Male, Oct 17 (Football news) Talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri played a pivotal role in India's eighth SAFF Championships title triumph by striking five goals but he credited the young brigade for team's victory.
The 37-year-old Chhetri, Indian football's torch bearer for the last 10 years, went past legendary Pele and equalled Lionel Messi when he scored the team's opener -- and his 80th goal -- against Nepal in the summit clash on Saturday.
"Look at the youngsters -- it feels good for all of them. It's all due to their hard work. We were here for 20 days till the final, staying on an island, riding the waves every day for practice sessions, and matches," Chhetri said in a release from All India Football Federation.
"We made it special as we were not so good in the first two games. It was tough from there to come up and play the way we did," added Chhetri after his third triumph in the SAFF Championship as a player.
Chhetri, who has won the regional tournament in 2011 and 2015 also, was referring to the draws against Bangladesh (1-1) and Sri Lanka (0-0) in the first two matches which had attracted criticism.
"Didn't start like we should have, but ended exactly how we wanted to. Proud of this bunch and the way we got things on track," he later said in a tweet.
Chhetri, who scored five out of India's eight goals, was all praise of the other two Indian goal getters on Saturday -- Suresh Singh and Sahal Abdul Samad.
"I enjoyed watching that, Sahal. Suresh, of all the things you copy from me, this is up there. Make it a habit," said the captain.
Sahal, on his part, said it was an "unbelievable" moment and "a miracle".
"I don’t know what happened inside the box. I came in for the last 4-5 minutes. My teammates have been working hard – it all goes to them," he said.
"But I just don't remember what happened inside the box. I got it and went in. This is an amazing feeling." Head coach Igor Stimac, who was banned from the dugout in the summit clash after being red carded in the earlier league match against Maldives, let the players take centrestage.
"The boys have done it," he quipped.
Stimac became the third foreign coach after Jiri Pesek (1993) and Stephen Constantine (2015) to clinch the title with the Indian team.
The Blue Tigers dedicated the trophy to their two injured teammates -- Farukh Choudhary, and Brandon Fernandes, who weren’t able to travel to the ground.
While Mandar Rao Dessai and Glan Martins carried Brandon’s jersey with them, Rahul Bheke preferred to wear Farukh’s jersey even at the victory podium.
"Farukh and Brandon are very much here, and a part of this triumph. Their contribution in this Championship will never go unnoticed," Bheke said.
"I wore Farukh’s jersey as I wanted him to be with us during the trophy celebrations.” With the title win, India extended their domination in the regional tournament. Saturday's final was the 12th for India in 13 editions.
The players leave for Bengaluru Sunday night from where they will join their respective clubs for the Indian Super League.
However, the U-23 players, including goalkeeper Moirangthem Dheeraj Singh, will stay back in Bengaluru for a couple of days before flying to Dubai for the AFC U-23 Qualifiers on October 20.
Also Read : Sunil Chhetri overtakes the great Pele in the scoring charts for most international goals
News Source : PTI
India seek eighth SAFF C'ships title and first trophy under Stimac in final against sprightly Nepal
Male, Oct 15 (Football news) Having endured a topsy-turvy beginning to their campaign before a fine turnaround, seven-time champions India will start title favourites when they take on first-time finalists Nepal in the summit clash of the SAFF Championships here on Saturday.
The final will be the 12th for India in 13 editions which shows the domination of the Blue Tigers in this regional tournament. The third-place finish in 2003 was the worst performance for them.
A win against Nepal will also be head coach Igor Stimac's first trophy after taking charge of the Indian team in 2019. Should the team come good, he will become the sixth coach to win the SAFF Championships title and third foreigner after Jiri Pesek (1993) and Stephen Constantine (2015).
India drew against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in their first two matches which had put them in danger of missing the final but the win against Nepal brought them back in the reckoning.
The 3-1 outplaying of hosts Maldives, thanks to a double strike from talisman Sunil Chhetri, sealed India's place in the final.
The frayed nerves before the must-win Maldives match are no longer there after a dominant win over the defending and two-time champions, who were considered the toughest opponents in the region but the job is not yet done.
Nepal, ranked 61 places below India at 168th, have shown that they are no pushovers in this tournament and it needed a late goal (82nd minute) from Chhetri for India to beat them in the round-robin match. They have beaten Maldives while drawing with Bangladesh.
India will, however, have the psychological advantage over the Himalayan country as historical or recent statistics will show that Stimac's side is the clear favourites to lift the title yet again.
In the three matches played between the two sides so far this year, India won twice and drew once.
Before the SAFF Championships, India played two international friendlies against Nepal in Kathmandu last month, drawing one (1-1) and winning the other (2-1).
But Chhetri would not want any complacency from his team-mates. He had urged them to be on their toes, terming Nepal as the "best team that plays as a team" in this tournament.
"They (Nepal) may not have an extraordinary player in their ranks like an Ali Ashfaq (of Maldives). But as far as attacking and defending are concerned, they do it as a team. They have been the best team that plays as a team in this Championship -- they fight as a team," Chhetri said.
"We have played them thrice since September and they are extremely compact as a team and it’s not going to be easy. The job is not yet done," said Chhetri who has now gone past legendary Pele in terms of number of international goals scored with 79 strikes from 124 matches.
"But we have become better and better as games have gone by, and in the final we have to be at our best. We pulled our socks up after the first two games and now it is time to finish the job." Out of the five goals, India has scored so far, Chhetri's share is four but Manvir Singh's strike against Maldives -- after Stimac's comments that one player should not be scoring goals all the time -- should ease some pressure for the 37-year-old warhorse.
Defenders have improved after letting in a late goal against a 10-man Bangladesh in the first match. But Subhashish Bose, described the best performer along with Rahul Bheke among the seniors by Chhetri, will be missed in the final after a red card (due to double booking) against Maldives.
Match starts at 8:30pm IST.
Also Read : Indian football: Young striker Farukh suffers ACL injury, team dedicates win over Maldives to him
News Source : PTI
Viswanathan Anand to do commentary during world chess championship match
Chennai, Oct 15 (Chess news) Indian chess maestro Viswanathan Anand will be one of the official commentators for the FIDE World Chess Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai from November 24.
Replying to a tweet by FIDE announcing him as a commentator for the match, Anand said he was looking forward on the assignment.
"Looking forward to being in Dubai. What promises to be a great match. It's even better when you can say 'How come he didn’t play the move' see you soon," the five-time world champion wrote.
FIDE had tweeted: "Who better to be a commentator for the upcoming World Championship in Dubai than a person who has fought Carlsen in two matches himself? "FIDE is proud to announce five-time world champion @vishy64theking as the first of our commentators for the official broadcast." The world championship match will be a best-of-14 contest, with tie breaks between the Norwegian champion Carlsen and his Russian challenger.
Also, Anand will be one of the lecturers at the training camp organised by the FIDE Chessable Academy, the world chess federation said.
The five-day camp will gather in Dubai the best young talents in the world, thanks to the partnership between FIDE and Chessable, it further said.
Also Read : AICF signs sponsorship deal with MPL Foundation
News Source : PTI
Indian football: Young striker Farukh suffers ACL injury, team dedicates win over Maldives to him
Male, Oct 14 (Football news) An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury has ended Indian striker Farukh Choudhary's SAFF Championship campaign and to make sure that the youngster does not feel left out, the national football team dedicated its win over Maldives to him.
India defeated Maldives 3-1 in its final league engagement to make the summit clash with an unbeaten run. The match saw star striker and captain Sunil Chhetri score a brace and go past the legendary Pele in terms of number of international goals.
In its moment of triumph, the side remembered the 24-year-old Choudhary, who suffered an ACL injury in the match against Nepal that ruled him out for the rest of the Championship. He has played just 14 matches so far in his India career.
The entire contingent posed with a jersey of Choudhary saying in chorus "We love you, Farukh." The team also placed his jersey no. 12 on the bench throughout the match. And, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu even wore it jersey at the post match flash interview.
"This is for Farukh," Gurpreet stated, pointing to the jersey.
"Unfortunately, he sustained a bad injury and he did have a very valuable assist in the match against Nepal. It was extremely harsh that he had to go out. We want to dedicate it to Farukh and make it worth it," he added.
Chhetri said the team wanted to win the game against Maldives to bring a smile on Choudhary's face. "Here is the guy who went through this (injury) so that we can win the game against Nepal, if there is any moment in the game (against Maldives) where we lose motivation we are going to do it (win) for him because it may bring a little bit of smile on his face," he said.
"All of us understood his pain. Losing a match, losing a tournament, losing 5-0, all these things are bearable but getting injured is the worst. No person should go through it." The Indians will take on Nepal in the final on Saturday.
Also Read : It's going to end soon but not for next few years: Chhetri talks about career
News Source : PTI
It's going to end soon but not for next few years: Chhetri talks about career
Male, Oct 14 (Football news) Indian football's torch-bearer for the last 10 years and talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri on Thursday said "it is going to end soon" while reflecting on his career but at the same time, also asserted that he is "not going anywhere for the next few years." The 37-year-old, who overtook the legendary Pele in the number of international goals with his 79th strike in the ongoing SAFF Championships match against Maldives on Wednesday, turned philosophical while dissecting his approach towards the game in what is clearly the final leg of his glorious career.
Chhetri said "it's a fact that it (his career) is going to end soon" and tells himself to enjoy every moment of it.
"Now I have got a very simple mantra. Dost khade ho ja, bahut kam time bhacha hey, bahut kam game bache huwe hey, chup chaap ja aur apna best de. Thoda time pe khatam hone wala hey (I tell myself that there is very little time left, there are very few games left, go quietly and give your best. It is going to end in some time)," he added when asked how he picks himself up amid the ups and downs during his illustrious career.
"Stop crying, stop rejoicing stop over-celebrating, stop putting yourself down because all these will end very soon. Right now I will pick up myself, go there and try to give my best because I know it's a fact that it's going to end soon." But in the same breathe, he made it clear that the inevitable won't happen for the next few years.
"SC11 is not going anywhere for next few years. So just relax," he said.
The inspirational player, who is the third most prolific international goal-scorer among active players behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, said he prefers to keep away from the outside noise as he doesn't have too many matches left in his illustrious career.
He made his international debut in 2005 against Pakistan in Quetta under head coach Sukhwinder Singh and went on to break all the possible records in Indian football.
He has played in a record 124 matches for India in his 16-year-long career. He has been Indian football's poster boy since the retirement of former captain Bhaiching Bhutia in 2011.
"Gaali khata hun, ya log tarif karte hey...Everything I try to forget, I go there and try to do my best. Missing, I will miss goals, scoring I will score goals but all this we will talk once I am done.
"Because I don't want to regret that I could have done this and that. I want to do everything now." Asked about him overtaking the great Pele, Chhetri said, "Everybody who knows football knows that there is no comparison whatsoever (with Pele). I am happy to keep playing and scoring for my country. That is all I want," he said.
"Very few footages of the great man (Pele) but from whatever I can see, he was a dynamic and powerful footballer. Football was different in those times, the game was brutal at times then.
"Despite that he scored so many goals and that speaks of his extremely great achievement." Chhetri said his short term goal is to help India qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup in China. He has played in the 2011 and 2019 editions of the continent's showpiece event.
He admitted that his side did not play up to the expectations in the first two drawn matches of the SAFF Championships against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but improved gradually.
"It was a topsy-turvy beginning for us in the tournament. Not scoring against Sri Lanka was unacceptable. We missed a lot of chances against Nepal also. We were not playing against the Qatars and Japans and UAEs of the world," he said.
"Beating a tough team like Maldives in Maldives and that also in a hostile environment (home fan support) was the way we needed to play.
"We are the dominant side in this region and I think we are peaking at the right time and we can go all the way in the final," Chhetri said.
Chhetri picked Manvir Singh, who scored India's first goal against Maldives, as his possible successor in goal scoring.
"I am banking on Manvir when I am done. He is a beast, a machine, in every training tests we have, he will be in top three.
"The problem is he plays at the right side for ATK Mohun Bagan in ISL but as No. 9 in national team. He is young and so he is unable to adapt (from one position to other) and so at times he is off. He will learn with experience. He is our weapon." Among others, Chhetri picked Apuia, Rahim Ali, Anirudh Thapa and Liston Colaco as future goal-scorers.
"The country needs better players than Sunil Chhetris. We have to evolve and be better than before. We will have better scorers than Sunil Chhetris in future, that is the hope and we have to be patient."
Also Read : Sunil Chhetri overtakes the great Pele in the scoring charts for most international goals
News Source : PTI
Sunil Chhetri overtakes the great Pele in the scoring charts for most international goals
(Football news) Sunil Chhetri last night scored two goals against Maldives to take India to the SAFF Cup final. In doing so he went past Pele’s historical mark of 77 goals to become the 6th highest international goalscorer ever. Currently he's the third highest active goal scorer behind the great Lionel Messi (80) and Cristiano Ronaldo (115) and Chhetri can overtake Messi if he scores in the SAFF Cup final against Nepal on Saturday.
The captain, leader and legend himself Sunil Chhetri has managed to take India forward for the last ten years breaking all possible records in Indian football. Chhetri is not only India’s top scorer but he has also made 124 appearances for the Blue Tigers shattering all the records previously held by the great IM Vijayan and Bhaichung Bhutia, so much so that if you combine their goal tally it reaches to 58 goals compared to Chhetri’s 79. Sunil Chhetri has now scored in nine of the ten victories in all competitions, for Indian football fans the astonishing consistency is great to watch but the answer after Chhetri still leaves a big question mark for Indian football. His consistency and his fitness level at the age 37 is quite amazing and it doesn’t look like he is going to stop anytime soon.
Sunil Chhetri over the years has been the cornerstone for Indian football, a living breathing legend who time and time again proves us that he's not only a generational talent but an exceptional football player as well. Sunil has the capabilities to play in Europe but he preferred playing in India as he wouldn’t be able to play for his countries if he played club matches. His dedication and leadership will never be matched and it will take Indian football generations to find a talent like him. Although we can’t compare his goal scoring pedigree with the likes of Ronaldo and Messi, he has been consistently scoring goals ever since made his debut in March 2004 which is quite a feat in itself.
The current Indian captain has a higher goals to game ratio than anyone else in India football. He averages 0.63 goals per game compared to Vijayan’s 0.46 goals per game and Bhutia’s tally of 0.33. In fact, among Indian footballers who have played more than 10 times for India, only Neville D’Souza has a better goals per game ratio than Chhetri but he only played 11 times which doesn’t do full justice to his staggering feat. The consistency with which he has kept on should be an inspiration for the up and coming Indian footballers.
Chhetri on drawing comparisons with Ronaldo said, “I listen to these comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo, I'll be happy and then forget it in five seconds. Because there is no comparison (with Ronaldo). I know it. The joy and love that I get from playing football are unbelievable. It is such a feeling that I want to give everything that I have got. I just enjoy it, I am living a life that I never even dreamt of. I don't let even a day go by wherein I don't give 100 percent. I am where everyone wants to be. I don't (feel) too much pressure with that."
"Messi, Ronaldo comparison: There are no comparisons. People who understand football, they know there is no comparison as far as the players are concerned. There are thousands of players who are better than me in the world and all of them are fans of Messi. So now you know the comparison"
Chhetri double strike helps India beat Maldives 3-1 and enter SAFF C'ships final
Male, Oct 13 (Football news) Talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri struck twice to lead a beleaguered India to a 3-1 win over hosts Maldives in their final league match and enter the final of the SAFF Championships here on Wednesday.
Chhetri scored in the 62nd and 71st minutes after Manvir Singh had given India the lead in the 33rd minute in the must-win match for India. Ali Ashfaq pulled one back for Maldives in the 45th minute from a spot kick.
The 37-year-old Chhetri, who was playing in his 124th match, is just one goal shy of Argentine maestro Lionel Messi (80), who is the second highest international goal scorer among active players behind Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (115).
Seven-time champions India, who finished on top of the five-team table with eight points, face Nepal in the final on October 16.
Nepal drew 1-1 with Bangladesh in the earlier match of the day to finish second in the round-robin league with seven points.
India had beaten Nepal 1-0 in a league stage.
With the win over Maldives, India saved themselves from crashing out of reckoning for the final of the regional tournament, which would have been the country's worst result in recent memory.
This will be 12th final appearance for India.
India dominated the match throughout and Chhetri almost gave India the lead in the 27th minute but his header off a Brandon Fernandes corner hit the crossbar.
Ashfaq had a dangerous shot at the Indian goal in the 28th minute but it was blocked by a defender.
Five minutes later, Manvir fired it past Maldives goalkeeper at the near post to give India the lead.
Just second before half time, Ashfaq scored from a penalty to put Maldives back on level terms.
India head coach Igor Stimac brought in nippy winger Udanta Singh in the 51st minute in place of Brandon Fernandes.
Soon after, in the 62nd minute, India took the lead. An Apuia cross was chested down by Manvir for Chhetri to blast into the back of the Maldives net.
The Indian captain scored his second goal of the day with a looping header that crashed into the opposition net in the 71st minute.
Also Read : We cannot depend on just one player to score goals: Stimac
News Source : PTI
We cannot depend on just one player to score goals: Stimac
Male, Oct 12 (Football news) Describing India's inability to score goals as "an old problem", head coach Igor Stimac on Tuesday said the team cannot be dependent on just one player to find the opposition net, in an apparent reference to talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri.
India have so far scored two goals in the ongoing SAFF Championships and both came through 37-year-old Chhetri, who equalled legendary Pele with his 77th strike in the match against Nepal.
"I'm quite happy with our performance in last three games -- looking at the way we played, at possession numbers. We dominated them and our goalkeeper wasn't much disturbed," Stimac said at the media conference ahead of India's last round-robin league match against hosts Maldives.
"But there is an old problem which is following us and that's converting chances. We cannot be dependent on just one player and need to be more confident in front of goal," he added.
Currently at third spot with five points from three matches, India need nothing less than a win against Maldives to stay in reckoning for the final of the regional tournament.
A draw or a loss will knock India out and that will be the worst result for the country in recent memory, which could also raise doubts about Stimac's continuation at the helm of affairs.
The worst performance for seven-time champions India before this edition was the third-place finish in 2003 and the country has either won or finished runners-up in 11 previous editions.
"The situation is a bit easier for Maldives as they need just a draw, and hence, it's clear what we need to do in tomorrow's game," said the Croatian.
The head coach said the win against Nepal has boosted the confidence of his players.
"The best motivation is to win games. It wasn’t easy to have two back-to-back draws in the first two games. Hence, it was a kind of a relief for all the players to beat Nepal. They needed confidence.
"In fact, they deserved to win all the three games but in football, you cannot win unless you score goals.” Talking about opposition team, he said, "Maldives are a much-improved side. They are more compact than they were before. They stress more on passing and possession-based football. They are creating chances, and their movements are great upfront." “There is a reasonable understanding between (star striker) Ali Ashfaq and others. They know how to move when Ashfaq has the ball, and he knows where they are running without even looking at them.
"But how they are going to play also depends on us – as to how much we let them play. If my midfielders and defenders do what I expect them to do, Maldives shouldn’t be able to play much.” Stimac said Wednesday's match is going to witness two great veterans on the pitch -- Ashfaq for Maldives and Chhetri for India.
"It’s a joy to watch them play, and if they were playing in the same team, it would have been a great combination for any coach."
Also Read : India face Maldives in must-win SAFF C'ships match, stare at worst show since 2003
News Source : PTI
India face Maldives in must-win SAFF C'ships match, stare at worst show since 2003
Male, Oct 12 (Football news) Unbeaten still but hugely disappointing so far, a beleaguered India face hosts Maldives in their last round-robin league match of the SAFF Championships here on Wednesday, knowing well that nothing less than a win will save them from elimination.
A draw or a loss will send India out of reckoning for the final of the regional tournament and that will be the worst result for India in recent memory, which could also raise questions about head coach Igor Stimac's continuation at the helm of affairs.
The worst performance for seven-time champions India before this edition was the third-place finish in 2003 and the country has either won or finished runners-up in 11 previous editions.
All the four top sides in the five-team tournament remain in contention for the October 16 final.
With five points from two draws and one win, India are currently at third place below Maldives (six points from three matches) and Nepal (six points from three matches). Nepal play Bangladesh (fourth place with four points) in an earlier match on Wednesday.
Two-time and defending champions Maldives have never been easy opponents for India in the history of this regional tournament though the island country sits 51 ranking points below India in FIFA chart at 158th.
The side led by veteran Ali Ashfaq, one of the best strikers in the region, have regrouped themselves after losing their opening match against Nepal, beating Bangladesh 2-0 and Sri Lanka 1-0.
Just like India captain Sunil Chhetri, the 36-year-old Ashfaq has carried Maldives football on his shoulders for a long time and he has scored two of his side's three goals in this tournament. He will, no doubt, be the man India will have to be wary about.
India felt the absence of experienced Sandesh Jhingan in deep defence as they could not defend a 1-0 lead against 10-man Bangladesh who scored a late equaliser despite numerical inferiority.
In the second match against 205th-ranked Sri Lanka, Indian forwards, including Chhetri, had an off day as they could not create enough chances and also failed to finish whatever few scoring opportunities they had for a 0-0 draw.
Chhetri came to the rescue of the team once again against Nepal, scoring the decisive goal to equal the legendary Pele in the previous match, but the question is how long the country will keep relying on a 37-year-old warhorse to find the opposition net.
Nippy winger Udanta Singh has been inconsistent though he has shown flashes of his abilities at the flanks while Seriton Fernandes in defence and Brandon Fernandes in the midfield have done reasonably well.
Understandably, Stimac has rued the inability of his forwards to convert the scoring chances.
"We need to improve our scoring from the chances which we are creating," he said.
"It is simple, if we do that, games become very easy. Otherwise you need to suffer till the end, or even beyond the end," he added, still believing that his side can reach the final.
With the football crazy Maldivians likely to play the role of 12th player on Wednesday, the onus is on Stimac and his men to avert the country's worst football ignominy in a long time.
Also Read : I hope to keep playing and scoring in foreseeable future: Chhetri after equalling Pele
News Source : PTI
I hope to keep playing and scoring in foreseeable future: Chhetri after equalling Pele
New Delhi, Oct 11 (Cricket news) Indian talisman Sunil Chhetri says he hopes to continue playing and scoring goals for the country in the "foreseeable future", his battle-hardened body getting a booster dose in the form of a landmark 77th international strike that drew him level with King Pele.
Chhetri, 37, equalled the legendary Pele when his 83rd-minute strike helped India beat Nepal 1-0 and saved his side from elimination in the SAFF Championship in Maldives on Sunday.
Even as his team goes through a prolonged lean phase, Chhetri's goal-scoring prowess remains as good as ever, which is a testament to his consistency and dedication.
"I keep getting asked about my consistency, and I wish I had an answer. But the truth is, there is no blueprint. It's more about wanting to turn up every single day and give it my best, which, thankfully, I've never fallen short of," Chhetri told PTI after his latest strike.
Through his glorious journey, the deadly poacher from Delhi has played alongside former stars such as Bhaichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh in the national team, besides well-known international players in the ISL and I-League.
"I have been extremely lucky to have played with some great footballers who don't get enough credit. I've learned something from every single coach I have played for. It's the coming together of many things -- big and small -- and I hope to keep doing it in the foreseeable future," he added.
Notwithstanding the occasional chatter around his age and his longevity, the Indian captain wants to keep playing in top-flight and has not given his future any thought.
"It might sound like a lie, but I've never given my future as a footballer any thought. Like I said, the one thing I probably do the best is wake up and turn up to train and play. I look forward to it, thoroughly enjoy it and haven't ever wanted to stop doing it.
"My future plan with football is literally what my next training session will look like. I am fortunate enough to have a support system around me that makes sure I don't need to think or worry about anything that isn't football. It just makes it all the more easier to love what I do." Playing in his 123rd match for India, Chhetri struck a late goal on Sunday to place himself on a par with the Brazilian great (77 goals from 92 matches).
He is now joint third with UAE's Ali Mabkhout (77) on the list of highest scorers among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (112) and Lionel Messi (79).
Despite his innumerable achievements as a top-class striker at both international and club level and his success with the teams he has played for, Chhetri remains as hungry as ever.
"If there's a trophy up for grabs, then I want to win it – it's as simple as that. There's not too many athletes or teams that are content with what's in their trophy cabinet. I'm no different.
"On an individual level, I am not a big fan of statistics, milestones and accolades. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for all that I've got and achieved. But to win with my team -- for country and club, that is everything." As with other sports, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the plans of most football teams and the India and Bengaluru FC striker is glad to be playing the game at the moment.
"Ever since international football restarted after the pandemic we have been utilising every FIFA window. Unluckily, I missed out on the matches against Oman and UAE in March (after testing positive for COVID). Those are the kind of matches which Indian football needs.
"At the same time, I understand that getting good games is tough owing to all the restrictions that pandemic has brought along with it." There will be plenty of activity surrounding women's football in India next year (the country is hosting the AFC Asian Cup and FIFA U-17 World Cup), and Chhetri is delighted that the women have started getting opportunities to show their mettle in the sport.
The day Chhetri scored his 77th international goal, the Indian women's team won their first of the two friendlies in Bahrain in a convincing manner.
"What also pleases me is that the Indian ladies have been travelling on exposure tours in preparation for the forthcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup, and it was only last night they beat Bahrain 5-0.
"Like I always say, we need to keep playing better opponents if we are to improve and measure where we are, and how much more we need to do."
Also Read : Chhetri scores 77th goal as India beat Nepal 1-0, equals great Pele
News Source : PTI
What ails Indian football? Amid underwhelming results, time to shun top-down approach
New Delhi, Oct 11 (Football news) The national team's performance is often a fair reflection of any sport's growth in a country. By that yardstick, it won't be an exaggeration to say that Indian football has regressed in recent times.
The solitary-goal win over Nepal in the ongoing SAFF Championship on Sunday is an aberration in an otherwise hopeless run marked by the team's inability to eke out victories even against nations it had dominated in the past.
In a tournament which the country has won a record seven times, India found itself on the verge of being knocked out after two successive draws against lower-ranked Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The struggle for survival in the regional event tells a lot about which direction the team is headed.
Perhaps, even the win against Nepal wouldn't have come, had it not been for Sunil Chhetri's 82nd minute strike.
It is true that alongside the national team's graph, a solid youth development programme and a vibrant and competitive league structure, is equally important towards developing the sport in a holistic manner.
However, with the men's team hitting the lowest of lows in the SAFF tournament in Maldives, the senior side and its head coach Igor Stimac have come under the scanner.
But before the powers that be of Indian football try their hands at resuscitating it from its present moribund state, they would do well to do two things: shun their top-down approach for a bottom-up approach, and recall former head coach Bob Houghton's scathing observation.
The All India Football Federation's top-down approach, which involved bidding for FIFA events, hosting them amid much fanfare, and basking in their organizational success, appears to have failed miserably in raising the standards of the national team of a country that has been showered with sobriquets such as "sleeping giants" and "passionate giants".
This method, in fact, was never meant to do any good. On the contrary, the national team's performance has dipped since the administrators trained their guns on bidding for, and organizing, big tournaments on a priority basis.
"Youth development and only youth development is the way to go," agrees Shaji Prabhakaran, who has worked for years in the AIFF, besides being involved with FIFA and South Asian football.
"Top-down approach cannot work in isolation, that is helpful only in creating enthusiasm. The priority should be youth development," says Prabhakaran, who currently heads Football Delhi, the sport's governing body in the national capital.
As a head of an affiliated state unit, Prabhakaran urged the AIFF to engage more with all the stakeholders.
Everything is centralised now, and the state units are becoming weaker and weaker.
"Ten years ago that was not the case, states were a part of the whole process. There is no holistic way of looking into the problems (now).
"Without resources we were doing better earlier because they were working as one, now there is no team work, we have never had meetings on football development, there is no dialogue." With far less resources and infrastructure than India, teams across the world have improved by leaps and bounds.
To cite an example, Vietnam is currently playing in the third round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and a few years ago, Syria found itself on the verge of qualifying for the showpiece in Russia.
As far as some other Asian teams are concerned, the likes of South Korea, Japan, Iran and even Iraq have marched ahead, even as India slipped at various stages after competing on even keel against the best in the continent.
Thoughts of reaching the heydays of the 1950s and 60s -- when the country won two Asian Games gold medals besides competing in the Olympics -- seem far-fetched at the moment.
The story was also different some years ago. Under Houghton, the team won three tournaments beating respectable sides such as Syria and Lebanon, besides qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup after a gap of 24 years.
Then there was that record unbeaten run under Stephen Constantine, which also led to an Asian Cup qualification.
And then came the slide.
Constantine's successor, Stimac has come under criticism in recent times for his approach that has not yielded results, but he is neither the problem nor the solution.
While the AIFF will have its say on the matter, simply getting rid of the coach will amount to nothing if the more pressing issues are not addressed.
About two years before his unceremonious exit in 2011, a miffed Houghton had remarked: "You can remove the coach and you can bring Guus Hiddink or Jose Mourinho tomorrow and you will still be (ranked) 140 (then)." More than 12 years ago, Houghton's frustrations were aimed at those in charge of the game in the country.
And while there has no doubt been an improvement in infrastructure and increase in resources, over a decade after the Briton's remark, the senior national team's utter lack of success remains a major cause for concern.
Quick-fix solutions will not take Indian football anywhere and the current dispensation must realise that only hosting big FIFA-sanctioned events would not mask the problems facing the sport.
It's also a matter of great concern that the sport has not found a worthy successor to Chhetri, who at 37, is in the last leg of his glorious career. But ask the experts, and they are certain that there is no dearth of talent in India.
They are not off the mark. For the uninitiated, a glance through the archives of Indian football would be enough to understand why they remain optimistic.
Also Read : Chhetri scores 77th goal as India beat Nepal 1-0, equals great Pele
News Source : PTI
Chhetri scores 77th goal as India beat Nepal 1-0, equals great Pele
Male, Oct 10 (Football news) Talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri equalled the legendary Pele with his 77th international goal as his 83rd minute strike helped India beat Nepal 1-0 and saved his side from the verge of elimination in the SAFF Championships here on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Chhetri, playing in his 123rd match for India, struck a late goal to place himself on even keel with the Brazillian great (77 goals from 92 matches).
He is now on joint third with UAE's Ali Mabkhout (77) in the list of highest scorers among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (112) and Lionel Messi (79).
Substitute Farukh Chaudhary somehow managed to win a header from a long throw in and directed it towards the centre of the six-yard box where Chhetri found himself at the right place to fire the ball past Nepal gaolkeeper Kiran Limbu late in the match.
Seven-time champions India are now at third spot with five points from three matches in the five-team table, below Maldives (six points from three matches) and Nepal (six points from three matches).
India will still need to win their final round-robin league match on Wednesday against hosts Maldives if they have to make it to the October 16 final.
A draw against Nepal would have put India on the verge of elimination.
The Indian team and its head coach Igor Stimac had been under the pump after drawing against lower-ranked Bangladesh (1-1) and Sri Lanka (0-0) in their previous matches.
Chaudhary had come into the field as substitute of Mohd. Yasir in the 70th minute.
India kept on creating chances in the match and were the dominant team throughout. But they were not able make the finishing touches in a few chances they got.
Chhetri had also missed a big opportunity to score in the first half.
India had drawn against Nepal 0-0 and beat the Himalayan nation 2-0 in the previous encounters this year before Sunday's win.
Also Read : Indian women face Bahrain in international friendly
News Source : PTI
SAFF Championship: India face Nepal in must-win match
Male, Oct 9 (Football news) A beleaguered Indian football team faces Nepal in a must-win match in the SAFF Championship here on Sunday.
Seven-time winners India are yet to log full points from a game in this edition of the tournament, having drawn both their matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Both the remaining matches are must-win ones for India if they are to make the final.
"Nothing much has changed," head coach Igor Stimac said in the official pre-match press conference.
"We are here, and we are still alive in the championship. We are still here to win the tournament," he added.
Interestingly, the two teams had played two back-to-back international friendlies in Kathmandu in the first week of September where India had won the second match 2-1, after having drawn the first.
"We know them very well and have played twice against them. It's an open game and if we play well, and do it right on the pitch, I am sure that we can win the game. There is no other option for us than to go out there and win it," Stimac stated.
Nepal are leading the points table at the moment with six points having won both their matches against Maldives and Sri Lanka.
"They may have a different approach. They may calculate while playing against us. But we are not worried about them. We will go out to do our job from the first minute itself," the coach added.
The Blue Tigers had their practice session on Saturday and the news from the camp is that there are no injury concerns with all 23 players available for selection.
Midfielder Brandon Fernandes insisted that the team has "everything to play for." Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Brandon quipped: "We have had two disappointing results so far. Understandably, the mood was dull in the camp. But tomorrow we have everything to fight for. We are positive, and have prepared well for this game. Everyone is focussed in winning the match." Stimac mentioned about the lack of discipline on the pitch.
"We haven't been disciplined enough on the pitch. For all those simple mistakes, we are currently on two points whereas we should have been on six points now," he opined.
"We know it will not be easy against Nepal. But we could win against them in Kathmandu, we can do it here too. But I reiterate that for that to happen we need to be committed and disciplined." Brandon, however, dismissed apprehensions that the Blue Tigers are thinking a bit too much about their opponents.
"We are not thinking much about Nepal. Rather, we have been concentrating on what we need to do once it kicks off. Nepal are a good team and are in a good position at the moment.
Also Read : Indian football team hits new low: Chhetri and boys held to goalless draw by 205th ranked Sri Lanka
News Source : PTI
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.
Indian football team hits new low: Chhetri and boys held to goalless draw by 205th ranked Sri Lanka
Male, Oct 7 (Football news) India produced yet another disappointing performance as they were held to a goalless draw by 205th ranked Sri Lanka despite a dominant display in their second SAFF Championships match here on Thursday.
The seven-time champions paid the price of not creating enough chances and wasting those they got against a Sri Lankan side 98 places below them in the FIFA rankings.
Though they have a lion's share of the ball possession, the 107th-ranked Indians were ineffective from the set-pieces and did do not much in open play either against their opponents, who only have five countries ranked below them in a 210-team table.
Igor Stimac's full-strength team is still searching for a win in two matches. They have drawn against 10-man Bangladesh 1-1 in their opening match on Monday, that has put pressure on Stimac.
A loss or a draw against current table toppers Nepal (six points) on Sunday can make India difficult to qualify for the final. The top two teams from the round-robin league qualify for the final to be played on October 16.
India made three changes from the previous match starting eleven with Seriton Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai replacing Chinglensana Singh and Pritam Kotal in the defence and Suresh Singh coming in for Manvir Singh upfront.
Stimac's side controlled the match from the very beginning with the Sri Lankans barely any chance at the Indian goal but somehow the forwards, led by captain Sunil Chhetri, could not bulge the opposition net.
Chhetri himself could not do much on the day.
The best chance of the first half came in the 22nd minute but Liston Colaco's free header from a nice cross from the right flank by Udanta Singh sailed over the bar.
India kept on pressing for a goal but failed to put any real pressure on the opposition defence in the remaining period of the first half.
The second half saw Stimac taking off Suresh and bringing in Mohd. Yasir.
In the 60th minute, Dessai flashed a low cross across the face of the Sri Lankan goal and Anirudh Thapa has only to connect to score, but he could not reach to the ball.
With Sri Lanka defending in their own half, the Indians pressed more men upfront for the elusive goal but at the same time their frustration also kept on increasing with passing minute.
Stimac was booked for arguing with the referee as frustration clearly writ large on the face of the Croatian coach.
India missed a golden opportunity to steal a winner two minutes before regulation time. An inswinging Yasir corner was flicked on at the near post by Chhetri and the ball found its way to Subhasish Bose at the far post.
It needed a simple tap-in from Bose but he blazed it over the bar and Sri Lanka escaped to a draw.
Also Read : SAFF Championship: India look to register tournament's first win against Sri Lanka
News Source : PTI
Sloane Stephens beats Heather Watson in marathon match at Indian Wells opener
(Tennis news) In the women’s singles, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens defeated Heather Watson in a three hour match. This is Sloane’s third victory over Heather as she last faced her five years ago at Miami. Sloane came close at the first set tiebreak but in the next two sets played her best to proceed to the next round where she will face 19th seed Jessica Pegula. Sloane defeated Heather 6-7( 5-7), 7-5, 6-1.
Hsieh Su-wei also secured a victory over Madison Brengle with her unconventional drop shots and double handed strokes. She broke Madison in the opening game and raced away to take the first four games and went on to win the set. In the second set which saw many dropshots and volleys by Hsieh as she was down to two games to love but fought back to make it even. Madison broke Hsieh in the most athletic fashion possible as she kept chasing the ball without a doubt and broke to make it five all. Hsieh finally secured the victory in a tiebreak as Madisons’ backhand failed to cross the net. Hsieh defeated Madison 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
Madison Keys proved to be a scare for Kaia Kanepi as she won the first nine games of the match leaving Kaia to lose the set in fifteen minutes but learned her lesson and came back strong in the second set. Kaia was down to 1-3 in the second set but brought back the game to level it five all and with the final run Madison completed an emphatic victory. Madison defeated Kaia 6-0, 7-5.
Alizé Cornet made short work of qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse even though she committed 11 double faults on her way to victory. Cornet had five double faults in the first set but that didn’t stop her from taking control of the rallies as Ruse struggled to win points. In the second set, Ruse improved on her returns as she began to pick on Cornet’s second serve and put up a good fight against the former world number 11. Cornet eventually won the third set in a close tie break to set up a match with US Open runner up Leylah Annie Fernandez. Cornet defeated Ruse 6-3, 7-6(7-5).
In women’s doubles, 6th seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Hayley Carter had a short match against Kaitlyn Christian and Erin Routliffe. Gabriela and Hayley defeated Kaitlyn and Erin 6-4, 6-4. Zhang Shuai and Sania Mirza will face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in their opening match at Indian Wells.
Jaskaran Malhotra among nominees for ICC Player of Month for September
Dubai, Oct 6 (Cricket news) Indian-born American Jaskaran Malhotra, who became only the fourth player to hit six sixes in an over in an international match, was on Wednesday named among three nominees for the ICC Men's Player of the Month for September.
The other two men's nominees were Bangladesh spinner Nasum Ahmed and Nepal's leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
England captain Heather Knight, her compatriot Charlie Dean and South Africa's Lizelle Lee were nominated for the ICC Women's Player of the Month.
The 31-year-old Malhotra, who was born in Chandigarh and captained Himachal Pradesh at U-19 level, smashed six sixes in an over against Papua New Guinea in a World Cup League 2 fixture in Oman on September 9 during a scintillating knock of 173 not out.
Overall, in six ODIs, he has scored 261 runs at an average of 87 and a strike-rate of 104.40.
Nasum Ahmed was Bangladesh's star performer in their home T20I series against New Zealand, leaving the visitors bamboozled with his accurate line and length.
He picked up eight wickets in the series with a sensational performance of 4/10 in the fourth match. His exploits helped the hosts to emerge victorious with a margin of 3-2 against the visitors.
Lamichhane has already impressed one and all with his trickery in his short career so far. He continued his impressive run in the month of September, emerging as the standout bowler in the World Cup League 2.
In six ODIs, he picked up a staggering 18 wickets at an average of 7.38. His performance against Papua New Guinea, against whom he ended with figures of 6/11, grabbed the attention of one and all. Among women, Charlie Dean was a revelation in the home ODI series against New Zealand, emerging as the leading wicket-taker for the hosts with 10 scalps at an average of 19.20 and an economy rate of 4.64.
With the help of the off-break bowler's performances, England won the series 4-1, with her major contributions coming in the second (4/36) and the fourth (3/52) matches respectively.
England skipper Heather Knight was also on fire, both with the bat and ball, during the series against New Zealand. In five ODIs, she scored 214 runs at an average of 42.80 and a strike-rate of 88.06.
Her telling contribution came in the first and the fourth ODIs, where she played substantial knocks of 89 and 101 respectively. She also scalped up three wickets, at a miserly economy rate of 4.66.
The final women's nominee, Lizelle Lee was in a league of her own during the ODI series against the West Indies in the Caribbean.
In four matches, she scored 248 runs at a stunning average of 124. Emerging as the leading run-scorer in the series, she played three brilliant knocks of 91 not out, 78 not out and 61 in the four matches.
Also Read : India Vs Australia 1st W-T20I preview: Question marks over Harmanpreet Kaur's fitness
News Source : PTI
10-man Bangladesh hold India 1-1 despite Chhetri's 76th international goal
Male, Oct 4 (Football news) India allowed a 10-man Bangladesh to come back and score a shock goal after talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri's 76th international strike to play out a 1-1 draw in their SAFF Championships opener here on Monday.
The 37-year-old Chhetri, playing in his 121st match for India, struck in the 27th minute to place himself just a goal shy of legendary Brazillian Pele (77 goals from 92 matches).
He is now in the fourth spot in the list of highest scorers among active footballers, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (111), Lionel Messi (79) and Iraq's Ali Mabkhout (77).
India were the better side in the first half and even though they lost possession quite often, they seemed to be cruising. They also had numerical advantage from 54th minute onwards after Bangladesh player Biswanath Ghosh was sent off for committing a foul on Liston Colaco.
But Igor Stimac's men failed to stop the swift counter-attacking Bangladeshis on their tracks and conceded a goal in the 74th minute to share points, much to the dismay of the Indian camp.
Bangladesh have always been a difficult opponent for India who had needed a late equaliser to draw the first leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Kolkata before winning 2-0 in the second leg. India were in the attacking mode right from the start but a swift counter-attack from Bangladesh almost caught them napping and central defender Chinglensana Singh made a crucial clearance after Ibrahim whipped in a low cross from the left for Motin Mia.
Bangladesh also got a few corners but India were in ascendency after that with Udanta Singh, who returned after missing two Nepal friendlies, managing to outwit his marker and providing crosses from the flank.
Manvir Singh had a feeble head-in from one such cross in the 24th minute but Chhetri was not the one to miss the other one three minutes later. Pritam Kotal released Udanta on the right flank who cut back the ball from near the byline and a perfectly-placed Chhetri smashed it into the roof of the net.
Liston Colaco, who had an impressive outing, had a go at the Bangladesh goal in the 36th minute without any success. Three minutes later, Chhetri had another powerful left-footed strike but goalkeeper Anisur Rahman pulled off a diving save.
India survived a scare in the 40th minute, this time also from a swift counter-attack from the Bangladeshis. But, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a diving save against Biplo Ahmed's shot to keep India's lead intact.
Stimac replaced Anirudh Thapa by bringing Brandon Fernandes in the middle of the park on resumption and India also got a numerical advantage after Biswanath Ghosh was sent off in the 54th minute for bringing down Colaco with only the goalkeeper in front.
Three minutes before that, however, Bangladesh had a chance to equalise but Rakib Hossain shot wide after finding himself free inside the Indian box.
Bangladesh goalkeeper Rahman made a double save in the 61st minute as he blocked shots from Manvir and Udanta.
Stimac substituted Colaco with Lalengmawia and Udanta with Rahim Ali just after the hour mark. But the Bangladeshis, playing under a new coach after the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, pulled one back in the 74th minute despite numerical inferiority.
Yasir Arafat sent a diving header from a swinging corner kick into the Indian goal.
India play Sri Lanka in their second round-robin league match on Thursday.
Also Read : Title favourites India begin SAFF Championships campaign against Bangladesh
News Source : PTI
Title favourites India begin SAFF Championships campaign against Bangladesh
Male, Oct 3 (Football news) Title favourites India begin their SAFF Championships campaign against a plucky Bangladesh on Monday, knowing fully well that they are just "a little bit superior" than their opponents despite the domination in this regional tournament.
India have won the tournament seven times out of the 12 editions but by the own admission of their talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri, every match will be like a "war to fight".
Bangladesh have been a tough customers for India who had needed a late equaliser in the first leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers match in Kolkata to draw 1-1. The Blue Tigers had though won the second leg 2-0.
"Bangladesh are very difficult side. In the two matches we played against Bangladesh in the last few months, it has been very tough," Chhetri had said.
"All the matches (of the tournament) will be tough. Despite a little bit of superiority we many have, every game will be like a war to fight. We have to fight to the last minute. We cannot play 90 per cent." The five-team tournament began on Friday with Nepal and Bangladesh beating Maldives and Sri Lanka by identical 1-0 margins respectively.
Head coach Igor Stimac is taking the SAFF Championships, as the last opportunity for the players to play international matches before the start of the third round of 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in February next year.
He has not minced words in declaring that India are the favourites to win the tournament, saying "we will justify ourselves".
"The first game is always the most difficult game. Bangladesh are a known opponent, but we respect them immensely. In fact, we respect each and every team playing out here, and they have an equal chance to win the tournament,” the coach said.
Stimac made no secret that he will be making the most out of the ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC players, having played in Maldives earlier in the AFC Cup.
"We rely on Bengaluru FC and ATKMB players because not only they played here a few weeks back, but they started work with their respective clubs. And they had enough training sessions, and games in their legs. So their engines are good for such a tournament," he said.
"We need to be careful as to how many minutes we give to each player corresponding to what they can do at the moment with regards to endurance capacities." Chhetri said the message from our coaching staff and head coach is very clear that the players have to minimise mistakes.” "It is more and much more about how we play. We have to make sure that in every game no matter what, we give 100 percent. We cannot be complacent," he said.
Chhetri, a veteran of 16 years in international football, said he doesn't want to lose any game for the country.
"When you are young you play for a lot of things. As you get older, a lot of them diminishes. I've played over 100 games for India, I don't have another 100 and I want to make the most of all the games I have left.
"I want to win a game if I am playing for my country. Both the games against Bangladesh have been extremely difficult ones. I don't want to lose any game for my country," he said.
Other than Chhetri and goalkeeper Gupreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal was also a part of the triumphant squad in 2015.
Also Read : Despite India's 'little bit of superiority', every SAFF C'ships match is 'war to fight': Chhetri
News Source : PTI
Despite India's 'little bit of superiority', every SAFF C'ships match is 'war to fight': Chhetri
Male, Oct 2 (Football news) Talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri on Saturday said despite "a little bit of superiority" India enjoy over the South Asian countries, all the opponents in the ongoing SAFF Championships will be tough and his side will play each match like a "war to fight".
India, who have won the regional football tournament seven times out of the 12 editions, open their campaign against Bangladesh on Monday.
The five-team tournament began on Friday with Nepal and Bangladesh beating Maldives and Sri Lanka by identical 1-0 margins respectively.
"All the matches will be tough. Despite a little bit of superiority we many have, every game will be like a war to fight. We have to fight to the last minute. We cannot play 90 per cent," Chhetri said during a virtual press conference.
The captain, however, conceded that his team has not been at its best in the two international friendlies against Nepal in Kathmandu last month. They drew one and won the other.
"If we are talking about the two matches against Nepal, we have areas to improve and the head coach has conveyed that to us about that. We could have done better.
"Bangladesh have changed their coach (after World Cup qualifiers) but they are very difficult side. In the two matches we played against Bangladesh in the last three-four months, it has been very tough. All the teams in the region have improved.
"So, we want to take it one game at a time. We are at the moment thinking about Bangladesh match only, we are not thinking about the final." Head coach Igor Stimac said the SAFF Championships, which ends on October 16, will be the last opportunity for the players to play international matches before the start of the third round of 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in February next year.
"We could not have a proper camp due to the circumstances. The AFC and SAFF have been forced to organise tournaments outside of the FIFA window (due to the pandemic) and we had to have an understanding with the ISL clubs to release players outside the FIFA window as they also want to do well.
"We said our national team will give up November and the ISL clubs to release players in September and October. We are thankful to the ISL clubs (for releasing the players for SAFF Championships)." Stimac said it's an advantage for the team having players from the Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan who had recently played here during the AFC Cup.
"After playing in the AFC Cup, the BFC and ATK MB players also had their pre-season, so it's an advantage while most of the other ISL sides are yet to have pre-season. So, we have to decide how many minutes we have to give to the players during the 90 minutes.
"But we are in the favourite position to win the tournament and we will justify ourselves." Stimac also talked about the danger of players getting injured while training at the artificial pitches in Male, while Chhetri said the grounds were not "free flowing".
"We are here four days before first match. The training grounds are different here -- artificial and natural pitches. Injuries can happen on changing these pitches, we have to be careful. We are at an island and have to come to Male by speedboats and that made it even more difficult." On Udanta coming back in the team after missing matches against Nepal, Stimac said, "We have seen a different Udanta in the AFC Cup for Bengaluru FC, in his natural position where he was not playing in the past. He came back to his best." "That is what we want to see from Udanta, direct striking with full speed, executing chances and making chances. Every player will get chances here.
"We need to organise in a disciplined way and come back quickly after losing the ball." Stimac said the 2022 World Cup qualifiers matches against Oman and Asian champions Qatar were the best matches after he took charge of the team in the middle of 2019.
"In the last two years, we are trying to come to point where we need to start thinking only about ourselves, not to change our game in regards to our opponent."
Also Read : Indian women's football team seeks first win of year in friendly match against UAE
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Shared best relationship on field with Bhaichung da, Jeje: Chhetri
Male, Sep 30 (Football News) Indian football talisman Sunil Chhetri says he shared the best rapport with former captain Bhaichung Bhutia and striker Jeje Lalpekhlua on the field, thanks to their playing "combination" and "understanding".
The 37-year-old Chhetri is set to appear in his fifth SAFF Championship and before its kick off, he took a walk down the memory lane and picked his favourites from the tournament during a chat with the AIFF.
Asked with whom he has shared the best relationship on and off the field, Chhetri said, "As I have played with so many players, it has kept changing. But I am quite fortunate with whom I have enjoyed my relationship on and off the field. If I stick purely on the pitch, I will pick Bhaichung da (Bhutia) and Jeje (Lalpekhlua), and it has more to do with my combination and understanding with them.
"But if it's a mix, and the proximity which we share then it has to be Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Despite him playing for a very short time, I am extremely fond of him, and we are very close. But then I am close to everyone." It's been 13 years since Chhetri first appeared for India in a SAFF Championship match. Since then, he has been part of the Blue Tigers squad in four editions.
When asked which has been his favourite SAFF Championship so far, he picked the 2015 edition.
"I will pick the one which we won in Kerala in the 2015-16 edition. The rivalry that we had with Afghanistan in the final, and the build-up to it was simply majestic.
"It is also because we had a lot of youngsters in the squad, and won it with just 19 players after Robin Singh got injured in the first match itself. Over 40,000 people turned up to cheer for us in the final. That will always stay with me." Chhetri was also asked about his favourite goal from all the editions he has been part of.
"Jeje's goal in the final against Afghanistan in 2015-16 in Thiruvananthapuram will always be my favourite. It was an extremely tough match, and we were 0-1 down despite having some good chances. The goal was extremely significant, and the manner the superstar flicked it in was sublime.
"Most importantly, it came at the right moment. If we hadn't scored then, maybe we would have panicked and the result could have been different. We eventually went on to win 2-1." India will begin their campaign on October 4 in the upcoming edition starting on Friday.
Asked about the toughest matches he has played so far in the tournament, he said, "There have been quite a few. But if you ask me to pick a specific one, then it has to be the one which we played against Nepal in Kathmandu in the 2013 edition.
"It was a group stage match, and we lost 1-2 in front of a full house. It was noisy, and it has been my toughest match in the Championship so far." He also said Bhutia has been the most "lethal" India player he has played alongside in the tournament.
"That's a really difficult one to answer as there have been many. But I will go for Bhaichung da, and I don't need to explain it. His name itself is self-explanatory."
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Anand hopes one of talented Indian youngsters will become world champ in future
Chennai, Sep 26 (Chess News) Chess legend Viswanathan Anand on Sunday said the country has many immensely talented players at the junior level and one of them can "hopefully" become a world champion in future.
"There are many people with a lot of promise at junior level. R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, D Gukesh, they're very good and motivated. They have been travelling around playing tournaments, they have the determination. Hopefully one of them cracks the code," Anand said.
He was responding to a question on who among the young Indians could go on to become a world champion in future.
The five-time world champion was participating in an online interaction 'Chat with Vishy - Viswanathan Anand' with the participants of the training programme he conducts.
Anand also spoke about and analysed the games he played during the recent FIDE Online Olympiad in which India went down to the US in the tiebreaker in the semifinals to settle for a bronze.
Anand, who beat America's Jeffrey Xiong in the first round before going down to his opponent in the semifinal, said the first game was good but the second was something he was embarrassed about.
"A match we should have won (against the US). The first round we won decisively. The first game against Jeffrey was a good one, the subsequent game against him is something I am embarrassed about," he added.
Anand further said evaluating the performance on the basis of the showing in the knockout was probably not the "good way".
"So, that's the thing about knockouts. It is not a very good way to evaluate if the tournament was well played or not. Decent team, decent chances. It can happen in this format. we hope we will do better the next time," he said about a strong Indian team's defeat at the hands of the USA.
He was also asked about the upcoming world championship match in which the reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway will take on Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in Dubai beginning on November 26.
"Next world champion, once again you have to say Magnus. His recent form has been good while Nepo (Nepomniachtch) has suffered. Magnus has come back from some difficult tournaments. He is just very impressive," he said.
Also Read : Online Chess Olympiad: India bows out in semifinal after losing to US
News Source : PTI
Stimac names 23 players for SAFF Championship, Udanta returns
New Delhi, Sep 26 (Football news) Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac on Sunday named a 23-member squad for the upcoming SAFF Championship in the Maldives with Bangaluru FC winger Udanta Singh returning to the side.
Udanta, who missed the two international friendly matches against Nepal earlier this month, made the cut for the October 1-16 regional tournament.
Chennaiyin FC's Vishal Kaith was named among the three goalkeepers while Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem was omitted.
Defender Akash Mishra, midfielders Bipin Singh and Pronay Halder were the other players left out of the 25-member team that went to Kathmandu for the two international friendlies.
The players and the support staff will assemble in Bengaluru on Monday and fly out to the Maldives the next day. Stimac, and other members of the technical staff, will join the squad directly in Maldives on the same day.
Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and hosts Maldives are the other teams in the championship. Each team plays each other once with the top two teams qualifying for the final.
"We are all looking forward to the SAFF Championship as the leading football country in this part of Asia," Stimac said.
"These 4-5 games are extremely crucial for us as we won’t have any other chance of getting together before the start of 3rd round AFC Asian Cup qualifiers next season. So these matches should help us to improve a few points in our game." The Blue Tigers have won the SAFF Championship (formerly SAARC Cup) seven times -- 1993 in Lahore, 1997 in Kathmandu, 1999 in Margao, 2005 in Karachi, 2009 (U23 squad) in Dhaka, 2011 in New Delhi), 2015-16 in Thiruvananthapuram.
India begin their campaign against Bangladesh on October 4.
India's fixtures in the group stage: October 4: India vs Bangladesh (4.30pm IST).
October 7: India vs Sri Lanka (4.30pm IST).
October 10: India vs Nepal (8.30pm IST).
October 13: India vs Maldives (8.30pm IST).
The Squad: Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.
Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.
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News Source : PTI
Dav Whatmore joins Baroda as head coach
Vadodara, Sep 24 (Cricket News) Former Australian cricketer and World Cup-winning coach Dav Whatmore has joined the Baroda team as its head coach for the upcoming domestic season.
The development was confirmed to PTI by Baroda Cricket Association secretary Ajit Lele on Friday.
"He (Whatmore) joined the day before yesterday as the head coach and he will guide other coaches also, other age groups," Lele said.
The 67-year-old Whatmore has got years of experience in top-flight cricket and was coach of the Sri Lankan team that won the World Cup in 1996.
He then went on to coach various teams and in the Indian domestic circuit, he has had Kerala under his tutelage.
His last assignment was with Nepal.
The BCCI has already announced the domestic schedule for the 2021-22 season and this time the Ranji Trophy will also be played after it had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic last season.
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News Source : PTI
Full vaccination mandatory for I-League players, except U-18 and those recovered from COVID recently
New Delhi, Sep 22 (Football News) All the footballers taking part in the I-League starting in December will have to be fully vaccinated except for U-18 players and those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection, League CEO Sunando Dhar said on Wednesday.
The I-League 2021-22 is expected to be held under bio-secure environment with strict COVID-19 protocols in Kolkata and its surrounding suburbs.
"It will be mandatory for all the players and officials taking part in the I-League and I-League qualifiers to have both doses of COVID-19 vaccination. The only exception will be the players who are under-18 years and those who cannot be vaccinated due to recent recovery from the infection," Dhar told PTI in an interview.
"Last year, double dose vaccination was not mandatory but we have made it mandatory this time. In that sense, it is stricter this time," he added.
The U-18 players and those who have not got their jabs due to recent COVID-19 recovery will have to undergo more frequent testing during the tournament than the vaccinated players.
"If the fully vaccinated players are having test for every 5-6 days, they (U-18 players and recently recovered players) will be tested every 3-4 days," he said.
All the players and officials are also required to remain in quarantine for six days in their respective hotels after arrival. They will be tested twice during those six days.
Anybody who tested positive will be isolated in a different floors of the hotel and he will have to have three consecutive negative test results before joining their team-mates.
Dhar said it will be more challenging to manage the bio-bubble this time as 13 teams are competing as against 11 last year. The 13 teams and match officials will be put up in a bio-bubble comprising three hotels. Last year, the 11 I-League teams were put up in two hotels in Kolkata.
"We have the experience of last year, we were the first in the country to stage tournaments inside a bio-bubble. So we already have a template to follow.
"But the challenge will be to live up to expectations. Moreover, there are two teams more this time than last year. So, more matches and longer duration of the league. But we are hoping we will pull it off smoothly just like last year." He also said that only six COVID-19 cases were reported during last year's I-League out of the 12500 tests conducted.
Dhar also made a point that the AIFF's COVID-19 management abilities have been appreciated by other countries also.
"I had gone to Kathmandu for a workshop organised by All Nepal Football Association. I was invited to make a presentation on the bio-bubble management of the AIFF so that they can learn and apply in their domestic competitions," he said.
The I-League qualifiers will be played in Bangalore starting October 4 among 10 teams from which one will be promoted to the I-League. Out of the 10 teams, seven are new teams. Last year, only five teams competed in the I-League qualifiers.
"We had put all the players and officials inside one hotel last time. This time, we will use two hotels in Bangalore as bio-bubble.
"Seven teams will be in one hotel and the other three teams along with match officials will occupy another hotel. The players and match officials in the second hotel will occupy different sections." The matches will be played in front of empty stadium.
He said there will be live streaming of the I-League qualifier matches and even they are trying for live broadcast the games on television.
Dhar also said that it was unfortunate that the Golden Baby League grasssroot programme and other age group leagues have to be stopped due to the pandemic. The All India Football Federation is, however, hoping to resume the programmes next year.
On the Indian Women's League, which was not held this season due to the second wave of the pandemic, Dhar said, "It should happen in March-April next year after the Women's AFC Asian Cup."
Also Read : Delhi FC reach Durand Cup quarterfinals with 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters
News Source : PTI
MI eye improved batting effort against rejuvenated KKR
Abu Dhabi, Sep 22 (Cricket News) Defending champions Mumbai Indians would look for inspiration from skipper Rohit Sharma, who is set to return to action, when they take on a rejuvenated Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League match here on Thursday.
Mumbai were without the services of Rohit and star all-rounder Hardik Pandya in their 20-run defeat to Chennai Super Kings on Sunday as both were rested as a precautionary measure due to having niggles. However, head coach Mahela Jayawardene has said Rohit should be fit and available for selection for the match against KKR.
KKR, on the other hand, have registered a dominating nine-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in their opening game of the second leg of the league.
Mumbai, who are currently placed fourth in the table with eight points, began their second leg campaign in a typical slow manner but with only half the tournament left to play, the defending champions need to win to stay in the top half of the league table.
Rohit, who has been in fine touch of late, will be expected to continue in the same vein and help his side make amends of the inept batting performance against CSK. Apart from Saurabh Tewary, who hit an unbeaten half century, none of the other batsmen were able to capitalize on their starts against CSK, failing to chase down 156.
On the other hand, the comprehensive win would have boosted KKR’s confidence. Having struggled in the first leg, KKR looked a completely different unit, in the manner in which they defeated RCB.
The Eoin Morgan-led side, placed sixth in the points table, fired on all cylinders with mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy and star all-rounder Andre Russell wreaking havoc with the ball before openers Shubman Gill and debutant Venkatesh Iyer chased down the 93-run target with 10 overs to spare.
Skipper Morgan had said that KKR would be dangerous opponents with nothing to lose in the second leg and the team certainly looked menacing against RCB. They will hope to continue playing in a similar aggressive fashion and win the title just like 2014 edition when they notched nine victories in a row.
They will also hold the edge over their rivals having already experienced the conditions at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium against RCB.
The Teams (from): Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathy, Shubman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pawan Negi, M Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Dube, Tim Southee, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russel, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain) Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Anukul Roy, Arjun Tendulkar, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, James Neesham, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Marco Jansen, Yudhvir Singh, Adam Milne, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult.
Match starts at 7:30PM IST.
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News Source : PTI
Strikers need to be ruthless in front of goal: Choudhary
New Delhi, Sep 17 (Football news) Young Indian football team forward Farukh Choudhary feels a striker needs to be ruthless in front of the goal to reap rich dividends for the side in any match.
Choudhary, who recently scored his first goal in international football, said being calm and confident are also the hallmark of a good forward.
"I won't say that a striker is completely different. When it comes to defending, we all need to defend together. But in attack, a striker has a different set of responsibilities," he told AIFF TV.
"You want your striker to score goals. That's the main reason why he's in the team. The most important thing is focus, you need to be focused for the whole 90 minutes. A striker needs to be ruthless in front of goal." While Choudhary made his international debut in 2018 SAFF Cup, he scored his first international goal against Nepal in the second friendly which India won 2-1 at the Dasrath Stadium in Kathmandu earlier this month "I've been trying for a very long time. I created a lot of chances, but never got a chance myself to score an international goal. I don't know how to describe this feeling. As an Indian football fan, as a professional player, to score a goal in international football means everything to me. I hope that I can score more in the future," he said.
"I have been struggling with this, and it often comes with experience. Playing more games, getting more opportunities are very important for strikers. You need to be calm in front of goal. if you don't have the composure, then you can't score," added the 24-year-old.
The Blue Tigers are currently preparing for the upcoming SAFF Championships, which are set to be held in the Maldives next month.
Looking back on his previous SAFF experience, Choudhary fondly remembers his 2018 experience as one in which he donned the coveted India jersey for the first time.
Also read: AIFF president Patel meets Sports Minister Thakur
"I was called up to the national camp for the first time before the 2018 SAFF, and I really learned a lot about how things work at that level.
"To play my first international game was amazing. The atmosphere in Bangladesh was just brilliant," he recalled.
News source: PTI
Manika Batra left out of India squad for Asian TT Championships
New Delhi, Sep 15 (Table Tennis News) Star paddler Manika Batra was on Wednesday left out of the India squad for the Asian Championships beginning September 28 in Doha after she did not attend the mandatory national camp in Sonepat.
In the absence of the world number 56th player, 97th-ranked Sutirtha Mukherjee will lead the women's team. The other members are Ayhika Mukherjee (ranked 131) and Archana Kamath (132).
Veteran Sharath Kamal (ranked 33) will spearhead the men's challenge in the company of G Sathiyan (38), Harmeet Desai (72), Manav Thakkar (134) and Sanil Shetty (247).
Powerhouse China is not taking part in the event, raising medal hopes in the men's team event. Singles and doubles competitions will also be conducted.
The Table Tennis Federation of India had made it clear that any player not attending the camp will not be considered for selection. The team was picked on Wednesday and was subsequently published on TTFI website.
The federation had made attendance in camps compulsory following the Tokyo Olympics.
Manika had informed the federation that she would like to continue training with her personal coach in Pune.
The Khel Ratna awardee has also made match fixing allegations against national coach Soumydeep Roy for asking her to throw a match during the Olympic qualifiers. TTFI has formed an inquiry panel to probe the allegations.
Sathiyan, Desai and Sutirtha joined the national camp late due to different reasons. Sathiyan was playing in Poland, Harmeet was in Germany while Sutirtha had fever.
Men's team: Manav Thakkar, Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty.
Men's doubles: Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan; Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai.
Women's team: Sutirtha Mukherjee, Sreeja Akula, Ayhika Mukherjee, Archana Kamath.
Women's doubles: Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula; Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee.
Mixed doubles: Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath; Harmeet Desai and Sreeja Akula.
Also Read : TTFI calls executive committee meeting to discuss Manika's fixing allegations against national coach
News Source : PTI
ICC T20 Rankings: Virat, Rahul remain static at 4th and 6th places, no bowler in top-10
Dubai, Sep 15 (Cricket News) India captain Virat Kohli and star batsman KL Rahul maintained their fourth and sixth place respectively among the batsmen while no Indian bowler featured in the top-10 in the ICC T20 rankings.
The top seven batsmen led by England's Dawid Malan maintained their rankings while South African keeper-batter Quinton de Kock is now ranked eighth while West Indies Evin Lewis has dropped a place to be ninth in the list.
Among bowlers, Tabraiz Shamsi still holds the pole position followed by Wanindu Hasaranga and Rashid Khan.
India's top ranked bowler in the list is veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar at 12th while injured off-spinner Washington Sundar is the other in the top-20 at 18th place.
Yuzvendra Chahal is the only bowler who has shown improvement and is now 25th although he has been dropped from the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.
In the all-rounders' list, the only Indian among the top-20 is Hardik Pandya, who is just about managed to make the list with 98 points.
The Indians last played a T20 series in Sri Lanka and hence haven't played any games in the shortest format.
Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman has moved up two places to eighth after finishing with eight wickets in the series against South Africa while Nasum Ahmed (up 25 places to 15th) and Mehedi Hasan (up four places to 20th) have also made notable progress.
However, Shakib Al Hasan has conceded the top spot for all-rounders to Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi.
In the ODI rankings for batters, Jaskaran Malhotra of the United States, who struck sixes in an over from Papua New Guinea’s Gaudi Toka in a World Cup Super League 2 match, has rocketed 169 places to 132nd.
In the bowlers’ list, Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane is now in top-100 at 91st place.
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News Source : PTI
Kerala Blasters FC extend association with BYJU’S as the clubs title sponsor
(Football news) Kerala Blasters have announced their extension with BYJU’S as the clubs title sponsor for the eighth edition of the Indian Super League. This will be the second year where the two brands will be partners and the official KBFC jersey will adorn the BYJU’S logo for all ISL matches.
Speaking on the announcement, Atit Mehta, Marketing Head, BYJU’S, said, “We are delighted to extend our partnership with Kerala Blasters FC, one of the most followed football clubs in the country. While the pandemic disrupted our lives, our love for football has brought us closer than before and strengthened our bond. I thank the fans for their unwavering love and support and am certain that they will be cheering even louder for their team this year. My best wishes are with the team.”
Kerala Blasters FC’s Director, Nikhil Bhardwaj says: "We are elated to welcome back BYJU’S for another year of partnership. Like in football and life, learning is an ever-evolving process and we’re happy to be continuing this journey together with a partner that best understands this. Together, we look forward to empowering millions of children around the world and helping them realize their dreams through education and sport."
BYJU’s is the largest EdTech company in the world and is also the current sponsor of the Indian National Cricket team.
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From vegetarian food to extra security, Pakistan taking extra care of India's budding tennis players
New Delhi, Sep 13 (Tennis news) From arranging vegetarian food to booking practice courts without asking and beefed up security, Pakistan is "going out of their way" to make the eight-member Indian tennis contingent feel "special" in Islamabad, which is playing host to the Asian U-12 ITF regional qualifying event.
A few Indian junior tennis players have competed across the border in individual capacity in different ITF Grade events but it is the first time that a junior national team has travelled to Pakistan for a multi-nation tournament.
The Indian Davis Cup team has not travelled to the neighbouring nation since 1964 and no senior player has competed on the Pakistan soil since the friendship series between the two nations in November 2007 in Lahore.
Obviously, Pakistan is glad to host Indian players even if they are just 12-year-old boys and girls.
Aarav Chawla, Ojas Mehlawat and Rudra Batham feature in the boys team while the girls team has Maaya Revathi, Harithashree Venkatesh and Janhavi Kajla.
Incidentally, former national champion Ashutosh Singh, who was part of the 2007 friendship series, is with the boys team as coach.
Ashutosh says having the India flag on their official jerseys had started to attract attention even before they landed in Pakistan.
"At the Doha airport, a few people noticed the tricolour on our jerseys and they got interested in our group. They belonged to Pakistan and were happy to know that we were headed to Islamabad. If you are an Indian player, they want to talk to you," Ashutosh told PTI from Islamabad.
"Before we reached the immigration desk, the Pakistan Tennis Federation had all the clearances in place. It was clear, they were happy to have us as guests. We also had an escort vehicle till the hotel.
"There were no security concerns. Even the parents of the kids were pretty confident. All the top players of Pakistan like Aqeel Khan are our good friends. They always keep tennis away from politics." Namita Bal, who is the coach the girls team, was overwhelmed by the special treatment they are receiving.
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"They are taking care of our tiniest of things. Janhavi is the lone vegetarian in our group but they are arranging vegetarian food for her everyday. We are supposed to book our courts and arrange for water but they are taking care of everything," chuckled Namita.
"Not only this, we arrived a day earlier (Saturday) than the scheduled time and were supposed to pay for our hotel but we were told that we don't need to pay. We are overwhelmed by the warmth, love and respect we are receiving in Pakistan," added Namita.
"They are making sure we don't feel as if we are enemies. They are calling us 10 times a day to ask if we need anything. They are going out of their way to make us feel comfortable." The India boys and girls are favourites to win their respective events at the ITF Asia 12 & Under Team Competition, which is a South Asia Regional Qualifying event. The top two teams will make it to the next round, which be held in Kazakhstan in November.
The Indian boys team blanked Nepal 3-0 and the girls team beat Pakistan 2-1 to start their campaign on a good note on Monday.
Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah Khan told PTI that they would "love to host the senior Indian teams as well." "India has some really strong players and playing with them will benefit our players. It will be a good experience for our boys and girls to play against these Indian kids.
"Our agencies, the special police force are alert and taking extra care of the Indian squad. All we want us is that they inform us, if they are going anywhere. They must inform us," he said.
"The junior Indian players used to come here for ITF Grade 4-5 events but now they don't come. We want that Indian players come here and Pakistan players compete in India," said Khan, who last came to India in 2005 when her mother underwent an eye surgery in Mumbai.
India's number one U12 player Aarav's father Jitender Chawla, who works in corporate world, said he had no apprehensions in sending his son to Pakistan. "People say a lot of things but when the players are there as national guest I don't feel there should be any problem. If something has to happen can happen anywhere. Aarav was pretty excited to go there.
Aarav trains with Aditya Sachdeva, who heads the training program at Roundglass sport in Chandigarh.
News source: PTI
Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters FC partners with PhonePe as official payments partner
(Football news) India’s leading football club Kerala Blasters FC has announced its association with PhonePe, a digital payment and financial services platform for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL). With this partnership, the PhonePe logo will now be visible on the back of Kerala Blasters jerseys, worn by the players and fans during the Indian Super League.
In a press release, Nikhil Bhardwaj, Director, Kerala Blasters FC said, “PhonePe is one of the new generation companies of India and it gives us all at KBFC immense pleasure to welcome them to the Blasters family. They are paving the way by leading a digital and lifestyle transformation and share our vision to make people’s lives better through technology and sport.”
Ramesh Srinivasan, Director – Brand Marketing, PhonePe said, “With a user base of 30Cr+ Indians and growing, we pride ourselves in not just being a national brand but also a regional brand. Specifically, in the Kerala market, Football and KBFC are big passion points and we are excited about this partnership. We welcome the opportunity to be a part of the cultural fabric of the state and contribute meaningfully by bringing digital payments and financial services to everyone”
The upcoming Indian Super League season is set to begin on November 19th.
Also read: Jamshedpur FC ropes in Scottish midfielder Greg Stewart for upcoming ISL
TTFI calls executive committee meeting to discuss Manika's fixing allegations against national coach
New Delhi, Sep 9 (Table Tennis news): The Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) has called its executive committee meeting on Saturday to discuss star player Manika Batra's allegations of match-fixing against national coach Soumyadeep Roy. After Manika's allegation, in response to the TTFI's showcause notice, that the national coach had asked her to throw a match during the Olympic qualifiers in March, the federation had asked Roy for a written response which he has submitted.
"Both Manika and Roy will be heard in the meeting and inquiry panel will be formed," TTFI secretary Arun Banerjee told PTI on Thursday.
National camp in Sonepat ================ On the ongoing national camp in Sonepat, Banerjee said most of the players have reported barring Manika. G Sathiyan, who had wanted to train in Poland instead, is also expected to reach in a day or two.
The federation recently made camp attendance compulsory for players to be eligible for big events, including the Asian Championships in Doha later this month.
Sutirtha Mukherjee, who did not report to Sonepat at the start of the camp, has also reached after recovering from fever, said Banerjee.
"The rules are pretty clear. You have to attend the camp to be eligible for selection," he said. No full-time coach since 2018 Asian Games =========================== The federation, which has not managed to rope in a foreign coach in more than three years due to COVID-19 pandemic and other reasons, is looking to hire one at the earliest.
Former Spanish player Alfredo Carneros has emerged as one of the candidates. India veteran Sharath Kamal had defeated him in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"We lost a lot of time due to COVID. We are on the lookout and are talking to a few coaches. A decision will be made soon," added Banerjee.
Also read: Manika rubbishes TTFI's claim that she did not report Roy's alleged fixing offer in March
News source: PTI
Manchester United close to appointing Richard Arnold as the new Chief Executive
(Football news) After the optimism of signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United hierarchy are going to announce Richard Arnold as Ed Woodward’s replacement. United had announced that Woodward would step down at the end of the year after the European Super league (ESL) debacle. Woodward was appointed as the clubs Vice Chief Executive after taking over the post from David Gill in 2012 post Sir Alex Freguson’s retirement.
Richard Arnold currently holds the post of Group Managing Director at the club and will be promoted to one of the most powerful positions in British sports. The Glazers are under a lot of scrutiny when Ed Woodward announced that he would step down after the massive protest held by United supporters in the wake of the European Super League where the fans raided the Old Trafford pitch, forcing them to postpone the match against Liverpool in early may.
The Glazer family, since purchasing the club in 2005 have taken more than 500 million in dividends as the club debt stands at 450 million as of now. The United owners Joel Glazer and Avram Glazers take 8 million from the annual shareholder payout which constitutes to 10 million per year. Manchester United being the biggest club in the world get a lot of sponsorship deals which in turn makes a lot of money but instead of investing it in the clubs infrastructure, development and recruitment of players the owners are just keeping the money in their pockets.
Also read: Back where it belongs: Cristiano Ronaldo reunited with the iconic number 7 Manchester United jersey
Ed Woodward, an investment banker who worked at JP Morgan and had no previous experience in football was handed the most important position in the club as he had to look after the recruitment and development of the club. He not only failed miserably but quickly became a scapegoat for the incompetence of the owners. In his 10 year tenure, Woodward spent around a billion on transfers but the quality of players that he bought were all inept and not suiting the team ethos. The reason he was holding the post for so many years is because Woodward brought in tremendous numbers of sponsors which kept the shareholders and owners pockets happy.
Now that the club have appointed John Murtogh and Darren Fletcher as director of football and technical director respectively, the pressure on Richard Arnold might be less but the very fact that he has been in the club since 2005 when the Glazers bought the club gives an indication that not much will change in terms of the post. The club is heading into a new direction especially when you see the clubs recruitment this season as the fans will be hoping that Arnold doesn't repeat the same mistakes as Ed Woodward.
I had suicidal thoughts but coach pulled me out: Sundar Singh Gurjar
New Delhi, (Sports news): He battled not just loss of limb but also suicidal thoughts not too long ago and as javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar celebrated his maiden Paralympic bronze, he couldn't help but be thankful to the people who drew him out of the abyss, especially his coach Mahavir Saini.
Till 2015, Sundar competed in able-bodied competitions and was even a part of the junior national camp featuring Tokyo Olympics gold-medallist Neeraj Chopra among others.
But the 25-year-old's life changed drastically when a tin shed fell on him at his friend's house leading to the amputation of his left hand.
Sundar didn't lose hope though and with the unflinching support of his coach, he returned to the turf in the para athlete category. In a year's time, he qualified for the 2016 Rio Paralympics before fate once again played a cruel role and he was left shattered.
"...I fought back and qualified for 2016 Paralympics only to be disqualified. That time I started thinking everything is finished, there is nothing left for me," Sundar said in an interview.
"I thought of committing suicide but that time my coach (Mahavir Saini) realised something wrong is going on in my mind. For a month he kept me along with him 24x7, didn't leave me alone.
"As time passed, my thoughts started to change. I started thinking I will start playing again and answer back to the world." It was a delay of 52 seconds in reaching the call room that led to his disqualification from Rio Games.
"I was leading at the top in my event during 2016 Paralympics but I was just 52 seconds late in reaching the call room and I was disqualified. I was really heartbroken after that, said the F46 javelin throw bronze-medallist from Tokyo.
Sundar credits his coach Mahavir for single-handedly transforming his life and career.
"I used to play sports since 2009. Initially I used to do shot put and I had a medal in shot put in nationals. I did shot put for one-and-half years and after that my coach Mahavir Saini told me if you have to shine in your career you have to leave shot put and start javelin," he said.
"He might have seen some talent in me and he started training me. From there till now, coach saab has supported me a lot." Sundar also recalled his time training with Neeraj at the camp.
"He was two years junior to me. I used to play Under-20 and he used to be in Under-18. We played a few competitions together at the youth level. In junior India camp me and Neeraj were together in SAI Sonepat camp in 2013-14. Then I suffered an accident in 2015 and came under para," he said.
"But our success will definitely inspire the younger generation in taking up the sport." Sundar is now determined to better the the colour of his medal. "I feel I still have some drawbacks. I won a medal in Paralympics but I am not satisfied because my target was to win the gold and I hope to do that in 2024 Paris Paralympics.
"My first focus would be on Para Asian Games and the World Championships next year but the final target is Paris," he said.
Sundar has been working as an officer in Rajasthan government's forest department along side compatriots Avani Lekhara and Devendra Jhajharia since November last year but he got his first salary just after winning the Paralympic medal.
"I have been working in forest department in Rajasthan since 5th November 2020. But the day I won the Paralympics medal, within two hours I got my first salary of 10 months," he rued.
Also read: TT robot facilitated by SAI helped me create history at Paralympics, says Bhavina
News Source: PTI
UAE stumper-batter Shabbir banned for 4 years
Dubai, Sep 6 (Cricket news) UAE's wicketkeeper-batsman Gulam Shabbir was on Monday banned from all cricket for four years after he admitted breaching six counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code during the series against Nepal and Zimbabwe in 2019.
The game's governing body International Cricket Council (ICC) disclosed that Shabbir breached articles 2.4.4, 2.4.5. 2.4.6 and 2.4.7 of the Code.
Shabbir failed to disclose to the Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) the full details of attempted approaches to engage in corrupt conduct in relation to the series against Nepal in January/February 2019.
He also failed to disclose to the ACU full details of approaches or invitations to engage in corrupt conduct in relation to the series against Zimbabwe in April 2019.
He also did not disclose an approach received by a teammate to engage in corrupt conduct in relation to the series against Zimbabwe and hid full details of facts and/or incidents that he was aware of which may have evidenced corrupt conduct by other Participants.
As per article 2.4.6, he failed to cooperate with the ACU’s investigation by failing to surrender all his mobile devices upon request and failing to produce documentation requested by the ACU and also obstructed the ACU’s investigation by concealing information that may have been relevant to the investigation (2.4.7).
Also read: Late Irish charge not enough as Zimbabwe win the last match of T20I series
His ban is effective till August 20, 2025.
"Shabbir played 40 matches for the UAE and was expected to understand his responsibilities as an international cricketer.
"He also attended at least three anti-corruption education sessions in which players were reminded of their obligations to report any approaches by corrupters," Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager - Integrity Unit, said.
"It was disappointing to note that he did not report any of the approaches. Although he was cooperative when interviewed and expressed remorse, it is only appropriate that he be banned so that a strong message goes out to other players and potential corrupters," he added.
News source: PTI
Manika rubbishes TTFI's claim that she did not report Roy's alleged fixing offer in March
New Delhi, Sep 6 (Table tennis news) Star player Manika Batra on Sunday dismissed TTFI's "false" claim that she did not report the matter to the national federation when national coach Soumyadeep Roy allegedly asked her to throw a match during the Olympic qualifier in March.
Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) secretary Arun Banerjee has questioned the timing of Manika's allegations against Roy.
However, the leading India player, in her response to federation's showcause notice over not taking Roy's help during the recently held Tokyo Olympics, stated that the national coach asked her to fix a match in Doha and she had "promptly" reported the matter to TTFI which did not take any action. It was also the reason she could not take Roy's help in Tokyo.
She reiterated the same to PTI on Sunday: "I just wish to say it's clearly stated in my written reply to the notice and letter to TTFI that I had reported about the matter to them long back (in March) .
"I don't know why the false claim is made now of me not reporting it for five months. My reply to the notice clearly claims of my prompt reporting of it." TTFI has asked Roy to present his side of the story in a written reply.
"From my side, I did not promise to oblige him and promptly reported this matter to a TTFI official. I decided not to obey the unethical command of the national coach.
Also read: Manika alleges national coach Roy asked her to fix match in Olympic qualifiers
"I have been falsely charged with ''bringing disrepute to the country by the sight of an empty chair of the coach''.
"But the truth is that the ''empty chair'' was the result of the national coach's pressure tactics for match fixing and TTFI's inaction to act on my prompt reporting of that incident and not the result of my so called indiscipline," Manika had stated in her response to the notice.
She is also unlikely to attend the national camp underway in Sonepat ahead of the Asian Championships later this month. TTFI has made it clear that any player missing the camp will not be considered for national selection.
Star male player G Sathiyan has decided to cut short his training and competition stint in Poland and is set to join the camp on September 10 or 11.
News source: PTI
India still has a lot to prove and many points to improve on: Stimac after Nepal win
Kathmandu, Sep 6 (Football news) The Indian football team's head coach Igor Stimac feels the side "has a lot to prove and many points to improve on" despite heading back home unbeaten in the two international friendlies against Nepal.
After a 1-1 draw in the first friendly, India notched up 2-1 win in the second game against Nepal on Sunday thanks to second-half strikes by Farukh Choudhary and skipper Sunil Chhetri.
"We need to congratulate the players on their attitude and their willingness to go and win the game," Stimac said at the post-match press conference.
"I especially need to appreciate my players because they were much more patient, waiting for the first goal, to open up the Nepali defence, and as you know, when that happens, everything is much easier.
"But I think India still has a lot to prove and many points to improve on,” he added.
Also read: How Indian Football can take inspiration from the Indian Hockey team
Stimac felt that both sides put up better performances in the second match.
"I think it was a good game of football that all the fans could enjoy. This second game was much better than the previous one.
"After we scored the first goal, we started rising with confidence and playing as we need to play. I think overall India were the better of the two sides over the two games, and deservedly are going forward with a win," he quipped.
Commenting on the hosts' performance Stimac said: "Nepal played well, they improved a lot. I can see how much it means to the team when it has two months of preparation."
News source: PTI
India's para-athletes soar high in best ever Paralympics performance
Tokyo, Sep 5 (Paralympic news): Inspirational, incredible and indomitable.
India's paralympians managed to be all these and much more in an epoch-making campaign at the Tokyo Games where an unparalleled 19 medals, including five gold, helped them sign off 24th in the overall tally -- the highest ever.
The tally also included eight silver and six bronze medals but most importantly, it was a performance during which history was scripted almost everyday with the contingent living up to the 'Spirit in Motion' motto of the Games.
Even on the last day of competitions, the medal rush did not stop and Krishna Nagar won a gold after Noida's District Magistrate Suhas Yathiraj signed off his brilliant run with a silver to complete a remarkable badminton show.
The duo's performance was like icing on the cake for the contingent which found new heroes, celebrated some established ones and brought para-sports firmly into spotlight in India.
In all, 54 came to Tokyo and 17 of them left with medals around their necks.
It was an improved performance no doubt but calling it just improvement would be an understatement given that India's overall Games haul was a mere 12 before this edition.
To put things in perspective, at the 2016 Rio Games, India had 19 athletes across five disciplines with four returning with medals in the end.
"Phenomenal Rise of Indian Paralympians! A New Era has Begun," said sports minister Anurag Thakur.
There were several firsts to celebrate and the euphoria lasted the entire duration of the Games.
Two athletes, shooters Avani Lekhara and Singhraj Adana, finished on podium twice, creating their own legacies in their debut Paralympics.
The 19-year-old Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win a Games gold (10m air rifle) and later added a bronze in 50m rifle 3 positions to ensure that her name would now be part of every India-centric Paralympic quiz.
It was an inspiring show by the teenage who was paralysed waist down after being injured in a car accident in 2012.
And to think of it, all her father had hoped to achieve by taking her to shooting range was for Lekhara to get over the anger she had internalised after the accident which left her wheelchair-bound.
The 39-year-old Adana, on the other hand, was a late bloomer after taking a liking to the pistol while dropping his nephew to the range.
His right hand impaired, Adana knocked off a 10m air pistol bronze and 50m pistol silver to ensure that India had more than one double-medallist in the same Games for the first time ever.
There was the first medal in archery through Harvinder Singh (bronze), impaired after wrong medication for dengue, the first medal in table tennis by waist-down paralysed Bhavinben Patel (silver) and also a remarkable two gold medals in badminton through short of stature Nagar and a polio-stricken Pramod Bhagat. Another shooting star rose on horizon with Manish Narwal, all of 19, already a world champion and now a Paralympic champion as well.
Narwal's right hand is impaired and he originally wanted to be a footballer but fate had other plans for the Lionel Messi fan.
Not to mention the legends -- Devendra Jhajharia (javelin throw) and Mariyappan Thangavelu (high jump).
The two long-time flag-bearers of Indian para-sports, who won gold medals in 2016 Rio, and finished on podium again, this time with silver medals, cementing their place among all-time greats of Indian sports.
Bigger than their medals were the circumstances they beat like every athlete that they competed against.
So if Lekhara found her strength with a rifle in her hand after a car accident, Jhajharia, at 40 and with an arm lost to electrocution as a child, showed what longevity truly means in sport.
Nearly half (8) of India's haul this time came from the track-and-field arena with javelin thrower Sumit Antil shining the brightest with a gold en route which he shattered his own world record five times over.
Antil was pursuing a career in wrestling, as his family wanted, before a bike accident led to the amputation of his left leg, changing the course of his life forever.
At 18, Praveen Kumar became India's youngest medallist with a silver in high jump which came with an Asian record for the debutant, whose left leg is impaired.
Another shinning star was Sundar Singh Gurjar, who finished behind Jhajharia in javelin throw.
Gurjar lost his left hand in an accident and in his maiden Paralympics in Rio, he was disqualified after failing to register in time for his event.
He slipped into depression after the heartbreak and had thought of never touching the javelin again but was convinced into giving it another shot by his coaches.
This time, Gurjar was on the clock and also on the podium.
In fact, all of them, even the ones who didn't win a medal, are a personification of fortitude, having braved and beaten circumstances that were difficult at best and improbable at worst.
The performance was a perfect end to India's Tokyo sojourn after able-bodied athletes snared an unprecedented seven Olympic medals last month, including the first individual gold in 13 years. But the paralympians bested their tally by quite a distance.
In the process, they also handed out life lessons on what it means to fight the odds.
If a world scarred by COVID-19 needed inspiration to fight on, it was there in abundance in Tokyo.
The Games truly lived up to an old marketing slogan coined to promote the event -- "the Olympics is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come."
Also read: Manoj Sarkar clinches bronze in the badminton men's singles SL3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
News source: PTI
Below-par India look to raise the level against Nepal in second international friendly
Kathmandu, Sep 4 (Football news) Held by a lowly Nepal in their last match, the Indian men's football team would settle for nothing less than a victory in the second international friendly against the Himalayan nation here on Sunday.
Worse, Indian football team is not at all happy with the training facilities provided by the host country.
At 105, India are ranked much above the 171st placed Nepal in the FIFA rankings, but still then the Sunil Chhetri-led side produced a below-par show in the first match to be held to a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
In the last match, substitute Anirudh Thapa came in as saviour for the visitors as found the equaliser in the 60th minute after Nepal grabbed the lead through Anjan Bista in the 36th minute.
But come tomorrow, India will have to raise their game by leaps and bounds to outwit a determined Nepal, who will brimming with confidence following the last match result.
The friendlies are being organised as part of preparations for next month's SAFF Championships in Maldives.
The five-team SAFF Championships will be held from October 3 to October 13 at the National Stadium in Male.
Besides India, the other participating teams are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, hosts Maldives and Nepal.
India head coach Igor Stimac was not happy with the performance but hoped for a better show from his wards on Sunday.
"The mood is positive and our boys are aware that they can do much better. Of course, we are still short with the energy level because we are just at the end of the second week of preparation, and the legs are still heavy. But, they are looking forward to put in a better performance," he said.
"We are going to change a few things, and see if that can help us in terms of passing with more confidence, and getting forward easier." India custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu too feels that the team needs to raise its bar on Sunday to come out on the positive side of the result.
"The last game was a tough one and Nepal were very organised. We had moments where we could have done better as a team, and there were moments where we did get better.
Also read: Chennaiyin FC rope in Vladimir Koman to complete their foreign signings
"We need to make sure that we have a strong mentality going into the second game. We need to make sure that we use it to prepare for the SAFF Championship in good order," he said.
Thapa, who suffered an injury scare in his ankle in the last match, is fit to play on Sunday.
"I am fine now," assured Thapa.
"I have been working on my short sprints, especially my start. That allowed me to connect the ball ahead of my marker, and even goalkeeper Kiran-bhai (Kiran Limbu)," he explains.
"We were much better in the second half in the first match and wished the match could have continued for some more time for us to find the winner," Thapa concluded.
News source: PTI
Unplayable practice pitches in Kathmandu adds to India's woes
New Delhi, Sep 4 (Football news) The Indian football team's practice session ahead of the second international friendly, scheduled to be played against Nepal on Sunday, has hit a major roadblock owing to the lack of basic practice amenities in Kathmandu.
The Blue Tigers haven’t been able to get a practice field since their first match on September 2 and have been stuck in the team hotel since then.
A brief morning shower on Friday forced them to cancel their evening practice session, and the recovery process post has suffered a lot.
Though it looks decent from the surface, the heavy and wet underfoot conditions at the practice pitch made available to India at the Army Headquarters is extremely dangerous with almost the entire boot of the players being submerged in water the moment they take the field.
Also read: Football: India draw 1-1 with Nepal in friendly
With that risking injuries, the team management is equally concerned and confused as to how to go about the situation.
PTI has learnt that the head coach has been extremely upset at not being able to get a decent pitch to practice.
Further, the main pitch at the Dasharath Stadium is almost equally bad. The Indian contingent had put in a request to practice at the main stadium but that was disallowed by match officials citing that an hour's practice will make the pitch unplayable on match day.
Interestingly enough, the Indian players had picked up pieces of big pebbles prior to the official practice on September 2, and even the entire ground wasn’t available for practice.
News source: PTI
How Indian Football can take inspiration from the Indian Hockey team
(Football news) The Indian football team drew 1-1 against Nepal in what was a very unenterprising performance from the Blue Tigers. Igor Stimac’s record over the past two years has not been great as he has managed two wins, seven defeats and seven draws. With Indian football the results don't pay much importance; it's mostly about improvement in quality of football and development of youngsters in India. The most common myth or question that comes with Indian football is ‘why a nation of 1.4 billion people fail to produce 11 good footballers?’
It’s not like the talent doesn’t exist but India is failing to nurture them properly by giving these youngsters proper exposure to International football. If you take the Indian Super League (ISL) for example, the amount of young budding players coming from different regions of the country is quite extraordinary but the very fact of limited game time hampers their growth and development. The league has taken necessary steps to change this by introducing the 3+1 rule where only four foreign players will be allowed to play in the starting eleven, after this rule hopefully more young footballers get the chance to play and get coached by good pedigree foreign coaches.
The other problem with the ISL is that it is a closed league where the same number of teams play without the fear of getting relegated. Even though ISL is the best thing that has happened to Indian football, the sense of competitive football is lacking. A proper road map needs to be laid where the I League should become the second tier league and the top two teams from the I League should be promoted to the ISL and bottom two teams from the ISL will get relegated. This will not only bring the sense of competitiveness back but also follow the European league standards.
Also read: Former Juventus and AC Milan striker Mario Mandzukic announces retirement from football
Our Indian football federation should take inspiration from the Hockey team that won a historic bronze medal in this year's Olympics. The Indian Hockey team followed a 10 year plan where the Hockey Federation nurtured and carefully monitored the progression of the junior hockey players who went to represent the country later on. The same needs to be done by the AIFF and follow a plan where they can nurture the U-17 players who represented India in the U17 World Cup by probably sending them to Europe or at least making sure they get regular playing time.
Players like Sunil Chhetri and Sandesh Jhingan should be taken as inspiration for youngsters in India as they define the epitome of success by playing in Europe without much help from the AIFF. Sunil Chhetri at the age of 37 is still going strong and breaking records but the main problem will arrive when he retires as India have no ready-made replacement for him. The very fact that majority of India’s goals in the recent years have been scored by Sunil Chhetri speaks volumes of where Indian football is headed. The only way we can find a replacement is by tracking the process of all the youngsters right from the grassroot levels.
The plan proposed by Kushal Das (Secretary of AIFF) was for India to qualify for the World Cup in 2030 but if the necessary steps aren’t being taken then it looks like a distant dream. In India, the number of football fanatics are crazy as there are a lot of people supporting foreign clubs and countries but every football fan in India hopes to see the tricolour on the biggest stage of all.
Kerala Blasters announce 19-man squad for the 2021 Durand Cup
Kochi, September 02, 2021:(Football news) Kerala Blasters FC have announced their squad for the upcoming Durand Cup 2021. Head Coach Ivan Vukomanović, and his team prior to Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 will train the squad.
Kerala Blasters FC has outlined their Durand Cup fixtures for three matches. The first match with the Indian Navy will be played on September 11 at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) Stadium followed by the second match at the same venue on September 15 against Bengaluru FC. The third match has been fixed with Delhi FC on September 21 at Mohun Bagan Club Ground.
Kerala Blasters FC’s Head Coach, Ivan Vukomanović says: ‘We are all set to participate in this year’s Durand Cup. We hope the Durand Cup will give the team a good experience to perform and also hope to have good games. These games will help our players to boost their confidence and to have extra motivation because we like to compete.’
Also read: Football: India draw 1-1 with Nepal in friendly
The Durand Cup squad includes the following players:
Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, and Sachin Suresh.
Defenders: Bijoy V, Enes Sipovic, Jessel Carneiro, Abdul Hakku, Sanjeev Stalin, Hormipam Ruivah, Shahajas Thekkan, Denechandra Meitei, and Sandeep Singh.
Midfielders: Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Rahul K P, Adrian Luna, Sukham Yoihenba Meitei, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Gaurav K, Harmanjot Khabra, Givson Singh, Ayush Adhikari, Prasanth K, Seityasen Singh, Vincy Barretto, and Anil Gaonkar.
Football: India draw 1-1 with Nepal in friendly
Kathmandu, Sep 2 (Football news) The Indian men's football team played out a 1-1 draw against Nepal in an international friendly on Thursday with Anirudh Thapa finding the equaliser after the hosts grabbed the lead.
Anjan Bista scored for Nepal in the 36th minute before Thapa netted one for the visiting side at the Dashrath Stadium here.
The two teams will play another friendly on September 5.
The matches kick start India's preparations for next month's SAFF Championships in Maldives.
Also read: Odisha FC signs international club partnership with EPL side Watford FC
The five-team SAFF Championships will be held from October 3 to October 13 at the National Stadium in Male.
Besides India, the other participating teams are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, hosts Maldives and Nepal.
News source: PTI
Odisha FC signs international club partnership with EPL side Watford FC
Bhubaneswar, Sep 1 (Football news) Odisha FC on Wednesday announced that it has signed a three-year international club partnership with English Premier League side Watford FC.
The association will play an important role in the development of the football ecosystem in Odisha as coaches from Watford will help the Indian Super League side to set up youth systems, an ISL media release said.
Players from Odisha FC's elite youth team will get an opportunity to train with Watford's first team and/or academy team, it added.
The two will support each other in their respective youth systems, including scouting and training of young footballers and will also collaborate and promote different grassroots programmes.
The clubs will work together for the development of women's football in the state and across India, and friendly matches will be organised between their women's teams.
The Bhubaneswar-based side will also have an opportunity to travel and train at Watford as a part of the pre-season training and will also play friendly matches in England.
Also read: India to kick start SAFF C'ship preparation with international friendly against Nepal
“We are excited at the prospect of working with Watford FC’s coaches with a view to establishing a residential academy in Odisha,” Odisha FC president Raj Athwal said.
“For the Odisha supporters, there is the exciting prospect of potentially loaning players from Watford FC and, equally, players from Odisha FC can be scouted to play in the English leagues,” he added.
Watford FC commercial director Paul O’Brien said the partnership was “really quite different and we love to get involved in new things that provide really different experiences for the club and our staff”.
News source: PTI
India to kick start SAFF C'ship preparation with international friendly against Nepal
Kathmandu, Sep 1 (Football news) The Indian men's football team will kick start its preparations for the next month's SAFF Championships in Maldives with the first of the two international friendly matches against Nepal here on Thursday.
The five-team SAFF Championships will be held from October 3 to October 13 at the National Stadium in Male.
Besides India, the other participating teams are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, hosts Maldives and Nepal.
"We are happy to be here and happy to be together again. These two international friendlies will help us prepare for the forthcoming SAFF Championship in the Maldives next month.
"I just know these games will be good and we need to learn on the pitch," India's head coach Igor Stimac said in a media release.
The second friendly against Nepal will be played on September 5. Both the matches will be held at the Dashrath Stadium here.
This will be the first time India will feature in an international game since playing Afghanistan in their final group match of the 2018 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint-qualifiers in Watar on June 15.
However, with dark clouds hovering in the sky, rain threat looms large over the match. The pitch conditions at the practice ground were already tough because of torrential downpour.
Also read: Nepal are always tough when they play against us: Chhetri
"I hope that we don't suffer heavy rains during the matches so that we can play some exciting football," Stimac said.
"We have analysed Nepal as an opponent and the kind of progress they made in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. They have put on display that they can play quality football and can defend as a team. My colleague has done a good job and there are a lot of young players in the squad." India captain Sunil Chhetri thanked the "ANFA and the Government of Nepal for the hospitality and the invitation to play in Kathmandu during these tough times." "We understand the situation in the world. The hospitality has been wonderful and the opportunity to play international football is soothing for us. "We want to give the best account of ourselves and get a good start for the season. Nepal are a tough opponent and we want to give as much as we can to the coach," Chhetri said.
The talismanic India captain is the crowd favourite. Right from landing at the airport to the team hotel to the practice sessions, locals request him for a click.
"I will admit that I have a soft corner for Nepal. But, it ends the moment I step on the pitch. My mom is from Nepal and whatever sporting culture and discipline has been inculcated is all because of my mom," Chhetri said.
"Nepal has always made it very difficult for us on the football pitch, and we are not expecting anything less. Playing Nepal at home and outside Nepal are two different things, and let's not forget that they are the home team here." Nepal coach Abdullah Almutairi admitted that he has worked a lot on "changing the mentality of his players." "I don't want to make people happy, rather I want to make them proud. We have been training for the last two months and there are a lot of youngsters in the squad. "Our target is to win the SAFF Championship in the Maldives, and eventually qualify for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023. We don't care about FIFA Rankings. It will not be easy for them (India)."
News source: PTI
Paralympic gold medallist javelin thrower Sumit Antil now eyes 2024 Paris Olympics
Tokyo, Aug 31 (Paralympics news) Buoyed by a record-breaking debut gold at the Paralympics, Indian javelin thrower Sumit Antil now wants to compete against the able-bodied athletes at the Paris Olympics in three years' time.
The 23-year-old from Sonepat on Monday produced an awe-inspiring performance when he smashed his own world record not once but five times to clinch the gold in the men's javelin F64 with a throw of 68.55m.
Antil, who has participated in able bodied events including the Indian Grand Prix event, said his goal is to qualify for both Paralympics and the Olympics in 2024 and he will begin his training once he returns to the country.
"I wish to take part in both the Olympics and Paralympics. That's my dream," Antil, who lost his left leg below the knee after he was involved in a motorbike accident in 2015, said in a release issued by Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
"During my training, I have been touching the 70m-mark. And I dream of throwing between 75 to 80m and that should be enough to compete amongst the able-bodied athletes.
"Once I return from Tokyo, I will be training for that for sure," he added.
Son of a JWO officer in the Indian Army, Antil had competed against Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in the able-bodied Indian Grand Prix series 3 on March 5 in Patiala where he finished seventh with a best throw of 66.43m.
On Tuesday, Antil bettered the previous world record of 62.88m, also set by him, five times on the day. His last throw was a foul. His series read 66.95, 68.08, 65.27, 66.71, 68.55 and foul.
"At the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships, I settled for the silver. So, I always wanted to win the gold medal," said Antil, who was inspired by Chopra's gold medal show.
Also read: Sumit Antil breaks World Record thrice to win Gold in Javelin Throw F64 at the Tokyo Paralympics
"My coaches told me to show aggression in the Paralympics. I am happy I could finally come out with a good performance and inspire the upcoming generation." The conditions were extremely hot and humid on the day in Tokyo but Antil never looked bothered.
"During the pandemic, I took special permission from the Sports Authority of India to train at home. And I was prepared for all conditions – hot and wet conditions. I used to train late at night and this paid off well," said Antil, who hails from Sonepat.
The Haryana athlete is now hoping that the Paralympic gold will land him a job once he is back in India.
"Currently, I'm unemployed and doing training full time but I hope I will get a job after this. Let's see what happens when I return to India," he signed off.
News source: PTI
Nepal are always tough when they play against us: Chhetri
Kathmandu, Aug 31 (Football news): Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri is expecting a tough outing in their two upcoming friendly internationals against Nepal.
India are scheduled to play Nepal on September 2 and September 5 in two away games.
"This is an excellent opportunity for us to improve as a team. Given the current circumstances, it wasn't easy to get a friendly game," Chhetri told the All India Football Federation.
"The Nepal federation and government invited us to play, and we thank them for the opportunity and the gesture.
"Nepal are a very tough side, especially when they play against us, and we are aware of the extreme challenge the two matches present us," he added.
Other than Chhetri, Pritam Kotal and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, none of the players of the current team have been to Nepal with the senior side.
The trio was there in 2015 when India qualified from the play-offs to the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
For Chhetri, this is his fourth visit to the Himalayan nation.
Head coach Igor Stimac said, "I just hope that it doesn't rain heavily." Coincidentally, the preparatory camp in Kolkata had also witnessed heavy downpours, but not extreme enough to become a concern.
Also read: 17 years since Manchester United signed an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney from Everton
News Source: PTI
U17 FIFA WC team member Ali, FC Goa's Fernandes get maiden India call-ups
New Delhi, Aug 27 (Football news) India's 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup member Rahim Ali and FC Goa defender Seriton Fernandes got their maiden call-ups as national football team head coach Igor Stimac on Friday named a 25-member squad for the twin international friendlies against Nepal next month.
India play against Nepal on September 2 and 5 in Kathmandu.
After being a part of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup team, Ali, now 21, played for Indian Arrows for two years and then joined Chennaiyin FC in 2019. He has also been part of the India U20 and U23 sides.
He will now be in the company of talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri upfront along with Manvir Singh and Farukh Choudhary.
Defender Fernandes, 28, was a part of the FC Goa side that played in the AFC Champions League earlier this year. He had a bout COVID-19 in May.
Another defender Mandar Rao Dessai returned to the squad after missing the 2022 World Cup qualification campaign in Qatar in June. Adil Khan also did not figure in the final 25-member squad.
Senior defender Sandesh Jhingan, who has joined Croatian top division side HNK Sibenik, understandably did not make it to the squad.
Also read: Mumbai City FC complete loan move for Cássio Gabriel
Another notable omission is the Bengaluru FC winger Udanta Singh who was dropped from the squad that played friendly matches against the UAE and Oman in March but returned for the subsequent World Cup qualifiers in June.
Rowllin Borges, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Ashique Kuruniyan are the three other players missing from the last World Cup qualifying campaign squad.
The national team probables have been training in Kolkata since August 15.
While the ATK Mohun Bagan players join the camp in Kolkata on Friday, the Bengaluru FC players will join the rest of the squad in New Delhi Sunday. The team leaves for Nepal on Monday.
The Squad: Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Akash Mishra, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes.
Midfielders: Lalengmawia, Bipin Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Brandon Fernandes, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Jeakson Singh, Pronay Halder.
Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary.
News source: PTI
3 Indians enter finals of the Asian junior boxing in Dubai
New Delhi, Aug 27 (Boxing news) Three Indian boxers stormed into the finals of the Asian Junior Championships in Dubai with dominating victories in their last-four stage bouts.
Tanu (52kg), Nikita Chand (60kg) and Vishu Rathee (48kg) were the ones to make the final, on Thursday.
Tanu defeated Nepal's Swostika 5-0, while Nikita got the better of Uzbekistan's Mukhusa Tokhirova by a similar margin.
Rathee, on the other hand, took less than two minutes to wind up the proceedings, outclassing Mongolia's Otgonbat Yesunkhuslen in her semifinal bout.
However, Ashis (54kg) and Anshul (57kg) ended with bronze medals.
Ashis lost to Uzbekistan's Norkosmov Mironshokh 1-4. Anshul was beaten 0-5 by another Uzbek in Dalerjon Bozorov.
Also read: Men's national boxing from Sep 15; allowing head guards under consideration
The tournament, which is being held simultaneously for junior and youth boxers (both men and women) offers the gold medallists in the youth category a prize money of USD 6,000 while silver and bronze medallists will claim USD 3,000 and USD 1,500 respectively.
The junior champions will be awarded with USD 4,000 for gold and USD 2,000 and 1,000 for silver and bronze medallists respectively.
On Wednesday, six Indian boxers advanced to the finals of the Asian Youth Championships with two of them getting walkovers after their Kazakh opponents were quarantined following a COVID-19 case in the contingent.
News source: PTI
Six Indians reach the finals of Asian Youth boxing in Dubai
New Delhi, Aug 26 (Sports news) Six Indian boxers advanced to the finals of the Asian Youth Championships in Dubai with two of them getting walkovers after their Kazakh opponents were quarantined following a COVID-19 case in the contingent.
Of the six Indians who made the summit clashes, two were men and four women.
In the women's draw, Simran Verma (52kg) and Sneha (66kg) progressed after getting walkovers from Kazakh rivals Khava Bolkoyeva and Anar Turynbek respectively.
"One of these girls tested positive for COVID-19 and the other had to be also quarantined as she was the infected girl's room partner. That's why we got walkovers in these two categories," India coach Bhaskar Bhatt told PTI.
Joining them in the finals were Preeti (57kg) and Preeti Dahiya (60kg).
Also read: In the ring you face your opponent just like facing problems in life - Indian boxer Akashdeep Singh
Preeti outclassed Narika Rai of Nepal RSC in the third round to book her final berth. Preeti Dahiya, on the other hand, defeated Uzbekistan's Rukhshona Uktamova 3-2.
Among the men, Vanshaj (64kg) defeated Iran's Faridi Abolfazl 5-0, while Vishal (80kg) outpunched Kazakhstan's Dauren Mamyr by a similar margin to move ahead.
However, Daksh (67kg) lost to Uzbekistan's Solijonoz Samandar 4-1.
Also ending with bronze medals were Abhimanyu (92kg) and Aman Singh Bisht (+92kg).
While Abhimanyu lost to Uzbekistan's Tokhirov Nusratbek 5-0, Bisht also went down to an Uzbek in Zokirov Jakhongir.
India's assured medal tally stood at over 20 on the day of the draws itself as many countries either skipped or fielded smaller squads due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The tournament, which is being held simultaneously for junior and youth boxers (both men and women) offers the gold medallists in the youth category a prize money of USD 6,000 while silver and bronze medallists will claim USD 3,000 and USD 1,500 respectively.
The junior champions will be awarded with USD 4,000 for gold and USD 2,000 and 1,000 for silver and bronze medallists respectively.
News source: PTI
Ligament tear rules Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia out of World Championship, brings early end to his 2021 season
New Delhi, Aug 23 (Wrestling news) Olympic bronze medallist Bajrang Punia will not compete in the upcoming wrestling World Championships after being advised a six-week rehabilitation to treat the ligament tear he suffered in his right knee in run up to the Tokyo Games.
The World Championships will be held in Oslo, Norway from October 2-10 and Bajrang will not be able to begin his mat training until the rehabilitation programme is compete.
Bajrang recently underwent an MRI scan to know the extent of the injury he suffered in Russia in June before the Olympics and consulted Dr Dinshaw Pardiwala, who heads the Centre for Sports Medicine at Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.
"It's a ligament tear and I have been asked to follow a rehabilitation programme for six weeks by Dr Dinshaw. I won't be able to compete at the World Championship," Bajrang told PTI.
There is no ranking series event lined up in the remainder of the year and Bajrang said his season is over. "The Worlds was the only major championship in the calender for this year. I don't see myself competing in any other tournament this season," he added.
Bajrang had suffered the injury in the run up to the Tokyo Games when he competed at a Russian tournament -- Ali Aliyev in June.
Bajrang had forfeited his semi-finals against Abulmazhid Kudiev, who got hold of the Indian's right leg and pulled him abruptly in the first period of the bout.
The impact had an effect on Bajrang's right knee and the limping grappler immediately quit the mat but competed at the Olympics and won a bronze in 65kg category.
"Since it was my first Olympics and I had a dream to win an Olympic medal, I competed through pain in Tokyo. I had to do it." Bajrang said he was not consulting any specific physiotherapist for his rehabilitation.
"I am doing it myself in Sonepat. Dr. Dinshaw has advised a few exercises, that I am doing everyday now in gym. The mat-training time will also go into the rehab," he said.
Also read: Wrestler Ravi Malik loses bronze play-off in just 42 seconds
The 27-year-old said he wants to continue with his Georgian coach Shako Bentinidis, who has now left for his country since the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is yet to offer him a fresh contract.
The WFI will have a meeting with the wrestlers to gather feedback regarding all the foreign coaches involved with the Indian wrestlers before deciding on their fresh contracts.
While Bajrang trained with Bentinidis, Olympic silver medallist Ravi Dahiya had a personal coach in Russia's Kamal Malikov.
Deepak Punia also had a Russian coach in Murad Gaidarov, who was expelled from Tokyo for assaulting the referee, who had officiated the bronze medal play-off that the Indian had lost to San Marino's Myles Nazim Amine.
The WFI had then terminated the services of Gaidarov.
Sources in the WFI said Ravi's coach Malikov will certainly get a fresh contract and even as the federation is still not completely satisfied with the performance of Bentinidis, it will still consider Bajrang's request if he wants to continue with him.
News source: PTI
Tokyo Games is going to be our best outing at Paralympics, say PCI chief Deepa Malik
New Delhi, Aug 23 (Paralympic news) Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) chief Deepa Malik is expecting the country's para-athletes to create history by recording its best-ever performance at the Tokyo Games beginning Tuesday.
India will field its biggest contingent with 54 athletes set to compete in nine sports -- archery, athletics, badminton, canoeing, shooting, swimming, powerlifting, table tennis and taekwondo.
"Absolutely, my expectations have already gone beyond what I was expecting. This year, India is sending the largest-ever contingent. I am very hopeful that we are going to create history," Malik said when asked if she is expecting the best-ever display.
"It's a contingent which is three times bigger in number, we have added four more sports in the past 4-5 years of gap between 2016-21.
"Almost two years have gone in the pandemic but despite that it's a huge leap in the number of athletes qualifying," Malik said during a virtual press conference to launch a joint campaign with Coca Cola-owned homegrown beverage brand Thumbs Up.
The first woman from India to win a Paralympic medal, Malik said the statistics are looking bright for the Indian contingent.
"It is not just qualification it is also acquiring the quota on the basis of world ranking. The statistics are looking very bright, athletes have done pretty well in the selection trials and the kind of current world rankings they are holding look very promising.
"Because the number of participation and the number of sports has increased, we have top ranking athletes, that gives us a very good indication that it's going to be great Paralympics for Indian history." At the Rio Games in 2016, the Indian contingent returned with a haul of four medals, including two gold, a silver and a bronze.
Also read: Tendulkar seeks support for Paralympic Games, calls para athletes 'real life heroes'
Malik, the Rio Games silver medallist in shot put, said the athletes have adapted well to the conditions in the Games Village.
Talking about the COVID restrictions, she said "We have to submit our samples every morning for COVID testing. Before entering any place you have to give your temperature and maintain a distance. In the village there are designated lanes." Thumbs Up, which has partnered with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, will also be unveiling a campaign that includes a series of videos and other related visuals for digital and social media to keep the audiences connected with the event and the Indian athletes participating in it.
"My journey of ability beyond disability has been that of breaking stereotypes and myths around disability. The partnership with Thumbs Up is a step forward in that direction," Malik said.
The campaign will feature six athletes including Mariyappan Thangavelu (High jump), Sakina Khatun (Powerlifting), Suyash Yadav (Swimming), Navdeep (Javelin throw), Sumit Antil (Javelin throw), and Avani Lekhara (Shooting).
Battling odds on almost daily basis, the protagonists are seen wearing the "taunts" they are subjected to on their T-shirts against the backdrop of the tagline 'TaanePalatDe'.
Arnab Roy, vice-president and head - marketing, Coca Cola India and south west Asia said, "This strategic partnership is our way of standing in solidarity and saluting the sheer grit and determination of these athletes who have come from different walks of life but showcase the same heroism against all odds and challenges."
News source: PTI
Jhingan's India teammates hoping his Croatia move opens up new avenues
Kolkata, Aug 20 (Football news): Inspired by Sandesh Jhingan's move to Croatian top division club HNK Sibenik, India's senior team footballers feel the centre-back will come back from his European sojourn as "an entirely different player" while possibly opening up new avenues.
Jhingan will become the first India international footballer to play in the Croatian top-tier league Prva HNL after completing a move from ATK Mohun Bagan to HNK Sibenik.
"Big congratulations Sandesh-paaji," quipped midfielder Anirudh Thapa.
"It's a big achievement for Indian football -- all the best. We understand that when you come back you will be an entirely different player, and it will all transpire on to us. Go out and play your game." Wishes poured in from the Blue Tigers as national team as Jhingan was officially announced as an HNK Sibenik player, making him the first Indian defender to sign a professional contract in Europe.
Also read: I would be tested to the limit, always wanted to stay outside comfort zone: Jhingan on Croatia move
Brandon Fernandes, who plays as an attacking midfielder, hoped the move opens up new avenues for India players seeking to play in Europe.
"This is a proud moment not just for Indian Football but the country overall," Brandon said.
"I wish you success and hope you do well. I also hope Sandesh's move opens up a lot of new avenues for aspiring and established Indian footballers." The soft-spoken Mandar Rao Dessai added," "Give your heart out to everything like always when you play.
"You have made all of us very proud." Defender Adil Khan lauded Jhingan for taking a brave decision.
"It's a great decision that you have taken.You inspire us all. The youth all over the country will look up to you, try to imitate you and follow your footsteps," Adil, who has partnered Jhingan as a central defender in the national team, opined.
Jhingan became the fifth Indian footballer (among men) to sign a professional contract in Europe after Bhaichung Bhutia, Subrata Paul, Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. That apart, Chhetri was also contracted with MLS club Kansas City.
Founded on December 1, 1932, HNK Sibenik returned to the premier division last season under a new management.
The club finished sixth in the league, just two positions below qualification to European competitions.
The club is located in Sibenik, the Dalmatian region of Croatia, a city with breath-taking fortresses protecting it for centuries and a beautiful Cathedral of St James, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Blue Tigers are currently camping in Kolkata in preparation for the forthcoming international friendlies against Nepal in September.
News source: PTI
I would be tested to the limit, always wanted to stay outside comfort zone: Jhingan on Croatia move
New Delhi, Aug 19 (Football news): Trusted for his leadership qualities by his new club HNK Sibenik, Indian centre-back Sandesh Jhingan feels he would be "tested to the limit" while enhancing his game outside his comfort zone at Croatian league Prva HNL.
Jhingan will become the first India international footballer to play in the Croatian top-tier league after completing a move from ATK Mohun Bagan to HNK Sibenik.
"This will enhance my game. This is where I would be tested to my limit. Challenges wise, if I can put in the work, if I stay disciplined enough then I can see if I can get into the starting XI.
Also read: Sandesh Jhingan joins HNK Sibenik, to play in Croatia's top tier league
"It's quite challenging but I trust myself, my work ethic, it's always on me whether I will play or not," Jhingan said during a virtual interaction on Thursday.
The top central defender added, "I think I am at a stage of my career where I really want to test myself in the highest-level possible and I think this is the perfect platform for me. It has been my personal desire to play in Europe and I have taken up this challenge upon myself." Named India's footballer of the year last month, the 28-year-old is already in Croatia and watched Sunday's home win against Hrvatski Dragovoljac in the country of the 2018 World Cup finalists.
Asked if big moves such as these are going to help the Indian senior team, he responded in the positive.
"When I go back I will have to earn my place in the national team and once I make it, hopefully, I will also play better in the national team, and the national team will also look good with one of its playing player better football." Jhingan started his youth career at St. Stephen's Football Academy in Chandigarh and got a break in the top division with United Sikkim in 2011.
As a young 21-year-old, Jhingan first broke into prominence during the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) when he was adjudged the Emerging Player of the League in 2014.
A feat that helped him earn a place in the senior India national team making his debut in 2015 against Nepal at the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
"If you have monitored my career, I have always preferred to take to take decisions outside my comfort zone. I wanted to go somewhere... I always have this thing in my mind that sky is the limit.
"I dreamt big, worked hard for it, remained disciplined and made sacrifices to achieve my full potential.
"I never went after money, I always chose glory over money. That's how I take my decisions... I would sleep with a clear conscience. Yes, it's the right decision." The defender has two ISL runners-up medals with Kerala Blasters FC where he spent six years and moved to ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020 after missing the previous season due to injury.
He thanked his previous club ATK Mohun Bagan for him backing when he was down with an injury, even as some gave up on on the player.
"The move from ATK Mohun bagan to Sibilik was difficult because I have a lot of respect for their (ATK Mohun Bagan) management and owners.
"Every Asian has a desire to move to Europe, so I had to take this decision. I am at the right age now to take a new challenge in my career." Praising the ISL for helping him grow as a footballer, he said, "The more I say how it has benefitted me the less it is. ISL has been a blessing for me and a lot of Indian players will agree with me. It has given us a lot of exposure." The Croatian club is owned by a Colombian company and its director Eduardo Zapata is delighted to have Jhingan on board, from footballing point of view as well as its aim to promote multi-culturalism.
"We are thrilled about Sandesh coming here. I am Colombian owner in Croatian football. We are very open to everything as we aim to become a big international club. This is a great step in that direction.
"I don't care if he is from India or Argentina. Sandesh is a good player and we all agree on it. The decision is made by the coach and we move forward." Founded on December 1, 1932, HNK Sibenik returned to the premier division last season under a new management. The club finished sixth in the league, just two positions below qualification to European competitions.
Zapata added, "We needed someone good in this position and he is a great player with leadership qualities since he is experienced.
"This is a win-win situation. He is a mature person, we are very impressed with his personality, he is very happy here.
"We need a specific kind of a stopper and our agency in Madrid offer us players, we also have our coach who used to play in Barcelona and he has an idea about Indian football and also your national team coach (Igor Stimac)." Asked about his expectations from his new recruit, he said, "He should be a good leader inside and outside the pitch. He is a role model, very disciplined and he will help us beyond football." The club is located in Sibenik, the Dalmatian region of Croatia, a city with breath-taking fortresses protecting it for centuries and a beautiful Cathedral of St. James, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
"It's a beautiful city with population of 40000. Life is good, people are very humble here. The training pitches are nice, we have got three grounds.. The youth setup is also very impressive," Jhingan signed off.
News source: PTI
Sandesh Jhingan joins HNK Sibenik, to play in Croatia's top tier league
New Delhi, Aug 19 (Football news) Sandesh Jhingan will become the first India international footballer to play in the Croatian top-tier league Prva HNL after completing a move from ATK Mohun Bagan to HNK Sibenik.
Named India's footballer of the year last month, the 28-year-old is already in Croatia and watched Sunday's home win against Hrvatski Dragovoljac.
"We expect good things from him as we have followed him on different platforms where we were able to see his past performances," said Francisco Cardona, CEO of HNK Sibenik.
"Although we know the adaptation process might take him a few weeks, we are confident that with his quality and leadership, he will become an important member of the team.
"He made a very good impression on the staff and fans of the club when he was watching the last home game from the stands. He showed passion and energy for the team," Cardona added.
Jhingan was excited to have the opportunity to move to HNK Sibenik in the Prva HNL in Croatia.
"I think I am at a stage of my career where I really want to test myself in the highest-level possible and I think this is the perfect platform for me. As I have said, it has been my desire to play in Europe and I have taken up this challenge upon myself," the top defender said.
"A big thank you to the head coach Mario Rosas and the owners and management for giving me the opportunity to come here. I cannot wait to get going and look forward to giving 100 percent at every given opportunity," Jhingan added.
Founded on December 1, 1932, HNK Sibenik returned to the premier division last season under a new management. The club finished sixth in the league, just two positions below qualification to European competitions.
Also read: ATK Mohun Bagan beat Bengaluru FC 2-0 in AFC Cup group match
The club is located in Sibenik, the Dalmatian region of Croatia, a city with breath-taking fortresses protecting it for centuries and a beautiful Cathedral of St. James, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
"We are very happy that Sandesh is with us. We know he will help us achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves during the season. His stint here will help him grow as a player and person,' said HNK Sibenik coach Mario Rosas.
The Spanish coach was all praise for Jhingan’s decision to move out of his comfort zone.
"We hope that he will continue to be an example for Indian footballers. He has demonstrated his ambition and competitiveness by wanting to get out of his comfort zone and show what Indian footballers are capable of," said Rosas.
Jhingan started his youth career at St. Stephen’s Football Academy in Chandigarh and got a break in the top division with United Sikkim in 2011.
Sandesh, as a young 21-year-old footballer first broke into prominence during the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) when he was adjudged the Emerging Player of the League in 2014. A feat that helped him earn a place in the senior India national team making his debut in 2015 against Nepal at the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers.
The defender has two ISL runners-up medals with Kerala Blasters FC where he spent six years and moved to ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020 after missing the previous season due to injury.
News source: PTI
Indian coach Igor Stimac 'may consider' releasing Jhingan for club football in Croatia
Kolkata, Aug 17 (Football news) Indian men's team coach Igor Stimac on Tuesday said he "may consider" releasing his premier defender Sandesh Jhingan from national commitments to play club football in Croatia.
Referring to Jhingan's move to Croatia to play league Football, Stimac said: "Having in mind that the Croatian league has already had five rounds, and the players are fit, we are thinking as to how we can help Sandesh get into form as soon as possible, and also try to facilitate him get his place in the team.
"It's important for him to get into the playing XI. So we may consider releasing him from the camp and bringing him back but allow him to stay with the club." Stimac had coached Croatia to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The Indian team's defensive mainstay Jhingan is expected to join Croatian top division club HNK Sibenik, making use of a clause that allows him to leave his current club ATK Mohun Bagan if he gets an opportunity to play in Europe.
India will be travelling to Kathmandu later this month to play Nepal in two international friendlies in September.
Also read: Germany and Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller passes away at the age of 75
"It is very difficult to organise matches under such circumstances. You need to understand that no one is able to come to India, and if we want to go out to play there are quarantine rules. So the options are very limited," Stimac said.
"We had agreed to first play Libya and Jordan in Istanbul. But the long duration of quarantine in Istanbul didn't allow us to proceed with the matches.
"We also looked at other options wherein we agreed to play Nepal and Malaysia in Nepal. But Malaysia couldn't travel owing to quarantine rules back home in their country," the coach added.
"Now we need to prepare for the next 12 days before we head to Nepal. We also have the SAFF Championship in October followed by the AFC U-23 Qualifiers -- maybe the best option will be to hold on with the U23 team all throughout October." Stimac expressed his delight after India XI's exhibition match with IFA XI at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday evening.
India XI rode on a second-half strike from Akash Mishra to win by a solitary goal.
"I am really happy and grateful about the organisation of this game, and we will do our best to have such games like this one," Stimac stated post-match.
"We won't mind having such matches regularly, and maybe in another 7 days we may think and want another practice game like this," the coach said.
"Kolkata is a great football place and during the pandemic when it is difficult to find games, this is one of the best places to train." The match was organised to commemorate the 'Khela Hobe' Divas in West Bengal and graced by the state's sports and power minister Arup Biswas among others.
"I was cautious about my players not picking up injuries, and wanted to understand how they handled the game. They went into the pitch after a long time, and without much practice," Stimac said.
News source: PTI
Bengaluru FC and Club Eagles of Maldives face off for group stage slot in AFC Cup
Male, Aug 14 (Football news) Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC will hope to begin their season on a positive note when they face Club Eagles of Maldives in a play-off match of the AFC Cup here on Sunday.
The winners of the playoff, initially scheduled to be played in May but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will advance to Group D of the 2021 AFC Cup.
Bengaluru had scored an emphatic 5-0 victory over Nepal's Tribhuvan Army in the preliminary round in April while Club Eagles had beaten Bhutan's Thimphu FC 2-0.
Besides mercurial Chhetri leading the charge, Bengaluru head coach Marco Pezzoli can also rely on new signings Rohit Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Bidyashagar Singh, Jayesh Rane, Danish Farooq, and Sarthak Golui.
Also read: FC Goa rope in Spanish striker Airam Cabrera on a one-year deal
Bengaluru, which finished at a lowly seventh in the Indian Super League, have thrived in the AFC Cup, having finished runners-up in 2016 and making the Inter-Zonal final in 2017 and the semi-finals a year later.
Club Eagles will go into the tie without Ahmed Rizwan with head coach Mohamed Shazly confirming to local media that the striker is still recovering from an injury.
The home side, however, won't be lacking in experience with the likes of Ali Ashfaq, Akram Abdul Ghanee, Ali Fasir, Mohamed Arif, Ismail Easa, Ahmed Hassan and Mohamed Faisal available for the match.
The playoff winners will join another Indian side ATK Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara Kings of Bangladesh and Maiziya Sports & Recreation of Maldives in Group D which kicks off in Male on Wednesday.
The winners will play ATK Mohun Bagan in their opening clash with Bashundhara Kings to face Maziya Sports & Recreation.
The Group D winners will advance to the Inter-Zone semi-finals against either FC Nasaf of Uzbekistan or FC Ahal of Turkmenistan from the Central Zone.
News source: PTI
High time that I stop feeling pressure and see my game from a different perspective: Archer Deepika Kumari after early Olympic exit
Kolkata, Aug 9 (Olympic news) Ace Indian acrcher on Monday confessed that she needs to stop buckling under the pressure of performance at the Olympic Games and approach the biggest sporting stage from a different perspective to deliver desired results in future.
In the form of her life after winning five World Cup medals this year, the 27-year-old carried the hopes of 1.3 billion Indians to get the sport their first Olympic archery medal in Tokyo.
But it turned out to be anti-climactic as she fizzled out without putting up a fight in both her individual and mixed pair quarterfinals encounters to cap yet another horror Olympic campaign.
"Woh paanch ring ka pressure, haavi ho ja raha hai -- pressure of the five Olympic rings is becoming a bit too much," confessed Deepika in an exclusive interview after returning to Kolkata.
Deepika said she has understood that instead of running after the medals, they need to work on 'enjoying the moment' at the Olympics, something they lack.
"Everyone keeps saying we don't have a medal, we don't have a medal. We think of it a thousand times there, and it dominates our psyche. It's a mental blockade and goes on affecting our techniques." "It's high time that I introspect into my game and see it in a different perspective now. There are certain things we are lacking too much. Basically we need to change the perspective of our games." "We've to see all games equally, be it World Cup, World Championships or the Olympics. But there we think too much about a medal. We have to take it easy and enjoy the moment." "In the World Cup or World Championships too, the medal is the ultimate goal but we never keep thinking about it. But once we reach the Olympics, we are not able to get over the thoughts of winning a medal. We need to work on it." She was referring to her quarterfinal loss to Korean 20-year-old An San in straight sets lasting less than six minutes.
An San, who ended up winning the gold en route to making a clean sweep of three medals, also looked under pressure against Deepika and shot 26 in the last two sets.
But Deepika was worse as she misfired three 7s and one 8 in a row to concede the match in a meek surrender.
Five and half a hours before that, Deepika was at her best and eliminated Russian veteran Ksneia Perova, hitting a 10 to win a thrilling shootoff.
"I just rested in the break and wanted to keep myself calm for the match. But I don't know what happened there all of a sudden," she said of the three 7s.
"I was shooting very well and satisfied with my release but the arrows simply did not hit the centre -- that's a mystery. Both me and Mim Sir (coach Mim Gurung) were clueless." Like her husband and India number one archer Atanu Das, Deepika also echoed that having a psychologist would have helped.
"It would have been a great help. We needed someone to boost ourselves morally," she said.
Deepika and her husband will next shoot in the next month's World Cup Final after missing out on the selection trials for the World Championships.
India will have a new look squad at next month’s Archery World Championships after none of the archers, who had participated at the Tokyo Olympics, could clear the selection trials held in Sonepat last week.
It's a team of the youngsters for India at the World Championships. The women's team has Ankita Bhakat (23 years), Komalika Bari (19) and 17-year-old upcoming Haryana girl Ridhi Phor.
Also read: Deepika Kumari crashes out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing 6-0 to An San of South Korea
Deepika, who failed to make the cut in the trials after finishing fourth behind the uncapped Riddhi, said she's excited about the challenge.
"Yes, it's a tough competition now. But it's good and I'm always ready to match them. The tougher the competition, the better I become.
"To match the new generation, I've to put in double the effort. It gives me extra pressure and thrill, and I'm ready for the challenge," she said.
Deepika also congratulated her fellow Indian medalists in Tokyo.
"It was such a proud moment to see Neeraj Chopra winning gold on the last day. It feels sad that we could not win a medal in archery, but it has been a remarkable performance by our fellow Indians. Many congratulations to them," Deepika signed off.
News source: PTI
Exploring the life of India’s pioneering wrestler Bajrang Punia and his meteoric journey to the very top
They say ‘history is written by the victors’ and by winning 3 medals at the World Wrestling Championships, Bajrang Punia has immortalized himself as the only Indian to accomplish this feat. It was not all about glory and world championships though, being born in a Jat family in Khudan Village of Jhajjar district in Haryana, his journey has been far from easy.
Bajrang’s family didn’t have the money for traditional sports, leading him to pursue sports such as wrestling and kabaddi at a young age. Being a son of a former wrestler, a young Bajrang Punia naturally inclined towards wrestling and trained at a local mud wrestling school. It’s fair to say that the boy was a natural, and the positive reinforcement he received while wrestling was enough for him to often skip school and practice. Soon enough, his family relocated to Sonepat so that Bajrang could attend a regional centre of the Sports Authority of India.
Bajrang Punia has had his fair share of obstacles that the wrestler was forced to overcome, including the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. Comparing it to ‘exam preparations’ the 27 year old was forced to restart his training regime from scratch after qualifying for freestyle wrestling for India. He has had his fair share of controversy as well, having once publicly criticized the government in their selection of the Khel Ratna Award, as the award was given to Virat Kohli who had an achievement score of zero compared to himself, who had the highest total of 80. However, Bajrang has also received his fair share of recognition in a short span of his career, being awarded the Arjuna Award in 2015, Padma Shri and Khel Ratna Award in 2019 and FICCI India Sports Award in 2020.
Bajrang Punia can be described as a “pioneer”, as he was the first Indian wrestler to be ranked World Number 1 in any category and the first to play in the German League. Like any explorer, he has ventured into the road less travelled and come out on top. His bravery, hard work and perseverance have paved the way for future Indian wrestlers and broadened their horizons. He may not have won gold or silver at the Tokyo Olympics, but Bajrang Punia has captured the hearts of billions with his relentless pursuit of glory and his bronze medal accomplishment is not something the 27 year old would consider “settling” for.
The future is bright for Indian wrestling with stars such as Bajrang Punia leading the way, it’s only a matter of time before the medal color changes for the better.
Also read: Bajrang Punia wins Olympics Bronze; beats Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov 8-0
Olympic medalist Ravi Kumar Dahiya thanks Haryana CM for announcing indoor wrestling stadium in Nahri, Sonipat
Chandigarh, Aug 7 (Olympic news) Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Ravi Dahiya has thanked Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for announcing the construction of an indoor wrestling stadium at his native village Nahri in Sonepat.
"I thank the chief minister for announcing construction of a wrestling indoor stadium in our village," Dahiya said in a video message, which Khattar posted on his twitter handle.
Dahiya also thanked the chief minister for encouraging the players by announcing jobs and cash rewards.
In his tweet, Khattar said, "Ravi Dahiya, we all thank you for the happiness you have brought to the countrymen by making Haryana’s and the country’s name shine at the Tokyo Olympics." "We have made several announcements to encourage other talented players like you. We want to make Haryana the biggest sports hub." Earlier, Khattar had praised Dahiya for his effort after he became only the second Indian wrestler to win a silver medal at the Olympics.
Dahiya lost the men's freestyle 57kg title clash 4-7 to reigning world champion Zavur Uguev.
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He will get a cash award of Rs 4 crore as per state government's policy for silver winning Olympic medallists, a Class-I job and a piece of land at concessional rates.
News source: PTI
Mumbai invited by Oman Cricket to play matches ahead of T20 WC
Mumbai, Aug 6 (Cricket news) Domestic giants Mumbai have been invited by Oman Cricket (OC) to play T20 games against them ahead of the World Cup, which will take place in Oman and the United Arab Emirates from October 17 to November 14.
It is understood that Duleep Mendis, who is a senior office-bearer of Oman Cricket, approached Mumbai Cricket Association to send its team to the Arab nation.
"They (Oman) have invited (us) and it is the best opportunity for Mumbai to send its team,” a source from the cricket body told PTI.
The games would serve as practise to the Oman national team, which is participating in the T20 World Cup.
Also read: AIFF says Nepal has offered to play friendlies against India
Oman have qualified for the T20 World Cup and is also set to host six first-round games of the marquee event, which was shifted from India due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mumbai last season won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the national one-day championship, after its poor show in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
News source: PTI
AIFF says Nepal has offered to play friendlies against India
New Delhi, Aug 6 (Football news) Nepal has offered to play two international friendlies against India during the August 30-September 7 window after the country's apex football body could not get other teams on board due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will organise a 15-day camp for the senior men's national team starting August 15 in preparation for the two international games the country is likely to play during that FIFA window.
"... the Nepal Football Association has offered AIFF an option of playing two friendlies with the Indian senior men's national team in the above-mentioned window. At the moment, there aren't any quarantine restrictions for Indian citizens visiting Nepal," the AIFF said in a statement.
The AIFF said it had initiated talks with many teams regarding playing friendlies against India but quarantine restrictions in various countries did "not allow such talks to materialise".
"At the moment most countries in Asia have very strict quarantine rules for visitors coming in from other countries, and owing to the current pandemic situation Indian citizens are also not allowed to travel to certain countries.
Also read: FC Barcelona announce shock Lionel Messi exit amid financial crisis
The AIFF had even tossed up the idea of playing international friendlies in Europe with countries from Africa and Asia, but even there the quarantine rules played spoilsport, the federation said.
"Moreover, with the current stringent restriction of visitors coming to India for government guidelines pertaining to health parameters, no other team can visit India during the time frame without going through quarantine protocols," the AIFF said.
The AIFF thanked the Nepal FA for the offer, and said it is in the process of "finalising the proposal" with head coach, Igor Stimac.
After the friendlies, India will participate in the SAFF tournament in October.
News source: PTI
Tokyo-returned quartet fail to make cut; new look Indian team for Archery World Championships
Sonepat, Aug 5 (Archery news) India will have a new look squad at next month's Archery World Championships after none of the archers, who had participated at the Tokyo Olympics, could clear the selection trials here on Thursday.
The four archers, who couldn't win a medal at Tokyo, failed to finish inside top-three in the two-day trials conducted just a day after their return from the Olympics.
World number one Deepika Kumari, who lost out to eventual gold medalist An San in the quarters at Tokyo Olympics, finished fourth in the trials.
Komalika Bari, 17-year-old upcoming Haryana girl Ridhi Phor, and Ankita Bhakat made the cut taking the top-three spots.
Among men, Punjab's Aditya Chaudhary, 19-year-old Parth Salunkhe of Maharashtra and 2014 Youth Olympic bronze medalist Atul Verma grabbed the top-three places, ahead of Tarundeep Rai (ninth), Atanu Das (17th) and Pravin Jadhav (20th).
"It's a very promising sign that the juniors are coming up in the senior team. They are the future," Dronacharya and Arjuna Awardee Sanjeeva Singh, who oversaw the trials at the SAI Sonepat here, told PTI.
The trials for the September 19-26 Yankton World Championships had four rankings rounds from where top-six archers played round robin matchplay to determine the top-three.
"The average age of the side is less than 20 years. It's a very promising sign for the 2024 Olympics," the former Olympian added.
Indian archers had yet another below par outing at the Olympics as none of them could earn the elusive medal in the sport.
The men's team and mixed pair teams lost their respective quarterfinal matches to Korea.
Atanu Das was the best among the men's trio, making the last-16 in the men's individual competition, where he went down to home favourite Takaharu Furukawa, the eventual bronze medallist.
Also read: Atanu Das crashes out of Tokyo Olympics after losing pre-qualifier to Takaharu Furukawa 6-4
India also picked compound archery teams in the men's and women's sections for the Yankton meet.
Teams: Recurve, men: Aditya Chaudhary (Punjab), Parth Salunkhe (Maharashtra) and Atul Verma (SSCB); women: Komalika Bari (Jharkhand), Ridhi (Haryana) and Ankita Bhakat (Jharkhand).
Compound, men: Abhishek Verma (Delhi), Sangam Singh Bisla (AAI) and Rishab Yadav (Haryana); women: Muskan Kirar (MP), Jyothi Surekha Vennam (PSPB) and Priya Gurjar (Rajasthan).
News source: PTI
Ravi Dahiya: The quiet storm of Indian wrestling
New Delhi, Aug 4 (Olympics news) The quiet storm. The sobriquet would fit the bill to a tee if one is told to describe Ravi Dahiya in one or two words.
He does not show emotions, sometimes making one doubt if he has any at all.
On Wednesday, he became Indian wrestling's new poster boy by reaching the Olympic final and his first reaction was, "Haan, theek hi hai bhaisahab" (Yes, it has happened, it's just okay).
Ravi is someone who always appears indifferent. No air or the flamboyance of dominant athletes in contact sports.
If he wins, he does not jump with joy. At best, he smiles.
If he loses, he goes quieter.
That's Ravi Dahiya for you.
But the moment he is on a wrestling mat, he begins to expresses himself in the best possible manner. He becomes a different beast.
His long arms, immense strength and stamina along with the technical prowess makes him a formidable opponent. It's difficult to breach his defence and stop him from making his moves.
And this is because nothing interests him except wrestling. He is not interested in buying new clothes or shoes, his uncle Anil had told PTI during a visit to his village Nahri in Sonepat district of Haryana.
All he talks about, if at all he talks, is wrestling.
For someone who was never billed as a star wrestler, the 23-year-old has made a mark in his own way.
He rose to prominence only when he qualified for the Tokyo Games with a bronze medal winning effort at the 2019 World Championship in Nur Sultan.
Even when he had qualified for the Games, he was not happy. He was thinking about his lost semifinal bout to Russian Zavur Uguev, who went on to win the title.
"What should I say. Yes I have qualified for Olympics but there are Olympic medallists from my centre. I am nowhere," he said. A picture of modesty he was then, and he is still the same.
He had won a silver at the Under-23 World Championships in 2015 to give a glimpse of what was to expect from him.
If anyone doubted his potential, he showed his mettle at the Pro Wrestling League when he beat U-23 European champion and also Sandeep Tomar, who literally owned the 57kg category before Dahiya's rise.
There were a few who were still not willing to believe in him, saying PWL was not a platform to judge him.
He silenced them all in 2019 at the Worlds, and has only grown in stature since. He won the Asian Championship in Delhi in 2020 and defended the title this year in Almaty.
He competed at Poland Open and lost only one bout. The World Cup in Serbia was an abberation.
Dahiya is a product of the national capital's Chhatrasal Stadium, which has already given India two Olympic medallists -- Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.
His father, Rakesh Kumar, sent him there when he was a 12–year-old boy and since then has been training under Mahabali Satpal and coach Virender.
Also read: Ravi and Deepak get good draw; European champion awaits Anshu Malik in her 57kg opener
Rakesh has been toiling hard in the farm fields, taken on lease, for years but never let the struggles come in way of Ravi's training.
Rakesh would himself carry milk and butter to Chhatrasal Stadium, about 60kms away from his home, every single day without fail to ensure that his son gets the best diet.
The routine meant Rakesh would wake up at 3:30am, walk about 5km to the nearest railway station, get down at Azadpur and then walk another 2km to the Chhatrasal Stadium, where Ravi trained under Mahabali Satpal.
After coming back, Rakesh would work in the fields and it continued for 12 years till the COVID-19-induced lockdown halted the routine in 2020.
His son has now achieved something that will certainly help Rakesh forget all his pain.
All the sacrifices were worth it.
News source: PTI
We could have won a medal together: Das
Kolkata, Aug 4 (Olymics news) Top Indian archer Atanu Das rued the absence of a psychologist in Tokyo and said it could have made all the difference as they returned empty-handed from the Olympics yet again.
The four Indian archers were accompanied by chief coach Lim Bahadur Gurung and a physio to Tokyo, while their full time psychologist Mugdha Bavare, who had travelled with them during their successful campaigns in the two World Cups this year, was excluded.
Das had won an individual gold medal at the first stage of the World Cup in Guatemala City in April. His wife Deepika, on the other hand, was in the form of her life winning five gold medals from two World Cups earlier this year to go to Tokyo with a world number one ranking.
"She (Mugdha) accompanied us in every tournament, except the Olympics. I think it could have been arranged. We used to interact with her over phone but that was not enough," Das told PTI in an interview after their return.
The highlight of Indian archers' otherwise dismal campaign at the Olympics was Das' shootoff win over Korea's Oh Jin Hyek to knock out the former Olympic and world champion from last-32.
Returning to action after a day's break, Das, however, could not take the "pressure of the Olympics" and faltered against local favourite Takaharu Furukawa to make a second successive pre-quarterfinal exit from the Games.
"I think if there was a psychologist maybe I could have dealt with the pressure well. It could have made all the difference," he said, pointing out that champion teams like Korea "always travels with 10 support staff including a psychologist".
"We all know the Olympics is the biggest event, so somehow pressure gets into you. Maybe, I took the match more seriously the other day.
"I think I made some judgmental mistakes in the first set (shooting two 8s). I could have won the last round also but could not find the rhythm," said Das, who was edged out by the five-time Olympian by just one point in the fifth set to seal a tight win.
It was the same story for the Indians in the team events as both the men's trio and the mixed pair duo choked under pressure from the Koreans in their respective quarterfinals.
In the ranking round on their first day, Das had slipped behind rookie Pravin Jadhav, misfiring a 5 in the penultimate round, to lose his place in the mixed team.
Das and Jadhav were tied 329-all at the halfway mark of 36 arrows in the ranking before he slipped.
"Maybe I took a bit more pressure on me with an eye to top among us. It was a bad day for us. I was really struggling that day.
"I could take charge of myself during the matchplay but I really struggled during the ranking round. Maybe this would not have happened if we had a psychologist. It was a big setback for us," he said.
Das once again reiterated that he and his wife could have won a medal together and it was "unfair" to ignore him for the mixed team event on the basis of just one ranking round.
"We have been shooting consistently well together since the 2019 Asian Championships in Bangkok. But to judge someone on the basis of one poor ranking round score was unfair," the 29-year-old said.
The duo, who were the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline at an Olympics, were coming off a gold medal win at the Paris World Cup and a bronze in the Asian Championships in 2019.
Also read: Atanu Das crashes out of Tokyo Olympics after losing pre-qualifier to Takaharu Furukawa 6-4
The team think-tank had an option to stick to Das and Deepika but they went by the rulebook of picking the top-ranked finishers for the mixed pair event which was seen as India's stronghold.
"Anyone can have a bad day. They did not discuss it with us at all. It's extremely disappointing. We could have won a medal together, of any colour maybe," he said.
It's a new start for the Indian archers who are currently in Sonepat to shoot in the selection trials for the next month's World Championships.
The trials had to be advanced to meet the USA Visa guidelines as they did not get any break after returning from the hectic Olympics campaign.
Refusing to comment on the hectic scheduling, he said: "It's been happening like this always. I've no comments.
"We have to start afresh and take it from here. We will learn from the mistakes and take it forward from here. We have age on our side and we will fight again," he concluded.
News source: PTI
Sangrur to host Federation Cup junior athletics championship
Sangrur (Punjab), Jul 30 (Sports news) A total of 466 athletes, including 166 girls, will vie for honours when the three-day 19th National Federation Cup junior U-20 athletics championships gets underway here on Saturday.
Some of the familiar names in the entry list are Uttar Pradesh's Shaili Singh (women's Long Jump), Uttrakhand's Ankita, who claimed a distance running double in the last edition of the competition, javelin throwers Jay Kumar (UP) and Kunwar Singh Rana and Priya Habbathanahally Mohan (women's 400m).
Haryana (85 athletes), Uttar Pradesh (61) and Tamil Nadu (54) are the three states with more than 50 entries in the competition.
Maharashtra (48), Delhi (39), Punjab (29) and Rajasthan (28) are the other sizable contingents in the Championships where events will be conducted for athletes between 19 and 20 years of age.
Also read: Hyderabad FC sign Nim Dorjee Tamang and Gurmeet Singh
Ajit Kumar, who is Nepal’s sole representative, will join 465 Indian athletes from 24 states and union territories in the competition which comes against the backdrop of the World Athletics U20 Championships in Nairobi.
The pole vault events will be held in the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala.
It is the second National Federation Cup junior U-20 championships being held this year after Bhopal had hosted the first edition in January.
News source: PTI
SSCB dominate in junior boxing
Sonepat, Jul 27 (Boxing news) Service Sports Control Board (SSCB) began strongly in the 3rd Junior Boys National Boxing Championships with eight of their pugilists winning their opening bouts here.
Harsh started the proceedings for SSCB in a quite commanding manner as he out-punched Niraj Sah of Steel Plant Sports Board (SPSB) by a unanimous decision in the 46kg opening round match.
Later in the 54kg, Ashish also defeated Gujarat's Atul Sahani as the referee stopped the contest (RSC) in the first round of the face-off.
Rajan (50kg), Henthoi (60kg), Ankush Panghal (66kg), Jackson Singh Laishram (70kg), Naksh Beniwal (75kg) and Rhythm Sangawan (+80kg) were the other boxers who registered victories on Monday in their respective opening round matches and ensured perfect day for SSCB with all-win record.
Earlier last week, SSCB emerged champions in the 4th Youth Men's National Boxing Championships with 10 medals (7 gold and 3 silver).
Fourth edition of the Junior Girls National Championships was also kickstarted on Monday and 28 bouts were fought with 201 boxers participating from across the country, including Haryana, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Mizoram.
Also read: Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain defeats Germany’s Nadine Apetz 3-2 in round of 16 women’s welterweight division
The boys event witnessed the presence of 298 boxers while 65 bouts took place on opening day.
The on-going championships is being played with AIBA's newly-introduced weight divisions -- 13 categories in men's event and 12 for women.
The event will also be a selection trial for the youth and junior Asian championship, which is slated to take place in Dubai from August 17 to 31.
News source: PTI
Pune 1919: Many years ago, when India made its tryst with Olympics
New Delhi, Jul 22 (Olympics news) India’s tryst with the Olympics started at a sports meet of the Deccan Gymkhana in Pune in 1919 when Tata Group’s Dorabji Tata was so impressed with the performance of the athletes that he decided to personally finance a team for the Antwerp games the following year.
As India gears up for another edition of the Olympics in Tokyo on July 23, a new book "#Tata Stories: 40 Timeless Tales To Inspire You" takes readers back more than a century to recount how the country began its Olympics journey.
According to author Harish Bhat, Dorabji Tata, the second chairperson of the Tata Group, was the chief guest at the Deccan Gymkhana’s annual sports gala and noticed that most of the athletes were clocking timings that were close to European standards.
"Even as he watched these peasant athletes in Pune, he was filled with a desire to see an Indian team participate in the Olympics. At his urging Sir Lloyd George, the governor of Mumbai, took up the cudgels on behalf of Indian athletics and obtained affiliation for India with the international Olympic body," reads "Tata and the Olympics", one of the 40 chapters in the book.
Since an official Indian Olympics body did not exist at the time, Dorabji, the elder son of Tata Group founder Jamsetji Tata, decided to "personally finance" the first Indian team for the Antwerp Olympics 1920 – 27 years before India’s Independence.
And that's how India sent its first team. It was a six-member all male team, comprising four athletes, P F Chaugule, A Dattar, K Kaikadi and Purma Banerjee, and two wrestlers -- G Navale and N Shinde.
"In fact, because there was no official body, a committee that he had helped establish selected the team as well.. The first Indian team did not win any medals at the Olympics, but it planted the country's flag proudly and firmly at the Games," the book says.
Importantly, Dorabji returned from Antwerp with the conviction the nation had to nurture a culture of sports that could give rise to many Olympians in the future. So, using his "personal resources", he sent Dr A Noehern, physical director of the YMCA, to visit every part of the country and evangelize sports and athletics.
Four years later, Dorabji once again bore some of the expenses to send the Indian team to the 1924 Paris Olympics.
"By now the Olympic spirit had caught on; the national team was funded significantly by various Indian states and consisted of seven competitors," the book notes.
Seven years after Antwerp, the pioneering sporting spirit eventually led to the formation of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in 1927, with Dorabji as its first president and Noehern as secretary.
The two office-bearers also selected India's 1928 Amsterdam Olympics contingent, which included the country's maiden Olympic gold medal winning men's hockey team championed by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
Also read : Looking at India’s medal winning performances at the Olympic Games
The book shares an episode from 1947, just after India’s independence, when Dorabji's nephew Naval Tata, then president of IHF, persuaded India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru to fund the hockey team's participation in the 1948 London Olympic Games.
According to the book, Naval Tata, the father of present Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, was keen on sending the hockey team of newly independent India to the 1948 Olympics but was finding it difficult to raise funds. Lord Louis Mountbatten, governor general and former viceroy, suggested that Naval should raise the matter with Nehru.
Nehru asked Naval, “What if we didn't send our team to the meet?” Naval agreed that sending a team "was not essential" but added, "Would it not be an irony of fate that, at the very commencement of our national government, we do not send our team to defend our world title, won and retained for nearly 25 years during the colonial regime?" Notably, India emerged champions in hockey at the Games in 1932 and 1936.
"Nehru's attitude transformed quickly. He instantly sanctioned Rs One lakh, a relatively large sum at that time, for the team's participation. He also facilitated a sports meet that could raise the rest of the funds required," the book says.
The team didn't disappoint. In 1948, independent India won its first gold medal in hockey at the London Olympics and went on to break all records by winning gold medals consecutively in the next two Olympics.
The 201-page "#Tata Stories: 40 Timeless Tales To Inspire You", priced at Rs 599, is touted to be a "collection of little-known tales of individuals, events and places from the Tata Group that have shaped the India we live in today".
News source: PTI
Youth Nat'l Boxing: Gitika, Bishwamitra advance into quarter-finals
Sonepat (Haryana), Jul 20 (Sports news) Haryana boxer Deepika upstaged reigning youth world champion Alfiya Pathan in the heavyweight (+81kg) quarterfinals to cause a major upset at the 4th Youth National Championships here.
Deepika produced a splendid show against Maharashtra's Alfiya to secure a 4-1 victory in an intense battle. The bout was held late on Monday evening.
Deepika will now take on Chandigarh's Mehak Mor in the semi-finals. Mehak outpunched Rajasthan's Rishika 5-0 in the quarter-finals match.
On the other hand, 2021 Youth World Championships gold medallist Gitika (48kg) and bronze medallist Bishwamitra Chongtham (51kg) continued their winning run in the tournament and progressed into the last-8 stage on Tuesday.
Also read: Haryana boxer Deepika defeats reigning World Youth Champion Alfiya Pathan at 4th Youth National Boxing Championships
Haryana's Gitika registered a convincing 5-0 victory against Rajasthan's Yamini Kanwar, while Services Sports Control Board's Bishwamitra notched up a commanding victory against Madhya Pradesh's Shubham Sahu with Referee Stopping Contest (RSC) in the second round of the match.
The on-going Youth event will be followed by the third edition of Junior Boys National Championships and the fourth edition of Junior Girls National Championships which are scheduled from July 26 to 31.
The Youth and Junior National Championships provide a good opportunity for boxers to showcase their skills as the top performers will be selected for the 2021 ASBC Youth & Junior Boxing Championships which is slated to take place in Dubai from August 17-31.
News source: PTI
Maymol Rocky steps down as Indian women's football team coach
New Delhi, Jul 20 (Football news) After four years in charge of the Indian women's senior national team, head coach Maymol Rocky has stepped down from her role due to personal reasons.
Maymol, who took over the reins as head coach in 2017 after a stint as the assistant coach, led the team to a number of international successes and saw them progress tremendously in recent years.
Speaking to www.the-aiff.com, she thanked the federation for its "trust" in her abilities.
"I sincerely thank the All India Football Federation for believing in me and the team for so many years.
"I am very happy to see the progress we have made in the last few years. The facilities we got were always excellent and the support we got from the federation, Sports Authority of India (SAI), and the Government of Odisha has been the key to our success," Maymol said.
AIFF Secretary General Kushal Das added: "Maymol Rocky has expressed her inability to continue as the Head Coach of the Senior National Women’s Football Team owing to personal reasons.
"We accept her decision and thank her for her contribution to Indian Football. Our best wishes to her for her future endeavours." A former India international player, Maymol termed her stint as the "best phase" of her career and praised the team's efforts during this time.
"If I look back, we did have our ups and downs but this was certainly the best phase of my career. The team has grown immensely from when I joined and I have also grown with the team.
"The experience that the players and I have got from the national team has been amazing. I am glad the team stood up to the expectations and the players always gave their best in every session and match we played," Maymol maintained.
Also read: Official logo of the AFC Women's Asian Cup India launched
The Indian women's national team created history in November 2018 by making it through to the second round of the Olympic qualifiers for the first time ever.
They won the title at the SAFF Women's Championship in 2019 and the gold medal at the South Asian Games in Nepal.
With India set to host the AFC Women's Asian Cup for the first time next year, Maymol expressed her best wishes to the team for the tournament.
"The AFC Asian Women's Cup 2022 is the biggest platform for our National Team and I am sure it will generate a lot of interest in women's football in India and will inspire future players, coaches, and many more people."
News source: PTI
Table tennis player Sathiyan feeding off historic Asian Games performance against Japan for success in maiden Olympics
New Delhi, Jul 19 (Olympics news) Beating Japanese world number four two years ago, producing a historic medal-winning performance against Japan at the Asian Games and the experience of playing local league in the Olympic host nation fills paddler G Sathiyan with confidence ahead of his maiden Summer Games.
Sathiyan feels he is a much better player than he was at the 2018 Asian Games, considered a mini Olympics in the fraternity, where he won his two matches against Japan in the quarterfinals to end India's 60-year wait for a medal at the continental Games.
His good run against the Japanese continued the following year when he stunned world number four Harimoto Tomokazu in the Asian Championships though the team lost the rubber.
Both Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal are seeded in the 17-32 bracket and will get a first round bye.
"A quarterfinal finish would be amazing. It would be difficult but beating the likes of Harimoto gives a lot of confidence. And if you do manage to reach the last eight, then you can take anyone down on a given day," Sathiyan, who had his first training session in Tokyo on Monday, told PTI.
Unlike the Asian Games, he wouldn't have his personal coach and Olympian S Raman by his side in Tokyo, as Manika Batra's personal coach got the nod over him. Sathiyan is disappointed about that but is taking it in his stride.
"Of course it is disappointing he won't be there. He was there at Asian Games and I really played well. His presence itself made a difference but these are COVID times and there are restrictions," said the world number 38.
Sathiyan feels the players from top TT nations such as China, Korea and Japan are under more pressure in multi-sporting events than the Pro Tour, making them slightly vulnerable.
"There is a lot of pressure on the top Asian players as they are the favourites to win. We could see the pressure when we played against them (Japan in 2018). That is what we capitalised on. If you play aggressive from the beginning then you can make inroads and put them under pressure.
"They well be prepared and don't take us lightly anymore," said Sathiyan, though Japan had not fielded a full-strength squad at the Asian Games.
Also read: I hope to win the National title and raise my international rankings - Racketlon star Siddhartha Nandal
Sathiyan chose to train in Raman's academy in Chennai and did not travel for the national camp in Sonepat ahead of the Games. He feels he made the right call by staying put in COVID times. "I would have loved to bring in some sparring partners from outside India but, nonetheless, I had good sessions with Anirban Ghosh. We worked on match simulations, variations in my serve, strokeplay and speed of course.
"I have worked a lot on power-hitting which has not been my forte. I guess since I have made changes to my game recently, I can be a surprise package for my opponents as I have not played many international tournaments of late," he said.
The four-member contingent will get four-five days of crucial practice before the competition begins on July 24.
Sathiyan had ordered the table to be used at the Olympics for training, but it could not arrive in time due to logistical reasons, robbing him of some valuable practice.
Having played on similar San-EI tables during the Japan League last year, Sathiyan feels he will have enough time to adjust. "Both Sharath and I play from round two. There will be nerves but I now how to play the big matches. The pressure seems to be bring out the best in me," Sathiyan signed off.
News source: PTI
Nahri: A village desperately waiting for wrestler Ravi Dahiya's Olympic medal
Sonepat (Haryana), Jul 19 (Olympics news) Can the fortunes of a village be linked to the Olympic success of a wrestler? Well, at least the 15,000 odd people living in the Nahri village in Sonepat district think so.
A village that struggles to get potable drinking water, manages household work with just a two-hour electricity supply, does not have proper sewage lines and in the name of amenities has just one veterinary hospital to show, desperately wants Ravi Dahiya to return from Tokyo with a medal.
The quiet and shy Ravi, son of a farmer, is the third Olympian to emerge from this village after Mahavir Singh (1980 Moscow, 1984 Los Angeles) and Amit Dahiya (London 2012).
But why do the villagers think that Nahri's destiny will change if the 24-year-old Ravi wins a medal. Well, there is a small story behind it.
Mahavir Singh was asked by the then Chief Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal what was his wish after he represented the country twice at the Olympics and he requested an animal hospital in the village.
The CM obliged and a hospital was established.
The villagers now have a firm belief that if Ravi does well in Tokyo, Nahri will get some spotlight and the government could gift some development projects to the place, where 4000 families live.
"This village has given the country three Olympians. There is something in the soil of the land. We are sure Ravi will win a medal and with his success, the development of the village will also begin," said Sunil Kumar Dahiya, the Sarpanch of Nahri.
"There is no good hospital here. We have to go to Sonepat or Narela. There is no stadium. We have built a mini stadium but there is no mat, no academy, no coach. If there are facilities, the kids of this village can get better lives." The villagers have pinned their development hopes on Ravi but his success has much to do with the sacrifices and moral guidance of one man, his father Rakesh Kumar Dahiya.
Rakesh has been toiling hard in the farm fields, taken on lease, for years and never let the struggles come in way of Ravi's training.
Rakesh will himself carry milk and butter to Chhatrasal Stadium, about 60kms away from Nahri, every single day without fail to ensure that his son gets the best diet.
The routine means Rakesh would wake up 3:30 am, walk about 5kms to the nearest Railway station, get down at Azadpur and then walk another 2kms to the Chhatrasal Stadium, where Ravi trained under Mahabali Satpal.
After coming back, Rakesh would work in the fields and it continued for 12 years till the COVID-19 induced lockdown halted the routine in 2020.
Rakesh ensured that Ravi learns to respect the sacrifices his family has made. He narrated an incident when he made Ravi eat white butter that he had spilled on the floor by mistake.
"His mother made butter for him and I was carrying that with me in a bowl. Ravi titled the bowl to get rid of water and ended up spilling all the butter in the ground.
"I told him that we manage his diet with great difficulty and you must be careful. I told him, you can's let it go waste and he had to pick the butter from the ground and eat," Rakesh said with pride in his eyes that he taught his son a valuable lesson.
Ravi was six years old when his father introduced him to the sport. He would carry with him to fields, where his friend Hansraj ran an Akhada.
"He has only dreamt of winning an Olympic medal since the beginning. He knows nothing else," said Rakesh.
Ravi's uncle Anil Dahiya, who is a constable in Delhi Police, also shared how his nephew is so focussed.
"One day when he was back home, I asked him to learn motorcycle but he refused, saying he does not need it. Well, he is a young guy but nothing interests him except wrestling. He does not want to buy new clothes, shoes, nothing, all he talks about is wrestling," Anil.
His consistent focus means that he is now a two-time Asian Champion. He booked his Olympic ticket by winning a bronze at the 2019 World Championship.
While Ravi may be a shy guy but what he can't tolerate is cheating and can be very aggressive.
"At 2016 Delhi senior state, his rival deliberately broke his right-hand middle finger. He was in tremendous pain. But he told me 'competition main ab lad nahi payunga par chacha iss ko to hara k hi chhodunga.' And he beat him before withdrawing," he said.
The Nahri village also vouches for his father's honesty and strongly believes that his good deeds are also helping his son.
In 2018, the wheat harvest in 10 out of Rakesh's 20 'keela' was burnt due to a fault of the tractor supplier. While other villagers extracted compensation of the tune of Rs 15000 per keela from him, Rakesh did nothing of that sort.
Also read: Ministry puts on hold National Science Foundation status granted to ISWAI
"'Jo hua so hua', I could not demand money from him. And the villagers now think God has rewarded me by giving success to Ravi," he said.
Nahri has seen both Amit Dahiya and Ravi battle it out on foreign lands by using the batteries of their tractors.
Ravi's uncle Rajesh, who is an Assistant Commandant in the BSF, tells an interesting story.
"Since we would not have regular electricity supply, we would gather around the farm tractors and use the tractor battery to get current for the television set. We watched the 2012 Olympics like this on Doordarshan.
"Now there are inverters and we also watch bouts on UWW website, using our mobile phones. We watched the 2015 World Championship also like this ," said Rajesh Only time will tell if Ravi will return from Tokyo with a medal but Nahri is waiting with bated breath.
News source: PTI
Domestic boxing action to begin next month with youth and junior Nationals
New Delhi, Jul 17 (Boxing sport news) The national youth and junior boxing championships will mark the resumption of domestic tournaments after more than a year, the BFI announced on Saturday. The fourth edition of youth men and women national championships will be held from July 18-23, while the third edition of junior boys national championships and the fourth edition of junior girls event are scheduled from July 26 to 31 in Sonepat.
The tournaments, which will also serve as selection tournaments for the upcoming ASBC Youth and Junior Boxing Championships, will be held at Delhi Public School (DPS) in Sonepat.
Also read: 'Nav Ratna': Meet India's nine boxing gems
"It has been a very tough time for our players with the absence of domestic tournaments for more than a year now due to the pandemic. However, the situation has improved and this gave us the confidence to resume the sport," Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh said.
The participation from 34 states/UT units, including Ladakh, and Services Sports Control Board is expected for the upcoming National Championships.
The youth event is expected to witness the presence of more than 300 men and 200-plus women boxers.
The last edition of Youth Boxing Nationals were held in June 2019 with Services Sports Control Board and Haryana emerging as the overall champions in men's and women's categories respectively.
Haryana had finished on top in the junior women's nationals just before the pandemic hit the world.
News source: PTI
Touching 40s, India's Table Tennis great Sharath Kamal hits peak ahead of Tokyo Olympics
New Delhi, Jul 15 (Table tennis news) A Sharath Kamal thought the Olympics in Tokyo would be his fourth and last but considering that he has never felt better and fitter in his career spanning almost two decades, the 39-year-old Indian table tennis great is reconsidering his future plans now.
Speaking to PTI two days before his departure for the Tokyo Games, the world number 32 finds himself at the peak of his game.
Earlier, the goal was to stop after the 2022 Asian and Commonwealth Games for the sake of his young family but he can't rule himself out from the Paris Olympics in 2024. He says if Germany's world number 10 Timo Boll can play in his 40s, he can too.
"According to my wife, this is my last Olympics (laughs), but let's see how the body holds up till the CWG and Asian Games next year. I feel I am at the peak of my game physically as well as mentally," he said.
Sharath has missed only one Olympic Games (London 2012) since his debut at Athens in 2004. Every time he has been a part of the sporting extravaganza, he has gained something.
"I remember Athens 2004, I didn't know how to prepare at all. 2008 Beijing I slowly understood what was required at that level and 2016 I prepared really well but didn't get the results unfortunately, also I was coming from an injury (hip).
"This time I feel I have gotten better as a player and my rankings reflect that. In 2016, my game was at a level where I could not play the round of 16 or the quarterfinals in the Olympics. But now on a good day, I can do that." Sharath ended a decade long wait for an ITTF title, before the COVID-19-induced break in March last year, with a win at the Muscat Open. His previous title had come way back in 2010.
"I got to 30th in the world rankings in 2019 but in the last couple of years, I feel at the top of my game, beating so many top level players consistently. In 2010, I played well but I wasn't this consistent.
"Game wise, body wise, I am in the right space. Now I have understood how the mind reacts, how to handle pressure and anxiety. Physically, I have really worked hard to be here," said Sharath who is feeling good about his prospects in Tokyo after a 25-day national camp in Sonepat.
Reaching the round of 16 or quarterfinals in Tokyo is a definite possibility, said Sharath whose best chance of a dream Olympic medal remains in mixed doubles alongside Manika Batra.
Also read: Olympic-bound Table Tennis players get a 19-day camp boost
The duo won the Asian qualifying event earlier this year but since then, the two have not got much time to practice together. They only spent three days in Sonepat before Manika returned to her training base in Pune.
Manika and Sharath need to win three games to win an Olympic medal but it will be a tall order for the Asian Games bronze medallists.
"We should get four-five days in Japan together and hopefully we would be fully ready. We have been studying our opponents all this while instead of going straight into the match and figuring it out.
"It is going to be very difficult (even in mixed doubles). Even the first round will be tough since we will be playing a top-8 team." The table tennis contingent could not travel for training and competition ahead of the Olympics due to COVID-19 related restrictions. Sharath feels not playing in a similar environment will be their biggest challenge in Tokyo.
"If it wasn't for COVID, we would have travelled to a place where we could simulate conditions similar to Tokyo, get used to the hall and the table." The game has become faster and faster, feels Sharath, who has been forced to adapt to meet the requirements.
"The reflexes and hand eye coordination is most important. If that goes, you are done. The next generation is playing faster than the previous one and I come from a generation where you play the ball late.
"But I have made the required changes to keep up with the modern game. Even now (last three months) I had to adapt a few things into my game to boost my backhand which would help me finish better with the forehand," he concluded. News source: PTI
Anand finishes second in Croatia Grand Chess Tour, beats Kasparov again
Zagreb, Jul 11 (Sports news) Former world champion Viswanathan Anand finished second in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour here on Sunday with an impressive performance, accentuated by his two victories over long-time rival Garry Kasparov.
Anand, who had beaten Kasparov on the first day of the Blitz on Saturday, came up with a superb performance again to defeat the Russian legend in the 13th round on Sunday.
Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (22 points) sealed the title with a round to spare, thanks to a victory over a misfiring Kasparov in the 17th round. Indian ace Anand took a quick draw in his 18th round game against Alexander Grischuk to finish with 21 points and a clear second ahead of the top-seed Ian Nepomniachtchi.
In the penultimate round, he drew against Shakriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. He would receive USD 25,000 as prize money for his second-place finish.
Playing with black pieces, Anand got the better of the legendary Russian in 25 moves in a Nimzo-Indian defence game.
The victory came for the Indian maestro after three straight draws in rounds 10, 11 and 12 against Anish Giri (the Netherlands), Jan-Kryzstof Duda (Poland) and Vachier-Lagrave respectively.
He followed it up with a superb win over Russian Nepomniachtchi, the top-seed in the 14th round.
Also read: Anand goes down to Anish Giri in Croatia Grand Chess Tour
Continuing the good run, Anand then defeated Anton Korobov (Ukraine) and Jordan Van Foreest (the Netherlands) and shared honours with Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan).
On the first day of the Blitz on Saturday, the Indian ace had recorded four wins, drawn three matches and suffered two defeats.
The former world champion had ended up seventh after the Rapid section, with nine points. He had posted two wins and drawn five and lost two matches.
News source: PTI
Anand goes down to Anish Giri in Croatia Grand Chess Tour
Zagreb, Jul 9 (Sports news) Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand went down to Dutch GM Anish Giri in the ninth round of the Rapid event of Croatia Grand Chess Tour here on Thursday.
Anand had drawn both his seventh and eighth round matches.
Giri pulled off a win in 51 moves with white pieces in the ninth round, a result which left Anand on nine points.
The former world champion, playing black pieces, was held to a draw by Croatian GM Ivan Saric in 48 moves in a Sicilian Four Knights variation game.
Earlier in the seventh round, Anand shared the honours with Polish GM Jan-Kryzstof Duda in a 74-move Ruy Lopez game.
Top-seed Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) topped at the end of the Rapid with 11 points followed by Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Duda and Saric on 10 points.
Also read: Croatia Grand Chess Tour event: Anand held to a draw in sixth round
Interestingly, all games in rounds seven and eight were draws.
Nepomniachtchi, who suffered a defeat at the hands of local star Saric in round six on Thursday, settled for draws against Anish Giri and Jorden Van Foorest, both from the Netherlands.
He also shared the honours with Lagrave in the ninth and final round of the Rapid event.
Results: 9th round: Viswanathan Anand lost to Anish Giri; Jan-Kryzstof Duda beat Anton Korobov; Alexander Grischuk drew Ivan Saric; Ian Nepomniachtchi drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
8th round: Viswanathan Anand drew with Ivan Saric; Ian Nepomniachtchi drew with Jorden Van Foreest; Anton Korobov drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave; Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) drew with Anish Giri; Alexander Grischuk (Russia) drew with Jan-Kryzstof Duda.
7th round: Anand drew with Duda; Grischuk drew with Korobov; Saric drew with Mamedyarov; Giri drew with Nepomniachtchi; Van Foreest drew with Vachier-Lagrave.
News source: PTI
U-23 Asian Cup Qualifiers: India clubbed alongside UAE, Oman and Kyrgyz Republic
New Delhi, Jul 9 (Olympics news) India were on Friday placed in Group E alongside hosts UAE, Oman, and Kyrgyz Republic for the U-23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 Qualifiers, to be held from October 23 to 31.
The 42 teams were drawn into 11 groups with 15 spots available at the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 with Uzbekistan having already confirmed their place as hosts, the first time the tournament will be staged in the Central Zone.
The draw divided the teams into two regions – the west region comprising 23 west, south and central participating teams as well as the east region, which consists of 19 east and ASEAN participating teams.
The 11 group winners and four best second-placed teams will qualify for the finals.
Also read: Ahead of Olympics, skeet shooter Angad receiving lessons remotely from Norwegian coach Tore Brovold
While India are in Group E, Jordan will host Group F that also has Palestine and Turkmenistan for company.
Group A consists of Syria, hosts Qatar, Yemen and Sri Lanka, while Islamic Republic of Iran, hosts Tajikistan, Lebanon and Nepal will contest in Group B, according to release issued by Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Iraq, the 2013 champions, headline Group C which will be hosted by Bahrain with Afghanistan and Maldives also contesting.
Saudi Arabia, runners-up in 2013 and 2020, will play in Group D with Bangladesh, hosts Kuwait and Uzbekistan, who will participate in a friendly capacity and their results will not be included in the standings. The AFC did not provide any reason for this.
United Arab Emirates will host Group E with Oman, India and Kyrgyz Republic challenging them for the sole automatic spot available to the finals while hosts Jordan have Palestine and Turkmenistan for company in Group F.
Australia, who finished third in the 2020 AFC U23 Asian Cup, were drawn in Group G with China PR, hosts Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam.
Korea Republic, the winners of the 2020 edition, will face ASEAN opposition in hosts Singapore, Timor-Leste and Philippines in Group H while 2018 runners-up Vietnam are with Myanmar, Hong Kong and hosts Chinese Taipei in Group I.
Mongolia will host ASEAN sides Thailand, Malaysia and Laos in Group J while DPR Korea, 2016 champions Japan and Cambodia are in Group K, with the hosts to be named in due course.
News source: PTI
Croatia Grand Chess Tour event: Anand held to a draw in sixth round
Zagreb, Jul 8 (Sports news) Former world champion Viswanathan Anand was held to a draw by Russian Alexander Grischuk in the sixth round of the Croatia Grand Chess Tour tournament here on Thursday.
The Indian GM was held to a 40-move draw in a Ruy Lopez game and now has seven points after the sixth round. Earlier, Anand had scored an impressive fifth-round win over Anton Korobov of Ukraine in the rapid competition here.
He had also drawn his fourth-round game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) in 70 moves in an Alekhine variation game.
The 51-year old Indian maestro, who is playing his first over-the-board event in more than a year, quelled the challenge of Korobov in the fifth round which saw the other four games end in stalemate.
He had on Wednesday started with a fluent win over Dutch Grandmaster Jorden van Foreest before faltering against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round.
He drew his third round match against Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Russian GM Nepomniachtchi, who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World champion title later this year, continued to lead the table after five rounds following a win over countryman Alexander Grischuk and a draw against Poland player Jan-Krzystof Duda.
The tournament will see the 10 elite Grandmasters compete over nine rounds of rapid chess (to be played from July 7 to 9) and 18 rounds of blitz chess (to be played on July 10 and 11) for a total prize fund of USD 150,000.
Also read: Mixed fortunes for Anand in Croatia Grand Chess tour event
News source: PTI
Mixed fortunes for Anand in Croatia Grand Chess tour event
Zagreb, Jul 7 (Sports news) Former world champion Viswanathan Anand started with a fluent win over Dutch Grandmaster Jorden van Foreest before faltering against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second round of rapid event in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour tournament which began here on Wednesday.
He drew his third round match against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia.
The 51-year old Indian maestro, who is playing his first over-the-board event in over one year, defeated Foreest in 54 moves in a Sicilian Defence game.
However, he could not repeat the magic against his French opponent in the second round, going down in 48 moves in a Caro-Kann Defence encounter.
Anand drew his third round match against Russian GM Nepomniachtchi, who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World champion title later this year.
The Sicilian Defence game saw Anand and his opponent settle for a draw in 27 moves.
Nepomniachtchi leads the standings after three rounds with two wins and a draw and five points. He beat Anton Korobov (Ukraine) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) in the first and second round respectively.
Anand has three points (two points for a win and one for a draw) after three rounds.
The tourney will see the 10 elite Grandmasters competing over 9 rounds of rapid chess (to be played from July 7 to 9) and 18 rounds of blitz chess (to be played on July 10 and 11) for a total prize fund of USD 150,000.
In rapid chess, each player will get 25 minutes to complete the game with 10 second increment time added after each move.
In the blitz event, players will get five minutes for the game with two seconds increment time added after each move.
Results: Second round: Maxime-Vachier Lagrave beat Viswanathan Anand; Anton Korobov beat Ivan Saric; Anish Giri (Holland) drew with Jan-Krzystof Duda (Poland); Ian Nepomniachtchi beat Shakhriyar Mamedyarov; Alexander Grischuk (Russia) drew with Van Foreest.
First round: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov beat Lagrave; Nepomniachtchi beat Korobov; Anand beat Van Foreest; Grischuck drew with Giri; Duda drew with Saric.
Also read: Indian-American Abhimanyu Mishra becomes youngest chess Grandmaster in chess history
News source: PTI
Chess player Anand returns to over-the-board action after a year in Croatia
Zagreb, Jul 6 (Sports news) Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will resume his storied rivalry with Russian legend Garry Kasparov in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament beginning here on Wednesday, returning to over-the-board action after more than a year.
The Indian maestro's last over-the-board event was in March 2020 before COVID-19 and related restrictions put a halt to sporting action across the globe.
Anand will be featuring in both the rapid and blitz segments, while his long-time rival and former world champion Kasparov will take part only in the blitz event.
Anand and Kasparov, who retired in 2005, have been involved in several memorable matches including in the PCA World Championships final held at the World Trade Center in New York in 1995.
He said he was looking forward to playing over-the-board chess again and also taking on Kasparov.
"I am excited to be able to play again. I have had a lot of memories playing with Kasaparov. But it (playing against him) will be different this time," Anand said.
The Chennai chess ace, who is now ranked 15th in the world, will be looking for some good results in a high quality field.
He was a part of the Indian team, which won the FIDE Online Olympiad in August last year jointly with Russia.
Anand, who was stuck in Germany last year when lockdowns and travel restrictions kicked in due to the pandemic, returned to India in June.
Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Elo 2807) is the highest ranked player in the field, which also includes Russian Grandmaster Alex Grischuk, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) and Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia).
Also read: Indian-American Abhimanyu Mishra becomes youngest chess Grandmaster in chess history
Nepomniachtchi, who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world title later this year, has entered the event through a wild card like Anand.
GMs Anish Giri (the Netherlands), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland), Ivan Saric (Croatia), Anton Korobov (Ukraine) and Jorden Van Foreest (the Netherlands) are also in the fray.
The tourney will see the 10 elite Grandmasters competing over nine rounds of rapid chess (to be played from July 7 to 9) and 18 rounds of blitz chess (to be played on July 10 and 11) for a total prize fund of USD 150,000.
In rapid chess, each player gets 25 minutes to complete the game with 10 second increment time added after each move.
In the blitz event, players get five minutes for the game with two seconds increment time added after each move.
News source: PTI
My goal is to reduce player injuries so that they get more playing time - Physical preparation coach Jeeth Devaiah
With every passing year, the standards of sport have surpassed new heights and records that were considered inconceivable once upon a time have been long broken. Advancements in sports science, technology, superior strength and conditioning methods, diet are some of the many factors that have contributed to this improvement, and it doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon.
With the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner and sports news buzzing with excitement, let’s hear the insights of Mr. Jeeth Devaiah about training athletes for the biggest stage of them all, his experience of working across multiple sports, mental health, learning from experiences, personal objectives and future goals!
Q 1) As a physical preparations coach, how big a role have you played in Indian swimmer Sajjan Prakash qualifying in the A cut for the Tokyo Olympics? How proud are you of him being the only Indian to do so?
I think everyone, including me, played a minor role in his qualification. Much before his Asian Championship in Nepal, we were in Tanya Pura, Phuket where he was training in a FINA Academy. He was complaining of neck and shoulder pain which we couldn't pinpoint exactly as an issue. Since I have a set up in Bangalore with a gym and a physiotherapy clinic, my physiotherapist, Dr. Gautam was looking after Sajan during the Rio Olympics. Since I knew Sajjan pretty well, he trusted us and came to Bangalore and did a proper rehab session for one month. We made him stop swimming and focused completely on his rehab and then he went to Phuket where he started and the pain recurred again. Yet, he could manage both swimming and pain management. Next, he went to Dubai and there he had his own set up with Mr. Pradeep and he went on. We were pretty confident that he will qualify for the A cut because he was very disciplined and had a great sense of self belief. We are very proud that he has qualified with flying colours.
Q 2) You have worked across multiple sports such as football, hockey and cricket. How does physical preparations differ from one sport to another?
Every sport has its own needs. What we do is, we first do a need analysis. Example for cricket - it might not look like a fitness oriented sport because previously it was considered to be the least fitness driven sport but now if you look at the sport, there isn't much time for people to recover. Hence, my or the SNC's work is to get the players fit enough to recover from game to game. If you look at an IPL structure now, there is two months of hectic cricket and players get injured. We plan the load, we call it the load management for the fast bowlers, the batsmen recover from quick running between wickets. These are the areas where we look into cricket. Basically we tend to see the need for analysis. If you look at soccer, the need for analysis is different, 90 minutes of high intensity runs. Hockey is again a 70 minute sport but it is cut down in four quarters. Therefore, every sport has different needs so as an SNC one has to plan as per the needs of each sport. My experience of being a hockey player having played at the highest level helped me to understand the sport better and plan according to the requirements of the sport.
Q 3) Along with strength and conditioning, how important of a role does mental health play in athletes competing at the highest level?
We have always been talking about terms like motivation, killer instinct or spirit but post COVID with the bio bubble, I think mental health plays a very important role as staying in a bio bubble is really difficult as everything is restricted and your freedom is completely curtailed. These days, sports physiologists are travelling with the team which plays a very important role. With cricket given the families are allowed now, so that they don't go through any stress. So yes, specifically post COVID, mental fitness or having a sports psychologist or a psychotherapist is important.
Q 4) How was the experience of working in the Danish Super League Academy, Delhi Daredevils and the Indian Women’s hockey team? What did you gain from those experiences?
I have been a hockey player myself, so fitness has always been my forte. In 2004 I got the opportunity to work in cricket. I started with Ranji trophy and made my way up from there. In 2010 when I got the opportunity to assist the Daredevils then, now known as Delhi Capitals, the approach and outlook was very different to now. What we do with IPL is all about maintenance, it's not about improving. It's all about recovery and maintenance. We can't make many changes with whatever fitness level they are because three is hardly any time from match to match. Players usually come at the last minute and the game goes on.
I have worked with a team called Esberg FC who were playing against the Danish Super League and I thought that their structure was super clean. If you look at the under 12 to under 14 to under 16 to under 19, everything is very structured. Their sessions are all planned months in advance. That is what I learnt and wanted to bring back to India. I think that if we head in that direction in terms of planning and structure, I don't see any difference in the performance of the Indian players in comparison to any one else.
The Indian Women’s hockey team was a big challenge because they had no concept of fitness. They were often called skilled but not fit. I had to go in and change their mindset. I had to teach the women that fitness is also very important, especially strength training, they were not used to lifting weights. I spoke to some of them when they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and they were still following strength training guidelines. I introduced more to every sport and I am still learning after 17 years in this profession.
Q 5) As a professional strength and conditioning coach whose guidance is more important than ever during the current pandemic situation, what is your personal objective?
First of all, i would like to teach the player how to fish instead of just feeding it to them. Our players are more keen on skills rather than fitness, I would like for them to focus on both equally. My plan moving forward is to teach the players how important fitness is for them and to guide them to train themselves to reduce injuries. The goal is to reduce injuries for more playing time so the coach has options available to send in any player of their choosing with no restrictions.
Q 6) What are your goals and ambitions for the future? How would you like to achieve them?
My goal is to work with an ISL team. I have worked with an I-League team and also with the Denmark league. My future goal is to work with an ISL team as it is more challenging and I am already in talks with a couple of teams.
Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash's journey of achieving 'A' cut in 10 months
New Delhi, Jun 29 (Swimming sport News) Not long ago, Sajan Prakash was at his lowest, recovering from a slipped disc in the neck, unable to execute even a single stroke of butterfly and miles away from the self belief that he can make the 'A' cut for the Tokyo Games.
Cut to the present day, the Keralite is being eulogised for becoming the first ever Indian swimmer to earn a direct qualification for the Olympics.
The 27-year-old clocked 1:56:38 seconds in the men's 200m butterfly event at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome to make the 'A' cut for the Tokyo Games.
The miraculous turnaround began in August 2020.
Stuck in Thailand during the lockdown, Sajan had not been inside a pool for seven to eight months. To add to his physical injury, Sajan felt emotionally weak.
It was then that he decided to move to Dubai to train under coach Pradeep Kumar, a decision that empowered him to write a new chapter in Indian swimming.
It all started in 2019 when Sajan felt the pain in his neck but chose to ignore it. Things escalated soon and at the South Asian Games, he was unable to move his left hand.
"The neck pain started during the World Championship in 2019 but I thought it will go away like a miracle. I took painkillers and swam after that I went for many competitions," Sajan told PTI.
"In the SAFF games in Nepal on the day of my event I couldn’t lift my hands. Then I finally went for scans and realised I have the slip disk on my neck C4 C5 C6 that was radiating pain towards my left hand." After completing rehab, right when Sajan was ready to get back into competition mode, the lockdown stalled his progress.
"I took a break till March for four months I was doing rehab. And then the lockdown happened, I was in Thailand and had no physio support. In August I moved to Dubai, my physio Mr Richard, started helping me. I could see the progress my coach and his wife also helped me." Often considered the most difficult swimming style, the butterfly requires not only good technique but also strong muscles and Sajan, who was still in pain, struggled with it.
"First three months I couldn’t do a single stroke of butterfly, I wasn’t confident at all because I could feel the pain every time I jumped in the pool. I was swimming only freestyle and sometimes backstroke, was not pushing at all. I started swimming slowly, building up.” The priority was to become physically fit and mentally strong.
"The first priority for me was to be healthy. I was injured and was not mentally strong. Coming out of that was a big task for me. Strengthening my body and getting mentally strong was my first target to achieve." "I was having 50-50 belief when I started swimming in Dubai that I’d make the Olympics. Before I got injured, I used to put too much pressure on myself to see the end-result, thinking about the time and that I need to achieve the target.
"That made me forget all the basic things, what I had to work on, the skill I had to work on. That mental instability and stress put me into injury.” It wasn't until November-December that the pain subsided and Sajan regained the confidence to go back into the pool.
The result in the Latvia Open in February, Sajan's first Olympic qualifying meet, renewed his confidence that he could still get the direct qualification for Tokyo.
"When I went for the first Olympic qualifier in Latvia, I had not trained much for butterfly. But when I went there and swam bellow 2 mins, the coach and I saw something good happening and we started building on it.” Since then, he gradually progressed, shaving off more are more time to ultimately achieve the ‘A’ standard last week. But the 27-year-old’s initial reaction after the swim was not of jubilation but was heartbreak.
"When saw the time board I saw the result of the swimmer next to me and I saw 1.50.80 and I was like ‘not again’. Then I realised that's not my time and when I saw my time I felt lighter on my shoulders, I was in tears." News Source: PTI
Narayan Das, experienced Football defender joins Chennaiyin FC
Chennai, Jun 29 (Football news) Two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC on Tuesday announced the roping in of experienced defender Narayan Das on a two-year contract.
The 27-year old left-sided defender joins CFC after a season-long stint with SC East Bengal and is currently the second highest capped player in the ISL with 107 appearances till date, a press release said here.
“I am really happy to join a champion team like Chennaiyin FC. It is every player’s dream to help his team win, and I am no different. I aspire to prove my worth, play every single game and help the club in fulfilling the quest for a third ISL title," Das was quoted as saying in the release.
"Even as an opponent I have always enjoyed the atmosphere at the Marina Arena, and I want to tell our brilliant fans to keep supporting us, because it is their backing that gives us the extra motivation.” Das is also capable of operating in central defence. And with over 200 senior career appearances for club and country, the Tata Football Academy graduate will fortify CFC’s ranks greatly.
Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani welcomed Das’ arrival and said, "We are really happy to welcome Narayan (Das) to the Chennaiyin family. All of us at the club are aware of his consistent performances over the years in Indian football, and we are excited to see him bring those qualities to CFC." After taking his first steps in professional football with All India Football Federation's (AIFF) developmental side Pailan Arrows, Das signed for Dempo SC in the I-League. He was then picked by FC Goa ahead of the inaugural ISL season, and incidentally made his debut in a 2-1 defeat to CFC in both teams’ first ever game.
Das then plied his trade at FC Pune City during ISL 2016, sandwiched between his stay at East Bengal in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 I-League campaigns, respectively.
He returned to FC Goa following the 2017-18 ISL draft and helped them reach the semi-finals. He then turned out for Delhi Dynamos FC and Odisha FC before featuring again for his hometown club SC East Bengal in their debut ISL season last time out.
Das also has seven assists to his name in the ISL.
Having played for India at the youth level, Das received his first senior national team call-up in 2013, making his debut against Nepal. He was a member of the 2015 SAFF Cup and 2018 Intercontinental Cup winning Indian teams. News Source: PTI
Olympic-bound Indian contingent to have COVID tests at SRL Diagnostics for 7 days prior to departure
New Delhi, Jun 28 The COVID-19 tests of all members of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will be conducted by SRL Diagnostics, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said on Monday.
The SRL Diagnostics was on Monday chosen as the 'Lab Diagnostics Partner' of the IOA for the Tokyo Games and 2024 Olympics.
IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told PTI that all the Olympics-bound athletes and officials can now have RT-PCR tests for seven days prior to their departure for Tokyo at SRL Diagnostics laboratories across the country free of cost.
"SRL Diagnostics will be IOA's Lab partner till 2024 Olympics. So, all the athletes and officials for Tokyo Olympics will do RT-PCR tests for seven days in this laboratory," Mehta said.
"They have branches all over the country and the athletes and the officials can have the tests at any branch. This will be free of cost and the laboratory has given this as complimentary as our partner." The Tokyo Games organisers have imposed stricter regulations on the Indians by clubbing the country with Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in group 1 with serious COVID-19 situation.
The Indian contingent departing for Tokyo 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.
In the letter appointing SRL Diagnostics as its Lab Partner, IOA wrote: "We are pleased to accept your offer to join with IOA and as discussed and confirmed you may provide services to Indian athletes and officials attending the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2024 Paris Olympics.
"For the athletes: all types of lab diagnostics and test services free of cost, once their qualification for the Olympics is confirmed," Mehta wrote in a letter to SRL Diagnostics.
"For the officials: all types of lab diagnostics and test services as per the charges fixed by the government on confirmation of the IOA." More then 100 athletes have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and the number is likely to touch 120 when the qualification deadline ends in a few days in some sports. The IOA had said that India is likely to send a contingent of around 190 members to Tokyo. 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
Asian Football Federation announces draw of AFC Women's Asia Cup qualifiers
Kuala Lumpur, Jun 24 The Asian Football Confederation on Thursday virtually conducted a draw and placed 28 nations in eight groups for the AFC Women's Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in India next year.
According to a release issued by the AFC, these 28 teams have been divided into eight sets with Groups A to D comprising four teams each and Groups E to H drawing three teams.
The winners of each group will secure qualification to the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022. These qualifiers will be played between September 13 to 25 this year.
The eight teams from the qualification round will join the four that have already qualified for the tournament.
The already-qualified teams are defending champions Japan, 2018 runners-up Australia, 2018 third-place finishers China and hosts India.
The 2022 edition of the AFC Women’'s Asian Cup is the first time the tournament will be contested by an expanded pool of 12 teams, and it will also serve as the final stage of Asian qualification for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.
India will host the continental tournament between January 20 and February 6 next year.
The hosts for the qualifiers are Chinese Taipei (Group A), Tajikistan (Group B), Indonesia (Group C), Myanmar (Group D), Uzbekistan (Group E), Nepal (Group F) and Bangladesh (Group G).
The AFC said that hosts of the Group H matches will be announced later.
AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 Qualifiers draw: Group A: Chinese Taipei (H), Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Laos.
Group B: Vietnam, Tajikistan (H), Maldives, Afghanistan.
Group C: DPR Korea, Singapore, Iraq, Indonesia (H).
Group D: Myanmar (H), United Arab Emirates, Guam, Lebanon.
Group E: Korea Republic, Uzbekistan (H), Mongolia.
Group F: Philippines, Hong Kong, Nepal (H).
Group G: Jordan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Bangladesh (H).
Group H: Thailand, Palestine, Malaysia. News source PTI
TENVIC is bringing sports to schools and positively impacting the lives of many
For many, sports have made a life changing difference in their lives. It’s not just a sport played for recreation or followed by keeping up to date with sports news, it’s a livelihood for some, a lifestyle for many and a uniting factor that brings cultures together due to a shared passion. Sports teaches us important lessons such as hard work, team spirit, perseverance and purpose, lessons that are not only important at the highest level but even more so at the grassroots such as schools.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Ravikumar Srinivasan, the Vice President Grassroot Sports at TENVIC speaks about promoting sports in schools, involvement of legendary cricketer Anil Kumble in developing solutions, it’s various leadership development programmes, making sports a part of the curriculum, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) How is TENVIC promoting sports in schools, boardrooms and making it a part of the everyday lifestyle of people?
We at TENVIC believe that sport promotes the well-being of people and ecosystems across personal and professional spheres, that it fosters lasting cultural, social and economic benefits for individuals, societies, nations and the globe. Our services and solutions, aimed at positively impacting the lives of people, in and through sport, are summarized below as four pillars.
1. Grassroots Sports
Structured grassroots programs, to help children excel in a sport of their choice, offered at school, after school and in summer camps. Scientifically developed training content for different sports developed by well-known sportspersons is anchored by TENVIC-trained coaches.
Integrated Sports Program or In school Program – Where multi sports (minimum 3 sports) being integrated into the school time table – from 3rd std upwards. The Sports Program is mandatory for all school children. Today we offer close to 23 sports.
2. Lessons from Sports
3. Branding and Sport
4. Technology and Sport
Q 2) What is the role of legendary cricketer Mr Kumble in developing innovative solutions for schools and corporates?
Anil's iconic status and achievements as an international cricketer are universally applauded. At TENVIC, his proven leadership skills come into play, drawing from his success as Indian cricket team captain, reputed executive coach and public speaker. TENVIC leverages his intellect and experience in all operational aspects. Several of his fun filled cricketing drills have been shared with TENVIC coaches in-turn it is reached to the school students.
Technology is really helping the athletes to achieve what they want in sports.
Q 3) Please tell us about the structured approach by TENVIC for sports training in schools and other communities?
A sports program built on the PE curriculum is integrated in the timetable for all students between Class 3 to Class 10. Takes over the Physical Education classes of a school and delivers the mandated PE syllabus through a selection of 2 or 3 sports from a basket of 23 sports – namely, Cricket, Table tennis, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Chess, Tennis, Volleyball Swimming, Archery, Rifle Shooting, Gymnastics, Judo, Boxing, Athletics, Hockey, Kabaddi, Kho-kho, Handball, Fencing, Weight Lifting, Sepak Takraw, Fencing
1. With the right selection of sports and their corresponding skill training, the essential requirements of a physical education curriculum can be achieved, as in the TENVIC Integrated Sports Program curriculum.
2. Sport is also a fun-filled and enjoyable substitute to traditional physical education teaching methods.
We have worked with several government schools under the CSR program – developed sports infrastructure, providing the structured sports program – created sporting excellence for the schools within a short span of time.
Q 4) What are the various leadership development programmes conducted by TENVIC for life skills and behavioral competency training for sportspeople?
TENVIC, under the Lessons from Sports partnering with several corporations and several sports persons – besides partnering with the corporate entities, we also engage with sportspeople to help them manage the challenges of playing and for career opportunities beyond their sporting life through profiling, mental skilling and one to one mentoring.
The most important battle to win on the playing field is the one in mind. Winning in sport, as someone once said, is 90% mental.
Through our mentoring programs, we help sports people develop mental toughness and competencies for use during their playing years and beyond. These programs draw on the expertise of world class sporting icons and senior human resource professionals and use diagnostic aids, workshops and focused mentoring sessions to achieve results.
Q 5) What do you think needs to be done to make sports an integral part of the school curriculum?
We have been successfully implementing sports as part of the school subject, close to 200+ schools are being imbibed TENVIC Structured sports curriculum and our coaches are being trained 50000+ students across India from 2013.
As you are aware, National Education Policy 2020 was introduced last year, wherein sports is being made compulsory and it is being mandated to be made as part of a school subject, we have to see how the same is being implemented. We are happy that the government has taken this initiative.
Q 6) According to you, what are the various challenges faced in grassroot development and how can they be overcome?
Most of the schools do not have proper sports infrastructures. I am sure things will change rapidly under the NEP 2020. Most of the schools will start adopting the sports program and more and more students will start playing structured sports and create sporting excellence for their schools.
Q 7) What are the future goals of TENVIC and how can that be achieved?
TENVIC works with Schools, Academies and Centre of Excellence. TENVIC Methodology is LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) principal. TENVIC founders (Anil Kumble and Vasanth Bharadwaj – both known for their sports) had a vision of witnessing their trained athletes climbing the Olympic podium and bringing laurels to the country and to their partners.
Indian Olympic Association seeks clarification from Tokyo organisers, this time on entry of foreign-based athletes
New Delhi, Jun 21 The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday asked the Tokyo Games organisers to clarify whether the strict regulations imposed on the entry of country's athletes to Japan would also apply to those who are currently training abroad and are due to reach directly.
Several athletes, including shooters, wrestlers and boxers are currently training abroad. Of these, the boxers are scheduled to return to India on July 10 before flying off to Tokyo.
The Tokyo organisers have prescribed stricter regulations for all travellers -- including athletes, coaches and support staff -- from 11 countries, including India, where different variants of COVID-19 have been identified, within 14 days of their arrival in Tokyo.
"Currently, we have a number of Indian athletes training abroad for more than 30 days and will be travelling directly from the training locations to Tokyo. The countries they are training are not in the list of 11 countries that have these new additional conditions," the IOA said in a letter to the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (TOCOG).
"Kindly confirm that these specific athletes training out of India for over 30 days will not be required to follow these additional entry conditions," IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta said in the letter.
The Indian athletes and officials travelling for the Olympics have been asked by the Japanese government to undergo daily COVID-19 tests for a week prior to their departure and not to interact with anyone from another country for three days upon arrival, strictures that have left the IOA fuming.
Terming the rules as "unfair and discriminatory", the IOA had earlier written to the TOCOG to ensure that mechanisms to prevent COVID-19 do not have any "adverse and detrimental impact" on performance of athletes.
The IOA also told the TOCOG that the Indian contingent members may not be able to get hold of the report of the RT-PCR tests done 48 hours prior to departure for Tokyo.
It asked the TOCOG to allow the Indians to do the tests more than 48 hours before their departure.
"...the TOCOG circulated list of labs and testing facilities for COVID-19 PCR tests in India are few. Please be aware that some testing labs are upto 400km away from places where our athletes are training...(we) requests for additional labs at the locations where our athletes are training.
"We have been informed by the approved (medical) centre in Delhi that they will supply a soft copy via email of the results of PCR tests within 24 hours and a hard copy within 30 hours.
"...this slow turnaround time ... would mean that members of the contingent may not be able to provide or carry a copy of their PCR test results for the period of 48 hours prior to their arrival in Tokyo," the letter said.
The IOA suggested TOCOG to "recommend that delegate members should be tested 9 days prior to their departure so that they have at least 7 negative test reports with them or restrict the number of reports to 5 which will be possible to obtain for the tests completed in the last 7 days".
"Since it is difficult to receive the PCR test reports for last 48 hours based on the information provided by the TOCOG approved laboratories, we request clarification on this issue as we would not like any inconveniences for our athletes, officials, delegates....who do not have PCR test reports with them for the last 48 hours." On Sunday, in reply to an earlier letter of the IOA, the TOCOG had said that the organisers were "working to define how athletes of your NOC as well from other 10 countries and all other 195 NOCs can stay safe in the Villages and have training".
"We hope to provide you with those information and discuss together as soon as possible we develop it," the Games organisers had said in a letter to the IOA.
Earlier, the advisory from the Tokyo Games organisers had said that athletes from Group 1 countries, including India, must be tested every day, for seven days, prior to departure to Japan.
Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were clubbed in Group 1.
"Physical distancing: For seven days prior to your departure to Japan, you must keep your physical interaction with all others, including from another team, delegation or country, to an absolute minimum," the advisory said.
On arrival, athletes and officials will also not be allowed to interact with anyone else apart from their own delegation for three days.
"At the Games. You will be tested every day as is the case for all athletes and officials.
"For three days after your arrival in Japan, you will not be able to physically interact with anyone from another team, delegation or country." Athletes have been asked to check into the Games Village five days before their competition begins.
Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta, in a joint statement, had questioned the new regulations.
"Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games Village only 5 days before their event. Now 3 days will be wasted, this is the time the athletes need to be moving towards their mode to peak. Highly unfair for Indian athletes," it had said in a statement.
The IOA had also questioned the need for the regulations given that athletes from India will be fully vaccinated and will be undergoing daily tests for a week before their departure. News source PTI
Japan imposes stricter regulations on India's Olympic-bound, Indian Olympic Association says it's 'unfair and discriminatory'
New Delhi, Jun 19 The Indian athletes and officials travelling for the Tokyo Olympics have been asked by the Japanese government to undergo daily COVID-19 tests for a week prior to their departure and not interact with anyone from another country for three days on arrival, strictures that have left the IOA fuming.
Stricter regulations have been put in place for all travellers -- including athletes, coaches and support staff -- who have resided in 11 countries, including India, where different variants of COVID-19 have been identified, within 14 days of their arrival in Tokyo.
"The unfair and discriminatory" rules have drawn sharp criticism from the Indian Olympic Association. India's COVID-19 situation has improved considerably after a catastrophic second wave with daily cases declining from more than 3 lakh a few weeks back to just over 60,000 right now.
India has been clubbed in group 1 alongside Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
"Before you travel: You must be tested every day, for seven days, prior to your departure to Japan," the advisory stated for the Group 1 countries.
"Physical distancing: For seven days prior to your departure to Japan, you must keep your physical interaction with all others, including from another team, delegation or country, to an absolute minimum," it added.
On arrival, athletes and officials will also not be allowed to interact with anyone else apart from their on delegation for three days.
"At the Games. You will be tested every day as is the case for all athletes and officials.
"For three days after your arrival in Japan, you will not be able to physically interact with anyone from another team, delegation or country." Athletes have been asked to check into the Games Village five days before their competition begins.
IOA president Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta, in a joint statement, questioned the new regulations.
"Athletes are allowed to arrive in the Games Village only 5 days before their event. Now 3 days will be wasted, this is the time the Athletes need to be moving towards their mode to Peak. Highly unfair for Indian Athletes," the joint statement read.
"Where and when will the Athletes have their Breakfast, Lunch Dinner etc during these 3 days, as everyone has food in the Games village food hall where all Athletes and officals of other NOCs are present all the time.
"If Food Packets are being delivered outside the Rooms of the Athletes then who will plan their body requirements like Proteins, food preferences etc and will it not affect the performance of athletes, who will not not get their preferred diet, just 5 days before the Olympics" Several athletes like weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra are training abroad and will travel to Tokyo from their respective locations.
However, a major chunk of the Indian contingent will leave for the Games from India and the regualations will affect their training.
The IOA questioned the need for the regulations given that athletes from India will be fully vaccinated and will be undergoing daily tests for a week before their departure.
"Where and when will the Athletes practice as practice/training areas are never empty and Athletes and officials of other NOCs are present all the time.
"While we respect any country's decision to keep their country safe and secure, the athletes going out of India will be Double Vaccinated, have RTPCR tests done everyday for last 7 days before leaving...
"...then why make the Athletes suffer at a time when they need to peak, once again highly unfair for Indian Athletes who have worked hard for 5 years to be discriminated against just 5 days before the Olympics," the IOA statement read. News source PTI
Sony Pictures Networks India gains broadcast rights for MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE 2021
In latest sports news, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) today announced that it has acquired the exclusive television & digital rights for the twenty-ninth season of Japan Professional Football League - MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE till December 2021.The broadcast territories will include countries like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The games will be aired LIVE on SONY TEN 2 channels in India and livestreamed on SonyLIV, SPN’s OTT streaming platform.
Football is the second most widely followed sport in Japan and that can be seen through the lens of the Japan Professional Football Association who manages their professional football league - MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE. The 29th edition began in the month of February with 20 clubs taking part in the event. The league has evolved in competitiveness through events such as the Fuji Xerox Super Cup and YBC Levain Cup which facilitated the country in nurturing great football talents like Shinji Kagawa, Takumi Minamino, Yuto Nagatomo and many more. These athletes can now be seen playing for some of the biggest sides across Europe.
MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE is the top division of MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE and is also one of the most accomplished leagues in Asian club football. The tournament has been home to some of the most exciting players from across Europe like Diego Forlan, Lukas Podolski, Hulk, Jorginho and Andreas Iniesta among others.
My objective is to help Malaysia win matches with my batting ability - Ahmad Faiz, Malaysia Men’s Cricket team captain
A captain in any sport is a role that is widely unappreciated by the onlookers. It’s not just about commanding your teammates, being the boss or taking credit in the cricket news. Just like a management position in any corporate role, it involves composure, decision making skills, taking risks and claiming responsibility when things don’t go according to plan. A captain is a leader who is approachable, respectable and has the insatiable desire to win.
For the Malaysian Cricket team, Ahmad Faiz is a captain that has navigated his players through memorable highs and crippling lows. He has won over the fans with his performances and led by example in a sport that is still getting its footing in Malaysia. In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Ahmad Faiz speaks about being introduced to cricket, pursuing the sport professionally, memorable moments, giving credit to others, future goals and more!
Q 1) When were you first introduced to cricket and how did your interest in the sport grow?
My father Mr. Mohammad Noor Shuib was a Kedah Cricket State Coach, so I used to follow school/state training and tournaments since I was 5 years old. I remember when I was 8 years old, Kedah cricket players Ikhwan Rosli, tied me up with senior pads where the pads covered my whole body to practice together with them. Kedah players always wanted to play with me, even when I was a little boy. From there, I picked up the sport very fast. My first trial was at primary school, Ustaz Rizalman was my first coach at Sekolah Rendah Ibrahim who wanted me to try out my skills. I just bowled one over where all the balls were very good for a 10 years old boy, with no extras and I also hit the stumps twice. From there on, he asked me to join school, district and state training in the same year. My first Malaysia Cricket duty was Under 13 Tuanku Jaafar held in Hong Kong when I was 12 years old and we were crowned as champions in that tournament. It was a big step forward for me to play cricket at that moment.
Q 2) What are the challenges one needs to overcome in order to take up the sport of cricket professionally in a country like Malaysia where it isn't a mainstream sport?
Currently, Cricket in Malaysia is gradually getting more popular as the Ministry of Education (MOE) supports cricket by setting a cricket curriculum syllabus from primary school to secondary school. MOE also supports our new entrance programme, we call it ADIWIRA CRICKET which is also sponsored by Sime Darby Foundation, one of largest Malaysia government linked-company. Cricket is definitely becoming one of the top sports in Malaysia and we are progressing and getting more grassroot participants such as teachers and students at the school level. It will take time to invest in making cricket one of the main sports in Malaysia. We are also targeting parents' involvement as the main stakeholders of our resources for the incoming new players. More awareness surrounding the community will evolve the spirit of the game. Malaysian Cricket already implements a contract base for Malaysian Mens and Womens senior teams, which also help the players to pursue their career as cricketers. Currently, we have improved our ranking status but it's still not enough for us to be top 12 in the world and we are looking to progress it by the year 2025.
Q 3) You were the member of the Malaysian Cricket team which won the gold medal in 50 overs tour at the 2017 South East Asian Games. How special was that win?
It was the most overwhelming moment for me to represent my country and score a century in front of thousands Malaysian supporters. I still remember the roar and the claps from supporters in the stands, they shouted my name so many times. They gave me a standing ovation when I raised my bat after scoring a century against Singapore and once I got out, their faces were full of smiles and showed gratitude for my performance. We played really well as a team on that day. I was supported by Virandeep Singh at a crucial time and we made a big run partnership. We celebrated like true champions after we scored the last run of the game. Every teammate ran towards the batsmen and we also ran towards the spectator pavilion to celebrate with the fans because they all are our 12th men surrounding the field. It was a special day for Malaysian Cricket when we beat the Singapore team who had a better ranking than us at that time.
Q 4) Malaysian Cricket has been enjoying decent success in the T20 format off late. Who would you like to give credit for this?
Overall, I would like to give credit to all the players, coaches, MCA administrative officials and staff for all the sacrifice and hard work that has led to our success. Bilal Asad has proven his ability to lead the Malaysia Men's team, resulting in them being crowned champions again after he took the head coach position again in January 2020. Our performances and results have gotten better since Bilal came into the team. We also got support from many assistants like our trainer Shukri Rahim who looks after our fitness levels, our physio Yuvaraj for taking care of our injury status, coaches such as Aimal and Wahib who look after our overall requirements, psychologist like Madhuli ma’am who helps us maintain our mental health and our manager Mr. Amy Mokhzani who looks after our overall welfare.
Q 5) What are the areas that you think Malaysian Cricket needs to address for it to take it's recent success into ICC tournaments?
We have very good exposure thanks to our friends in Singapore, Nepal and Sri Lanka where we can travel and get the opportunity to play in different conditions. We need more competitive tournaments like the IPL, PSL, BPL, Global T20 to give more exposure to Malaysian cricketers so that we face better opponents as it will benefit the team.
Q 6) You finished as the leading run scorer of the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament. What was that experience like?
Actually, I did not know that I was the leading run scorer at that moment. My major objective is to win any Malaysia match by using my batting ability as my strength. Yes, I am happy that we moved from Division 6 to 4 in only 2 years in the previous years but I don't feel I have enough runs because I can't bring Malaysia to Division 3 due to my lack of runs for the team at 2018 World Cricket League tourney which we finished at number 3, resulting in Malaysia staying in Division 4.
Q 7) As a Cricketer and the captain of the Malaysian team what are you next looking forward to?
For now, we look at the T20 qualifiers and our aim is to reach the top 12 in the world rankings by 2025. We are also looking forward to playing against better opponents in the near future to give us a better pathway to progress. We are also looking forward to exposing our players to play at Global T20 by Canada Cricket. In a very sensitive Covid-19 situation, we remain optimistic and continue to train individuals and conduct team training via online platforms.
Olympic-bound Table Tennis players get a 19-day camp boost
New Delhi, Jun 15 Olympic-bound Indian table tennis players, including Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra, received a much needed boost as they will have a 19-day camp at Sonepat beginning on Thursday.
Sharath Kamal, Manika and Sutirtha Mukherjee will finally get a chance to train together, while G Sathiyan will continue to train in Chennai under his coach S Raman.
"The camp at DPS (Sonepat) will start on June 17 and end on July 5. The SAI-approved camp is the result of some last-ditch efforts from the TTFI and the players," Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) said in a release.
The Indian players were confined to their homes since qualifying for the Olympics at the Asian Qualification events in March in Doha with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the country.
While Sharath and Sathiyan were in Chennai, Manika was in Pune and Sutirtha was doing practice in a limited way in Kolkata.
"For one, it will change our mood. All of us have been training individually because of the pandemic. Now we can focus on the job at hand. We will also be able to push our limits with different sparring partners," Sharath said.
Sharath said he and Manika will need to put in long hours of practice ahead of the Tokyo Games.
"We did a three-day session in Chennai, but that was too short for our satisfaction. Then the pandemic prevented us from any further sessions. The fortnight-long camp should help us," he said.
Sathiyan, on the other hand, said that he preferred training in Chennai because he would get to practice on the Sanei table he was procuring.
"I am expecting it (the table) before the end of this month. At the Games, this brand will be in use. My coach and I have chalked out our programme," he said.
Somyadeep Roy, most likely to be named as the team coach for Tokyo Olympics, and Arun Basak will have nine other paddlers to train with the three players.
SAI has also approved a sparring partner in Aakash Pal for Sutirtha, besides a personal coach (Sanmay Paranjape) and physio (Dhanjay Dubey) for Manika.
There will be other support staff, making the Sonepat camp a 20-member strong squad.
Lists of campers: Men: A Sharath Kamal, Manav Thakkar, Sanil Shetty, Ronit Bhanja, Manush Shah and Payas Jain.
Women: Manika Batra, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Reeth Rishya, Diya Chitale, Prapti Sen and Kaushani Nath.
Coches: Soumyadeep Roy and Arup Basak.
Support staff: Amarjit Singh. News source PTI
Former chess world champion Viswanathan Anand to feature in Croatia leg of Grand Chess Tour
Chennai, Jun 15 Former world champion Viswanathan Anand will participate in the Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament to be held in Zagreb from July 5 to 12.
The tournament will be the third leg of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour. Apart from the Indian Grandmaster Anand, the event will also see former world champion Garry Kasparov, who will feature in the blitz section.
It will be the first across-the-board event for Anand (ELO rating 2753) in over a year as sporting schedules across the world have been hit owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions.
He had in 2020 helped India win the gold medal in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad.
Russian Grandmaster Alex Grischuk, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan) and Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are also in the fray. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia), who will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the 2021 World Chess champion title, has entered the event as wild card, like Anand.
Dutch GM Anish Giri, Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland), Ivan Saric (Croatia), Anton Korobov (Ukraine) and Jorden Van Foreest (the Netherlands) are also in the fray.
Grand Chess Tour Executive Director Michael Khodarkovsky said, "Fans can expect five days of exhilarating chess demonstrated by the famed world champions, like Garry Kasparov and Vishy Anand, as well as a new wave of top players." The tournament will see 10 elite Grandmasters competing over nine rounds of rapid chess and 18 rounds of blitz for a total prize fund of USD 150,000.
The Grand Chess Tour is a circuit of international events, each demonstrating the highest level of organisation for the world's best players. News source PTI
Our ultimate goal is to see Nepal playing football at the highest level in 10 years - Sudeep Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of NSL
The Nepal Super League has completed its inaugural season with Kathmandu Rayzrs FC winning the first league title, for some it may seem like a small step towards top flight franchise based football in the country, for many others it's a big step towards promoting the sport and getting exposure by being in the football news. The NSL is giving aspiring footballers in the country a chance to fulfill their dreams and make the sport a viable career option, which will eventually raise the standard of football and the profile of the national team for years to come.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Sudeep Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Nepal Super League speaks about it’s creation, reception, grassroot development, overcoming challenges, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, involvement of international players and future goals.
Q 1) What led you to create the Nepal Super League? What sort of reception has it received?
This plan (to create the Nepal Super League) was initially created by our team along with the ANFA President in 2018 but we needed to wait for a few years before we finally started the Nepal Super League. Our mission is to create a positive impact in the life of youth through sports. "Youth development through sports" has been our motto since the inception of the league. This is what always drives us to do better for the Nepali youth and society. The reception has been really overwhelming. Support from players, fans, media and everyone else has been inspiring. We've so many positive things to take from this season.
Q 2) How much of an impact has Nepal Super League made at the grassroot level?
It is our first step towards creating a proper platform for Nepali footballers. We've been able to create a base or let's say a stepping stone has been created. Our primary focus is youth development through sports, hence we always aim to work towards this goal. Talking about the impact the Nepal Super League has made at the grassroots, I'd happily like to share that 5 uncapped boys have made their debut in the national side after their performance in NSL. These talented boys who were in C and D category initially played a remarkable role for their team and were picked by the national coach. I believe there is still a long way to go for grassroots development but we've started our journey towards it. I'd also like to add, our franchises are also eager to work for the grassroots development through their academy, age level tournaments etc. It's an essential part of Nepal Super League teams to have their own youth academy and we'll work towards it soon.
Q 3) What are the various challenges that you have faced to make Nepal Super League a reality? How did you overcome those challenges?
There have been numerous challenges since the start of the Nepal Super League. The stadium was going through reconstruction after the devastating 2015 earthquake when we initiated the plan. Then as we all know that the pandemic struck in 2019 and things were kept at standstill but our team worked together to overcome all the challenges and we were able to pull it off during this difficult time. We also got very positive support from the National Sports Council and the Nepal Government.
Q 4) How has the participation of international players boosted the standards of Nepal Super League? How beneficial would the presence of foreign players benefit Nepal’s homegrown talent?
21 International players and foreign coaches from various countries putting their best effort was an icing on the cake for the Nepal Super League. This has been one of the highlights of the NSL and will certainly help the upcoming youth players. Sharing the same dressing room with the foreign players will give them an opportunity to learn a lot and at the end of the day this will help boost their confidence. This will ultimately help for the upliftment of Nepali football.
Q 5) How did the Nepal Super League navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the league is conducted safely?
This was a very challenging task of course. We followed all the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry of Nepal. All safety precautions were followed at the stadium, hotels and elsewhere. We're thankful to all seven franchises who followed all the guidelines to ensure hundred percent safety of players and the whole squad. The Nepal Super League Health Department closely monitored this process and didn't compromise on any issues.
Q 6) What are your goals and ambitions for the Nepal Super League in the future? How do you plan to achieve them?
We are really happy that we're able to create a platform for the future. We plan to create an ecosystem where all teams function in a proper manner and have created a blueprint for it. In the coming years, the Nepal Super League will run in a caravan format in at least three cities. Double round robin league that would run for at least six months is our priority. Ultimately, we plan to run the league in a home and away format after a couple of years. Along with all seven franchises, we plan to create our own stadiums, youth academies in all seven regions of Nepal. This is a dream created by our chairperson Ashrayata Karki Chaudhary and we've been working very hard along with her to achieve it. Our ultimate goal is to see Nepal playing at the highest level in the next 10 years.
When I am sad, I watch Messi's videos and it makes me happy: Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri
Doha, Jun 12 Lionel Messi's mesmerizing runs on a football pitch can make a sad Sunil Chhetri happy, the talismanic India captain said on Saturday, and made it clear that comparing him with the Argentine virtuoso is akin to living in a "stupid cocoon".
The 36-year-old Chhetri has more than once brushed aside any comparison with Messi whom he has overtaken to be the second highest international goal-scorer among active players.
"When I am sad, I watch Messi's videos and it makes me happy, so when I meet him, I will tell him I am a fan (of him), give him a nice handshake, and that is about it," Chhetri said in an AIFF interview to mark his 16 years of international career.
"I would say 'Hi, I am Sunil Chhetri and I am a big fan'. I will not trouble him. If I meet him, I will be happy, if I don't, I am still good," he said when asked what he would do if he meets Messi.
Chhetri overtook Messi (72 goals) with his second goal -- and 74th overall -- in India's 2-0 win over Bangladesh in a World Cup qualifying round match on June 7 here.
"Along with everyone else in the world, I am also a huge fan of Messi. There is no comparison whatsoever. I am just happy that I get an opportunity to score for my country and I feel proud.
"(But) I don't get into the stupid cocoon of comparing myself with all those great players. There are thousands of players who are better than me, and all of them are also fans of Lionel Messi. That’s the gap." It was on this day 16 years ago that Chhetri donned the India jersey for the first time, in a match against Pakistan in Quetta under then head coach Sukhwinder Singh.
Since then, he has gone on to play 117 matches for India, scoring 74 goals -- the second-most for an active international player. He is just three goals shy of the great Pele's tally.
"It has been a wonderful and amazing journey. To play for the number of years for the national team, to represent the country the number of times I have, it's been outstanding. It is beyond a dream." When Chhetri came to the scene in the national team, there were stalwarts like Bhaichung Bhutia, Renedy Singh and Mahesh Gawli. Now, at 36, he is the senior-most player and he sometimes feels lonely among the "kids".
"... (it feels like) just yesterday, that these two kids came in - Sandesh (Jhingan) and Gurpreet (Singh). And now those two are the main players here, that’s how time flies.
"There are so many kids who are now calling them 'Sandesh bhai', 'Gurpreet bhai'. The gap is huge now. I don't have anyone even close to my age or era.
"But it's good to be around kids. They teach me a lot of stuff with their excitement and fearlessness. I try to grasp whatever I can from this lot." Chhetri still takes advice from former captain Bhutia who has a huge influence on him.
"Just two days back, I was having a chat with Bhaichung da. I was telling him how I miss the old camp, purely because now I don't hang out with anyone. I'm in my room only.
"I learnt a lot from him. He was relentless in the way he approached a game. His mentality was bulletproof. He was at it, every game. The first challenge, the first tackle was always Bhaichung da.
"The one to fight for lost causes was always Bhaichung da. And when as a senior you saw that our captain, the most senior guy was working so hard, it rubbed on us. There's nobody better than Bhaichung da." Chhetri said his competitive spirit came mostly from his mother, a former Nepal international footballer, who would play with him many indoor and outdoor games during his childhood.
"I remember I always wanted to beat my mum, but till the time I was 13, I could not beat her. And she never wanted to lose either. I think the fact that I don't like losing, a big part of that comes from my mum.
"One day, I was complaining that I had nobody to play with, and my mum came to play with me in the heat of Delhi summer. There would be loo blowing outside. For the whole 10-15 days of summer vacation, I used to play foot tennis with my mum, and that was amazing." New source PTI
Sports Authority of India sacks Greco-Roman wrestling coach Temo Kazarashvili for non-performance
New Delhi, Jun 11 The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Friday announced that it has relieved Georgian wrestling coach Temo Kazarashvili for non-performance since none of the Greco Roman wrestlers could qualify for the Tokyo Games.
India had hired Kazarashvili in February 2019 to train country's Greco Roman wrestlers at the national camp in Sonepat till Olympics. While four men's free style wrestler and as many women made the cut for the Games but the country could not get even a single quota in Greco Roman style.
"Sports Authority of India (SAI) has relieved foreign wrestling coach Temo Kazarashvili of his contract after no Indian Greco-Roman grappler secured Olympic Games qualification," SAI said in a statement.
"The decision was taken following a recommendation from the Wrestling Federation of India. His contract with SAI was from February 2019 till the Olympics," it added.
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Assistant secretary Vinod Tomar defended the decision.
"We had hired him specifically for Olympics but there is no result. His contract was till August this year but since there is no national camp what he would have done now when all the focus is on Tokyo Games, so we told SAI that his services are not required," Tomar told PTI.
Tomar said they will look for new foreign coaches after the Olympics.
WFI had also sacked Iran's Hossein Karimi (free style) and American Andrew Cook (women) mid-way into their terms, saying it had become difficult to deal with their tantrums. New source PTI
Derailed Olympic preparation back on track after Indian table tennis star Manika Batra agrees to attend national camp
New Delhi, Jun 11 Indian table tennis contingent's Olympic preparations got a much needed boost on Friday when star paddler Manika Batra agreed to join the national camp in Sonepat to train with mixed doubles partner and veteran Sharath Kamal.
Earlier, both Manika and G Sathiyan had expressed their unavailability to attend the camp, preferring to continue training in Pune and Chennai respectively with their coaches.
That was a big setback to India's build up for the July-August Olympic Games where India have a medal chance, albeit a slight one, for the first time ever after winning the mixed doubles qualifying event.
The preparation anyway has been far from ideal due to the COVID-19 related restrictions. The team also doesn't have a head coach since the 2018 Asian Games.
While Sathiyan's availability for the camp, beginning June 20, remains uncertain, Manika has informed TTFI that she would be travelling to Sonepat with her personal coach Sanmay Paranjpe.
"She has said yes to attending the camp, putting the country first. We appreciate that. We have also got SAI's approval for the camp.
"Our best chance is in mixed doubles so Manika and Sharath's preparation becomes very important. I hope they get a lot out of the camp," TTFI advisor MP Singh told PTI.
Besides Manika, Sharath and Sathiyan, Sutirtha Mukherjee has also qualified for the Olympics, making it India's biggest representation in the sport at the Summer Games.
Around 16 people will be part of the camp from June 20 to July 5, including 12 players and four support staff.
They all will undergo a RT-PCR test upon arrival on June 17 and will undergo rapid antigen test daily from day one of the camp. New source PTI
IOA looking for new apparel sponsor by the end of month after snapping ties with China's Li Ning
New Delhi, Jun 9 After parting ways with Chinese sportswear company Li Ning to "honour public sentiment", the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday said it is hoping to find a new kit sponsor for the country's Olympic-bound contingent by the end of this month.
The IOA on Tuesday dropped Li Ning as its official kit sponsor for the Olympics and stated that the country's athletes will wear unbranded apparel during the Tokyo Games, scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8.
But on Wednesday, IOA president Narinder Batra said search is on for a new sponsor within the limited available time.
"The process (of finding a new sponsor) is in progress but time in our hand is very limited. We don't want to put pressure on anyone and have them on board under duress. It has to be on mutual agreement," Batra told PTI.
"By month end, we will have to take a call on whether to go unbranded. The apparels are ready and need to hand them over to our athletes as soon as possible." The IOA had unveiled the Olympic kit designed by Li Ning last week in the presence of sports minister Kiren Rijiju, which led to widespread criticism as Chinese companies had faced opposition after last year's military face-off between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
It is learnt that the Sports Ministry then advised the Olympic body to snap ties with the company. The IOA chief said that the decision to drop Li Ning was taken in public interest.
"I am not going to take the name of any company or anyone, but the decision was taken only after we started to receive criticism from all quarters, including the media following the announcement. We took this decision keeping in mind public sentiment," Batra said.
Batra said for the IOA and Sports Ministry, the priority is preparation of the country's Olympic-bound athletes and logistics regarding their travel to Tokyo for the quadrennial Games.
While Li Ning was the official apparel partner, the official ceremonial kits are being sponsored by Raymonds.
The IOA chief also dismissed reports that India, along with nine other countries, could be barred from participating in the Tokyo Olympics by the organisers because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in those nations.
"These are all media speculations. We at IOA haven't heard anything from either the IOC (International Olympic Committee) or the organisers in this regard," Batra said.
"But still we have asked the IOC and Tokyo Games organisers to give us a clear picture. India is still better-placed than most other nations in terms of COVID cases and mortality rate." A Malaysian media report claimed that the Japanese government had asked the Games organising committee to consider denying entry to 10 countries, including India, due to the surge in COVID cases recently.
The report further stated that other countries on the possible "no entry list" are Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom.
However, the Games organisers have also rejected the speculation. New source PTI
Table Tennis Federation of India planning training camp in Sonepat for Olympic-bound paddlers from June 20
New Delhi, Jun 7 The Table Tennis Federation of India is planning a training camp for its Olympic contingent in Sonepat from June 20, trying to make up for a far from ideal Games build-up amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the second wave of COVID-19 ravaging the country, the four Tokyo-bound players -- Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee -- have been restricted to individual training since qualifying in March.
"The preparations have not been ideal but you could not help it amid the pandemic. We are now awaiting SAI's approval for the 15-day camp. It should come in a day or two.
"A total of 12 players and four support staff will be part of the camp. The players have trained in DPS Sonepat earlier also so they are comfortable with the facility," TTFI advisor MP Singh told PTI.
Barring Sathiyan, who wants to continue training with coach S Raman in Chennai and avoid travel in COVID times, the other Olympic-bound paddlers will be be part of the camp.
Besides the Olympic-bound players, other India players including Archana Kamath, Sanil Shetty and Manav Thakkar, will also be in Sonepat.
"The players will undergo RT-PCR tests upon arrival on June 17 and when the camp begins from June 20, there will undergo a rapid antigen test daily," said Singh.
Sharath, who is set to compete in his fourth Olympics, could not get the visa to train in Denmark and therefore is looking forward to much needed practice in a team environment. He and Sathiyan will be competing in singles but the veteran's focus is on mixed doubles with Manika.
They both won a surprise bronze at the 2018 Asian Games and the pairing remains India's best chance of another good result in Tokyo.
"Manika and I focused on our movement before and during the qualifiers. Now we need to get better at playing situations in a match. The preparations have been far from ideal (due to COVID) but we need to make the best use of this camp," said Sharath. New source PTI
“Our vision is to make cricket a major sport in Malaysia as we aspire to play in the World Cup”- Dinesh Muthuraman, COO of Malaysian Cricket Association
Cricket in Malaysia has a longstanding history dating back to early 1880 and in 1967, Malaysian cricket was admitted as an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Malaysia has seen cricket evolve over the years and of recent, there is rapid growth, especially among the ethnic youth. Through many sustainable structures in place, Malaysian Cricket is on its way to realising its vision of being a major sport in the country with a world -renowned team.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Dinesh Muthuraman, Chief Operating Officer of Malaysian Cricket Association, shares his insights about the growth of cricket, the vision forward, grassroot development, increasing female participation and what the future looks like for Malaysian Cricket.
Q 1) Malaysian cricket has a very rich history, started by the British and becoming the associate member of the ICC. How has the journey been? Please share light on the growth of Malaysian cricket.
Malaysia has a very rich cricket history. Being a British colony, the game was introduced in 1880’s and the British formed the first cricket club at the Royal Selangor Club which still holds several tournaments to this day. Going back in time, the first recorded match was played between the state of Selangor and Malacca in 1887. No doubt, cricket was always associated as an elite sport.
Malaysian Cricket Association has since embarked on making the sport accessible to every Malaysian and there was no better place to start than in the national schools throughout the country. The country houses more than ten thousand schools and today we even have cricket in the school syllabus for the primary and secondary students.
Today, we have our state affiliates working hand in hand with the national association who continue to work tirelessly towards growing cricket in all schools. We train the teachers and develop sustainable programmes for cricket at all levels to enable continuity and growth of the sport with the support of the state education departments and the Ministry Of Education.
All this is aside, we have clear pathway programmes that can provide our talents with a career in the sport. There are in addition, high profile clubs in the country with their own teams and they organise their own inter-port matches.
Through all of these developments, Malaysian cricket has earned credibility and has had many parties reaching out to partner us in various capacities. Towards this end, we are pleased to see an upward trend.
Q 2) As the COO of the Malaysian Cricket Association, what is your vision, and the path you plan to take for Malaysian cricket board?
In order to be a major sport in Malaysia, we have embarked on making cricket accessible and known, beginning at the grassroots. In 2010, cricket was played in around 154 schools and most of these schools were the country’s top boarding schools.
Currently, Malaysia has more than 10,500 schools. In our quest to promote cricket to all the schools, we worked towards putting solid structures in place, obtained sponsorship for educational pathways for the players and most importantly, we gained support from the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education making our efforts sustainable.
With the backing of the ministries, we were able to follow in the footsteps of major cricket playing countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh and introduce a School Cricket Programme. Our programme encompasses courses for school teachers to learn the basics of the sport which will then enable the teachers to cascade the knowledge and skill to their students.
Through the introduction of the school programmes, we are assured of recruiting more locals to play for the country which will be far more sustainable for the development of the cricket in Malaysia in addition to providing a better future for the player and their families, elevating their socio-economic status. We see it as a win -win for all.
Q 3) The ICC has just announced changes to its 50-over World Cup format being expanded to 14 teams and the T20 World Cup format expanded to 20 teams and will be held every two years. How does it impact Malaysia’s cricket team?
We welcome the changes made by the ICC for the 50 overs World Cup format and the fact the T20 has been increased to twenty (20) teams. This is a positive move by the ICC and we thank them for the inclusion of more teams, as it now gives better opportunities for associate countries like Malaysia to participate and reach our goal of playing in the World Cup.
When a nation empowers its teams to participate in global tournaments, then promoting the sport locally will come with ease. The team is at present working hard to qualify for the CWC world cup while Malaysian Cricket Association is looking towards giving them international exposure. Recently, our national team played in the tri-series in Nepal. They played against high-ranking teams namely the Netherlands and Nepal. We have a few international tournaments lined up for the fourth quarter of the year for both the men and women’s teams in preparation for World Cup qualifiers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tournaments are now at a standstill. Under normal circumstances, we would have been playing in the 2nd round Challenge League in Canada this August. This tournament however has been rescheduled to be played in Malaysia in December 2021 and the 3rd round will be played in Canada in 2022. With the T20, it is open to all the participating countries and Malaysia will be playing the ICC Sub regional Asia qualifiers in November this year. If we were to win, it would put us in good stead to play in the World Cup qualifiers.
Q 4) Which are the major leagues or tournaments being played at school and state levels and what is the response that these games receive? Please elaborate on the grass root development programs.
We have introduced the Cricket Adirwira program which is an entry level program with modified cricket rules that can be played anytime, anywhere by anyone. Through the Cricket Adiwira, programme, both teachers and students are able to understand the game as we have simplified rules and the game is played using tape-ball. Seeing as it is not possible to engage coaches for all the 10,500 schools, this simplified version is the best way to introduce the game to the teachers.
In Cricket Adiwira, all players will have equal opportunity in batting, bowling and fielding. Through this program, we have introduced cricket to around 1,500 schools & 2500 teachers. The school teachers now understand the rules of basic cricket. We still have to reach the remaining schools and our target is by the end of 2025.
Cricket Adirwira is an eight-week programme. Upon completion, the players will be moving to a competition called T10 blaze after which they will progress to T20 blast. The Ministry of Education organised an U 12 and U18 tournaments for the boys starting from the district level, then the state and on to the national level. Apart from this, MCA organised in collaboration with MOE a national school championship for the U12 and U18 for both boys and girls and also an interstate tournament for U16 and U19 for the states associations and the best players from these competitions will be selected for the National age group camps. We are very invested in bringing cricket to the grassroots which will then produce more national players.
Q 5) Malaysian Cricket off late has been faring decently especially in the T20 format. What are the factors you think are responsible behind the team's success? How do you plan the team performance in ICC tournaments?
Well, it all starts from within, and with our players, although not overnight, we inculcated a ‘winning mentality’, we had to make them believe in their ability. We see the results surfacing, currently, 90% of our players are local. Prior to 2015 we had 50% foreign players in our national team and were moving up the global rankings. However, with careful consideration, we decided to take in local talent at an appropriate time to train and field local talent.
Apart from the above, we felt that the T20 format will have buy-in from the local talents since this format requires lesser hours of play compared to one day format or the other longer formats. MCA introduced T20 tournaments at the club & state level as well as the high performance tournaments to the best 80 in the country to get maximum domestic exposure and selecting the best available 14 players to represent the country.
We knew things would be difficult at the start but later on the boys will improve. Some of the players who started at that time had already played in the 2008 U19 World Cup or in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup between the years 2012 to 2017. We had a mixture of senior & junior players in the team in 2015-16 but we kept them together and we then decided to award them with a full- time contract in 2019. These players train on a regular basis.
In addition, we joined forces with local private and public institutes of higher learning and secured scholarship programmes for our players. To complement the education journey, we have the armed forces that are also employing cricketers. We have created a pathway for these players be it in education or employment and today, we see that these players are working really hard with a sense of loyalty in wanting to play their best and give back to their country.
As the association seeks to produce professional players, then the onus is on us to take care of their every need. The contracts given to them is to afford them to play cricket and not have to worry about leaving cricket to find another job. This way, they can play, continue their studies and can also work in the armed forces and come back to train full time. The Malaysian Cricket Association has also employed some of the players' development officers. Through these systems in place, we see remarkable improvements. We are also working towards giving International exposure by providing competitive matches that will see our players performing in the international arena.
Q 6) Malaysia recently awarded contracts to 15 national women cricketers, how big of an impact could it have in promoting the game among women and young girls? What are the major challenges you face while growing Cricket in Malaysia and how do you overcome them?
While it is a given that the ultimate goal for any sport is ‘the medal’, the focus of Malaysia Cricket is not merely on the medal. Malaysia Cricket looks beyond and deeper as embedded in its corporate vision “To be a Major Sport in Malaysia”, lies an innate passion to empower and inspire young minds at the grassroots level, through the sport of cricket and advertently, change lives. For the first time in twenty-two years, fifteen girls were admitted into Malaysia’s first sports School - The Bukit Jalil Sports School. We certainly consider this a milestone of Cricket in Malaysia.
To change the perception of cricket as a sport, we had to foremost ensure the ‘buy in’ from the Ministry of Education and that the MOE needed to understand that with this sport we can definitely change the children's lives as cricket is a team game. It took us almost ten years to gain their confidence. And we now work well with the ministries and schools.
At present, we are faced with the challenge of how to convince parents; since they believe it's hard to have a career in sports in a country like Malaysia, as cricket is not played as a professional sport. If together with a contract, comes placement for a job, then the parents will be more willing. Giving the contract to 25 men and 15 women actually changed the preconceived perception about cricket. Parents and teachers are now showing interest, people are following us and we are seeing a host of positive changes.
Q 7) As COO, what are the top three priorities that you would like to focus on? Where do you see Malaysian Cricket Association in the next 5 years?
My top three priorities would certainly be sponsorship & fan engagement, to see the national team play in the world cup and have a pool of trained coaches.
Malaysian Cricket Association has already developed school cricket, we have club cricket and we now have Government support. In terms of finances, it will always be very difficult to get a sponsorship, especially in the current scenario.
In 2018 we began our very own in - house production to live stream all matches which took off in 2019. Last year, 2020 FanCode from India bought the broadcasting rights for the T20i bi-lateral series between Malaysia and Hong Kong. This made us believe that we really have an opportunity of selling our events and thus started doing live streaming more seriously. Sponsorship is steadily streaming now.
To be a self-sustaining association, sponsorship is an important factor to promote the game. We cannot depend solely on grants and subsidies, hence, we need to bring in the sponsorship. In addition, we are in the midst of partnering with a technology company that will be a game changer for Malaysian Cricket fan engagement.
An equally important priority is the national team. We need to qualify for the World Cup for both men and women and also in the U19 levels. Apart from that, growing the game in Malaysia to realise our vision is just as important. This will require us to have good quality coaches at all levels and with this goal in mind, we are working with the International Cricket Council and the Asian Cricket Council to conduct several coaching courses here in Malaysia in order to get the local coaches to produce quality players.
The journey is continuous and we will keep going.
Indian shuttler Malvika Bansod's Austrian Open campaign ends with quarterfinal loss
Graz (Austria), May 30 Talented Indian shuttler Malvika Bansod gave a good account of herself at the Austrian Open International Series despite a narrow defeat against top seed Clara Azurmendi of Spain in the quarterfinals here.
The 19-year-old from Nagpur bounced back from a game down to grab the second game before going down narrowly 17-21 21-15 19-21 against world no 71 Clara on Saturday night.
Malvika had earlier defeated seventh seed Léonice Huet of France 21-9 21-6 in the pre-quarterfinals after notching up a 21-13 21-15 win over Czech Republic's Tereza Švábíková in the opening round on Friday.
Malvika had won the Maldives International Future Series on her senior debut in 2019, before claiming the Annapurna Post International Series in Nepal. She also won a bronze at the Bahrain International Series n 2019.
Among other Indians, Mugdha Agrey and Anjana Kumari faltered in the opening round of women's singles. New source PTI
Teams to watch out for in the ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships
The upcoming ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships is all set to kick start from May 24, after being shifted to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The finest boxing nations of Asia, like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Thailand, Philippines, Mongolia, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will field their contingents in the event.
Let's have a look at some of the strongest teams and their stars competing in the event.
The Indian coaches and officials have put in a lot of hard work in recent years to create a strong team, and after their sensational performance at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, the Indian squad is ready to take on Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan at the Championships.
India’s boxing great MC Mary Kom, the six-times AIBA Women’s World Champion, five-times ASBC Asian Women’s Champion, Asian Games winner and Commonwealth Games gold medallist will be contesting in the flyweight (51kg) category in Dubai where almost all of the Indian women pugilists are the favourites in their respective categories. From the men's team , Amit Panghal (52kg), Shiva Thapa (64kg) and Vikas Krishan Yadav (69kg) are already medallists in previous AIBA World Boxing Championships.
Uzbekistan landed in the venue with a big delegation and the nation is expecting to top the medal tally. Among the defending AIBA Men’s Elite World Champions, Uzbekistan’s trio as Shakhobiddin Zoirov (52kg), Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (57kg) and Bakhodir Jalolov (+91kg) all will be contesting in Dubai.
Their medal winners and champions from major events like Nodirjon Mirzakhmedov (49kg), Abdumalik Khalakov (60kg), Elnur Abduraimov (64kg), Bobo-Usmon Baturov (69kg), Dilshodbek Ruzmetov (81kg) and Sanjar Tursunov (91kg) are also providing a solid support to their team.
Their younger girls were impressive in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Poland last month, and the Uzbek top women boxers have also progressed brilliantly since 2019. The Uzbeks clinched four golds in the previous event in Bangkok two years ago but their expectations are even higher in Dubai.
Kazakhstan won six medals in the Yekaterinburg 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and the winners included Saken Bibossynov (52kg), Ablaikhan Zhussupov (69kg), Bekzad Nurdauletov (81kg), Vasiliy Levit (91kg) and Kamshybek Kunkabayev (+91kg), who will now be competing once again.
Their four AIBA Women’s World Champions: Nazym Kyzaibay (51kg), Dina Zholaman (54kg), Valentina Khalzova (69kg) and Lazzat Kungeibayeva (+81kg) will be all participating in the Championships.
The Mongolians earned titles in the last ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships and Asian Games, and their formidable line up is a combination of seasoned stars and young talents. The team displayed a brilliant performance in the Grand Prix Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic. Erdenebat Tsendbaatar’s main goal is to defend his title in Dubai and defeat all of his Asian rivals one more time, but Asian Games silver medallist Chinzorig Baatarsukh (64kg) and powerhouse Enkhmandakh Kharkhuu (52kg) are also part of their team in Dubai.
The Filipino puglislists trained in their country and in Thailand in the previous weeks to prepare for the upcoming event. Their side features a defending champion Josie Gabuco (48kg) who clinched the gold medal at the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. Philippines’ top men boxer Eumir Felix Marcial (75kg) bagged silver at the Yekaterinburg 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and boasts of 10 years of international experience.
Tajikistan announced their final contingent for the Championships which features eleven boxers consisting of four talented girls. Their defending ASBC Asian Champion Bakhodur Usmonov (64kg), FISU University World Champion Shabbos Negmatulloev (81kg) and their Women's No.1 Shoira Zulkaynarova (60kg) are part of the team. The team will be landing in Dubai with four seasoned coaches and has strong contenders for titles in several weight categories.
The Kyrgyz boxers earned two bronze medals in the previous ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships held in Bangkok. The Kyrgyz pugilists contested at the Bosphorus International Boxing Tournament, the Governor Cup and also at the Belgrade Winner Tournament this year to be well prepared for the dubai event.
Kyrgyzstan’s veteran pugilists and medallists from the previous championships: Mirlan Turkbay Uulu (49kg), Azat Usenaliev (52kg) and Erkin Adylbek Uulu (81kg) all have been selected for the event along with the next generation of Kyrgyz talents such as ASBC Asian Youth Champion Nuradin Rustambek Uulu (69kg).
Participating nations in the 2021 ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships:
Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, host United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Sonam Malik's journey from small Madina village to Tokyo Olympics
Madina (Sonepat), May 19 Many feared that letting a Cadet-level wrestler Sonam Malik compete against established stars in the senior category could result in a serious injury for the youngster or could even spell an early end to her fledgling career.
But the young gun from Madina Village in Haryana's Sonepat district has proved that the risk was worth taking.
It did not take the 19-year-old long to earn a reputation of being a slayer of Rio Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik as Sonam has made the 62kg category her own and is now gearing up to compete at the biggest sporting stage -- the Olympics. It all started when Sonam's coach Ajmer Malik and her parents began to convince the national federation that the two-time World Cadet champion was ready for a plunge at the senior level.
It is rare that someone who has not had the exposure even at the junior level, is claimed to be ready for the competition at the highest level.
After much persuasion throughout the 2019, the WFI allowed Sonam to compete in trials for the Rome Ranking series event in January 2020.
"After the trials were over and Sonam had earned berth in the Indian team with a win over Sakshi Malik, Neta ji (WFI President BB Sharan) said, 'it would have been a big mistake if we had not agreed on Sonam's appearance in the trials'," Sonam's coach Ajmer told PTI.
"The WFI and many others had argued that she would get injured since she lacks experience. They said we will jeopardise her career by doing this, but we kept cajoling the federation." The reason behind such assurance and confidence was Sonam's exceptional show at the local 'Dangals', where she was taken for mere assessment but came out triumphant while competing in open category against big names.
Whether it was Ritu Malik, Sarita Mor or Nisha or Sudesh, Sonam did not care for reputations. She competed fiercely against the big names in Indian women wrestling.
"We just wanted to assess where she was against these girls but she kept pulling of big performances," said Ajmer.
The Delhi Dangal in 2018 won her a scooter and a prize purse of Rs one lakh and 10 thousand. Overall she won Bharat Kesri title five times.
The urge to make a name and earn fame was always there in Sonam's mind from the time she was just 10 years old.
"In 2012, we watched Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt wrestle in Olympics after a training session in this academy. When I saw them on TV, I also made a promise to myself that one day I will also be on TV and people will watch my bouts," Sonam recollects one of those days at Netaji Subash Chander Bose Sports Academy in Madina.
"I wanted to win medals, those belts and see the Indian flag going up at the medal ceremony." Her brother Mohit, who also pursued sport for some time before a shoulder injury ended his dream, said, Sonam was rough and tough and fearless but very obedient at the same time since her childhood .
"If the coach says you have to run 5 kms, she would do it without complaining. We would often lie to our coach but that we have completed the run but she would never claim unless she has done it," said Mohit.
"She loved competing against the big boys. I never saw fear in her mind. Even if she lost to them, she was never ruffled. " To this, Sonam says,"It was more fun beating those sturdy boys. To wrestle against girls was also good but competing against boys was always a good test for me." When she is not sparring on the mat, she is doing her second most favourite thing, discuss wrestling.
A family which eats, breaths and talks only wrestling, it is no surprise that Sonam literally lives the sport.
She does not have much interest in anything else.
Coach Ajmer would vouch for her sincerity.
"We have to tell her every time that it's time to stop training. One day I told everyone that all guys have to do 350 sit-ups. When they were done, I said you have to do 150 more. While the others were harried, Sonam quietly started doing and completed the task." "She would not never complain about hard work." It is this sheer dedication from where Sonam draws her stamina and strength which is seen in her bouts.
No matter she is trailing by how many points, she will catch her opponents by the end of the second period.
This is exactly what happened when she was up against Sakshi in her first ever bout in January 2020. She was trailing 4-6 and then 6-10 but in dying moments, Sonam pulled off a four-pointer to shock her fancied rival.
Not once or twice, Sonam beat Sakshi four time in a row.
"I saw her first time in 2017. It was dream to wrestle against her, My coach told me, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I don't know how I did it but I just gave my all," she said.
In two month' time when Sonam will take mat again as a 19-year-old at the Tokyo Olympics, she would have nothing to lose and everything to gain. News source: PTI
AIBA announces 400,000 USD prize money for Asian Boxing Championships
Lausanne: AIBA on Wednesday announced that ASBC Asian Boxing Championships medalists will be given prize money from AIBA for the first time in the history of the tournament. The prize money is 400,000 USD and will be distributed among gold, silver and bronze medalists in each weight category.
Both Men and Women pugilists who finish in first place, will be awarded with 10,000 USD. While for the second, the prize money is 5,000 USD and for boxers winning bronze medals, it is 2,500 USD each.
The ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Elite Boxing Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates will commence from May 24 with the finals scheduled on May 31.
‘We are following the initially planned strategy. Boxers should receive a reward for their hard work. Not only will money motivate athletes, but also ensure the financial stability of them and their families. All we do is for the sake of our boxers, they are our most important persons. I wish all the participants of the Asian Championships to show their best in the ring and stay healthy,’ AIBA President Mr. Umar Kremlev said.
Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen are the countries who have registered to attend the event.
Eight out of the ten defending Asian champions in men's category like Nodirjon Mirzakhmedov (49kg), Amit Panghal (52kg), Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (56kg), Erdenebat Tsendbaatar (60kg), Bakhodur Usmonov (64kg), Bobo-Usmon Baturov (69kg), Kim Hyeong Kyu (91kg) and Bakhodir Jalolov (+91kg) are planning to contest in the event to defend their titles.
In the Women's event, Philippines’ Josie Gabuco (48kg) and India’s Pooja Rani (75kg) will have an opportunity to increase the tally of their gold medals.
WFI cancels camp for Olympic-bound wrestlers, finalises training-cum-competition trip to Europe
New Delhi, May 15 The planned camp for eight Olympic-bound Indian wrestlers in Sonepat has been cancelled due to hard quarantine and they will instead train in multiple European cities, with the national federation allowing each of them a sparring partner of their choice.
The wrestlers -- both men and women -- were to assemble at the SAI centre in Bahalgarh on Tuesday, but now, as per the plan devised by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), all of them will travel to Warsaw in the last week of May.
The capital city of Poland will host the last Ranking Series event before the Tokyo Games from June 8-13, giving a chance to all to earn some crucial ranking points that will help them get better draw at the Olympics.
"We had planned a camp in Bahalgarh but since they would not be allowed to train for 14 days due to hard quarantine, we thought it is better they for the time being they train at their respective 'akhadas' and then travel to Poland," WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.
"We are also allowing all the wrestlers to travel with one partner of their choice for practice. A few, like Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, will be accompanied by their personal coaches too," he added.
The WFI has written to its counterparts in Poland that Indian wrestlers be allowed to use their facilities for a training camp ahead of the tournament in Warsaw next month.
After the tournament gets over, the Indian wrestlers will stay put in Warsaw for another training camp, which is being organised by the Polish federation.
Following the Warsaw trip, the Indian contingent will move to Hungary for a training camp and then travel to Turkey, where it will train and compete at the Yasar Dogu event (June 25-27) before returning to India in July.
Vinesh is already abroad with her Hungarian coach Woller Akos and will reach Poland directly from there.
It will be interesting to see if young Sonam Malik (women 62kg) and Sumit Malik (men's 125kg) will be part of the near 40-day trip since both of them are recovering from their respective knee injuries.
Sonam had suffered the knee injury during the Asian Olympic Qualifier in Almaty while Sumit had suffered the injury during the national camp but still competed at both the Olympic Qualifiers.
He had secured the quota in Bulgaria, where he settled for a silver medal.
"It will take about 10 more days to make all the arrangements, so hopefully they can recover from injuries and be part of the trip," said Tomar.
India will field a strong eight-wrestler contingent at the Games, beginning in Tokyo on July 23. News Source : PTI
PSL unlikely to resume in UAE due to COVID-19 travel ban
Karachi, May 10 The chances of PSL's sixth edition resuming in the United Arab Emirates in June diminished after the UAE government announced a ban on travellers from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The travel ban will come into effect from Wednesday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was in talks with the Emirates Cricket Board to seek permission from the UAE government to hold the remaining 20 matches of the PSL in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from June 1.
"The PCB was expecting things to be finalised in next 24 hours due to the Eid holidays in both countries but now with this ban imposed by the UAE government till May 12, the only option available to the PCB is to hold the matches in Karachi," a source said on Monday.
He said the PCB was reluctant to have the matches in Karachi or anywhere in Pakistan given the experience of last March when the league had to be postponed due to a sudden surge in COVID cases among players and officials.
A board official has also said that the National Command and Operations Authority, which oversees COVID-19 situation in Pakistan, had also advised the PCB against holding the matches in Karachi.
"Their is one more suggestion to have it in Sri Lanka if not in UAE, but that will require a lot of logistical and other issues and will also be dependent on clearance from the government," another source said.
Pakistan's former captain and batting great, Javed Miandad, has advised the PCB against holding the PSL's remaining matches.
"I think this is not the right time to be playing cricket when all the focus is on saving lives from this dreaded virus," Miandad told a cricket website.
He criticised the PCB for thinking about even shifting the PSL matches to UAE.
"This is not the time to play cricket, it is the time to save lives. In these times of crisis, we should be more focused on saving lives rather than playing cricket.
"The whole world has been affected by the coronavirus. India, where the world cup was supposed to take place, is also severely affected by the epidemic," he noted. News Source : PTI
All you need to know about the ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Boxing Championships 2021
The ASBC Asian Men’s & Women’s Boxing Championships 2021 scheduled to take place in New Delhi, has been shifted to Dubai, UAE due to the COVID-19 surge in India and will be held between May 21to 31.
Puglists born between 1980 and 2002 are eligible to contest in the event in ten weight categories both for women and men.
The Indian Women's Contingent, led by 6 time World Champion MC Kom (51 kg) looks promising with the inclusion of Tokyo Olympic bound boxers like two time World bronze winner Lovina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg)
Monika (48 kg), Sakshi (54 kg), Jasmine (57 kg), Saweety (81 kg) , Anupama (+81kg) are the other names included in the Women's Contingent.
Indian Boxing legend MC Mary Kom will start as the title favourite in the Dubai event. Kom, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, six-times AIBA Women's World Champion, five-times ASBC Asian Women's Champion, and Asian Games winner who triumphed most of her titles in the light flyweight (48kg) category, will participate in the flyweight category (51kg) due to the Olympic weight categories.
With the prominent Chinese, Japanese, DPR Korean and Vietnamese boxers in this weight category, giving the tournament a miss, Mary Kom will definitely be a favourite to win the event. She returned to the international arena after a year's break, at the Boxam Tournament held this March, bagging a bronze medal. Her major rival in the upcoming tournament could be Kazakhstan's Nazym Kyzaibay who is a two-time AIBA Women's World Champion.
Other Participating nations at the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, host United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Defending titleholders in ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships
Women’s 48kg: Josie Gabuco, Philippines
Women’s 51kg: Pang Chol Mi, DPR Korea
Women’s 54kg: Shi Qian, China
Women’s 57kg: Lin Yu Ting, Chinese Taipei
Women’s 60kg: Yang Wenlu, China
Women’s 64kg: Dou Dan, China
Women’s 69kg: Gu Hong, China
Women’s 75kg: Li Qian, China
Women’s 81kg: Pooja Rani, India
Women’s +81kg: Yang Xiaoli, China
Men’s 49kg: Nodirjon Mirzakhmedov, Uzbekistan
Men’s 52kg: Amit Panghal, India
Men’s 56kg: Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov, Uzbekistan
Men’s 60kg: Erdenebat Tsendbaatar, Mongolia
Men’s 64kg: Bakhodur Usmonov, Tajikistan
Men’s 69kg: Bobo-Usmon Baturov, Uzbekistan
Men’s 75kg: Tursynbay Kulakhmet, Kazakhstan
Men’s 81kg: Bek Nurmaganbet, Kazakhstan
Men’s 91kg: Kim Hyeong Kyu, South Korea
Men’s +91kg: Bakhodir Jalolov, Uzbekistan
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
Pakistan duo of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman nominated for ICC Player of the Month
Dubai, May 5 Pakistan batsmen Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman were on Wednesday nominated for the ICC 'Player of the Month' award for April following their stupendous performance in the limited-overs series against South Africa.
The ICC on Wednesday announced the nominees to recognise the best performances from both male and female cricketers across all forms of international cricket and for the first time, the list didn't feature any Indian.
Besides the Pakistan duo, Nepal batsman Khushal Bhurtel was the other player to be nominated in the men's category, the ICC stated in a media release.
The nominees among the women's cricketers comprised the Australian duo of Alyssa Healy and Megan Schutt and New Zealand's Leigh Kasperek.
Last month, Pakistan captain Babar had become the No.1 ranked batsman in the ICC ODI Player Rankings, ending India captain Virat Kohli's long reign at the top of the charts.
Babar's match-winning 82-ball 94 in the third ODI against South Africa helped him gain 13 rating points to reach a career-best 865 points.
He also contributed 122 from 59 balls in Pakistan's successful chase in the third match of a T20I series against the same opposition.
His compatriot Fakhar also produced stellar performances during the month, scoring two centuries in the ODI series victory over South Africa, including a magnificent 193 in the second match in Johannesburg.
Nepal's Khushal, on the other hand, was the leading run-scorer as his team won a tri-series also featuring the Netherlands and Malaysia.
His significant contribution with the bat totalled 278 runs, including four half-centuries in five matches.
In women's cricket, Alyssa played three ODIs versus New Zealand, scoring 155 runs at an average of 51.66 and a strike rate of 98.72.
Her efforts saw her finish as the leading run-scorer in Australia's series victory over New Zealand that extended their record-winning streak to 24 ODIs.
Her teammate Megan became Australia's leading wicket-taker in the same series, taking seven wickets at an average of 13.14.
New Zealand's Leigh played two ODIs against Australia, achieving career-best figures of six for 46 in the second match of the series, and followed this up with three more wickets in the final match, finishing with nine wickets at an average of 7.77. News Source : PTI
Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup play-off match rescheduled to May 11
New Delhi, Apr 30 Indian club Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup play-off match, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this month, has been rescheduled for May 11.
BFC, runners-up in 2016, were earlier scheduled to play on April 28.
They will now travel to Maldvies to take on hosts Club Eagles next month for the group D fixture.
"The sub-committee also agreed to award the Playoff Stage slot to Club Eagles, who will now face India’s JSW Bengaluru FC for a place in the AFC Cup Group D on May 11, 2021 in Maldives," Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a press release on Friday.
BFC were earlier drawn to play the winners of the match between six-time Bangladesh Premier League champions Abahani and Maldives' Eagles.
However, a countrywide lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh forced Abahani to withdraw from the tournament.
"Taking into careful consideration the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the lockdown and travel restrictions in Bangladesh, the Sub-Committee decided that Abahani Limited Dhaka are considered to have withdrawn from the AFC Cup 2021 and that the situation constituted an event of force majeure." The AFC also announced that Myanmar clubs Hantharwady United FC and Shan United FC have withdrawn from the AFC Cup and AFC Champions League, respectively.
"The AFC Competitions Committee noted and acknowledged the challenges as well as the present complexities caused by the state of emergency in Myanmar and decided that the situation constituted an event of force majeure." In light of the development, the AFC Competitions Committee has cancelled the Champions League preliminary stage match between Shan United FC and Melbourne City FC.
"To determine the remaining slots for the 2021 AFC Club Competitions, the AFC Competitions Committee has decided to cancel the AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage match between Shan United FC and Australia's Melbourne City FC, who will now advance to the playoff stage where they will face Cerezo Osaka from Japan." The committee also cancelled the AFC Cup playoff stage match between Hantharwady United FC, who were originally scheduled to face the winner of the preliminary stage match between FC Chanthabouly from Laos and Brunei Darussalam's Kasuka FC.
"FC Chanthabouly and Kasuka FC will instead compete for a direct slot in Group G occupying position G4, alongside Hanoi FC from Vietnam, Bali United FC from Indonesia and Cambodia’s Boeung Ket," the statement read.
The AFC Cup playoff stage match between Persipura Jayapura and the winner of the preliminary stage tie between Visakha FC and Lalenok United FC has also been called off.
"Persipura Jayapura has instead received an automatic entry into Group H in position H4, alongside Kedah Darul Aman from Malaysia, Singapore’s Lion City Sailors FC and Saigon FC from Vietnam, while Visakha FC and Lalenok United FC will compete for a place in Group I." In their last outing, BFC thrashed Nepal's Tribhuvan Army FC 5-0 in Bambolim, Goa.
The fixture was new coach Marco Pezzaiuoli's first competitive game in charge of the Blues, since his appointment as head coach in February. News Source : PTI
Women's recurve team tops qualification as Indians storm to QF in 3 events
Sony Pictures Networks India acquires broadcasting rights for Copa America 2021
According to a press release Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) has bagged the exclusive TV and digital rights for Copa America 2021 in the Indian subcontinent till December 31, 2021. The broadcast territories will constitute India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The event will be broadcasted in India LIVE on SPN’s sports channels and live streamed on SPN’s OTT streaming platform - SonyLIV from June 14, 2021 to July 11, 2021.
This will be the first time since 1983 that Copa America will be hosted by two countries - Argentina and Colombia. The event will feature 10 teams with two groups of five teams each. The first group will include Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, and Bolivia and will play their games in Argentina. Whereas the second group of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, will play their games in Colombia. The opening match of Copa America 2021 will be contested between 14-time champions Argentina clashing against Chile on June 14 at Buenos Aires.
The Copa America 2021 will likely feature top footballers like Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, Dani Alves, Gabriel Jesus, James Rodriguez, Roberto Firmino, Pablo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez among others.
With this, Sony Pictures Networks India’s elaborate football portfolio now consists of UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA EURO 2020, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, FIFA European qualifiers, Serie A and Copa America 2021.
Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head - Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited: “Sony Pictures Sports Network is focused on securing the best football tournaments and leagues from across the world and Copa America is another prestigious tournament we have added to our expansive football portfolio. With this acquisition, we will be presenting our viewers the best of international football from Europe to South America through the months of June and July. From Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé in the UEFA EURO 2020 to Lionel Messi and Neymar in the Copa America 2021, our football calendar will showcase the best football players and teams from across the world.”
Maha woman scales Mt Annapurna, world's 10th highest peak
Archery 'couple' Atanu, Deepika set for new challenge in World Cup Stage 1
Guatemala City, Apr 19 All eyes will be on the newly-wed archery couple of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari as India will look to make up for the lost time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the World Cup Stage 1 which begins here on Tuesday. It has been more than 18 months since the last circuit trophies were awarded at the World Cup Final in Moscow. The World Cup Stage 1 will be the first global event since the pandemic forced the cancellation of the international calendar in 2020. For the Indians, the wait was longer as they last took part in a World Cup back in the stage 4 circuit in Berlin in July 2019. Thus, they would look to shake off the rustiness and get back to rhythm. In the absence of Asian heavyweights Korea, China, Chinese Taipei and Turkey, the Indian archers led by Atanu and Deepika would look to a strong performance in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics. Known for meticulous planning, archery’s leading nation Korea has announced it will not shoot at any of the three stages of the 2021 World Cup, all scheduled before the Olympic Games, due to ongoing travel restrictions caused by the pandemic. Without the big Asian teams, it will be a battle of supremacy between the American and European nations, while the Indians would also hope to make a mark, especially in the mixed and team events. Having already secured the Olympic quota, it would be the first real test for the trio of Atanu, Pravin Jadhav and veteran Tarundeep Rai. In the women's section, India has got individual Olympic quota through former world number one Deepika who, along with Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari, would look to the much-needed exposure ahead of the final qualification in Paris. Reigning under-18 world champion, Komalika has shown a lot of promise in the recent past and she would look to come out of the shadow of longtime leading archer Deepika. Realistically, it's the women's team and the mixed pair team which can win medals in the absence of the fancied compound team which was withdrawn under unfortunate circumstances. The national federation pulled out the compound team boasting the Asian champions duo of Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha just before their departure after their coach Gaurav Sharma tested "positive" for COVID-19. The coach was isolated at the SAI Sonepat camp while the team left for Delhi airport but the federation disallowed their entry to "ensure safety" of the recurve archers. The next day, it came to light that the coach had a "false positive" report in his second test but by then the damage to the compound team had already been done by. "Absence of the compound team will definitely hurt India's medal chances, who's responsible for this mess," an official said, taking a dig at the Archery Association of India. Around 150 archers from across the globe will vie for top honours in the World Cup first stage. News source: PTI
Hoping to be fit and ready within the week: Williamson
NEP Group's solution for Aurora, North One and Extreme E tests its metal in some of the world’s toughest conditions
According to a Press release by Extreme E, NEP Group, the premiere technical associate for content producers around the world , worked with the series and host broadcaster Aurora Media Worldwide and North One and created a cutting-edge, sustainable broadcast solution that aired the first race, in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, in 180 nations around the World.
Developed to mirror Extreme E’s goals of integrating the latest technology with sustainability and creating solutions to meet the rigors of the globe's harshest conditions, NEP’s innovative broadcast facilities will be utilized by Aurora and North One at events in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Patagonia as the championship continues. NEP’s complete end-to-end broadcast package features a custom IP flypack, remote production solutions, crewing, satellite along with fibre connectivity, edit, ingest, Augmented Reality (AR), Graphics, and specialty cameras.
“Extreme E is a truly world-class event that is highlighting one of the most important challenges facing our planet and bringing it to a new audience in a really innovative way. It has been a thrill to see the solution that NEP, Aurora, North One and Extreme E have created come to life,” says Brian Clark, Director of Sales for NEP Major Events. “What we have created is not only at the very cutting edge of technology, but it also delivers from some of the world’s harshest environments – all during COVID. There were certainly a lot of challenges to overcome, but the result is just fantastic.”
Lawrence Duffy, Managing Director, Aurora Media Worldwide says: “It was so rewarding to see all of the team’s hard work, dedication and ingenuity come to life. It was such a tremendous partnership between all of us – Extreme E, Aurora, North One and NEP – and it has really paid off. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve: a great marriage of sustainability and cutting-edge technology all coming together to create a really exciting production. We can’t wait for the next race.”
Keeping into account the sustainability goals, COVID restrictions, and challenges the remote race locations pose, decreasing the number of staff visiting to site was critical in NEP’s system design. Making use of a specialty IP flypack, NEP, Aurora and North One were successful in connecting every racing venue directly to their new “UHD ready” centralised production facility in London, through satellite. With around 30 different sources present in London, majority of the production team is able to handle record, replay, edit, audio mixing, vision mixing and playout without the need to travel to location. In addition to this, specialty Augmented Reality (AR) and Graphics are handled real time by NEP’s AR / GFX team at their production centre in Hilversum, once again reducing the need for travel.
NEP’s team in The Netherlands built several highly advanced AR and graphics solutions for the broadcast production provided by Aurora and North One. Integrating advanced drone and AR technologies, NEP worked with Extreme E, Aurora and North One to produce amazing results and provide audiences with a completely innovative experience. They also leveraged the AR and drone technologies in tandem with advanced RF solutions to minimize cable runs while still giving maximum and reliable coverage from the cars. This enables one to avoid use of fixed-wing or helicopter solutions, which have a much worse climate impact.
BFC begin AFC Cup campaign with preliminary stage clash against Nepal's Tribhuvan Army FC
Kerala Blasters FC rope in young Indian defender Hormipam Ruivah
According to a press release by Kerala Blasters FC, they have announced the signing of Hormipam Ruivah, the young Indian defender on a 3 - year deal that confirmed his stay at the club till 2024. The 20-year-old comes from Somdal, Manipur, and has been playing football right since his early childhood. He was also an integral member of the Indian Arrows team in the 2019-2020 season.
The young defender initially had enrolled in the Sports Authority of India (SAI) academy at Imphal in 2017. Hormipam, later in 2018 became a member of the U-18 team of Punjab FC which bagged him a call-up to the Indian U-18 squad. The center back played an important role with Minerva Punjab, clinching their first Hero Elite U-18 League in the 2018-2019 edition. He was also a member of the Indian side that triumphed in the 2019 SAFF U-18 Championship in Nepal.
In the 2019-20 season, Hormipam featured for the Indian Arrows on loan from Punjab FC and started 14 games in defence. The youngster has displayed great consistency in his performances this season in his 9 outings for Punjab FC in the I-League, with six starts to his name, playing over 600 minutes.
‘I am excited to join and continue my football journey with Kerala Blasters FC. I have heard a lot about their fan base and always wanted to be part of the team. I promise to strive harder and want to do the best for the Yellow Army in the future. I am eagerly waiting to begin my training with the team,” said Hormipam Ruivah.
‘I am happy to have a talented player like Hormipam join Kerala Blasters FC. Being the ‘Man of the Match’ on his professional debut, I believe he will bring out some solid performances along with the support of everyone here at the club and especially the Yellow Army. He has the potential to turn into a mainstay at the heart of our defence in the future. I wish him all the very best and extend my full support in his football career,’ said Karolis Skinkys, Sporting Director, Kerala Blasters FC.