India-NZ final most watched across all WTC series: ICC
Dubai, Jul 28 (Cricket news) The India-New Zealand final in Southampton last month was the most watched across all series that were part of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC), with a total global audience of 177 million, the ICC said on Wednesday.
The live viewership of the Test played between June 18 and 23 had touched 130.6 million across 89 territories.
India contributed most of the audience with Star Sports and national broadcaster Doordarshan accounting for a whopping 94.6 per cent consumption of the intensely contested match that saw New Zealand complete an eight-wicket win on the reserve day.
In addition to the English-language world feed, Star had produced local language feeds in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.
ICC Chief Commercial Officer Anurag Dahiya said, "The viewership data for broadcast and digital coverage of the ICC World Test Championship Final presents a really heartening picture, showing strong consumption across territories and languages as well as formats.
"The ICC always strives to give the best possible viewership experience and will continue to invest in resources that enhance the viewing pleasure and engagement of our fans," he was quoted as saying in an ICC release.
The viewership was also impressive in New Zealand, considering its small population and the inconvenient time of broadcast, with over 200,000 people staying up all night or waking up very early in the mornings to watch their team win the battle of attrition and lift the coveted Test Mace on Sky Sport.
In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports recorded the highest-rated match in the 2019-2021 WTC cycle for a match not involving hosts England and the Reserve Day was also the most watched day of a non-England Test match since 2015.
The launch of ICC's OTT platform ICC.tv resulted in an additional 665,100 live views from over 145 territories outside of the key broadcast markets, totaling 14 million viewing minutes.
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ICC digital platforms witnessed total views of over 500 million across all video content watched during the match window. Facebook provided most of the consumption across ICC digital assets with 423 million views and 368 million minutes consumed on the ICC Page.
The Reserve Day saw the most views ever recorded across the ICC Facebook page on a single day, with 65.7 million individual views across the 24-hour period, surpassing the 64.3 million enjoyed during the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.
Instagram added a further 70 million individual views across the final. Further contributions from the ICC website and mobile app, as well ICC's channels on Twitter and YouTube, took the total video views to 515 million.
News source: PTI
DD Sports to broadcast Tokyo Olympics live, other DD channels, AIR to run special programmes
New Delhi, Jul 21 (Olympics news) DD Sports will broadcast the Tokyo Olympics live daily while other channels of Doordarshan and the All India Radio (AIR) will air special programmes on the mega international sporting event.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to begin on July 23.
"Behold the mega coverage of Olympics 2020, brought to you by Prasar Bharati, through its twin network of Doordarshan and All India Radio, and dedicated sports channel DD Sports," the information and broadcasting ministry said on Wednesday.
The coverage spans from "pre to post-Olympics" and will be available on the public broadcaster's television, radio and digital platforms across the country, it added.
"Different sporting events at the Olympics will be broadcast live daily on DD Sports from 5 am to 7 pm," the ministry said, adding that the "details of the same will be made available every day on DD Sports and AIR Sports Twitter handles".
The ministry said DD Sports will produce a four-hour-plus discussion-based show with sports celebrities as a precursor to the Tokyo Olympics, contributing towards the "Cheer for India" campaign.
This special show will be broadcast live on DD Sports from 11 am to 1 pm on July 22 and July 23, the ministry said.
"Each day, there will be two different sessions with different themes. The two sessions of July 22 will be repeated from 7 pm to 9 pm the same day and from 9 am to 11 am the next day on July 23 on DD Sports," it added.
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According to the programme schedule shared by the ministry, AIR capital stations, the FM Rainbow network, DRM (digital radio of AIR) and other AIR stations will broadcast a curtain-raiser programme on the Tokyo Olympics on July 22.
"The programme will also be carried over Youtube channel, DTH and on NewsonAir mobile app within the territory of India," the ministry said.
While the AIR stations will air daily highlights of the games from July 23 for its listeners, the FM Rainbow network will provide periodic updates from July 24.
"Breaking news may also be broadcast on the FM channels whenever India wins a medal," the ministry said.
All AIR capital stations, the FM Rainbow network, DRM and other radio stations of the public broadcasters will also air "off-tube" commentaries of "select" hockey and badminton matches.
"AIR will broadcast off-tube commentary of quarter-finals and matches for bronze medal only if Indian teams feature in those matches. Broadcast of off-tube commentary of hockey matches is subject to availability of live feed," the ministry said.
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.
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"'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
Hosting our own handball league will be a major step forward towards promoting the sport - Randhir Singh, Joint-Secretary of HFI
Handball may not be an indigenous sport in India, but just like Kabaddi, it’s a sport that’s played at a large scale at the local level. However, what separates it from the others is that handball has not yet found its footing domestically and India is yet to make a significant impact in the sport globally. Despite having achieved some glory at the South Asian Games in the past, there is still a long way to go for India to become a handball powerhouse and conquer the global stage.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Randhir Singh, Joint-Secretary of Handball Federation of India speaks about grassroot development, India’s potential in handball, Indian Handball Premier League, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) According to you, what needs to be done at the grassroots to encourage more children to play handball?
At the grass-root level, there is a lot of input that is missing and we are trying to establish it. The basic thing is that the resources for handball are all available at the school level. When we connect grassroots in Mumbai at schools we have a fantastic base but at the colleges, there is a disconnect in Mumbai right now. The teams that get created at the grassroots (school wise) get disconnected as they join different colleges. There are many colleges that don’t really promote sports; only a few do. For a child who has built himself up for 7-8 years at school but when it comes to the important age where he is in college is where the disconnect happens. The government needs to rethink its policies so that students who are from sports are given admission to colleges that promote sports like Khalsa College, Podar, Thakur College, etc. We should have some sort of a priority set up that these children get admitted to colleges that promote sports. They might be lacking a few percentages because they have given time to sports but that should be considered. This is the disconnect as far as Mumbai is concerned but when we talk about the larger part of the country I feel the schools are not that strongly built as far as their team is concerned. Probably they have their academy outside of school and there is a disconnect when they join colleges. We need a uniform policy across the country, it should not differ from state to state.
Q 2) How much potential do you see in India for the sport and handball and why?
When we compare and see the potential of India in comparison to the countries that are a powerhouse in handball there is hardly any difference. We (a team from India) have been travelling to Europe for the last 20 years, when we look at children from our country and theirs, we really don’t see any difference. We perform really well and we have won many times. Our under 12, 14 and 16 have done really well. When we take them to Sweden, Denmark, Spain, France or Austria, we see exceptional performances. The base of the Indian handball is really really strong if you look at the grassroots. When we look at the senior or even the junior teams, they are very good but what we lack is in terms of infrastructure and playing conditions.
Normally, when we start handball in India we play on natural soil, we play outdoors on grass or mud, but, the actual handball is played indoors on turf. Even when we play during the European summer we play on artificial grass. Here in India, artificial grass concepts are now coming up. There are some academies or places where you can hire such grounds and take your team for practice. The actual game is mainly played indoors and the conditions indoors are completely different. The game situation is also different as players play with glue, our players when they go for international competitions like Asian Games using glue is permitted. That gum makes a huge difference. When I play without glue, my power, direction and speed are different and with glue it is different. Until and unless all these parameters are looked into I don’t think we will get the result that we expect.
As far as the coaches are concerned, we do have good coaches and potential in players but the infrastructure is missing. The infrastructure is really costly, just one artificial turf will cost you around a crore apart from the land and the infrastructure. We need support from the companies. In Mumbai, there is only one indoor stadium and that belongs to the university. Our vision is limited to one sport when we build an infrastructure but it (our vision) should be broad. Mumbai should have at least 30 to 40 indoor stadiums not just for handball, as indoor stadiums can be used for multiple sports. This is something where the government needs to support, where the local administration needs to support. Of course, private companies can also play a major role by initiating a program through their CSR funds. The association and federation needs to think differently by marketing this sport. Marketing is something that is lacking.
Q 3) What are your expectations from the Indian Handball Premier League? Do you believe it can gain the attention of the masses despite the ongoing pandemic?
Handball is one of the fastest sports in the world, almost as fast as ice hockey because there is a goal being scored every minute and sometimes even two. There is an attack and counter-attack and that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Maharashtra started the first league and they were the pioneers of a handball league. The president Mr. Ravi Gaikwad who was recently linked with the Legends Cricket Tournament. He is the one who brought this dream of starting an Indian handball league and he was the one who helped bring it to reality especially in a city like Solapur which obviously was not anybody's first choice but we did whatever we needed to do to make the dream successful.
However it proved to be successful and we went live on Doordarshan and gave us the far out reach that we needed into the rural parts of the country but now we also need the bigger channels to be covering us in order to get popular. Kabaddi for example was a sport of the rural area and now it belongs in a more urban category all thanks to the coverage and exposure it received. The sport also had associations and federations that were genuinely committed to the vision of what they wanted the sport to become.
Having said that handball is an action packed game, if it is pushed and promoted by a successful sports channel and receives the backing and exposure it needs, I am sure that it will attract a huge crowd and go mainstream. We need to attract a crowd to receive the attention and to set the standard for handball.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges faced by aspiring handball players in the country? What is the Handball Federation of India doing to eliminate those challenges?
Challenges will always be there regardless of what you are doing and at what level you are doing it at. We as the Handball association have done a lot for the players in this country. We have provided basic infrastructure to some states and we have provided job opportunities for the players in Railways, Police department and the major sectors. We are working towards helping our players get work in departments such as the electricity board or the central excise and customs.
When I was in college I remember that even banks would have their teams. We don’t see that anymore. They have stopped pursuing teams. That is something that could be revived if we put some effort through the federation and if we can get it to be a requirement through the authorities. It is extremely important for sports people to be provided with job opportunities to reward their efforts and to give incentive to improve their performance level.
Most players start their handball training in schools and their coaches are usually from a physical education background, so empowering them and educating them about the sport is an aim for us. We want to host educational workshops or upgrade programmes for people in such positions so that they are more aware of the exact requirements of the sport and that will allow us to contribute to the performance of the players yet to come. Nurturing a sportsperson from a young age and guiding the child in the right direction is important to the future of the sport. We will be able to see the progress of the child from a young age. How do you recruit someone for tennis? You check to see if they have strong shoulders and endurance and you look for stamina. We will be able to see all that from grade 1 and we will also want to watch their coach to progress along with them. As time passes we would like to place specialised coaches that have professional experience in schools to coach students that are doing well and give them the opportunity to learn from someone who has state level or national level certificates. They will then adapt well to the sport and the skills required. We will also have the opportunity to correct the players’ techniques because if that is not done before the age of 13-15 then that becomes their style. Once that happens a player can not reach their full potential because they can not adapt anymore.
Early nurturing and skill correction is critical to the future of the players and that would serve as a massive push in the right direction. We have already started to see schools hiring sport specific coaches for handball but that is only happening in a very few regions such as Delhi or Bombay but it isn’t so prevalent everywhere else. What we need is for the players to bring in medals and trophies from well recognised events such as the Olympics. Even then the viewers and organisations start charging towards it a few months in advance but for the players the journey starts with their earliest training and preparation; it is all the work from there on then that contributes to their performance.
Q 5) What are the future goals of the Handball Federation of India? How do they plan to achieve them?
The big goal is ofcourse hosting our own handball league and it is already on the cards for us. It was supposed to happen in 2020 but all of it had to be put on hold because of the pandemic. It will serve as a major step forward.
Other than that, we have our own federation with almost 70% of the employees being former players and they all have amazing insights and suggestions. We plan to put them to good use once normalcy returns. At present we are working towards the future of the sport and we are not sitting idle. In 2020, we brought in an international speaker to come and guide our coaches and referees to promote fair play and to set good refereeing standards and their psychological preparation before each game.
All of this leads us to gaining more audience and finding success as a sport. We are conducting a series of workshops to promote everything that will push the sport forward. We have big plans because today onwards the international handball week has started and the president has mailed and instructed all the associations and federations to host small games, competitions and workshops. Each and every sports unit will be contributing something towards the progress of handball in India.
We will also send a presentation of the compilation of all our work to the International Handball Federation and in this way we will maintain a bond amongst the players and with little steps we intend to better the sport. We now have a young president and vice president and they have certain ideas for us moving forward so that will be good for the sport.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur chairs meeting of high-level committee to review India's Olympic preparation
New Delhi, Jul 12 (Olympics news) Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday chaired the first review meeting after taking charge of his ministry as he took stock of India's preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
The meeting of the high-level committee was also attended by his deputy Nisith Pramanik and the officials of the sports ministry, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
While it was the seventh meeting of the committee, it was thei first for Thakur and Pramanik after taking charge of the sports ministry last week.
Thakur took charge as sports minister from Kiren Rijiju last week following a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 35-year-old Pramanik, a first-time MP from Bengal, was appointed as the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports under Thakur, who is a cabinet minister.
During the meeting chaired by Thakur, various issues, including the provision of world class training facilities for the Olympic-bound athletes were discussed.
"It was a normal review meeting of the high-level committee which has been going on for long. In these meetings, we take stock of Indian athletes' preparation for the Olympics, to see if everything was on track or anything is pending which needs to be addressed," an official source told PTI.
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Besides, Thakur also discussed with the officers the progress of #Cheer4India campaign and the preparations for the interaction of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Olympic-bound athletes on Tuesday.
Modi will interact with the athletes virtually in his bid to motivate them ahead of the Tokyo Olympics which opens on July 23.
The interaction will be telecast live on Doordarshan and on various government social media platforms.
More than 120 Indian athletes will participate in the Tokyo Olympics amid strict health safety protocols because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Games will be held without any spectators from July 23 to August 8.
News source: PTI
Sports Ministry to launch short movies on journey of Tokyo-bound athletes
New Delhi, Jun 2 The Sports Ministry will launch short films encapsulating the journeys of the Tokyo-bound Indian athletes on Thursday to mark 50 days to the Summer Games.
The films, charting the journey from the early days to the Olympic participation of the prominent sportspersons, will be launched on Doordarshan.
It will be shown everyday in the run up to the Tokyo Olympics that is slated to begin on July 23.
"Our athletes are our national assets. They put in years of focussed hardwork, often at the cost of their personal lives, to bring glory to the country. These films are an ode to their unwavering hard work and dedication to their game," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said in a release.
The series - Olympics Ki Aasha will celebrate stories of grit, passion and determination of India's elite athletes and pay homage to what it has taken to reach the highest level of sporting excellence.
"I invite the entire nation, especially our youngsters, to watch these inspirational stories and cheer for our athletes as they prepare to compete in the biggest sporting event in the world," Rijiju said.
The first film to be telecast will be of reigning World champion and Rio silver medallist shuttler PV Sindhu.
It will be followed by similar films on wrestler Vinesh Phogat, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, boxer MC Mary Kom and wrestler Bajrang Punia, amongst others. New source PTI