Lovlina bows out, Pooja advances to quarterfinals of boxing World Championships
New Delhi, May 13 (Boxing News) Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain's IBA World Championship campaign in the 70 kg category came to an early end after a disappointing loss in the pre quarterfinals, while her compatriot Pooja Rani (81kg) cruised to the last eight stage in Istanbul on Friday.
Lovlina, competing in her first international event since her podium finish in Tokyo last year, went down to Cindy Ngamba of Fair Chance Team (FCT) 1-4 in the pre-quarter finals.
On the other hand, two-time Asian Champion Pooja notched a facile 5-0 win over Hungary's Timea Nagy in her opening bout.
Pooja, the 2014 Asian Games bronze medallist, who is also competing in her first competitive tournament since her disappointing Tokyo Olympics appearance last year, looked completely in control against Nagy.
The experienced Indian boxer blended defence and attack to out-punch the Hungarian, who is a two-time World Championships bronze medallist.
The Bhiwani boxer will take on Australia's Jessica Bagley in the quarterfinal on Monday.
In the first Indian bout of the day, Lovlina started a aggressively but looked far from being at her best.
The 24-year from Assam, going by her strategy of using her long hands to reach the opponent from afar, was unable to penetrate Ngamba defence.
She fared better in the second round but the boxer from FCT defended tightly, avoiding Lovlina’s punches while landing several sharp ones on the Indian.
Lovlina had defeated former world champion Chen Nien-Chin in the first round.
FCT is a team run by the International Boxing Association (IBA), formerly AIBA, from last year's men's World Championships, mainly comprising refugee athletes.
The 2017 World Youth Champion Nitu (48kg) and 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha (57kg) will play their respective pre-quarterfinal bouts on Saturday.
Nitu will face Spain’s Lopez Del Arbol while Manisha will square off against Bulgaria’s Svetlana Staneva for a place in the quarter-final.
Also Read : Anamika begins campaign on winning note at IBA Women's World Boxing C'ships
News Source : PTI
Indian golfer Diksha Dagar claims gold medal ar Deaflympics
Caxias (Brazil), May 12 (Golf News) Indian golfer Diksha Dagar outplayed American Ashlyn Grace in the final to bag gold medal at the Deaflympics, fulfilling her promise of improving upon the silver-winning performance at the 2017 edition.
Diksha is now the only golfer with two Deaflympics medals – a silver in Samsun, Turkey in 2017 and gold in 2022, which is actually the 2021 edition of Deaflympics.
The 21-year-old left-hander, who is a professional with victories on the Ladies European Tour, completed a dominant performance with a 5 and 4 win in the final of the match play section of the ladies golf competition. She beat Grace Johnson with four holes to spare In 2017, when golf was first introduced at the Deaflympics, Diksha, then still an amateur and still short of her 17th birthday, reached the final comfortably.
There she lost in a play-off to American Yost Kaylin, who at that time was also playing in the Symetra Tour and some events on the LPGA Tour.
In 2021, Diksha also qualified at the last moment for the Tokyo Olympics and became the first golf player to have ever played at both Deaflympics and the Olympic Games.
Turning pro in early 2019, Diksha won the Investec South Africa Women's Open that year itself. In 2021, she was part of the winning team at the Aramco Team Series London. Both events are part of the Ladies European Tour.
While still being an amateur she also won multiple times on the Hero Women’s Pro Circuit in India.
Diksha has a hearing impairment and started wearing hearing aids from the age of six.
The battle for the bronze medal was hard fought as Frenchwoman Margaux ended Norwegian Andrea Hovtsein's attempt for a second medal on the third play-off hole, that is the 21st hole. Andrea was the bronze medallist in 2017.
Also Read : Tvesa Malik to lead team at Aramco Series in Bangkok
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Goalkeeper Savita sets sights on top-four finish at women's hockey WC
Bengaluru, May 12 (Hockey News) Indian women's hockey team goalkeeper Savita on Thursday said the side's aim is to "make it to the next level" in this year's FIH World Cup after finishing in the last eight stage four years ago.
The event will be jointly hosted by the Netherlands and Spain in July.
In the 2018 edition of the showpiece in London, India lost 1-3 to Ireland in penalty shoot-out to crash out of the competition.
But this time around, Savita says India are well prepared to make the medal rounds. "With more players getting international exposure, and having gained confidence to play top teams in big-match scenarios, we are heading in the right direction of building a strong team for the World Cup," the senior player said.
"We made it to the quarterfinals last time in London, and the aim this time is definitely to make it to the next level." The World Cup will be played from July 1 to 17 but before that the Indians will gain valuable exposure in the FIH Pro League matches in Belgium, where they will take on the hosts on June 11 and 12.
The two matches will be followed by weekend games in the Netherlands, where India will play Argentina on June 18 and 19 and the United States on June 21 and 22.
The Indian women are placed in Pool B in the World Cup along side England, China and New Zealand. They will open their campaign against England on July 3 in Amstelveen.
Savita said healthy competition for places among the junior and senior players augurs well for India. "With new players coming into the group by virtue of good performances in the Pro League and Junior World Cup, there is healthy competition within the group and this is helping in bringing out the best in each one of us."
Also Read : Odisha, Himachal win in Senior National Women's Hockey
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World Boxing Championships: Nikhat, Parveen, Manisha register comprehensive wins
New Delhi, May 11 (Boxing News) Indian boxers Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Parveen (63kg) and Manisha (57kg) advanced to the second and third rounds of the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul after clinching impressive wins in their respective bouts on Wednesday.
Zareen outpunched Mexico's Herrera Alvarez 5-0, while Parveen defeated Ukraine's Mariia Bova by a similar margin.
Manisha, who received a bye in the opening round, too prevailed by unanimous decision against Kala Thapa of Nepal to make her way into the third round.
Zareen, who won the gold at the prestigious Strandja Memorial earlier this year, continued her winning run as she dispatched Alvarez without breaking a sweat.
The 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist was in complete control throughout the bout, making use of her long reach. She attacked with some sharp and precise punches in her opening bout.
The 25-year-old Telangana boxer will square off against 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist Mongolia's Lutsaikhany Altantsetseg next.
Parveen, the 22-year-old from Haryana, won by an unanimous decision against the much more experienced Ukranian boxer, who is 12 years her senior, in the light welter division to set the tone for the Indian boxers.
Although the 2017 youth national winner began on an aggressive note, she was edged out by Bova in the opening round, who matched Parveen's energy.
But the Indian showed amazing tenacity as she upped the ante in the second round. She attacked the 34-year-old Ukrainian, landing a flurry of punches to eventually seal the tie in her favour.
After an impressive start to her campaign, Parveen will be up against the former Youth Olympics champion Jajaira Gonzalez of USA in the pre-quarter finals on Sunday.
Manisha, like Zareen and Parveen, didn't have to dig deep as she too eked out an easy win against Thapa.
The tournament features 310 boxers from 73 countries across the world.
On Thursday, 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist Jaismine (60kg), Anamika (50kg) and Shiksha (54kg) will start their campaigns in the round of 32.
Jaismine will face a challenge from the two-time Youth Asian Champion Porntip Buapa of Thailand in the 60kg category, while Anamika will fight against Romania's Eugenia Anghel.
Shiksha, who was handed a bye in the opening round, will play Argentina's Herrera Milagros Rosario in the 54kg match.
In the last edition of the tournament, held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers secured one silver and three bronze medals.
Also Read : World Boxing Championships: Nitu sparkles on debut, cruises to second round
News Source : PTI
Asian Games 2022 postponed after COVID-19 wave in China
(Sports news) The Asian Games 2022, originally set to be held from September 10 to 25th in Hangzhou, China will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, no alternative date has been announced. The country is currently in the midst of their biggest COVID-19 outbreak and Shanghai has been in lockdown for more than a month. The organisers had initially planned to go ahead with the tournament as scheduled with the implementation of strict bio bubbles but the decision to postpone the games came after a meeting with the OCA’s executive committee.
In a statement released by the OCA, they said “The new dates of the 19th Asian Games will be agreed between the OCA, the COC and the HAGOC and announced in the near future. HAGOC (Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee) has been very well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite global challenges. However, the above decision was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games. The name and the emblem of the 19th Asian Games will remain unchanged, and the OCA believes that the Games will achieve complete success through the joint efforts of all parties.”
The decision to postpone the tournament has had a mixed reception from Indian athletes, who have traditionally found more success in the Asiad and Commonwealth Games rather than the Olympics. The indefinite postponement is being looked at as a blessing and a curse, as it gives athletes more time to prepare for the tournament but also leaves them in the dark with regards to their training regime in order to be at their ‘peak’ heading into the Asian Games. The Asian Games is also a qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Olympics so it’s fair to say that the importance of the event cannot be underestimated.
Hockey India had originally planned to send its second string team to the Commonwealth Games, while the main squad would participate in the Asiad due to concerns about the team playing at their peak for two demanding tournaments within a space of a few months. However, with the indefinite postponement of the Asian Games, the governing body can now send its strongest team to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games. As for other sports, athletes will have to face a myriad of complications with regards to their training as 2023 is already a packed year in terms of sporting events and accommodating a tournament as big as the Asian Games could be a monumental task.
Diksha enters golf final at Deaflympics, aims to improve on her silver from 2017
Caxias Do Sul (Brazil), May 11 (Golf News) India's Diksha Dagar moved a step closer to the coveted gold medal at the Deaflympics golf competition here.
The 21-year-old, who last played at the previous Deaflympics in 2017, now has a chance to add a gold medal to the silver she won in Samsun, Turkey five years ago.
In the semi-final Diksha, who has been in dominant form throughout and been a cut above all opposition, outplayed 2017 bronze medallist Norwegian Andrea Hovstein Hellegjerde. Diksha won 5 and 4, which meant she was five holes up with four to go.
Diksha won her quarterfinal at 6 and 5 and in the stroke play to determine the seedings, she topped the field by 14 shots.
In the final, Diksha faces American Ashlyn Grace Johnson, who was second in the stroke play. Ashlyn beat French golfer Margaux Brejo 4 and 2.
Andrea has a shot at her second medal as she plays the bronze medal play-off against Margaux.
In 2017, when golf was first introduced at the Deaflympics, Diksha reached the final comfortably and seemed to be on her way to the gold medal as she led in the early stages of the title match.
She was three-up after six holes, but American Yost Kaylin, who played as a pro on the Symetra Tour and later some events on the LPGA, caught up with her to tie the match. In the play-off Yost beat Diksha in the first extra hole to grab the top prize.
Now Diksha has a chance to get her second medal at the Deaflympics and improve on it with a gold.
Diksha also qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last year and has won an individual event on the Ladies European Tour. She was also on the winning team of a Team event on the LET.
At the Deaflympics 2022, India has so far won four gold medals and two silver and are ninth in the medals tally.
Also Read : Diksha enters semifinals at Deaflympics golf competition
News Source : PTI
Rudrankksh, Abhinav make it 1-2 for India in men's 10m air rifle at Suhl Junior World Cup
New Delhi, May 11 (Shooting News) Indian shooter Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil beat compatriot Abhinav Shaw in the gold-match match as India made it a 1-2 in the men's 10 m air rifle competition of the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany on Wednesday.
Patil won the gold after going 17-13 up against Abhinav Saw in a tight title-decider.
The Indian duo shot consistently well throughout Wednesday morning, first crossing the eight-man final stage elimination hurdle and then putting up a show in the gold-medal matchup.
On Tuesday, Rudrankksh had also topped the qualification stage with 627.5 points, leading three Indians into the top-eight stage. Paarth Makhija accompanied the duo, holding on to his fifth position in qualifying in the end classifications.
But the morning undoubtedly belonged to Rudrankksh who dominated all three stages of the competition over two days of shooting.
In the final, it was Abhinav who started stronger in the early stages, going up 4-2 after the first three shots.
Rudrankks recovered quickly though, and went past his countryman, keeping his nose ahead till the very end to seal victory. Germnay's Nils Palberg won bronze.
In the junior women's 10m air rifle, India's Ramita after topping qualification on Tuesday with a solid 630.5, also topped the final stage elimination with a score of 261.0.
However, she settled for silver in the end, going down 8-16 to France's Oceanne Muller, a reigning Junior World Champion and Tokyo Olympics finalist, in the gold medal match.
India is presently topping the medal tally as well with one gold and two silver medals.
Also Read : Vedika wins bronze in women's 10m air pistol at Deaflympics
News Source : PTi
Jyothi Yarraji breaks 100m hurdles national record in Cyprus meet
New Delhi, May 11 (Sports News) A month after her national record effort was not counted due to wind assistance beyond legal limit, 100m hurdler Jyothi Yarraji has smashed the NR while winning an event in Cyprus with a timing of 13.23 seconds.
The 22-year-old Andhra athlete on Tuesday won the gold in Cyprus International Meet at Limassol under a head wind speed of 0.1m/s. The old national record of 13.38 seconds was in the name of Anuradha Biswal since 2002.
This Cyprus International Meet is a World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger category D event. Jyothi, who trains under Joseph Hillier at Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance Center in Bhubaneswar, had clocked 13.09 seconds during the Federation Cup in Kozhikode last month but it was not counted as national record as the wind speed was +2.1 m/s, more than the permissible +2.0 m/s.
In 2020 also, Jyothi had run below Biswal's national record time as she clocked 13.03 seconds at the All India Inter-University Athletics Championships in Moodbidri, Karnataka.
But it was also not counted as NR as National Anti-Doping Agency did not test her at the meet and there was no technical delegate from the Athletics Federation of India.
Another Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance Center trainee Amlan Borgohain, who smashed the national record during the Kozhikode Federation Cup, finished third in men's 200m race with a time of 21.32 seconds.
The 24-year-old from Assam had clocked 20.52s in Kozhikode. In other result, Lili Das won the women's 1500m race with a time of 4 minutes 17.79 seconds.
Also Read : Olympics, Asian Games medal winners to be appointed in UP govt: Cabinet
News Source : PTI
World Boxing Championships: Nitu sparkles on debut, cruises to second round
New Delhi, May 10 (Boxing News) India's Nitu (48kg) put up a dominant display in her debut appearance at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships as she outpunched Romanian veteran Steluta Duta to enter the round of 16 in Istanbul on Tuesday.
The two-time former youth world champion Nitu continued her sublime form from the Stradja Memorial tournament earlier this year, where she clinched the gold medal in her maiden appearance, as she dominated all three rounds to win her opening bout by unanimous decision.
Both the boxers were aggressive from the onset, landing punches on each other. But the young Indian proved too much for the 40-year-old Romanian.
The two continued to attack in the second round with Nitu using her height advantage as Duta, a three-time world championship silver medallist, struggled to keep her momentum going in the electrically charged round of 32 bout.
The 21-year-old from Haryana then landed a flurry of punches in the third round as the last three minutes were closely-fought between the two. But Nitu defended tightly and looked in control to emerge victorious.
Incidentally, all three of Duta's silver medals at the event came from losses against an Indian -- six-time world champion M C Mary Kom, who withdrew from the tournament.
Nitu will take on Spain's Marta Lopez Del Arbol in the round of 16 on Saturday.
On Wednesday, 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist boxer Nikhat Zareen will fight against Mexico's Herrera Alvarez in the 52kg opening round match.
Manisha (57kg), Parveen (63kg) and Saweety (75kg) will also begin their challenge in the round of 32 on the third day of the prestigious event, which has been witnessing a record participation of 310 boxers from 73 countries across the world.
Manisha, who received a bye in the opening round, will square off against Nepal's Kala Thapa, while Parveen and Saweety will take on Ukraine's Mariia Bova and England's Kerry Davis respectively.
On the opening day of the competition, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain made a winning return to the international circuit after clinching a thrilling 3-2 victory against two-time world championships medallist Chen Nien-Chin of Chinese Taipei.
Also Read : Women’s World Boxing C'ships: Winning start for Lovlina, beats Chen by split decision
News Source : PTI
Diksha enters semifinals at Deaflympics golf competition
Caxias do Sul (Brazil), May 10 (Golf News) India's Diksha Dagar put herself in line for a second medal at the Deaflympics when she cruised into the semi-finals of the women’s golf competition here.
The Indian star, who has won twice on the Ladies European Tour, once each in an individual and team event, outplayed Germany’s Amelia Paloma Gonzalez Podbicanin 6 and 5. She was six up with five holes to go in the match-play contest.
Diksha will next take on Norwegian Andrea Hovstein Hellegjerde, who had a bronze medal in the 2017 Deaflympics, the year Diksha lost in the final.
Andrea beat Canada’s Sasha Laoun 4 and 3. While Diksha is a professional golfer, Andrew combined golf with a job as a kindergarten teacher.
The day’s biggest winner was Ashlyn Grace Johnson of the USA who beat Zuzana Lesse 8 and 6, which means she was eight holes up with six to go. Ashley will take on Margaux Brejo of France, who defeated Stefanie Mayer of Germany 5 and 4.
Diksha had topped the 36-hole stroke play, where Ashlyn was placed 14 shots behind the Indian. The top eight players qualify for the match-play section of the competition.
Diksha, who won the silver medal in 2017, is looking to go one better this time. She also took part at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Also Read : Indian-American Manav Shah wins on PGA Tour Latin America
News Source : PTI
Olympics, Asian Games medal winners to be appointed in UP govt: Cabinet
Lucknow, May 10 (Sports News) The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to appoint international sports medal winners, including those who won them in Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games, on 24 posts in nine departments of the state.
The state cabinet also gave its consent to hold the session of the UP Legislature from May 23.
Briefing reporters here, UP's Finance minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said, “The sportspersons, who have a domicile of Uttar Pradesh, and have won medals in international sports events, will be posted on gazetted posts on 24 posts in nine departments”.
A committee under the chief secretary will select these sportspersons, the minister said.
This will help in developing a sports culture in the state, he said.
The nine departments where these appointments will be made are rural development, secondary education, basic education, home department, panchayati raj department, youth welfare department, transport department, forest department, and revenue department." Girish Chandra Yadav, minister of state (independent charge) Sports and Youth Welfare, called the step "historic".
“This will help promote sports in the state, and will give a boost to the sportspersons. The medal winners of the Paralympic Games are also covered under the decision. Similar scheme is currently operational in other states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Bihar,” he said.
Yadav said the decision will consider sportspersons who won medals by September 1, 2020 for the scheme.
The posts been kept outside the ambit of the Public Service Commission by the department of Personnel, the government said in a statement here.
Khanna also said the session of the Uttar Pradesh Legislature will commence on May 23 and its duration will be decided by the business advisory committee.
In all, 13 proposals were cleared by the UP Cabinet.
Khanna told reporters that Ajay Kumar Mishra has been appointed as the new Advocate General of UP.
Mishra started practising at the Allahabad High Court in 1981, and for the past 10 years, he is practising at the Supreme Court.
In 1995, he became the youngest additional advocate general of the state.
The state Cabinet also gave its approval to the Operation and Management Agreement signed with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for development, operation, and management of smaller airports in Aligarh, Azamgarh, Shravasti, Chitrakoot and Muirpur (Sonbhadra).
“Under the MoU signed with the AAI, we will give Rs 7 crore per airport to them. The MoU is for 30 years,” Khanna said.
Also Read : Sportspersons from Goa playing national, international tournaments will get govt jobs: minister
News Source : PTI
Women’s World Boxing C'ships: Winning start for Lovlina, beats Chen by split decision
New Delhi, May 9 (Boxing News) Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain upstaged former champion Chen Nien-Chin in the light middleweight division on Monday to enter the round of 16 at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul.
Returning to competitive boxing for the first time since her podium finish at the Tokyo Games last year, Lovlina (70kg) won by a 3-2 split decision against the Chinese Taipei boxer, who had defeated her in the semifinals of the 2018 edition.
This is Lovlina’s second win over Chen. The Indian had gotten the better of her in the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinal enroute to her bronze medal winning triumph.
The 24-year-old Assam boxer, who has two bronze medals from the 2018 and 2019 editions of the tournament, will now take on three-time national champion from England, Cindy Ngamba, in round of 16.
The two boxers started off the proceedings cautiously maintaining distance from each other. Lovlina soon began attacking with the use of her long arms but Chen defended well.
Both boxers landed a few punches in the second round.
Chen, who won gold and bronze medals in 2018 and 2016 respectively at the World Championships, tried attacking in the third round but the swift-moving Indian managed to block with a good defence technique and tilted the result of the nail-biting match in her favour.
On the second day, Nitu, the lone Indian boxer in action, will begin her challenge in the 48kg opening round against Romania’s Steluta Duta.
Four Indians -- Shiksha (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Ankushita (66kg) and Nandini (+81kg) -- have been handed a bye in their respective opening rounds.
In the last edition of the World Championships held in Russia in 2019, the Indian boxers clinched one silver and three bronze medals.
Also Read : Women’s World C'ships: India boxers handed mixed draw; Lovlina to begin campaign on opening day
News Source : PTI
India's Diksha Dagar tops stroke-play, enters last eight in Deaflympics
Caxias do Sul (Brazil), May 9 (Golf News) India's Diksha Dagar outclassed the field with rounds of 67-72 to top the 36-hole stroke play segment of the women's golf competition at the Deaflympics in Brazil.
The Indian, who won a silver medal at the 2017 Deaflympic, and competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year, was 14 shots clear of the second-placed American Ashlyn Grace Johnson, who carded 76-77 in her two rounds.
Diksha's 67 and 72 were the two best rounds of the two days and the next best was 76 by Ashlyn Grace Johnson and Margaux Berjo of France (76-78).
The top eight players from stroke play will now feature in the match play segment as Diksha takes on Alemie Paloma Gonzalez Podbicanin of Germany.
Diksha should have an easy passage into the semis as the German had qualified as the eighth best with rounds of 100 and 96.
The losing semi-finalists will play for the bronze medal.
In the men's section, India's Yogesh Dagar was Tied-18th and failed to get into the Top-16, who made the match-play section of the tournament.
India have so far won four gold and two bronze medals. Ukraine tops the table with 31 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronze.
Also Read : Tvesa lands two birdies on back nine to make the cut in Spain
News Source : PTI
Women’s World C'ships: India boxers handed mixed draw; Lovlina to begin campaign on opening day
New Delhi, May 8 (Cricket News) Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain will take on former champion Chen Nien-Chin in her opening bout as Indian pugilists were handed a mixed draw in the 12th edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, starting in Istanbul on Monday.
Borgohain (70kg) will kickstart India’s campaign on Monday, as she will be up against the Chinese Taipei boxer, who won gold and bronze medals in 2018 and 2016 editions respectively.
However, Borgohain, who will be making her first competitive outing since her podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics, will head to the fixture with some confidence having defeated Chen in the Olympic quarterfinals last year.
Two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani (81kg), Nandini and Nikhat Zareen (52kg) have also been handed tough draws in their respective categories.
Pooja will start in the round of 16 against two-time World Championships bronze medallist Timea Nagy of Hungary, while Nandini (+81kg) has received bye in the opening round but will face last edition's bronze medallist Khadija El-Mardi of Morocco in the quarter-finals.
On the other hand, Nikhat will face Mexico's Herrera Alvarez in the opening round and if she wins, she is likely to meet 2021 Asian Championships bronze medallist Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg of Mongolia in the round of 16.
Jaismine (60kg) will lock horns with two-time youth Asian champion Porntip Buapa of Thailand in the opening round.
If the Indian gets past the first hurdle, she may clash against former World Championships bronze medallist Rashida Ellis of USA in the last eight stage.
Among other Indians, Ankushita (66kg) got a comparatively easier draw alongside Nitu (48kg), Anamika (50kg), Shiksha (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Parveen (63kg) and Saweety (75kg).
Ankushita will begin her challenge in the round of 16 after getting bye in the opening round.
The Indians have garnered 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, so far in the 11 editions of the prestigious event.
India’s tally is the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).
In the last edition held in Russia in 2019, the Indian boxers clinched one silver and three bronze medals.
More than 400 boxers from a record 93 countries are set to take part in this year’s event, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the prestigious event.
Indian squad: Nitu (48kg), Anamika (50kg), Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Shiksha (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Jaismine (60kg), Parveen (63kg), Ankushita (66kg), Lovlina Borgohain (70kg), Saweety (75kg), Pooja Rani (81kg), Nandini (+81kg).
Also Read : Head coach Brendon McCullum rues KKR's power play struggles
News Source : PTI
Dr Powell appointed Performance Manager for England Disability Cricket
(Cricket news) The England and Wales Cricket Board have appointed Dr. Jane Powell as Performance Manager for England Disability Cricket. Dr. Powell has a long affiliation with cricket, having captained the England Women’s cricket team in the 1988 World Cup final before being appointed Head Coach of the England Women’s side. She has also represented the England national team in hockey and led the strategic direction of all Hockey Coaching in the UK through the 2008 and 2012 Olympic cycles.
Dr. Powell has also led Performance and Talent pathways with England Lacrosse and has been working in an Advanced Coach Support role for ECB. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Worcester in 2013 for Outstanding Contribution to British Sport. In her role as Performance Manager, Dr. Powell will oversee the preparation, performance and management of the four England Disability Squads, reporting into Ian Martin, Head of Disability Cricket.
Speaking about her appointment, Dr Jane Powell said, “There is so much talent and opportunity for growth here in the disability set up, it was simply an offer I couldn’t refuse. The potential for the sport as well as the players is massive and something I’m really excited about. I can’t wait to get stuck in!”
Ian Martin said, “I’m delighted that we have managed to attract someone of Jane’s calibre into our disability program. She will bring a wealth of experience that will be of benefit to our program, the coaches and the staff that work within it. I know how passionate she is about our sport and the performance element of it, and I am very excited about working with her and seeing the difference that she will make to our programme.”
TOPS approves extension of Neeraj Chopra's training in Turkey
New Delhi, May 5 (Sports News) The Sports Authority of India's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) has approved Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra's proposal to provide financial assistance of Rs.5.5 lakh approximately for extension of his training camp in Turkey.
The star javelin thrower Chopra had made a joint proposal alongside the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). He is currently training at the Gloria Sports Arena in Antalya.
Chopra and his coach, Dr. Klaus Bartonietz have been in Turkey since the end of March and will now continue their training at the Antalya camp for another 14 days as he prepares for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Athletics World Championships.
The financial assistance with cover Chopra's training cost at Gloria Sports Arena along with his and Klaus's accommodation, travel, food, and medical insurance expenses among others, a SAI release stated on Thursday.
It will also include a daily allowance of USD 50 each for both Chopra and Dr. Klaus for any other expenses they might require during their stay.
Last year, Chopra became only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics, out-performing the field by quite a distance to notch up the first track-and-field Games medal for the country.
Chopra, who is from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana, produced a second-round throw of 87.58m in the finals to stun the athletics world and end India's 100-year wait for a track and field medal in the Olympics.
Also Read : Anand, Gelfand to work with Indian players ahead of Chess Olympiad
News Source : PTI
Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ jersey sells for £7.1m at auction
(Football news) Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has always been a controversial figure. His ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup is one of the most controversial and iconic goals in history and the jersey worn by the legendary Argentine while scoring the goal has now become the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia.
The jersey was put up on sale by former England midfielder Steve Hodge who swapped jerseys with Maradona after the quarter-final match at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. According to Sotheby’s (the auction house), the jersey sold for higher than the estimated price of £4m and £6m. In the last few years, Steve Hodge has publicly reiterated that the iconic jersey was not for sale, especially after Maradona’s death in November 2020, despite the overwhelming number of interested buyers.
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectables said “This is arguably the most coveted football shirt to ever come to auction, and so it is fitting that it now holds the auction record for any object of its kind.” Previously, the most expensive jersey ever sold at auction was a New York Yankees jersey by baseball legend Babe Ruth which sold for $5.6 million in 2019. That same year, the original Olympic manifesto, penned in 1892, sold for $8.8m (about £7m), becoming the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia at that time.
The jersey has been on display since the last 36 years, most recently at the National Football Museum in Manchester. In its online listing, Sotheby said that the jersey on sale matched the exact jersey Diego Maradona wore while scoring the two goals in Argentina’s 2-1 win over England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup. His second goal of the match was voted the goal of the century in a poll conducted by football's world governing body FIFA. Led by Diego Maradona, Argentina subsequently went on to win the Jules Rimet Trophy after defeating West Germany 3-2 in the World Cup final.
Aim to turn India into a top sporting nation by 2047: Union Minister Amit Shah
Bengaluru, May 3 (Sports News) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the Central government intends to turn India into a sporting nation to see to it that it ranks among the top five countries in terms of sports by 2047 when the country celebrates its centenary year of independence.
He also said initiatives like Khelo India and Fit India were aimed at achieving the goal of India becoming a top sports nation.
"We want India to be among the top five countries in terms of sports by 2047 when we celebrate 100 years of our independence," Shah said at the closing ceremony of the Khelo India University Games here which saw the participation of 3,900 athletes from 208 universities from across India.
“We are moving towards making India a sports nation. Along with it we are building sports infrastructure, sports science centres, community coaching facilities, arranging international level coaches and organising annual sports events,” Shah explained.
He said the country never fared well in sports other than cricket, which made Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work on this issue in a planned manner with an aim to make India a top sporting nation by 2047.
The efforts made in this direction resulted in India winning many medals in the Olympics and Paralympics, which had never happened in the past, the Home Minister pointed out.
Speaking about KIUG-2021, which was supposed to happen last year but was held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shah said in 2020, the KIUG was held in Odisha, where 3,100 athletes from 138 universities participated but in KIUG-2021 the number increased to 3,900 athletes from 208 universities, which shows the popularity of the games among universities.
Hailing the Jain Deemed To Be University, which was one of the key organisers of the games and won maximum medals this year, Shah called upon its chancellor Chenraj Jain for a tie-up with the largest stadium in the world in Gujarat Narendra Modi Stadium to use the facility for promoting sports.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Sports Anurag Thakur hailed the Karnataka government and Jain University for organising the event, which he felt was on par with international level university games.
A cultural event along with an impressive yoga performance marked the valedictory of KIUG-2021.
Also Read : Jain University clinches Khelo India University Games crown
News Source : PTI
Double delight: Gyaneshwari clinches silver, Rithika wins bronze in Junior World Championships
New Delhi, May 3 (Sports News) Gyaneshwari Yadav clinched the silver medal while compatriot V Rithika finished third to give India a double podium finish in the women's 49kg category at the IWF Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Heraklion, Greece.
Chattisgarh lifter Gyaneshwari produced a total effort of 156kg (73kg+83kg) to take home the silver metal on Monday night.
The 18-year-old Rithika, on the other hand, heaved 6 kgs less than her compatriot -- 150kg (69kg+81kg) to bag the bronze medal in a depleted 10-lifter field.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist and strong favourite Windy Cantika Aisah of Indonesia was crowned the champion in the category thanks to her total effort of 185kg (83kg+102kg).
The gulf between the Indonesian lifter, who won the Asian and world junior titles last year, and the 19-year-old Gyaneshwari was a whopping 29kg with Aisah even declined to take her final attempt.
The field was missing lifters from powerhouses China, North Korea and Thailand.
The junior world record for the category sits at 206kg (92kg+114kg) in China's Jiang Huihua's name.
It is the same weight division in which Mirabai Chanu won a silver at the Tokyo Olympics, with an effort off 202kg (87kg+115kg).
Chanu holds the senior clean and jerk world record in the category. She had lifted 119 kg at the Asian Championships last year to achieve the feat.
The snatch (96kg) and total weight lifted (213kg) records are in Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Hou Zhihui's name.
The podium finishes take India's medal haul to three in the ongoing event.
Earlier on Monday, Harshada Sharad Garud became the country's first weightlifter to win a gold medal at the world event.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus are banned from competing in IWF events.
Russia had won the most medals (9) in the last edition.
Countries like China, Romania and Bulgaria among others are giving the tournament a miss for a variety of reasons.
Also Read : Chess Olympiad: India names two teams in open and women's section, Anand to mentor squad
News Source : PTI
First-ever Kerala Olympic Games gets underway in Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 30 (Boxing News) The first-ever Kerala Olympic Games was inaugurated by state Sports Minister V Abdurahiman at the University Stadium here on Saturday.
Athletes, bearing the torch and flag of the Games, took out a march across the city before reaching the inaugural venue.
Olympic medallists Mary Kom, P R Sreejesh, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia, along with Olympians from Kerala Sajan Prakash, Alex Antony, K T Irfan and M P Jabir accompanied the athletes in an open jeep.
State Finance Minister K N Balagopal awarded the lifetime achievement award to boxer Mary Kom.
Ministers V Sivankutty, G R Anil and Antony Raju presented awards to Sreejesh, Dahiya and Punia respectively. Other Olympians were also felicitated during the event.
The maiden Kerala Games is a mega multi-sporting event organised by the Kerala Olympics Association (KOA).
As part of the Games, which will be held from May 1 to 10, a 21.1 km-long half marathon will be held on Sunday.
The KOA said the prize money for the marathon is Rs 11 lakh for winners under various categories.
The association expects over 1,000 participants in the marathon from across the country.
The Games was originally slated to be held in mid-February but was rescheduled to May in view of the pandemic.
A mega Olympic Expo was also inaugurated.
On December 22, state Education Minister Sivankutty had unveiled the mascot of the Games, a rabbit named Neeraj, in honour of Neeraj Chopra, the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.
The mascot has been installed at various places across the city.
Athletics, aquatics, archery, basketball, boxing, badminton, cycling, football, wrestling, hockey, judo, karate, kambadi (kabaddi), kho-kho, netball, rugby, shooting, wushu, tennis, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball and weight-lifting will be part of the Games.
Athletes and teams participating in the Kerala Olympic Games were selected through district-level events. More than 8,000 sportspersons are expected to participate in the Kerala Olympics.
Also Read : I've evolved as technical boxer, says Nikhat Zareen
News Source : PTI
Ezhilarasi, Narwal, Palak top air pistol selection trials
New Delhi, Apr 30 (Shooting News) S Ezhilarasi of Tamil Nadu emerged winner in the women's 10m air pistol competition while Haryana's Shikha Narwal won in the junior section at the the national selection shooting trials here on Saturday.
Haryana's Palak claimed the top prize in the youth section, comfortably getting the better of state-mate Rhythm Sangwan 17-9 in the gold medal round.
Ezhilarasi shot 16 to prevail over Haryana's Palak (12) in the gold medal contest at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.
In the final stage elimination, Palak topped with 253.5 and Ezhilarasi followed her with a score of 252.2.
Yuvika Tomar of Uttar Pradesh finished third with 248.9 while Haryana's Sangwan settled for the fourth place with a total score of 248.4.
Narwal, who also competed in the senior category, was sixth with 196.4.
While she could not finish high in the seniors, Narwal claimed the top prize in the junior section, beating Yuvika Tomar 16-12 in the gold medal match.
With a total score of 249.7, Narwal also topped the final stage elimination, ahead of Tomar (248.6).
Sangwan was third with 247.2 and Palak finished the junior section with a total score of 246.5 to end at fourth place overall.
Winner of the senior competition, Ezhilarasi, with a score of 195.3, was fifth in the junior women's 10m air pistol event.
Ezhilarasi was third in the youth section with 246.2 while Yashsavi Joshi was fourth with 245.6.
Also Read : Divyansh says he has started shooting in 3P keeping Olympics in mind
News Source : PTI
Divyansh says he has started shooting in 3P keeping Olympics in mind
Bengaluru, Apr 29 (Shooting News) Divyansh Singh Panwar, who competes in the 10m air rifle event, on Friday said he has decided to start shooting in the 50m rifle 3 positions competition too, keeping the Olympics in mind.
The World Cup medallist's coaches and seniors too influenced his decision, even though the 10m air rifle remains his "main" focus.
The 19-year-old Olympian tried his hand at the 50m rife 3 positions event at the ongoing Khelo India University Games, representing Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.
"I decided to participate at the Khelo India University Games 2021 because my journey in 10m air rifle shooting also started at the first-ever Khelo India Youth Games.
"I have recently started competing in the 50m rifle 3 positions event, and I wanted to start this journey once again at Khelo India. So, if I get a chance to go to the Olympics in this category, I want my journey to start once again from here," he said.
In Tokyo last year, Divyansh competed in the men's 10m air rifle event, and he is seeking to appear in more Olympics.
"Several seniors and coaches have told me that if I start competing in 50m rifle 3 positions, it will also help me in 10m air rifle.
"I, obviously, want to keep my main focus on the 10m Air Rifle category, but I am ready to do anything which may help me in that event, so, I decided to start doing 50m rifle 3 positions as well. Both these events really support each other," he added.
While Divyansh could not reach the final at KIUG, finishing with a score of 566 in the qualification round of 50m rifle 3 positions event, he is hopeful that his presence at the Games will motivate young athletes from different parts of the country.
Divyansh won a gold medal in the 2019 ISSF World Cup in Putian in 10m air rifle, followed by a silver in the same category at the 2019 Beijing World Cup.
The shooter from Jaipur also won a gold medal in mixed team 10m air rifle category in the ISSF World Cups in Beijing, Munich, and Putian, in 2019.
The same year, he earned a quota for the Tokyo Olympics and was included in the 16-member Indian shooting contingent at the Games.
"Before appearing at the Khelo India School Games (in 2018), I had not competed in any major tournaments and had not won any big medals. I was a very unknown player at the time. But it opened up doors for me to reach this level.
"You have to pick up small victories in life. Only then you can reach the top level," Divyansh said.
Also Read : Gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat wins women's 25m Pistol T4 trials
News Source : PTI
We are headed in right direction: women's hockey coach Schopman ahead of World Cup
Bengaluru, Apr 29 (Hockey News) Aiming to "maximise" the pace of her side's game in the coming months, Indian women's hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman said the recent FIH Pro League matches were ideal preparation for the team in the run up to the upcoming World Cup.
The World Cup will be held in Terrassa, Spain and Amstelveen, the Netherlands from July 1 to 17.
The Indian team has raised expectations after its historic fourth-place finish at last year's Tokyo Olympics.
"Playing top teams in these home games, we were mostly focused on ourselves. But more than the outcome of the matches, I am satisfied with how the team has played and I believe we are headed in the right direction," Schopman said on 'Hockey Te Charcha', a podcast series launched by Hockey India.
The Indian team led by Savita ended the home games of the FIH Pro League as table toppers in its maiden campaign.
Talking about the team's preparations ahead of the remaining Pro League matches in Europe and the World Cup, Schopman said, "For the next five to six weeks, we will be in Bengaluru - in our own environment and we will train towards a common goal of doing well in the Pro League and the World Cup.
"Our focus will be on building our physical robustness. We will work on maximizing our speed in the game. We also want to limit the risk of injury as we will be playing back-to-back Pro League and World Cup matches." Speaking about their World Cup opponents in pool B, in which India is grouped with England, China and New Zealand, Schopman said, "We have played England a few times in the past and we are familiar with their game and the team has played China quite a lot too.
"But because of the pandemic, we have not seen New Zealand play in the last two years and from what I have read about them, there are a few retirements in their team and a few players are injured.
"But having said that, ours is a pool where anyone can beat anyone on a good day and we just need to make sure we start well."
News Source : PTI
Lahiri starts with solid 68, Rahm leads in Mexico Open
Puerto Vallarta, Apr 29 (Golf News) Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri got off to a fine start despite a late bogey in the first round of the USD 7.3 million Mexico Open.
Lahiri, looking to cement his place for the season-ending FedExCup play-offs, shot three-under 68 with four birdies against one bogey after starting from the tenth tee. India's other player in the field, Arjun Atwal, who last week returned to competition in New Orleans after a long break, shot two-over 73 after starting the round with a double bogey on the 10th.
Spaniard Jon Rahm, the top draw this week, chipped-in for a birdie and made a late eagle putt for a 7-under 64 and be a part of a six-way share of the lead. Jonathan Byrd, Brendon Todd, Trey Mullinax and Monday qualifier Bryson Nimmer, who played his final five holes in 5 under, were also at 64 from the morning wave. Nimmer also holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. Kurt Kitayama handled the stronger afternoon wind to join the leaders at 64 with nine birdies.
Lahiri, runner-up at the PLAYERS this year, hit 14 of the 18 greens in regulation during his first round. Opening on the 10th, he got his first birdie on the long 637-yard par-5 12th, where he chipped his third shot to six feet and holed it.
On the 459-yard par-4 15th hole, Lahiri reached the green in two and putted from 17-feet to get to 2-under.
He added a third birdied on the 415-yard par-4 first hole after a drive to the right side of the fairway. His approach from 91 yards set him up for the birdie and moved to 3-under. On the 498-yard par-4 second, Lahiri reached the green in two and sunk a 19-foot birdie putt to move to 4-under.
However on the 496-yard par-4 eighth, Lahiri chipped his third shot to eight feet but missed a par putt and gave away his only bogey of the day.
A highlight of the day was an ace from Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who sank his career first PGA TOUR hole-in-one on the 189 yard par-3 fifth hole with a 5-Iron on way to a 70.
Kiradech is chasing a maiden PGA TOUR victory after coming in T-3 at the WGC-Mexico Championship three years ago.
Aaron Rai, Aaron Wise, Sahith Theegala and Scott Brown were at 65.
Rai and Theegala could use top finishes this week to move up in PGA Championship points and try to secure a spot at Southern Hills in three weeks.
Next week is the final event for players to qualify in points, which is PGA TOUR earnings.
Chinese Taipei star C.T. Pan continued his pursuit for a second PGA TOUR victory after producing a solid 5-under 66 to lie two shots off the pace.
Pan, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, sank six birdies against a lone bogey for a 66. Japan's Satoshi Kodaira birdied his final hole for a 67 while Sung Kang of Korea shot 68s.
The Mexico Open is part of the PGA TOUR schedule and inherits the history of a national open that dates to 1944.
It takes the place of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship that was at Chapultepec in Mexico City for four years through 2020.
News Source : PTI
Sindhu, Satwik-Chirag enter BAC quarterfinals; Srikanth, Saina out
Manila (Philippines), Apr 28 (Badminton News) Star Indian shuttler PV Sindhu notched up a straight game win over lowly-ranked Yue Yann Jaslyn Hooi of Singapore in women's singles competition to advance to the quarterfinals of Badminton Asia Championships here on Thursday.
The Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also made it to the quarterfinals but it was curtains for London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and world championships silver winner Kidambi Srikanth.
Sindhu, seeded fourth, who had claimed a bronze in the 2014 Gimcheon edition, defeated Jaslyn Hooi, ranked 100th, 21-16 21-16 in 42 minutes to set up a clash against third seed Chinese He Bing Jiao, whom she had beaten for a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
World number 7 Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, has a 7-9 head-to-head record against Bing Jiao, whom she has beaten twice in the last two meetings.
The third seeded mixed doubles duo of Satwik and Chirag too produced a fine performance to sail into the last-eight round with a 21-17 21-15 win over Japan's Akira Koga and Taichi Saito.
The world number 7 Indian pairing will next face either fifth seeded Malaysian combination of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik or Singaporean duo of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Jun Liang Andy Kwek.
However, Saina's dream of claiming her fourth medal in the prestigious tournament ended after she ran out of steam to eventually lose 21-12 7-21 13-21 to 22-year-old Chinese Wang Zhi Yi, ranked 16th in the world.
Saina is on a comeback trail after recovering from some nagging injuries and had skipped the selection trials for the upcoming major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup.
Srikanth, seeded seventh, too couldn't step up his game when it mattered, going down narrowly to China's Weng Hong Yang 16-21 21-17 17-21 in a men's singles second round match that lasted an hour and 17 minutes.
Earlier, despite the huge difference in their rankings, it was a tight battle for supremacy between Sindhu and Jaslyn Hooi.
At one stage, the Indian was two-point behind at 7-9 against her opponent, who managed to take a slender 11-10 lead at the interval but Sindhu stepped up and levelled 16-16 before pocketing the opening game.
The Indian managed to move to a 12-8 advantage in the second game after an initial fight following a change of sides.
The Singaporean erased the deficit, coming as close as 15-16, before Sindhu once again stepped on the gas to pocket the match.
Also Read : Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, Satwik-Chirag enter BAC quarterfinals
News Source : PTI
Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, Satwik-Chirag enter BAC quarterfinals
Manila (Philippines), Apr 28 (Badminton News) Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals of Badminton Asia Championships after beating lowly-ranked Yue Yann Jaslyn Hooi of Singapore in straight games in the women's singles competition here on Thursday.
The fourth seeded Indian, who had claimed a bronze in the 2014 Gimcheon edition, defeated Jaslyn Hooi, ranked 100th, 21-16 21-16 in 42 minutes to set up a clash with third seed Chinese He Bing Jiao, whom she had beaten for a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sindhu has a 7-9 head-to-head record against Bing Jiao, whom she has beaten twice in the last two meetings.
The third seeded Indian men's doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also made it to the quarterfinals with a 21-17 21-15 win over Japan's Akira Koga and Taichi Saito.
The world number 7 Indian pairing will face next either fifth seeded Malaysian Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik or the Singaporean duo of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Jun Liang Andy Kwek.
Also Read : Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth win opening matches, Sen makes first round exit
News Source : PTI
India to open Asia Cup men's hockey campaign against Pakistan on May 23
Jakarta, Apr 27 (Hockey News) Defending champions India will open its campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup men's hockey tournament to be played here from May 23 to June 1.
India and Pakistan will face each other in the last match of the opening day of the tournament.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist India is placed in a tough Pool A alongside Japan, Pakistan and hosts Indonesia, while Pool B consists of Malaysia, Korea, Oman and Bangladesh.
After Pakistan, India will play Japan on May 24 followed by final pool game against Indonesia on May 26.
The tournament will be played in a Super4s pool format with top two teams from each pool progressing to the next stage.
The final of the tournament will be played on June 1.
India and Pakistan have won the Asia Cup three times each, while South Korea is the most successful team with four titles.
India's titles came in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, in 2007 in Chennai and in 2017 in Dhaka.
Also Read : Schopman looking to build on good run ahead of Pro League and World Cup
News Source : PTI
Saina, Sindhu, Srikanth win opening matches, Sen makes first round exit
Manila (Philippines), Apr 27 (Badminton News) Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal fought off strong challenge from their opponents before winning their respective opening matches, but it was curtains for Lakshya Sen and B Sai Praneeth in Badminton Asia Championships here on Wednesday.
Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu was made to toil hard by Chinese Taipei's Pai Yu Po as the fourth seeded Indian came back from a game down to win 18-21 27-25 21-9 in a marathon women's singles opening round match, which lasted for one hour and 17 minutes.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who has been on a comeback trail after recovering from some nagging injuries, also had to break her sweat to eke out a 21-15 17-21 21-13 win over Sim Yujin of South Korea.
While Sindhu will next play Singapore's Yue Yann Jaslyn Hooi, Saina will be up against China's Zhi Yi Wang.
The other remaining Indian in the women's singles, Malvika Bansod too squandered a game lead before going down 9-21 21-17 26-24 against Yeo Jia Min of Singapore in another hard-fought tie. It turned out to be a disappointing outing for world championships bronze medal winner Sen, who was stunned by the unseeded Li Shi Feng of China.
The fifth seeded Indian lost 21-12 10-21 19-21 in his opening round men's singles tie that lasted 56 minutes.
World No. 19 Sai Praneeth suffered a straight game 17-21 13-21 defeat against Jonatan Christie of Indonesia.
Seventh seeded Kidambi Srikanth, however, kept India's flag flying in the men's singles competition by progressing to the second round with a straight-game win over Tze Yong Ng of Malaysia. Srikanth defeated his rival 22-20 21-15 to set up a clash against Chinese qualifier Weng Hong Yang in the second round.
It was also the end of the road for Aakarshi Kashyap, who lost 15-21 9-21 to Japanese top seed Akane Yamaguchi in the women's singles.
Both the women's doubles pair of Ashwini Bhat K and Shikga Gautam, and Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker also made opening round exits after losing in straight games.
While Bhat and Gautam went down 19-21 12-21 to Anna Ching Yik Cheong and Teoh Mei Xing of Malaysia, Singhi and Thaker lost 15-21 11-21 to seventh seeded Malaysian pair of Pearly Tan and Muralitharan Thinaah.
Also Read : Badminton Asia Championships: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty pair sails to second round
News Source : PTI
Emma Raducanu splits with coach Torben Beltz after just five months
(Tennis news) After only five months together, British tennis star Emma Raducanu has parted ways with her coach Torben Beltz. In a statement released by Raducanu, she said “I want to thank Torben for his coaching, professionalism and dedication over the last half a year. He has a huge heart and I have enjoyed our strong chemistry during the time together. "I feel the best direction for my development is to transition to a new training model with the LTA supporting in the interim."
This means that Raducanu is now once again on a hunt for a new coach, her fourth in a year. The US Open champion appointed Beltz after splitting with Andrew Richardson, who guided her at New York and worked alongside the 19 year old at Bromley Tennis Centre. Before that, Raducanu was coached by Nigel Sears who helped her reach the fourth round of Wimbledon last summer.
Raducanu had previously mentioned that she was looking for a more experienced coach after her US Open win and subsequently announced her partnership with Beltz in November 2021. The German had parted ways with Angelique Kerber in a partnership that had lasted a decade and had helped her reach the top 10 for the first time before their first split in 2013. The pair reunited in 2016 when Kerber won the Australian and US Open, reached the Wimbledon final, received a silver medal at the Olympics and was crowned World Number 1.
Raducanu’s announcement comes after her best week since hiring Torben Beltz, winning consecutive matches on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. The 19 year old has a history of switching coaches frequently, right from her junior days when she was ranked 11 and will now depend on the Lawn Tennis Association for the time being until a new coach is hired.
Badminton Asia Championships: Sen, Sindhu eye medals; Prannoy pull out due to injury
Manila (Philippines), Apr 25 (Badminton News) Focus will be on two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu and world championships bronze winner Lakshya Sen when they lead India's challenge at the Badminton Asia Championships, beginning here on Tuesday.
A lot of hope will ride on Sen and Sindhu as the duo has been in good form in the run-up to the continent championships, which is returning after a gap of two years due to COVID-19.
The prestigious event will, however, lose a bit of sheen with the withdrawal of an injured HS Prannoy, who had claimed a bronze at the 2018 Wuhan edition and is in good form.
While Prannoy will miss out due to a "small injury" sustained on way to his Swiss Open final finish, it will be a great opportunity for All England silver medallist Sen.
The 20-year-old from Almora has been on a stellar run with title wins at the India Open Super 500 and final appearance at the German Open and All England Championships.
Sen had also won a bronze at the 2020 Asia team Championships, besides bagging a gold and bronze at the 2018 and 2016 Asian Junior Championships.
The fifth seeded Indian will be eagar to win a medal from the senior tournament but it will be easier said than done as he faces 22-year-old China's Li Shi Feng, a two-time world junior championships gold medallist, in his opening round.
All eyes will also be on former world champion fourth seed Sindhu, who had scooped a bronze from the 2014 Gimcheon edition and is coming into the event after securing two Super 300 titles at Syed Modi International and Swiss Open.
The World No. 7 Indian will be eagar to pocket another medal when she begins her campaign against Chinese Taipei's Pai Yu Po.
Sindhu is likely to come across fifth seeded Chinese He Bing Jiao in the quarterfinals if she can cross the initial rounds.
World championships silver winner Kidambi Srikanth too has been in good touch though he has been guilty of not able to close out some tight matches.
The seventh seeded Indian, who won two bronze in 2016 and 2020 Asia Team Championships but failed to secure an individual medal, will aim to grab the opportunity this time when he opens against Malaysia's NG Tze Yong.
Tokyo Olympian B Sai Praneeth too will eye a good show when he opens against fourth seeded Jonatan Christie.
Focus will also be on London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal as she looks to claim her fourth medal at the Badminton Asia Championships.
Saina has been on a comeback trial after recovering from some nagging injuries and had skipped the selection trials for the upcoming major events such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup.
The former world number one will look to silence her critics when she begins campaign against Korea's Sim Yujin.
Among others, Aakarshi Kashyap, who was picked for all the three major events after she emerged as winner in the trials, will face top seed Akane Yamaguchi, while Malvika Bansod, who missed out of a berth, will cross swords with Singapore's Yeo Jia Min.
World number 7 and third seeds Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will open against Thailand pair of Apiluk Gaterahong and Natchanon Tulamok.
MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, who recently made it to the Asian Games and Thomas Cup teams after finishing on top at the selection trials in New Delhi, will also be in action.
The unseeded Indian pair will be up against fourth seeded Indonesian combination of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in its opening round. Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala, who had reached the quarters at Odisha Open Super 100 and German Open Super 300 besides finishing runners-up at Syed Modi International Super 300, will look to give a good account of themselves.
In women's doubles, India will lack the punch following the withdrawls of N Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa, and Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand.
While Sikki got injured during the recently-concluded selection trials in New Delhi, Treesa and Gayatri also pulled out at the last minute following an injury to the latter.
Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam, and young pairing of Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker will be in the fray in women's doubles for India.
In the mixed doubles, Venkat Gaurav Prasad and Juhi Dewangan, and Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto will look to go deep in the draw.
Also Read : Prannoy, Treesa-Gayatri pull out of Badminton Asia Championships
News Source : PTI
Prannoy, Treesa-Gayatri pull out of Badminton Asia Championships
Manila (Philippines), Apr 25 (Badminton News) India's H S Prannoy has pulled out of the Badminton Asia Championships beginning here on Tuesday due to a "small injury" that he sustained during his final finish at the Swiss Open in March.
Prannoy, who was handed a direct entry to the Asian Games and Thomas Cup due to his good show in the last few international events, is looking to return to action at the Thomas Cup starting in Bangkok, Thailand on May 8.
"Had to withdraw from Asian Badminton Championships this week because of a small injury which happened in Swiss Open!," Prannoy, who has a bronze medal from the 2018 Wuhan edition, wrote on his twitter handle.
"I think the best decision was to focus on training and focus on next set of events! Can't wait to join the rest of the squad for Thomas cup Finals," he added.
A former top 10 player, Prannoy had been battling a gastroesophageal reflux disease (a digestive ailment in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipe lining) and after affects of COVID-19 to see his performance slip and ranking drop at the world stage.
However, Prannoy showed signs of returning to form when he finished at the quarterfinal stage at the World Championships last year, before signing off at the last eight stage at the India Open Super 500, Syed Modi Super 300 and German Open Super 300.
At the Swiss Open, he had reached the finals before losing to Indonesian Jonatan Christie.
Young women's doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand, who emerged as winners at the selection trials to make it to the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup, also pulled out of the tournament due to an injury suffered by the latter.
Also Read : Want to win medals at CWG, crack world's top 10 & qualify for 2024 Olympics: Treesa Jolly
News Source : PTI
Want to win medals at CWG, crack world's top 10 & qualify for 2024 Olympics: Treesa Jolly
New Delhi, Apr 23 (Badminton News) Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand's dream run continued with the young duo making it to the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup following its stellar display at the recently-concluded selection trials.
And the young pair is now focussing on returning with a medal from the upcoming major events, cracking the world's top 10 and qualifying for the Paris Olympics in two years time.
It has just been a little over 15 months that the two paired up but the duo has been like a house on fire, becoming the first women's pair to reach the All England semifinals, winning the Odisha Open Super 100 and reaching the finals of Syed Modi Super 300.
"Now the target is the CWG, Asian Games and Uber Cup and we also want to work hard and qualify for the 2024 Olympics," Treesa told PTI.
"Main thing is the Paris Olympics, so our aim is to be in top 10 by next year. That is the target." All of 18, Treesa hails from Cherupuzha, Kerala where the seeds of badminton were first sowed in her by her father Jolly Mathew, who is a physical education teacher.
"My father is a physical education teacher, so he wanted his kids also to play the sport. My elder sister (Maria) was my partner in under-15, under-17 in state events but I was performing better so my father motivated me to continue," Treesa said.
"When I started playing badminton, I realised that it gives me a lot of happiness. I remember watching Saina (Nehwal) at the Olympics, since then she has been my inspiration." Treesa, who started playing the sport as a six year old, said she joined the Gopichand academy just two months before the COVID-19 lockdowns were announced in 2020.
"I used to play singles and doubles but when I shifted to Gopichand academy in January 2020, Gayatri too had started playing doubles, so something clicked and we started playing together.
"But with lockdown, it was difficult as I had to go back home and we did the online sessions. In fact, Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup trials was the time when we played together and the first international event was at Poland." The duo had reached the finals of Polish International, won the Infosys Foundation International Challenge, before finishing second best at Welsh International.
But it was 2022 that the duo made a massive breakthrough with a runners-up finish at Lucknow and a top finish at Odisha.
However, the icing on the cake was their performance at the All England Championships.
"We were playing All England for the first time and there was no pressure, we were just playing freely and so we could give our best. It was such a great moment, as there was no expectations," Treesa said.
The Kerela shuttler knows expectations will be high from here on and she says it will be all about "adjusting to the pressure" and finding a way to "give our best".
The duo's court work has also been neatly divided with Treesa mending the back court as Gayatri manages the net.
"I am a attacking player, I am confident of attacking and to play at the back court with my smashes, Gayatri plays both, but she is good at net.
"It is different, when you play against the foreign players like the Chinese or Europeans. You need to be fitter and have more patience.
"The Japanese play 40-50 strokes in a rally, so we have to be of the same level. We need to be more patient to be in the rallies and also working mentally on the game.
"We have to adjust to the different style of games. I think we are comfortable with fast paced games and we need to work on playing the rally game," she signed off.
Also Read : BAI trials: Aakarshi, Priyanshu emerge winners in singles; Ashwini-Sumeeth win mixed doubles
News Source : PTI
Ravi wins hat-trick of Asian Championship gold medals
Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Apr 23 (Wrestling News) Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya clinched his third straight Asian Championship gold medal with a dominating performance in the 57kg category, winning the title clash by technical superiority against Kazakhstan's Rakhat Kalzhan, here on Saturday.
Ravi, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, conceded early lead in all his bouts, but as is his wont, bounced back in tremendous fashion to outsmart his rivals in the men's freestyle event.
It was his second final of the season, having won a silver at the Dan Kolov event in February.
Ravi, who hails from Nahri village in Sonepat, yet again showed his immense physical prowess and tactical superiority when he outsmarted Japan's Rikuto Arai (VSU) and pulled off a comprehensive 12-5 win over Mongolia's Zanabazar Zandanbud en route the final.
In the title clash, Kalzhan moved ahead with a take-down and for considerable time did not let the Indian make any move. However, true to his style, Ravi began to dominate the bout with his unmatched class.
He effected six consecutive two-pointers and in-between saved himself from a left-leg attack to finish the bout early in the second period to secure India's first gold medal of the tournament this year. Ravi had won gold at the 2020 edition in Delhi and in Almaty last year.
Also Read : Ravi, Bajrang, Gourav to fight for gold at Asian Championship
News Source : PTI
22 yards to Diamond: A rewarding transition - Vamsi Kondreddy
(Sports news) With a fan following in billions running globally, Cricket has surely found its foot in the hearts of sports lovers, however, it outweighs the majority of Indian sports in terms of economic value and has surely turned out to be an X-factor in the Indian sports ecosystem, but the same cannot sustain as the sole wealth and opportunity generator for sports persons with immense bat-and-ball sports talent. Notable to state that at the end of the day, with approximately 10 million actively playing cricketers in India, not even 1/20th of this huge pool of talent are able to make a living out of it. With fresh talents pouring in every year, it is impossible for the stakeholders of Indian cricket to create opportunities to cater to this huge supply. So, do we let this talent pool get wasted and unutilized? No, right? So what’s the solution?
Well, rather than looking for a solution per se, we need to look for existing ecosystems and utilise the talent to meet the talent demand for a sport that not only requires the same set of skills but above all is globally played, recognized and is highly rewarding. This all is prevalent, when it comes to the Sports of Baseball. To most Indians, a mere mention of baseball gives them an impression about a game similar to cricket which is being played in the United States of America. Played with a round bat, unlike flat willows in cricket, the sport of baseball has a few takers in a cricket-crazy like ours. Baseball and Cricket are two well-known members of the "bat and ball" family of games. While the basic principle is the same, the two games differ in their rules, terminology, playing equipment, number of players, field size etc. Apart from the fact that both cricket and baseball are bat-and-ball games, a lot more similarities as well as differences exist between the two. Both sports can be absorbing and exciting – and both require skills that are essentially similar and to compare two games and how easy it would be to adapt from one to the other one has to analyse the key aspects of the game which are highly similar.
Now, given the similarity of skills required and plethora of international sports, it is high time that Indian sportspersons, and more importantly aspiring cricketers, (failing to get quality opportunities), look beyond the 22 yard pitch and walk into the diamond, to not only utilise and put into use their valuable talent and skills to their benefit as well as to advancement of the entire Indian ecosystem. The best part of this transition would be that they do not learn new skills, rather only tune their existing skills to a certain extent. Although Cricket has come up with new leagues in recent years to improve opportunities, it is still under-rewarding given the mass of talent. Baseball not only has ample opportunities, but also has an all year around global playing calendar, which ensures a high amount of opportunities to present the skill on the field.
Interestingly, in recent years, the Indian sports growth has included sports other than cricket, which have gained significant traction and much-needed push from all parties concerned. The recent success of India in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has demonstrated that India has a desire to consume sports other than cricket, which are not only played globally but are not yet popular or recognised in India. It is pertinent to state that unlike Cricket, Baseball is indeed an Olympic sport. With India’s exemplary performance in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, addition of another team at the upcoming Olympics with quality and quantity of India bat-and-ball-sports players, it would be only sensible for a sportsperson to make this much awarding transition from Cricket to Baseball.
Also read: Cricket crazy country India can also excel at baseball - Vamsi Kondreddy, Managing Director of Dream Olympic Sports
Indian archers make quarterfinal exits in season-opening World Cup Stage 1
Antalya, Apr 21 (Archery News) The new-look Indian archery teams without some big names produced disappointing performances to get eliminated in the quarterfinals in the season-opening World Cup Stage 1 here on Thursday.
The men's recurve trio of Tarundeep Rai, Sachin Gupta and Jayanta Talukdar got the top billings in the qualifying but the team failed to live up to expectations, going down to their rivals from the war-ravaged Ukraine 1-5 (58-58, 53-56, 55-58) in a lop-sided contest.
The Indians started off with a solid shot of 58/60, but they slipped to 53/60 in the second set, hitting thrice in the red ring (8-8-8) to fall 1-3 behind.
Their 55/60 in the third set was not enough as the Ukrainian trio of Artem Ovchynnikov, Usach Mykhailo and Oleksii Hunbin sealed the issue with a 58/60.
There was worse in store from the fourth-seeded women's trio of Ridhi Phor, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur who capped poor scores of 52/60 twice to lose to lower-rung Italy 2-6 (52-57, 55-46, 52-53, 54-55) and get eliminated.
The only set the Indians won was when their Italian rivals shot a below-par 46.
It remains to be seen how the Indian recurve archers fare in the mixed pair and individual events that will get underway on Friday.
In the compound section, Priya Gurjar and Rajat Chauhan were the best finishers with quarterfinal exits.
Priya lost to Chen Yi-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei 136-143, while Chauhan was ousted by Jean Philippe Boulch of Luxembourg 146-149.
Former Asian Games gold medallist Abhishek Verma lost in the second round in a tight shoot-off finish (9-10) against Frenchman Quentin Baraer after being locked 146-all.
So far, India have assured one medal in the compound men's team event by advancing to the final where they will take on France on Saturday.
India had some big upsets in the selection trials last month as three of the four Tokyo Olympics-returned archers -- including the star couple of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari -- failed to make the cut.
The only Tokyo Olympian to make the cut was veteran Army man Tarundeep Rai who was joined by another old warhorse in Jayanta Talukdar, who made an International comeback after six years.
The recurve women's team, on the other hand, are mostly youngsters.
The compound team is also without four-time World Championships silver medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam.
Also Read : Indian compound archers in final of team event, assure of medal in World Cup Stage 1
News Source : PTI
Saurabh Chaudhary wins three gold medals in national shooting trials
New Delhi, Apr 19 (Shooting News) Former world number one Saurabh Chaudhary of Uttar Pradesh swept the men's 50m pistol national selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range on Tuesday, winning three gold medals and a silver across the senior and junior categories.
On day five of the selection trial 3 and 4 for pistol events, Asian Games and Youth Olympics champion Saurabh won both the men's and junior men's 50m pistol T4 trials, after he had bagged the bronze in the men's T3 event while maintaining gold in the junior men's T3 competition.
The Tokyo Olympic finalist shot 562 in the T4 60-shot series to leave behind Kunal Rana of the Indian Navy, who shot 555. The same score in the junior men's event meant Punjab's Arjun Singh Cheema with a 547 had to settle for silver.
Saurabh had come third behind the seasoned Gaurav Rana of the Air Force and Om Prakash Mitherval of Rajasthan in the men's T3 competition earlier.
Gaurav had shot 553 for gold, Om Prakash 553 for silver, while Saurabh came third with 552.
On Sunday evening, Vijayveer Sidhu of Punjab had bagged the junior men's rapid-fire pistol T3 trials over the Haryana pair of Anish and Adarsh Singh who came second and third respectively. The T4 rapid fire results are expected on Wednesday.
Also Read : Mehuli Ghosh wins women's 10m air rifle competition in national selection trials
News Source : PTI
Danish Open: Vedaant Madhavan adds a shade of gold
New Delhi, Apr 18 (Cricket News) Continuing his splendid run, fast-rising Indian swimmer Vedaant Madhavan added a second medal to his kitty, a gold in the men's 800m freestyle at the Danish Open in Copenhagen.
The 16-year-old bettered his personal best time by a whopping 11:48 to stop the clock at 8:17.28, edging past local swimmer Alexander L Bjorn by 0.10 to stand atop the podium on Sunday night.
While Vedaant's performance was good enough to fetch him a gold at the meet, it is a long way from international standards. USA's Robert Finke had won the gold at the Tokyo Olympics in the event last year with a timing of 7:41.87, while the world record for the event stands at 7:32.12.
However, Vedaant, son of Indian actor R Madhavan, has shown immense improvement. He has bettered his personal best times in all three events he has participated in in the ongoing meet.
He had won the silver medal in the 1500m freestyle event on Friday before bettering his 200m freestyle time to finish 12th overall in the event.
Ace Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash finished fifth in the 'A' final of the men's 100m butterfly with a timing of 54.24, while Tanish George Mathew topped the 'C' final by stopping the clock at 56.44.
The top eight swimmers in the heats qualify for the 'A' final, the next eight for the 'B' followed by the 'C' final.
The 28-year-old Prakash, who is preparing for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, had won a gold in the 200m butterfly, his pet event, on the opening day.
In the women's event, Shakthi Balakrishnan finished 34 out of 42 swimmers with a time of 2:14.27 in 200m freestyle.
India now has a haul of three medals in the ongoing meet including two golds and a silver.
Also Read : The Ministry of Sports has approved financial assistance to five Indian swimmers.
News Source : PTI
My goal is to set up the biggest fitness chain in India: Sandeep Chauhan
An international level Taekwondo athlete and World Taekwondo Level 2 coach, Sandeep Chauhan is a national medallist, represented India in President Cup, Australia Open, El Hassan Cup, Asian Open Championship and is the first coach to clear Level 2 in India for Taekwondo.
In this exclusive interview, Sandeep Chauhan speaks about being introduced to Taekwondo, overcoming challenges, learning life lessons from the sport, experience with Discovery’s India’s Ultimate Warrior and his future goals.
Q 1) Having come from a farmer's family, how were you first introduced to the sport and what made you take it up professionally?
My journey in taekwondo began when I was in school. My story isn’t remarkable nor did I set out with an aim to become an internationally recognized Taekwondo athlete. However, looking back, it now seems like it was all meant to be, especially when you consider the fact that my background, as far as my family is concerned, had nothing to do with taekwondo or any sports for that matter.
I come from a farmer’s family; my father, Virenderpal Singh, has been farming ever since I can remember and I wasn’t serious about my game when I started out but rather the passion for it evolved over time and there eventually came a point when my interest mingled with the sweet taste of success which kept me in the game.
I vividly recall that back in school whenever I did well in local championships my school bestowed me with much respect and encouragement and those were certainly proud and elated moments for a schoolboy. With such supportive people around me, I went on to win many medals. After school, I moved to Delhi for advanced training, there I joined Korean taekwondo classes, besides the skill enhancement.
Q 2) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your journey so far? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I have faced in my journey is that I got 2 ACL surgeries on my right knee, and that happened when I was at the peak of my performance. Those were good times but little did I know that some misery was about to befall during the peak of my performance. I had a serious ligament injury that required surgery which couldn’t be performed on time due to the onslaught of the Covid pandemic.
Thus, my surgery got delayed for 2 years. Despite my love for the art, the injury made me stay low for two long years. Nevertheless, post-surgery I started preparing again for events as I simply couldn’t stay away from taekwondo. I was as determined as ever thinking that some injury wasn’t enough to suck out my love for taekwondo that by then was already flowing in my veins. During the lockdown I decided to give online training to the athletes who are suffering from mental pressure due to Covid, I decided to give that training for free to the athletes and I trained over 100 athletes during pandemic time and that was the time I found happiness and I forgot about my injury and tried to overcome with the athletes.
The injury was demotivating but my uncle Kuldeep Chauhan stood beside me and supported me mentally and financially. Everything that I am today is because of my uncle. One of the biggest challenges that I faced was in 2016 when my mother passed away. It was a very hard time to overcome that setback and at that time, my aunty Indu Chauhan supported me like a mother and cared for me.
Q 3) What are some of the life lessons that taekwondo has taught you? How do you implement them?
The thing I admire most about taekwondo is the discipline and respect that comes with it; this is a sport where you know how to give mutual respect and I get to play out dream stunts from my childhood, how many get to do that, right?
Taekwondo gave me the chance to inculcate professionalism and discipline in my life and it teaches me to stay humble, positive, and calm in any situation. The art isn’t just about physical skills, for me, it’s also a lot to do with building a strong mentality and I think that’s the key to how I survived in the sport.
Q 4) Tell us about your experience with Discovery’s India’s Ultimate Warrior.
I got a call one day from India’s Ultimate Warrior team saying they wanted me to participate in the show. Before getting into the show I had to go for several rounds of interviews to show my mental and physical skills. It was after I cleared all required rounds that they selected me to participate. This is the first time I participated in any TV show. Fortunately for me, my experience of performing at an international level has made me feel confident that I can take on whatever the show is going to throw my way.
While shooting there are lots of cameras and crew standing around but having audiences around for me has always been a norm while performing so that comes kind of naturally to me. I also have my mentor and our dojo master Vidyut always there to help me win every task. There was an incident during one of the challenges and I got a serious injury in a determination endurance task and the doctor said it was a ligament tear; in fact, that was on the same leg which was injured 3 yrs ago; not to mention, it was painful.
Despite the injury, I didn’t stop in the show and was ready for tasks. I showed such determination that they acknowledged my determination with the star warrior award of the second episode. However, concern for my health made them take a step back, and along with Vidyut and my mentor decided that I should go for the surgery for my own good and thus had to leave the show midway.
In the show I got a star warrior award, a holy locket from Vidyut sir which he received from the Dalai Lama; and I also got a Pavitra Mala from my mentor, Shifu Kaniska that he always used to have on his hand. Sure, I didn’t get the winner trophy but I got the respect from the whole of India.
With the kind of love, respect, and support I’ve received while in the show cherry-topped with the reward from Vidhyut sir and Shifu Kaniska, I think I’ve won just as good as the title of India’s ultimate warrior. I’ve won their heart and I’ve won their love, and I couldn’t feel better.
Q 5) What are your future goals and ambitions? How do you plan to achieve them?
My goal for the future is to enable my athletes to win Olympic medals in Taekwondo and I’m confident enough to say that we’re very close to the goal; we’re training as hard as we can with 8 hours of work daily with our eyes set on the Olympics and we know the result should show in the 2024 Olympics. I would also like to set up the biggest fitness chain in India. I’ve already started with Creed Fitness Club in Bangalore and am planning to reach every other place in the country.
It seems like BAI is happy to put me out of CWG and Asiad: Saina
New Delhi, Apr 14 (Badminton News) Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal on Thursday questioned the timing of selection trials and slammed the Badminton Association of India for "putting" her out the two mega sporting events later this year.
The governing body had called for selection trials on April 2 to pick the Indian team for big-ticket events including the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the Asian Games in Hangzhou and Thomas Cup and Uber Cup in Bangkok from May 8 to 15.
Saina, a former world no 1, said she had informed BAI about her decision to skip the trials which begins at the IG stadium on Friday but it did not mean that she was not eager to participate at the major events including the Commonwealth Games and Asiad.
"Surprised to see all the articles stating that I don't want to defend my CWG title and my Asiad medal. I'm just not participating in the trials because I just got back from 3 weeks of Europe events and according to the schedule there's Asian Championships," Saina tweeted.
"In 2 weeks time, as a senior player to participate in back to back events nonstop is impossible and it's risking injuries, such short notice is not possible. I've conveyed this to BAI but there has been no response from them. It seems like they're happy to put me out of CWG n Asiad." BAI has exempted players inside the top 15 in the BWF rankings from the trials but said shuttlers ranked between 16 to 50 in the latest world rankings, released on March 29, will have to participate in the trials to be selected for the team.
Saina, 32, however, questioned the logic of having trials at this juncture.
"I wish we had better understanding about how to manage a schedule and not announce events with 10 days notice. I'm world no.23 currently and I almost beat the world no.1 Akane in All England. One loss at India open and BAI tries to pull me down. Shocking." Saina, a London Olympics bronze medallist, had participated at the German Open (March 8-13), All England Championships (March 16-20) and Swiss Open (March 22-27) before pulling out of the Korean Open (April 5-10). Saina has been battling injuries and poor form for the past couple of years, which saw see her ranking slip to 23rd but she did show signs of returning to form when she played a three-game match against Akane Yamaguchi at this year's All England Championships.
Among the current crop of women's singles players, Malvika Bansod, Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashmita Chaliha and Anupama Upadhyaya have been in good form but none of them have beaten top international stars in the world stage.
Saina had returned to the circuit after recovering from a groin and knee injury this year but she didn't have the desired results as her India Open campaign ended in the second round.
After a gap of few weeks, she played three events last month -- German Open, All England and Swiss Open -- where she failed to cross the second round.
Also Read : Saina Nehwal decides to skip selection trials for CWG, Asian Games
News Source : PTI
Germany men's hockey team arrives without many senior players for Pro League matches against India
Bhubaneswar, Apr 12 (Hockey News) A "totally different" German men's hockey team without some of their senior players arrived here on Tuesday to face hosts India in the FIH Pro League double-header on Thursday and Friday.
The world number 6 side are currently placed second in the Pro League table with 17 points from eight games.
German head coach Andre Henning said many of his players will make their international debut against India at the Kalinga Stadium.
"We are here with a young team...a totally different team. It is a special moment for most of the guys as they will be making their debuts here in India," Henning said.
"So, getting their first cap ever in the Hockey country and in one of the best stadiums in the world, is an amazing opportunity.
"We had to leave some of the guys home due to Euro Hockey League (EHL). To be honest, it will be tough, but we are competitive and are good enough for a surprise." India, on the other hand, are on top of the standings with 21 points from 10 matches. They had beaten Germany 5-4 in the bronze play-off in the Tokyo Olympics last year to clinch a historic medal after 41 years. Reflecting on their Pro League campaign so far, Henning said, "17 points in eight matches is extremely good, but I think we still have to improve. I am still not happy with the way we played the whole time.
"But I've seen that the team is making huge steps and amazing improvements. So, well deserved 17 points. We are in a good position now, but still, a lot to do for the upcoming games here in India." Talking about India, Henning said, "Just have the biggest respect for the way they play, the way they have improved in the last few years. They are at the top at the moment, and that's well deserved.
"They showed some extremely strong performances and have improved on the pitch, which reflects on their results. I think it's not a big surprise that they are so successful at the moment, and are of course, extremely hard to beat."
Also Read : Chandigarh, Bengal, Jharkhand emerge winners in Senior National men's hockey
News Source : PTI
Saina Nehwal decides to skip selection trials for CWG, Asian Games
New Delhi, Apr 12 (Badminton News) Saina Nehwal's chances of defending her title at the Commonwealth Games looks bleak as she has decided to skip the selection trials for the upcoming multi-sport events.
The big-ticket events include the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The selection trials are scheduled here from April 15 to 20.
The 32-year-old Hisar-born shuttler, a two-time CWG gold medallist and 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist, has informed the Badminton Association of India (BAI) about her decision to skip the trials.
"Saina has written to BAI, informing her decision to not play in the trials which will be the only tournament to pick players for CWG, Asiad and Thomas and Uber Cup," a BAI source told PTI.
The CWG squad will consist of 10 members with equal number of men and women, while the Asian Games and Thomas & Uber Cup contingents will have 20 members each, including 10 men and 10 women.
The BAI has made it clear that players inside the top 15 in the BWF rankings will be picked directly, while the rest will be chosen from the trials which will see participation of shuttlers ranked between 16 to 50 in the latest world rankings, released on March 29.
The national governing body will also be "finalising probables for the senior core group for the 2024 Olympic Games" during the trials.
Injuries and recent form =============== A former world number one, Saina has been battling a series of injuries and poor form for the past couple of years, which saw see her ranking slip to 23rd.
Saina, who had won gold medals at the 2010 and 2018 CWG, had suffered a career-threatening knee injury ahead of the Rio Olympics.
She had hurt her groin during the Thomas & Uber Cup Final in Aarhus, Denmark in October last year, and she was also forced to withdraw midway in the first round match at the French Open due to a knee injury.
Her return to the circuit at the India Open ended in the second round when she lost to the fast-rising Malvika Bansod. After a gap of few weeks, she played three events last month -- German Open, All England and Swiss Open -- but failed to cross the second round.
A semifinal finish at 2021 Orleans Masters Super 100 and quarterfinals at Barcelona Spain Masters Super 300 and Malaysia Masters in 2020 have been Saina's highlights in recent years.
Also Read : Korea Open: Sindhu fails to decode An Seyoung, campaign ends at semifinals
News Source : PTI
FIH Pro League: Indian women stun Netherlands 2-1 in first match
Bhubaneswar, Apr 8 (Hockey News) The Indian women's hockey team stunned Olympic champions Netherlands 2-1 in the first match of their double leg FIH Pro League tie here on Saturday.
The Indians scored through Neha (11th minute) and Sonika (28th), both from penalty corners, to hand the home team a 2-0 lead at half time.
After the change of ends, the Netherlands scored from a penalty corner through Jansen Yibbi in the 40th minute to reduce the margin.
This was India's fourth win in the FIH Pro League.
Even though the Netherlands have arrived here with a second-string side, it was a creditable performance from the Indians as they were also without three key players -- Lalremsiami, Salima Tete and Sharmila Devi, who were part of India's historic fourth-place finish in the Tokyo Olympics.
Netherlands have come here without any player from their successful Olympic campaign.
India avenged the 1-5 drubbing against the Netherlands in the pool stage of the Tokyo Games.
The victory took India to the second spot in the standings with 15 points from seven games, while the Netherlands continued to lead the table with 17 points from as many matches.
Both the teams will lock horns again in the second match of the tie on Saturday.
Even though India enjoyed more possession, the Netherlands were the better side on display in terms of circle penetration, shots on goal and penalty corners.
The Netherlands had 30 circle penetrations, 13 shots on goal and seven penalty corners as compared to India's 12 circle penetrations, five shots on goal and three set pieces.
But what matter eventually was the result and execution and in those areas India came out with flying colours.
The Indians took the lead from their first real attack of the match, which came off a penalty corner through an alert Neha who deflected home from Navneet Kaur's pass after the initial effort was kept out by the Dutch defence.
Early into the second quarter, Rajwinder missed a golden opportunity to double India's lead with only the Dutch goalkeeper to beat as she sent her shot wide.
Two minutes from half time, India doubled their lead from another penalty corner through Sonika, who calmly slotted home following a goalmouth scramble.
Ten minutes into the third quarter, the Netherlands secured a penalty corner which resulted to a penalty stroke after the ball hit Monika's body in front of goal.
India captain and goalkeeper Savita guessed the direction right but couldn't keep away Yibbi's shot as the Netherlands reduced the margin to 1-2.
Thereafter, the Dutch women put the Indian defence under tremendous pressure with continuous raids but the home team defence stood like a rock to garner full three points and rare win over the Netherlands.
Also Read : India beat South Korea 3-0 to enter Women's Jr Hockey WC semifinals
News Source : PTI
Thailand Open Boxing: Amit, Sumit and Ananta storm into finals, 3 others bow out with bronze medals
New Delhi, Apr 8 (Boxing News) Three Indian pugilists, including world championship silver medallist Amit Panghal, punched their way into the finals of the Thailand Open boxing tournament in Phuket on Friday.
Ananta Pralhad (54kg), Sumit (75kg) and Panghal (52kg) assured India of at least a silver as they advanced to the finals.
Manisha (57kg), Pooja (69kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg), on the other hand, signed off with bronze medals after losing their respective semifinal bouts.
Seven Indian boxers will fight for gold as Ashish Kumar (81kg), Monika (48kg), Govind Sahani (48kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) had entered the finals of their respective events on Wednesday.
Competing in his first international tournament since the Tokyo Olympics, Panghal (52 kg), the silver medallists at the 2019 world championships, dominated the bout, landing a flurry of punches to beat Tran Van Thao of Vietnam by unanimous decision.
In another men's bout, Sumit stamped his authority to get the better of Kazakhstan's Ayatulla Takiz and confirm his place in the final.
In the women's 54kg semifinal, Ananta out-punched Vietnamese boxer Bui Tron Thai to register an authoritative 5-0 win.
However, Manisha, Pooja and Bhagyabati were unable to advance to the finals.
While Manisha and Pooja lost to Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, Italy's Irma Testa and Thailand's Baisin Manikon, respectively by an identical 1-4 margin, Bhagyabati fell to a 0-5 defeat at the hands of Hergie Bacyadan of Philippines.
The gold medallists at the tournament will earn USD 2,000 each, while the silver and bronze winners will pocket USD 1,000 and USD 500. respectively.
The Indian contingent had won eight medals, including one gold, four silver and three bronze, in the last edition of the tournament, held in 2019.
Also Read : Ashish Kumar, Govind Sahani, Varinder Singh and Monika enter finals of Thailand Open
News Source : PTI
Serena Williams hints at Wimbledon return while Tsonga to retire soon
(Tennis news) 23 time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams has hinted that she could make her long awaited comeback at Wimbledon, exactly a year after playing her last tournament. The 40 year old suffered an ankle injury in the first round and was forced to retire in tears against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. As a result, she missed the Tokyo Olympics, US Open and the Australian Open this year.
Speaking at an Instagram story with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, Williams said: "We've been talking about my comeback and he's been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can't wait! Wimbledon's before the US Open, I've got to play Wimbledon first. Exciting!"
The tournament is set to take place from June 27 to July 10 this year and Williams has already won the prestigious event seven times, but hasn’t won the title since 2016. She last won a Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open and has been on a hunt for the 24th title of her career but has been hampered due to injuries, dropping to 246th in the WTA rankings.
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has announced his intention to retire from professional tennis after the French Open this year. The 36 year old has suffered from injuries in recent years and only managed to get his second win in February since 2019, missing the entire 2020 season due to a back injury.
In a video shared on social media, Tsonga said “My head tells me, 'But you can play all your life,' and at the same time your body reminds you that your abilities to surpass yourself are no longer there. I hope that I will stay in shape before (the Roland Garros) and be able to be who I always have been at this tournament. The goal is to be myself, to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the tennis player.I have always set myself high goals to try to get what I can. For me, this will be the opportunity to do it one last time."
The Frenchman has won 18 ATP titles which include two Masters 1000 tournaments since he turned professional in 2004. He also won an Olympics silver medal at the London Games in 2012.
Top pistol shooters Vijay Kumar, Jitu Rai back in national squad
New Delhi, Apr 7 (Shooting News) Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar and World Championship silver winner Jitu Rai on Thursday returned to the national squad after being away for a prolonged period.
Vijay, who claimed a historic silver in 25m rapid fire pistol event at the 2012 London Olympics, made a comeback to competitive shooting after five years when he participated in the national championships last November at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range here.
The 36-year-old shooter, who is now a deputy superintendent of police in his home state of Himachal Pradesh, had been dogged by a recurring shoulder injury since winning the Olympic medal.
Asian Games gold medallist Rai, 34, took part in the national shooting selection trials at the Madhya Pradesh Academy last month.
In the 50-metre free pistol, Rai, a multiple-time World Cup gold medallist, shot 562 to top the field. He was one point ahead of Saurabh Chaudhary.
Subedar Major Rai, who has been training at the Army Marksman Unit in Mhow, has placed the 2024 Olympics as one of his major goals.
During the 2016 Rio Games, Rai became the first Indian pistol shooter to clear the men’s 10m qualification at the Olympics, but could not live up to the huge expectations in the eight-man final.
In July 2018, Jitu was dropped from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme on grounds of lack of form.
The pistol squad for 2022, which was announced by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Thursday, also features the decorated Chaudhary, Anish, Gurpreet Singh, Harpreet Singh, Adarsh Singh and Vijayveer Sidhu among others.
The women's squad comprises Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh, Naamya Kapoor, Rahi Sarnobat, Shri Nivetha P and Rhythm Sangwan, among others.
The federation also announced the rifle squad for the upcoming ISSF World Cup in Baku where the country's pistol shooters are not participating to focus on their training programme that has been designed in advance.
The rifle team for the Baku World Cup features the likes of Anjum Moudgil, Elavenil Valarivan, Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar, Chain Singh, Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil, Deepak Kumar, Paarth Makhija, Sift Kaur Samra and Shreya Agarwal.
While she is not part of the team for the Baku world cup, Mehuli Ghosh, a silver medallist at the World Championships, Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games, features in the rifle squad for the year.
The tournament in Baku will be held from May 27 to June 7.
Also Read : India open account at Shotgun World Cup with men's trap team bronze
News Source : PTI
Should trans women compete against biological women in sports?
(Sports news) It’s been a point of contention about the participation of transgender women in women’s sporting events. In order to understand whether they should or shouldn’t, let’s go back to why male and female sports were segregated in the first place. Why is it necessary for there to be distinct categories between sporting events involving the two genders and importantly, are these questions applicable today or is it no longer relevant?
Fundamentally, the reasons behind segregating sports according to gender is because bodies that have developed with higher testosterone are scientifically proven to be bigger and more powerful than those that have not. Which is why testosterone supplements are forbidden in contests involving physical prowess. However, when bodies that have developed male look to compete on a level playing field with bodies that didn’t develop as male, it will naturally give some degree of advantage to the former, irrespective of skill or talent.
While sports should be inclusive, it’s also important to create a level playing field for all participants. It takes decades of hard work, sacrifice, skill and talent to reach the highest level of any sport, and could definitely be disheartening for an athlete to lose out on their dream of winning a medal like the Olympic gold simply because a competitor has advantages because of being assigned a different gender at birth.
The sports industry needs a “progressive” mindset, but placing biological males against biological females is a regressive outlook, one which can easily be misconstrued as misogynistic rather than inclusive. The world may be inherently unfair, time and again athletes from richer nations tend to win medals at the biggest sporting competitions in the world because of access to better coaches, infrastructure, nutrition etc. If that’s not all, athletes within their gender groups are also blessed with better genes that give them a definite advantage over their peers in sporting competitions.
However, eliminating gender division in sport, at the expense of creating a level playing field is a policy decision, one that’s well within the control of decision makers. There might be double standards, as transgender men who were born as women and compete in men’s competitions are at a disadvantage, and in society, overcoming odds is considered to be a more acceptable norm than having an unfair advantage, especially in sporting competitions. There have been calls for a separate category for transgender women to compete in, but it may harm the self image and dignity of those who consider themselves women. In conclusion, there might not be a right answer to this question, however, as the writer of this article I'm leaning towards the fact that biological men should not be competing against women in sports.
India ride Olympic experience, attacking strikers and dependable keeper
Potchefstroom, Apr 6 (Hockey News) India exceeded expectations by scoring 11 goals, while conceding only twice, in their three matches of the ongoing junior women's hockey world cup here.
It wouldn't have been possible without the presence of three Olympians, an attacking forward line, and a fine goalkeeper in Bichu Devi Karibam.
Having already issued a warning going into the knockout stage of the FIH event, India will take on Korea in the quarterfinals on Friday.
India, who have appeared in four editions of the junior global event, claimed their best finish in 2013, with a bronze medal.
Despite failing to qualify for the previous edition, the Indians are considered among the top five contenders to lift the title in South Africa.
They are a confident lot following the senior team's historic fourth-place finish in the Tokyo Olympics, besides the constant improvement in all aspects of the game in the last few years.
India is one team which boasts of three Olympians in skipper Salima Tete, strikers Lalremsiami and Sharmila Devi, and the trio's experience of playing at the highest level has benefited the side in the pool stages.
Salima has been a livewire in the midfield and has dazzled with her brilliant stick work, while Sharmila's defence splitting runs and Lalremsiami's poaching presence inside the opposition circle have worked wonders for the team.
Lalremsiami has scored two goals in the three matches, with her agile presence inside the circle.
"It's quite a good opportunity for us also that they (Olympians) are sharing their experience with us. They played in Tokyo and it's a great achievement, so it has been quite helpful for us. They are always there to support and help us with their experience on and off the field," India vice-captain Ishika Chaudhary said.
Germany, one of the favourites, found it difficult to match the Indian players' fitness levels and their fast-paced hockey, resulting in a 1-2 defeat.
Placed in Pool D, India finished on top with an all-win record, which includes a 5-1 win over Wales, a 2-1 upset of Germany and a 4-0 thrashing of Malaysia.
In all the matches, India's midfield and forwardline shone bright.
The star of India's forwardline has been young Mumtaz Khan, who has so far scored five goals, including a hat-trick against Malaysia. Her alertness and anticipation inside the circle is a treat to watch.
Mizoram's young forward Lalrindiki, a Cristiano Ronaldo fan, too played a key role in India's success, with goals and plenty of assists.
Having said that, it is the performance of the backline led by goalkeeper Bichu Devi that has stood out the most.
Bichu Devi, who recently made her senior team debut in the FIH Pro League, has been phenomenal in front of the Indian goal, making brilliant saves on numerous occasions, which earned her praise from the skipper.
"Bichu is a very good keeper," quipped Salima.
Bichu is an energetic character and is known for her celebrations after every save.
"I don't know from where it comes. I have never thought about it or checked my celebrations in videos after match but I guess I get the energy from inside. It's all about passion from within to perform for the team and win the title," Bichu said.
Speed and deft stick work while on quick runs have been Indian hockey's strengths since time immemorial, and an improved fitness level has made the team look much better.
Eyeing a maiden title, it won't be easy though for India, with defending champions Argentina, formidable Netherlands and Germany looking to spoil India's party in the coming days.
Also Read : Mumtaz scores hat-trick as India beat Malaysia 4-0 to top pool, face Korea in QF
News Source : PTI
Boxing: Indian boxer Sumit (75kg) storms into Thailand open semifinals
New Delhi, Apr 5 (Boxing News) Indian boxer Sumit (75kg) entered the semifinals of the Thailand Open with a comfortable win over Timur Nurseitov in Phuket, Thailand on Tuesday.
Sumit, who received bye in the opening round, looked in good touch throughout the bout. He notched a 5-0 win against Kazakhstan's Nurseitov in the quarterfinal clash.
Sumit became the fourth Indian to enter the last four stage. Monika (48kg), Ashish Kumar (81kg) and Manisha (57kg) are already through to the semifinals.
However, it was curtains for Gaurav Chauhan (91kg), who went down 1-4 to 2018 Youth Olympics champion Aibek Oralbay of Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals.
Six Indian pugilists will be seen in action on Wednesday.
While Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg), Amit Panghal (52kg) and Rohit Mor (57kg) will play in their quarterfinal, Govind Sahani (48), Varinder Singh (60kg) and Ashish Kumar (81kg) will fight for a place in the finals.
The tournament features 130 boxers, including 74 male and 56 females, from Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa.
Gold medal winners will earn USD 2000, while silver and bronze winners will pocket USD 1000 and USD 500 respectively.
The Indian contingent had won eight medals, including one gold, four silver and three bronze, in the last edition of the tournament, held in 2019.
Also Read : Boxing: Monika stuns two-time World Championship medallist, 3 Indians enter semis
News Source : PTI
Fit-again Rani returns, Savita to lead India women vs Netherlands in Pro League
New Delhi, Apr 5 (Hockey News) Star striker Rani Rampal on Tuesday returned to the national side after a lengthy injury lay-off as India on Tuesday named a 22-member women's hockey squad for the upcoming FIH Pro League tie against world no 1 Netherlands.
The squad also includes two new faces in midfielder Mahima Choudhary and striker Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan, who will make their senior team debut in the double leg tie to be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday and Saturday. Rani, who led India to a historic fourth place finish in the Olympics last year, has not played for the national team since the Tokyo Games due to several injuries, mainly hamstring problem.
Since then Rani has been undergoing rehabilitation at the SAI south centre in Bengaluru but she is now fit to take the field again.
Goalkeeper Savita will continue to lead India and will be assisted by Deep Grace Ekka.
India, though, will be without the services of Tokyo Olympians Salima Tete, Sharmila Devi and Lalremsiami who are representing India in the Junior Women's World Cup in South Africa.
The national selectors also named three standby players -- Upasana Singh, Preeti Dubey and Olympian Vandana Katariya. "It's great to be back on the field for our Hockey Pro League games vs the Netherlands after the disappointment of England not being able to visit. With our juniors playing the World Cup we have the chance to use the depth of our core group and I am excited to potentially see some new faces on the field," chief coach Janneke Schopman said.
"Rani has also worked hard to be back in contention and if this training week goes well I hope we can play her in one of the games." The coach said India would look to take confidence from their performance against Germany in the previous tie.
"Netherlands is a formidable opponent, they have shown last weekend against the USA that they score goals easily and play from a tight defence.
"We are looking to build on our own performance since our last games vs Germany and am excited to hopefully show our progress against a strong opponent," Schopman said.
The Indian women's team is currently placed fourth in the FIH Pro League standings with 12 points from six games.
Netherlands, on the other hand, are atop the table with 17 points from six matches.
Team: Goalkeepers: Savita (captain), Rajani Etimarpu.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Rashmita Minz, Suman Devi Thoudam.
Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Namita Toppa, Sonika, Neha, Mahima Choudhary.
Forwards: Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan, Navneet Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Rani Rampal, Mariana Kujur.
Standbys: Upasana Singh, Preeti Dubey, Vandana Katariya.
Also Read : We have habit of not finishing games when we are in control: Reid
News Source : PTI
Jyothi wins 100m hurdles gold but misses NR due to wind-aided effort
Kozhikode, Apr 4 (Sports News) For the second straight day, wind assistance beyond legal limit denied an athlete a national record as Andhra Pradesh's 100m hurdler Jyothi Yarraji grabbed the gold medal but her time did not enter the record books.
Jyothi, who trains in Bhubaneshwar, dominated the women’s 100m hurdles final, winning with a wind-aided time of 13.08 seconds, faster than the existing national record of 13.38 in the name of Anuradha Biswal since 2002.
Jyothi's time will not be considered as national record since there was a tail-wind of 2.1m/s, slightly above the permitted limit of 2m/s.
It was the second time Jyothi had run better than Biswal's 20-year-old national record.
She was also credited with a time of 13.03 seconds in the inter-university championships in January 2020, but AFI did not ratify it as a national record as she was not tested for doping.
On Sunday, Tamil Nadu long jumper Jeswin Aldrin's wind-aided effort of 8.37m was not considered as national record though he won the gold medal.
There was a tail wind of 4.1m/s during his jump. Tokyo Olympian S Sreeshankar of Kerala won the silver with his 8.36m effort, which was also credited as national record.
The 22-year-old Jyothi glided over the hurdles with ease to secure herself a second 100m hurdles title at the national level, her maiden victory having come during the Inter-State Championships in Lucknow in August 2019.
In the heats on Sunday, Jyothi had bettered the meet record with a time of 13.43 seconds.
In the women's long jump, Nayana James won a keen battle with Ancy Sojan on a day when the podium finishers, including Sandra Babu, accounted for as many as 11 jumps past the 6m mark.
Despite beginning with a no-mark, Nayana James was the most consistent jumper, topping two 6.41m efforts with a 6.47m try on her fifth attempt. Ancy Sojan opened with 6.33m but did not find the rhythm to go better.
Competing for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics last year, javelin thrower Annu Rani (Uttar Pradesh) went past the qualifying standards for both Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, set by AFI with two throws past the 60m mark.
Each of her six efforts was good for gold on Monday, with 61.15m off the fifth attempt being the best of the lot.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Punjab) won the men’s shot put gold with a best effort of 19.12m. Sarvesh Anil Kushare (Maharashtra) won the men’s high jump gold by clearing 2.25m to match AFI's Asian Games qualification standard.
Another Maharashtra athlete, Komal Chandrakant Jagdale attained the qualifying mark for the Asian Games in the women's 3000m Steeplechase with a personal best time of 9:47.86.
Also Read : Kartik Kumar, Sanjivani Jadhav win gold in men's and women's 10000m gold in Fed Cup athletics
News Source : PTI
Boxing: Monika stuns two-time World Championship medallist, 3 Indians enter semis
New Delhi, Apr 4 (Boxing News) Boxer Monika (48kg) upstaged two-time World Championship medallist Josie Gabuco of the Philippines to enter the semifinals along with two other Indians at the Thailand Open here on Monday.
Ashish Kumar (81kg) and Manisha (57kg) are the two other Indian pugilists who also made their way into the last four with contrasting wins against their respective Thai opponents.
The 26-year-old Monika, who hails from Rohtak, prevailed 4-1 over experienced campaigner Gubuco, who won gold and bronze medals at the World Championships in 2012 and 2008 respectively.
She will now face Vietnam's Trinh Thi Diem Kieu, who received bye in the last round.
Competing in his first international tournament since the Tokyo Olympics, last edition's gold medallist Ashish notched a 5-0 win against local boxer Aphisit Khankhokkhruea in the 81kg quarterfinals. The Indian will now clash win Indonesia's Maikhel Roberrd Muskita in the semifinals.
It was a good day in the ring for Manisha, who recently qualified for the upcoming World Championships as well as Asian Games, as she defeated two-time Youth Asian champion Thailand's Porntip Buapa 3-2 in the 57kg quarterfinals.
However, Renu (54kg) and Monika (63kg) lost their opening round clashes.
While Renu gave a tough fight to Italy's European U-22 champion Sirine Charaabi, it wasn't enough as the Indian lost 2-3 in the quarterfinal clash.
Monika, on the other hand, went down in the quarterfinals, losing to Youth Olympic champion local boxer Panpatchara Somnuek by RSC verdict (Refree Stops Contest) in the third round.
On the third day of the competition on Tuesday, Sumit and Gaurav Chauhan will play their quarter-finals against respective opponents from Kazakhstan. Sumit (75kg), who received bye in the last opening round, will take on Timur Nurseitov while Gaurav (91kg) will fight against 2018 Youth Olympics champion Aibek Oralbay.
The tournament features 130 boxers -- 74 male and 56 females.
Gold medal winners will earn USD 2000, while silver and bronze winners will pocket USD 1000 and USD 500 respectively.
The Indian contingent had won eight medals, including one gold, four silver and three bronze, in the last edition of the tournament, held in 2019.
Also Read : India's Minakshi bows out of Thailand Open after close defeat
News Source : PTI
India's Minakshi bows out of Thailand Open after close defeat
New Delhi, Apr 3 (Boxing News) India's Minakshi bowed out of the Thailand Open after a close first-round defeat to local boxer Jutamas Jitpong in the women's 51kg event in Phuket on Sunday.
Minakshi fell short in a hard-fought bout as the boxer from Thailand won by a 3-2 split verdict.
In the first round, both the boxers played from a distance and gauged each other’s strategy before upping the ante in the second round, which saw a lot of clinching and exchange of punches.
The final round witnessed some fierce and attacking boxing between both the pugilists. Minakshi landed some clear punches but that was not enough in the end.
Six Indian boxers, including five women, will be in action on Monday.
In the women’s section, Monika (48kg) will face two-time world championships medallist Josie Gabuco of the Philippines in the opening round, while Renu (54kg) will square off against Sirine Charaabi of Italy.
The 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha (57kg) will take on Porntip Buapa of Thailand, while Monika (63kg) and Bhagyabati Kachari (75kg) will be up against locals Panpatchara Somnuek and Pornnipa Chutee respectively.
Last edition's gold medallist Ashish Kumar will open his campaign against local boxer Aphisit Khankhokkhruea in the 81kg quarterfinals. It will be the Indian's first international tournament since the Tokyo Olympics.
In the last edition of the Thailand Open, held in 2019, the Indian contingent signed off with a haul of eight medals, including one gold, four silver and three bronze.
Also Read : Thailand Open: Men and women boxers handed contrasting draws, Minakshi to begin Indian challenge
News Source : PTI
Thailand Open: Men and women boxers handed contrasting draws, Minakshi to begin Indian challenge
New Delhi, Apr 2 (Boxing News) Indian women boxers were handed relatively tough draws compared to their male counterparts at the Thailand Open International boxing tournament, beginning in Phuket on Sunday with Minakshi (51kg) kick-starting the country's challenge on the opening day.
While Minakshi will face Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand in her first bout, Monika (48kg) will face two-time world championships medallist Josie Gabuco of Philippines in the opening round.
2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha (57kg), who recently qualified for both the upcoming World Championships and Asian Games, will be up against two-time youth Asian champion Porntip Buapa of Thailand.
Renu (54kg), on the other hand, will take on U-22 European champion Italy's Sirine Charaabi.
The Boxing Federation of India has fielded a 15-member strong squad in the tournament, which will be played till April 10.
It will also be the first tournament for the 2019 World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Ashish Kumar (81kg), who won the gold medal in the last edition in the 75kg, since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Panghal and Ashish will open their campaigns against opponents from Thailand -- Thanakon Aonyaem and Aphisit Khankhokkhruea respectively -- in the quarterfinals of the men's competition.
The reigning national champions Rohit Mor (57kg) and Sumit (75kg) will also have easy starts to their challenge in the last-eight stage.
While the Indian contingent consists of eight men and seven women, Govind Sahani (48kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg), Varinder Singh (60kg) and Pooja (69kg) are the four pugilists who will begin their campaign in the semifinals.
With participation of 130 boxers, including 74 male and 56 females, the tournament will witness high-voltage competition in presence of top boxers from Asia, Europe, Oceania and Africa.
In the last edition of the Thailand Open, held in 2019, the Indian contingent signed off with eight medals -- one gold, four silver and three bronze.
Gold medal winners will earn USD 2000, while silver and bronze medallists will fetch USD 1000 and USD 500 respectively. The tournament will also see additional prize money for the best boxer of the tournament and the best team of the competition.
Indian Squad: Men: Govind Sahani (48kg), Amit Panghal (52kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg), Rohit Mor (57kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Sumit (75kg), Ashish kumar (81kg) and Gaurav Chauhan (91kg) Women: Monika (48kg), Minakshi (51kg), Renu (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Monika (63kg), Pooja (69kg) and Bhagyabati kachari (75kg).
Also Read : Paris Olympics: Boxing events for male reduced, changes also in weightlifting and shooting
News Source : PTI
Paris Olympics: Boxing events for male reduced, changes also in weightlifting and shooting
New Delhi, Apr 2 (Boxing News) Aiming to achieve gender equality, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has increased the number of boxing events for women in the 2024 Paris Olympics from five to six as per a revised list.
While the preceding Tokyo Games had eight events for men and five for women, in Paris there will be seven events for the male pugilists and six for the female, according to an update shared by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra.
The new categories for men are 51kg, 57kg, 63.5kg, 71kg, 80kg, 92kg and +92kg.
While the new women's weight classes include 50kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 75kg.
The changes are in line with the trend of increasing women's weight classes as the Rio Olympics only had three, which was increased by two for the Tokyo Games.
In shooting, the trap mixed team event has been replaced with skeet mixed team event.
As far as weightlifting is concerned, as PTI reported last December the number of events have come down to 10 (5 men and 5 women) from 14 events in Tokyo.
The competition schedule for the Paris Olympic Games was unveiled on Friday, after being approved by the IOC executive board.
In total 32 sports are set to be contested across 19 days of action, with 329 events due to take place across 762 sessions.
Action is scheduled to begin on July 24, two days before the Opening Ceremony is due to be held.
Also Read : IBA launches new website as part of rebranding campaign
News Source : PTI
Federation Cup: Kamalpreet, Anas miss out as Hima, Dutee are star attractions
Kozhikode, Apr 1 (Sports News) Ace long jumper M Sreeshankar, shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor along with sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand will seek to grab the spotlight in the Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships which begins here on Saturday.
As expected, Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will not take part in the championships as he seeks to train abroad and prepare for top events like the Diamond League Meetings in search for a medal in the World Championships in Eugene, USA, in July.
More than 500 athletes, including 158 women, will vie for top honours in the five-day event, the season's first major domestic championships with the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Asian Games lining up later in the season.
Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur, who finished sixth in the Tokyo Olympics last year, has also decided to skip the championships as the knee problem she had even during the Tokyo Olympics has "aggravated" while winning gold at the Indian Grand Prix II in Thiruvananthapuram on March 23.
"The knee injury which I had during the Tokyo Olympics has not healed completely. I think it aggravated when I took part and won gold in Indian GP II. So I am not taking part in the Federation Cup," Kaur told PTI from her training base at NIS Patiala.
"Let us see when I can return. I should be fine soon and I am sure I will take part in the National Inter-State Championships in June." Men's 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable, who recently broke his own national record, will not be taking part in his pet event, but will be running in the 5000m race. He has already qualified for the World Championships 3000m steeplechase.
National record holders Toor and Sreeshankar will be hoping to produce better performances than their efforts in the World Athletics Indoor Championships last month.
Sreeshankar had come up with a decent show, finishing seventh with 7.92m but Toor flopped as all his three attempts were fouls to record a 'No Mark' against himself.
National record holder in men's 400m, Muhammed Anas Yahiya is not taking part in the event as he is yet to fully recover from an injury he sustained last year.
In good news, national record holder and 2018 Asian Games 1500m gold medallist Jinson Johnson will return to action after a long injury and COVID-related lay-off.
The National Open Throws Meet in Patiala, the National Open Jumps meet as well as two Indian Grands Prix in Thiruvananthapuram have served as ideal beginning to the season but the Federation Cup will give the athletes and their coaches the opportunity to assess their form and work towards peaking in this year's three international meets, including the World Championships.
The AFI has laid down qualifying standards for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in Hangzhou. And some of those who have not already attained them will be straining their every sinew to achieve these standards. This will make the Federation Cup an interesting meet to track.
Rising sprinter Amlan Borgohain will seek to establish his credentials in the men's 200m while veteran Arpinder Singh has also entered in the fray in men's triple jump.
The women's 100m race will be one of the events to look out for with national record holder Dutee up aginst Hima Das.
But surprisingly, Tamil Nadu's S Dhanalakshmi, who has beaten Dutee in 100m and Hima in 200m recently, is missing. Dutee has also entered her name only in 100m dash while Hima will compete in both 100m and 200m.
Up and coming Priya Mohan has also decided to compete only in 200m and not in 400m in which she had won gold in both the Indian GP I and II last month.
Harmilans Bains, who set a national record in women's 1500m race during the National Open Championships last year, is also missing.
Rising long jumper Shaili Singh, who won a silver in the U-20 World Championships last year, is also skipping the event as she is yet to hit top form after COVID-19 infection in January.
There are three gold medals on offer on the opening day on Saturday. Besides the 10000m events for both men and women in the morning, the women’s pole vault will be contested in the afternoon.
The men's 25-lapper event could see an intense contest. Kartik Kumar, Abhishek Pal, Dharmender, Murli Kumar Gavit and Narendra Pratap Singh will look to top the 26-runner field.
Sanjivani Babur Jadhav, who posted a victory in the National Inter-State Championships in Warangal last year, will battle with Kavita Yadav for honours in the women's race.
The women’s pole vault competition promises a keen contest, despite the absence of V Pavithra, who earlier this year became only the fourth Indian woman to clear 4.00m when winning the Inter-University Championships in Bhubaneshwar.
Pooja, who fell short of that mark by 5cm, P Rosy Meena and Baranica Elangovan can draw attention to the Pole Vault pit.
There will be much interest in the men and women's 100m, 1500m heats as well as men's long jump qualifying round where Sreeshankhar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya can be expected to be joined by Jeswin Aldrin in leading the list of those making it to the final.
Also Read : SAI's Shilaroo centre to host long training camp for junior athletes
News Source : PTI
India eye wins against England to climb to top spot in FIH Pro League standings
Bhubaneswar, Apr 1 (Hockey News) Fairly well-placed after eight games, the Indian men's hockey team would look to annexe the top position in the standings when it takes on England in a double-leg FIH Pro League tie, starting here on Saturday.
The second match of the tie will be played on Sunday.
Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists India have so far played eight matches this season and are placed second in the standings, behind Germany (17 points), with 16 points.
The Indian team defeated South Africa 10-2, 10-2 before winning a game and losing one against France (5-0, 2-5) and Spain (5-4, 3-5).
Recently against Argentina, the Indians lost 2-2 (1-3 in shoot-out) before registering a thrilling 4-3 win in the second match.
Going into tie against England, defence remains a major concern for the Indians as the backline wilted under pressure in every match.
Conceding soft goals has been India's bane and vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh had no qualms in admitting that, saying the defenders need to improve their decision making going forward.
"Our main focus is to make the team stronger match by match. We are learning a lot about our weakness and strengths. We need to improve our finishing, create more penalty corners.
"The decision making need to improve. The defenders need to avoid conceding penalty corners and tackle outside the circle," he said during a virtual pre-match press conference.
On the contrary, India's forwardline has been impressive, scoring as many as 42 goals in the eight games.
Mandeep Singh, in particular, has been at his best inside the opposition circle, scoring some important goals, including the last-minute match-winner against Argentina in their previous game.
Captain of the Olympic bronze-medal winning side, Manpreet Singh is the backbone of India's midfield alongside Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilkanta Sharma and Sumit.
The presence of four world-class dragflicking options -- Harmanpreet, skipper Amit Rohidas, Varun Kumar and young Jugraj Singh -- hand India a clear edge over their opponents.
Jugraj has been a revelation since making his senior team debut, striking a brace in the second game against Argentina before providing the assist to Mandeep for the winner.
"He (Jugraj) is playing really well. He is a powerful, world-class dragflicker, it is a big benefit for the team. He is availing his chances. The presence of so many dragflickers makes it difficult for opponents to judge," Rohidas said.
In their last meeting, India defeated England 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics last year.
On paper and in world rankings too, India hold an edge over England. While the Indians are ranked fourth, the Englishmen occupy the seventh spot.
England, on the other hand, are placed seventh in the Pro League standings with six points from two wins and as many defeats.
England started their Pro League campaign on a positive note beating Spain 6-1 and 3-2 before losing 1-3 and 0-2 to Argentina.
England are on a rebuilding phase under new captain Tom Sorsby and head coach Zak Jones, and are looking at the Pro League matches to gain valuable experience ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
"It (Pro League) is really important... We have new players and we want to gain some experience. These games are vital in building the momentum as much as possible going into CWG," Jones said.
Also Read : FIH Pro League vs England: India retain Rohidas as captain, Neelam makes comeback
News Source : PTI
Prannoy gains three spots to be world number 23 in latest BWF ranking
New Delhi, Mar 29 (Badminton News) Riding on his runner-up finish at the Swiss Open, India's HS Prannoy jumped three places to number 23 in the latest BWF rankings, released on Tuesday.
Prannoy, who was competing in a title-clash after five years, now has 52875 points in his kitty.
He could not play his best on the circuit in the last three years as he was battling health issues. Double Olympic medallist P V Sindhu, who secured her second women's singles title of the season at Swiss Open Super 300, remained static at the number seven.
Among other Indians, young Lakshya Sen is also inside the top 10 along with the men's team of Chirag Shetty and Satwisairaj Rankireddy.
While 20-year-old Sen, who had reached the finals of German Open and All England earlier this month, is at the ninth spot, Chirag and Satwik are also placed at number seven.
Kidambi Srikanth, who had reached the semifinals at Basel, held on to his world number 12 slot, while B Sai Praneeth is at number 19. London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal is static at the 23rd spot.
Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy are ranked 20th while Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand slipped a rung to 15th.
Also Read : Anupama Upadhyaya and Kiran George win Polish Open titles
News Source : PTI
Bajrang's leg defence is not weak, it's just his style of play: His coach Sujeet Maan
New Delhi, Mar 28 (Wrestling News) Contrary to the popular opinion that Bajrang Punia's leg defence is a major shortcoming in his game, Sujeet Maan, the new personal coach of the star grappler says the wrestler looks vulnerable only because of his attacking style and all he needs to do is to convert the moves into points.
Bajrang's leg defence has been a major talking point in the last three years, especially in run up to the Tokyo Games, where he won a bronze medal.
Bajrang's struggle against Japanese nemesis Takuto Otoguro only accentuated the issue.
His coach Shako Bentinidis also worked on the same but Bajrang, 28, never made the desired progress, something which irked the national federation and eventually the Georgian was removed from his support staff.
However, Maan, who started working with Bajrang from January this year, says Bajrang's leg defence is not as weak as it is thought of.
"A lot of people opine that his leg defence is weak but that's not the case. It's a style. In cricket, the aggressive batters go for their shots and in the process they run the risk of losing their wicket. In Bajrang's case when he plays attacking game, he appears vulnerable in his leg defence," Maan told PTI in an interview.
"It's not that we are not working on his leg defence. We are trying that even if the rivals get hold of his legs, he wriggles out of it with solid defence." One of the main reasons for his leg-defence struggle has been linked with his training and competition on the soil (dangal) in his formative years. The wrestlers usually adopt a high stance during 'dangals' but when it comes to competition on the mat, the strategy does not work.
Many traditional wrestling stars like Jassa Patti, one of the famous and most successful dangal wrestlers in the country could not succeed on mat, struggling to win bouts even in National championships. Maan agrees that the training and competition style in early years could be a reason for whatever issues he has in his leg defence.
"On the mat you need to compete more on low and middle stance while in the Dangal, the wrestler maintains high stance. Habits are difficult to change, especially when it becomes muscle memory." Maan said he has been a part of the national camp and has observed Bajrang's game whenever he was there. He and Bajrang, recently, watched the wrestler's bouts from the 2019 World Championship, 2018 Asian Games, the 2021 Asian Championship videos and he is sure that going forward, adding more aggression to his style should help him.
"He needs to be aggressive and attack more. Attack is the best defence. The change he needs to make is he should attack but must not end up losing points or fail to score despite taking the risk.
"If he is managing to grab legs of his opponent, he must convert that move into points, that's what we are working on," Maan who won four Asian Championship medals, including a silver in 2004, said.
Talk about the 2024 Paris Olympics and Maan quickly points that they "don't have much time on our hands to prepare." But why? "Asian Championships is approaching and then there is one Ranking Series event. In August we have CWG which will be followed by the Asian Games, so there is not much time that we have. We have short-term targets before the Paris Games.
"This year our main target is Asian Games and if we succeed it would mean that we are at peak." Has anything changed in Bajrang's training style since Bentinidis left? "I have devised a plan for him. When Bajrang is not competing, he is focussing on heavy training, including weights, long duration runs, power training and endurance training. When competition is near we are focussing on speed and bouts." The Asian Championship, starting April 19 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, will be Bajrang's first tournament after the Tokyo Games.
Also Read : Physios were arranged at national camp to help Bajrang: WFI
News Source : PTI
Mirabai Chanu wins 'BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year' award
New Delhi, Mar 28 (Sports News) Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu on Monday won the BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year award.
Chanu created history last year when she became the first Indian weightlifter to clinch a silver medal at the Summer Olympics.
“I am currently training in the United States of America. I will give my best to win gold at this year’s Asian and Commonwealth Games. Thanks again to BBC India for honouring me with the BBC Indian Sportswoman Of The Year award," Chanu said in a media release.
Young India opener Shafali Verma was awarded the The ‘BBC Emerging Player’ award.
Verma is the youngest female cricketer to have played for India.
The first Indian woman to have won a medal at the Olympics in 2000, former weightlifter Karnam Malleswari was presented the ‘BBC Lifetime Achievement’ award.
Olympians and the Paralympians from the Tokyo Games were also honoured in this edition of BBC ISWOTY.
Tim Davie, BBC’s Director General said, “It’s wonderful to be here in Delhi in the BBC’s centenary year, and to honour the talented Indian sportswomen who’ve achieved so much, often in the face of challenging circumstances.”
Also Read : Abhijeet Gupta back in joint lead at Delhi International Open Chess tournament
News Source : PTI
No Deepika in Asian Games squad for first time since 2010
Sonipat, Mar 28 (Archery News) World number two Deepika Kumari has failed to make the Indian squad for the upcoming Asian Games, suffering one of the biggest setbacks in her illustrious career.
Deepika lost two of her three round robin matches in the final leg to miss the Asian Games berth at the SAI centre here on Sunday.
Deepika had finished a lowly fifth in the two-phase eliminations on Saturday to determine the top-eight, as she had to fight in the round robin matches.
The Asian Games will take place in Hangzhou from September 10-25.
This is for the first time since winning a gold medal at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, Deepika will be out of a multi-discipline showpiece event.
The 27-year-old has represented India at the Asian Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018, winning a team bronze in Guangzhou 12 years ago.
In her senior career since 2009, Deepika's trophy cabinet is full of World medals, but an Olympic podium finish has eluded the most decorated Indian archer.
Deepika has won 11 gold medals, 12 silver and seven bronze at the World Cup.
She is also a record four-time 'World Cup Final' runner-up and a bronze medalist. Deepika has also won two silver medals at the World Championships.
Tokyo Olympics last year was her best chance yet, when she went with the world No 1 tag for the second time (since London 2012) after winning five World Cup medals in the build-up.
But Korean rivals became her nemesis once again, as she capped quarterfinal exits in both mixed and individual events.
In the round robin phase, Deepika finished with one point to fall behind, as Ankita Bhakat (3.25) and Simranjeet Kaur (2) joined Haryana teenagar and reigning national champion Ridhi Phor.
The 17-year-old had already confirmed her berth along with veteran Services archer Tarundeep Rai by topping their respective elimination rounds.
The same team will also represent India in the first three phases of the World Cup beginning with the Stage 1 in Antalya in mid-April.
Not the end of the road for first archery couple ============================ The first archery couple to represent in an Olympics in Tokyo last year, Deepika and Atanu Das can still fancy their chances to make a comeback, should the current squad underperforms in the three World Cup legs.
"We will monitor their performances in the World Cups and should an archer falls way behind (in qualification scores) then we will have a final trial in July for the ones who missed out," a top Indian archery official told PTI.
The pair was going through a rough patch since the Tokyo debacle and also missed the cut for last year's World Championships, the trial for which was conducted immediately after the Olympics.
At the recently-concluded senior Nationals, Das had to settle for a silver losing to Sachin Gupta, while Deepika finished with a bronze.
"It's not that they are faring poorly but the upcoming archers are doing better. They are facing some mental issues and I hope they will overcome it sooner than later keeping the Paris Olympics in mind next year," he added.
Talukdar makes Asian Games comeback after 12 years ================================= The men's lineup for the Hangzhou Asiad sprung some surprise as 36-year-old Jayanta Talukdar made a comeback to the Indian squad for the first time since 2019.
The 2006 World Cup champion, who made his Asian Games debut in the same year, grabbed his berth by qualifying alongside 22-year-old reigning national champion Sachin Gupta.
The men's recurve team will thus have two Asian Games warhorses in Rai and Talukdar, who both won a team bronze at the Guangzhou edition 12 years ago.
Rai, who was the first to qualify topping the elimination round, has also won a historic individual silver in Guangzhou 2010.
The compound lineup will be announced on Wednesday.
Preliminary India squad for three World Cups and Asiad ================================== Men's recurve: Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar, Neerja Chauhan and Sachin Gupta.
Women's recurve: Ridhi Phor, Komalika Bari, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur.
Also Read : Asia Cup Archery: India bag two gold, six silver, finish 2nd behind Bangladesh
News Source : PTI
Rajeev Khanna to be Premier Handball League commissioner
(Sports news) Premier Handball League (PHL) has appointed seasoned sports management professional Rajeev Khanna, currently an advisor to the IPL team Rajasthan Royals, as the League Commissioner of the inaugural edition of the upcoming franchise-based league to be held later this year.
Driven by his passion for sports, Khanna left four years of legal practice to explore a sports management career through Indian Premier League in 2009 as the manager of Rajasthan Royals. He later became the Vice-President of the company. He has also worked closely with Kings XI Punjab, now rebranded as Punjab Kings, as their Chief Operating Officer for two years.
The much-awaited handball league will not only aim to revolutionise the fastest Olympics sport but also take the game to the masses. A complete makeover with high-voltage competition will be the key highlight of PHL, which has been exclusively licensed to Bluesport Entertainment Pvt Ltd under the aegis of Handball Federation of India.
“We are glad to welcome Mr Rajeev Khanna to the PHL family. His vast experience of working in IPL and managing various teams, crisis and exploring opportunities that the league presents as well as creating sustainable solutions- is something that has been Rajeev’s area of expertise and as the commissioner of the League I am sure he is a perfect fit to this role and we believe he will guide the league and help in making handball a mainstream sport in India,” said Abhinav Banthia, President of Bluesport Entertainment Pvt Ltd.
India’s best-ever medal haul at the Olympics happened in the Tokyo Games last year and the performance is a testament of the growth of emerging sports in India which has seen an exponential rise of 47% since 2020 to 2021. While PHL aims to popularise the sport in India; every sport needs recognition.
It’s just not about making PHL a big league commercially but also about inculcating interest for the sport among the audience and making it accessible to all.
Attributing his time in RR and KXIP as full of learning, excitement and fun; Khanna, who is looking forward to be part of this exciting development for Indian sports said, “I am thrilled to be part of Premier Handball League. The beauty of sports lies in the fact that you bring in so much from one sport to the other that shifts the dynamics totally. It is a brand new challenge for me but we are working to make it a big success, developing the right strategies from the past experiences, matching the pre-existing league standards and also creating a brand new experience.”
He further added, “My experience with IPL has taught me to be patient, team work, trusting people and resource management skills. Being part of this growth story in its nascent stage, my sports vision will be to make it one of the most locally played sports in India and bring representation from all sections of the society.”
The PHL organisers are also putting up a formidable expert panel of advisors to maximize the impact of the much-awaited handball league, which aims to revolutionise the fastest Olympics sport in the country as six teams will vie for the Season 1 crown.
Also read: Physios were arranged at national camp to help Bajrang: WFI
Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram retires from international badminton
New Delhi, Mar 27 (Badminton News) Indian shuttler Ajay Jayaram has retired from international badminton, bringing down the curtain to his nearly two-decade long professional career.
The 34-year-old former world number 13, who had won the Dutch Open twice besides finishing runner-up at the Korea Open Super Series in 2015, took to social media to announce his retirement.
"As all good things come to an end, so is my professional badminton journey of nearly 2 decades. I've decided to retire from competitive badminton and I write this, teary-eyed and with a lump in my throat," he said in a post on his Twitter handle on Saturday.
"While I am engulfed by all these overwhelming emotions, I would like to celebrate and be grateful for all that badminton and sport, in general, have given me." Jayaram was the front runner to qualify for the London Olympics but a dramatic turn of events saw Parupalli Kashyap surpass him and make it to the showpiece event following a walkover by China's Chen Jin at the 2012 India Open Super Series.
"Badminton has defined most of what I am today. It has shaped me, taught me, grounded me and shown me what dreaming big can do," said Jayaram, whose career was plagued by constant injuries and struggles to arrange funds to pursue his dream.
Jayaram also said that he has cracked India's top business school ISB and would be pursuing an MBA programme.
"As someone who has been academically inclined, I've always wanted to pursue a higher education post retirement. A few months back, I decided to make the shift and explore something new," he said on Sunday in a new post.
"The Indian School of Business (ISB) which happens to be India's highest ranked B-school seemed like a great option for an MBA considering the diverse profiles it attracts.
"Following through on this goal, I took the GMAT where I managared a 700 + score. And as it stands, I've been lucky to secure an admission in ISB Hyderabad with a scholarship for its flagship PGP course." Jayaram had finished runner-up at the 2018 Vietnam Open Super 100, besides ending second best at the Dutch Open Grand Prix in 2010 and 2016, and White Nights International Challenge in 2018 and Belgian Open International last year.
On Saturday, Jayaram had thanked his family members, coaches and fans for their support during his playing career.
"From picking up the racket at a nearby club as a shy 7-year-old boy, to competing in the biggest stadiums as a World top 15 player, I am indebted to this wonderful sport for all the exciting and enriching experiences it has given me," he wrote.
"I've won, lost, cried, laughed, fought, experienced highs and lows lived and thrived, all within the rectangular space of 44*20 ft." Jayaram was also a member of the 2016 Indian men's team that claimed a bronze medal in Asia Team Championships. He last played at the Odisha Open Super 100 tournament in January this year.
Also Read : Swiss Open: Sindhu clinches women's singles title, Prannoy finishes runner-up in men's singles
News Source : PTI
Swiss Open: Sindhu clinches women's singles title, Prannoy finishes runner-up in men's singles
Basel, Mar 27 (Badminton News) Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu clinched her second women's singles title of the season with a straight game win over Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan but HS Prannoy went down fighting in the men's singles final at the Swiss Open Super 300 badminton tournament here on Sunday.
Playing her second successive final in the tournament, Sindhu, a double Olympic medallist, took 49 minutes to get the better of the fourth seeded Busanan 21-16 21-8 at the St. Jakobshalle here.
However, Prannoy suffered a 12-21 18-21 defeat against Asian Games gold medallist and fourth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in a 48-minute summit clash to finish runner-up.
For Sindhu, it was a moment of glory as she finally lifted the trophy after losing to Rio Olympics gold medallist Carolina Marin of Spain in the final of last edition. The 26-year-old from Hyderabad has happy memories of this venue as she had also claimed the World Championships gold in 2019.
On Sunday, Sindhu registered her 16th win over Busanan in 17 meetings, having lost to the Thai only once -- at the 2019 Hong Kong Open, to claim the Super 300 crown, the second lowest tier of BWF Tour events.
Sindhu had won the Syed Modi International Super 300 in Lucknow in January this year.
Sindhu rode on her attack to open up a 3-0 lead but Busanan started to stay in the rallies and produced some good quality shots to make it 7-7.
Busanan tried to keep Sindhu away from the net initially, making her move across the court but the Thai was erratic in her finishing, allowing the Indian to go into the break with a narrow two-point lead.
Busanan used her deceptions and drop shots to dictate the rallies but Sindhu relied on her retrieval skills to stay ahead.
A precise return at the backline gave Sindhu four game points and she sealed the first game when Busanan went wide.
Busanan struggled with her length after the change of sides to concede a 0-5 lead early on in the second game. Sindhu looked more aggressive as she troubled the Thai with her acute angle shots to dictate terms.
In full flow, the Indian soon cruised to a decisive nine-point advantage at the interval. She kept a firm grip on the match to gallop to 18-4, riding on her alert front court play and precise returns.
Busanan continued to hit wide and long to eventually hand over 16 match points to the Indian, who pocketed the game and the match comfortably.
Prannoy, a former world number 8, finished a creditable second best after making his first final in the last five years.
The 29-year-old from Thiruvananthapuram has been grappling with multiple health issues after being diagnosed with a gastroesophageal reflux disease in 2018 and COVID-19 infection in 2019.
On Sunday, Prannoy couldn't match the accuracy and power of Jonatan, who looked in complete control of the final.
The Indian looked competitive in the early part of the opening game as he quickly erased the early 1-4 deficit and moved to 5-5 but Jonatan pulled away from 8-8 to take a three-point cushion at the breather.
Prannoy was erratic while Jonatan looked rock solid in his defence as the Indonesian created a huge gap with a seven-point burst to grab seven game points. The Indian saved two before conceding the opening game.
The second game was a close affair as the duo moved together till 7-7 before Jonatan again opened up a 11-7 lead at the interval.
Prannoy was not able to sustain the pressure in the rallies, while Jonatan was composed and was rewarded more often for his cross court smashes and fine front-court play.
The Indian did well to claw his way back to 13-13 but a reversal slice helped Jonatan break the run of points.
The momentum shifted again as Jonatan led 19-14 with Prannoy committing a slew of errors. Another winner gave the Indonesian five championship point. Prannoy saved three before hitting the net.
Also Read : P V Sindhu, HS Prannoy enter Swiss Open final; Srikanth loses
News Source : PTI
With better infrastructure, India will win more Olympic medals in hockey: Kapil Dev
Mumbai, Mar 26 (Hockey News) The legendary Kapil Dev feels cricket reached "new heights" in India due to an upgrade in infrastructure and providing better facilities will help sports like hockey win more medals at the Olympics.
"We as a country need to give the infrastructure first. If we have it, the kids will be free to chose any sport they want," Kapil said.
"Cricket has reached new heights as a result of enhanced facilities. However, if we do the same thing in other sports, such as having 200 extra astro turfs, India will win more Olympic medals in hockey than any other country," he added.
The World Cup-winning captain was speaking at an ABP Network session titled, 'We Are The Champions: Patience, Perseverance, Practice', alongside former India long-jumper Anju Bobby George, ex hockey captain Zafar Iqbal and 18-time Grand Slam champion Leander Paes.
Speaking on the change in the mentality of promoting sports he said, "The most important thing I'll say is that what I have seen in the last 40 years is that today the parents bring their kids on the ground and say 'make them a player'." "In our time, no parents got time to bring their kids to the ground. Today, they come to us and ask whether they can play IPL or if they can play for India?" On the lack of scientific support for athletics, Anju said, "If the parent is not ready to send their kids how we can support them. So, it should come from the parents first, and then scientifically we have to look at that kid.
"First, there is a coach's eye, so we can see and we can tell if he is talented or not. Then we have to scientifically test them and then we need to identify in which event they are good enough." The 2003 world championship medallist is expecting more medals from female athletes in the upcoming Olympics.
"My academy, Anju Bobby Sports, is nurturing 16 kids, including Shaili Singh, who is currently ranked second in the world at the junior level.
"So, in 2024 or 2028, I'm expecting one of my students to have a podium finish. I'm still chasing my dream. Our female athletes, I feel, are excellent fighters, and we can expect more athletic medals from them." Olympic medallist Paes, said, "I think most people assume winning Olympic medals is about physical fitness. I think most people believe that winning world cups is about technique.
"The majority of people, I suppose, believe that winning World Cups is all about technique. But it's the difference between your two temples that determines whether you win or lose." "Champions have a natural ability to think on their feet. My win-loss record shows that I've lost 74.1 percent of the matches I've ever played." Iqbal, a member of the Olympic gold-winning Indian hockey team, said that after not performing well for thee-four decades the current side has marked the resurgence of India in the sport.
"I would say that we have done tremendously good in hockey particularly if you consider 75 at the beginning of 1948 London Olympics games.
"So, naturally, hockey was on the top in the world also. But as far as hockey is concerned there is no doubt about it that in the last thirty years we could not do much.
"But this team is the best team in the last 30-40 years and it has shown to the world that yes India is coming back in particular in hockey. There is a general increase in the participation in the sports by the people."
Also Read : India to host NZ, Spain in opening ties of FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-23
News Source : PTI
Anshu, Sarita to lead 10-member Indian women's team in Asian Wrestling Championships
New Delhi, Mar 25 (Wrestling News) World championships silver medallist Anshu Malik and bronze winner Sarita Mor will lead a 10-member Indian women's wrestling team at the Asian Championships to be held in Ulaanbatar, Mongolia next month.
While Anshu, a silver medallist in the 2021 World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, will represent in her pet 57kg category, Sarita will be take part in the 59kg section.
Sarita is a bronze medallist in her category at the 2021 World Championships.
The team was picked after the selections trials held at the SAI Training Centre in Lucknow on Friday.
In the other high-profile bout in the trials, Manisha defeated Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik 1-5 to seal her place in the 62kg category.
Reigning Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, surprisingly, didn't turn up for the trials.
Other women grapplers to book their places in the Asian Championships-bound squad are Manisha (50kg), Swati Shinde (53kg), Sushma Shokeen (55kg), Radhika (65kg), Sonika Hooda (68kg), Nikki (72kg) and Sudesh (76kg).
The Asian Championships will be held from April 19 to 24.
Also Read : Bajrang manages to prevail against fighting Rohit, secures 65kg spot in team for Asian Championship
News Source : PTI
Bajrang manages to prevail against fighting Rohit, secures 65kg spot in team for Asian Championship
New Delhi, Mar 24 (Wrestling News) Taking the mat for the first time since winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia was far from his dominant best as he just about managed to prevail 4-2 against a fighting Rohit to secure his place in the Indian team for the Asian Championships.
The national federation put Bajrang, Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia directly in the finals, a move which did not amuse other competing wrestlers and their coaches.
Eventually all three made the Indian team for the Championships, starting April 19 in Mongolia, with Ravi (57kg) getting a walkover from hard-working Aman, who like Ravi trains at Chhatrasal stadium.
Aman chose not to compete after developing stiff back following four tough bouts and Deepak (86kg) beat Vinod 6-0 in an ill-tempered final, which ended when the latter was given a third caution.
Bajrang, who had planned to compete in a couple of Ranking Series event to start his season but could not do so due to a left-knee issue, was not sharp and perhaps surprised by the aggression of his opponent.
Rohit effected take-down to go up 2-0 and also kept Bajrang static with his body lock. Just before the end of first period Bajrang found a way to fell his rival to log four points.
That two-point lead stayed with Bajrang though towards the end twice Rohit made superb leg attack moves but could not convert those into points. Bajrang used all his defensive skills to not lose any more point.
"This was my first bout after Olympics. It takes time to get that sharpness when you go to mat after so many months. After my injury I did my rehab on my own, I did not have a personal physio with me, otherwise I could have recovered early," Bajrang said.
"Overall I am happy with my performance considering that I competed after eight months. I felt good." The 28-year-old had injured his left knee during the National camp at Sonepat, late in January. He had trained in Iran before returning to country.
Meanwhile, intense competition was witnessed in 74kg category in which Yash Tushir emerged winner to be on the Indian team.
In a sea-saw battle, Yash, the junior world championship bronze medal winner, moved to 8-4 lead before pinning Pritam, the reigning national champion.
In all his bouts, Yash conceded early points but only to make strong comebacks.
His four-point throw against Sajan Jaglan was the move of the day.
Mangal (61kg), Naveen (70kg), Gourav Baliyan (79kg), Satywart Kadiyan (97kg) also booked their spots in the national free style team.
Also Read : Olympic silver medallist Dahiya, Punia and six other wrestlers to attend special camp in Bulgaria
News Source : PTI
Srikanth makes winning start at Swiss Open, Chirag-Satwiksairaj pair stuns All England champions
Basel, Mar 23 (Badminton News) Seventh seed Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal made a winning start in the singles competition while Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy battled past All England champions Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana to progress in the Swiss Open here on Wednesday.
Srikanth defeated Mads Christophersen in straight games in the men's singles opening round. The Indian beat the Danish player 21-16, 21-17 in a match lasting 32 minutes.
Parupalli Kashyap too cruised to a 21-17, 21-9 win over France's Enogat Roy to enter the second round. In an all-India contest, H S Prannoy pipped B Sai Praneeth 25-23, 21-16 in a tight match lasting 48 minutes.
Third seeds Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy got past Indonesia's Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana after losing the first game in the men's doubles opening round. The final scoreline read 17-21, 21-11, 21-18.
The Indonesian duo had won the All England title last week.
In the women's singles, Ashmita Chaliha scripted a come-from-behind win over France's LéOnice Huet, prevailing 19-21, 21-10, 21-11.
Later in the day, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina outplayed Yaelle Hoyaux 21-8, 21-13 in her opening round fixture.
The mixed doubles duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sumeeth Reddy lost their first round match and so did the women's doubles combine of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand.
Star shuttler P V Sindhu will play her opening round later tonight.
The Chinese badminton team pulled out of the Super 300 tournament which began on Tuesday due to multiple COVID-19 cases and injuries to its players.
Also Read : Sumeeth Reddy-Ashwini Ponappa pair move to Swiss Open qualification 2nd round
News Source : PTI
The Ministry of Sports has approved financial assistance to five Indian swimmers.
New Delhi, Mar 23 (Swimming News) The Sports Ministry has extended financial assistance to five Indian swimmers, including Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj, under its Target Olympic Podium (TOPS) and ACTC schemes to help them prepare and participate in various upcoming international competitions.
The assistance, granted under TOPS and Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC) scheme, was approved by the ministry's Mission Olympic Cell (MOC).
The five swimmers who have been extended support are Olympians Sajan, Srihari and Maana Patel, besides young Kenisha Gupta.
While Sajan and Srihari are currently a part of the TOPS core group, Maana and Kenisha are from the TOPS development group.
Sajan, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, has been cleared an amount of Rs 15.1 lakh (excluding pool fees and airfare), towards expenditure for training as well as participation in multiple competitions and camps. He will compete in the Danish Open in April before taking part in three Mare Nostrum events across Monaco, Barcelona and Canet in May. Sajan will then take part in a high altitude training camp at the Sierra Nevada training centre in Spain between June and July.
"We are focused towards achieving big at the Big Two meets. We have some qualifying meets in April, May and June before the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. These meets will act as preparatory competitions for us to know where we stand to peak at the right time," Sajan told SAI from his training base in Dubai.
Srihari, who also competed in Tokyo Olympics, has been approved an assistance of Rs 22.02 lakh towards expenditure on domestic training and participation in multiple competitions.
The financial support also includes expenses for his personal coach and physiotherapist.
Srihari will take part in the French Open Swimming Championships, starting March 31 and Mare Nostrum, scheduled for May 18 to 23.
Maana and Kenisha, meanwhile, have been sanctioned Rs 3.89 lakh each for their participation in the French Open Swimming Championships, which also acts as a qualification event for the World Championships in Budapest in June.
Also Read : Trupti Chordiya hopes to represent India at the Paralympics 2024
News Source : PTI
All England has given me self-belief to beat big players: Lakshya Sen
New Delhi, Mar 22 (Badminton News) Making the All England Championships final has given him the self-belief to beat top players but Indian shutter Lakshya Sen on Tuesday said he will need to maintain his fitness going into the upcoming big-ticket events.
The 20-year-old from Uttarakhand has been sensational en route to the men's singles final at Birmingham, and he attributed his transformation to the experience of playing in Indonesia and the World Championships last year.
He also said the hard work he put in to improve his fitness during the COVID-19 pandemic, helped.
"I had a lot of time in pandemic where I could improve my fitness to next level. As a junior player I would go on attack and play smashes all the time but, in big venues, you have to play a patient game and build on those winners and then go for attack," he said.
"I played a lot of tournaments after the pandemic, especially in Indonesia and World championships and it gave me the self-belief and realisation that I can't go for attack all the time and have to play a patient game and the transformation happened there.
"Those matches against Viktor (Axelsen), Kento Momota and Kenta Tsukamoto also gave me the confidence to play. A lot has changed since I played Viktor in 2020. There is a difference in my approach and now I have the self-belief to go out there and beat the big players." Sen achieved a career-best ranking of world number 9 and he said it will help him to qualify for big events and also get a good draw in world tour events.
"I have to keep the ranking in mind because it will help me to qualify for big events like the Olympics and I also have to keep myself fit going into big events.
"This world number 9 ranking will also help me with the draw and I will not have to play any top player till quarters, so I am focussed on winning tournaments." Sen said he is enjoying all the attention that he has been getting and remains confident that his strong team will be there to guide him as opponents will now scrutinise his game.
"Yes, definitely. Last six months when people are talking about me and at the same time when you are playing in the circuit, players look out for you and they will read my game and I think I am happy that all these things are happening.
"There has been a lot of changes, I have a strong team around me and lot of people I can talk to and people to guide me. I am always learning." Sen said at international level one "needs to have an overall game and depending on conditions have to adept".
"One has to have everything in your tool bag to use it when required. It depends on players and court conditions." Lakshya said the semifinal win over defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia at All England, where he attacked in the last few points, is the most memorable match of his career.
"The All England semifinal is the most memorable match that I pulled out with crowd supporting both of us and I would say in Indonesia, I played Momota and Viktor 2-2 time each, I was losing very closely and it was frustrating but it was big learning," he said.
"When you are few points behind, you need to try different thing at those moment. Against Lee Zii Jia, I changed my pace and played attacking. My strategy is to go on the offence for one or two points, not give that upper hand to opponents." Talking about the All England final, Sen said: "The atmosphere and everything made me nervous before the match and starting from the toss, where he chose the perfect end and could take control from the beginning that was an important.
"Toss made a big difference. I could have taken more control in the beginning but the lead was too much and so it was hard for me. I played well in second, I got rhythm and if I could have taken it then I could have had a chance." Asked if he could sleep after that loss, Sen said: "There are two different things. When you go on to court and give everything and you lose, you are not really sad about it, then you have to give credit to opponent and move on from those losses." His father and coach DK Sen, who was also present during the interaction, revealed that "Lakshya would cry if he is losing but he would keep playing".
"There would be tears in his eyes but it wouldn't have any effect in his strategy or game. People used to think we were putting pressure on him, so we would ask him why he cries and he said that he couldn't help it. So we realised it was his strength."
Also Read : Lakshya will be scrutinised now, need to work on his variations: Vimal
News Source : PTI
NESC2022 to determine Indian contingent for 2022 Asian Games
(Esports news) The Esports Federation of India (ESFI) will be conducting the National Esports Championships 2022 (NESC2022), under the "AESF Road to Asian Games" program, beginning from April 4 to select the Indian esports contingent for the upcoming Asian Games.
With esports included as the medal event for the first time ever at the 2022 Asian Games, to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10-25, the registrations are now open for the NESC 2022. The last date for the registration will be April 1. Popular games DOTA 2, Hearthstone, FIFA22, Street Fighter V and League of Legends will be part of the national championships as professional esports athletes as well as enthusiasts from across the country can register themselves and it is open for all with no restriction on gender. The tournament will be conducted over a period of 15 to 20 days.
Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the national qualifiers will be held virtually with top athletes from across the country competing and showcasing their skills and strategies. For titles like AOV (Asian Games Version) and PUBG Mobile (Asian Games Version), ESFI is waiting for clarity/permissions from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as both titles are banned in India as well as in many other Asian countries.
Talking about the announcement, Mr Vinod Tiwari, President, Esports Federation of India & Director, Olympic Council of Asia – NOC & International Relations said “Finally the time has come for which the whole Indian esports ecosystem was waiting for. We are extremely thrilled and excited to announce NESC 2022 i.e. the national qualifiers to select the Indian esports contingent for the upcoming Asian Games 2022. It is a matter of pride for our esports athletes to not only showcase their talent and skills but also make the country proud by winning the laurels for the nation.”
“We urge all esports athletes to participate in large numbers and become a part of this historical event where esports is making its debut as a medal event in Asian Games. As esports is now included in Commonwealth Championships, IESF World Championships and expected to be included in Olympics in the near future, we are committed to develop, support and grow the esports ecosystem in India,” added Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director ESFI & VP-Asian Esports Federation.
The winners of NESC ’22 will participate in the AESF’s Road to Asian Games – Regional Qualifiers (June-July, 2022), which are being held for seeding at the main event in China. Irrespective of the outcome of the Regional Qualifiers, all players will compete at the Main event at Asian Games, China.
Mr. Sebastian Lau, Director General, Asian Esports Federation also extended his best wishes for the Indian esports talents: “I would like to share my sincere congratulations to ESFI team on the launch of their Registration Program for the AESF RDAG - National Team Selection Program the NESC 2022 today. This is an incredible beginning and milestone for India’s esports program and I look forward to seeing the best Indian esports talents in our RDAG Regionals and Final in Hangzhou this September. I wish the best of luck to all participants."
In the last Asian Games held in 2018 when Esports was included as a demonstration event, India’s Tirth Mehta clinched the bronze medal in Hearthstone.
The National Esports Championships will be streamed live from the quarterfinals on ESFI’s official YouTube & Twitch channel as well as on the Facebook page. Also, ESFI is in talks with other streaming partners which will be announced once it is finalized.
Link and other details for registration are available on ESFI Discord server: https://discord.gg/esfi
India to continue experimentation in FIH Pro League match against Argentina
Bhubaneswar, Mar 18 (Hockey News) The Indian men's hockey team would look to continue its experimentation and test its bench strength ahead of a busy calendar year, despite suffering its second defeat in the tournament, when they take on Argentina in the two-legged FIH Pro League tie beginning here on Saturday.
The Indians slumped to their second defeat in the FIH Pro League, losing 3-5 to Spain in the second leg at the Kalinga Stadium here on February 27.
Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist India's other defeat came against France (2-5) last month.
But despite that, India are currently placed second in the standings with 12 points from six matches, including four wins, behind Netherlands (16 points).
India chief coach Graham Reid continued to test his reserve players to broaden the team's base ahead of this year's Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, which is a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Midfielder Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh, a member of the FIH Junior World Cup squad, will make his debut against world number six Argentina. The home team will also witness Olympic medallist striker Gurjant Singh's return from a brief injury lay-off.
The Indians also made a few changes in the main squad from the Spain tie.
Goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak has taken the place of Suraj Karkera while Amit Rohidas and Jugraj Singh have replaced Mandeep Mor and Dipsan Tirkey in the backline.
Jaskaran Singh and Akshdeep Singh made way for Sumit and Rabichandra in the midfield.
The Indian think-tank continued to repose faith in young strikers Abhishek and Sukhjeet Singh and drag-flicker Jugraj Singh.
In fact, the Indian team management has named Amit Rohidas as skipper in place of Manpreet Singh, and Mandeep Singh as his deputy for this tie to broaden the team's leadership group ahead of the important year.
The Indians have been hit hard by late goals in both the defeats and going forward, the team's backline will have to lift its game by leaps and bounds to counter stronger oppositions.
India's captain for the tie, Rohidas said they have worked on their errors and is confident of putting up a good show against Argentina.
"We have analysed the errors that we made in the previous game against Spain, and we have trained and planned accordingly. We have had discussions within our leadership group about the areas we need to improve upon. We have worked on those areas and we are confident we will put up a good showing," Rohidas said at a pre-match virtual press conference.
India had previously played against Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 where they had defeated them 3-1 in the pool stages.
The two teams also met each other in 2020-21 FIH Pro League in Argentina last year, in which India picked up wins in both the games, one of which came in the shootout.
"We have seen videos of our matches against Argentina and we have planned accordingly. They have been in good form this season. So, we have been in constant discussion on what strategies we have to create to stop their attacking set-ups. Our focus and our practice sessions have been designed keeping the same in mind. We hope to stick to our plans and be successful in implementing the same," Rohidas said.
Argentina, on the other hand, are placed sixth with nine points from four games.
The visitors would be brimming with confidence having defeated England 2-0 and 3-1 in their previous tie.
The Los Leonas also stunned Olympic champions Belgium 2-1 before losing 0-2 in the return leg.
Argentina captain Matias Rey gave a brief glimpse of his team's strategies in the upcoming matches.
"As a team, we feel we have to play like we have played the last couple of matches against England. We have to be really strong on the ball. When we don't have the ball, we have to be really aggressive and inflict pressure when we can. Our goal right now is to win both the games against India," Rey said.
Also Read : Star women's hockey striker Vandana eyeing gold in Asian Games
News Source : PTI
Star women's hockey striker Vandana eyeing gold in Asian Games
New Delhi, Mar 18 (Hockey News) Star Indian women's hockey team striker Vandana Katariya has set her eyes on wining the gold medal in this year's Asian Games in Hangzhou, China to help them directly qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Vandana, a member of India's historic fourth-place finished side in the Tokyo Olympics, is also eyeing a top-two result in this year's FIH Women's World Cup to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Spain from July 1 to 17.
"The goal that I have set for myself this year is to help the team win the gold medal in the Asian Games so we can secure our qualification for the 2024 Olympics.
"I am also excited for the World Cup this year, where our goal is to make it into the final of the competition. I am going to work really hard on my technical skills in training, because that is the best way that I can help the team’s cause," Vandana said in a release issued by Hockey India.
Following her father's death in April 2021, Vandana also spoke about the support she had received from her teammates and chief coach Janneke Schopman at a difficult period in her life.
"After losing my father last year, the support that I received from my teammates, national team staff and (chief coach) Janneke Schopman helped me stand on my feet again.
"It has been a major turning point in my life and my career. I realised that just like I have a family back home, these people are like my family in the national camp," she said.
Vandana rose to stardom last year by becoming the first Indian women's hockey player ever to score a hat-trick in the Olympics. Vandana's efforts contributed to the Indian women's hockey team registering its best-ever performance at the Olympic Games.
Also Read : FIH Pro League: Indian women's team to host Netherlands on April 8 and 9
News Source : PTI
I always think whatever I've done and achieved so far is not 'the best': Neeraj
London, Mar 18 (Sports News) Olympic gold is the ultimate glory for an athlete but star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra says his best is yet to come as he strives to breach the 90m mark in the upcoming top events this year.
The 24-year-old Chopra won the men's javelin throw event in Tokyo Games last year with an effort of 87.58m to win India's first Olympic gold in athletics. He also became only the second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win an Olympic individual gold medal.
He said touching the 90m mark will be one of his targets this year with a medal in the upcoming World Championships and defending his titles in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games being the other aims. "I always think whatever I've done and achieved so far is not 'the-best'. I think that I can really do better in future. It feels good that whole nation believes in me and have really high hopes for me," he told the Laureus World Sports website.
"We have been trying to reach the 90m mark for a very long time now. I think I can really do it sometime soon in near future. There's no pressure on me to get past 90m, but I will work on my technique along with my strength and speed and would like to achieve it this year," said Chopra, who has a personal best of 88.03m.
Chopra earned a nomination for the prestigious 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards in the World Breakthrough of the Year category.
"The gold medal (in Tokyo) has motivated me in life to do even better. Performing well and ending up on podium will be my target in the World Championship (in July)," he said.
"There are other big tournaments lined up this year such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Diamond League Final. All of these are really major tournaments. I have to win medals in all these major tournaments.
"I have won a gold medal in Commonwealth and Asian Games and I would like to repeat my performance there. I represented India in the World Championship held in London. I couldn't get into the finals there, but I'll try my best to finish the tournament on the podium this year." Iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, a Laureus Academy Member and winner of the Laureus Sporting Moment Award in 2020, congratulated Chopra for his nomination. “My heartiest congratulations to you for your continued success representing India on the world stage. A Laureus Nomination is another great achievement – with many more to come," he said.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, whose grandfather was an Indian, said he was in tears when he saw Chopra clinch the gold in Tokyo.
"I have done my level best to be entirely neutral when I'm watching competitions, but my impartiality in Tokyo was really tested to its limit because my grandfather was an Indian, my mother was born in Delhi and brought up in India.
"So, I have obviously very strong emotional ties to that country. Chopra's win that night had me, Adille (Sumariwalla), the president of India Track and Field, and one of my executive board colleagues from India, Sunil, all three of us standing there in tears at the win." Also nominated in the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year category with Chopra are tennis players Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu, FC Barcelona football star Pedri, Venezuelan triple jump world record holder Yulimar Rojas and Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus.
"If I win, I would like to place this Award on the top of my list since it's an international Award. It's very special and I also hope that in future a lot of Indians will be nominated and will win it for India, as legend Sachin has," Chopra said.
Asked about the best memory of the Tokyo Olympics, he said, "I won't be able to forget the moment when I was at the podium and my National Anthem was played. I got a flashback of how I started my journey, the challenges I faced, the hard work over the years."
Also Read : Mirabai Chanu to begin CWG and Asiad preparation in US this week
News Source : PTI
Sen stuns world no 3 Antonsen to enter All England quarterfinals; Sindhu, Saina & Srikanth out
Birmingham, Mar 17 (Badminton News) World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen stunned world No. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in straight games to progress to the men's singles quarterfinals but it was curtains for Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal at the All England Championships here on Thursday.
Sen, the 20-year-old from Almora, who had claimed his maiden Super 500 title at India Open in January and then reached the finals of German Open last week, notched up an upset 21-16 21-18 win over third seed Antonsen.
Antonsen is a two-time medallist at World Championships in 2019 Basel and 2021 Huelva respectively. It was their first meeting at the international stage.
Sen will face China's Lu Guang Zu in the quarter-final.
Fifth seeded Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also entered the last eight stage after making short work of Mark Lamfuss and Marvin Seidel of Germany 21-7 21-7.
World no 7 Sindhu, however, made an early exit after going down 19-21 21-16 17-21 to left-handed Takahashi, ranked 13th, in an hour and six minutes second round match.
Saina Nehwal also bowed out after her gallant fight ended with a loss to second seed Japanese Akane Yamaguchi in a thrilling three-game match in the second round.
Former world No. 1 Saina, the London Olympics bronze medallist, lost 14-21 21-17 17-21 world No. 2 Yamaguchi in a 50-minute women's singles clash.
It was a much improved performance from the Indian, who had lost in straight games to Thailand's Ratchanok Inthanon at German Open last week.
Later in the day, World Championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth also bowed out after losing 21-9 18-21 19-21 to Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a second round that last just over an hour.
In a significant result, Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand also entered the quarterfinal after their sixth seeded opponents Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu from Indonesia retired in the second game lagging 14-19 after winning the first game 21-18.
Sen's tactical nous ============ Sen gave ample display of his tactical acumen as he dished out a defensive game and kept Antonsen away from the net to lead 11-9 at the first break. He kept things under control after the interval to move to a 13-9 lead and maintained the lead to pocket the opening game.
Sen kept his clears close to the baseline and tried to use his smashes judiciously to jump to a 9-5 lead early on before grabbing a four-point advantage at the breather.
Antonsen fought his way back to 14-14, riding on six points on the trot. The duo moved 14-14 to 16-16 before Sen managed to eke out a two-point lead at 18-16.
He kept his nerves and unleased a cross court smash to grab three match points. Antonsen saved one after an exciting rally but the Indian shut the door next to make it to the last 8.
Coming into the match with an equal 4-4 head-to-head record, Sindhu was left to do the catch up job as Takahashi led the opening match for most part even though the Indian kept snapping at her heels and had levelled scores at 11-1 and 15-15 before moving to 19-20 at one stage.
Stung by the reversal, Sindhu came out all cylinders blazing, gallping to a huge 14-4 lead, a gap which the Japanese couldn't bridge as the Indian bounced back.
In the decider, Sindhu managed to open up a slender 8-6 lead but Takahashi soon turned the tables and then reeled off five straight points to jump to 15-10.
Sindhu tried to erase the deficit and made it 17-18 before the Japanese sealed the issued comfortably.
Sindhu had made a second round exit at German Open as welll.
Also Read : Saina Nehwal wins first round match in All England C'ships
News Source : PTI
Mirabai Chanu to begin CWG and Asiad preparation in US this week
New Delhi, Mar 17 (Sports News) Olympic silver-medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu is set to begin her preparations for this year's Commonwealth Games and the Asiad with a month-long training stint in the USA, starting this week.
The 27-year-old and India weightlifting head coach Vijay Sharma will fly to St. Louis, USA on Thursday night for at least a month-long stay.
"We have planned for a 4-5 week stay as of now but we can increase it also," Sharma told PTI.
"We will see how it's going there. The plan right now is to be there till the last week of April but we will assess the progress after a month and then decide whether we extend our stay or not," Sharma added.
Chanu, who struggles in the snatch section due to an imbalance that affects her right shoulder and back, had benefitted immensely by consulting Dr. Aaron Horschig, a former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in the US ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
In an interview to PTI last month, the diminutive Manipuri had expressed her keenness to work with Dr Horschig once again for rehabilitation and endurance training.
"We are in talks to go in March, which is our off season. I go there keeping in mind the rehab and technique. We have two big tournaments CWG and Asian Games this year," she had said.
"Yes, we will be working with Dr Horschig again. We will go to him three days a week and then when he is needed we will call him for training," Sharma said.
Apart from Chanu five other lifters -- Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Achinta Sheuli, Sanket Sagar, Bindyarani Devi, and Jhili Dalabehera -- are also slated to travel to the US for training but are awaiting their visas.
"Everything is ready, we are just waiting for their visas. SAI has sanctioned everything. We have also requested the Ministry of External Affairs and Secretary Sports to help with the visa for the lifters," Sharma said.
The former world champion, who was last seen in action at the Singapore Weightlifting International last month, has qualified for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, in the 49kg category, in which she won the Olympic silver, as well as the 55kg weight category.
Chanu is a two-time medallist at the CWG, having won a silver in the Glasgow edition in 2014 before clinching the gold four years later at the 2018 Gold Coast Games.
She is expected to compete in the 55kg weight class in order to maximise India's chances of winning more gold medals in the multi-sport event.
However, with the Asian Games scheduled to begin just a month after the CWG, Chanu is not yet sure if she will switch back to the 49kg class or continue in 55kg in the continental showpiece.
Also Read : Harnessing jealousy to achieve glory - Shefali N.
News Source : PTI
Saina Nehwal wins first round match in All England C'ships
Birmingham, Mar 16 (Badminton News) Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal began her All England Championships campaign with an easy straight-game win over Beatriz Corrales of Spain in the women's singles here on Wednesday.
Saina, who has been struggling for form for some time, beat her Spanish opponent 21-17 21-19 in her opening round match that lasted 38 minutes.
The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Indian, who had reached the final here in 2015, will face the winner of the first round match between second seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan and Kristin Kuuba of Estonia in the second round.
In men's singles, B Sair Praneeth lost to top seed and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen 20-22 11-21 in the first round match that lasted 48 minutes.
H S Prannoy went down fighting to last week's German Open winner Thai player Kunlavut Vitidsarn 15-21 22-24 in 56 minutes while Sameer Verma also lost to Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands 18-21 11-21 in a 41-minute opening match.
In men's doubles, fifth seeded Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat Scottish pair of Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall 21-17 21-19 in 38 minutes.
But M R Arjun and Dhruv Kapila lost 21-15 12-21 18-21 to second seed Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
The other Indian men's doubles pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala also suffered defeat at the hands of the German duo of Mark Lamfuss and Marvin Seidel 16-21 19-21 in just 37 minutes.
In women's doubles, Treesa Jolly and Pullela Gayatri Gopichand made it to the second round with a 17-21 22-20 21-14 victory over the Thailand pair of Benyapa Aimsaard and Nuntakarn Aimsaard in one hour and seven minutes.
Also Read : Sindhu, Saina win first round matches in All England C'ships
News Source : PTI
My aim is to take part in the World Championship: Rea Elizabeth Achaiah
At the age of 20, Rea Elizabeth Achaiah recently won multiple medals at the 59th National Speed Roller Skating competition at Delhi, the Asian Championship as well as the Junior Olympics. If that’s not all, she is also the first Indian woman to win a Bronze medal at the Asian Championship in South Korea and is setting her sights on participating at the Asian Games Selection and Berlin Marathon next year.
In this exclusive interview, she speaks about her journey as a skater, winning the 59th National Speed Roller Skating competition, balancing studies and sports, setting new records, future expectations and goals for her career.
Q 1) When did you start skating and what motivated you to pursue it professionally?
I started skating when I was three years old. I was a timid and shy kid. My parents who were into sports themselves (father is a hockey player and mother is an athlete) wanted me to be in some sport. My mother made me join a skating rink that was next to my house. At the age of five, I won a gold medal in a competition which inspired me to pursue skating as a passion. I participated in my first national nationals at the age of eight in the year 2011 at Visakhapatnam. My parents, coach and sponsor are my inspiration for all that I have achieved
Q 2) You recently won the 59th National Speed Roller Skating competition. How was the experience and is it the biggest and most memorable achievement of your career?
The experience of participating in the 59th National Speed Roller Skating competition was exciting as I participated in all the short races this time. I am a long distance skater. For the first time I participated in all the short events with the seniors and finished with a decent position and even clocked a good timing as well. In the three short events and one long run that I played, I won gold in 500 meters Rink and Road One Lap and bronze medal in 200 meters run.
Q 3) How do you balance your studies and skating since you are currently pursuing engineering at Vidyavardhaka College of Engineering?
It all goes hand in hand. If there is a will there's a way. I have been managing the same way since my childhood. College too has supported me in every way. Our principal, Prof. Sadashivegowda is also into sports. He has supported me a lot whenever I have gone anywhere. He has expressed happiness whenever I have shown my medals and always tells upcoming students at Vidyavardhaka College of Engineering that they should consider me as a role model. In fact, the college has allowed me to take internal exams later whenever I am into skating and has given me support in academics, helping whenever I had troubles understanding anything in my syllabus.
Q 4) You’re the first Indian woman to win a bronze medal at the Asian Championship in South Korea. Tell us about that achievement and how challenging it was for you.
My first Asian Championship was in 2016 in China. This was my first ever international competition. I stood fifth in that competition and realized that the podium wasn’t too far away. I went back and trained. In the year 2018, I participated again with an aim to stay with the bunch and stay in the top five.
With lack of support and encouragement for skaters in India, staying with the bunch itself is a big deal. The only aim Indians have is to finish at top ten in any international event. I too wanted to stay in the bunch, avoiding elimination each lap and be in the top five but I actually won third place and got a bronze medal for the same.
Q 5) What are your expectations from the Asian Games Selection and Berlin Marathon next year?
I usually don’t go to competitions with any expectations. My only aim is to get on to the podium soon. Indian skaters have not participated in the Berlin marathon till date. I will be the first participant to participate in this marathon. Since Asian Games and the Berlin Marathon are colliding, I am stuck planning my participation.
Q 6) What are your future goals and aspirations? How do you plan to accomplish them?
My goal in skating is to participate in the World Championship which will be held in Argentina apart from participating in Asian games. Also my career goal is to join defense and I am taking the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT).
After world championships, Lovlina and Nikhat secure Asian Games selection
New Delhi, Mar 14 (Boxing News) Olympic bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain and former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen were on Monday selected in the Indian women's boxing team for this year's Asian Games in Hangzhou, China after emerging victorious in the trials held here.
While Zareen secured her place in the 51kg division, Borgohain clinched the 69kg spot after trials held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
Last week, both of them also made the world championships squad with Zareen qualifying in the 52kg category and Borgohain making the cut in 70kg.
In the Asian Games trial finals held this morning, Borgohain defeated Railways' boxer Pooja, and Zareen got the better of Manju Rani, a silver-medallist from the 2019 World Championships.
The Asian Games are due to be held from September 10 to 25.
In the world championship trials held last week, selections were also confirmed for the Asian Games in three overlapping divisions -- 57kg, 60kg and 75kg. The Asian Games feature five women categories.
In 57kg, Manisha won her trial bouts to make the cut for both the showpiece events, while the promising Jaismine (60kg) and the experienced Saweety Boora (75kg), who won a world silver medal in 2014, also ensured twin selections for themselves.
The world championships, to be held from May 6 in Istanbul, will be a comeback of sorts for Borgohain, who has not competed since her bronze-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Assam boxer, who has been training at the national camp since last month, was kept busy by several felicitations immediately after her podium finish in the Japanese capital.
The 24-year-old became only the third Indian boxer ever to fetch an Olympic medal last year, joining an exclusive club which also includes Vijender Singh (2008, Beijing) and M C Mary Kom (2012, London).
The 25-year-old Zareen has had a great start to the year so far, winning a gold medal in the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.
It was her second gold (after 2019) at the European season-opener, making her the first Indian to achieve this feat.
"I am exhausted because I haven't been able to get a break since Strandja. But I am so glad that the hard work is paying off. For now, just looking forward to a good meal after maintaining weight for so long," Zareen told PTI.
Mary Kom, a six-time world champion who is only targetting the Commonwealth Games this year, is the lone Indian woman boxer to have struck gold at the Asiad.
She won the yellow metal in the 2014 Incheon edition after a bronze in the 2010 Guangzhou Games.
In all, only four Indian women boxers have won medals at the Asiad since women's boxing made its debut in 2010.
L Sarita Devi (bronze, 2014), Kavita Goyat (bronze, 2010) and Pooja Rani (bronze, 2014) are the other three medal winners in the sport in the continental showpiece.
The trials for the Commonwealth Games are due to be held in June. The men's trials for both the Asiad and the CWG will be held in May.
Indian women's team for Asian Games: ========================= Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Manisha (57kg), Jaismine (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety Boora (75kg).
Also Read : Six Indian boxers clinch gold at Asian Youth and Junior Boxing C'ships
News Source : PTI
Mehuli Ghosh wins women's 10m air rifle gold in National T2 trials
Bhopal, Mar 13 (Shooting News) Mehuli Ghosh of West Bengal beat Karnataka's Tilottama Sen 17-9 to win gold in the women’s 10m air rifle National T2 trials here on Sunday.
Mehuli, a Youth Olympics silver medallist, had finished second in the T1 trials on Friday.
Tilottama, however, won the junior women's 10m air rifle T2 trial. She also finished second in the youth T2 competition, for a profitable three-medal day.
Mehuli had shot 630.1 on Saturday to qualify for the top-eight stage in sixth position. Gujarat’s Elavenil Valarivan had topped the field with 632.1.
From the two semi-finals on Sunday, Mehuli, Tilottama and Elavenil were joined in the medal match by Haryana’s Ramita. Elavenil settled for bronze with 37 points while Mehuli (48) and Tilottama made it to the title round.
In the junior women’s final, Tilottama clashed with Arya Rajesh Borse of Maharashtra, who had won the T1 junior trials on Friday.
This time, however, Tilottama got the better of Arya, winning 17-5 in the end. She had to settle for silver again in the all-Karnataka youth final, where Yukthi Rajendra bear her 17-9.
The men's 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) T1 and T2 trials were also completed on Saturday. Niraj Kumar of the Indian Navy got the better of Madhya Pradesh's Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar by a margin of 17-5 in the T1 gold medal match-up, while the seasoned Army marksman Chain Singh beat the Railways' Swapnil Suresh Kusale 17-9 to win the T2 trials.
Over 3300 shooters are participating in the year's first National trials after they were postponed from January, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indian teams for the upcoming World Cup in Baku and Junior World Cup in Suhl will be selected on the basis of these trials.
Also Read : Meghana Sajjanar beats Mehuli to win women’s 10m air rifle trials
News Source : PTI
We want para rowers reach their ultimate potential - Marilyn Koblan
The Para Rowing Foundation was established to help para rowers pursue excellence in the field. Providing them with opportunities, intense training, honed equipment and coaching is helping para rowers achieve their potential and compete at the biggest stages in the world. The sole mission of the organisation has been to remove the barriers of development of para rowers and help them meet the high demands of the sport.
In this exclusive interview, Marilyn Koblan, Co-Founder of the Para Rowing Foundation speaks about being inspired to come up with this initiatives and her objectives, helping para athletes meet the demands for the sport, overcoming challenges, milestone achievements and future goals.
Q 1) As Co-Founder of the Para Rowing Foundation, what inspired you to come up with this initiative and what are your objectives?
I began the Para Rowing Foundation with a co-founder after realising that I was able to try the sport of rowing as an adult and other people were not able to have the same opportunities that I had to give sport a go. Athletes with disabilities needed a chance to be able to try the sport, explore their athleticism and see if they could be athletic as well. Either after recuperating from an injury or trying it for the first time. As a female athlete, I often came across the word no, and because of who I was, I couldn't try a particular sport because of who I was. That was the sort of my inspiration for giving other individuals with disabilities a way to explore the sport.
Q 2) How is the Para Rowing Foundation helping athletes meet the demands of the sport?
Well, we offer opportunities by creating them and also supporting opportunities that exist for athletes with disabilities within the sport of rowing. With expertise in para experience coaching, individualised equipment and some medically informed information that we can also pass along to coaches to help them have their athletes reach their fullest potential and hopefully help para athletes pursue this sport to whatever degree they want. We often will work with people who have started right out of rehabilitation after an accident or a trauma. all the way up to people who are Paralympians and are already at the Paralympic level and trying to give them more experience together, more opportunities for coaching and let them pursue their sport to their ultimate degree, their ultimate potential.
Q 3) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced as Co-Founder of the Para Rowing Foundation? How did you overcome them?
I think COVID was a challenge for everyone. We started as an organisation, our first training camps were in 2019 and the very next year was 2020 which is when the pandemic began. At first, that was a big stumbling block, how do we reach athletes? How do we get them the experiences that we were hoping to create an offer with them, and as it turned out, 2020 then created a pivot moment for us where we were able to reach athletes globally, and have virtual competitions, support para athletic competitions virtually and then also, we started to offer travel and training grants for people that were attending qualifiers in Gavirate, Italy where the Paralympic qualifiers were occurring and support coaches and athletes in that way so that they had that finances weren't the barrier as it’s obviously an expensive sport and anything we could do to assist with that and remove that barrier, make it less of a barrier so they can participate.
Overcoming it sort of happened because we had no other alternative. We could not do training camps around the world because our vision was that we would bring para athletic training and equipment and training camps around the world to where athletes were and so we had one in Portugal, we had had one in the United States and Vermont and all of a sudden the world closed down and we couldn't do that anymore. In a way it actually broadened our influence in being able to help athletes and those that support them to do more by making those pivots.
Also read: Nigel Smith is changing India's cycling culture one step at a time
Q 4) What are some of the milestone achievements that the Para Rowing Foundation has achieved so far?
There are two that I can think of on the opposite end of the spectrum, one is, we watched the Paralympics and Tokyo and watch the rowing events and were able to cheer for seven or eight athletes from different nations around the world, pursuing their medals in this phenomenal experience that they're having at the Olympics and and just that expanse of being able to cheer for people no matter what country, no matter what club, that was a great, great joy I have to say. Then on the on the other end of experience on that spectrum there was a rower who wanted to learn how to row but had never done it before, and the Para Rowing Foundation found an experienced coach, provided the equipment and shipped it to them so that they could borrow everything that they needed to be able to give the sport of para rowing a try. I would have to say both are equally moving to me because our goal is to grow the sport.
Q 5) What are your short and long term goals for the Para Rowing Foundation? How do you plan to achieve them?
Some of the short term goals are to get up and up and moving again this year in-person with athletes and meeting in small group trainings, which is also sort of a pivot for us so that we can make sure everybody's safe stays safe and healthy while being in-person again, because the experience of having a coach share their knowledge in person and bringing a community together, cannot be substituted for and so that would be our short term goal this year. Regarding the long term goal it would be to continue to have a broader expanse of ways that the Para Rowing Foundation can help support athletes with disabilities and those that work in that arena to make the community broader and stronger and have people who are not involved in the sport understand the athleticism required for somebody to be able to row down a 2000 metre course, using part of their body instead of their whole body to row.
I think our long term goals are to be involved with a lot of global initiatives and amplify things and be able to be part of the dialogue that brings para rowing to within the realm of of sport discussions and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to your group, I noticed that rowing is something that would be a newer conversation and the fact that you reached out about rowers with disabilities is amazing and wonderful and I'm excited for people to learn more about it and they can always reach out to us as well if they have questions.
Aditi shoots 70, lies T-42nd in Honda LPGA Thailand
Chonburi (Thailand), Mar 10 (Golf News) Indian golfer Aditi Ashok returned to action with a modest two-under 70 to be placed tied 42nd after the first round of the Honda LPGA Thailand here on Thursday.
Despite an under-par score, Aditi found herself in a relatively good position on a low-scoring day at the Siam Country Club's Old Course.
Japan's Nasa Hataoka, Germany's Esther Henseleit and Australian Su Oh shared the lead with sizzling rounds of nine-under 63 each. China's Lin Xiyu was fourth at 64, while six players shot 65 each at the 67-player, no-cut event.
The fourth-place finisher at the Tokyo Olympics, Aditi was T-13 in her first start of the season at Gainbridge in Boca Rio. She was then T-15 in her last start at the LPGA Drive On, where she finished the week with a nine-under 63.
Aditi, playing her first LPGA event in Thailand, had an early bogey on the second hole but got that shot back with a birdie on the eighth to turn even par. A birdie on 15th and then a closing birdie on Par-5 18th saw her finish at 70. Interestingly, she has now played last five rounds in par or better.
Aditi found 10 of the 14 fairways and reached 11 of the 18 greens and needed 27 putts.
Hataoka, who has two LPGA titles, birdied four of her final five holes to take a share of the first-round lead with a nine-under 63.
Co-leader Henseleit birdied three of her final four holes, and Su Oh had four birdies on the front side and five on the back nine.
Brooke Henderson was among six players tied for fifth, two strokes behind.
Defending champion and former world no 1 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand got off to a slow start with a 74.
Also Read : Tiger Woods inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame
News Source : PTI
Billimoria becomes fastest Indian with Dystonia to finish triathlon
(Sports news) Huafrid Billimoria has become the fastest Indian with Dystonia to finish and place second runner up last week in Ironman Dubai 70.3, one of the world's toughest triathlons. Organised on March 5th in Dubai, it is said to be one of the most gruelling and toughest triathlons in the world. The Ironman 70.3 includes a 1.9km swim followed by a 90km bicycle ride and 21.1km marathon that needs to be wrapped up under 8 hours without taking a break. The triathlon is a very challenging one in itself, but battling Dystonia and managing to finish second runner up is a remarkable achievement.
Dystonia is a condition which causes involuntary muscle contractions and twisting movements. Not only did the Ironman of India -Huafrid Billimoria complete the triathlon, he also set a new world record by completing it in 7hours and 7 mins becoming the fastest Indian with Dystonia and Multiple Disabilities to bag the third position. The previous best was 7 hours and 44 mins. The Mumbai based athlete began preparations for the Ironman Dubai 70.3 three years ago and was invited to compete by Power Peaks, one of his sponsors. He was also sponsored by Veda Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre, which covered all of his travel and lodging costs. Previously, the firm assisted him in the treatment of mental conditions.
Pune based coaching academy PowerPeaks Athlete Lab, founded by coach and pro-athlete Chaitanya Velhal were not only inspired by Billimora’s commitment but also believed in his abilities. "Ironman Dubai 70.3 is a dream come true moment for me. It has been a long time calling, I feel elated to secure third place in the triathlon. I am indebted to Power Peaks who helped me immensely in my training. And I would like to thank all my sponsors from Veda Rehab & Wellness, Power Peaks and Koros- and all other sponsors without whom I couldn't have achieved this. It is an honour to represent India internationally." says Huafrid Billimoria after his win.
Huafrid Billimoria is only the second person in the world with Dystonia to have completed the full Ironman. He suffers from multiple challenges and disabilities like clinical ADHD, clinical mental health conditions like General Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He also had severe learning disabilities from the age of five. Despite the number of challenges, Huafrid Billimoria has proved that everything is possible if you set your mind to it. He has already reiterated that he wants to use his platform to spread awareness about disability, the lack of Empathy and belief in people who want to get ahead but can't because of all the bias and discrimination around the topic.
Billimora is already training for the toughest Ironman in the world, which will take place in April in South Africa, and he will also be competing in the upcoming Olympics. His sole purpose in participating in these marathons and triathlons is to represent India worldwide and to encourage more individuals like him to go forward and do their best.
PCB chief's 4-nation tourney, involving India gets thumbs-up from CA's Hockley
Karachi, Mar 9 (Cricket News) Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja is determined to float the proposal of an annual four-nation tournament, involving India, Australia and England, even after receiving cold response from the BCCI.
A reliable source in the PCB said Ramiz was still working on his proposal and had also spoken about it with officials of some other leading boards.
Ramiz had earlier said that he would propose to the ICC an annual four-nation T20 event, involving his country, arch-rivals India, Australia and England, the revenue from which will be shared by all members of the world governing body.
Ramiz's proposal, which has been rejected by BCCI secretary Jay Shah, got a boost on Wednesday when Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive Nick Hockley said that Australia is open to hosting a Tri-Series with India and Pakistan.
Hockley, who was in Rawalpindi to witness the first Test between Pakistan and Australia, told reporters that personally he felt it was a good idea which could be explored.
"Personally you ask me, CA would definitely be very open to considering the proposal and hosting a Tri-Series with Pakistan, India and Australia," he said.
He pointed out that Australia had large communities from South Asia and sub-contingent and a series involving India and Pakistan would be a big draw for the game Down Under.
India and Pakistan have only played each other in ICC and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) events since 2013 because of strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah had snubbed Ramiz's proposal last month, insisting the that Indian board was more interested in expanding the sport globally and having it included in the Olympics and the proposal was a short-term commercial initiative.
Hockely conceded that everyone wanted to see India and Pakistan play against each other anywhere in the world and they would also be playing in the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia.
"It's a contest that everyone wants to see in world cricket and if we can help support further opportunities we would love to do that."
Also Read : Jhulan becomes joint-highest wicket taker in Women's ODI World Cup
News Source : PTI
Bala Devi advises young girls to ignore negative comments from people, rather focus on themselves
New Delhi, Mar 8 (Football News) Star India woman footballer Bala Devi on Tuesday advised youngsters to ignore negative comments like "why are girls playing" and rather focus on their sport if they want to achieve success in their career.
Bala, who joined Rangers Women FC of Scotland to become the first Indian woman to sign a professional contract with a European club, said family support is crucial in this regard.
"My family supported me throughout but pressure from society was always there. They used to ask 'why are girls playing? What is the benefit of that?'" she said on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
"My parents and I had to hear this a lot but we never answered back. When I went to play in the U-19 National Championship in 2002, Manipur became the champions and I received the best scorer award, and that is when people stopped asking questions and started supporting me,” she said.
Bala missed out on the AFC Women's Asian Cup hosted by the country in January-February as she was recuperating from a surgery.
Indian women's team captain Ashalata Devi said women are not less than men in any way.
"We are no less than any men and we are multi-talented. So anyone looks down upon you or says wrong, you just have to work hard. You need to focus on your dream by putting in a lot of hard work and dedication and keep on moving forward," she said.
"We, the women are built different, but we can very much achieve what men can, and maybe more. In order to move forward, we need to be one and respect each other." Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan felt the young generation should take inspiration from the like of badminton ace P V Sindhu and the women's hockey team which finished fourth in the Olympics for the first time after 41 years.
“We’ve seen in the Olympics how incredibly our women’s team (hockey) have performed. Obviously, we’ve got P.V. Sindhu as well who’s leading from the front and she set new heights, and is a leading example of how much or how far women can achieve at the International level," Chauhan said.
India were forced out of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup after a dozen COVID-19 cases among their players led to the cancellation of a group match against Chinese Taipei minutes before kickoff.
Also Read : Rajasthan United down 9-man Aizawl FC, Punjab FC thrash Kenkre
News Source : PTI
There has been change in perception about women's hockey after Olympic performance: India players
Bhubaneswar, Mar 8 (Hockey News) The historic fourth place finish in the Tokyo Olympics lifted the profile of women's hockey in the country immensely with youngsters taking up the sport in large numbers, India players Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur and Gurjit Kaur said on Tuesday.
India ended at fourth place in the Tokyo Games women's hockey after losing to Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off last year. It was the best performance in 41 years after 1980 Moscow Olympics where the national team had also finished fourth.
"There has certainly been a change in mindset since Tokyo Olympics last year," midfielder Navjot Kaur said during a virtual press conference on the occasion of International Women's Day on Tuesday.
"Now, all parents want their children to play sports. Most of the parents believe that the future of their children will be better if they play sports along with focusing on their studies." Echoing similar sentiments, forward Vandana Katariya said she was amazed to see so many girls coming out to play hockey at her home town Roshnabad in Uttarakhand.
"After the Olympics, it has been fantastic to see over 250 athletes play the game of hockey in Roshnabad (Uttarakhand) and majority of the 250 athletes are girls. It feels great to see the popularity of hockey and everyone in my hometown also tells me the rules of the game," she said.
Asked what she would advise young girls who want to take up the sport, Katariya said, "There will be a lot of people who say a lot of things when women step out to play sports, but we shouldn't listen to anybody.
"If we listen to people, then we might take a step backwards. We need to believe in ourselves and keep our focus on the game intact and ignore everyone who say wrong things." Defender Gurjit Kaur said women should always believe in themselves.
"Women have a lot of power and they can do anything. Women should continue to be strong and not give up. Whatever women do, whether it's playing sports or working in business, they should believe in themselves," she said.
"If one has the support from her family, then anything is achievable. We also need to have a positive approach towards every problem we face in our lives. I know it's easier said than done, but we need to learn how to keep a positive frame of mind in difficult circumstances." The Indian women's hockey team will be seen in action in the two-legged FIH Pro League tie against Germany on March 12 and 13 here.
Also Read : FIH bars Russia from taking part in Junior Women's WC for invasion of Ukraine
News Source : PTI
Five most influential female athletes of the past century
(Sports news) Female participation in sports has evolved tremendously over the past century. Rewinding to 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and was attacked by race director Jock Semple because she was a woman. Considering that the incident occurred just 55 years ago, it’s fair to say that public perception has evolved and participation of women at the biggest sporting events is not just tolerated but celebrated in the world we live in. However, we have many influential female athletes to thank for as without their valuable contributions to the sporting landscape, the situation may have been very different.
Here are five female athletes that will continue to influence generations to come.
1) Wilma Rudolph
The first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics, Wilma Rudolph’s story is inspirational because she overcame the loss of her left leg and foot due to Polio at the age of five and became the fastest woman in the world in the 1960 Olympic Games. She continues to hold the record for the fastest time over 100 metres at 11.2 seconds and 200-metre at 22.9 seconds. If that wasn’t all, Rudolph fought for the rights of African Americans and women during the civil rights movement and was responsible for breaking the barrier of all-male events in track and field.
2) Billie Jean King
Widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time, King had an illustrious career in which she won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She also is an advocate for gender equality and campaigned for equal pay at the beginning of the Open Era in 1968. Despite the gender inequality, King continued to earn upwards of $100,000 and remains an advocate for women and LGBTQ equality.
3) Serena Williams
Considered as one of the all time greats of the Open Era, Serena Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles amongst active players and is third in the all-time list. She has the most tournament wins in the Open Era and 23 Grand Slam wins, becoming the only woman to be listed on the world's highest-paid athletes, according to Forbes. Along with her sister Venus WIlliams, the pair have been an inspiration to African American women and paved the way for future generations to make their mark in the sport.
4) Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is believed to be one of the greatest American track and field athletes of all time. Known for the heptathlon (in which athletes compete in seven different track and field events in two days) and long jump, she won a total of three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the two events. Apart from her impressive achievements, Joyner-Kersee also founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in 1988, providing athletic lessons to youth, adults, and families as well as resources to improve the quality of life. She is also one of the 11 athletes who founded Athletes for Hope which helps professional athletes take part in charity events and volunteering. Apart from that, Joyner-Kersee is an activist for racial equality, children’s education and women’s rights.
5) Marta Vieira da Silva
Commonly known as Marta, the Brazilian footballer was the first one to score at five FIFA Women's World Cups and her 17 goals record remains the highest number of goals scored at the prestigious tournament. Regarded as the best female footballer of all time, Marta has been named FIFA World Player of the Year six times and received the award five consecutive times from 2006 to 2010. She has also won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the 2007 Women’s World Cup and has two Olympic silver medals due to her participation at the 2004 and 2007 Olympic Games.
I want Enigma Gaming to become a top 3 team in Asia: Lukas Gröning
The role of a coach in an esports organisation is often overlooked as it’s a common perception that coaching isn’t necessary to play video games. That couldn’t be further from the truth as esports, just like any traditional sport requires meticulous preparations, both physically and mentally in order to compete at the highest level.
In this exclusive interview, Lukas Gröning, coach of Enigma Gaming speaks about his role, journey as an esports coach, overcoming challenges, competing at the highest level, esports becoming an Olympic sport and his future goals.
Q 1) Esports coaches have not been given their share of recognition, please share your views on how different/similar is the role of an esports coach compared to a coach of a traditional sport?
The role of the coach is not nearly as big in esports as the role in traditional sport yet, but I’m confident that will change with time. The bigger the teams and organisations get, the more important will be the role of a coach. Yet I think the role is very similar. As a coach in esports, you have to focus on the multiple aspects of a team: practice schedule, goal setting, strategies, counter-strategies, player development, lineup decisions. In traditional sports you have a big team of coaches behind this to handle the workload while esports teams mostly have only one coach.
Q 2) Tell us about your journey as an esports coach and how did it lead you to Enigma Gaming?
I started playing Counter-Strike semi-professionally in 2007, since then I have been interested in leading teams and taking care of the In-game Leader role. Due to the lack of structure in esports, we never had the benefit of having a coach and most of the work that a coach has to do fell onto me in my teams. As time went on, it was the part that I began to enjoy most. I liked to work and shape younger and less experienced players.
In 2019, I stepped down as a player and started fully focusing on the coaching role. Eventually in December 2021, I was looking for a new project and I was interested to work in India again with some of my old teammates. After some discussion, the deal between Enigma and me was handled out quite quickly.
Q 3) What are some of the challenges you have faced as an esports coach? How did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is the fact that you sometimes have to work online. As a coach you need to be able to create a bond with the players, to understand them, know their needs as well as their goals. Online makes that progress much harder.
Q 4) What are some of the most important qualities/traits/values that are required in an esports athlete for them to compete at the highest level?
Esports is a rough environment, if you don’t enjoy playing a lot (by a lot I mean A LOT), you won't be able to compete against the best. It is also important for the players to take responsibility. Often in casual games, players blame teammates or their surroundings (like lag, ping, pc, fps) for their mistakes. That will hinder the progress of understanding their problems and improving. Staying always open to new things and learning, having a beginners mentality is also a very important trait to be able to compete at the highest level.
Q 5) Esports is already a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, do you see it becoming an Olympic sport one day?
At this point I think esports can not be an Olympic event due to their definition of what qualifies as an Olympic sport in terms of physical activity. As esports keeps growing and gaining more importance every year, I am quite sure there will be changes made and esports will eventually become an Olympic sport.
Q 6) How do you believe esports coaching will evolve in the future? What are your short and long term goals?
I think that in the future it will become just like any traditional sport, it’s just a matter of time. In the short term my goal is to do good with my current team Enigma Gaming. I would like us to be top 3 in Asia and on a personal level, I would like to improve my coaching and interactions with the players. Learning how to work with the tools better: discipline and motivation. For the long term I want to build a solid coaching model and I really want to assist some players to climb to the elite level of Valorant (or whatever game I might be coaching in future).
Sindhu, Srikanth & Lakshya lead India's campaign at German Open
Muelheim An Der Ruhr (Germany), Mar 7 (Badminton News) Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu and world championship medal-winners Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen will be the top Indian contenders at the German Open Super 300 badminton tournament starting here on Tuesday.
While Sindhu eased to a title win at Syed Modi International and Lakshya grabbed his maiden Super 500 trophy at Indian Open in January, Srikanth saw the momentum of the World Championships fizzle out a bit after withdrew from the Delhi due to COVID-19 infection.
The Lucknow title was Sindhu's first since the World Championship gold in 2019 and it must have eased the pressure a bit but the Indian is well aware that she will have to hit top gear during the European leg in a hectic year which also has big-ticket events such as the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
Sindhu, seeded seventh, will open her campaign against Thailand's world no 11 Busanan Ongbamrungphan this week.
A win will bring her face-to-face with Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt and another possible victory can see her clash with top seed and Olympic silver-medallist Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei.
World silver-medallist Lakshya too has been in fine form, making good use of the opportunities that came his way as he first claimed the bronze at Huelva, Spain, and then lifted the India Open title in January. He was also the only bright spot during India's campaign at Asia Team Championships In Malaysia last month.
Lakshya will start his campaign against Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen. If the 20-year-old from Almora puts it past the Thai, he is likely to meet fourth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia.
Srikanth, on the other hand, endured a frustrating phase after being forced out of the events in India due to COVID-19. The 29-year-old, however, started training as soon as he recovered and is eager to find his rhythm.
"This is an important year and I just want to train well and play to the best of my ability," Srikanth said.
The eighth-seeded Indian will face France's Brice Leverdez in his campaign opener.
A win is likely to pit him against China's Lu Guang Zu in the second round and if Srikanth can cross the hurdle, he is expected to take on top seed and reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen.
It is an important year for HS Prannoy as well as he continues his comeback after recovering from lingering side-effects of COVID-19.
A former top 10 player, Prannoy reached three back-to-back quarterfinals -- the World Championship, India Open, and Syed Modi International -- and would look to carry the momentum when he faces seventh-seeded Ng Ka Long Angus in his opening round here.
London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal, who has been troubled by injuries and illness, will also be in action after losing early at India Open and pulling out of the Lucknow event in January.
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist will open against Singapore's Yeo Jia Min.
Having regained fitness after laying low due to a calf injury, former commonwealth games champion Parupalli Kashyap too will be back in action, taking on Thailand's young sensation Kunlavut Vitidsarn.
Commonwealth Games silver-medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who notched up their maiden Super 500 title at India Open, will open against China's Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi, while Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun will clash with sixth seeds Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi from Singapore.
In women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will square off against fifth seeds Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida of Japan, while Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand Pullela will take on Netherlands' Debora Jille and Cheryl Seinen.
In mixed doubles, India will be represented by the pairings of Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto, and Sai Pratheek K and N Sikki Reddy.
Also Read : Spanish Para badminton International: Bhagat wins 3 golds, Kadam claims gold and silver
News Source : PTI
Mary Kom to skip World Championships and Asian Games to make way for youngsters
New Delhi, Mar 6 (Boxing News) Olympic bronze medallist boxer MC Mary Kom has decided to skip the World Championships and the Asian Games to be held later this year to give more exposure to youngsters.
The six-time world champion wants to focus on her preparations for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The IBA Women's World Boxing Championships is scheduled to be held from May 6 to 21 in Istanbul, Turkey while the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2022 Asian Games will begin on July 28 and September 10 respectively.
In a communication to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), Mary Kom said, "I would like to withdraw to give opportunity to the younger generation to make a name for themselves on the international stage and get exposure and experience of major tournaments. I would like to focus on the preparation for the Commonwealth Games only." The selection trials for all 12 categories of the world championships will start from Monday and will end on Wednesday. The trials will also include Asian Games weights divisions, which are the same as IBA.
However, for the remaining two Asian Games weight categories, 51kg and 69kg, trials will be conducted separately from March 11-14 thereby giving more time to boxers of closest weight categories to also take a shot at the trials for the Asian Games.
"Mary Kom has been the torchbearer for Indian boxing since the last two decades and has inspired countless boxers and sports persons across the world. We completely respect her decision and it is a testimony of her champion character to make way for the other boxers," BFI president Ajay Singh said in a statement.
"We are delighted that we have such a good bench strength and are looking forward to the younger generation to make the nation proud and I hope and wish Mary all the best with her preparations for the CWG," he added.
National campers, including the participants of the Tokyo Olympics, who didn't compete in the National Championships, will be eligible for the selection trials.
The selection committee, comprising the BFI president or his nominee alongside an expert panel of reputed veteran boxers, will ensure a smooth conduct of the trials as all the bouts will be video recorded.
The Asian Games selection trials for men will be held in May, while, for the Commonwealth Games, trials for both men and women will be conducted in June.
Weight categories: Women- 12 main weight categories IBA World Championship: 48 kg, 50 kg, 52 kg, 54 kg, 57 kg, 60 kg, 63 kg, 66 kg, 70 kg, 75 kg, 81 kg, +81kg Asian Games: 51 kg, 57 kg, 60 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg.
Men: Asian Games: 52 kg, 57 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg, 81 kg, 91 kg, +91 kg.
Also Read : Anand Yadav enters quarter-finals at Asian Youth & Junior Boxing Championships
News Source : PTI
Priyanka Goswami, Eknath Turambekar set 35km race walk national records during World Team C'ships
Muscat, Mar 5 (Sports News) Olympian Priyanka Goswami and Eknath Turambekar set national records in the women's and men's 35km events respectively in the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships, although they finished way below the medal bracket here on Saturday.
Goswami and Turambekar finished 20th and 27th respectively in hot conditions that added to the challenge of the 2km loop near the Oman Convention Centre.
Goswami clocked 3 hour 13 minutes and 19 seconds in her maiden appearance in a 35km event, while Turambekar clocked 2:45:17s in his second competition over the distance.
Glenda Morejon of Ecuador won the women's event in 2:48:33s while Perseus Karlstrom of Sweden took the gold in men's race with a timing of 2:36:14s.
The previous men's and women's 35km race walk national records were in the name of Ram Baboo (2:46:31s) and Ramandeep Kaur (3:15:17s) respectively, set during the National Open Championships in September 2021.
Later, 35-year-old Sandeep Kumar secured a creditable 13th-place finish in the men's 20km event, clocking 1:26:45s.
Despite a two-minute penalty being added to his time for getting a third red card on the home stretch and sliding seven positions, it was his best placing in a World Athletics event, improving on the 20th place in the 50km in the World Race Walking Cup in 2014.
Youngster Suraj Panwar finished 25th with a personal best time of 1:28:18s.
Goswami, who had competed in 20km event in Tokyo Olympics last year and had finished 17th, set a scorching pace early in the race, leading through 16.5km. But she conceded the lead after completing 17km mark in 1:23:21s, In rising heat, the second half of the race made it tough for her to stay on course but she showed resilience to complete the distance.
Other Indians in the fray in the men's 35km event, Chandan Singh (2:51:40s) and Ram Baboo (3:07:14s) finished 38th and 46th respectively.
On Friday, the race walking trio of Bhawna Jat, Ravina and Munita Prajapati had scripted history by winning the country's maiden women's 20km team medal, a bronze.
Also Read : Rajasthan set to regulate the fantasy sports sector
News Source : PTI
My goal is to solidify the organisation's fundings: Shahirul Sjahrial
The esports industry in Malaysia may be at its nascent stage, but organisations such as Urban Madness Esports are playing an integral role in growing the industry and have grown exponentially, particularly within the SEA region since its inception a year ago. In this exclusive interview, Shahirul Alfian Sjahrial, Co-Founder at Urban Madness Esports speaks about his motivation to be a part of the esports industry, achievements so far, facing challenges, short and long term goals and much more!
Q 1) As Co-Founder at Urban Madness Esports, what motivated you to form the organisation?
I realised this was my dream and true calling as there are extraordinary young talents in this fast growing multi-billion industry with endless opportunities and possibilities. The esports ecosystem has given me the motivation to strive to build a big and famous organisation in the near future. My motivation is simple, making money while doing the things I’m passionate about (playing games).
Q 2) What are some of the biggest and most significant achievements of Urban Madness Esports?
We started about a year ago, therefore we are a very new organisation, but we have managed to build the brand (Madness Esports) and have achieved positive growth in terms of exposure within the SEA region. We started off with the Mobile Legends Bang Bang team, which made it to the top 4 in the Tier 2 level in Malaysia. With that being said, one of our players turned Pro and played In MPLMY s8 last year.
We grew very quickly from over 50 competitive players in Mobile Legends Bang Bang, Valorant and Rainbow6, including players that are in our development program and recently qualified to VCT MY/SG Playoff, becoming the only Malaysian team that made it that far this year. We have over 100k +- followers combined throughout all players / content creators / brand ambassador's social media in Malaysia / Singapore / Philippines / USA / Vietnam within just 1 year.
We are aiming to organise a Valorant league at a SEA region level soon to help grow the community which is in-line with Riot Games’ direction for 2022.
Q 3) What are the various challenges that come with being a Co-Founder of an esports organisation? How did you overcome them?
Running an esports organisation in Malaysia is really tough. Obtaining seed fundings to run the organisation, getting sponsorships or partnerships is quite challenging. These are some of the biggest challenges and obstacles we face.
The feedback I usually get is amongst these three things.
1) What is Esports?
2) Not interested. We are only interested in the big esports names here in Malaysia.
3) No reply at all
It doesn't matter how good your achievements are, the major challenge is getting funding/ sponsorship / partnership from private corporations, government esports bodies and business owners. It’s because Malaysia does not have enough awareness about the esports ecosystem and the opportunities and revenue possibilities that exist in the industry.
There are other challenges as well. You ask how I overcame it? To be very honest, we never did overcome this issue. We are still open and actively searching for Seed Funding for our esports organisation. If you or any of your readers out there are interested in investing in us, we would welcome it with open arms.
Q 4) What are your views on Esports being a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games? Do you believe it might feature in the Olympics one day?
I think it’s about time but the selection process needs to be really transparent and fair. I also believe they should include more gaming titles and platforms such as Virtual Reality. I believe that esports needs to be included in the Olympics soon as esports athletes are no different from traditional athletes.
Q 5) What are your short and long term goals as Co-Founder at Urban Madness Esports? How do you plan to accomplish them?
My short term goal is to solidify the organisation's fundings. My long term goal is being the first one to integrate WEB3 / MetaVerse / Crypto / NFT into the Malaysia/Singapore Esports Ecosystem to diversify revenue streams.
My sole aim is to win gold at Paris Paralympics, says para shuttler Palak Kohli
New Delhi, Mar 2 (Badminton News) Young Indian para shuttler Palak Kohli says the Tokyo Games disappointment has increased her hunger for success and her sole aim is to return with a gold from the Paris Paralympics in two years time.
The youngest para badminton player to qualify for the Paralympics at 18, Kohli is currently competing at the Spanish Para badminton International II in Vitoria.
She had qualified in all three formats -- singles, women's doubles (Parul Parmar) and mixed doubles (Pramod Bhagat) at the Tokyo Games but couldn't return with a medal.
"Playing in Tokyo was a wonderful experience. There is no age criteria in para badminton. So being the youngest to qualify for three events was a blessing as I got exposure to all three events," Kohli, whose left-arm is underdeveloped since birth, told PTI.
"There was lot of disappointment after losing the mixed bronze at Tokyo after coming so close but it has also made me lot hungrier and I am living for that one aim, one goal for Paris. I don't want to settle for anything lesser than gold." Kohli, who has been signed by Adidas for its "Impossible is Nothing" campaign, is currently focussing on the Spanish Open, where she is seeded second in women's singles SU 5 group B.
She along with Bhagat are topping the group C in mixed doubles SL3-SU 5 with two wins. She also forms the top seed pair with Parmar in women's doubles SL3-SU5 and has won her first group A match.
"This year I am looking to play in various events. Spanish Open is an important event where I want to do well," said Kohli, who used the post Olympics time to recover from a bone marrow edema in her left tibia, a nagging injury which was first diagnosed in 2019.
"But World championships and Asian Games are the main events which I am looking up to for this year. My long term goals remains 2024 Paris, 2028 and 2032 Olympics," she said.
Kohli has joined the elite club of other Adidas' strong women athletes, including Mirabai Chanu, Lovlina Borgohain, Hima Das, Nikhat Zareen and many others.
"I am happy to join Adidas. This brand has the ideology of 'impossible is nothing' and being the first para athlete from India to partner with Adidas is a feeling of happiness for me," Kohli said.
"The campaign relates so much with para athletes and my aim is to promote and take badminton to the next level. It will help me to raise my voice."
Also Read : Para shuttlers Bhagat, Kadam eager to start 2022 season with wins in Spain
News Source : PTI
Four time Olympic medallist Valerie Adams announces retirement
(Sports news) Shot put legend Dame Valerie Adams has announced retirement from the sport after a glittering career that spanned for over 2 decades. Adams had won the gold at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. She had also won the silver medal in Rio and a bronze at Tokyo in 2020. She is regarded as one of the most successful athletes in the event and is the first woman to win four medals at the Olympics in a field event.
“I have given my heart and soul to the sport. Loved and nurtured it from a young age, watched it grow as a girl to now as a woman fully grown. It is beautiful and exciting, at times hard and unforgiving, but always honest, ever enquiring. To all those who dare lift the shot, I'm looking at you, girl. Do so with my blessing as it has been given to me, I give also to you. Strength and courage. There is the dream, good and true. Take it. While today marks the end of my shot put career, athletics will always be a part of my life,” said Adams.
Hailing from New Zealand, she made her professional debut in 1999 at the age of 14 at the World U18 Championships in Bydgoszcz. Since then, Adams has won 4 consecutive World Championships starting from Osaka in 2007 till the 2013 Moscow Championships. The 6 feet 4 inch athlete has also won 4 indoor World Championship titles, she still holds the national record of 21.24m which was set 11 years ago at Daegu. In Indoors, the 37 year old has a personal best of 20.98m at Zurich in 2013.
Although the sporting arena would not be seeing Adams participating, she will continue coaching her sister Lisa Adams who is the reigning Paralympic shot put champion in the F37 event. One of her most dominant periods was from 2010-2014 where Adams had a 56-competition win streak and was the world athlete of the year in 2014. She had last crossed the 20m mark in 2016 and has been regularly throwing above 18m in the past three years. The veteran had thrown 19.75m in 2021 which was the joint 5th best of the season. This year the season’s best throw of 18.49m is by Maddison-Lee Wesche from New Zealand, the 22 year old was 6th at Tokyo and will need more power to break the existing national record of Adams.
Harmanpreet credits team psychologist for helping her come out of 'shell'
Christchurch, Mar 2 (Cricket News) India's ODI vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur on Wednesday revealed she was "going into a shell" before the team's psychologist Mugdha Bavare helped her get "clear ideas" and regain her lost form ahead of the ICC Women's World Cup.
Bavare is travelling with the team in New Zealand, which is hosting the ODI showpiece from Friday.
It is the first time that the Indian women's team has a sports psychologist on tour.
"Mugdha ma'am is travelling with us and she has been of a lot of help especially in the last four games which we played against New Zealand where my performance was not good and even I was going into a shell because the World Cup was coming," Kaur said during a virtual press conference.
"After I spoke to her I felt I was actually looking for that. I had things in my mind but I was not aware of it because of lot of pressure but after talking to her I got the solutions.
"I got clear ideas after talking to her, those things really helped during the last 2-3 games. I'm sure the team is also benefitting from her because I can see she's continuously talking to all the players, which is very important and that will really help us," Kaur added.
Bavare is a former national level swimmer and was engaged for the Indian men and women's wrestling teams, boxers and track and field athletes ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has also been associated with the Mumbai Cricket Association beside working with ace archer Deepika Kumari in the past.
The 32-year-old Harmanpreet was struggling with the bat in ODIs for quite some time now.
In the just-concluded ODI series against New Zealand, Kaur had scores of 10, 10 and 13 in the first three ODIs before she was dropped for the fourth game.
However, in the final game, she played a 63-run knock and followed that up with a century (104) in the World Cup warm-up match against South Africa.
Last month, skipper Mithali Raj had also said that the team was benefitting immensely from the presence of a sports psychologist during its tour of New Zealand and such professional help is the need of the hour.
Raj had earlier also spoken about the need for a psychologist to deal with the pressure of knockout games.
She had said that with tours now being played in bio-bubbles, professional help is all the more crucial now.
Also Read : Top uncapped players to watch out for CSK, MI, KKR, DC, PBKS
News Source : PTI
Indian men make remarkable comeback to down Spain 5-4 in FIH Pro League
Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 (Hockey News) The Indian men's hockey team made a remarkable comeback from three goals down to eke out a hard-fought 5-4 win over Spain in an edge-of-the-seat thriller of the two-leg FIH Pro League here on Saturday.
Up against world no. 9 Spain, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists India were stunned when the visitors took a 4-1 lead through a hat-trick from skipper Marc Miralles (20th, 23rd, 40th minutes) and Pau Cunill (14th).
But the hosts scored through Harmanpreet Singh (15th, 60th), Shilanand Lakra (41st), Shamsher Singh (43rd) and Varun Kumar (55th) to register one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of the game.
India now have registered four wins out of five outings in the FIH Pro League.
Both the teams will face off against each other again on Sunday.
Also Read : FIH Pro League key to Indian women's performance in 2022 season, says captain Savita
News Source : PTI
Strandja Memorial Boxing: Nandini ends with bronze after semifinal loss
New Delhi, Feb 26 (Boxing News) Indian boxer Nandini (+81kg) ended with a bronze medal in the 73rd Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria after going down to former world champion Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan in the semifinals.
Nandini lost 0-5 in the bout held late on Friday night.
Former youth world champion Nikhat Zareen (52kg) and Nitu (48kg) are the only Indians left in fray after they advanced to the finals of their respective weight categories.
While Zareen defeated Tokyo Olympics and world championship silver-medallist Buse Naz Cakiroglu, Nitu pummelled her Ukrainian rival Hanna Okhota, who threw in the towel at the end of the second round in bouts held last evening.
The two will fight their final bouts on Sunday.
Nitu will be up against Italy's Erika Prisciandaro, a former youth world championship bronze-medallist.
Zareen will square off against Ukraine's Tetiana Kob, a three-time European Championships medallist, including a gold back in 2009. Zareen had won a gold medal at the Strandja Memorial's 2019 edition.
India won two medals in the last edition with Deepak Kumar and Naveen Boora securing silver and bronze respectively.
The performance of the men's squad was underwhelming this time with none of the seven in fray managing to enter the medal rounds.
In all, the tournament featured over 450 boxers from 36 countries, including traditional powerhouses such as Kazakhstan, Italy, Russia, France and Ukraine, where Russia launched a military operation on Thursday despite global appeal for restraint.
Also Read : Nitu, Anamika through to quarters of Strandja Memorial boxing tourney
News Source : PTI
US Women’s National team and US Soccer settle equal pay lawsuit
(Football news) It has been a long battle between US Soccer and the US Women’s National football team about the equitable treatment of female players. That struggle is now set to be over as the two have reached a settlement which involves a multimillion-dollar payment to the players and the assurance by the federation for equal pay between the men’s and women’s national football teams.
As part of the agreement, a settlement of $24 million from US Soccer will be distributed amongst past and present players with the bulk of the total sum being spent as “compensation” for years of unequal pay between the men’s and women’s teams. US Soccer has also pledged to equalize pay for both men and women’s national teams in all football competitions which is not just a victory for the sport but also a win for a broader fight for equality for women in the sports industry at large.
In recent times, athletes from other sports such as ice hockey, WNBA players and Olympic gold medallists have also sought guidance from the US Women’s soccer team for better pay and working conditions. As a result, players from Norway, the Netherlands and Australia have seen the soccer federations in their countries committing to closing the pay gap even while the case between US Soccer and the US Women’s national team was ongoing.
“I think it was just extremely motivating to see organizations and employers admit their wrongdoing, and us forcing their hand in making it right,” said Alex Morgan, a striker and former co-captain of the women’s national team. “The domino effect that we helped kick-start — I think we’re really proud of it.”
Despite the significant expenses from the settlement, the biggest price US Soccer has had to pay in this saga has been the damage to their reputation and their sponsors. The federation was winning the battle and in 2020 a federal judge had dismissed the claims for equal pay and had stripped them off their legal leverage with an appeal unlikely to succeed. However, the settlement is an unexpected and an important victory for the players. The settlement does come with one important condition that it’s subject to a new contract between US Soccer and the Players Union which could take months to resolve.
As part of this settlement, the men’s team will have to share and surrender millions of dollars in payment from FIFA for the World Cup as the money given by the football governing body for the men’s tournament is significantly more than what’s provided for the women’s tournament. Cone, a former member of the women’s team said “Moving forward and tying this settlement with the C.B.A. is important for both groups. Because we all believe in equal pay, and the only way we can get there — until FIFA equalizes the World Cup prize money — is for the men’s team, the women’s team and U.S. Soccer to get together and reach an agreement on equalizing it ourselves.”
FIH Pro League key to Indian women's performance in 2022 season, says captain Savita
Bhubaneswar, Feb 24 (Hockey News) The Indian women's hockey team views the ongoing FIH Pro League as a perfect launch-pad to prepare the side for two key tournaments this year -- the World Cup and the Hangzhou Asian Games, which would also be a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Indian women made a fantastic debut in the FIH Pro League, beating China 7-1 and 2-1 in their opening two-leg tie in Muscat, Oman earlier this year.
And India captain Savita said that playing against top teams in the FIH Pro League will be a fair assessment of their game ahead of an important 2022, which also has the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
"Our main focus is on our own performance. We were waiting for long to play in the Pro League because here we will be up against the top teams of the world.
"It will give us a fair idea about our strengths and weaknesses ahead of an important season," Savita said in a virtual press conference ahead of the second FIH Pro League fixture against Spain here this weekend.
"The Pro League is an important tournament for the World Cup and Asian Games. We have already qualified for the World Cup but every match in the Pro League will give us an idea on the grey areas we need to work upon. The Asian Games is also there which is an Olympic qualifier." The Indian women, who finished a historic fourth in the Tokyo Olympics, carried on their good show in the FIH Pro League but in world no.7 and current World Cup bronze-medallists Spain, a tough competitor awaits them in their first home outing in the double-leg tie at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday and Sunday.
"Spain is a very good side. They won the bronze medal in the last World Cup. So, it is important for us to keep the momentum going. We need to give our best in every match," Savita said.
India are currently placed third in the FIH Pro League standings with six points from two games and the skipper said they will continue to play to their strengths.
"Attacking hockey and penalty corners are our strength and we will focus on that (against Spain)," said the ace goalkeeper.
Savita's deputy Deep Grace Ekka to echoed the sentiment.
"We were waiting to play Pro League matches for some years. We started well against China and now we will like to keep the momentum going." Spain, on the other hand, are placed fifth in the league table with one point from two games.
Also Read : Men's hockey team coach Graham Reid meets IOA chief Batra
Men's hockey team coach Graham Reid meets IOA chief Batra
New Delhi, Feb 22 (Hockey News) The national men's hockey team head coach Graham Reid on Tuesday met Indian Olympic Association chief Narinder Batra after the country's top sports administrator questioned the side's recent inconsistent performance.
Batra, who also heads the International Hockey Federation, had last week asked Hockey India to explain the reasons behind the team's "unacceptable" performance in Bangladesh and South Africa following its historic bronze in Tokyo Olympics last year.
"Met today with Graham Reid chief/head coach Indian men hockey team... coming from Bhubaneswar to see me in Delhi," Batra said.
"Had detailed discussion on Indian men hockey team's performance in Bangladesh and South Africa. We further discussed about preparations till 2022 Asian Games which is an Olympic qualifier for both Indian men and women hockey teams.
"Only by winning gold medal in Asian Games is direct qualification for 2024 Paris Olympics." On Tuesday last, Batra, in a strongly-worded communication to HI President Gyanendro Ningombam, had said he has serious concerns about the team's performance after the historic bronze in Tokyo Olympics last year.
He also indicated that the team was being mismanaged but did not specify how.
"I have serious concerns about the way Indian men's hockey team has performed after Tokyo bronze medal. In Bangladesh and now in South Africa. Blaming the players ... is not ultimate and only truth for me," Batra had said in the message, also marked to HI Secretary General Rajinder Singh and CEO Elena Norman.
The Indian team has been inconsistent after scripting history in the Tokyo Games in August last year, where it won a bronze after 41 years.
The team could not defend the Asian Champions Trophy title in December last year and then lost to lower-ranked France in a FIH Pro League match in South Africa last week.
"The way the team is performing is not at all acceptable and please see where the problems are at all levels. I will not accept Team India to be mishandled and mismanaged, such incompetence will have to make way," said Batra, who wrote the letter in his capacity as IOA chief.
In the four FIH Pro League games in South Africa this month, India won three and lost one. The team beat South Africa twice with identical 10-2 margins.
But what might have raised concerns for Batra was the 2-5 defeat to France in the second-leg tie on Saturday after beating the same side 5-0 in their first match of the South Africa sojourn.
Also Read : Spain women's hockey team arrives in Bhubaneswar for FIH Pro League matches against India
News Source : PTI
Difficult lockdown prepared us for challenges of Olympics: Harmanpreet
New Delhi, Feb 19 (Hockey News) Spending time together during the coronavirus-forced lockdown developed a collective mindset which helped the Indian men's hockey team overcome difficult challenges at the Tokyo Olympics, said defender Harmanpreet Singh.
Harmanpreet has been a central figure in the resurgence of the Indian team in recent years.
His performance was not only vital to the side's bronze medal success at the Tokyo Olympics, but also saw the 26-year-old earn the title of FIH Men's Player of the Year 2021.
In Hockey India's podcast 'Hockey Te Charcha', Harmanpreet reflected on the team's success in the Tokyo Olympics and opened up about the various facets of his game.
"Our team spent a lot of time together in lockdown last year before the Olympics. It was a difficult situation because we were not able to visit home in the initial months of lockdown, but facing that period of difficulty together prepared us for the challenges of the Olympics last year.
"Even after trailing 3–1 against a team like Germany in the bronze medal match, it was our collective mindset in difficult situations which got us over the line eventually," he said.
Harmanpreet has steadily grown in stature in the team's ranks since making his national team debut in 2015. Speaking about his role as vice captain of the Indian team, the defender said said "he enjoys the additional responsibility." "It has never felt like an added pressure because everyone in the team is able to communicate openly with each other.
"Of course, Manpreet and other senior players like Sree bhai (PR Sreejesh) also take responsibility to guide the team in training and match situations, so it is a collective effort on the part of the whole team to grow together." Another aspect of the game that Harmanpreet has mastered is his goal scoring from penalty corners. One of the most feared drag flickers in the world today, the Punjab-based player spoke about how he has acquired this skill.
"I was training in Ludhiana at the time when my coaches identified me as a potential drag flicker, but it was in the Surjit Hockey Academy in Jalandhar that I received proper training for the first time ever in taking penalty corners.
"I used to spend a lot of time individually before and after team practice hours to improve my drag flicks, and also had the right kind of guidance from senior players in the academy.
"Then after I came into the national team, I saw players like Sardara Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh work on their game. Learning from them helped me improve my skills even further," Harmanpreet added.
Also Read : FIH Hockey Pro League: India's home games to be initially held behind closed doors
News Source : PTI
Elaine Thompson-Herah set to start 2022 season at Birmingham
(Sports news) Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah will be ready to start the year with a blazing run at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham. The fastest woman in the world had won the Wanda Diamond league in her previous competition which was in September last year. The Jamaican will be participating in the 60m race, she has a personal best of 6.98 secs which had come at Birmingham in 2017 and is also the 6th joint fastest timing in history.
The 29 year old will be looking to record the first sub 7 seconds of the season as Ewa Swoboda had run 7.00 secs a week ago in Poland which has been the fastest in 4 years. Murielle Ahoure was the last female sprinter to run under 7 seconds, she ran a 6.97 secs in 2018 at Birmingham. Thompson had also won the gold in 2019 at Birmingham when she clocked 7.13 and was beaten by Mujinga Kambundji 4 years ago as she will be a close competitor this time.
Another Olympic champion, Armand Duplantis will also be competing at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix. He has set the Pole vault world record at Glasgow in 2020 and will definitely try to get past the 6.18m mark. Duplantis already has three 6m plus jumps this year and all of them have come in the past 4 weeks. Christopher Nilsen has been the only other athlete who has cleared 6m and above this season but would not be competing at Birmingham. Thiago Braz would be a close competitor who cleared 5.81m at France yesterday, the Brazilian had won the gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics with a personal best of 6.03m and hasn’t come anywhere near of it since then.
Noah Lyles will be running for the first time at the Birmingham tracks, Lyles has been focusing on the 60m this season so far and has improved his timings in the last few events. The 200m specialist has been improving his timing every race and ran a personal best of 6.56 secs at New York in the first week of February but it will be tough to go for the gold as Ronnie Baker will be running alongside him and the third fastest athlete in this event will be the favourite.
Baker ran a 6.40 secs in 2018 just 6 hundredth of a second behind Christian Coleman who set the current world record at that race. The 28 year old has beaten Lyles both the times the pair has faced indoors, he beat Lyles at the Millrose games which was held at the end of January.
Lahiri seeks return to form at Genesis Invitational
Los Angeles, Feb 17 (Golf News) Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri will be hoping to sharpen his iron play and short game as he prepares for an exciting run of events on the PGA TOUR starting with this week’s star-studded Genesis Invitational, an event hosted by Tiger Woods.
The 34-year-old Indian conceded that his form has been off the mark since the start of the year but he would look to turn his fortunes around at the historic Riviera Country Club which stages the USD 12 million showpiece as one of three elevated status events on TOUR.
Each of the world’s top-10 players, led by No. 1 Jon Rahm and reigning FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay, are in this week’s elite field. Max Homa is defending his title.
“I’ve played good in patches and had disappointing results overall, no doubt about it. ,” said Lahiri.
“I felt I have gotten some positives to take from whatever golf I’ve played this year and it’s clear what I need to work on. I need to keep sharpening my game, putting and scrambling.
“From Riv to the stretch of events that follow, we’re going to go to golf courses which are demanding and require elite ball-striking. I’m working on my putting and iron play, and just trying to stay patient and focussed. I’ve been guilty of losing my patience in the past.” The Indian star has made two cuts from three starts in 2022, while missing the weekend at last week’s WM Phoenix Open following rounds of 70 and 75.
A first trip back to par-71 Riviera course in three years, which is also the host site for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, has given him a dose of good vibes.
“It’s fantastic to be back. Riv is by far my favourite golf course that we play on our regular schedule outside of the majors. I fell in love with this place from the first time I came here,” said Lahiri, who finished T64 and T26 in 2017 and 2018 respectively when the event was then known as the Genesis Open.
“I played well in the past and have great memories. I love old school golf courses. It’s a joy, a real pleasure and we’re in a great area and everything is so amazing with this tournament." While the 2028 Olympic Games is still a long way off, Lahiri is not writing himself out of the reckoning to feature one more time for his country as he knows what the Olympics does promote the game in India.
“2028 is a long ways away. I’ve been fortunate enough to wear the tricolour on two occasions (Rio in 2016 and Tokyo last year) and definitely Paris (2024) is a goal of mine and I’m actively looking to that,” he said.
“If I was to get an opportunity to do it over again in 2028, it’ll be fantastic. I won’t be a spring chicken by then but if I can stay fit and healthy, who’s to say I won’t come back, and wear the orange, the saffron and green again. Golf in the Olympics has been amazing, especially for some of the minority golf nations like India.” Lahiri last won a pro title in 2015 in the Hero Indian Open and since then has been seeking his first PGA Tour win.
News Source : PTI
Indian pro boxer Chandni Mehra to fight in Korea this weekend
New Delhi, Feb 17 (Boxing News) Indian professional boxer Chandni Mehra is all set to take on Korea's Shin Bo Mi Re in a featherweight contest in the city of Gangwon-do on Saturday.
This will be the 21-year-old boxer's 11th professional bout since making her professional debut in 2018. She has an impressive record of 8 wins and 2 losses in the 10 fights that she has competed in.
So far, Chandni has fought six-round bouts, but the one on Saturday will mark her debut in the 10-round format. Chandni is assured of USD 3,500 as appearance fee for the bout.
Chandni started boxing after getting inspired from Bollywood movie 'Mary Kom', based on the life of six-time world champion and Olympic medallist from Manipur.
Her mother Kanchan is a former tennis player.
"Mary Kom is her idol. As a kid, she was good at a lot of sports. She did karate too, but it not being an Olympic sport, we decided to focus on a sport that is part of the Olympic charter," the boxer's mother said.
"In 2014, she got so inspired by Mary Kom's story after watching the movie and decided to take up boxing," she added.
"Pro boxers can win quotas for Olympics now and it is her sole aim to play for the country and win medals at the Olympics." Chandni holds a professional boxing license from the Indian Boxing Council, the National Commission for Professional Boxing in India.
Also Read : Boxing: Pooja Rani, Sonia Lather pull out of Strandja Memorial
News Source : PTI
FIH Women's World Cup: India grouped with England, New Zealand and China
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (Hockey News) The Indian team has been grouped along with England, New Zealand and China in pool B in the upcoming FIH Women's Hockey World Cup, the country's governing body for the sport said on Thursday.
The tournament will be held in Spain and Netherlands from July 1.
The Indian team recently secured its qualification for the World Cup after finishing third in the Asia Cup in Muscat.
Speaking about competition in their pool, India goalkeeper Savita said, "It is a tough pool with England (world No.3) and New Zealand (world No.8) who are ranked above us and China can always spring a surprise.
"As a team, we have always believed we need to focus on ourselves and not what the opponent can do. But now that we know who we play in the pool stage, we can plan our preparations accordingly and we look forward to the challenge." The Indian women's team achieved a best-ever fourth place finish at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
The team also made it to the top eight for the first time in the previous edition of the World Cup when they drew 1-1 with England, lost 0-1 to Ireland, who went on to play the final against world champions Netherlands, and drew 1-1 against USA in the group stage.
"It was a very good tournament for us and it inculcated a great sense of self-belief. Draw against England in their home ground was quite significant for us in 2018 and we came very close to beating Ireland in the quarterfinal but ended up losing in the shootout after a 0-0 draw," Savita recalled.
The senior player said the team is better prepared this time.
"With the experience we have had over the past three-four years, particularly in big events like the Olympic Games in Tokyo, I feel we are better prepared mentally to do well this time at the World Cup," she added.
Savita further emphasised that the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League matches will help them prepare well in the lead-up to the prestigious quadrennial event.
"We will play England at home in the Pro League matches in April and we have already played China. I believe playing other top teams of the world like Belgium, Argentina etc will definitely benefit us in our preparations for the World Cup," she said.
Netherlands are grouped in pool A with Germany, Ireland and Chile.
In pool C, hosts Spain will face off against Argentina, Korea and Canada and in pool D, Australia, Belgium, Japan and South Africa will take on each other.
Also Read : Pro League will be about fine tuning our game play: Schopman
News Source : PTI
My goal is to become a Paralympic medallist - Asiya Mohamed
Having suffered a tragic accident at the age of two, Asiya Mohamed lost both her legs and many fingers on her left hand. Due to various circumstances, she lost both her parents at a young age and endured difficulties that would make most individuals give up on their life. However, despite the innumerable hardships, she recently became the first Kenyan female rower to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The 29 year old excels in wheelchair marathons, tennis and rowing and is an ardent disability advocate to improve the conditions of other para-athletes.
In this exclusive interview, Asiya Mohamed speaks about her journey so far, experience at the 2020 Summer Paralympics, overcoming hardships, being a disability advocate and her future goals.
Q 1) When were you first introduced to Wheelchair tennis? What motivated you to switch from wheelchair marathon events to tennis?
Wheelchair tennis was introduced to me in 2013 in Mombasa by Lawrence Karanja. I have been doing wheelchair marathons for the longest time compared to any other games and I haven’t moved to wheelchair tennis. I play them all when I am available and when I am both physically and mentally fit.
Q 2) You are the first Kenyan female rower to compete at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. How was the experience at the event and is it one of the proudest moments in your career?
It was a mind blowing experience, from the Paralympic Village to the Forest river where rowers were competing. There was an air of competing at the highest level or packing your bags and going home, which I was not ready for. It is definitely one of my most proudest and memorable moments.
Q 3) You have undoubtedly endured many hardships in your journey so far. What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your sporting career and how did you overcome them?
There have been so many challenges but the main one is the lack of sponsors to facilitate training and participation in international competition. Most of the time I overcome this through contributions from my family and funds from the government. In terms of emotional challenges, I overcome them by having self love and self belief which makes me mentally strong.
Q 4) What are the various issues that you feel strongly about as a Disability Advocate? What must be done to address them?
1. The government doesn’t give para sports the spotlight compared to able bodied sports.
2. Majority of us disabled people are not educated
3. Women with disabilities face double the amount of challenges compared to able bodied women.
4. There is still that misconception that we’re cursed.
5. Youth and teenagers living with disabilities are not given the special attention needed as they pass double of what able bodied teenagers and youth are passing through.
What should be done?
1. Equal opportunities and funds should be given to both para and able bodied sports.
2. The government should build vocational training facilities across the country, especially rural parts and sensitize the importance of education to parents of children living with disabilities.
3. Empowerment activities for women living with disabilities and call centers for women to aie their grievances and find refuge.
4. Mobilization and sensitization to able bodied persons living with disabilities especially to the rural parts across the country.
5. Center for guidance and counseling for the youth and teenagers living with disabilities.
Q 5) What are your goals and aspirations for the future? How do you plan to achieve them?
My dream is to become a Paralympic medallist and the first Kenyan rower, either male or female, to participate in either Olympics or Paralympics for two consecutive times. I plan on finding sponsors for my training outside the country since I lack specialized coaches, equipment, high quality training and the experience of participating in competitions.
Boxing: Pooja Rani, Sonia Lather pull out of Strandja Memorial
New Delhi, Feb 16 (Boxing News) Two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani (81kg), who recently lost her father, and former world medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) have pulled out of the upcoming Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria as they did not feel competition ready during the training camp here.
The two conveyed their decision to pull out a couple of days ago after not feeling up to it in training, a team source told PTI.
"Both were there in the team but Pooja told us a day before that since her training has not been regular, she does not feel, she would be able to deliver. Same with Sonia, she was in rehab after an injury and conveyed that it wasn't going as well as she would have wanted," the source said.
In a conversation with PTI after her father's sudden death earlier this month, Pooja had said that she wanted to compete having made the team and joined the national camp within days of the tragedy.
"She wanted to but then training zyada nahi ho paayi thi and she herself said that it would not be good to just show up there and not perform," the source said.
"Since these are last-minute pullouts, we won't be able to field replacements and therefore the women's team would be of 10 instead of 12," he added.
The women's squad is made up of national champions.
The men's team is also primarily represented by national champions which means that the five who competed in Tokyo Olympics would be waiting for some more time before getting back in action.
Amit Panghal (51kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Manish Kaushik (63.5kg), Ashish Chaudhary (75kg), and Satish Kumar (+91kg) have been training at the national camp in Patiala but are yet to be competition ready in terms of fitness.
The two squads will leave for Sofia on Thursday night.
Men: Govind (48kg), Ankit (51kg), Rajpinder Singh (54kg), Rohit Mor (57kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Dalvir Singh (63.5kg), Akash (67kg), Rohit Tokas (71kg), Sumit (75kg), Sachin Kumar (81kg), Lakshya Chahar (86kg), Gaurav Chauhan (91kg), Narender (+91kg) Women: Nitu (48kg), Anamika (50kg), Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Shiksha (54kg). Meena Rani (60kg), Parveen (63kg), Anjali Tushir (66kg), Arundhati Chaudhary (71kg), Saweety (75kg), Nandini (+81kg).
Also Read : National camps for youth and junior boxers resume ahead of Asian championships
News Source : PTI
PKL season 8 final to be held on February 25
Bengaluru, Feb 16 (Kabaddi News) The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) final will be held on February 25 while the two play-off prior to the mega match will be held on February 21 and 23 respectively, organizers said on Wednesday.
"The playoffs are scheduled to be held on 21st February and on 23rd February. The grand finale of Pro Kabaddi Season 8 is scheduled to be held on 25th February," a media release issued here said on Wednesday.
It also said that the top six teams will then battle it out for the PKL trophy.
Anupam Goswami, CEO, Mashal Sports and League Commissioner, PKL said: "We have been able to conduct the league day-on-day with no break – this is a huge achievement and milestone, not just for kabaddi, but for the resumption of all indoor & contact sports." "PKL Season 8 has also seen tough competition amongst teams with the race to the playoffs set to go down to the final day of the league stage," he added.
Also Read : Winter Olympics: Arif Khan fails to finish men's slalom event
News Source : PTI
Winter Olympics: Arif Khan fails to finish men's slalom event
Beijing, Feb 16 (Sports News) India's campaign at the Winter Olympics came to disappointing end on Wednesday after the country's lone participant, alpine skier Arif Khan, logged a 'Did Not Finish' in the men's slalom event here.
The 31-year-old from Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir, who had finished 45th in the giant slalom event on Sunday, was unable to complete Run 1 at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre here.
Since Khan, who was making his Winter Olympics debut, was unable to finish Run 1, he won't be competing in the second run of men's slalom event.
Only 52 of the 88 starters finished the first run and will compete again in Run 2.
Wearing bib no 79, Khan made a decent start, finishing the first intermediate in 14.40s and the second in 34.24s. However, he failed to complete the final section.
Austria's Johannes Strolz was the fastest skier in Run 1 with a time of 53.92s. The Norwegian duo of Henrik Kristoffersen (53.94s) and Sebastian Foss-Silevaag (53.98s) were second and third respectively.
Khan, the first Indian to qualify for two events in a Winter Olympics, had clocked combined time of 2 minute 47.24 seconds in the giant slalom event.
He finished 45th, which is now India's best-ever performance in men's giant slalom event at Winter Olympics.
Polish-born Jeremy Bujakowski, India's first-ever Winter Olympian, had finished 65th at Grenoble 1968.
In giant slalom -- an Alpine skiing event -- athletes ski down a slope as they pass between sets of 'gates' which consist of two plastic poles.
A skier runs two races and the competitor with the lowest combined time across the two courses is deemed the winner.
In slalom, the course and distance between two successive gates are much smaller than in giant slalom, making it a much faster and more precise sport.
Failure to pass between any one gate in Run 1 deems a run as DNF (Did Not Finish) and such an athlete can't participate in the second run.
In Beijing Games, the giant slalom event took place on the 424m 'Ice River' course with a start altitude of 1925m and finish altitude of 1501m.
Also Read : Jaipur Pink Panthers beat U Mumba to get closer to playoff spot
News Source : PTI
Pro League will be about fine tuning our game play: Schopman
New Delhi, Feb 15 (Hockey News) Pro League will help the Indian women hockey team fine-tune its gameplan ahead of major tournaments this year, says chief coach Janneke Schopman, who also hinted at some experimentation during the event.
The Indian team has a packed calendar ahead with several big-ticket tournaments like the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games scheduled.
"I want our team to perform and to be able to be at our best in a tournament like the World Cup or Asian Games. The players needs to be at the level that they get the experience they need," Schopman said during a virtual media interaction arranged by Hockey India.
"And with COVID happening, our players didn't have that much experience in the last two, two and a half years of playing actual games. So, the Pro League will be a lot about how people are preserving their sport, making sure that they can play and then also fine tuning our gameplay." "You'll see changes in our lineup, but I'm not going to bring in 10-15 new players or something," she said.
Despite not getting the desired result in the Asian Hockey Cup last month, Schopman is happy with the team's progress.
The India team failed to defend its title at the Asian Hockey Cup last month in Muscat, finishing third. However, they began their Pro League campaign with a bang, drubbing China 7-1.
"The girls did really well. Of course we didn't get the results we wanted in terms of scoreline but I was actually quite happy to see the progress throughout the tournament into the Pro League," Schopman said.
"I'm really trying to focus on the way we want to play and how do we want to attack and how do we want to look as a team and I think we made big steps there. So overall, it was a wasn't a good experience not great in terms of outcomes, but good in terms of progress." The Indian team is now slated to meet Spain on February 26 and 27 in the Pro League.
The matches against Netherlands have been postponed after the Dutch women's team pulled out of its back-to-back FIH Pro League matches that were scheduled to be played in Bhubaneswar on February 19 and 20 due to rise in COVID-19 cases in the European country.
Talking about the preparations Schopman, said "It's just like changing gears. Netherlands played Spain a week ago. So we had those games and instead of looking at the Netherlands, you look at Spain now.
"Spain is a very good team, a very skilful team they'd like to move the ball well and create a technical opportunities." Schopman took over from Sjored Marijne, who left after a successful Olympic campaign, and the new coach has already implemented some changes according to her philosophy.
"Now is the time for India to make the next step and next step is playing these teams, and maybe winning to becoming a more dominant team. If we want to be more dominant, we have to go more if we won the ball more.
"We have to train a little bit different. We have to create more opportunities. So yes, slowly but surely you build off of the foundation. You change small things.
"I like attacking. At the same time, I like a very strong defense that plays a little bit higher on the field. And sometimes we make mistakes and that's costly, of course, but it's going the way I see our team develop." Asked if India could field two different teams for different tournaments, Schopman said that is a possibility.
"India is having discussions about that. I don't know yet what the plan will be. We are right now really focusing on the World Cup. And of course, the Asian Games is the most important tournament this year where we want to qualify directly for the Olympics. "We're currently under construction. We're looking at what will be the best way for us to prepare."
Also Read : Learnt a lot during these four matches in South Africa,' says new drag-flicker Jugraj Singh
News Source : PTI
Mirabai to compete in new weight category in 2022 Commonwealth Games
New Delhi, Feb 15 (Sports News) Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will compete in a new weight class -- 55kg -- at the Commonwealth Games later this year to help maximise India’s chances of winning more gold medals in the multi-sport event in Birmingham.
Chanu has achieved a lot of success competing in the 49kg weight division, including winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She also holds the clean and jerk world record in this weight class.
Before that, she used to compete in the 48kg class, winning the world championship gold in 2017. She also won 48kg silver and gold in the 2014 and 2018 CWG respectively.
However, head coach Vijay Sharma and the Indian Weightlifting Federation feel the 27-year-old has a better chance of winning the gold medal in the 55kg category at the 2022 CWG than compatriot Sorokhaibam Bindyarani Devi, who won a silver at the Commonwealth Championships in December last.
“We (coach and federation) had a meeting and discussed that India should bring back medals on all the women’s weight categories in the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Chanu told PTI.
“There is a chance of getting 4-5 gold medals and that’s why we decided that I’ll move up to 55kg. So, we can win one there,” Chanu, who is already a two-time CWG medallist, added.
India still have a gold medal contender in the 49kg in Jhilli Dalabehera who won a silver in the Commonwealth Championships.
Chanu should be a sure-shot gold medal winner in 49kg but now she will have to work hard to win a gold in 55kg.
“I'll have to work really hard, I’ll have to increase the weight (I lift) because it will be competitive (in 55kg). I won’t increase my weight, I’ll keep it as 50kg-51kg which is my natural weight," said Chanu, who has a personal best of 207kg (88kg+119kg).
With the Asian Games scheduled to begin just a month after the Birmingham CWG (July 28 to August 8), the diminutive Manipuri is not yet sure if she will switch back to the 49kg class or continue in 55kg in the continental event.
“I haven’t decided which weight category I’ll compete in the Asian Games. I will decide that after CWG. If all goes well I might continue in 55kg,” she added.
Chanu will be seen in action for the first time since her historic Tokyo performance at the Singapore Weightlifting International later this month, where she will look to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in her new category.
The lifter form Manipur is tweaking her snatch technique and she is hopeful that will also help her in sorting out her “unbalance issue” and stave off injuries.
“I am focussing on snatch a bit more because it is my weakness. Snatch is all about technique so I'm working on that, I’m trying to change it a little.
“This new technique will not be easy. But maybe by improving my technique a little, my unbalance issue may get sorted and it may also lower the risk of injury.” Chanu’s struggles in the snatch section due to an imbalance that affects her right shoulder and back is not new. She benefitted immensely by consulting Dr. Aaron Horschig, a former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in the United States ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Chanu is keen to visit Horschig again next month for rehabilitation and endurance training.
“We are in talks to go in March, which is our off season. I go there keeping in mind the rehab and technique. But it has not been confirmed yet.” As part of its famous “Impossible is Nothing” campaign, Adidas is showcasing and celebrating the stories of inspirational female sportspersons who have achieved extraordinary feats to encourage women in sports. The campaign is close to Chanu's heart.
“There has been a change in mindset, people encourage women to take up sports now and Adidas has supported this a lot. Earlier people didn’t get to know how much hard work has been put in by the players. This campaign shows that. It motivates women, which is a very big thing."
Also Read : Patna Pirates beat Telugu Titans to guarantee Top-2 league stages finish
News Source : PTI
How has Kabaddi evolved over the years - Mohak Arora
Since the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) introduction, Kabaddi has gained back its spot in people’s day-to-day conversations. As per various reports, PKL is the second most-watched league after IPL. However, as a sport, Kabaddi has evolved a lot from its initial avatar described in Mahabharata to reach the current format.
The sport is played in three formats: Standard-National, Circle, and Beach Kabaddi. Further, there are four format-forms of Kabaddi, Amar, Suranjeevi, Huttuttoo, Gaminee.
While the formats vary slightly, Kabaddi is essentially a combative sport with seven players on each side or team. The main goal of the sport includes raiding or breaking through the seven players of the opposing team and touching as many players as one can without breaking the chant Kabaddi and safely return to the home base. At the same time, the opponents try to catch the attacker, thus ultimately resulting in a struggle between the two parties.
This game of stamina and agility has been historic since ancient times. Kabaddi as a sport was introduced in India to help young men work on their speed and strength. Initially, the increase in defensive abilities and the agile movement towards attacks were primary motivations behind playing Kabaddi. According to the classic Indian mythology, Mahabharata, Arjuna, one of the five Pandu sons harboured a specific skill set wherein he could break through the wall of the enemies, destroy them all, and come back without a scratch on his body. Buddhist scriptures also mention that Gautama Buddha often played Kabaddi for his merriment and used it to
display his strength and power.
Kabaddi’s journey in contemporary times
Kabaddi was honoured at a national level in India in 1918. As an outcome, the game’s rules and guidelines were deliberate upon and standardised, but the rules and procedures were ultimately published years later, in 1923. In the same year, an All-India Kabaddi Tournament (AIKT) was conducted in Baroda, where the players vigorously stuck to the sport’s rules and guidelines. The sport was featured in the Berlin Olympics in 1936 as an exhibition sport. Further, the sport officially began at Calcutta’s 1938 Indian Olympic Games, earning it extensive glory.
In 1961, the Indian University Sports Control Board (IUSCB) covered the sport of Kabaddi in its class as a high sports conditioning area for the students. Later, it turned into one of the critical games in schools through the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) in 1962. This choice accomplished the vital position in encouraging the school-going children to participate in state and country-wide position competitions for the sport, organised through the SGFI. Another enhancement in the records of Kabaddi in India took form in 1971 when the National Institute of Sports (NIS) covered Kabaddi in the class of Regular Diploma courses.
In 1994, Kabaddi was introduced in the Asian Games where the Indian team won the gold medal. The team also won the titles in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. The team also won eight out of ten World Cups played till 2020.
India’s performance at the national and international level has led to the increase in the popularity of the sport leading to the organisation of commercial leagues such as the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), launched in 2014. Since then, the league has extensively grown in viewership, thus bringing the sport that was widely played at the grassroots level to the national commercial level and gaining significant attraction.
Kabaddi’s influence has grown over time, from a favourite sport in ancient India to a sport honoured at a national level. Numerous foreign and national Kabaddi events have been conducted, with the Indian national Kabaddi squad performing extraordinary accomplishments.
The future of Kabaddi will go beyond the realms of India and its neighbours. While the sport enjoys enthusiasm in the region, growth in a different corridor of the world is of extreme significance for the sport’s survival. This journey has already started with multiple countries
Outside Asia are competing to become the upcoming world-beater. Kabaddi might gain a permanent place in the Olympics in the coming decade.
Written by: Mohak Arora, Parimatch Brand
We want Kolkata Thunderbolts to lift the trophy - Vineet Bhandari
Following one’s passion and believing in oneself has been Vineet Bhandari’s life motto. One has to face failures to get on the path of success, Vineet has had his side of experience in the business world and is now changing the scenario of Volleyball in India. He is the co-owner of Kolkata Thunderbolts who are on top of the points table in the Prime Volleyball League.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Vineet Bhandari shares his views on the Prime Volleyball League, investing in Kolkata Thunderbolts, challenges faced in the sport and plans for the future.
Q 1) As owner of the Kolkata Thunderbolts, what motivated you to invest in the team?
There are various factors when it comes to taking a call on such a decision. The whole process depends on your background, how you come into this sport and who you want to be. I've been an investment banker for 2 decades and I understand that if you want to enter an industry early that is where you get to create values. If you do your research and understand things better, then your reward can outweigh your risks. To cover our risks we brought in other co owners so the risk gets divided and decades of experience comes into play and everything gets covered. If there are losses ,we're able to bear them because a new sport in a country like India will take a lot of time to develop and to give any kind of financial return. You have to be capital intensive to get into it.
Along with that another factor for us to do this is that the baseline team has done it in the past and they have a very good background on branding and marketing, so that gives us a lot of confidence. They brought in Joy Bhattacharjya as the CEO of the league which was a very big plus because he has successfully run cricket and football teams in the past. That was a big factor for us as investors or people wanting to buy a team and build on to a sport to know who we are partnering with. Also, I've been playing Volleyball for over a decade now so I have an understanding of the game. You get to know how addictive the sport is if you have played it.
Q 2) What are the various challenges you have faced in the promotion and visibility of Volleyball in India? How can they be overcome?
Volleyball as a sport has been there for over a hundred years and is the 2nd most played team sport around the globe after football. In India, it is the third most played team sport after cricket and football but there is still a lack of recognition. There is no central recognition from the government to promote the sports on a huge scale, there are national teams but the visibility is still a cause of concern as the players are relatively unknown.
The league will overcome many challenges, all these players are getting an opportunity to play with increasing pay scale according to performance. It is going to reach out to much more people, brands and advertisements will also be on the rise. Sony, being a partner and telecasting it live will spread the league even more; we can watch it on all major social media platforms around the world. As the viewership numbers are on the go, people would also start playing and the cycle will start slowly growing. We hope to make Volleyball a national obsession in the next few years.
Q 3) What are your objectives for Kolkata Thunderbolts in the ongoing 2022 Prime Volleyball League?
For the Kolkata Thunderbolts we have a lot of objectives but the main goal is to support the league alongside the teams and being the shareholder in the league we want to see growth. The Prime Volleyball League is the first privately owned league which is streamed on different platforms, if you see the American leagues like NBA and MLS, these are all privately owned leagues with owners having stakes in the team which in turn help the league grow exponentially. The second objective is that the team performs as we have got the best coaches and players to play for the Thunderbolt franchise. For me personally, fan interaction is important as there are currently more than 50 hoardings all over Kolkata promoting the league and also having social media interaction with the Kolkata Thunderbolt franchise will not only help the teams but also help the league to grow even more.
Also read: Ruturaj Gaikwad is the toughest batter to bowl to- Divyang Hinganekar
Q 4) Do you think the Prime Volleyball League can be as big as other leagues such as the ProKabaddi or even the Indian Premier League in the future?
IPL has managed to raise the standards and is in a league of its own. It has taken a long time for leagues like ISL and Pro Kabbadi to reach where they are now. The journey has been tough for the franchisees and players. The difference in Prime Volley League is of the ownership, since its a private league which helps in quick and smooth decision making. The decisions are always in the favour of the league along with the franchisee owners because they are also the owners of the league. The league can make changes accordingly, make sure they get profits which will help it reach a wider audience.
The numbers at the end of season 1 can be compared to the other leagues and it will be clearly visible. As an owner in the league as well as a franchisee, we are very hopeful to make it to the peak in the next 5 years.
Q 5) What are your goals for Kolkata Thunderbolts in the short and long term future? How do you plan to achieve them?
As of now we have been able to build a strong team and want to win the inaugural season as it is important to get off on the right foot. In the future, we plan to take the sport to every nook and corner of the state. We have also been approached by people in Odisha, Jharkhand to create academies, we are primarily focusing on building the academies in Assam, Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand in the next 24 months.
As more and more people start playing it as a recreational sport then the region will add onto the value of the national team. Hopefully we will have Indian players representing the country at the Olympics in the coming years.
Harmanpreet scores four goals in India's 10-2 demolition of South Africa
Potchefstroom (South Africa), Feb 13 (Hockey News) Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh scored four goals to help India demolish South Africa 10-2 and bounce back from their last outing defeat in style in the men's FIH Pro League hockey here on Sunday.
After an evenly contested first quarter when the scores were tied 1-1, India completely dominated in the remaining three periods, pumping in nine goals against the hapless South Africans to notch up their third win in four matches.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist India, who were stunned by lower-ranked France on Saturday, won by the same margin in their first-leg match against South Africa.
Harmanpreet scored in the 36th, 52nd, 60th and 60th minute while Shilananda Lakra (27th and 48th minute) struck a brace. Surender Kumar (15th), Mandeep Singh (28th), Sumit (45th) and Shamsher Singh (56th) were the other goal scorers for India.
Daniel Bell (12th) and Connor Beauchamp (53rd) scored for South Africa.
India scored as many as five goals in the fourth quarter with Harmanpreet contributing two.
India thus ended their South African leg of the FIH Pro League on a high note a day after the 2-5 defeat by France.
They will face Spain in their next match in Bhubaneswar.
India dominated the fast-paced first quarter with a lot of opposition circle penetration but it was South Africa who scored first, in the 12th minute, with Daniel Bell converting the home side's second penalty corner.
India, who also got two penalty corners in the first quarter, equalised three minutes later with Surender Kumar firing into the roof of South Africa net from a fine field effort.
The Manpreet Singh-led side pumped in two quick goals in less than two minutes in the second quarter through Shilanand Lakra and Mandeep Singh's field strikes to go into the half time break with a 3-1 lead.
Krishna Bahadur Pathak, who started at the Indian goal instead of veteran PR Sreejesh, made a fine save, denying South Africa from their third penalty corner of the match in the 24th minute.
Pathak did well again, in the early minutes of the third quarter, saving a penalty stroke taken by Jethro Eustice.
After a few minutes of ascendency by South Africa, India roared back with a slew of dangerous attacks, and Harmanpreet scored from the visiting team's third penalty corner in the 36th minute.
Sumit then fired in a field goal through a reverse flick to make it 5-1 in the 45th minute and break South Africa's back.
India did not show any mercy on a demoralised South Africa as they pumped in five more goals in the final quarter.
South Africa pulled one back in the in the 53rd minute through Connor Beauchamp.
But the Indians were not done yet as Shamsher Singh struck in the 53rd minute with a field goal before Harmanpreet completed his hat-trick and then scored his fourth goal as the visitors inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the hosts.
Also Read : France stun India 5-2 in FIH Pro League hockey
News Source : PTI
Haryana Steelers bounce back strongly, beat U Mumba 37-26
Bengaluru, Feb 13 (Kabaddi News) Haryana Steelers returned to winning ways as they defeated U Mumba 37-26 in a Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 match here on Sunday.
It was skipper Vikash Kandola and rising star Ashish Narwal who once again starred for Haryana Steelers, as the duo earned a total of 27 points between themselves to help their team pick up a crucial win in the race to the playoffs.
Vikash Kandola opened the scoring for Haryana Steelers with the first raid giving his team a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Vikash earned his second raid point to give his team a 2-1 lead.
In the 7th minute, Vijay Kumar got a tackle point as Haryana Steelers extended their lead to 6-5. In the 12th minute, Vikash Kandola won a Super Raid and Haryana Steelers inflicted an All Out on U Mumba to extend their lead to 14-6.
Haryana Steelers played safe in the remainder of the first half and went into half time with an 18-13 lead.
U Mumba inflicted an All Out on Haryana Steelers in the first minute of the second half and closed down the gap to 16-18. But Surender Nadda earned a tackle point a couple of minutes later to once again extend Haryana Steelers' lead by four points.
In the 25th minute, Vikash Kandola clinched a tackle point to extend Haryana Steelers' lead to 23-18. In the 29th minute, Ashish Narwal earned his second tackle to attain his second Super 10 of the season.
With just over nine minutes to go in the match, U Mumba closed down the gap to 22-24. But Vikash Kandola managed to get two consecutive successful raids to further extend the lead by four points and doing so achieved his eighth Super 10 of the season.
In the 36th minute, Vikash Kandola earned a two-point raid, solidifying Haryana Steelers' lead by 29-23.
With a minute left in the match, Haryana Steelers inflicted another All Out on U Mumba to extend their lead to 34-25.
In the final minute, Ashish Narwal earned a raid point and Haryana Steelers won the match 37-26.
Also Read : Winter Olympics: Arif Khan finishes 45th in giant slalom
News Source : PTI
Winter Olympics: Arif Khan finishes 45th in giant slalom
Beijing, Feb 13 (Sports News) India's lone participant in the Winter Olympics, alpine skier Arif Khan, finished 45th in the giant slalom event here on Sunday.
The 31-year-old from Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir clocked a combined time of 2 minute 47.24 seconds from two races in difficult weather conditions at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre.
Khan, who was making his Winter Olympics debut, ended at 53rd in Race 1 with a time of 1:22.35 out of the 54 competitors who could finish it. As many as 33 skiers could not finish Race 1 while two did not start. Khan queued up 85th in the start list of 89 athletes from 62 nations.
Khan did better in Race 2 as he clocked 1:24.89, ending at 44th out of 45 skiers who could complete it. Nine skiers failed to finish Race 2 which was delayed by nearly four hours due to bad weather.
His combined time, which saw him finish 45th overall, was 37.89 seconds behind gold winner Marco Odermatt of Switzerland who clocked a combined time of 2:09.35.
Slovenia's Zan Kranjec (2:09.54) and France's Mathieu Faivre (2:10.69) clinched the silver and bronze respectively.
Khan had clocked a combined time of 1:59.47 in the Winter Olympics qualification event at Kolasin, Montenegro in December last year.
Khan, the first Indian to qualify for two events in a Winter Olympics, will compete in men's slalom at the same venue on Wednesday.
"It's one of my dreams to be at Winter Olympics and this is my first time. It really means a lot. It's a great message back to our country, to our people to join winter sports in future," Khan was quoted as saying by 'Olympics.com'.
"There were like millions of people watching me live back home. I was trying my best to give the best I have got. But the weather was uncertain, you couldn't see much… like how the slope was used, but it was good." Low visibility due to incessant snowing hit the start of the event and conditions worsened as Race 1 progressed.
The second run was delayed due to bad weather but conditions were better than the first when it started.
Despite a poor finish, this was India's best-ever performance in men's giant slalom event at Winter Olympics. Polish-born Jeremy Bujakowski, India's first-ever Winter Olympian, had finished 65th at Grenoble 1968.
In giant slalom -- an Alpine skiing event -- athletes ski down a slope as they pass between sets of 'gates' which consist of two plastic poles.
A skier runs two races and the competitor with the lowest combined time across the two courses is deemed the winner.
In Beijing Games, the giant slalom event took place on the 424m 'Ice River' course with a start altitude of 1925m and finish altitude of 1501m.
Failure to pass between any one gate in Run 1 deems a run as DNF (Did Not Finish) and such an athlete can't participate in the second run.
Missing a gate or crashing off course in Run 2 also earns a skier a DNF, which makes them ineligible for a ranking in the final standings.
Also Read : Patna Pirates and Dabang Delhi KC aim to seal top-2 positions
News Source : PTI
Nobody should doubt positive contribution of Quad: Jaishankar
Melbourne, Feb 12 (Sports News) Nobody should doubt the positive contribution of Quad, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday, asserting that a "major advancement" was made when he and his counterparts from the four-nation grouping visited the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Jaishankar on Friday gifted his Australian counterpart Marise Payne a cricket bat signed by former India skipper Virat Kohli during a visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here with Payne, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.
"Anybody who doubts that Quad has a positive message and positive approach should have been with us at the MCG yesterday. I think a major advancement was made when we could teach ministers, Hayashi and Secretary Blinken, the intricacies of cricket, including bowling and how to actually use the seam on the cricket ball,” he said.
The MCG, which has a seating capacity of over 1,00,000, is Australia’s biggest sporting facility.
“So, nobody should doubt the positive contribution of Quad,” Jaishankar said at a joint press conference with Payne after their bilateral meeting and attending a crucial meeting of Quad foreign ministers here on Friday.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
Beijing is also involved in a maritime dispute with Japan over the East China Sea. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.
"All four of us yesterday, the two of us and Blinken and Hayashi as well, made that point that we are here to do positive things. We are here to contribute to the peace, prosperity and stability of the region,” Jaishankar said, amidst China's vehement opposition to the formation of the Quad grouping.
Minister Payne thanked Jaishankar for giving her the cricket bat the MCG.
"I really want to thank you for joining us here in Australia this week. I want to thank you for the fact that I've become the proud owner of a Virat Kohli signed cricket bat, which was a momentous and extremely generous gift. Thank you very much," she said.
The Australian minister said Quad is a very complementary part of the network of relationships that Australia has regionally and internationally.
She said the grouping is all about helping to “positively shape our region”.
“We're about building confidence and resilience, about promoting a region in which all countries are able to be and feel sovereign and secure without the threat of coercion or intimidation,” Payne said.
“We have a really practical agenda, which as evidenced by our support of access to vaccines, indeed over 500 million vaccines delivered under the Quad leaders’ commitments on vaccination,” she said.
Payne said Australia has welcomed the development and growth of China over the years, but will also act in the protection of its national interests as any sovereign nation would.
“What is reiterated in our quarter statement yesterday on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is the work we are also doing with ASEAN focused on ASEAN centrality for the region, the criteria, the factors that are laid out under the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific, on the Pacific. That is one of the keys to our regional engagement, our regional partnerships,” she said.
The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries, including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.
The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing in the last few years with the focus being on ramping up cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as security and defence.
“We've talked at length about the work that we are able to do together, and I look forward to continuing this very practical and constructive effort in our region,” Payne said.
Also Read : I knew 10 years ago I will represent my country in Winter Olympics: Arif Khan
News Source : PTI
I knew 10 years ago I will represent my country in Winter Olympics: Arif Khan
New Delhi, Feb 12 (Sports News) Kashmiri skier Arif Khan, who will create history on Sunday when he takes part in the men's giant slalom event of the Beijing Winter Olympics, says he knew 10 years ago that he would one day represent the country in the global showpiece.
Hailing from a village in Kashmir's Baramulla district, one of the most-frequented tourist spots of the valley, Khan will become the first Indian to compete in two events in a Winter Olympics -- in men's slalom and giant slalom. His slalom event will be held on February 16.
Taking to skiing seemed natural to Khan as his father Yasin owns a ski equipment shop at Gulmarg which is near his village. He was introduced to skiing at the age of four by his father who had made a small ski slope just outside the shop.
Khan began competitive skiing when he was 10 years old and at 12, he won a gold medal in the slalom at the national championship.
In 2011, Khan won two gold medals -- in the slalom and giant slalom -- at the South Asian Winter Games in Dehradun and Auli.
"So, I was the fastest skier in India by then. After the gold medals, I knew that I will one day represent the country in Winter Olympics, it was going to be only a matter of time," Khan told PTI from the Games Village in Beijing.
"I should have qualified (for Winter Olympics) earlier but it did not happen due to certain reasons. So, it will be a dream come true moment (on Sunday). I am proud to represent 1.4 billion Indians and to put my region in Olympics map," said the 31-year-old.
India had declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games after China fielded the regimental commander of the People's Liberation Army, who was injured during the 2020 military face-off with Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, as a torchbearer for the event's Torch Relay.
"It was the country's decision and the call from the government and I have no issues with that. You cannot go against the decision of the government of your country. I was happy with whatever I was doing," Khan said.
"I was feeling great for my people back home. A lot of people sent me messages for this great moment. I knew that entire India would see me holding the (national) flag during the opening ceremony (on February 4) and they must be proud of me." Khan has taken part in four FIS World Ski Championships so far, starting from 2013. His best result has been 45th in the giant slalom at the 2021 edition in Italy.
Just before leaving for Beijing, Khan had said that he would be happy if he can make it to the top-30 in his events.
"It's a difficult and complicated event, you never know what will happen on a day. You have to be conscious about your movement, balance of your body, of your skiis, the speed till the last gate.
"I am hoping for a good performance but under such conditions it is difficult to predict anything. I am trying to keep my balance on the ice. I need to carry with my balance till the last gate if I want to finish in top numbers. I am doing fine in that regard.
"I am not feeling any pressure. The conditions are superb here -- food, training, accommodation etc. We are allowed to go only within the close loop, so there is no COVID fears also. We are being tested everyday and it's not a hassle." He said the skii course in Beijing -- or for that matter in other top class events -- is much different from the ones he had trained and so adjustment is not easy.
"The ice is different here, it is injected ice. These are used in this kind of top global events. These are costly to maintain and you don't get it during training. I have done training for the past few days after arriving here and getting used to it. But you never know, you can't predict how you will fare." Before the Beijing Games, Khan had trained at Innsbruck in Austria.
Slalom and giant slalom are two of the five events in Alpine skiing. The athletes are required to ski down a vertical slope through 'gates', which consist of of two plastic poles.
A skier will run two races and the competitor with the lowest combined time across the two courses is deemed the winner.
Slalom is more difficult technically than giant slalom as the former has the shortest course and fastest turns with the least spacing between the 'gates'.
Also Read : Puneri Paltan beat Haryana Steelers in PKL
News Source : PTI
Pro League: Unbeaten Indian men’s hockey team look to end South Africa sojourn on winning note
Potchefstroom (South Africa), Feb 11 (Hockey News) Having begun their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/2022 campaign with two comprehensive wins on the trot, a confident India men’s hockey team will hope to keep the juggernaut rolling when it takes on France here on Saturday.
In the opening match, India beat France 5-0 where Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Shamsher Singh, Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh, who was playing his 200th international match, scored goals.
"It was good to start off the campaign with a win. Our first quarter was patchy but after the first quarter we played a rather composed game. We played to our structure and converted from the chances we created," stated India skipper Manpreet Singh.
Despite the win, Manpreet believes France is an unpredictable team and on a good day they can pull off a surprise any team.
"It's important we don't take them lightly when we play against them on Saturday. We saw what France is capable of when they played against Netherlands.
"The match went into a shootout after 2-2 draw and eventually they lost in the shootout. Even when we played against them, they created good chances to score," he added.
India are slated to take on hosts South Africa a day later on Sunday and the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist will vie to end their South African sojourn on a winning note.
India had hammered South Africa 10-2 on Wednesday.
New comer Jugraj Singh scored a hat-trick of goals with Gursahibjit Singh and Dilpreet Singh scoring braces.
Harmanpreet, new comer Abhishek, and Mandeep Singh were the other goal scorers for India.
Though it was a big-margin victory for India, Manpreet expressed that there were several aspects the team could have done better particularly in the second half.
"Definitely the highlight of this match was both new comers in the team Jugraj and Abhishek scoring goals and also creating opportunities.
"But when we watched the videos from this match, we definitely felt that as a team, we could have done better in the second half. There were lapses in the defence, which allowed South Africa to come back into the game and we didn't carry on the same tempo with which we started the match." The skipper hopes to achieve more consistency in the remaining to games.
"We will need to play consistently in all four quarters and that will focus on doing that in the upcoming two matches against France and South Africa. It will obviously be good if we can end the tour with winning points," he concluded. India is currently placed third in the pool standings behind Netherlands and Belgium respectively who have played four matches. They will take on France on Saturday followed by South Africa on Sunday.
Both matches start 9:30pm IST.
Also Read : Dutch women's team pulls out of FIH Pro League games in India due to COVID surge in Netherlands
News Source : PTI
Sindhu, Mirabai among five nominees for BBC Indian Sportswoman of the year award
New Delhi, Feb 8 (Sports News) Two-time Olympic medallist badminton star P V Sindhu and Tokyo silver winner weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu were among the five nominees for the BBC Indian Sportswoman (ISWOTY) of the Year award announced here on Tuesday.
Besides Sindhu and Mirabai, star golfer Aditi Ashok, multiple medal winner at Tokyo Paralympics in shooting Avani Lekhara, Tokyo bronze winner boxer Lovlina Borgohain were the other three nominees, shortlisted by an distinguished jury of sports journalists, experts and sports writers.
"Success doesn’t come easy, it's not just few months of hard work, but years of hard work. Every day is a process, that’s how you come up to a certain level," Sindhu, who won a bronze at Tokyo Olympics to go with her silver five years back at Rio de Janeiro, said in a release.
Online voting for the award will remain open until February 28 and the winner will be revealed on March 28 at a ceremony here.
Aditi Ashok, who finished fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics said: "I am grateful and thankful because this was a good year for me, and I had some great performances. I am happy that golf is becoming more popular in India." The awards ceremony will also honour a legendary sportswoman with the BBC Lifetime Achievement award, and a young female player will be named as the BBC Emerging Player of the Year.
Also Read : Deepak Hooda helps Jaipur Pink Panthers overcome Gujarat Giants
News Source : PTI
Upbeat Indian men face France in FIH Pro League Hockey opener
Potchefstroom (South Africa), Feb 7 (Hockey News) Carrying the mantle of Olympic bronze medallists has added "some pressure" as India begin their campaign in the 2021-22 FIH Pro League Hockey with a match against France here on Tuesday.
After France, the Manpreet Singh-led side will face hosts South Africa on Wednesday.
The tournament will be the Indian team's first competitive assignment of the year.
Speaking about whether the Olympic bronze medallists tag adds any pressure on his wards, chief coach Graham Reid said, "Realistically, yes, it does add some pressure, but I don't think it is more than the pressure we put on ourselves to perform well.
"Whenever a team does well at a big event like the Olympics, I think other teams take note of that and there is a target on you. It does add extra pressure, but I think the good part about that is that we tend to play our best when we are in such situations." World number three India will fancy their chances against both opponents. India haven't played world No. 13 France since winning the world league 2015 semi-finals.
Asked how the team has settled in South Africa ahead of the upcoming matches, Reid said, "It's great to be in South Africa. We haven't often had the chance to play here at such a high level of competition, so we view this as a great opportunity.
"All the boys understand how difficult it is going to be against these teams here but we are very keen to get the new year off to a positive start." India will once again play France on February 12 before concluding the tour with the second match against South Africa on February 13.
Speaking about the distinct format of competition in the FIH Hockey Pro League, Reid said, "There is a different dynamic in this tournament because you get some time between two matches against the same team, so it is a bit like a multi-nations tournament in some ways.
"It is an interesting format which adds a different aspect for teams when they are preparing for their opponents." Captain Manpreet echoed the coach's sentiments ahead of the game and said that the atmosphere in the team's dressing room is one of excitement.
"The players are excited to get back on the field since the Asian Champions Trophy towards the end of last year. We want to play well and settle into a good rhythm in the beginning of this year, because 2022 is a big year for us with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games lined up this year," said Manpreet.
Also Read : Pro League matches will help Indian team asses itself ahead of major tournaments, says Harmanpreet
News Source : PTI
Days after losing father, Asian champ boxer Pooja Rani set for Strandja Memorial
New Delhi, Feb 7 (Boxing News) From the revelry of her brother's wedding to the utter despair of losing her father, life changed in a matter of five days for two-time Asian champion and Tokyo Olympian boxer Pooja Rani.
But the national champion is back in training here and is all set for her first competitive outing of the season as well, the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament which starts February 18 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
"I got back to the national camp just yesterday," the 81kg category boxer told PTI, her soft voice reflecting the pain and helplessness of being dealt another blow just when things were seemingly going well for her after ending a quarterfinalist in Tokyo Olympics.
She is quite used to life going awry at the most inopportune time.
A career-threatening shoulder injury some years back and burnt hands just before a major tournament bear testimony to Pooja's struggles.
But this hurts more than anything she has endured so far. The death of her father Rajbir Singh, a retired inspector in Haryana Police, is a crushing blow as he was her biggest motivator despite being opposed to her career as a boxer when she started.
"He was my biggest inspiration. I was very close to him. It happened five days after my brother's wedding last month, I had come back to the camp and suddenly around 3 in the morning (on February 1), I was told he died of a heart failure, I rushed home," she recalled before going quiet, unable to revisit the trauma beyond this.
"When I was coming back to the camp after my brother's wedding, he made a victory sign to see me off, I can't get that out of my mind. I keep thinking of about it. It's like I am stuck in that moment," she said.
But life goes on and the Bhiwani-boxer, who also has to her credit a bronze in the 2014 Asian Games, is hoping to make her father proud at the Strandja Memorial.
"Whether I won or lost, all he tried to do was to make me happy. He opposed my love for boxing when I started but once he got around, he was like a pillar, with me through every triumph and every disappointment. I hope I can make him proud.
"I have had very little time to train amid all that has happened but I am hopeful of doing well in Strandja," she said.
The tournament, which is the European season-opener, will feature both male and female boxers. The Indian women's team will be made entirely of the reigning national champions.
Male Tokyo Olympians to skip Strandja Memorial ============================== The men's team is also going to be primarily represented by national champions which means that the five, who competed in Tokyo Olympics, would be waiting for some more time before getting back in action.
Amit Panghal (51kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Manish Kaushik (63.5kg), Ashish Chaudhary (75kg), and Satish Kumar (+91kg) have been training at the national camp in Patiala for the past three weeks but are yet to be competition ready in terms of fitness.
"They will have to skip this one. The fitness levels are not yet what they should be given that they did not compete after Tokyo and resumed training less than a month back," a Boxing Federation of India source told PTI.
Among the national champions who would miss the event are Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), who twisted his ankle some weeks back, Sanjeet (91kg), nursing a shoulder injury, and world championship bronze-winner Akash (54kg).
The two teams are due to leave on February 17 after undergoing pre-departure COVID-19 tests.
The Squads: Men: Govind (48kg), Ankit (51kg), Rajpinder Singh (54kg), Rohit Mor (57kg), Varinder Singh (60kg), Dalvir Singh (63.5kg), Akash (67kg), Rohit Tokas (71kg), Sumit (75kg), Sachin Kumar (81kg), Lakshya Chahar (86kg), Gaurav Chauhan (91kg), Narender (+91kg) Women: Nitu (48kg), Anamika (50kg), Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Shiksha (54kg). Sonia Lather (57kg), Meena Rani (60kg), parveen (63kg), Anjali Tushir (66kg), Arundhati Chaudhary (71kg), Saweety (75kg), Pooja Rani (81kg), Nandini (+81kg).
Also Read : Candidates called by IBA for Board of Directors
News Source : PTI
Pro League matches will help Indian team asses itself ahead of major tournaments, says Harmanpreet
Potchefstroom (South Africa), Feb 7 (Hockey News) Vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh says the FIH Pro League matches against quality sides like France and South Africa will help the Indian men's hockey team assess itself and prepare for other major tournaments later this year.
India are set to take on hosts South Africa and France in the opening matches of their FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 campaign, starting here from Tuesday.
The world No. 3 side will play two matches apiece against both teams on the tour.
"We are really excited for our first assignment of 2022. We begin our season against two quality sides, so it's a great thing. Our focus is to gain momentum, and make a positive start as we approach this year step-by-step.
"These FIH Hockey Pro League matches will certainly help us prepare for the forthcoming major events," Harmanpreet was quoted as saying by Hockey India in a press release.
The Indian team has a packed 12 months ahead with several big-ticket tournaments like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games slated to be played and Harmanpreet feels the Pro League will help the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists iron out the chinks in their armour.
"We have a busy 2022 year, with a lot of important tournaments lined up in the next 12 months, so we need to ensure that we are fully prepared.
"I think the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 matches will not only help us gain the experience but will also give us the understanding about where we stand with regards to our game as well as training.
"You see, there's always room for improvement, so apart from executing our skills and plans, our focus will also remain on improving our game, and that's where I think Pro League matches will play a vital role." India will play their first match against France on Tuesday. The last time both the teams faced each other was during the 2015 Fintro Hockey World League semifinal, with India winning the match 3-2.
Speaking ahead of the game, Harmanpreet said the match will be challenging for his team.
"We haven't played against France in a long time. They are a really good side, and, no doubt, it will be a challenging match for us," he said.
"Our focus will remain on playing good hockey, executing our skills, and making the best out of the opportunities. We are looking forward to tomorrow's match. We will definitely give our 100 per cent, and hopefully, start the campaign with a win." The Manpreet Singh-led India will then square off against the home side South Africa on Wednesday.
The last time both teams faced each other was during the Final of FIH Men's Series Finals in 2019, which India won 5-1.
The overall head-to-head record (since 2013) belongs to the visitors, with India winning all three matches against the hosts.
When asked about facing the World No.10 side, the 26-year-old player said the Indian team is not underestimating the lower-ranked hosts.
"South Africa are a quality team. They are currently ranked 10th in the world, and are capable of beating any team on a given day, so you just can't underestimate them.
"It will certainly be a good challenge for us, and we are really excited to face a good team like South Africa." After a two-day break, India will play France on February 12 followed by hosts South Africa on February 13.
Also Read : I thought about my incredible 21-year-long journey after winning Olympic medal: Sreejesh
News Source : PTI
Powerhouse China seek 9th title, Korea eye maiden triumph in Women's Asian Cup summit clash
Navi Mumbai, Feb 5 (Football News) China would look for an unprecedented ninth title while Korea seek their maiden triumph when the two continental heavyweights square off in the summit clash of the AFC Women's Asian Cup here on Sunday.
China and Korea have defeated two-time defending champions Japan and another title favourite Australia, respectively, en route to the grand finale at the DY Patil Stadium.
History favours China as they have won the tournament seven times on the trot from 1986 to 1999 before adding another one in 2006. They have also been in the top four in every edition from 1986 till now, which is an amazing achievement.
Korea, on the other hand, have reached the last four on four earlier occasions.
Coached by five-time AFC Women's Asian Cup winner Shui Qingxia, China also have a superior head to head record against Korea.
Qingxia said her side's stunning win over defending champions Japan in the semi-finals via penalty shoot-out, after trailing twice in the 120 minutes of play, will inspire them to clinch their first title in 16 years.
"Facing Korea Republic will be difficult. They are a strong opponent and an outstanding team in Asia. They have made plenty of improvements in their game over the years and have some outstanding players," she said on the eve of the summit clash.
"There is no point thinking about past records. In a final, there will be many different scenarios played out and we will have to be prepared. Perseverance equals success and maybe, there might be some unforeseeable circumstances but we will be prepared." Korea have not defeated China in their last seven meetings but head coach Colin Bell is confident that will count for nothing on Sunday.
"I don't see us not having a win against China a problem... it's time now for us to put an end to that (winless streak) and we are ready to put this behind us. We don't want to think about these figures, if we did we wouldn't be here," he said.
"Thankfully we have no injuries and will put in our best 11 in the final. We have depth in our squad so we're flexible to make changes and I'm sure China are the same." If anything, Bell said Korea's heartbreaking loss to China in the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers has helped them mature.
"We have improved so much as a team since last year. We have some really good players in our squad but I don't have to teach Ji So-yun how to play, the aim here is to increase the endurance, fitness and confidence of these players." Having fought back to hold Japan in the group stage and defeating Australia in the quarter-finals, Bell said his players are well prepared for China.
Also Read : Chhangte in focus as Mumbai, Chennaiyin look to steady ship
News Source : PTI
Olympic silver medallist Dahiya, Punia and six other wrestlers to attend special camp in Bulgaria
New Delhi, Feb 4 (Wrestling News) Tokyo Olympics silver winner Ravi Dahiya and 2019 World Championships medallist Deepak Punia, along with six other Indian wrestlers, have been selected for a special camp in Teteven, Bulgaria from February 5 to 23.
The Sports Ministry has approved the training camp on the recommendations of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) keeping in mind the Indian grapplers' preparations for a busy season which includes the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The 14-member squad will include four freestyle, four Greco-Roman wrestlers, four sparring partners and two coaches, a WFI release stated.
Upon their return, they will join the national camp for 83 male wrestlers which is being scheduled at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Sonipat.
At the same time, as many as 48 women wrestlers will be in the national camp in the SAI Centre in Lucknow.
The national camps, being organised by the WFI from February 7 to March 31, are also being fully funded by the sports ministry.
"We appreciate the speedy approval from SAI for the wrestlers' camp and special training ahead of the Asian Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games," WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said in the release.
"With such support by the Ministry and SAI, our athletes can continue to deliver results on the international stage. We have widened our talent pool to ensure good bench strength." Squad for special camp in Bulgaria: Ravi Dahiya, Deepak Punia, Gourav Baliyan and Sandeep Singh (Freestyle); Sunil Kumar, Sajan Bhanwal, Ravi Malik and Ashu (Greco-Roman); Arun, Arun Kumar, Monu Dahiya and Hardeep (sparring partners).
Coaches: Balwant Singh Chikara and SB Prasad.
Also Read : Olympic silver medallist wrestler starts Queens Baton Relay in India
News Source : PTI
I thought about my incredible 21-year-long journey after winning Olympic medal: Sreejesh
New Delhi, Feb 4 (Hockey News) Star Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh said he had his entire career flashed in front of his eyes when he made that last ditch save against Germany in the bronze medal playoff to secure the country's first Olympic medal in hockey in 41 years.
The 33-year-old, a former India hockey captain, formed an important part of the bronze-medal winning Indian team and recently became only the second Indian to win the World Games Athlete of the Year award.
Sreejesh had produced a vital save in the dying moments to repel Germany's penalty corner and ensure India's podium finish at Olympics. "My first thought when we conceded the penalty corner with six seconds of the game remaining was like any other hockey fan; I was really disappointed because we knew Germany was capable of turning the game around in the dying moments. "We had conceded many times in the past in the last seconds of the game and all those painful memories flashed in my mind. However, I knew I had to focus on the moment and I then began to assign everyone their duties, because it becomes hard to focus on one’s responsibilities in such a pressure situation.
"After making that save in the end and winning the match, I became emotional as I thought about the incredible 21-year-long journey I had since I began playing hockey at the GV Raja Sports School," he said in a release.
Sreejesh also opened up about his battle with an ACL injury setback that threatened to bring his career to an early end in 2017 during his guest appearance on Hockey Te Charcha podcast.
"Dealing with that injury was the toughest situation for me because I was in the peak of my career at that point. I was the Captain of the Indian team and I had been performing well and people had just begun to recognise me.
"Hockey was the most important thing in my life at the time and everything else was secondary. Then after getting injured and seeing India continue to play well in my absence, I felt like people started to forget about me.
"That was a very difficult period for me, but I gained a lot of perspective and maturity from that experience which eventually helped me to make my way back into the Indian team." After making his comeback in the national team, Sreejesh was under severe scrutiny from his critics during the World Cup in 2018.
"Age is a very sensitive subject for any athlete in India. Due to my age and my previous injury, people had begun to write me off and were critical of every aspect of my performances.
"It was particularly bad during the World Cup in 2018 when there were a lot of talks in the public of replacing me in the team. Even my father’s health had deteriorated at the time, so overall it was very difficult for me and I had thoughts of retiring at the time.
"I am very grateful to Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann who helped me overcome that situation with his advice."
Also Read : FIH Pro League: Indian men's hockey team heads to Johannesburg for clash against SA, France
News Source : PTI
Para shuttlers Pramod Bhagat, Sukant Kadam begin training in Paris
New Delhi, Feb 4 (Badminton News) Top Indian para shuttlers Pramod Bhagat and Sukant Kadam have begun their preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games with a 10-day training stint in Paris.
Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Bhagat and World No 4 Sukant Kadam are currently training at the "CREPS ile de France" academy in Paris. The duo had trained in Spain for 15 days earlier.
The duo, who are coached by Michel Taalba, Clement Gillot and Fabrice Bernabe, have been training with Mathieu Thomas, who represents France in SL3 category.
"We wanted to get acclimatized to the conditions of courts and weather in Paris as the 2024 Paralympics is going to be held here and that is the final goal and I am working towards the same. We also wanted to understand the thought process and strategy these players use," World No 1 Bhagat said in a release.
Sukant hoped the training stint will help their Olympic preparations.
"With Paris 2024 little more than two years away, we hope that training with the French team will benefit us in our preparation for the big event. Besides we are looking to adapt to the new BWF rule of different grades and levels in the tournament," he said.
Bhagat and Sukant along with other Indian para shuttlers are gearing up for the Spanish International to be held at Cartagena from March 8-13.
"I am really happy that Pramod and Sukant were able to come to France to train with me and also that they can also discover Paris for the Paralympic Games in 2024," Thomas said.
"It's a great opportunity to have them because it's been a long time since I played internationally because of the Covid. I have the best player in the world and he is for me the best training partner I can have. they are real friends and I am happy to build a real strong relationship." The Indian duo recently were present at the French capital to watch Lionel Messi play for PSG.
Also Read : Unnati claims women's singles title, becomes youngest Indian to win Super 100 tournament
News Source : PTI
Medvedev, Raducanu among the nominees at Laureus breakthrough of the year award
(Sports news) The Laureus World Sports Academy announced the nominees in various categories for the annual awards. There are two tennis players and track field athletes among the breakthrough of the year nominees. Neeraj Chopra has been nominated for the first time and is the only Indian in the list this year. Sachin Tendulkar and Vinesh Phogat are the only other Indians who have been nominated in the past; the awards have been handed out since 2000. Here are the six nominees for the breakthrough of the year.
A first time nominee, Titmus is one of the rising stars in women's 200-metre and 400-metre freestyle. The 20 year old won the gold in 200m and 400m at the Tokyo Olympics with a new Olympic record. She also defeated defending champion Katie Ledecky in both events, Titmus won a total of four medals at Tokyo as she had a silver in 800m and bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
India’s history in track and field at the Olympics has seen athletes coming close to the podiums but Neeraj Chopra provided one of the biggest achievements in Indian sporting history. The 24 year old won the gold in the Javelin throw event at the Tokyo Olympics as he became India’s first ever track and field medal winner.
Medvedev has been having a splendid time on tour with two runners and one Grand Slam victory in the past 12 months. The Russian is leading the next gen army and has the potential to take over the biggest stage in the sport. The world number 2 is 1000 points away from the number 1 spot, he has a chance at making history and is only becoming more competitive at every major.
The teenager could not have had a better outing in a trip to her second Grand Slam. Raducanu was the top player in the women’s draw without a doubt as she drew inspiration to take the title and her rankings has been improving every time she hits a ball on court. The 2021 US Open champion strikes the ball hard and can win more big titles in the coming months.
Rojas celebrating her world record performance in the triple jump event was one of the highlights at Tokyo Olympics. She broke a 16 year old record as in her final jump she took the gold and currently holds the record. Rojas is also a four time world champion and holds the national record in long jump for Venezuela.
One of the promising midfielders in FC Barcelona, the teenager is having a successful stint with the club. He is the only footballer in the breakthrough nominees and has been nominated for the first time. He was the player of the tournament in the European championships last year and can cover both ends of the field with his adaptability.
WC medal is my next target, says hockey goalkeeper Sreejesh after Tokyo high
New Delhi, Feb 2 (Hockey News) At 33, P R Sreejesh is in the twilight of his career, but the veteran Indian hockey goalkeeper is in no mood to call it quits anytime soon as he is eyeing a World Cup medal to add to his Tokyo Olympics bronze before deciding the future course of his career.
Sreejesh, who made his senior team debut in 2006, is regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in world hockey.
Sreejesh, who captained the national team to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics, was also a part of the 2014 gold medal-winning Asian Games squad but his most cherished dream was fulfilled in last year's Tokyo Olympics when India won a historic bronze after a hiatus of 41 years.
But the senior custodian is still not satisfied as he aims to win a World Cup medal next year before taking a call on his future, which includes the 2024 Paris Olympics.
"The Olympic medal was a dream but I still have a chance to better the colour of the medal. 2022 is very important for us which starts with the FIH Pro League and then we have the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games," said Sreejesh, who became only the second Indian after women's team skipper Rani Rampal to win the 'World Games Athlete of the Year' award.
"The Asian Games will give us a direct berth in the Paris Olympics, so there is as an added motivation. In the last World Cup, we couldn't qualify for the semifinals, so winning a medal in the World Cup will complete my goal." For Sreejesh, setting short-term goals is his priority now, saying the day he feels lack of motivation towards the game, he will not hesitate to call it quits.
"Our focus now is on the next Olympic cycle which starts this year. First we have the Pro League which will help in creating a strong base for us.
"For a goalkeeper, age is not a big barrier. It's about how passionate you are about the game. Personally, I am not setting any long-term target. My short-term goal next is the World Cup to be held in India," he said.
Asked what still drives him to wake up every morning and go through the grind, Sreejesh said: "Wearing the blue jersey is not possible for everyone. Only a lucky person gets that opportunity but for that, you need to work hard and that's what gives you the motivation." Sreejesh will be returning to the Indian team in the upcoming FIH Pro League matches against South Africa and France to be held Potchefstroom from February 8 to 13 after a hiatus of six months.
And the experienced goalkeeper said the break helped him re-energise after the Tokyo Olympics.
"The break was much-needed. It helped me develop a bond with my family. We went for a holiday and the kids enjoyed a lot. I spend some quality time with my family. The holiday was a rejuvenating experience for me," Sreejesh said.
Also Read : India beat China in back-to-back matches in women's FIH Pro League, win second game 2-1
News Source : PTI
Dabang Delhi K.C. battle Jaipur Pink Panthers, Tamil Thalaivas take on Telugu Titans
Bengaluru, Feb 2 (Kabaddi News) Dabang Delhi K.C. will take on Jaipur Pink Panthers before Tamil Thalaivas lock horns with Telugu Titans in the southern derby of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) here on Thursday.
Dabang Delhi have found their mojo again after a few hiccups in the absence of star raider Naveen Kumar. They will, however, be up against a Jaipur team that thwarted Patna Pirates in its previous outing.
Dabang Delhi suffered a minor blip in the matches that followed Naveen Kumar's knee injury. But the team of experienced stars have found their footing and suddenly look favourites to clinch a playoff spot.
Manjeet Chhillar has been at his best in the cover positions while Sandeep Narwal and Vijay have donned the all-rounder roles to perfection.
The Delhi defence will face a difficult test against Jaipur's Arjun Deshwal and Deepak Hooda. The former has been outstanding for the Pink Panthers this season. His success ratio has made him one of the best raiders in the country and will be Jaipur's key weapon against Delhi.
Joginder Narwal, who mans the left corner, and Jeeva Kumar in the right cover position, aren't the fastest on the mat, which should give Arjun opportunities to exploit.
Deepak Hooda will need to attack the other end of the mat so that Delhi have no time to settle into a defensive pattern.
Jaipur's defence has been jittery this season but against Patna, they were incredibly effective. Sandeep Dhull, Vishal and Sahul Kumar will provide another stellar performance to stop the young raiding duo of Ashu Malik and Neeraj Narwal. Both youngsters are slowly finding the rhythm and will pose a threat if allowed to settle.
Tamil Thalaivas have been among the unluckiest sides in the tournament with six ties and a few last-raid defeats.
Coach Uday Kumar will be hoping his team can iron out these mistakes in the dying minutes to win the upcoming matches. A victory will be important for them to stay in the hunt for a playoff place.
Telugu Titans have been poor throughout the season, partly due to injuries to key players such as Siddharth Desai, Rohit Kumar and Rajnish. The teams shared the spoils in a highly entertaining 40-40 tie in the reverse fixture but Thalaivas go into the match as the favourites.
They thrashed Bengaluru Bulls in their previous outing with the defensive combination of Sagar and M. Abishek doing wonders. Right corner Sagar will be up against Titans' Adarsh T. which should set up an interesting personal battle.
Raider Adarsh and defender Sandeep Kandola have been the only consistent performers for the Titans. They have had the advantage of a week-long rest which should have helped the injury-laden team energise.
The Titans, languishing at the bottom of the table, are pretty much out of the race for a playoff spot but they still can fight for their pride and bragging rights in the derby.
Also Read : Manager of India's Winter Olympics contingent tests COVID positive upon arrival in Beijing
News Source : PTI
Manager of India's Winter Olympics contingent tests COVID positive upon arrival in Beijing
Beijing, Feb 2 (Sports News) The manager of India's Winter Olympics contingent, Mohammad Abbas Wani, has tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at the Beijing Airport here.
Abbas Wani is a part of the six-member Indian delegation at the Winter Olympics where Jammu and Kashmir skier Arif Khan is the only athlete from the country to have qualified this time. Arif will be competing in Slalom and Giant Slalom events during the Games.
The contingent also includes Harjinder Singh as its chef de mission, Ludar Chand Thakur as alpine coach, Puran Chand as technician and Roop Chand Negi as team official.
"I am in quarantine in my hotel room at Olympic village & have been asked to restrict my movement within the room only until the results of my 2nd Covid test. I am completely fine & asymptomatic," he tweeted.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra informed about Abbas Wani's positive COVID result and said chef de mission Harjinder is coordinating with the Winter Olympics organisers for a re-test.
"The manager of the Indian contingent Mr. Abbas Wani tested COVID positive at Beijing Airport. The chef de mission Mr. Harjinder Singh is coordinating for a re-test.
"The athlete and his coach have been shifted to another flat to avoid any interaction," Batra said.
The Beijing Winter Olympics will be held from February 4 to 20.
Also Read : Beijing 2022 athletes invited to sign Olympic Truce Mural
News Source : PTI
India beat China in back-to-back matches in women's FIH Pro League, win second game 2-1
Muscat, Feb 1 (Hockey News) Indian women's team continued to make waves in the FIH Pro League as it dished out yet another masterclass to beat China 2-1 and move to the top of the standings here on Tuesday.
After defeating China 7-1 in their debut match on Monday, the Indians emerged 2-1 victorious against the same opponents at the Sultan Qaboos Complex on Tuesday. While the win was not as goal-heavy as the previous day, what India showed was an ability to play swift, attacking hockey without losing composure.
A lack of experience and a certain level of weariness seemed to beset the China women’s team right from the opening whistle of their second FIH Hockey Pro League match against India.
Lost possession, misplaced passes and a reluctance to get back and defend contributed to a lacklustre first half performance by the Chinese team.
India, by contrast, started the match with high levels of energy and an appetite for attacking play that rocked their opponents even further.
Pressure exerted by the Indians on the Chinese defence paid off quickly. A penalty corner in the third minute was converted with precision by Gurjit Kaur -- to add to the goal she scored in the first match on Monday.
China were fortunate not to be further behind at the end of the first 15 minutes. India created several scoring opportunities but these either flew wide of the opposition goal or were dealt with by Wu Surong in China goal.
In the second half, China seemed to rally. They defended with more conviction and India were finding it difficult to contain Chinese attack.
As India struggled to regain the free-flowing play of the first half, China began to make their own incursions into the Indian circle.
A lovely pass that split the Indian defence left Wang Shumin with just Savita to beat. The Indian goalkeeper rushed forward but Wang was able to place the ball in the corner and restore both parity and her team’s confidence levels.
A series of penalty corners was the India's answer to the Chinese revival but each attempt was dealt with by a resolute defence.
The final quarter saw India attack with a renewed vigour. Monika was particularly visible as she led the team forward. The hard work paid off as India won a penalty corner almost instantly. Ekka Deep Grace saw her shot fly wide but the notice had been served -- India were intent on all three points.
Wu Surong was quickly out of her goal to smother a fast break from Kaur Navneet. The Chinese keeper was playing in only her seventh senior international and this save showed she was quickly adapting to the pace of hockey.
However, Wu Surong had no chance when Gurjit Kaur stepped up for yet another penalty corner. The penalty corner specialist made no mistake as she slotted the ball home to double her team’s score.
As the quarter counted down, India continued to pile on the pressure but they were also happy to try new things. They transferred the ball across the pitch with confidence and the effect upon China was to deepen the levels of fatigue within the team.
If India’s head coach Janneke Schopman were to be disappointed with anything about her team’s performance it would likely be the fact that 33 circle penetrations only yielded six shots at goal.
Monika was named Player of the Match for the influential role she played.
"I am really happy with our performance over the two matches against China. It was great to play as a unit like we played at the last Olympics. We are playing with freedom and it's really enjoyable," she said.
Also Read : On debut, India drub China 7-1 in Women's FIH Pro League
News Source : PTI
Beijing 2022 athletes invited to sign Olympic Truce Mural
(More on sports) The Olympic Truce Murals at the Olympic Villages of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 was inaugurated today during a ceremony at the Flag Mall of the Beijing Olympic Village.
Placed at the heart of all Olympic Villages since the Olympic Winter Games Turin 2006, the Olympic Truce Mural is a strong symbol of the power of sport to bring the world together in peaceful competition and create opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation. The concept of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Truce Mural, named “Light of Peace”, is inspired by traditional Chinese lanterns symbolising light, peace and reunion.
On the symbolic date of the Chinese New Year, the inauguration of the Mural took place during a ceremony attended by IOC President Thomas Bach and Beijing 2022 Vice-President Yang Shu’an, along with the IOC Vice-Presidents, members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. The two leaders were the first to sign the Mural. “It is a truly auspicious moment to inaugurate the Olympic Truce Mural today on Chinese New Year,” said the IOC President in his speech.
President Bach acknowledged the ambassadors to promote peace and human understanding: “Over the coming days, you will compete fiercely against one another. At the same time, you will be living together peacefully and respectfully under one roof, in the Olympic Village. In this way, you will show us what the world can look like if we all respect the same rules and each other. This is the true Olympic spirit. This is the message of the Olympic Games: bringing the world together in peaceful competition. In this Olympic spirit, I invite you to leave your signature on the Olympic Truce Mural to show your commitment to this mission of peace for the Olympic Games.”
The IOC President also addressed political leaders by saying: “Today, we call on all political leaders around the world to observe their commitment to this Olympic Truce.”
Beijing 2022 Vice-President Yang added: “Setting up the Olympic Truce Mural and encouraging all ‘villagers’ to express their wish for peace by signing is the best implementation of the United Nations [UN] Olympic Truce Resolution. “I hope the ‘Light of Peace’ will bring the warmth of home to everyone in the cold winter, light up new hopes and convey our good wishes of pursuing peace, enhancing mutual understanding and working together for a shared future.”
The Olympic Truce for Beijing 2022 was established in the UN resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, which was adopted by consensus at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on 2 December 2021. It was co-sponsored by 173 UN Member States, demonstrating the widespread support and recognition by the international community of the power of sport and the relevance of the Olympic Winter Games to bring the world together in peaceful competition, providing hope for a better future. The tradition of the Olympic Truce, or “Ekecheiria", dates back to the 9th century BC in Ancient Greece as a period during which war and conflict ceased to allow for safe travel to and from the ancient Olympic Game
Sreejesh becomes second Indian to win World Games Athlete of the Year Award
New Delhi, Jan 31 (Hockey News) Veteran India hockey goalkeeper PR Srejeesh on Monday won the prestigious World Games Athlete of the Year for his 2021 performances, becoming only the second Indian to receive the accolade.
In 2020, Indian women's hockey captain Rani Rampal became the first Indian to win the honour for her performances in 2019.
Sreejsh beat competition from sport climber Alberto Ginés López of Spain and Italy's wushu player Michele Giordano for the award.
"I'm very honoured to win this award. First of all, a big thank you to FIH for nominating me for this award, and secondly thanks to all the Indian hockey lovers around the world, who voted for me," Sreejesh said in a statement.
Sreejesh, a former India hockey captain and part of the Tokyo Olympics-bronze medal winning side, received 1,27,647 votes, whereas Lopez and Giordane accumulated 67,428 and 52,046 votes respectively.
Sreejesh was the only Indian nominated and was recommended by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
In the FIH Stars Awards in October, Sreejesh was named the goalkeeper of the year for 2021.
Also Read : India will look to build on their recent showings in FIH Pro League, say coach and captain
News Source : PTI
Aditi finishes T-13 as Lydia Ko wins title at Gainbridge
Boca Raton (US), Jan 31 (Golf News) Indian golfer Aditi Ashok got her 2022 season off to a solid start with a T-13 finish at the Gainbridge LPGA here.
A fourth-place finisher at the Tokyo Olympics, Aditi, who shot 66 on the first day, closed the week with three birdies against a lone bogey for 2-under 70 that saw her total 4-under 284.
Aditi might well have been inside the top-10 finishers but for the third round in cold and windy conditions which saw her shoot 76 and drop down the leaderboard.
The Indian, who just got two welcome sponsorships from Hyundai and Radisson, was pleased with her start to the season.
“Nice start to my 2022 season here at Boca Rio at Gainbridge LPGA. Had a lot of fun playing in the Pro-Am with young girls,” she tweeted.
Gracious as ever, she also thanked the volunteers and all those involved with the tournament and her supporters.
Lydia Ko became the first player to reach 17 wins before the age of 25 since Nancy Lopez captured her 17th title in 1979.
Lydia (69) held off a strong challenge from Danielle Kang (68) and she later said the birdie on the Par-4 15th tilted the scales in her favour.
The Kiwi star added another birdie on No. 16 before getting up and down out of the greenside bunker on No. 18 to seal the win at 14-under overall.
Kang finished runner-up, a week after winning the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
Yuka Saso (67) was sole third, two shots back of Ko, while Charley Hull (68) and Celine Boutier (69) shared fourth at 11-under.
Lexi Thompson (68) finished in a tie for sixth on 7-under with Brooke Henderson (68), while Nelly Korda shot 2-under 76 to conclude the week in a tie for 20th at -2.
Korda is expected to lose the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings to Jin Young Ko, who is projected to assume the spot for the fourth time of her career despite not competing in Boca Raton.
Also Read : Hovland rallies to win Dubai Desert Classic, Sharma finishes 75th
News Source : PTI
Aditi cards even par, stays in Top-5 at Gainbridge on LPGA
Boca Rio (US), Jan 29 (Golf News) Indian golfer Aditi Ashok carded a sedate even par 72 in the second round to slip to tied fifth at the Gainbridge LPGA here.
There were no fireworks from Aditi, who after a six-under 66 on the first day, slipped two places on Friday.
Danielle King (68) moved into the lead at 11-under alongside Lydia Ko (70).
Aditi, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, bogeyed second and seventh and birdied fifth and eighth and parred the entire back nine of the course.
This is Aditi's first start in 2022 and a good finish here will help her to build a fine season on the LPGA.
Meanwhile, Nishtha Madan, making her LPGA debut, exited early with rounds of 77-80.
Ko had four birdies for a two-under 70 in the second round, while Kang had five birdies against one bogey.
Two players are four shots behind Kang and Ko at -7, including Jodi Ewart Shadoff (69), who will round out Saturday's final grouping off No. 1 tee.
The other is Yuka Saso (70), the 2021 US Women's Open champion. Saso has not missed a cut on Tour since accepting LPGA Tour Membership after that victory.
A group of five individuals, including Aditi share the fifth spot at six-under overall. As many as 74 players made the cut at one-over.
Also Read : Tense closing birdie helps Sharma make cut at Dubai Desert Classic golf
News Source : PTI
Women's Asia Cup hockey: India beat China 2-0 to win consolation bronze
Muscat, Jan 28 (Hockey News) Last edition champions India defeated China 2-0 to win a consolation bronze medal at the women's Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Friday.
The Indians left behind the disappointment of their semifinal defeat to Korea and controlled the proceedings in the first two quarters, scoring two goals in the process, to go into half time with a 2-0 lead against China.
They, however, failed to score any more goals in the second half.
The Indians started brightly and earned a couple of penalty corners and from one such situation, Sharmila Devi gave her side the lead in the 13th minute, scoring from a rebound after Gurjit Kaur's initial flick was saved by the Chinese defence.
India continued in the same vein in the second quarter and had the better share of chances.
The Indians kept up the pressure on the Chinese defence with relentless raids and secured another penalty corner in the 19th minute which was converted by Gurjit with a superb drag-flick to make the scoreline 2-0.
China responded swiftly, securing a penalty corner which was brilliantly kept away by India captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia.
Down by two goals, China came out with more intent after the change of ends and tried to put pressure on the Indian defence but to no avail.
The Indians kept up the pressure on the Chinese defence at the start of the fourth and final quarter but failed to create any clear cut chances.
China earned a penalty corner 10 minutes before time but the Indians defended in numbers to thwart any danger to their citadel.
Towards the end of the match, China pressed hard and secured three consecutive penalty corners with two minutes left in the clock but lacked in final execution as the chances went wasted.
Japan will be up against Korea in the summit clash later on Friday.
Lack of match practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic after finishing a historic fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, cost defending champions India dearly as they produced inconsistent performances in crucial matches to crash out of the title race.
After thrashing lowly Malaysia 9-0 in their opener, India suffered a 0-2 defeat against Asian Games champions Japan before beating Singapore 9-1 to qualify for the semifinals.
But in the semifinals, some sloppy defending and poor penalty corner conversions put paid to India's hopes as they were beaten 2-3 by Korea.
Also Read : ACT disappointment was a good learning experience ahead of busy 2022: Reid
News Source : PTI
ACT disappointment was a good learning experience ahead of busy 2022: Reid
New Delhi, Jan 28 (Hockey News) Still smarting from the semifinal exit at the Asia Champions Trophy, Indian men's hockey team chief coach Graham Reid on Friday said the setback came as a reality check for the Tokyo Olympic bronze medal winners ahead of a busy calendar year.
Defending champions India were stunned 3-5 by Japan in the semifinal of the ACT in Dhaka last month.
"It's always difficult. You have to be put in situations. Everybody including myself hated that semifinal loss to Japan in ACT. No one likes to experience something like that. But sometimes you have to experience that to learn from it," Reid said in a virtual press conference.
"The message after that tournament was 'Look this is what happens if we don't treat every single game with the utmost importance. I think it was really good learning experience." Reid said his message to the team after the historic Olympic medal was straight forward: "This is just the beginning and not the end of the road" and the loss against Japan will act as reminder for them ahead of a busy year that includes FIH Pro league matches, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
"Straight after the Olympics I also said that 'This is not it, this is just the start' and that's has been our message from the moment we won the bronze medal in Tokyo.
"...we have to take the best out of the opprtiunities from here," he said.
India will start the year with back-to-back Pro League ties against South Africa and France in Potchefstroom from February 8 to 13.
Olympic bronze medal-winning captain Manpreet Singh will lead a 20-member Indian team in the double-leg contests in South Africa.
The team will also have its veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh back besides getting two new faces -- young dragflicker Jugraj Singh and striker Abhishek.
"We were able to do that in Bangladesh (give chances to new players). We were able to give the players who haven't had the opportunity for a while. "We also needed to bring back some of the other players who haven't had a game since the Olympics. The other important message is that these will be very tough games, we are taking them pretty seriously so the team we picked is reflective of that," the coach said about the squad.
Talking about the two new players, Reid said: "Jugraj is quite a versatile player who can play in both midfield and defence. He is also very quick when he dragflicks. I am quite excited if we can get him little more consistent where he puts them.
"Abhishek likes scoring goals, a prolific scorer. He is strong and young." The Australian tactician is also impressed with the longevity and commitment of veteran goalkeeper Sreejesh.
"He (Sreejesh) is back again, he had a long break but you don't get to play so long for your country as he has without being open to new ideas and changes and development and continual improvement. You have to have the same drive and same commitment that you had when you are 19." The coach was also full of appreciation for skipper Manpreet's competitive spirit.
"One of the things you see with Manpreet is that there is a competitiveness, that internal drive to better and to win is something that you can't teach people, you have to experience, learn and develop it. When you see Manpreet play he brings in that competitive spirit," Reid said.
Skipper Manpreet too highlighted the importance of starting the year on a positive note.
"It's a very important year for the team. It's a good opportunity for us to play matches against France and South Africa and we hope to start the new year on a winning note and make good progress. It's a very important tour for us," he said.
"In ACT there were quite a few new players, a new team. We needed to give chance to other players and see their improvement. This year is very important for us. We have Pro League, CWG, Asia Cup, Asian Games and World Cup next year."
Also Read : Manpeet to lead India in FIH Pro League; Jugraj, Abhishek to make debuts
News Source : PTI
Coleman set to make a comeback in the 60m at Millrose Games
(Sports news) The 114th edition of the Millrose Games will see the 100m stars compete to take the prize in the 60m sprinting track. The 2016 world indoor gold medalist Trayvon Bromell will take to the tracks close by world record-holder Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, Marvin Bracy, Ronnie Baker and Jamaica's Omar McLeod.
Coleman returned to competition a few weeks ago and if he runs anywhere near his world record of 6.34 secs, he should be unbeatable. Baker also is fast off the blocks, with the second-fastest timing in the field of 6.40 seconds and he improved his 100m best to 9.83 seconds at Tokyo.
This will be an opportunity for Bromell, who went into the Olympics as the men's 100m contender but made his exit in the quarterfinals, he ended the 2021 season with a joint 6th fastest in history in the 100m with a 9.76 sec at Nairobi. Even though Bromell and Coleman are also a rivalry to watch out for 100m races in the upcoming races, the duo are sure to set the fireworks right from the start of the year.
Defending Olympic champions Ryan Crouser, Athing Mu and Katie Nageotte will also be participating in the first World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting of the season. Crouser has been on an unbeaten streak since last year and had set world records in indoor and outdoor shot put. He also claimed his second straight Olympic gold at Tokyo by a long margin as there is no competition for Crouser right now. It's currently a year since the 29-year-old broke the world indoor record of 22.82m in Atlanta and, having tossed 23.37m outside, the 23-meter boundary has been crossed multiple times by the champion. He has had a huge lead in terms of the throws with his closest competitor this time, Payton Otterdahl, having thrown 21.81m at his peak.
The women's 60m is similarly stacked with talent, and teen sensation Briana Williams, who broke the 11 second barrier in the 100m last year and helped Jamaica win gold in the 4x100m relay in Tokyo, will be one to watch. Gabby Thomas of the United States, who won Olympic silver in the 200m at Tokyo with a time of 21.61, is also in the mix, with her 60m best of 7.21 looking ripe for adjustment. English Gardner, Aleia Hobbs, and Mikiah Brisco, all from the United States, should be in the mix as well.
Asia Cup Hockey: India's title hopes dashed after losing 2-3 to Korea in semifinal
Muscat, Jan 26 (Hockey News) The Indian women's hockey team's hopes of defending the Asia Cup title went up in smoke as Korea secured a come-from-behind 2-3 win to qualify for the final of the continental event at the Sultan Qaboos Complex here on Wednesday.
India started brightly and took the lead in the 28th minute through Vandana Katariya before Korea made a brilliant comeback after the change of ends and scored thrice through skipper Enubi Cheon (31st), Seung Ju Lee (45th) and Hyejin Cho (47th) to stun the holders.
India will play China in the third-fourth place play-off match on Friday.
Japan defeated China 2-1 in the second semifinal to set up a title clash with Korea.
If the first two quarters belonged to India, the Koreans dominated the game after the half-time break.
India earned a penalty corner early in the first quarter but Gurjit Kaur's flick was saved by the Korean goalkeeper.
Minutes later Shamila Devi's reverse hit from top of the circle flew inches over the goal.
Lalremsiami gave India the lead soon from close range but the goal was disallowed because of a foul inside the circle.
Seconds from the end of the first quarter, Vandana's reverse hit try was saved from close range by the Korean custodian.
The Indians came close twice and were by far the better side on display but failed to translate their chances into goals.
The Koreans looked dangerous on the counter but the Indian defence was up to the task.
In the second quarter Korea secured their first penalty corner but failed to breach the Indian defence as skipper Savita produced a double save.
Two minutes from the breather, India secured back-to-back penalty corners and Vandana this time scored with a rebound from the second set piece to give the defending champions a 1-0 lead at half time.
The Koreans came out a completely different side after the breather and drew parity in the 31st minute when Cheon scored a scrappy goal from a penalty corner after the initial shot was saved by Savita.
Poor penalty corner conversion cost India dearly as once again Gurjit was off target.
Just at the stroke of the third quarter, Korea surprised India by taking the lead through Lee as Savita made a mess of a routine save.
Two minutes into the fourth and final quarter, Korea made it 3-1 in their favour when Cho pushed in the ball past an off-balance Savita after receiving a pass from Hyejeong Shin.
With time running out, Lalremsiami reduced the margin for India six minutes from the hooter, guiding in Vandana's high ball but it was too little too late.
Also Read : Focussed on winning Asian Games to qualify for Paris Olympics, youngsters will get opportunities: Sreejesh
News Source : PTI
Param Vishisht Seva Medal for Olympic champion Subedar Neeraj Chopra
New Delhi, Jan 25 (Sports News) Subedar Neeraj Chopra, who created history last year by winning India's first athletics gold medal in Olympics, was awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal on Tuesday for his distinguished service.
Chopra, a Subedar with the 4 Rajputana Rifles in the Indian Army, had produced a second-round throw of 87.58m in the javelin throw finals at Tokyo Olympics in August 2021 to win the gold medal.
The Indian Army on Tuesday released a "list of Army personnel awarded for their gallantry and distinguished service on the occasion of Republic Day 2022".
Along with Chopra, 18 other serving and retired personnel of the Indian Army have been awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal.
Chopra was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018 and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020 for his excellence in sports.
Chopra was enrolled into the 4 Rajputana Rifles as a Naib Subedar on May 15, 2016. After joining the Army, he was selected for training at the 'Mission Olympics Wing' as well as at the Army Sports Institute, Pune.
The Mission Olympics Wing is an initiative by the Indian Army to identify and train promising sportspersons in 11 disciplines for various national and international competitions.
Also Read : Bengaluru Bulls eye revenge against U Mumba (PKL)
News Source : PTI
Focussed on winning Asian Games to qualify for Paris Olympics, youngsters will get opportunities: Sreejesh
New Delhi, Jan 25 (Hockey News) Veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh on Tuesday said the Indian men's hockey side's main focus is qualifying for the Paris Olympics by winning the Asian Games this year besides giving opportunities to youngsters.
He said that a lot of youngsters will be given opportunities in a hectic year for the team in which it will compete in marquee events like the Commonwealth Games and Asiad.
The Tokyo Olympic bronze medal-winning side will begin the year with the FIH Hockey Pro League, starting next month.
"After every Olympics we plan for next four years. So after Tokyo we have already started planning for the Paris Olympics," Sreejesh said during a virtual media interaction.
"There are a lot of changes that are going to happen in the team (for Paris), lot of new comers are going to be added into the core group," he added.
Sreejesh is a part of the International Institute of Sports Management's initiative in which 18 of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics medallist have come together to recite the national anthem in a video, which was released on Monday.
Asked if it is the right time to groom youngsters with the Paris Olympics only two years away, Sreejesh said with several fixtures line up, it will be good to give the junior players a chance.
"I didn't say we will get a lot of the youngsters straight into the team but their addition in the core group will give them more opportunity. We are starting this year with the Pro League before Asian Games and CWG." "We will get almost 16 matches and most probably Asian Cup will be there and that is the platform where we can try out the youngsters, give them opportunities to play tournaments.
"At some point you have to give juniors a chance. This year will be good as they can learn a lot from senior most players," Sreejesh added.
The 33-year-old said the team's top priority will be to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
"The first target for us is to qualify for Paris, so Asian Games is the biggest hurdle and after that the World Cup is the second important tournament. The training and the way we are playing now is going great, we have implemented new strategies." India is set to host the the FIH men's World Cup in January next year.
"It's too early to say about World Cup as focus is Asian Games right now. But we are focussing on finishing in the top 4 in Bhubaneswar."
Also Read : Gurjit's hattrick; Monika, Jyoti's brace hand India 9-1 win over Singapore, enter Asia Cup semis
News Source : PTI
Saina top attraction in Odisha Open beginning on Tuesday
Cuttack, Jan 24 (Badminton News) London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal will be the star attraction in Odisha Open Super 100, the state's first ever international tournament under Badminton World Federation, which begins here from Tuesday.
Saina has been seeded first in the women's singles while P Kashyap is the top seed in men's singles of the tournament to be played at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.
More than 300 players from 17 countries are participating in this tournament. The event begins with the qualifying round on Tuesday and will continue till January 30.
The tournament, a BWF event, is being organised jointly by the state sports and youth service department, Badminton Association of India and its Odisha unit.
"It is a matter of pride for our state to host such a prestigious sports event," Odisha sports minister T K Behera said.
As the tournament is played as per the COVID-19 guidelines, no spectators will be allowed to enter the stadium.
COVID-19 tests of all players, technical officials and volunteers have been conducted, after their arrival here. Only those found COVID-19 negative will be allowed to enter the stadium.
The matches would be played in five categories -- men's singles, women's single, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.
"About 350 players from as many as 17 countries from across the world will participate in five events in this tournament, in which there has been a toral prize money of 75,000 US dollar," said Girish Nattu, deputy chief referee of the tournament.
"I am glad that organisers have made excellent arrangements to make this international badminton tournament a grand success and I am sure many more such tournament will come to Odisha in future days," Nattu added.
Also Read : Sindhu wins Syed Modi International badminton title
News Source : PTI
My aim is to win gold for India at the 2022 Asian Games - Golfer Avani Prashanth
Despite being only 15 years old, Indian golfer Avani Prashanth has a number of accomplishments to her name. She was the youngest to win both the stroke and match play tournaments at the Indian Golf Union (IGU) All-India Ladies Amateur Golf Championship and is the number one amateur player in India. She also received a special invite to participate at the third edition of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, having been invited personally by Brett Sterba, Director, Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Avani Prashanth speaks about her journey as an amateur golfer, being selected for Global Child Prodigy Award 2022, memorable achievements, overcoming challenges, future goals and more!
Q 1) When were you first introduced to golf and what motivated you to pursue it professionally?
I started my journey into the world of Golf when I was 3 years, 10 months old. My grandparents were visiting my dad in Gurgaon, where he was working. I remember I was jumping all around them insisting that I wanted to go along too, however my father wasn’t paying attention. Lt Col Murthy, my grandfather, coaxed my father to take me along. We went to Manesar Golf Club, near Gurgaon and put me in the junior club. My father just taught me how to hold a club and swing, I swung and made solid contact with the ball. I continued hitting balls for a while and they realized my eye hand coordination was commendable.
My Father then requested Mr. Nathan Sundaram, his friend and IGU certified Coach, to teach me. He was reluctant saying she was too young at 3 years and 10 months. After some persuasion, Coach Nathan did teach me one little thing and told me to practice under the watch of a Caddy. My father and Nathan then walked off to play a round, they returned 4 hrs later after playing 18 holes, to find me still hitting the balls. This convinced my father and Nathan that I was committed and enjoyed playing Golf.
I started learning under coach Nathan initially and then with Mr. Jacob the head coach of Ikoyi Golf Club in Lagos. In 2012 I played my first US kids golf international in Abuja and then qualified for the US kid’s European championships in May 2013. It was then that Kenny Thompson, a Nigerian Golf professional, organizer of the tournament, living in the United Kingdom, called my dad to confirm my participation. When my dad showed tentativeness to take me to the tournament, Mr. Kenny persuaded my dad and said he would under write all their costs of participation in the competition, if we did not enjoy playing in the tournament.
Needless to say, it was a fantastic experience, even though I was only 5.5 years old at the tournament, I felt like I played well and I ended up finishing T15 and convinced my father that I was made for achieving greater peaks in Golf. We went back again next year and this time I finished T7 and qualified to play at the U.S Kids Golf World Championship at Pinehurst, North Carolina State.
Q 2) At just 15 years old, you were selected for Global Child Prodigy Award 2022 as India’s finest amateur female golfer. How proud are you of that accomplishment?
It feels really great to be recognized as a child prodigy, I am very thrilled. I also believe as a prodigy, it is now my responsibility to help grow this wonderful game and continue to significantly improve my performance.
Q 3) How was the feeling of being the only Indian female golfer to have been invited to the Augusta National women’s amateur championships?
It is a fantastic feeling. We had no idea this was coming. The Augusta National Tournament Director reached out to the Indian Golf Union seeking my contact details, wrote to my father and requested to speak to me. When they reached out to my father, I was playing on the golf Course, but the Augusta National Tournament director insisted on speaking to me. My father called me and then we did a conference call and then the tournament director broke the news to me. I was delighted as this is the highest powered Amateur Golf tournament in the world and I, as a 15 year old, was invited to play. I am the first female Golfer from India to play in the tournament.
Q 4) You have achieved a number of things despite being very young, what is your most memorable achievement to date and why?
I won the All India Stroke play and All India Ladies & Girls amateur match-play tournament at the Noida Golf Club in Nov 2021. We played 8 rounds of tournament Golf before I emerged victorious. I am also the youngest ever female golfer to win the above 2 tournaments plus the All India Junior Girls, in one year. That is why it is memorable.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career so far and how did you overcome them?
2017/2018 were not 2 of my best years. We changed our coach to Laurence Brotheridge, went back to basics, fixed the key issues that were there with my game. We consistently kept measuring progress on the key areas and in 2019, I won 6 out of the 7 IGU tournaments I played in and finished as the Order of Merit leader and I have not looked back since.
Q 6) What are your future goals and ambitions? How do you plan to achieve them?
My goals for 2022 include finishing T-75 in the World Amateur Golf rankings (WAGR), Winning a Gold for India in the 2022 Asian Games in China. I also aspire to represent India at the 2024 Olympics and win a Gold Medal. 2024 onwards I plan to play in the LET and LPGA and become the first Indian to become World No.1 in 2026. My father keeps track of all my key playing statistics and compares it with the World No.1 and I get inspired to play better and better in every aspect of the game.
Sindhu wins Syed Modi International badminton title
Lucknow, Jan 23 (Badminton News) Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu eased past young compatriot Malvika Bansod in straight games to win her second women's singles title at the Syed Modi International badminton tournament here on Sunday.
Playing in a depleted field due to multiple COVID-19 cases, top seed Sindhu hardly broke her sweat to get past Bansod 21-13 21-16 in a lop-sided title contest.
The final lasted just 35 minutes.
It was former world champion Sindhu's second Syed Modi title after having annexed the BWF World Tour Super 300 event in 2017.
Before that, seventh seeded Indians Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto clinched the mixed doubles title with a straight game win over compatriots T Hema Nagendra Babu and Srivedya Gurazada.
Bhatnagar and Crasto inflicted a 21-16 21-12 on the unseeded Indian duo in the summit clash that ended in 29 minutes.
Earlier, the men's singles final between Arnaud Merkle and Lucas Claerbout was declared a 'No Match' after one of the finalists tested positive for COVID-19.
It was expected to be a one-sided women's singles match between world number seven Sindhu and young Bansod, ranked 84th in the world, and it turned out to be exactly that.
Sindhu used her vast experience and skills to great effect as Bansod found it extremely difficult to adjust to her opponent's game from the onset.
The Tokyo Olympics silver medallist took off from the word go and raced to a 7-0 lead in no time. The ace shuttler used her height and reach to great effect to increase her lead to 11-1 at the break.
After the break, Bansod tried to up her game and collected a few points to close the gap but it was no match for a much superior Sindhu, who closed out the first game with consummate ease.
The second game, however, produced a better contest with Bansod trying her best to lift her game, and she did that too, but it was not enough to challenge Sindhu's class.
Sindhu used her height to mix her smashes with pinpoint drop shots, which Bansod failed to counter as the Olympic medallist raced to a 11-4 lead at the break.
Sindhu continued in the same vein even though Bansod tried her best to forge a comeback and in the process secured four points on the trot to reduce the deficit to 17-12.
Bansod managed to pick up four more points but lacked the temperament and class as Sindhu closed out the contest without any fuss.
Also Read : Bhatnagar-Crasto win Syed Modi mixed doubles title
News Source : PTI
Our goal is to become one of the top 4 countries in Asia - Wheelchair basketball coach Captain Louis George Meprath
Captain Louis George Meprath has been associated with basketball for over 3 decades. From being a player, referee and a coach he has always been on the court grooming the future generations. The former captain of the Navy team now wants the Indian team to be the top side at the Asian level and also train more players in wheelchair basketball at the grassroot level.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Captain Louis George Meprath, coach of the Maharashtra women’s wheelchair Basketball team shares his views on how he became a part of wheelchair basketball, change in coaching techniques, the challenges faced by the players and his future goals.
Q1) How has the coaching style and techniques changed in the sport over the years?
Men’s wheelchair basketball has featured at every Paralympic Games since 1960. Women’s competition was introduced in 1968. The sport is governed by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF). The game has become faster now with better quality wheelchairs and stronger players. The coaching concepts used in running Basketball are to a great extent applicable in Wheelchair Basketball viz. man-to-man defense, pick-and-roll etc.
Since the game has become faster, it is all the more important for the players to control their wheelchairs, so that their wheelchairs do not clash with other players’ wheelchairs. Coaches also have to keep in mind the classification of each player, in order to keep the total classification points less than 14 for the 5 players on the field.
Q2) What made you enroll yourself as a member of the Wheelchair Basketball Association?
After retiring from the Indian Navy in 2013, I coached children for three years. In 2016, my good friend Mr. Abraham Poulose (SBI) introduced me to Wheelchair Basketball. We formed the Maharashtra Women’s Wheelchair team in 2017. The game was very interesting, even more interesting than running Basketball. That is how I got interested in Wheelchair Basketball. After that, there was no looking back.
Q3) As coach of the Maharashtra Women’s wheelchair team, what are some of the challenges you have faced while coaching the players?
The challenges were many. Some of these were:-
No proper Basketball Court to practice at Mumbai. We conducted practice sessions at Borivali Don Bosco School, Borivali YMCA and at the All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Haji Ali. Ultimately, in April 2018, we were fortunate to get the indoor Wooden Basketball Court at the University at Kalina for use by our team on Saturdays and Sundays.
No proper Sports Wheelchairs. Here also we were lucky to get 10 Sports Wheelchairs sponsored by NINA Foundation (Dr. Ketna Mehta). Thereafter, we got many more Sports Wheelchairs sponsored by well-wishers and friends. Proper wheelchair accessible washrooms were not there till we got the Mumbai University facilities in April 2018.
Coming to the Basketball Court by Ola / Uber (along with the wheelchairs) was tough financially. Players didn’t have the financial resources for this. Once again, friends and well-wishers chipped in. Corporates like Cognizant also helped us by providing vehicles for picking up and dropping our players from their residence. In addition, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited contributed in a big way by giving the Maharashtra Wheelchair Basketball Association a sum of Rs. 25.00 Lakhs from their CSR Funds.
Keeping the players motivated was also a big challenge. However, once the financial problems were taken care of and an indoor court was available, the main problem of keeping the players motivated became easier. Players had a good indoor Court to practice and they had accessible washrooms.
Also read: Nutritionists have become an integral part of an athletes’ success - Mitali Ambekar, Sports Nutritionist
Q4) What were some of the key points in winning the 2018 National Championships?
The Maharashtra Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team was formed in 2017. Thereafter, with minimum practice and non-availability of Sports Wheelchairs, we took part in our first National Championships at Hyderabad in Oct 2017. The team’s performance was not very good.
After the Hyderabad Nationals, the team was motivated to practice more with a view to perform well in the 2018 National Championship at Erode. We closely studied the performance of our opponents - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. As a result of this, our Team defeated the opponents by big margins on our way to the finals. In the Final match, we dethroned the reigning champions Tamil Nadu (22 - 18) in the finals.
Credit for this goes to all the 12 players who played as a team. Our strategy was to have a strong defense which would bottle up the opponents and not let them enter the Key. We were successful in this defensive strategy. In addition, we practiced man-to-man defense to catch the good players from the opponent’s teams. Both these strategies helped us to win the Championship at Erode. In 2019, we retained the title at Mohali, once again beating Tamil Nadu in the final match.
Q5) How has the experience at the 2019 Asia Oceania Championships helped the team?
The 2019 Asia Oceania Zone championships were the qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Paralympics. Our team played well with teams from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran etc. Although we did not qualify for the Paralympics, it was a good learning experience. Our players played with some of the best players in Asia and got a feel of how tough one needs to be in Wheelchair Basketball. The defensive and offensive strategies required for performing well were understood by our players.
Q6) What are your goals in the coming years and how do you intend to achieve them?
The main goal is that the Indian team should perform well at the Asian level. In the next 5 to 6 years, we must be amongst the top 4 countries in Asia. The next goal is that India should play in the Paralympics, say, by the 2032 Olympics at Brisbane.
As far as the Maharashtra Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team is concerned, the main goal is to train more players at the grassroots level, so that we have at least 150 to 200 women players in all the 36 districts of Maharashtra actively playing Wheelchair Basketball. This will ensure that the competition amongst players will increase and as a result better performance would be shown by our players.
Mirabai can deliver in Paris Games but has to compete in selective events, Weightlifting HPD
New Delhi, Jan 21 (Sports News) Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu can deliver again at the 2024 Paris Games but she will have to be selective in her competitions while preparing for the global showpiece, India’s newly-appointed weightlifting High Performance Director Aveenash Pandoo said on Friday.
The Mauritian, who was appointed India’s first High Performance Director (HPD) for weightlifting until the 2024 Paris Olympics, also outlined his roadmap.
“Going forward Mirabai will have to be very selective while choosing competitions because there is also another three years adding on to her age,” Pandoo said during a virtual press conference facilitated by Sports Authority of India.
“It's not easy, Eko Yuli Irawan of Indonesia is a four-time Olympic medallist, he has proved it can be done with a very selective and intelligent way of preparing." He said Chanu's coach Vijay Sharma will be able to put together a plan in that regard.
"They have a very good relationship, I fully trust it will happen. So yes, I'm confident Mirabai will further deliver in Paris Olympics," Pandoo said.
The 46-year-old said his main focus will be towards developing youth and junior programmes.
“My clear roadmap that has been put to me by SAI will be to get involved in youth and junior development programmes." Pandoo, who played a major role in helping two weightlifters win medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics during his tenure as HPD in Indonesia, said talent development identification will be his "initial" focus, adding that he will take up an athlete-centric approach.
“I intend to look very strongly into a proper roadmap for Indian weightlifting with regards to talent identification programme and how we can improve on that." He will look after the coaching education programme while also conducting a series of webinars or seminars with coaches and athletes.
“I don't think India lacks equipment or coaches. We have to look at the coaching education. This is my next pillar. I will be very strongly leading that coaching education programme." Talking about the trend of athletes competing in selective tournaments, Pandoo said the the juniors should compete more regularly.
“High level athletes can be selective on their competitions. But there are also qualification competitions where the athletes have to participate. So, coaches have to take that into account.
“But if we are talking about the youth and junior programme, we have to compete more regularly so that the athletes can see where they are improving." However, with the COVID-19 affecting the domestic and international calendar, Pandoo said coaches will need to get innovative in order to keep the athletes motivated.
“This is actually a new life that we have now to get used to it. This is where the coaches' creative instinct have to come in to make these kind of areas happen where the athletes know how to push themselves.
“We can have some form of online competition, maybe email competitions between provinces where the athletes can foster that development of competing.” Weightlifting has been marred by escalating number of doping cases. Asked if the sport can exist without doping, Pandoo said, “Yes. It's simple, with a good development programme, a good education programme to the athletes, federation, coaches and those involved with the sport, yes, it is very possible." China is the powerhouse in the sport and Pandoo believes India too can replicate their neighbours' success by asking the right questions and taking corrective measures.
“They (China) have a very big talent pool. They have huge funding and do extensive research as well.
“Maybe if we (India) can start putting something on a smaller scale, we can develop. India is not a small population. So why are we having, for example, the same athletes in the team for more than 10 years? “Are we doing enough in terms of talent R&D programme and talent development? Maybe these are the questions we will have to ask, and start looking at how we can better develop the talent pool for India.”
Also Read : Vidit Gujrathi draws with Anish Giri, in joint lead with Mamedyarov, Rapport
News Source : PTI
Osaka ousted as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis deliver double delight at Australia
(Tennis news) Day 5 of the 2022 Australian Open saw the upsets continue in the women’s draw and a rocky start to the men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Naomi Osaka was only a point away from proceeding to the next round but was not able to taste victory as Amanda Anisimova came back from the dungeons.
It was the perfect gift for the home crowd when the pair of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis pulled off an incredible win in the men’s doubles. In the mixed doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo showed the exit door for the top seeds.
In women’s singles, two time champion and also the defending one; Osaka had a good start by breaking Anisimova’s serve in the first game as she kept the lead till the end of the first set. In the second set it was again a single break which decided the outcome of the set but this time it was the 20 year old’s turn as she took the set. In the decider, a 5 minute 10th game saw the four time Grand Slam champion lose two match points as it was 5-5 now. In the tiebreak, Osaka fell behind in the start and did not move from there as she lost in the third round for the second time in 2 years. Anisimova defeated Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-5).
Victoria Azarenka recorded her 5th victory over Elina Svitolina as the pair met for the first time at a Grand Slam. Azarenka only conceded 10 points in the first set as she bageled the world number 17 in 25 minutes. Svitolina had 13 unforced errors in both the sets as she lost 8 consecutive games in the match, there was resistance only in the final game of the match which went on for 13 minutes but it was over for the Ukrainian. Azarenka defeated Svitolina 6-0, 6-2.
In men’s doubles, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić were the best doubles pair in the 2021 season with 9 titles in 12 finals including the Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics, but all the records did not matter one bit as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis hit 17 aces as compared to 4 by the number one ranked pair in the world. The Australian pair went from surviving the tiebreak to winning it in the first set and seemed to be enjoying their time in the doubles draw. Kyrgios and Kokkinakis defeated 7-6(10-8), 6-3.
In mixed doubles, the top seed of Desire Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury saved multiple set points in the first set tie break and were on their way to victory in the second with a 4-1 lead but Olmos and Arévalo took 6 continuous games to take the set. From there on the pair took the lead in the third set and won it comfortably. Olmos and Arévalo defeated Krawczyk and Salisbury 6-7(7-9), 6-4, 10-5.
In women’s doubles, last year’s US Open finalists Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai had to leave early as they were beaten by the younger pair of Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette in the second round. Stosur and Zhang took the first 4 games of the match until they lost the next four but somehow managed to take the lead in the tiebreak. Pera and Linette took the next set in 28 minutes as they took 5 games in a row. The final set saw the last two games stretch for 24 minutes as Pera and Linette defeated Stosur and Zhang 6-7(6-8), 6-1, 7-5.
In men’s singles, there was very little to separate between Carlos Alcaraz and Matteo Berrettini in a four hour third round match. Berrettini was up and away in the first set and it all looked cool in the second as he had a 4-2 lead over the teenager. Alcaraz then picked up a hat trick of games as suddenly he looked on top but could not keep it going as the Italian again raced ahead and in the tie break there was no chance for the Spaniard. In the next two sets, Alcaraz had mid set inspiration which somehow Berrettini could not conquer and it was down the deciding set. Both players were holding serve till the tie break and again it was Berrettini who edged the junior ahead with a 5 point lead to enter the fourth round. 6-2, 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(10-5).
Serbia finally had good news as Miomir Kecmanovic continued his best run at a major by beating Lorenzo Sonego in 4 sets to advance to the round of 16. Kecmanovic had tons of opportunities for a 2-0 set lead but gave it away as Sonego put pressure on the Serbian. The pressure made the 22 year old play even better as he took the third set 6-2. In the fourth set Kecmanovic came back from a 2-4 deficit to climb up and beat the Italian. Kecmanovic defeated Sonego 6-4, 6-7(8-10), 6-2, 7-5.
Star archery couple Deepika, Atanu dropped from TOPS program
New Delhi, Jan 20 (Archery News) Star archer Deepika Kumari and her husband Atanu Das were on Thursday dropped from the Sports Ministry's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) due to their below-par performances in the national ranking tournament.
The Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) last month decided to review support for Deepika, a former world number one recurve archer, and Atanu after the National Ranking Archery Tournament in Hyderabad, where they cut a sorry figure.
"Considering their below-par performances in the event, MOC decided to not include them in the TOPS list for now," Sports Ministry said in a statement.
The archery couple was rated highly after their exploits in the different World Cups, but both Deepika and Atanu have time and again failed to shine at the multi-sport events -- the latest being the Tokyo Olympics, where much was expected from them but they returned empty-handed.
Their problems compounded after they flopped at the World Cup Finals in Yankton, USA last October.
Aware of their immense contribution in raising the profile of archery in the country, the decision was conveyed to the duo by MOC members, SAI and Archery Association of India officials.
Deepika said the TOPS omission will only motivate her to comeback stronger.
"I appreciate that SAI officials informed me before the MOC meeting itself that there was a possibility of me being excluded from the TOP Scheme. I will be motivated to return with good scores in the competitions ahead," Deepika was quoted as saying in the sports ministry release.
Atanu Das added: "We were very disturbed that we could not get the results we wanted in the Olympic Games. And we took a break from competitive archery after the Olympic Games. I know it is a matter of time before we find the form and get back to where we belong." The MOC has approved proposals worth Rs 6.56 lakh for two development group athletes to assist them in their preparation for this year's Asian Games and other international events.
The MOC has sanctioned Rs 4.14 lakh to 20-year-old pistol shooter Naveen, who finished fourth in the 10m air pistol competition in the ISSF World Junior Shooting Championships in Peru.
The grant will help him purchase equipments -- a Steyr Evo 10 E pistol and a Scatt MX-W2 wireless optical sensor.
Besides the MOC has also approved Rs 2.42 lakh for 17-year-old recurve archer Ridhi, who was part of the Indian women's team that won silver in the Asian Championships in Dhaka in November last year.
The financial assistance will enable the young archer to purchase Hoyt Formula Velos limbs for her bow and X10 arrows.
Ridhi impressed when she fought hard against Japan's world number 29 Tomomi Sugimoto in the World Championships in Yankton, USA last September.
The MOC also ratified the approval of a Rs 4 lakh proposal from para shooter Manish Narwal towards purchase of ammunition and board and lodging costs of his Dronacharya Award-winning coach JP Nautiyal.
Also Read : Sukhchain Singh clinches recurve title: National archery
News Source : PTI
Asia Cup Hockey: Holders India look to continue momentum after Olympic high
Muscat, Jan 20 (Hockey News) The Indian women's hockey team will look to carry on the momentum from the historic Tokyo Olympic campaign when it opens its title defence against Malaysia in the Asia Cup here on Friday.
The Indian women recorded their best-ever Olympic result after finishing fourth in Tokyo last year, narrowly missing out on a podium.
The Savita Punia-led side, the most experienced in the tournament, will now be hoping to use that experience to good effect in its first major event after the Olympics.
Goalkeeper Savita will lead the side in the absence of Rani Rampal, who has been rested to recover from a hamstring injury.
Savita has admitted that India's experience will be key to the team's success at the prestigious quadrennial tournament, which is also a qualifying event for this year's FIH Women's World Cup, to be co-hosted by Spain and Netherlands.
"The best part about this team is that, many of us have been playing together for a long time and I feel this experience and team camaraderie will give us the edge over other teams.
"Our main priority will be to remain focused on our game and ensure we execute the plans against each team without making errors," Savita said on the eve of their opener.
The defending champions are grouped in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
After Malaysia, the Indians will play against Japan on Sunday before squaring off against Singapore in their final pool game on January 24.
The Indian skipper also emphasised on the need to make a positive start to the tournament.
"We have played Malaysia quite a few times in the past and they are a good side. Doing well against them will give us the right start to the tournament," Savita said.
"As a team, we believe in focusing on our own game and not worry too much about what the opponent team can or cannot do. We just want to play to our strength." The Tokyo campaign has also been instrumental in instilling a 'never-give-up' attitude in the players.
"One of the good qualities of the team is that we have learnt to fight till the end. We don't give up if we are down by a few goals. I feel these aspects will matter when we play quality teams in an important tournament like this where qualification for FIH Women's World Cup is at stake," Savita said.
Going by form, India are expected to top their pool. The top two teams from both the pools will qualify for the semifinals to be played on January 26 followed by the summit clash on January 28.
Technically, the Indian women won't be playing their first competition post the Tokyo Olympics as they had travelled to Donghae, Korea for the Asian Champions Trophy a couple of months ago but were forced to withdraw after just one match due to positive COVID positive cases in the squad.
From that point of view, the Asia Cup will be the first big assignment for new chief coach Janneke Schopman, who was the technical analyst with the side in Tokyo under Sjoerd Marijne.
The Asia Cup will also kick start a busy calendar for India in which they will feature in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Asia Games in Hangzhou, China, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2024 Paris Olympics, besides making their debut in the FIH Pro League.
In the other match of Pool A on Friday, Japan will play Singapore while in Pool B, South Korea face Indonesia and China take on Thailand.
Also Read : A good outing in Asia Cup key to success in busy 2022, says women's hockey VC Ekka
News Source : PTI
China head coach says her team can end title drought
Mumbai, Jan 19 (Football News) A title has eluded eight-time champions China in the last four editions of the women's AFC Asian Cup but head coach Shui Qingxia says her side would fancy its chances this time.
China last won the trophy in 2006 after claiming the title for an unprecedented seven editions on the trot from 1986 to 1999. They have finished runners-up in 2008, third in 2024 and 2018.
"As the head coach and also from the point of view of the Chinese women's national team, we wish to do our best and to win the trophy, definitely," said the 55-year-old Qingxia, who will be in her first international match as head coach on Thursday against Chinese Taipei.
"Our wish is to go to the final and win the trophy. Of course, we know this requires a little bit of luck as well." Qingxia is a legend in her country as she is a five-time Asian champion as a player.
While there are a handful of new faces, Qingxia’s squad retains the experienced core of Wang Shanshan, Wang Shuang and Zhang Rui, although regular captain and defensive lynchpin Wu Haiyan has been ruled out of the tournament owing to an injury.
A major boost to the Steel Roses' chances came in the form of Tottenham Hotspur forward Tang Jiali, who has returned to the side after being unexpectedly overlooked for their Tokyo Olympics campaign.
Qingxia said Jiali may not be an immediate starter having played a full match in a 1-1 draw against West Ham United as recently as Sunday night.
"Tang Jiali had a match in England on the 16th, and after discussion between the team we decided that Tang would travel after that match," she explained.
Having won the title thrice in the 1970s and 80s, Chinese Taipei have qualified for the showpiece tournament after a 14-year absence.
"Among the team members from 2008, from that moment we have only two members in the (current) team,” said head coach Kazuo Echigo.
"Everything feels brand new for us, and I'm so excited." Chinese Taipei have never beaten China in over three decades of trying, with their most recent attempt ending in a comprehensive 0-5 defeat during the Tokyo Olympics qualifying.
The current squad is dominated by domestic players, with only two goalkeepers -- Tsai Ming-Jung and Cheng Ssu-Yu -- registered to overseas clubs in Japan.
Also Read : Asian Cup: Two members of Indian team test COVID positive on eve of tournament
News Source : PTI
Hurkacz and Bencic fall in second round of of Australian Open
(Tennis news) The men’s draw saw the biggest casualty yet as the second round began in the 2022 Australian Open. Hubert Hurkacz at no point of time had hopes of making a comeback against Adrian Mannarino and it was also doomsday for Belinda Bencic as she was beaten by Amanda Anisimova. The doubles matches started today in both the draws.
Hurkacz movement around the court was nowhere near Mannarino who fought till the last point of the match. The 10th seed seemed to be very rigid during the rallies as the left hander did not let any service breaks go to vain. Mannarino has never gone past the third round and will be eager to reach when he faces Aslan Karatsev in the next round. Mannarino defeated Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Sebastian Korda picked up his first five set victory over Corentin Moutet in a match that lasted for almost five hours. Moutet kept attacking from the baseline with his forehand as Korda kept coming to the net and finished most of his points standing in the front. The world number 100 kept most of his strokes in the safezone while the next gen player had 92 unforced errors. In the 8th game of the deciding set, Korda surprised the whole court with a forced late reaction dropshot which left Moutet staring in agony as the chair umpire confirmed it being a legitimate shot. Korda defeated Moutet 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2-7), 7-5, 7-6(10-6).
Karen Khachanov was an all rounder in his second round match against Benjamin Bonzi. The Russian hit 46 winners with his forehand causing the most trouble and served 19 aces. Bonzi had his chances to take it to the tiebreak in the third set but an unforced error gave Khachanov a breakpoint and a route to the third round. Khachanov defeated Bonzi 6-4, 6-0, 7-5.
In women’s singles, Tokyo Olympics singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic was beaten in straight sets by Amanda Anisimova. Bencic broke Amanda’s serve in the first game of the match but could only do it twice in the whole match. The 20 year old had 13 breakpoints in the match and could only win 5 of them but it was enough for a first time win against Bencic in their second career meeting. Amanda defeated Bencic 6-2, 7-5.
Victoria Azarenka only needed 72 minutes to beat Jil Teichmann in a one sided match. Azarenka had four breakpoints in the match which she won and Teichmann had 5 of them in the first set but could not convert any. Teichmann was also winning more points in the 1st serve overall but could only win 5 of the 24 second serves and lost 5 consecutive games in the second set. Azarenka defeated Teichmann 6-1, 6-2.
In men’s doubles, the Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp beat the 15th seeded pair of Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arévalo in a match that lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Rojer and Arévalo lost 6 of the 7 breakpoints they had as it denied them the crucial points while Haase and Zandschulp had only won 1 of their 2 breakpoints. The numbers were against the winning pair but they played well to take the final set. Haase and Zandschulp defeated 6-7(5-7), 7-6(10-8), 10-8.
In women’s doubles, Rebecca Peterson and Anastasia Potapova beat Nina Stojanović and Irina-Camelia Begu in a 1st round upset. Rebecca and Anastasia served 8 double faults but that didn’t stop the pair in making a comeback in the deciding set to defeat Stojanović and Irina 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Dedication, guidance and support from family has helped me reach where I am - Indian Powerlifter Bhavna Tokekar
Indian Powerlifter Bhavna Tokekar has already achieved great feats at the highest level. Having won four gold medals at the Asian Championships and three gold medals at the World Championships, she also holds the world record in Bench Press Full Powerlift. She epitomizes the ‘never say die’ attitude and serves as an inspiration to others that it's never too late to accomplish your dreams through grit, dedication and hardwork.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Bhavna Tokekar speaks about her introduction to Powerlifting, the help received by World Powerlifting Championship Congress, her training regime, participating in the Open Asian Powerlifting Championships in Russia, overcoming challenges and her future goals.
Q1) How did you get into Powerlifting and what made you choose a career in it?
I had started with weight training in 2012-13 and used to surf internet videos to check my technique. That's when I saw that Powerlifting comprised three lifts which I was already doing so I decided to have a go at it at least once. That's where it all started in July 2019 at the Asian AWPC Powerlifting Championship.
Q2) How has the World Powerlifting Congress helped you in your career?
World Powerlifting Championship Congress is the federation which I participate through. It gave me a chance to participate in the event based purely on my capability without any prejudice.
Q3) Can you tell us your training regime and what it takes to become a champion Powerlifter?
I train for 3-4 hours a day at the gym for 5 days in a week. From my training regime, three days are intense training sessions and two days light exercises which also involves stretching and recovery. It takes a lot of grit, determination and 'never say die' attitude and focus to work towards your goal without being clouded by achieving results.
Q4) How would you describe the experience at the Open Asian Powerlifting Championships in Russia?
The experience was great. I had gone with an intent of participation to assess how I fared as compared to women of my age world over. I was pleasantly surprised at the friendliness and warmth shown to me by people in Russia.
Q5) What are some of the difficulties that you have faced in lifting weights, especially at this age and how did you overcome it?
After 40 a woman's body goes through a lot of changes physically. In my case all those anti allergic medications, immunosuppression corticosteroids I was prescribed for my skin ailment also had their ill effects showing up. Pains, aches, muscle fatigue, delayed recovery, mood swings were a few. Making time for what I liked (my gym workout) with all my responsibilities as a wife and parent also required me to go by precise clockwork through my daily chores. I guess it was my dedication, consistent hard work, guidance of my trainers and support from my family that helped me reach where I am.
Q6) How do you think the perception towards powerlifting can grow in our country, especially among the youngsters?
I won't limit my perception about Powerlifting, rather the importance and benefits of weight training, staying fit and the benefits thereof especially during the current pandemic is what I would like people to pay attention to. Powerlifting is not an Olympic sport, so there is no help or aid from the government. All the expenses have to be borne by people themselves. Notwithstanding all that, it requires dedication and passion, both in terms of your time and money to be a Powerlifter.
Q7) What are your future goals and how are you working towards achieving them?
Having moved into Masters 3 category (athlete age 50-54) I am working towards improving my lifts further. It is a challenge when gyms are closed due to Covid. I have some weights and equipment at home with which I practice but it’s not the same as going to the gym. Making do with the available resources to the best of my abilities is all I can do under the circumstances.
A good outing in Asia Cup key to success in busy 2022, says women's hockey VC Ekka
Muscat, Jan 17 (Hockey News) Performing well at the upcoming Asia Cup will give the Indian women's hockey team the requisite momentum for a busy 2022 season, which includes the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, says vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka.
Besides defending the title, a spot in this year's FIH Women's World Cup will be at stake for the Indian women in the Asia Cup to be held at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex here from January 21 to 28.
India will open its campaign against Malaysia on January 21 and top-four teams from the event will earn direct qualification to the World Cup to be co-hosted by Spain and Netherlands later this year.
"It is important for us to perform well in the tournament as it will set the momentum for us for the upcoming challenges in 2022. It is a packed year for us, and the more games we play, the more we will be able to test ourselves and what we have been working on the training grounds," Ekka said in a statement issued by Hockey India.
Besides India, other participating teams in the tournament are China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
"It is sort of a new start for us. This will be our first full tournament after the Tokyo Olympics as unfortunately, we could only play one game in Korea at the Women's Asian Champions Trophy 2021," Ekka said.
India won the women's Hockey Asia Cup in 2017 to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, where they managed to reach the knockout stages.
In 2018, India also went on to win the silver medal at the Asian Games.
And Ekka believes a successful title defence in Muscat will be key for the team going forward.
"Winning the women's Hockey Asia Cup trophy in 2017 was a turning point for us and it really gave us the confidence that we can perform on the big stage if we play as a team.
"Winning the trophy once again can really motivate our players to perform even better this year and have an unforgettable 2022. It is very important for us to have a positive start," she said.
Also Read : We want to prove Tokyo wasn't a one day wonder, says women's hockey coach Schopman
News Source : PTI
Sen now needs to work on tactical acumen and endurance for consistent run: Vimal
New Delhi, Jan 17 (Badminton News) Former India coach Vimal Kumar is impressed with the title-winning performance of Lakshya Sen at the India Open but said the young shuttler still needs to work on his endurance and tactical acumen to have a consistent run in the international circuit.
The 20-year-old from Uttarakhand stunned world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 24-22 21-17 in men's singles final to clinch his maiden Super 500 crown at the season-opening India Open here on Sunday.
"Lakshya was tactically much better, he was in control of the match, never allowed Loh to attack. His counter attack was very good. His net dribbles were excellent and with the same action he was flicking the shuttle to the back of the court. Overall, he played a very mature game," Vimal told PTI.
"He is at par with anybody, but he still needs to work on his tactical side, strength and conditioning. He can work on stability around the net areas, his endurance can be better. So, technically there are all the areas where he can work on.
"There are many youngsters from Europe, Thailand and Japan, who will be gunning for him now. It will be tough ahead. I don't want to put pressure on him by talking about the 2024 Olympics, it's all about how best he can play, how best he can take care of his body," he added.
Sen was not selected to represent India at the Sudirman Cup mixed team competition in Finland and Thomas Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark after he lost his first match to Sai Charan Koya at the round-robin group stage during the selection trials.
But a training stint with Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen and Loh Kean Yew in Dubai rejuvenated him.
"He was shattered after missing the Sudirman Cup and Thomas cup," said Vimal, who has guided Sen since his young age as part of the Padukone Dravid Centre for Excellence (PDCE) in Bengaluru.
"But then (Viktor) Axelsen phoned him and invited him for a two week training stint in Dubai. Loh was also there. So he stayed there and trained. That stint helped him to brush aside the disappointment," he said.
A rejuvenated Sen entered the final at the Dutch Open, played some close matches against Japan's Kento Momota, reached the semifinals at Hylo, reached the knockout stage at World Tour Finals on debut before sizzling at the World Championships with a bronze.
"Right from Europe circuit, he has been consistent in last three months. It is very important that he plays consistently well from now on. This performance will give him a clear understanding where he stands." Vimal, a former Olympian, said Sen is known for his attacking game but in the last few months he has shown that he can also outlast his opponents in gruelling three-game matches.
"There has been criticism in the past that once his attack doesn't work, he runs out of ideas. But in World Championships, he played some tremendous rallies, and long exhausting matches and prevailed in those long matches and that gave him the confidence," he said.
"He is playing better badminton overall and he is grabbing the opportunities. In the semifinals, it was tough against the Malaysian but he pulled through, he employed his smashes well. Also against HS Prannoy he had a long match, winning these matches shows his maturity." "Many players can't get that breakthrough, can't convert opportunities. But Lakshya has the ability to beat good players." Sen was in rampaging form three years back, winning five titles including two Super 100 tournaments but then the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the BWF circuit.
"He was in good rhythm in 2019 but the pandemic was a damper. If he could have had that opportunity, I was confident that he could have qualified for Tokyo," Vimal said.
"Many players suffered due to the pandemic, sometimes it kills the spirit of youngsters when you are not able to compete. I am glad he survived that phase and found the enthusiasm to play."
Also Read : Sindhu looks to end title drought at Syed Modi International
News Source : PTI
Sindhu looks to end title drought at Syed Modi International
Lucknow, Jan 17 (Badminton News) Two-time Olympic medallist P V Sindhu will look to recover from her unexpected semifinal loss at the India Open and end her title drought at the Syed Modi International, which begins here on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old from Hyderabad was well on course to win her first title since the 2019 World Championship triumph last week before left-hander Supanida Katethong of Thailand shattered her hopes with a three-game win at the India Open.
Sindhu, who had finished runner-up at Swiss Open and World Tour Finals last year, will hope to turn things around this week when she begins her campaign against compatriot Tanya Hemanth.
The Indian will be itching to settle scores against Supanida, whom she is likely to face again at the semifinals at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here.
Second seeded Canadian Michelle Li, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, will be one of the strong contenders for the title in women's singles, which also has Polish eighth seed Jordan Hart, second seed Iris Wang of USA and Russia's fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya.
Men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty has decided to give the Super 300 tournament a miss after claiming their maiden India Open Super 500 crown.
Lakshya Sen, who secured his maiden Super 500 title at New Delhi on Sunday, also is likely to follow suit after playing continuously since October last year.
Among others, World Championships silver medallist and top seed Kidambi Srikanth also is unlikely to compete this week as he is undergoing seven-day mandatory quarantine after withdrawing from the main draw last week following a positive COVID-19 result.
Third seed B Sai Praneeth, who had pulled out of India Open after testing positive, is also awaiting a RT-PCR test result, while Ashwini Ponnappa and Manu Attri are yet to recover from the virus and will miss the tournament.
Ashwini is part of the top seeded women's doubles pairing, while Manu and B Sumeeth Reddy are seeded third in the men's doubles event. On a comeback trail, former top-10 player H S Prannoy gave a good account of himself before being stopped by 20-year-old Sen in the quarterfinals last week.
Fifth seed Prannoy will hope to go deep in the draw this week when he opens his campaign against Ukraine's Danylo Bosniuk.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal, seeded fourth, too will test her fitness when she takes on Czech Republic's Tereza Švábíková in the opening round. She had lost in the second round last week.
There are a host of other Indians in men's singles, such as seventh seed Sourabh Verma, fourth seed Sameer Verma -- who he is still recovering from a calf muscle injury -- Subhankar Dey and youngsters like Kiran George, Mithun Manjunath and Priyanshu Rajawat.
In women's singles too, Aakarshi Kashyap, who had reached the quarterfinals last week, will look to continue her good run when she faces fellow Indian Mugdha Agrey in opening round.
Malvika Bansod and Ashmita Chaliha will be tied in a battle of supremacy in the opening round, while Samiya Imad Farooqui, Ira Sharma and Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli will be the other prominent Indians in action.
Fourth seeded Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam will look to put up a good show in women's doubles.
There are likely to be more withdrawals and a clearer picture will emerge only after the manager's meeting later in the day.
Also read : We played one of the best matches ever: Satwik
News Source : PTI
We played one of the best matches ever: Satwik
New Delhi, Jan 16 (Badminton News) India's top doubles player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy says they were desperate for a podium finish after a mixed 2021 season and described their performance at the India Open finals as "one of the best ever" in their career.
Satwik and Chirag Shetty became the first team from the country to win India's flagship tournament after registering a 21-16 26-24 result over three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
"It was a dream match for us, we still can't believe it. We had a clear plan and we wanted to implement that and give 100 percent. I feel we played one of the best matches ever," Satwik said during a virtual press conference. "We stayed calm. I could see they were under pressure. So happy with the win." The Indian pair had lost thrice to the world number 2 Indonesian pair in four meetings but they came up with a plan to extend the rallies and play a more defensive game against the experienced pair.
"We know how to play them, we played against them in Thailand Open last year. We wanted to stay neck to neck, we wanted to keep them under pressure. We thought let them make mistakes and let's not give easy points.
"They are best in taking quick points but we kept calm and played big rallies, that was the positive point. Even when we were 24-24, we wanted to play big rallies. I kept telling Chirag that we should just try to keep the shuttle inside." Satwik and Chirag had failed to cross the group stages at their maiden Olympics despite notching up stunning wins in two of the three matches.
They ended the World Championships in Spain with a pre-quarterfinal loss, last month.
"Yeah, 2021 was a mixed feeling for us. We wanted to win a tournament, wanted to play a final. After world championships, I cried a lot, I wanted to win a medal," Satwik said.
"I was crying literally, I had a fire that I wanted to finish at the podium as much as possible, so that hunger was there and luckily we could win here, hopefully we will continue this form." His partner Chirag had expressed their target of reaching the world's top five this season.
After stunning Ahsan and Setiawan, Chirag said it was a performance worthy of being in top 5. "We usually don't play this kind of a game, it is a new thing for us and it is working well and it shows that we can get points and win matches while defending, so I think we definitely played like a top 5 pair today," he said.
"That is one thing which kinds of differentiates the top five pair and top 10 because things go your way, you try to change and play a plan 'B' kind of game, that in something that worked really well." World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen then made it a double delight, securing his maiden Super 500 title with a stunning 24-22 21-17 victory over world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore.
"This is the biggest world tour tournament I won. Winning feels good. In the match, in the closing stages I was nervous and anxious to finish it off as it was a big tournament but I am happy I could pull it off," Sen said.
"I think I played some good physical matches since quarterfinals. It will give me a lot of confidence to go ahead and play the whole season. Winning a world tour 500 event is a big thing for me." Talking about the final, Sen said he was anxious in the closing stages.
"I gave couple of easy points towards the end but after being a match point down, I played calmly. I took a break and it helped me to think better and play calmly." Sen and Loh have trained together in Dubai last year and so far have played each other four times in the international circuit with each winning two matches each.
"We know each other's game well, what to expect. I had beaten him last few months ago, I was confident and had a game plan and it worked well. I am happy I won today and again it was a close game," Sen said.
Also Read : Satwik-Chirag pair claims maiden India Open title
News Source : PTI
NRAI invites applications for coaches and high performance manager
New Delhi, Jan 16 (Shooting News) The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has invited applications for the posts of foreign and Indian coaches as well as high performance manager for the country's senior and junior shooters across disciplines.
The tenure of the contract will be till the 2024 Paris Olympic Games from the date of appointment.
The coaching staffs positions have been left vacant since the NRAI decided to terminate the contracts of all coaches last year.
The move followed a review by the national federation in the wake of the Indian shooting team's disastrous outing at the Tokyo Olympics, where they failed to win a single medal, five years after returning empty-handed from the Rio Games in 2016.
"The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) invites applications from highly qualified and experienced foreign coaches to train the Indian shooting team/national squad for achieving excellence in all major international competitions including Olympic Games 2024," the NRAI said in its advertisement.
The federation is also looking to hire high performance manager for the shooters in rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines.
"The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) invites applications for appointment of a qualified and experienced High-Performance Manager (HPM) for its national squad of shooters in the discipline of rifle, pistol and shotgun." The HPM, primarily, will be responsible for monitoring the training and development programme of the shooters to "achieve excellence in the sport to perform" at various international competitions.
All the appointments are subject to approval by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Besides, the NRAI has also invited Expression of Interest (EOI) from Indian nationals for the appointment of coaches for senior and junior shooters on contract basis, for the "national squad/Indian shooting team and empanelment of coaches for promotion of the shooting sport and training of shooters at state and district level".
As far as the major requirements for the coaches and HPM are concerned, the applicants must be below 65 years of age and should have played at the Olympics/continental games/Commonwealth Games/World Championships or other continental championships besides having previous coaching experience at the top level with established shooters.
Also Read : 30 medals for Topgun Shooting Academy at Delhi state meet
News Source : PTI
Satwik-Chirag pair claims maiden India Open title
New Delhi, Jan 16 (Badminton News) Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Sunday became the first team from country to win the Yonex-Sunrise India Open after toppling three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, here.
The world number 10 Indian pair, which had won its first Super 500 tournament in Thailand in 2019, upset the top seeded Indonesian pair 21-16 26-24 in 43 minutes to make a rampaging start to the new season.
Coming into the match with a 1-3 head-to-head record, Satwik and Chirag dished out a brave effort as they staved off a fightback to reign supreme in the final.
From almost missing the tournament following a false COVID positive result to winning the title, it turned out to be an incredible start to 2022 for the Indian pair, which accumulated valuable ranking points ahead of a busy season, which comprises some big-ticket events such as the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
The Indian pair started on a positive note and even through the Indonesian combination clawed back, Satwik and Chirag ensured they are two points ahead at the first interval.
The Indians tried to engage their rivals in rallies and led 18-13 but the Indonesians reduced the deficit to 16-18 before Satwik and Chirag prevailed in the opening game.
Fast-paced but short rallies were the norm in the second game as well as Ahsan and Satiawan grabbed a three-point lead at 9-6 early in the second game.
But the Indian pair again ensured they have the advantage at the break, grabbing a slender 11-10 lead. Sawtik and Chirag maintained the intensity in the rallies after the break to lead 15-13.
The world number two again drew parity at 17-17 but Satwik and Chirag moved to 19-17 when Ahsan erred at net. But Chirag went long next as it was 19-19. Indonesian managed to move to a game point with a tap by Ahsan.
What followed next was frequent exchange of points as both India and Indonesia earned and squandered their advantage positions in equal measure.
After a fierce battle, it was the Indian pair who showed better nerves to emerge victories with the Indonesia squandering five game points.
Satwik and Chirag had won the Thailand Open Super 500 title in 2019, besides reaching the finals at French Open Super 750 the same year.
The duo also claimed the silver medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, besides winning the Hyderabad Open Super 100 and finishing runners-up at Syed Modi International in 2018.
Satwik and Chirag also played a crucial role in India earning the historic mixed team gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Indian pair also had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics last year but couldn't cross the group stage despite winning two out of three games.
Also Read : Want to improve my senior ranking, qualify for Olympics: Tasnim Mir
News Source : PTI
Want to improve my senior ranking, qualify for Olympics: Tasnim Mir
New Delhi, Jan 16 (Badminton News) Newly-crowned junior world No. 1, Tasnim Mir knows she has to take defeats in her strides on the senior circuit, which is full of challenges, as she is determined to realise her long term goal of representing India at the Olympics.
On Wednesday, the 16-year-old from Gujarat had become the first Indian to grab the top rank in the under-19 girls singles.
"It is a big confidence boost for me. Just like I became world number one in U-19, I want to continue that performance in seniors too," Tasnim, currently ranked 602 in seniors, said in a virtual press-conference organised by Sport Authority of India (SAI) on Sunday.
"My long term goal is to improve my ranking in seniors as well, so that I can participate in Olympics and represent India. So my main aim is to play as many senior tournaments as possible and perform well in them so that my ranking can improve." Tasnim's ascent to the top in the junior circuit has fuelled hopes that India may have finally found a successor to the likes of Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu.
"There is a lot of competition at India level. In the India open, we have seen Malvika (Bansod) and Ashmita (Chaliha), Aakarshi (Kashyap), they are giving good performance.
"I do feel the pressure and responsibility that the entire nation has high hopes from me. Of course I would try to improve myself and live up to the expectations." Korea's An Seyoung has emerged as one of the most sensational talents in the senior circuit in the last couple of years.
Asked if she too would like to have a similar start like the 19-year-old Korean, Tasnim said: "An Seyoung performance is unbelievable and it is going to be tough to emulate that and I want to perform like her, but it will take time..." Tasnim has been simply sensational last year as she secured titles in three junior international tournaments to jump three places to grab the top position in the junior world rankings.
However, she says she will have to learn to deal with failures as she graduates to the senior circuit.
"When I would lose matches, I used to think that I won't be able to do it. If I would have given up then, I wouldn't have reached this stage," she said.
"I don't like losing. In last 2-3 years I have been winning and I am performing well but as I step into seniors circuit, I am facing losses. So I feel it is very difficult. So I used to think about giving up earlier but then I feel from these failures I will improve more." Talking about her training stints, Tasnim said : "I left training under my father six years back. For two years, I was at Gopichand academy and then moved to Assam, where I have been training under Edwin Iriawan for last four years.
"My coach has trained Saina and Sindhu, he is very experienced. So his training regime has helped me a lot. I have evolved as a player, I have improved my strength.
"There are lot of men players there, so I could train against them. It has been a good training stint in Assam."
Also Read : India Open: Sen, Chirag-Satwik enter final, Sindhu out of title race
News Source : PTI
Chikka, Joshi in top-5, stay in contention at Singapore International
Singapore, Jan 15 (Golf News) Indian golfer S Chikkarangappa, shot a two-under 70 in difficult conditions in the third round to move to sole third and within three shots of the leader Rattanon Wannasrichan (73) at the Singapore International, here on Saturday.
While the 28-year-old Chikka, looking for his maiden Asian Tour successes moved up, fellow Indian Khalin Joshi, the first round leader (75), slipped to fourth and was four behind the leader.
Thailand's Rattanon maintained his lead at Tanah Merah Country Club and put himself in position for his second title on the Asian Tour.
Korean youngster, Joohyung Kim (69) played solid on another day of strong winds and was sole second.
Rattanon was 4-under, while Kim Joohyung was second at 2-under and Chikka was 1-under for third. They were the only players under par after 54 holes.
Chikkarangappa, two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour, has been knocking on the doors of a maiden title win for a while, won twice on the Indian domestic Tour in 2021.
He also accompanied Anirban Lahiri as his caddie for the Tokyo Olympics "I learnt a lot from watching the top stars from all over the world. I have been feeling very confident since then. As a for a win, it is not in my control, I can only try and play my best," he said.
"So, when I go out for the final round, that’s what I will do – give my best. It will be exciting to go out in the final group with Rattanon and Kim and I have seen both play." Chikka started the third round with a birdie and was 2-under for front nine but dropped a shot on Par-5 10th for the second day in a row. He made up for it with a birdie on 18th, also for the second day in a row.
Joshi, who shot 67 on the first day, has struggled with the putter for the last two days and hopes to reverse that trend on Sunday.
Rashid Khan, two-time winner on Asian Tour, but who last won in 2014, had a round of 70 and rose to T-14, while Viraj Madappa was T-36 after dropping with a card of 78.
Shubhankar Sharma (77) and Ajeetesh Sandhu (80) had a rough outing and dropped to T-45, while Shiv Kapur (75) and Abhijit Chadha (75) were T-55.
Rattanon, 27, winner of the 2017 Thailand Open, returned a third round one-over-par 73 on the Tampines Course for a two-shot advantage over Kim, who returned a 69.
Thailand’s 14-year-old amateur star Ratchanon Chantananuwat, who was two behind the leader at the start of the day, slipped back with a 76 and is five off the pace.
Also Read : Joshi's putter slips but stays second as Chika, Sandhu occupy 7th place
News Source : PTI
Bhavani Devi losses, India's campaign in individual events ends in Fencing World Cup
New Delhi, Jan 15 (Sports News) Indian fencers, including Olympian Bhavani Devi, bowed out of the women's individual sabre event of the World Cup after losing their respective contests in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Bhavani Devi, ranked 55th in the world, had received a bye in the round of 128 but she suffered a 8-15 loss to Spain's Elena Hernandez in the next round to exit the competition.
The 28-year-old from Chennai, the first Indian to participate at the Olympics, secured victories in four matches in the group stage, while lost one. One match was called off.
Among other Indians in fray, Anitha Karunakaran and Josna Christy Jose couldn't cross the round of 128.
While Karunakaran lost 3-15 to Russia's Dariya Drozd, Jose lost to Spain's Araceli Navarro by a similar scoreline.
The men's and women's Team World Cup will get underway at the same venue on Monday.
Bhavani Devi may compete in the next women’s World Cup in Plovdiv, Bulgaria from January 28 to 29. There are two more World Cups in Greece (March 4 to 5) and Belgium (March 18 to 19).
Also Read : PKL: Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Patna Pirates 38-28
News Source : PTI
We want to prove Tokyo wasn't a one day wonder, says women's hockey coach Schopman
New Delhi, Jan 14 (Hockey News) The extraordinary performance at the Tokyo Olympics was not a "one day wonder", asserted Indian women's hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman, who is looking forward to this year's World Cup.
Schopman said after the high in Tokyo, they are now determined to defend their Asia Cup title, which will ensure a direct qualification to the FIH Women's World Cup, to be jointly co-hosted by Spain and Netherlands from July 1 to 17.
The Indian women recorded their best-ever performance in the Olympics last year by finishing fourth.
"Out performance in Tokyo exceeded our expectations but we still have more gains to make to be in the top-6 in the world. We need to keep improving because the girls don't want to be a one-day wonder," Schopman said during a virtual press conference ahead of Asia Cup.
"They want to be right up there and play against the best of the world to their potential." After the Olympics, the Indian women played just one game in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae, South Korea last month when they were forced to pull out of the event after one player tested positive for COVID-19.
"Since Olympics we played just one game. The Asia Cup is very important to us as it is a qualifying tournament for the World Cup. There is plenty of stake at place," the coach said.
The top four team from the Asia Cup, scheduled to be held between January 21-28 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, will directly qualify for this year's World Cup.
Schopman said her coaching style is simple: "work on your individual game and try to be dominant" over the opponents.
"As a coach I have a clear philosophy. I would like us to be more dominant when in possession. We need to work our game and strike a balance between attack and defence. The thing which we have learnt from Tokyo is that we need to focus on what we can control and can do ourselves," she said.
"We need to figure out what we are good at on the pitch and see work on our shortcomings." Veteran goalkeeper Savita Punia, who will lead the side in the Asia Cup in the absence of regular skipper Rani Rampal who is recovering from an injury, said Tokyo Games is a thing of the past as a busy season awaits, which includes two big-ticket events -- the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.
"The whole year is important for us. We have 3-4 major tournaments lined up including the CWG and Asian Games. Besides we will also make our debut at the FIH Pro League this year.
"Our main focus is to qualify for the World Cup through Asia Cup and then win the Asian Games to directly qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics," she said.
Also Read : HI announces core probable group for women's hockey team
News Source : PTI
Sony Network to broadcast India Open badminton tournament
New Delhi, Jan 14 (Badminton News) Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Friday announced Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) as the exclusive broadcast partner for the ongoing Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022.
The BWF super 500 tournament is being held closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic but viewers will now be able to watch the exciting on-court action as the event will be shown live on Sony Ten 1 channel and streamed live on SonyLIV, the network’s OTT platform, starting from the quarter-finals "We are glad to have Sony Pictures Networks India as the broadcaster for the Yonex-Sunrise India Open," BAI General Secretary Ajay Singhania said in a release.
"Unfortunately, this year we are not having spectators as well as media covering the event, but now they can enjoy the action from their home and watch world-class badminton action played in India after a long time." Reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew and bronze medallist Lakshya Sen as well as the two-time Olympics medallist PV Sindhu are among the top players who are participating in the USd 400,000 event.
Also in action will be three-time world champion duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, World No. 12 Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand, Indian pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and HS Prannoy.
India Open, which kickstarted the BWF World Tour calendar, made a return after a gap of two years following cancellation of the last two editions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also Read : Saina has always been my idol, win over her one of the biggest of my career: Malvika
News Source : PTI
Kasatkina reaches second semi final in 2 weeks at Sydney Tennis Classic
(Tennis news) Daria Kasatkina has been shining bright in the warm Australian courts. The Russian reached her second semifinal in 2 weeks as she had reached the last four at Melbourne a few days ago. The Russian got her first top five victory in 4 years when she beat Garbine Muguriza at the Sydney Tennis Classic.
Kasatkina had last beaten Muguruza in 2019 and now remains the lowest seeded player left in the draw. The world number 26 placed the ball so well that most of her winners were not even attempted by the Spaniard, the world number 3 took time to build up the point while Kasatkina could instantly find a loose spot and hit the ball exactly in that area.
Muguruza was hitting the ball well but there was no momentum on her side as she was constantly distracted by her opponents' most unexpected winners. Kasatkina will face another Spanish player in the next match as Paula Badosa will be ready for another tough battle. Kasatkina defeated Muguruza 6-4, 6-4.
Badosa’s timing was right on target as she beat Tokyo Olympics Singles gold medalist Belinda Bencic for a place in the last four. The first set saw two players playing one of the best rallies of the year as Belinda took the ball on the rise while Badosa was patient enough to hit the ball well after the bounce. Badosa’s light bend backward while hitting the forehand generates enough power to smash the ball across and Bencic had this forward fall while hitting the ball.
Both of them had different styles but Belinda took more risks as it did not work in the first set as the world number 9 did not take many chances but the forehand winner at tie break was enough to prove her point. Sensing her groundstrokes were not doing enough damage, the swiss player changed her tactics completely and the speeds were decreasing in her groundstrokes. The surprise drop shot caught Badosa completely off guard on multiple occasions. A crucial backhand into the net by Belinda in the eighth game gave the lead to Badosa and she did not again let go of the chance to serve out the match. Badosa defeated Bencic 7-6(8-6), 3-6, 6-3.
Barbora Krejcikova only lost two games in her quarterfinal match against Caroline Garcia as she will next face Anett Kontaveit. Krejcikova won 8 consecutive games in the match as Garcia kept struggling to hit a clean ball on the other side of the court. The unforced errors gave last year’s Roland Garros champion a bagel in the opening set, she took the first two games until the unseeded player won her first game of the match. Krejcikova looked like she won the match even before the ending of the second set as Garcia could never get her form in the match. Barbora defeated Garcia 6-0, 6-2.
Also read: Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Sydney Tennis Classic
Saina has always been my idol, win over her one of the biggest of my career: Malvika
New Delhi, Jan 13 (Badminton News) Growing up idolising Saina Nehwal and her power game, promising shuttler Malvika Bansod on Thursday termed her India Open victory over the Olympic medallist "one of the biggest" of her fledgling career.
As Malvika got down to reflect on her second-round win over the injury-plagued star in the Super 500 tournament, she said it was yet to sink in.
"This has not sunk in yet. The feeling is great and I was really excited after the win," Malvika, 20, said after her 21-17 21-0 win over the former world number one.
"She has been my idol because she has been the flag bearer of women's badminton in India for more than a decade. Seeing her matches when I started out, I used to get very overawed by her game.
"Her style of play, she has got a lot of power so I idolise that in her game. Today I played an all-round game, there was nothing specific about it." It was the first time the two were meeting in big tournament.
"She has always been my idol. So playing against her was a dream come true and that too in the Indian Open, on such a big stage. A Super 500 tournament, it was a big achievement for me, one of the biggest wins of my career so far." Having overcome a difficult journey in the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malvika is now aiming to improve her world rankings. The player from Nagpur is currently ranked 111th.
"I am aiming for better ranking in the near future so that I can play in high ranking tournaments like Super 500 Super 300 and Super 1000, so that I could improve my ranking faster." Speaking about the recent times, she said, "The journey in the last two years has been difficult in many ways because of the pandemic as training has not been the way it was before the pandemic." Malvika has so far won three all India senior ranking tournaments -- the first one was in Bareilly in 2018, the next was in Kozhikode, Kerala in 2019 and the third one was in Hyderabad last year.
"My coach Mr Sanjay Mishra has taken special effort to keep my training on during these difficult times and he has kept special sessions for me during the lockdown periods so that I don't miss training. It's because of that I could win these tournaments." "I don't think think there was any pressure on me today. I just thought that I have to give my best and play freely." She said the experience of turning up in the Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup helped.
"My performance in Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup four-five months ago were definitely good. I have learnt a lot from that experience and I got to play with Saina during practice sessions. That experience did help me today." Asked where she needs to improve, Malvika said, "I think that after having a big lead, I tend to lose points. I need to cut down on unforced errors." Saina, 31, who has been dealing with injuries since her knee surgery post the Rio Olympics 2016, lavished praise on her younger opponent after the match, saying she is a "very good" rally player.
In her most recent bout with injuries, Saina had sustained a groin injury in October during her first Thomas and Uber Cup Final match against Spain's Clara Azurmendi in Denmark. The Indian was forced to retire as a result.
"I started playing on December 26-27, in the 6-7 days that I got before the tournament I tried to improve my movement, though I could not work much do physical fitness.
"But I am happy that the body could stand those two matches . I didn't have to give up anywhere because of my groin or my knee but I could play those shots," Saina said.
She added, "Today I was moving on the court but my fitness is still not where it should be. I came here to see were I stand. My body is good but fitness level (need to improve)."
Also Read : Sindhu advances, Saina knocked out of India Open
News Source : PTI
Olympic, Paralympic heroes highlight importance of fitness
New Delhi, Jan 12 (Sports News) India's Olympic and Paralympic heroes, including men's hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh and para table-tennis player Bhavina Patel, feel there should be an increased focus on physical fitness and mental health of youngsters given the lifestyle changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manpreet and Bhavina were speaking at the National Youth Festival's virtual session titled 'Sports - A Unifier for Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'.
Tokyo Olympics bronze-medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain, Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal and Parlympics bronze-medallist high jumper Sharad Kumar were also present for the session.
"Fitness is not just physical. There is mental fitness as well. Everyone should understand that life becomes a lot easier when you are fit. Your health remains good, you stay happy and positive," said Bhavina, who became the first-ever Indian paddler to win a medal at the Paralympics with her silver in Tokyo.
"So, every person should try a become fit. Staying fit is not just for sportspersons but good for everyone," she added.
Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc all over the world.
Educational institutions have resorted to online classes and in such circumstances, Rani said it has become even more important to engage children in physical activities.
"Children are having a lot of online classes nowadays because of the pandemic but I request parents to send the children outside so that they have some physical and brain activity," she said.
"This will help in their growth. I am not saying everyone has to make sports their profession but children should be sent outside to plays so that they become healthy," Rani added.
Manpreet, who led the men's hockey team to an Olympic bronze medal, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for promoting fitness among the youth via various schemes like the Fit India campaign and the Khelo India Games.
"If you take out 30 minutes in the day to exercise your body will remain fit and you can fight a lot of diseases," he said.
"Youth is our future and to take a country forward one must invest in youth. Our PM is focussing on this a lot. He knows youth is the future.
"He started Khelo India (Games) and Fit India campaign and the performance that we got in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics shows that and India’s future is very bright," Manpreet added.
Also Read : PKL: Bengal Warriors look to bounce back, Pune eye U Mumba scalp in Maharashtra Derby
News Source : PTI
Olympic silver medallist wrestler starts Queens Baton Relay in India
New Delhi, Jan 12 (Wrestling News) Tokyo Olympics silver medal winning wrestler Ravi Dahiya kicked off the India-leg of the Queens Baton Relay for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with a symbolic run in the National Capital here on Wednesday.
The Queens Baton for the Birmingham Games arrived here on Monday.
"It feels great to be a part of the Baton Relay. My preparations for the Commonwealth Games are going on in full swing and I am confident of winning a gold in Birmingham," Dahiya said.
The Games are scheduled to be held from July 28 and August 8.
Unlike other edition of the Games, this year's QBR will be held as a symbolic event because of the pandemic.
In Delhi, the QBR was attended by Indian Olympic Association officials, including President Narinder Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta among others.
Also present on the occasion was British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis.
"I am delighted to be here at the start of the Baton Relay in India. The relationship between India and England is very good and sport is absolutely fundamental to it. It is 75th anniversary of India's independence this year and I think sport is one thing that brings both the countries together," Ellis said.
"COVID has created all sorts of complications fro everybody since the last two years. Luckily cases in the UK has peaked and is likely to drop. India is very well prepared for this wave. I am hopeful about a very exciting Games in Birmingham." The QBR will next be held in Bengaluru on January 14 and Bhubaneswar on January 15. It was also scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad on January 13 but that has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The baton carries a message from Queen Elizabeth II of the UK.
Also Read : Olympic medallists Bajrang and Ravi choose to train with Indian coaches till Paris Olympics
News Source : PTI
Want to see what all injuries my body can cope with: Saina
New Delhi, Jan 12 (Badminton News) Injury-ravaged Saina Nehwal on Wednesday opened up about her prolonged fitness issues, saying the thought of giving up did cross her mind but she has taken it up as a challenge to see how many more injuries her body can cope with.
The former world number one was forced to miss a lot of tournaments in 2021, including the World Championships, due to multiple injuries.
Still not completely fit, Saina reached the second round of the India Open, where she was not even expecting to play.
She advanced after her opponent Czech Republic's Tereza Svabikova suffered a back injury and retired mid-way, on Wednesday. Saina was leading 22-20, 1-0 at that time.
"I was able to take the tough training but one bad slip and my groin had lot of issues. I got a tear (during Thomas and Uber Cup Final) but I didn't know that the knee was also going through some issues which got bad in French open," Saina said during a virtual press conference.
"Till that match, I didn't know it was so bad and after that I was limping. It is a challenge and I want to accept. Let's see what all injuries my body can cope with. It is not easy, sometimes you feel like giving up." Saina said sitting on the fence, waiting for injuries to heal is something which really bothered her. "The mental part is very difficult because tournaments are happening, players are winning and I am just sitting and watching them play. It is a challenge but let us fight. May be there are some good days ahead." Saina had returned to action at the Thomas and Uber Cup Final in Aarhus, Denmark in October but had to retire midway in the round-robin match against Spain's Clara Azurmendi due to what she thought was a niggle in the groin region.
She played in Denmark but again withdrew midway into the second game of the first-round match at the French Open.
"It was about three issues: I tore my cartilage, I had issues with patella and there was one more meniscus, or something which got really irritated. The knee went through a lot of trauma. Finally a stage came when I couldn't walk after French open," said the 31-year-old.
"I was worried about by groin but I didn't know that my knee was in big trauma and when I came back and did MRI, my doctor was like: 'I don't think you can go for world championship or play till end of December'." The London Olympics bronze medallist said she is "happy with her rehab" and hope to regain full fitness by March.
"I had good practice for 7-8 days before this event but I wasn't expecting to play India Open. I hope I can get some more practice sessions on court. I am happy to play in India, so let's see how many rounds I can progress.
"I am 60-70 % now. I will have to go with weight training. I can't sit back even a day. I would say by January-end, I will get back to my full physical fitness level. We have one month in February for training as next events are in March, so I will get 4-5 week for training on court as well." Asked if individual coaching is the way to go for Indian shuttlers, Saina said it depends on individuals but it does help if you have one in an individual sport like badminton.
"Personal coaching is good for individual sports, where everyone is playing at highest level. Carolina (Marin), Tai Tzu (Ying) all have individual coaches, they know where to work on, give more time, so definitely improvement chances are better.
"But some player are good in group training. I have seen (Kidambi) Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth are good in that but I feel, you need individual trainer, coaches."
Also Read : India Open: Chaliha upsets fifth seed Kosetskaya, Sindhu also sails into 2nd round
News Source : PTI
Savita named captain of Indian women hockey team for Asia Cup in Muscat
New Delhi, Jan 12 (Hockey News) Experienced goalkeeper Savita will lead India at the upcoming women's Asia Cup in Muscat as Hockey India on Wednesday named a strong 18-member squad for the event, including 16 players that featured at the Tokyo Olympics. Since regular skipper Rani Rampal is recovering from an injury in Bengaluru, Savita will lead the side in the tournament, which is scheduled to be held between January 21-28 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
India have been placed in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. They will open their title defence against Malaysia on the opening day. They will next take on Japan (Jan 23) and Singapore (Jan 24). The semifinals will be played on January 26 and the final on January 28.
The top four-teams will qualify for the 2022 World Cup, to be held in Spain and Netherlands.
Experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka will be Savita's deputy.
The team includes goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu and defenders Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, and Udita.
The midfield includes Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti and Navjot Kaur while the forwardline will see Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur and Sharmila Devi.
The team also has Deepika (Junior) and Ishika Chaudhary as replacement athletes.
"This is a very important tournament for us and I am happy with the team we have chosen which is a mix of some very experienced players along with talented youngsters who have shown great potential at the international level," chief coach Janneke Schopman said.
"Though we were a bit disappointed with how things panned out for us at the Asian Champions Trophy, we were able to return to camp in SAI, Bengaluru and put in some good sessions of hockey to prepare well for this challenge." In the previous edition held in 2017, India beat China 5-4 in a tense shootout to lift the title.
Indian women's team: Goalkeepers: Savita (C), Rajani Etimarpu.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (VC), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita. Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu, Monika, Neha, Salima Tete, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur. Forwards: Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Mariana Kujur, Sharmila Devi.
Also Read : Women's Jr World Cup will be played in South Africa in April, Indoor WC cancelled: FIH
News Source : PTI
Boxing: Mary Kom, Amit Panghal added to national camps
New Delhi, Jan 11 (Boxing News) Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom and Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal were among six Indian boxers who were on Tuesday included in the ongoing national camps for women and men in Delhi and Patiala respectively.
Panghal was joined by a fit-again Vikas Krishan, who underwent a shoulder surgery last year after the Olympics, Manish Kaushik, Satish Kumar, and Ashish Kumar in the men's camp in Patiala.
Mary Kom will report to the women's camp at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here after the inclusion of their names was recommended by the Boxing Federation of India.
The two camps will continue till March 14, the Sports Authority of India said in a statement.
All six of them were not included in the camps conducted in December last year as they had skipped the national championships after the Tokyo Olympics.
"The Olympian boxers will now join the camps, which started on January 3 with only those who had competed in the National Championships.
"With the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games drawing close, Sports authority of India approved the inclusion recommended by the Boxing Federation of India," the SAI stated.
As many as 63 men boxers across different weight categories and 27 coaching and support staff have been in the National Camp in NIS, Patiala.
A total of 57 women boxers, including Olympic Games bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain and 25 coaching and support staff are already in the national camp in the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.
Also Read : IBA and the International Testing Agency renew anti-doping partnership
News Source : PTI
World champion Loh keen on starting New Year on winning note
New Delhi, Jan 10 (Badminton News) Reigning men's singles world champion Loh Kean Yew hasn't got enough time to train after his triumph in Spain, but wants to start the New Year by putting his best foot forward in the India Open badminton.
The tournament is starting here on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old from Singapore, seeded fifth at the India Open, defeated Kidambi Srikanth in the World Championships final and the Indian is expected to be his biggest challenger at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall along with bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, who is playing in this tournament for the first time.
"There are a lot of good players here and it is not going to be an easy competition for sure. Everyone is coming here to do well... same for me too. I also want to do well and I also want to win this tournament," said Loh, who will open his campaign against Canada's Xiaodong Sheng on Tuesday.
Before going to Spain, Loh had trained in Dubai with Tokyo Olympics champion Viktor Axelsen and Sen and said the young Indian is an extremely talented player.
"He is a very good friend of mine and I actually have a very good relationship and I am happy to see him do well in his first world championship," Loh added.
Singapore's first world champion in badminton, Loh is aware that he would be the player to beat this year after the stupendous run in the World Championship but pointed out that it won't be easy to maintain the same form in every tournament.
"I ended the year on a high so it was a good year... Nobody will always win. The pressure is always there. I just hope that I can play the best and I can perform," he added.
Manu Atri-Sumeeth Reddy withdraw from doubles ----------------------------------------------------- Meanwhile, the experienced Indian men's doubles combination of B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri along with men's singles fourth seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand have withdrawn from the competition.
However, Sumeeth will be in action in mixed doubles alongside Ashwini Ponnappa with the pair taking on second seeds Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova in the opening round.
Among women's players, eighth seed Fitriani Fitriani and women's doubles top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Projongjai of Thailand have also pulled out.
Also Read : Badminton in times of COVID-19: Sindhu, Srikanth eye glory at India Open
News Source : PTI
HI appoints analytical coach for women's team, also ropes in scientific advisors for men and women
New Delhi, Jan 10 (Hockey News) Hockey India on Monday roped in Patrick Tshutshani as the new women's team analytical coach, while also appointing Taren Naidoo and Mitchell Pemberton as scientific advisors for both senior men and women's sides respectively, with an aim to build on their historic Tokyo Olympics campaigns.
South Africa's Tshutshani in his previous role was the director of Canada junior women's team. He had coached them to the 2021 women's Pan America Junior Championship title.
He was also the assistant coach of Canada women's senior side. Among his many international assignments since 2009, Tshutshani has worked as an assistant coach for Hong Kong women's team as well.
He has also worked as the assistant coach and head coach of the South African junior women team for the 2016 Junior World Cup and assistant coach for South African Junior women side for the 2013 junior World Cup.
Naidoo, also a South African, will take charge as scientific advisor for the Indian women.
With an experience of nearly a decade, Naidoo previously worked as head hockey sports scientist and strength and conditioning specialist for both South African men and women's hockey teams.
She was also the head sport scientist and performance analyst for the South African women's Tokyo Olympics squad.
Besides, Australia's Pemberton will take charge as scientific advisor for the Indian men's hockey team.
Pemberton was associated with Hockey Australia as the strength and conditioning coordinator for junior men's team. He was also the head of Athletic Performance and Athletic Performance coach at the ACT Academy of Sport and the strength and conditioning coach for Contractor Royal Australian Airforce.
"It's absolutely wonderful to have Taren Naidoo and Mitchell Pemberton on board as scientific advisors of the Indian women hockey team and Indian men's hockey team respectively.
"We are also happy to bring on board Patrick Tshutshani as the analytical coach of the Indian women's hockey team," Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam said in a statement.
"We would also like to thank the Sports Authority of India for completing the formalities at the earliest to ensure the new recruits join the respective camps as soon as possible.
"Taren, Mitchell and Patrick have tremendous experience in their respective fields and we are certain that they will help us achieve our goals in the upcoming years."
Also Read : Sreejesh in race for World Games Athlete of the Year award
News Source : PTI
Ashleigh Barty secures two podium finishes at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty started the 2022 season with the singles and doubles title at Adelaide International 1. The world number 1 was playing after a gap of three months, she last played at US Open in September. At Adelaide, Barty only dropped a single set against Cori Gauff in the third round and was the only match in which she played for more than 90 minutes.
Barty was expected to win the final when she faced Elena Rybakina who beat Barty’s doubles partner Storm Sanders in the third round. Rybakina had beaten Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and looked in good form on her way to the championship match. Both players started well in the match as the Australian made her opponent cover a lot of ground in most of the rallies which Rybakina covered. In the 7th game, Barty broke Rybakina’s serve and then secured the first set.
In the second set, Barty took the first four games as Rybakina could not hold her serve even though she had 6 aces. The 22 year old only lost one point on her first serve in the set but only had 8 of them and lost 11 points out of 17 on her second serve. Barty was consistent on both her serves in the first and second set. She could not do much when Rybakina’s first serve was in but her returns in the second serve cleared the air. Barty defeated Rybakina 6-3, 6-2.
"I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year," Barty said. "Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different. So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that's here in Adelaide or it's in Melbourne.
"It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I'm thinking leading forward just because it's a Grand Slam. Doesn't change for us. We look forward, we do what we can, then we see how we go."
In the doubles final, Barty and Sanders beat Andreja Klepac and Darija Jurak Schreiber in straight sets. Barty and Sanders last played as a pair in the Tokyo Olympics where they lost in the quarterfinal, it was also Barty’s 200th doubles win and is two wins away to make it 300th win in singles. The Aussie pair defeated Andreja and Darija 6-1, 6-4.
Badminton in times of COVID-19: Sindhu, Srikanth eye glory at India Open
New Delhi, Jan 10 (Badminton News) Star Indian shuttlers P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will look to carry the momentum from last season and make winning starts to the new year when they begin their campaign at the India Open, which returns after being cancelled twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A lot of ranking points will be up for grabs at the USD 400,000 Super 500 tournament which is being held in the looming shadows of a raging third wave of the pandemic in the country with cases rising at a rapid speed, fuelled by the new Omicorn variant.
Top shuttler B Sai Praneeth and doubles player Dhruv Rawat have already pulled out after testing positive in the pre-departure testing. A few other Indians are awaiting results of their RT-PCR tests after turning positive the first time and might also miss out in case of positive result again.
The actual picture regarding the list of players competing will only emerge after the manager's meeting later in the day.
The spectre of COVID, however, hasn't stopped the top Indian and foreign players to descend to the national capital.
Besides Sindhu and Srikanth, many top players such as newly-crowned world champion Loh Kean Yew, three-time world champion Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, top Malaysians Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi will also be in action at the event which will take place behind closed doors at the Indira Gandhi stadium here.
Among Indians, all eyes will be on two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu and world championships silver and bronze medallists Srikanth and Lakshya Sen, respectively, to deliver the goods at the country's flagship event.
Sindhu embarked on a consistent run last season as she claimed a second Olympic medal and also secured a silver at World Tour Final besides making the final at the Swiss Open and few semifinals finishes but a title eluded her.
The 26-year-old from Hyderabad, whose last title was the 2019 world championships, will be itching to regain the India Open title which she had first captured five years back in 2017.
Sindhu will begin her campaign against compatriot Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli, while Russian fifth seed Evgeniya Kosetskaya could be her opponent in the last-8 stage.
Two-time champion Saina Nehwal, Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan and Singapore's up and coming Jia Min Yeo are the other top shuttlers in women's singles.
The London Olympics bronze medallist and fourth seed Nehwal, who endured a tough year plagued with multiple injuries, is likely to square off against seventh seed Iris Wang of USA in the quarterꪪfinals and second seed Ongbamrungphan in the semifinals.
In men's singles, Srikanth will begin his campaign against compatriot Siril Verma and might clash with Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in the semifinals in a rematch of their world championships final after being drawn in the same half.
The in-form Sen will start his campaign against Adham Elgamal of Egypt and could face compatriot and world championships quarter-finalist HS Prannoy in the quarterfinals.
Prannoy, who is making a comeback after battling post COVID after-effects, is set to kickstart his challenge against Spaniard Pablo Abian. Sixth seed Sameer Verma, who had suffered a calf muscle injury in Denmark, will also look to go deep into the draw after starting his campaign against his elder brother Sourabh.
The tournament has lost some sheen with the withdrawals of players from France, Russia and Canada and England, who pulled out after doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive before departing for Delhi on Friday.
As part of its COVID-19 protocols, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has made it mandatory for all the players as well as tournament, match officials, BWF and BAI officials, support staff, vendors and others involved to go through a mandatory COVID testing each day outside the stadium before being allowed entry inside the venue.
Also Read : Praneeth withdraws from India Open after testing positive for COVID-19.
News Sources : PTI
Sukhchain Singh clinches recurve title: National archery
Hyderabad, Jan 9 (Archery News) Top Indian archers, including Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari, made first round exits as Sukhchain Singh clinched the senior recurve men's title to lead a Services clean sweep in the National Ranking tournament, here on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Army Sports Institute archer Sukhchain, who has a world ranking of 218, created the biggest upset of the day when he eliminated India No. 1 Atanu Das 6-4 in the round of 16.
Das's Tokyo Olympics teammates Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav also made first round exits, going down to Dhiraj Bommadevara and Sachin Gupta in shootoffs.
In the final, Singh defeated his Services teammate Rahul Nagarwal 6-2, while Dhiraj won the third place playoff defeating veteran Jayanta Talukdar.
In the women's recurve section, World No. 2 Deepika Kumari suffered one of the shocking defeats of her career when she was eliminated by Telengana teenager Kadire Sindhuja 7-3 in the first round of 16.
Sindhuja however lost out in the second round, going down to Promila Dalmary of Assam 6-4.
Ankita Bhakat of Jharkhand emerged the champion in the women's section, defeating Simranjeet Kaur of Punjab 6-4, while Ridhi of Haryana won the third place playoff.
Rajat Chauhan of Rajasthan and Jyothi Surekha Vennam of PSPB clinched the top honours in the compound men's and women's sections respectively.
Also Read : Salunkhe, Ankita top qualifications; Atanu, Deepika fall behind
News Source : PTI
Exposure trips to Brazil, Sweden was a big learning curve before Asian Cup: Dalima Chhibber
New Delhi, Jan 9 (Football News) The experience gained from undertaking tournament-cum-exposure trips to places like Brazil and Sweden could stand the Indian team in good stead when it competes in the upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup, feels wing back Dalima Chhibber.
The continental tournament is scheduled to be held in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune from January 20 to February 6, and the host nation is preparing in earnest under the guidance of head coach Thomas Dennerby.
"A lot has changed, especially the number of exposure matches that we have been playing in Brazil, Sweden, Turkey and so on. Brazil was a big learning curve for us, to see the hub of football culture and to understand what football really means to everyone there," Chhibber told AIFF TV.
She said Dennerby, who had coached in his native Sweden and Nigeria before taking over the Indian senior team last August, has helped develop mental toughness among the players.
"The coach has given us a lot of confidence. He gives us a pep talk before every game, and he tells us how we are all capable, and how much he and the staff believe in us all. For me, personally, that gives a lot of confidence to fight it out," she said.
"He has brought in a mental toughness in the squad -- whether it's chanting, whether it's running, whether it's conditioning, whether it's speed, whether it's the technical aspect, or it's a tactical aspect.
"We've been able to focus on every part of the game in detail. We've been able to highlight that we've been able to improve. We've been able to come together as a team, and improve our games building up to the Asian Cup." The Indian team will look to put up a fine show in the continental tournament and secure a historic berth at the 2023 FIFA World Cup.
"The dream for us is to reach the FIFA World Cup. So when we went to Brazil to play against Brazil, it was a dream come true. But like going to Brazil playing against those teams was the start of a dream because we know where we have to be," she stated.
"That was just like a stepping stone. We realised what world football is like, and what kind of football the teams that are at the top level who play in the World Cup and Olympics play. So for us it was a very big learning curve."
Also Read : Mumbai aim to snap winless run, consolidate lead at top
News Source : PTI
England shuttlers pull out of India Open badminton after 2 positive cases in contingent
New Delhi, Jan 9 (Badminton) The entire England badminton contingent has withdrawn from the upcoming India Open after the country's doubles specialist Sean Vendy and coach Nathan Robertson tested positive for the COVID-19.
England's decision to pull out was made public by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Sunday.
The organisers, however, said that COVID tests of all players conducted this morning at the team hotel came out negative.
"Entire @BadmintonEnglnd team had withdrawn two days back and they are not here in India. #YonexSunriseIndiaOpen2022 is on track and all players who were tested at the hotel this morning as per protocol have come negative," the BAI tweeted.
Vendy's men's doubles partner, Ben Lane, too confirmed the development with a Twitter post.
"No India Open this year for myself and @SeanVendy after he returned a positive covid test along with our coach @Nath_Robertson," Lane tweeted.
Vendy and Lane were seeded fourth in the men's doubles competition.
The India Open will be held at the national capital from January 11 to 16 amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.
Organised by the BAI, the USD 400,000 Super 500 event will start the 2022 BWF World Tour season.
Also Read : Our aim is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics - Indian badminton athlete Shikha Gautam
News Sources : PTI
Our aim is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics - Indian badminton athlete Shikha Gautam
At just 23 years of age, Shikha Gautam is currently ranked number 1 in the Women’s Doubles in India. She is also the 2019 Senior National Champion and Khelo India University Winner 2020 and is setting her sights on making a mark in the international stage alongside Ashwini Bhat. In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Shikha Gautam speaks about being introduced to the sport and her childhood idol, her partnership with Ashwini Bhat, Target Olympic Podium Scheme, her most memorable achievement so far, training under coach Jagdish Yadav, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) When were you first introduced to badminton and who were your childhood idols growing up?
I started playing badminton when I was 9 years old. I grew up watching Saina Nehwal.
Q 2) You are currently ranked number 1 in Women’s Doubles in India, tell us about your partnership with Ashwini Bhat that has led to this achievement.
The Senior National Championship at Guwahati was the first tournament we played together for the first time. Winning the championship gave us the boost to move ahead and play further tournaments and we kept on performing consistently in All India and as well as International tournaments. That’s how within a few months we became INDIA no.1. Together we have played many prestigious tournaments representing India, Yonex All England Badminton Championship 2021 is one of them.
Q 3) Please tell us about the Target Olympic Podium Scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports?
This scheme provides assistance to India’s top athletes to prepare for the Olympic Games. We are a part of this scheme and we are very thankful to the Sports Authority of India to give us this opportunity.
Q 3) You are the 2019 senior national champion and Khelo India University winner in 2020, which achievement you are the most proud of in your career so far?
I would say I’m more proud of Winning Senior National Championship because here the level of competition was more and we defeated good International ranked players but at the same time Winning Khelo India University Games gave me deep pleasure because it was the FIRST Khelo India University Games ever held and we are the winners.
Q 4) You have trained at the Yadav Pro Badminton Academy in Bangalore under coach Jagdish Yadav. How much has he contributed in the success of your career and the development of your game?
In his guidance only we won the Senior National Championship and many All India tournaments. After winning the national championship, he worked on the improvement of our game. Currently we are practicing at the Prakash Padukone Academy under the national camp.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your career so far? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge is to get endorsements and sponsorship from the private sector which we could not get till now. We are looking forward to connecting with private companies for endorsement deals.
Q 6) What are your future goals and objectives? How do you plan to achieve them?
Future goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics. This year our aim is to be in the Top 30 in World ranking. Currently We are targeting upcoming India International tournaments which will be starting from Tuesday 11th January.
Olympic medallists Bajrang and Ravi choose to train with Indian coaches till Paris Olympics
New Delhi, Jan 7 (Wrestling News) Not willing to spend a considerable time abroad under a foreign coach, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia has decided to train with an Indian coach in the country to prepare for the 2024 Paris Games.
Not only Bajrang but Ravi Dahiya, the Tokyo Games silver medallist, has also conveyed to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) that he will prefer to train under Indian coaches instead of hiring a personal coach from abroad.
Bajrang had trained with Georgian Shako Bentinidis while Ravi had Russian Kamal Malikov to help him along with a set of Indian coaches at Chhatrasal stadium.
Bajrang has been trying to hire a foreign coach since his association ended with Bentinidis but his search did not bear any fruit.
Even during his ongoing training camp in Russia, he looked for a coach but noone is willing to come to India, according to the 27-year-old.
"These coaches want me to spend at least 80 percent of the season in their country, a condition which is not acceptable to me. I am willing to spend half the time outside but no one is willing to come to India, so I have decided to train with an Indian coach," Bajrang told PTI from Moscow.
Bajrang did not elaborate why the foreign coaches are unwilling to come to India. "I don't understand what their issue is in comig to India?" Asked who he wants to train with, the two-time World medallist said he is yet to finalise a name.
The 27-year-old Bajrang is employed with the Indian Railways and it is expected that he will hire someone from Railways.
Ravi Dahiya recently began his training at his training centre, where his long time friend and sparring partner Arun Kumar is helping him out. Mahabali Satpal, who has played a key role in shaping his career, is keeping an eye on his training schedule in the morning sessions at Chhatrasal stadium.
"All Ravi wants is one more training partner. We will identify one for him in his category during the Ranking Series event in Gonda," said WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar said.
Deepak Punia had a Russian coach Murad Gaidarov to help him till the Tokyo Olympics but he was sacked after his ugly scuffle with one of the Games official after the Indian wrestler lost his bronze play-off.
It is expected that Deepak will also prefer to continue his long-time trainer Virender Kumar, who has built a new training centre at Marmurpur on the outskirts of Delhi.
With the country reeling under the third wave of dreaded COVID-19, WFI is also finding it difficult to hire foreign coaches for the national camps.
Iran's Hossein Karim (men's freestyle) and American Andrew Cook (women coach) were both sacked by WFI before the Games for various reasons.
"No one is willing to come to travel to India because of COVID-19 to take up jobs so we will in probability start the national camps in February with the Indian coaches," said Tomar.
Also Read : Bajrang begins 26-day training camp in Moscow ahead of busy season
News Source : PTI
We want to create phenomenal experiences and solve problems in the sports ecosystem - Megha Gambhir, Co-Founder and CEO at Stupa Sports Analytics
The sporting industry has evolved leaps and bounds, not just in terms of new advancements for the athletes and coaches but also to create the best experiences for fans. We’ve seen the use of data analysis in the popular Hollywood film ‘Moneyball’ but did you know that analytics are also integral for the holistic growth of the entire sporting ecosystem? From increasing revenue, analyzing player performance to prevention of injuries, analytics has become a central component to not just give competitive advantages but enhance fan experiences.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Megha Gambhir, Co-Founder and CEO at Stupa Sports Analytics speaks about the importance of sports analytics, building experiences for fans and audiences, digitizing sporting events, migrating to other sports, driving organic traffic on social media and future goals.
Q 1) How much of a competitive edge does sports analytics give to an athlete or a team? Do you believe it's a must-have in this day and age?
I definitely believe that it is a must have. There is a saying that smart work is as important as hard work. When you are working smart it gives you much more benefits. That is why I believe that sports analytics are important for the players and the coaches because you are getting the precise information and taking that into practice. They can then work on the specific areas that need improvement and also work on areas where the opponent is weak. It's very important that players get objective feedback through sports analytics. The smart training makes the players better prepared for the matches. I feel that using analytics gives individuals a competitive edge.
Q 2) How is Stupa Sports Analytics building experiences for fans and audiences?
So far we have been working on multiple segments. One is related to players and coaches which is performance analytics but the other big area is fans who are watching the game through any form of media. Fans of Table Tennis or many other racket sports that are not as popular as Football or Cricket are in dire need of experiences where they can have a visual treat which not only gives them an appealing experience but also gives them a better understanding of the game. When a Football or a Cricket fan tries to watch these other sports he should not be blank without understanding what is happening in the match. We are trying to bring augmented reality and mixed reality using our artificial intelligence, merging it with the live viewing experiences which can help them understand the game and give them a lot of visual enhancement. It makes it interesting and also makes it easy for the viewers to comprehend the games while watching. That is the kind of experience we are building.
Q 3) How does Stupa enable event organizers to digitize the tournament with automated handling and monetization?
We have built a tournament platform that can manage the entire event starting from registration of players to publishing the results, it can also create the fixtures, analyse the scores and live streaming the event for the audience. Currently many of the sports including Table Tennis don’t have a platform which gives the audience end-to-end solutions, where they can create digital events and perform all the activities online.
With the help of the app, the players will get notified of each change in the event. They can also know the umpires in the matches and get the recordings of matches of all the players from Stupa. The platform which we have created gives out a lot of information so any individual will understand all the aspects of the sport. Even now, many events around the world still use pen and paper for the events. I think we have brought in a more sophisticated platform which enables them to work digitally. Another part we have added to this is to monetize the tournaments by the organisers so that they can generate revenue out of it.
People who are on this platform can watch the live matches, download the videos, get the stats and analytics. This is where a tournament promoter can start monetizing through ads in the live streams, offline videos, and sell the analytics to players and coaches. So the monetizing element can increase the entire trust of the community of organizers and players. Everyone is getting benefited and finally the level of the sport goes higher.
Q 4) With 25% of Olympian table tennis players already using Stupa Sport Analytics, how quickly are you planning to migrate to other racquet sports such as tennis and badminton?
We do have plans to expand it to other sports. It was an overwhelming moment when we realized that 25% of the Table Tennis players at the Tokyo Olympics were Stupa users. Another major achievement was that they won three Olympic medals, now we have 40 plus world rank players who are using our services. We also have major federations like Germany, Sweden, Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation and we are also signing contracts. We feel there is still a left to do in Table Tennis since there are a lot of inhand contracts and we are also currently working on products for the sport.
The kind of technology we have built can be transferable to multiple other sports. Badminton being the rising market in India, we do want to shift into Tennis as well and will be raising funds in the next few months. As soon as we close our funding the next step is to expand the team into Badminton and other sports as well.
Q 5) How does Stupa help spread viral and engaging table tennis content on social media that drives organic traffic?
Table Tennis has a global market in itself as almost 200 million people play Table Tennis which includes the competitive and the amatuer sector as well. The player market is quite huge and even the audience of the sport is huge, almost 1.6 Billion viewership was received last year which is being reported by the WTT. The market is huge, however, the creative content hasn’t come out to give fans some nice feeds on social media and I feel this is the sector we should work on and gain the trust of the fans. What we have started is very creative in terms of covering tournaments, results and properly creating some fun entertaining content. In the last couple of months we have seen the growth of more than 3 million interactions on our Instagram handle so we feel that the creative content has worked wonders and is helping more people to be engaged with the sport more.
Q 6) As CEO of Stupa Sports Analytics, what are some of your future goals? How do you plan to achieve them?
We started Stupa three years ago and the journey has been a very emotional one for us as lots of ups and downs we have faced but I would say we had more highs than lows because this is what we were envisaging when we initially had the idea. Our future goal was to work in a kind of environment where we completely redesigned and redefined the sports experience for people who were with the sport. By using the latest technologies as currently we are working on deeptech, AI, AR and a lot of other stuff as well. Our future goal is to enhance the experience and redesign the sport for the players, fans, organisers, federation etc. We literally want to create a phenomenal experience for them by solving the problems they are facing in the sport in the sporting ecosystem that we have created. We do want to give the entire sports fraternity, be it Table Tennis, Badminton or Tennis, an experience so that they have the facility to solve their problems and help them through our technological advancements.
World No. 18 Karatsev is the headline of the 4th Tata Open Maharashtra
(Tennis news) Defending champ Vesely and India’s Bhambri receive direct entry into single main draw for the Tata Open held in Pune. World number 18 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely will be eyeing the title alongside seven other Top-100 players as South Asia’s only ATP Tour tournament Tata Open Maharashtra gears up for a much-awaited comeback with an action-packed fourth edition, scheduled at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune from January 31 to February 6.
The Tata Open is one of Asia’s longest running tennis tournaments and will be in its 26th year, as they will return after a year’s break due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) will be hosting the prestigious tournament, which is sponsored by Tata Group, in association with the Government of Maharashtra.
The 28-year-old Russian Karatsev had a phenomenal 2021, he became the first-ever player to reach the semi-finals on Grand Slam debut in Australia, bagged two singles titles and his highlight of last year would be defeating tennis great Novak Djokovic, he also went to win the mixed-doubles silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Hailed as Russia’s “secret weapon” by teammate and World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev during their team’s 2021 ATP Cup triumph, Karatsev will be eager to carry forward a sensational run and make his mark on debut at Tata Open Maharashtra and by winning this prestigious tournament.
“We are thrilled to announce the return of this prestigious tournament. It has a rich legacy of having top players from across the world participating in it and the upcoming edition will be a testament of the same tradition. Despite the challenges and the pandemic, we are glad to see such a good response with players coming from the world over. We promise to bring yet another edition with a high-voltage action for the fans,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
With a stiff cut off at 149, the country’s premier ATP 250 event will also witness some of the experienced names as well as promising young guns from the tennis world such as Australia’s John Millman, Portugal’s best tennis player of all time Joao Sousa and teenage sensation Lorenzo Musetti.
The 19-year-old Musetti made the headlines last year when he became the youngest player to break into the Top-100. In his short career so far, the young Italian star has impressed everyone with his consistent match-winning performances against the Top-10 players including Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori. India’s Yuki Bhambri will also kickstart his campaign in the main draw with a protected ranking. After recovering from an injury, Bhambri is currently preparing for the upcoming Australian Open.
Czech Republic star Jiri Vesely, who ended his 5-year long wait for a singles title in the last edition, will be presenting a strong challenge on his comeback into the city. Former Youth Olympics champion Kamil Majchrzak, Moldova’s first-ever ATP singles title winner Radu Albot and World No. 62 Gianluca Mager are the other notable names from the acceptance list.
The qualifying draws will take place on January 30 and 31.
“We had worked really hard to bring back this tournament. I would like to thank all the stakeholders for their continuous support, throughout. We are aware of the challenges ahead but we are ready to tackle them all, strategically. MSLTA have successfully conducted a few tournaments recently and I believe we can pull this off too. Safety of the players as well as others involved is of prime importance to us and, as organisers, we will not compromise on that. We will be strictly following the government’s Covid-19 guidelines to bring yet another successful edition,” MSLTA Secretary Sunder Iyer said.
International Boxing Association renews partnership with ITA as part of anti-doping measures
Lausanne, Jan 5 (Boxing news) The International Boxing Association (IBA) has renewed its partnership with the International Testing Agency for three years, an agreement which will cover in-competition dope testing, long-term sample storage, and investigations among other aspects.
The IBA first entered into an agreement with ITA after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"The agreement includes IBA outsourcing all anti-doping activities to the ITA, including testing, intelligence gathering, test distribution planning, education and Therapeutic Use Exemption handling, as well as result management and the handling of anti-doping rule violations," the IBA said in a statement.
"The full scope of the new agreement now also covers in-competition testing, long-term sample storage, intelligence and investigations...in strict adherence to the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA's) International Standards," it added.
The move is part of the IBA's efforts to regain affiliation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which suspended it in 2019 owing to financial irregularities, and administrative issues.
"It is our duty to protect our athletes and reinforce the values of clean sport in boxing. Continuing our work with the ITA will ensure we do exactly that," said IBA President Umar Kremlev.
Benjamin Cohen, ITA Director General added, "By entrusting the full range of its anti-doping programme to us at the ITA, we hope in turn that we can enable IBA to focus fully on its core mission of developing boxing, in a transparent manner, worthy of wider trust.
"We look forward to continuing to provide IBA and boxers with our expertise and are fully committed to supporting IBA in its fight against doping." IBA is following a roadmap given by the IOC for reinstatement in 2023. Competitions that will fall under the renewed ITA partnership will include the World Boxing Championships.
Boxing has managed to stay on board for the 2024 Paris Olympics but has been dropped from the provisional roster for the 2028 Games. It's future depends on the roadmap of good governance that IOC wants the body to implement.
The IBA recently announced a revamp of its administrative structure and promised conduct of elections by June end this year as recommended by an independent governance review.
Also Read : AIBA changes its acronym to IBA as Extraordinary Congress adopts new reforms
News Sources : PTI
Good outing in Asia Cup key for success in 2022, says Savita
Bengaluru, Jan 4 (Hockey News) Defending the title at the women's Asia Cup and sealing a direct berth in the FIH World Cup later will be the key focus for India as it will set the tone for the side ahead of a busy season, said team's vice captain Savita.
The Indian women will begin the new year with a trip to Oman in January where they will defend their Asia Cup title to be held from January 21 to 28.
Top eight teams of the continent -- India, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore -- will vie for the top honours in the Asia Cup. from where top four sides will qualify for the FIH Women's World Cup 2022 to be held in Spain and the Netherlands in July.
"In 2017, we won the Asia Cup to win direct qualification for the FIH Women's World Cup in London. I feel that win was one of the stepping stones for us to establish steady growth in our performance in the past four years.
"Definitely starting the season with a good show in Asia Cup will give us the right momentum as we play back-to-back tournaments," ace goalkeeper Savita in a Hockey India statement.
After the conclusion of the Asia Cup, the Indian women will make their FIH Pro League debut, playing against Netherlands, Spain, Germany and England in Bhubaneswar.
The Indian will then travel to Belgium and the Netherlands to play against Belgium, Argentina and USA in June.
"I feel the Pro League matches will provide us with the best exposure ahead of the World Cup (in July). Last time, we made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in many decades.
"With our recent performance in the Olympics, and the support we garnered, we need to live up to the expectations by doing well in these major competitions to keep the interest alive in women's hockey," Savita said.
That follows the Indian women team's two big assignment of the year -- Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July followed by the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where they will aim for a gold to seal an direct qualification for the the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Indian women will wrap up the season with the FIH Women's Nations Cup in December which will be played in Valencia, Spain.
"Having a good core group in such a hectic year will mean a lot in terms of ensuring our performance doesn't drop whenever someone needs to fill in for another player," added Savita.
Also Read : We will try new combinations for Asian Games at FIH Pro League: Manpreet
News Source : PTI
We will try new combinations for Asian Games at FIH Pro League: Manpreet
Bengaluru, Jan 3 (Hockey News) Anticipating tough competition at the Asian Games this year, Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh says the FIH Pro League will be a perfect platform to try out new combinations for the big-ticket event in Hangzhou.
Manpreet had led India to first Olympic medal in 41 years in Tokyo, where the team won a historic bronze.
"Asian Games will undoubtedly be the biggest event for us this year. Surely the competition will be quite tough at the Asian Games as all teams will be vying to make the Olympics cut (by winning gold)," he said.
Gold medal-winning country at the Asian Games, starting September 10, automatically qualifies for the Olympics. India had won a bronze in the Jakarta Games in 2018.
The FIH Pro League matches begin in February and India will play the likes of Spain, Germany, Argentina and England in Bhubaneswar.
"This year is going to be quite exciting with back-to-back tournaments all year long. We begin with FIH Pro League matches in February. After almost two years, we will be returning to our favourite venue in Bhubaneswar where we will play double-headers against Spain, Germany, Argentina and England," he said.
"The FIH Pro League will help us gain some really good match experience ahead of Asian Games. Additionally, it will give us great opportunity to try out different combinations ahead of Asian Games," he said in a Hockey India release.
The players are set to report at SAI Bengaluru for the national camp after a short break following their Asian Champions Trophy outing in Dhaka.
Manpreet said the camp will be important to assess their performances from last year and also plan for the year ahead.
"It was a very good 10-day break for all of us, spending some quality time with our families. I feel we have returned to the camp feeling mentally fresh and ready for the challenge ahead.
"We will be assessing our performances in 2021 with the Chief Coach and support staff and we will also draw up a road map for 2022," added the midfielder.
Also Read : From Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020, we have come a long way: Rani Rampal
News Source : PTI
Haryana Steelers beat Gujarat Giants 38-36 in PKL
Bengaluru, Jan 2 (Kabaddi News) Captain Vikash Kandola shone bright as Haryana Steelers pulled off a thrilling 38-36 win over Gujarat Giants in a Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 match here on Sunday.
The Haryana side took a massive lead in the first half, but the Giants clawed their way back and gained the lead in the last few minutes of the game.
However, the Steelers held their nerve and found a way to close out a sensational win.
Kandola was Haryana's best player in the match with 11 raid points.
Gujarat Giants took the lead early in the match. Kandola effected a couple of brilliant raids and helped his team get its nose in front.
Haryana Steelers carried out an All Out in the 10th minute and took a four-point lead at 9-5. Moments later, the Haryana side carried out a brilliant tackle and took a seven-point lead at 12-5.
In the 12th minute, Meetu helped Haryana extend their lead even more after pulling off a fantastic raid. The Steelers carried out another All Out in the 14th minute to lead 18-6.
Kandola effected a fantastic raid in the last few minutes of the first half as the two teams went into the break with the Steelers leading 22-10.
The Giants started the second half strongly as they picked up a few points quickly. However, the Steelers carried out a Super Tackle and led 24-14.
The Giants carried out an All Out in the 28th minute and reduced Steelers' lead, but the Haryana side kept picking up points and kept forging ahead.
Meetu pulled off a brilliant raid in the 32nd minute as the Steelers led 30-25. However, the Giants inflicted an All Out in the 37th minute and gained the lead at 32-31.
Meetu kept Haryana in the game after pulling off a Super Raid in the 39th minute of the match as the two sides were locked at 35-35.
The Steelers carried out a fantastic tackle in the last minute of the match and regained the lead at 36-35.
Kandola then pulled off a couple of raids in the dying seconds of the match and helped his team record a thrilling victory.
Also Read : Contract of Neeraj Chopra's coach Klaus Bartonietz extended till 2024 Paris Olympics: AFI
News Source : PTI
Contract of Neeraj Chopra's coach Klaus Bartonietz extended till 2024 Paris Olympics: AFI
New Delhi, Jan 2 (Sports News) Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra will continue to train with his German coach Klaus Bartonietz, whose contract has been extended till the 2024 Paris Games, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) confirmed on Sunday.
After winning the historic Olympic gold in Tokyo, javelin thrower Chopra had expressed desire to continue to train with the German bio-mechanical expert.
"We have secured the services of Olympic Games javelin throw gold medallist Neeraj Chopra's coach Dr. Klaus Bartonietz till the 2024 Paris Games," the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said.
Bartonietz took charge as Chopra's coach from compatriot and former world record holder javelin thrower Uwe Hohn during the youngster's rehabilitation and recovery process after an elbow surgery in 2018.
The AFI also said that the 400m coach Galina Bukharina will also remain at the helm of affairs till the end of this year's Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Under Bukharina's watch, the men's 4x400m relay team of Mohammed Anas Yahiya, Noah Nirmal Tom, Arokia Rajiv and Amoj Jacob set an Asian record during the Tokyo Olympics.
The AFI had recently presented the Annual Calendar for Training and Competition to the Sports Ministry.
Also Read : U Mumba, U.P. Yoddha share spoils in closely-fought tie
News Source : PTI
U-23 champion sprinter Taranjeet Kaur fails dope test
New Delhi, Jan 1 (Sports News) India's fastest Under-23 sprinter Taranjeet Kaur of Delhi has failed an in-competition dope test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency, the source said on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Delhi sprinter has been one of the country's best performing youngsters in 2021.
She won gold in 100m and 200m races in the National U-23 Championships from September 27-29 here, clocking 11.54secs and 23.57secs -- her personal best -- respectively.
Just a week before that, she won 100m gold in the National Open Championships with a personal best time of 11.50secs as well as 200m silver (23.64secs) though many top athletes skipped the meet as it was held after the Tokyo Olympics towards the end of the season.
"Yes, Taranjeet Kaur failed an in-competition test conducted by the NADA," a source privy to the development told PTI on condition of anonymity.
The name and nature of the banned drug as-well-as the competition during which the dope sample was taken could not be ascertained.
The in-competition test could have been taken either during the National U-23 Championships or the National Open Championships, both held in September. If Kaur is found guilty of doping after her case is heard by the NADA Disciplinary Panel, she faces the prospect of getting banned for up to four years -- the maximum ban period of first time dope offenders.
Also Read : Sports in 2022: Here's what to look forward to
News Source : PTI
Sports in 2022: Here's what to look forward to
New Delhi, Jan 1 (Sports News) The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over but the world seems to be adapting to a life with the dreaded virus and as this churning continues, sports is set to be a major source of joy in 2022 with several big events lined up.
Here is a look at some of the extravaganzas that will be keenly anticipated in India and across the world apart from the usual roster of annual tournaments like the tennis Grand Slams and the badminton calendar.
CRICKET: ====== India's tour of South Africa (December 26 to January 23): An engrossing Test series is currently underway in which India have made a winning start. The three-match rubber will be followed by as many ODIs in which India will get to see K L Rahul assume the leadership role for the first time after a hamstring injury ruled Rohit Sharma out.
ICC Under-19 Men's ODI World Cup in the West Indies (January 15 to February 5): Delhi batter Yash Dhull would be leading the Indian Colts as they look to add a fifth title to the nation's kitty. A total of 16 teams will fight it out over 48 matches in the premier age group showpiece.
ICC Women's ODI World Cup in New Zealand (March 4 to April 3): India would be a contender in the mega-event which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic. It would be a swansong for 39-year-old India skipper Mithali Raj, who would be aiming to leave the big stage with a bang after a stellar career during which she has been nothing short of a trailblazer for women's cricket in India.
ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia (October 16 to November 13): Just a year after Australia were crowned world champions for the first time in this format, they would be defending the crown on home turf. For the Indian team, it would be an opportunity to redeem itself after a shambolic preliminary-round exit from the tournament last year.
MULTISPORTS: ========== Winter Olympics in Beijing, China (February 4 to 20): Mired in political controversies due to China's not so flattering human rights image, the Games have already been diplomatically boycotted by superpowers like the US and Britain among others. The athletes, on their part, would try to ensure that their performances remain the focus despite the political drama that is expected to unfold on the sidelines.
For India, who have never won a medal at the winter extravaganza, skier Arif Khan would be the one to watch out for having become the first from the country to qualify in two events -- Slalom and Giant Slalom.
Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England (July 28 to August 8): A happy hunting ground for Indian athletes, the CWG would be a shade less joyful for the contingent this time with shooting not part of the competition roster. It remains to be seen how India copes with the absence of the sport that has contributed 135 medals, including 63 gold, to the country's tally since making its debut in 1966.
Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (September 10 to 25): India registered its best ever Games performance in the previous edition in 2018 and would be expected to only do better in the backdrop of a stellar Olympic performance.
FOOTBALL: ======= AFC Asian Women's Cup in India (January 20 to February 6): It would be a huge step forward for women's football as the country hosts the premier regional tournament for the first time since 1979. The Indians have decent history to inspire themselves as they have been runners up twice in the event, in 1979 and 1983.
FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in India (October 11 to 30): Another ground-breaking tournament for women's football in the country, which was originally planned for 2021 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. Spain are the defending champions and the Indians would be eyeing to produce some decent performances to raise the profile of the sport in the country.
FIFA Men's World Cup in Qatar (November 21 to December 18): The first World Cup to be played in the Arab world is set to be a winter event with Qatar's punishing summer making it impossible for matches to be held during the usual June-July window. Already under a cloud over allegations of corruption in the bidding process and working conditions of labour engaged for infrastructure development, it remains to be seen whether the quality of football alone would be able to ensure the focus remains on sport.
ATHLETICS: ======= IAAF World Championships in Eugene, USA (July 15 to 24): Another marquee competition that was postponed to this year because of the pandemic. Anju Bobby George remains the only Indian medallist at this biggie with a 2003 long jump bronze and India would be hoping that Olympic gold-grabber Neeraj Chopra's javelin would clinch another landmark medal at this year's world championships.
HOCKEY: ====== FIH Women's World Cup in Spain and The Netherlands (July 1 to 24): The Indian women's hockey team has raised the bar significantly with a gutsy fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics. Rani Rampal and her teammates would be keenly watched as they look to build on the positives of that performance. Their best at a World Cup was a fourth-place finish at the 1974 edition and they had managed to claim the eighth position in the previous edition in England.
SWIMMING: ======== FINA World Aquatics Championship in Fukuoka, Japan (May 1 to 29): The biennial event is an umbrella competition for swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, artistic swimming, and water polo. India is not much of a challenger on the medal front but competitors from the country would still look to make a mark by improving their timings.
Also Read : Five sporting events that you should look forward to in 2022
News Source : PTI
Five sporting events that you should look forward to in 2022
(Sports news) As the new year begins fans around the world are bracing themselves for a plethora of sporting events that is sure to excite, entertain and break records. From the Winter Olympics to the World Cup and everything in between, there is a lot to look forward to in 2022 and here are a few events that you should absolutely not miss out on so go ahead and mark these dates on your calendar!
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games is scheduled to take place from February 4th to 20th in Beijing. The city was elected as a host in July 2015 at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur and it will be the first time in history that the Winter Olympics will be held in China and the last of the three consecutive Olympic Games to be held in East Asia (the others being the Winter Olympics 2018 in South Korea and the Olympic Games in Tokyo).
2022 Women's Cricket World Cup
The 12th edition of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is set to be held in New Zealand from 4th March to 3rd April 2022. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held last year but was delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Being the hosts, New Zealand automatically qualified for the tournament while the other places were given as per the ICC ODI Rankings. Hagley Oval will be the venue for the finals while five other venues such as Eden Park, Seddon Park, Bay Oval, University Oval and Basin Reserve will also host the matches.
2022 Women's FIH Hockey World Cup
The 15th edition of the Women's FIH Hockey World Cup will be held in Terrassa, Spain and Amstelveen, the Netherlands from July 1st to 17th 2022. In December 2018 the International Hockey Federation announced that the 2022 Women’s FIH Hockey World Cup will be held in either July 2022 or January 2023 and the bid was subsequently won by Spain and the Netherlands. 16 teams will compete in the tournament and alongside hosts Spain and the Netherlands, five continental champions will receive an automatic berth. Wagener Stadium and Estadi Olímpic de Terrassa will be the venues for the tournament.
2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup
The eighth ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held this year in Australia. The tournament was originally set to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve teams have already reached the Super 12 phase of the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup based on their performances in the 2021 tournament and rankings. The remaining four places will come from the top two teams from each of the two Global Qualifiers. The host cities are Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney with the semi-finals set to take place in Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval while the finals will be held in Melbourne Cricket Ground.
2022 FIFA World Cup
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Qatar and it will be the 22nd time the competition will be taking place in history. It will be the first time the tournament will take place in the Arab world and is set to be held from 21st November to 18th December 2022. It will also be the last time the World Cup will feature 32 teams as the 2026 World Cup in the United States and Mexico will feature 48 teams. The tournament will be held across five venues, namely Lusail Iconic Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Stadium 974 and Al Thumama Stadium. This is by far the biggest sporting event in 2022 attracting audiences of over 1 billion.
Novak Djokovic looking to keep next gen waiting in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is on the edge of breaking more records in the 2022 season. Djokovic will not be playing at the ATP Cup and will be eager to make his return at the 2022 Australian Open. He has played 62 matches this year and only lost 7 of them including a 27-1 record at the Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s 2021 season was a constant reminder that the next gen will have to pull off a near impossible stunt to take the Grand Slam titles away from the big three. The Serbian won his record 9th Australian Open for a hat trick of victories at Melbourne. Djokovic had an early exit at Monte Carlo as Daniel Evans handed him the first defeat of the season, at Belgrade it was a semifinal exit and Aslan Karatsev did not hesitate in a three setter match.
The world number 1 then met his arch rival Rafael Nadal at Rome in the final as it took almost 3 hours when Nadal finally lifted the trophy. It was the Spaniard’s 28th victory over Djokovic and was trailing by one in their career head to head meetings. Djokovic then got a second chance at home as he won his second title of the season, at Roland Garros the 34 year old became the first man to defeat Nadal twice at the event. Djokovic recorded his 30th victory over the king of clay and went on to win the title after losing the first two sets against Stefanos Tstisipas.
Djokovic then moved on to grass as he was one Grand Slam away from equalling Roger Federer and Nadal’s record of 20 titles. Although he looked a bit hungover from clay madness as he dropped the first set in the opening round against world number 253 Jack Draper but did not drop a set after that until the final. The record books had to be edited as Djokovic won his 20th major.
Djokovic was aiming to repeat Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, his hopes took a huge hit when Alexander Zverev defeated him in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. The 20 time major winner was visibly upset in his bronze medal match, even throwing the racquet at one point as the pressure took a toll on the champion. His next stop was at US Open, he got the Tokyo revenge over Zverev in the semifinals but Daniil Medvedev got his for the Australian Open loss. Medvedev played so well that even Djokovic’s cheeky smile disappeared and he lost the opportunity to be in the likes of Rod Laver who was the last one to win a calendar slam four decades back.
Djokovic got the final laugh over Medvedev at Paris Masters but his all year charm was turned to dust at the US Open. Although he was on top this year, the pressure has affected him to the extent that he was in tears in the middle of the match against Medvedev in the final at US Open. The record breaking run came to an end which clearly devastated Djokovic, a similar picture was painted earlier when Federer lost the Melbourne final to Nadal in 2009 as it moved the Swiss player to tears.
The 2022 season has mainly two targets. The first one is to stop the big three from winning any more Grand Slams and the second is for the big three to win a few more until they bid farewell from the game. A few more heartbreaking victories can hurt the big three more than any physical injury as the next gen will be focused on starting a new era and the time has come.
From Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020, we have come a long way: Rani Rampal
New Delhi, Dec 31 (Hockey News) Indian women's team hockey team skipper Rani Rampal feels their memorable run at the Tokyo Olympics has taught the players to perform under extreme pressure.
Speaking on the podcast 'Hockey Te Charcha', the 27-year-old opened up on the team's record fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics, while also reflecting on the year gone by.
"2021 proved to be a good year for us. We could have won a medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. We will always feel the pain of not being able to do that, because we were so close. It was not hard to accept it at first," she said.
"But we finished 12th in 2016 when we went to Rio Olympics and this time at Tokyo Olympics we finished 4th. So, it has been a big growth for women's hockey." The Indian women's team narrowly had missed out on a historic bronze in Tokyo but recorded its best-ever performance at the Olympics.
"When we returned, the Indian fans appreciated our efforts. We felt that we did something good that fans are giving us so much love and respect. This gives us confidence to do even better in future." She further went on to speak about how the team gained confidence from 1-0 win over Australia in the quarterfinal and felt they could beat World No. 2 Argentina in the semifinal to earn a podium finish.
"I feel 100 percent we could have won the semifinal match against Argentina. We took an early lead in the match and put them under pressure. We executed everything coaches told us but conceding PCs cost us," Rani said.
"But I think it was a huge learning experience for all the players in the team who will get an understanding of how to remain calm in knockout matches of big tournaments. We will surely get better the next time."
Also Read : Senior women's hockey camp starts with 60 players, list to be pruned down to 33
News Source : PTI
Sinner and Berrettini boost Italy's chances of maiden title at ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The third edition of the ATP Cup is due to start from January 1st 2022 as the 16 teams have been divided into four groups. Former champions Serbia will be without Novak Djokovic as defending champions Russia are also without Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy. There are strong chances for the third time that a team will get its maiden trophy. Italy seems to be one of the favourites as they have their top players participating. Here are the top four teams to watch out for at the season opening tournament.
Italy: Group B
The strongest team in the event has four players in top 40 including two players in the top 10 and a doubles player ranked in the top 25. Among the top three ranked singles players, the oldest is Lorenzo Sonego who is 26 as the youngest is Jannik Sinner aged 20. Sinner and Matteo Berrettini will be leading the attack in singles as Simone Bolelli can team up with Sonego or Fabio Fognini for the final blow in doubles.
They can run into trouble against Daniil Medvedev when they play against Russia other than that Italy can finish as table toppers or can come second behind Russia. Group B will be one of the most competitive as compared to the rest of the groups as France and Australia will take every opportunity they get.
Great Britain: Group C
Britain has a complete set up for singles and doubles as they have seasoned players to stir up trouble. Cameron Norrie alongside Daniel Evans will be on the singles front while Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray will be up for the doubles matches. Norrie has been the top player on his team this season and if the matches go till the decider then their doubles pair are also capable of making a comeback.
They can face tough competition from Germany as Alexander Zverev will be making the move in singles, Canada can pose problems with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov forming a match winning singles combination. Britain will also be facing the US team which can field Taylor Fritz and out of form John Isner in their attack; they also have doubles multiple Grand Slam winner Rajeev Ram and next gen star Brandon Nakashima.
Spain: Group A
Spain will be playing without their hero Rafael Nadal but has Tokyo Olympics Bronze medalist and world number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta who is ranked just one below Roberto Bautista Agut. Their singles squad looks to be sorted but the doubles pair will have to be tested as youngsters Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez will have to provide support for the team.
The seniors in the team will have to do double duty as it will get tiring but if their singles matches go well then the workload will vanish. They will be up against Chile in the opening match as Spain will also play against Norway and Serbia.
Argentina: Group D
The team has the oldest players on their side with their youngest player being 29 years old. Diego Schwartzman and Federico Delbonis can be in the singles tie as Federico Coria can also walk in for crucial points. Their senior most player, Maximo Gonzalez aged 38 will be working his magic in doubles with Andres Molteni, the team has work to do but has the strongest chance to top Group D.
Argentina will be facing Greece, Poland and Georgia as their doubles pair will hold the final call on crucial matches. Stefanos Tsitsipas will be on top of Greece as Hubert Hurkacz will do the same for Poland but both the players don’t have enough support and experience like Argentina. The 2022 season will start in grand fashion as 16 countries will battle with each other and one will walk away with the trophy after 9 days of combat on court.
Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi leading the way in high jump for 2022 season
(Sports news) The men’s high jump saw the most competitive lineup this year as the top four men have soared across the same height. Four men from different places around the world have dominated the event this season as all of them have the potential to go past Javier Sotomayor’s record of 2.45m set in 1993. Since then, only two have crossed 2.40m and nobody has crossed that mark in the last 5 years.
Mutaz Essa Barshim has been the top athlete in high jump in the past decade. In 2014 at Bruxelles, he cleared 2.43m which is the closest so far to Sotomayor and Barshim became the second athlete after Patrik Sjöberg to win three medals in Olympics at the event. Barshim won the silver at 2012 London, 2016 Rio Olympics and this year at Tokyo he won the gold alongside Gianmarco Tamberi. At the present he is the only active athlete to cross the 2.40m mark and has done it 11 times.
Tamberi became the first Italian to win the gold in men’s high jump. The Olympic first victory was his first major victory and last won a major championship win in 2019. The 29 year old is yet to jump past the 2.40m mark but has come close with 2.37m in Tokyo, his personal best is 2.38m which came back in 2016 but has been back in form this season.
Maksim Nedasekau also soared 2.37m at the Tokyo Olympics to secure his first major victory at the event. The 23 year old has been one of the youngest athletes this year in high jump but the shortage of experience has not been keeping him low. Nedasekau secured the first ever Olympic medal for Belarus in High jump this year and is one of the tallest competitors standing over 6 feet and 4 inches. He is the only athlete to have jumped 2.37m twice this year as the other three have done it once.
It will be the 29th year in the 2022 season as Sotomayor’s record has been on top, Barshim has the strongest chances of breaking the world record but has come close in the past decade. He will turn 31 next year and is one of the seniors in the event. Nedasekau is the youngest among the top athletes this year, he was on the same level as Barshim and Tamberi at Tokyo and can aim for the 2.40 mark next year.
Also read: Erriyon Knighton and Joseph Fahnbulleh leading the next gen in 200m lineup
Erriyon Knighton and Joseph Fahnbulleh leading the next gen in 200m lineup
(Sports news) The 200m track event saw few new names pop up in the major events, although the records were not broken in the senior category but the chances have split between many. The 20 second barrier was broken 38 times this year with Olympic medalists Andre De Grasse, Kenneth Bednarek and Noah Lyles leading the timings. Noah Lyles clocked 19.52 secs which was the fastest of the season, the Tokyo Olympics 200m final saw the top five men finish under 20 seconds for the fastest Olympic race in the event. The 4th and 5th place saw two teenagers as they are slowly moving towards the podium in the 2022 season. These are the top four athletes who can win their first major title next year.
The 17 year old is in number 6 of the top timings of the year, he was clocked at 19.84 secs in June at Eugene. He became the youngest finalist in the 200m in two decades at Tokyo, Knighton finished fourth behind Lyles with a timing of 19.93 and was racing in lane 6 just beside De Grasse. The teenager broke Usain Bolt’s under 18 and 20 world record this year; Knighton also clocked sub 20 three times this year and can be a medallist next year if he can run similar to this season.
Kerley is the fourth fastest athlete this season with four sub 20 runs. He was earlier a 400m runner but now has switched to the sprints which worked superbly for the 6 foot 3 inch American. At the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kerley clocked his personal best of 19.76 seconds and has been constantly improving this year.
The 20 year old is one of the rising stars in the 200m with a ripped body and had a powerful finish at Tokyo. Fahnbulleh was in the 8th lane in the final, he was placed 8th even after the turn and in the last 60m suddenly moved three places to finish fifth with a timing of 19. He showed a strong finish in the end and has three timings of under 20 including a personal best of 19.91 secs.
Laird is the fifth fastest athlete of the 2021 season with a timing of 19.81 secs in March at Austin. The race saw him running the first 100 in 10.39 secs but ran the second one in 9.42 secs which was one of the fastest splits of all time. He is 5 feet 7 inches and has had three races under 20 seconds this season.
Also read: Neeraj Chopra's rise in seven-star Olympic show and fall of Sushil Kumar, 2021 had it all
Neeraj Chopra's rise in seven-star Olympic show and fall of Sushil Kumar, 2021 had it all
New Delhi, Dec 30 (Sports News) Neeraj Chopra's javelin flew high and did not come down until it had travelled enough to provide a golden touch to India's best-ever Olympic campaign at the Tokyo Games in a momentous 2021 which also witnessed the fall of the great Sushil Kumar.
The manner in which Chopra bossed the field with his 87.58m throw fulfilled the aspirations of a billion-plus nation that had not seen a track and field Olympic champion in its 74-year old sporting history since Independence.
It sent the country into a state of frenzy and turned Chopra into a phenomenon, and it was quite appropriate, too. After all, it was an accomplishment that fuelled the hopes of a nation that has been starving for success at sport's grandest stage.
It gave the current and future generation of athletes the belief that becoming an Olympic champion was indeed a possibility in this country if the right kind of training, exposure and timely financial support is provided.
The second-most populous region of the world rejoiced only its second individual Olympic gold medal since shooter Abhinav Bindra's spectacular show at the 2008 Beijing Games.
The 24-year-old son of a farmer was not alone in creating a moment of reckoning. India signed off with six more medals, won by athletes who did not have much in common geographically but had common traits of perseverance, grit and a burning passion to excel.
A sheen of silver was provided on the opening day itself by a chuckling Mirabai Chanu.
The Manipuri weightlifter carried on her small yet strong shoulders high hopes after her astounding success at the World Championship, and delivered with a stunning lift of 202kg (87kg+115kg) in the 49kg event in Tokyo.
The performance more than compensated for her Rio Olympics' heartbreak when she could not make a single legal lift.
A bunch of passionate hockey players, largely from humble backgrounds, reignited the love for the national sport with their bronze medal that felt like gold after a 41-year wait to see an Indian hockey team on the Olympic podium.
Skipper Manpreet Singh, a livewire on the field, the ever-smiling P Sreejesh and a fierce Rupinder Pal Singh all of them came together to shrug off the 1-7 bashing at the hands of Australia to trample Spain, defending champions Argentina, Japan and Great Britain en route to the semifinals.
Belgium broke a billion Indians' hearts by stopping the Indian team from entering the final but the players did not disappoint in the bronze medal play-off against Germany.
Putting years of physical and mental training to work, the players soaked in the pressure of a high-stake game to emerge deserving 5-4 winners, ensuring that the game of hockey would not slip into oblivion.
The Indian women's hockey team, led by Rani Rampal, scripted its own success story by reaching the medal round despite a hat-trick of defeats in the beginning.
The campaign did not culminate in a medal but the courageous fourth-place finish, after toppling mighty Australia in the quarterfinals, was no mean achievement. It earned the players plaudits and respect.
If Tokyo Olympics was about hockey's revival, the sport of wrestling continued to offer medals at the biggest stage, underlining its consistent growth.
The focus was on star grapplers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia but away from the limelight, it was Ravi Dahiya who left a lasting impact on the psyche of Indian sports lovers with his phoenix-like rise in the 57kg semifinals against Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev.
Trailing 2-9 with less than a minute to go, Ravi managed to pin his rival, showing immense physical prowess and mental toughness.
He could not repeat his success in the final against Russia's Zavur Uguev but it was enough to make him an overnight star. After all, he was only the second Indian, who was competing for an Olympic gold, after Sushil Kumar.
While Bajrang too stood on the podium, a bronze medal did not feel like an achievement as he was expected to reach at least the final, given the expectations and hype around him.
Vinesh's Olympic dream, though, was shattered once again with her unexpected second round exit after entering the event as a title contender. There was embarrassment in store for the game when two-time Olympic medallist Sushil landed in Tihar Jail after being accused of murder of a fellow wrestler, Sagar Dhankar.
The way the 38-year old Sushil, the only Indian wrestler to have won two Olympic medals and a world title, played hide and seek with the police before being arrested exposed the murky underbelly of Indian wrestling.
The year also propped up a new star in Anshu Malik who entered the history books as the first ever Indian woman to reach the World Championship final.
Badminton star PV Sindhu's legend grew with a second Olympic medal as she grabbed a bronze despite not being in top form. She is now only the second Indian to have won two individual Olympic medals.
Kidambi Srikanth regained his touch with a historic World championship silver and young Lakshya Sen continued to dazzle but the listless performance in team events was a significant low for Indian badminton in a topsy-turvy year.
Lovlina Borgohain clinched the welterweight (69kg) bronze to ensure the boxers did not return empty-handed from Tokyo.
Hailing from the small Baro Mukhia village in Assam, the 23-year-old became only the third Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal, after Vijender Singh and the legendary MC Mary Kom.
The Indian men's campaign came to a screeching halt after Satish Kumar (+91kg) went down to world champion Bakohodir Jalolov in the quarterfinals. The other four male boxers bowed out after opening-round defeats while Mary Kom (51kg) and Poja Rani (75kg) also bowed out early.
While the country got new heroes to idolise, established cricket star Virat Kohli lost a bit of his aura, even as the team cherished a historic success in Australia and came close to winning a Test series in England.
Kohli quit T20 captaincy at the end of the World Cup and had no plans to leave the ODI captaincy but India's premature exit from the tournament led to the inevitable and the mighty Kohli did not see that BCCI bombshell coming.
Following his sacking as 50-over skipper, dirty linen was washed in public with Kohli and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly contradicting each other on the sequence of events that led to the former's removal.
The early exit at the T20 World Cup was a big disappointment but it marked the end of a successful era under Kohli and Ravi Shastri, especially in the longest format.
The win at Gabba by a second-string side will be remembered for long as Indian cricket enters a new era under Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid.
During the year, the Indian senior men's football team won a record-extending eighth SAFF Championship title but for a nation seeking to relieve its glory days of the 1950s-60s, a triumph in a regional tournament is not something it would be contend with.
Veteran Sunil Chhetri went past the legendary Pele and equalled Lionel Messi when he scored the team's opener -- and his 80th goal -- against Nepal in the summit clash of the SAFF Championships in October.
The Indian shooters failed miserably at the Games, where they had gone with a lot of hype and expectations. They produced outstanding results throughout the year but when it mattered the most, they faltered.
Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur and golfer Aditi Ashok, though, came up with gritty show. They did not win medals but certainly new fans.
An important factor in India's stupendous success in 2021 was the way the government opened its coffers to support athletes.
Also Read : Naveen shines in Dabang Delhi's win over Bengal Warriors
News Source : PTI
Trayvon Bromell, Christian Coleman to face off in 60m at Millrose Games
(Sports news) The World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold at Millrose will be held next month as the big names will compete with each other in the 60m field. Trayvon Bromell has been the fastest man this season in the 100m, he will be competing alongside Christian Coleman who is the current world champion in the 100m.
Christian Coleman will make a comeback as he has been off tracks because of the doping controversy. The US sprinter had missed three out of competition drug tests in a period of twelve months which invited a ban of 2 years but has been reduced. The ban did not allow him to compete at the Tokyo Olympics as he was considered a gold medal contender, the 25 year old has the joint 6th fastest time in history. Coleman had clocked 9.76 secs while winning the World Championship at Doha two years ago, since then he has been widely recognized as the next big sprinter after Usain Bolt but the doping controversy made him sit out of major events as the other athletes took over the podium this year.
Bromell has been the fastest athlete this year although he failed to reach the final of the 100m event at Tokyo. The 26 year old was the first junior to break the 10 second barrier, he had a timing of 9.97 secs in 2014 at 19 years of age. A serious heel injury caused him to lose a few years in the sport but has made a major impact this year with his timings.
Both the athletes have the same personal bests, Bromell clocked 9.76 secs at Nairobi in September which put him on top this year and alongside Coleman for the 6th fastest time overall. Bromell has the chance to shine in the shorter event as he has been quicker in recent times, his best timing in the 60m indoor is 6.47 secs in 2016 which puts him in 20th position of all time.
Coleman holds the record for the fastest time ever in the 60m event. He was timed at 6.34 secs in 2018 which again puts him in top position but he has not competed in the last few months which is a major disadvantage as many other athletes have now come up with timings close to the record. It will be a battle of the next superstar in the making but both the athletes have an equal chance of finishing first, prediction is for Bromell to reach the finish line first but if Coleman passes first then it will be a treat to watch him in the 100m event too.
Ashleigh Barty looking for a title at home in 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty will step into the 2022 season as world number one for the third consecutive time, she will be looking for a maiden title here and her third overall when she plays the 2022 Australian Open.
Barty had started this season with a title win at home in Yarra Valley Classic where she defeated Garbine Muguruza in the final. At the Australian Open, the world number one had a surprise exit at the quarterfinal as she was knocked out by Karolina Muchova. She faced another early exit at Adelaide International losing to Danielle Collins in the opening match.
The Australian won the first WTA of the year at Miami, defeating three top ten on her way to the title. Barty then lost to Paula Badosa at the Credit One Charleston Open in the quarterfinal stage but came back to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix by defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the final.
The two time Grand Slam winner was looking in control on clay as she reached the final in Madrid taking revenge on Badosa for a place in the final, Sabalenka then avenged her loss in the previous event by beating Barty for the title. Barty then had to retire midway in her event match against Cori Gauff due to an arm injury and again retired hurt at Roland Garros because of a recurring hip injury. She only had two weeks to recover before Wimbledon and it was all she needed as Barty won her second major defeating newly crowned Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round.
The 25 year old came into the Tokyo Olympics with full confidence but the hopes