P V Sindhu, HS Prannoy seek momentum at Malaysia Masters
Kuala Lumpur, Jul 4 (Badminton News) Star shuttlers P V Sindhu and HS Prannoy will look to sustain their momentum when they spearhead the Indian challenge at the Malaysia Masters Super 500 badminton tournament, starting here on Tuesday.
Sindhu and Prannoy had suffered contrasting defeats at the quarterfinal stage of the Malaysia Open Super 750 last week and will look to make amends this week even though there was hardly any time to iron out the flaws.
While Sindhu has claimed two Super 300 titles at Syed Modi International and Swiss Open this year, Prannoy is desperate to end a five-year long wait for a title win.
Sindhu, a two-time Olympic medallist, has been consistently reaching the quarters and semis of the world tour events but she has looked slightly vulnerable against the top players.
Her losses against Thailand's Ratchanok Inthanon, China's Chen Yu Fei and He Bing Jiao, Korea's An Se Young and nemesis Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei have exposed her weaknesses, which she will look to address ahead of the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
In the opening round, the former world champion will face the formidable Bing Jiao, who had shown her the door at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 last month.
Even though Sindhu lags 8-10 in head-to-head record against Bing Jiao, the Indian has defeated the Chinese three times in the last four meetings, including the Tokyo Olympics.
It was Tzu Ying, who had prevailed in three games against Sindhu last week, and a win in the first two rounds in this tournament is likely to put her face-to-face with the ace from Taiwan yet again, in the quarterfinals.
Prannoy, on the other hand, has made a mark every time he has taken the court this season.
With a series of quarterfinal finishes since the world championships last year, Prannoy has proved to be a tough competitor on the circuit, but a podium finish has eluded him.
As someone who has fashioned India's epic Thomas Cup win in May, Prannoy has all the bearings of a champion, but he will need to ensure that he finds his best version against the top brass consistently to seize the moment.
The 29-year-old from Kerala, who had reached the semifinals at the Indonesia Super 1000, will meet Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in his opener and is expected to come across the seventh seeded Indonesian Jonatan Christie next, who had ended his campaign last week.
Among other Indians, B Sai Praneeth, who has been struggling with his form since the Tokyo Games, will meet Kevin Cordon of Guatemala in the opening round, while Sameer Verma, who is making a comeback from injury, is pitted against fourth seeded Taiwanese Chou Tien Chen.
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal, who failed to cross the opening hurdle last week, is pitted against Kim Ga Eun of Korea.
In the doubles, the CWG-bound women's pairing of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will meet Malaysian combination of Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan, while former CWG bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy begins against a qualifying pair.
Also Read : Gopichand hopes for historic high in CWG after epic Thomas Cup win
News Source : PTI
India eye China scalp in women's Hockey World Cup WC
Amstelveen (Netherlands), Jul 4 (Hockey News) Their defensive prowess on display in the 1-1 draw against Olympic bronze medallist England, India would look to plug holes in the attacking department and register their first win of the women's hockey World Cup in their second game against China here on Tuesday.
The Indians produced a superlative defensive performance, spearheaded by skipper and goalkeeper Savita Punia, in the drawn game against England in their opening Pool B match on Sunday.
The likes of vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur and Udita dished out an excellent performance, denying England a single penalty corner in the entire 60 minutes.
Their only blemish was the ninth minute goal they conceded when Isabella Petter neatly deflected in a pass from outside the 'D'.
Barring that, it was a near perfect effort from the Indian backline against England, who fielded almost the same set of players from the Great Britain side that featured in Tokyo Olympics.
Savita, as usual, was brilliant at the goal, making a couple of fine saves with her quick reflexes.
However, India were found wanting in the penalty corner conversion as they could score just once from the seven PCs they got, with Vandana Katariya getting the equaliser from a rebound in the 28th minute.
India also created a lot of chances against England but the forwardline failed to utilise most of them, barring the equaliser.
In the 56th minute, Sharmila Devi wasted a golden opportunity as he failed to get her stick on to a fine pass from a team-mate.
The Indians would look to address their attacking woes and beat world number 13 China, who held New Zealand to a 2-2 draw in the other Pool B match on Sunday. Chief coach Janneke Schopman would be eyeing a more clinical performance from the forwardline, consisting of the likes of Vandana, Lalremsiami and Shamila.
Going by form and rankings, world number eight India will definitely start as favourites against China but complacency is something the Savita-led side would look to avoid.
It was India who came out on top in the last two meetings between the two sides.
India had thrashed China 7-1 in their first outing in the FIH Pro League tie before winning the second match of the double-header 2-1 in Muscat, Oman.
In the other Pool B match on Tuesday, England will face New Zealand.
Also Read : India still in control after Day 3 despite Bairstow's incredible ton
News Source : PTI
Indian boxer Kalaivani storms into final of Elorda Cup, Kuldeep in semis
New Delhi, Jul 2 (Boxing News) Indian boxer Kalaivani Srinivasan stormed into the final with a dominating victory while Kuldeep Kumar progressed to the semi-finals of the Elorda Cup in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Saturday.
Kalaivani demonstrated excellent skills against Uzbekistan's Farzona Fozilova in the women's 48kg semi-final. The Chennai-born boxer's powerful blows and persistent attack didn't allow her opponent any opportunity to settle down as she comfortably won by unanimous decision in the end.
Kuldeep provided India a winning start on the fourth day of the competition but had to work hard for the victory. Kuldeep faced a stiff challenge from local Kairat Yernur in a nail-biting men's 48kg quarter-final contest. However, with cautious approach and precise attack, he notched up a 3-2 win.
Meanwhile, another boxer in the men's section, Yashpal lost to Kazakhstan's Aslanbek Shymbergenov by 0-5 margin in the 71kg quarter-final.
Among women, Babita Bisht (81kg), Jyoti (52kg) and Neema (63kg) signed off with bronze medals after defeats in the semi-finals.
While Babita suffered a defeat against China's Zheng Lu by 'Referee Stopping the Contest' verdict, Jyoti and Neema conceded identical 0-5 losses against Uzbekistan's Feruza Kazakova and Kazakhstan's Anar Tursynbek respectively.
Savita's challenge also came to an end in the quarter-finals as she was handed a 0-5 loss by Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Japan's Namiki Tsukimi in the 50kg category.
Later on Saturday night, 2021 Youth World champions Gitika (48kg), Alfiya Pathan (+81kg) and Lalita (70kg) will fight in the semi-finals while Rajni (50kg) will play her quarter-final.
The finals will be played on Monday.
Also Read : Jamuna, Chopde among six Indians in semifinals of Elorda Cup
News Source : PTI
We are expecting Indian community to turn up for our matches: Savita
Amstelveen (Netherlands), Jul 2 (Hockey News) National women's hockey team captain Savita Punia is expecting the sizeable Indian community in the Netherlands to come to the venue and cheer the side in its World Cup matches.
India will open their campaign against England in pool B match here on Sunday, a year after losing to the same opponents in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics.
"There is a big Indian community in Netherlands and we are expecting many of them will turn up for the matches. We saw many of them come support us in Rotterdam during the Pro League matches and definitely fans support will motivate us even more," she said.
At the previous edition of the World Cup in London in 2018, India matched the performance of England with a 1-1 draw in the round robin league game.
Earlier that year, the Indian team had beaten England 2-1 in the group stage of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast but had lost to them in the bronze medal match.
Talking about their opponents, Savita said, "Even though as a team, we would be focused on our own performance, England and India have faced off in some very close encounters and undoubtedly a rivalry has developed over the past three-four years in particular.
"Some of our players want to challenge their goalkeeper Maddie Hinge, who has been quite exceptional at the goalpost. And they also have some very experienced players like Laura Unsworth, Giselle Ansley, their Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb and Lily Owsley who will bring their 'A' game against us," she added.
India and England were scheduled to play a double-header in FIH Hockey Pro League earlier this year, which would have given insights into their game, but the match was cancelled.
"Yes, a match against them would have been ideal in the lead up to the World Cup but we can't be too bothered about what has happened in the past. The only aim for us right now is to get on to a good start in the tournament and the team is 100 per cent ready," added the goalkeeper.
After England, India will play China on July 5, followed by a match against New Zealand on July 7.
Also Read : Women's Hockey WC: India eye revenge against England in opener
News Source : PTI
Women's Hockey WC: India eye revenge against England in opener
Amstelveen (Netherlands), Jul 2 (Hockey News) No more considered as pushovers, a rejuvenated India would seek revenge against England when the two sides open their Pool B campaign in the Women's Hockey World Cup here on Sunday.
The Indian women's hockey team would be eager to settle scores against a side which shattered their bronze medal hopes in last year's Tokyo Olympics.
India came tantalisingly close to claiming their maiden Olympic medal in Tokyo, only to lose 3-4 against England, who are playing as Great Britain in the showpiece here.
But going into the tournament, the Indians would be high on confidence, especially after finishing a creditable third in their maiden outing in the FIH Pro League.
India's best performance in the World Cup was a fourth place finish at the inaugural edition in 1974, but since achieving a historic fourth place in Tokyo Games, the team has been on a phenomenal rise.
The Indian women's team achieved its best-ever world ranking, a sixth position in May and then gave some top teams of the world a run for their money in the FIH Pro League. The Indian team finished on the podium ahead of strong sides like Belgium, Australia and England.
Experienced goalkeeper Savita Punia performed captaincy responsibilities brilliantly since taking over from talismanic Rani Rampal, who has been sidelined since the Tokyo Games due to a hamstring injury.
Savita has been in stellar form, while she will have young and energetic back-up in Bichu Devi Kharibam.
The backline will be under the watchful eyes of vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Udita and Nikki Pradhan, while the responsibility of building the attacks will be on the shoulders of Sushila Chanu, Neha Goyal, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Jyoti, Nisha and Monika.
Salima Tete, who has been in terrific form and is known for electrifying runs down the flanks, will need to play the linking role.
The responsibility of scoring goals will be on experienced Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur and Sharmila Devi.
Even though it is well-oiled squad, India will definitely miss the experience and services of Rani.
India finished eight in the last edition in 2018, but they are hoping for their first podium finish in this edition of the tournament and going by their form and recent results, it is definitely not impossible.
And, India's chief coach Janekke Schopman knows the potential of her players.
"If we truly play to our potential, we play the way we know we can consistently, anything is possible. Women hockey at this moment is very tight, anyone can beat anyone," Schopman had said.
"(But) consistency is a big point of attention. If we can play consistently well, top-4, and who knows a podium in the World Cup is a possibility.
"I think we have great potential and if we actually play to our potential we are a tough team to beat," the 45-year-old said.
England's best result in the World Cup is a a bronze medal in the 2010 edition in Rosario, Argentina. Besides, they also finished fourth in 1990 in Sydney.
There is hardly anything to differentiate between the two sides. England are placed fourth in world rankings while India are at sixth.
After England, India will face China on June 5, followed by their last pool match against New Zealand on July 7.
Also Read : Need to be consistent in every quarter, says India striker Vandana
News Source : PTI
PV Sindhu loses to nemesis Tai Tzu Ying, exits Malaysia Open
Kuala Lumpur, Jul 1 (Badminton News) Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu crashed out in the women's singles quarterfinals of the Malaysia Open Super 750 badminton after losing to nemesis Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in a hard-fought three-game contest here on Friday.
Sindhu, seeded seventh, squandered a game lead to lose 13-21 21-15 21-13 to the second seed Tai Tzu, a silver medallist at the Tokyo Olympics.
By virtue of the win, the Chinese Taipei shuttler extended her domination over the Indian ace, leading 16-5 on head-to-head record. Sindhu has now lost six matches on the trot against Tai Tzu.
Sindhu, playing against drift, made a slow start and trailed 2-5 in the opening game. But she soon got her act together and pocketed 11 points on the trot to go into the break leading 11-7.
The Chinese Taipei shuttler tried to make comeback into the contest by playing long rallies but Sindhu was upto the task to pocket the opening game.
Sindhu started the second game brightly but her fancied rival dominated the proceedings after the early exchanges to lead 11-3 at the break.
Tai Tzu continued in the same vein after the change of ends and extended her lead to 14-3 before Sindhu relied on her powerful smashes to reduce the deficit to 17-15.
Tai Tzu, however, regrouped quickly and pocketed the next four points to draw level in the contest.
It was a close contest in the decider as both the shuttlers fought tooth and nail till 12 points before Tai Tzu put Sindhu under pressure with a mix of drop shots and smashes to clinch the third game and keep her title defence hopes alive.
India's Thomas Cup star and world No. 21 HS Prannoy will take on world No. 8 Jonatan Christie in the men's singles quarterfinals later in the day.
Also Read : Malaysia Open: Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, Prannoy advance to quarterfinals
News Source : PTI
Neeraj Chopra finishes 2nd in Stockholm Diamond League, misses 90m mark by a whisker
Stockholm, Jun 30 (Sports News) Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra clinched his first top-3 finish at the prestigious Diamond League Meeting with a national record-shattering effort but missed the 90m mark by a whisker in a star-studded field here on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Chopra opened with a stunning throw of 89.94m, just 6cm shy of the 90m mark, the gold standard in the world of javelin throw and that effort eventually turned out to be his best as he finished second.
His other throws measured 84.37m, 87.46m, 84.77m, 86.67 and 86.84m. He bettered his earlier national record of 89.30m, which his spear had travelled while finishing second in the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on June 14.
World champion and season leader Anderson Peters of Grenada won the competition with a best throw of 90.31m which he came up with in this third attempt.
"Today, I feel good and after first throw, I thought I could throw even over 90m today. But it is OK as I have more competitions coming this year," Chopra said after the event.
"I am close to 90m now and I can throw it this year. Despite the fact that I did not win tonight, I feel very good because I did my best." Peters has thrown 90m-plus twice this season -- 93.07m while winning the Doha leg of the Diamond League last month before 90.75m effort at Hengelo in the Netherlands.
Julian Weber of Germany was third with a fifth round throw of 89.08m while Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch (88.59m) of Czech Republic was fourth.
Another Czech athlete and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Vitezslav Vesely was seventh in the eight-man field with 82.57m.
Chopra has beaten Peters twice this month -- in Turku where the athlete from Grenada was third and in the Kuortane Games, also in Finalnd, where the Indian superstar had won gold with a best throw of 86.69m under wet and slippery conditions.
Chopra's first throw had raised hopes of him scripting history of becoming the first Indian to win a Diamond League event. Nonetheless, he became the second Indian to finish in top-three in a Diamond League competition after discus thrower Vikas Gowda.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gowda, who retired in 2017, had finished in top-three in a Diamond League event four times in his career. He had finished second in 2012 (New York) and 2014 (Doha) and third in Shanghai and Eugene in 2015.
Chopra was making his first Diamond League appearance in four years after his fourth-place finish in Zurich in August 2018. He has taken part in seven Diamond League meets -- three in 2017 and four in 2018.
The prestigious one-day meet at the Swedish capital is Chopra's biggest event ahead of the World Championships in Eugene, USA, from July 15-24.
The next Diamond League Meeting where javelin throw is in the programme is in Monaco on August 10.
It could not be confirmed whether Chopra will take part in it as it will happen just a few days after the Birmingham CWG (July 28 to August 8) where he will be defending his title.
Germany's Johannes Vetter, who has the maximum number of 90-plus throws among the active throwers, continued to be on the sidelines. He is not fully fit and had also missed the German nationals.
Also Read : Neeraj Chopra to spearhead 22-member Indian athletics team in World Championships
News Source : PTI
Women's Hockey WC: Netherlands start as firm favourites, India aim for a first
Terrassa (Spain), Jun 30 (Hockey News) The crème de la crème of women's hockey will be in action when top 16 sides of the world will fight for the coveted FIH World Cup crown with record eight-time winners Netherlands eyeing a hat-trick of titles and India aiming for a first.
Defending champions Netherlands, who would be co-hosting the tournament along with Spain from July 1 to 17, are the most dominant outfit in women's hockey, having won the world title eight times while finishing runner-up on four occasions. The Dutch women also have four Olympic gold, two silver and three bronze in their kitty, making them favourites to defend the title.
Argentina, Australia and Germany are a distant second, having won the tournament twice each.
The tournament, however, will kick start with a Pool C game between hosts Spain and Canada in Pool C, whose best finish was a second spot in the 1983 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
The 16 teams in the tournament are divided in four pools of four teams each.The top four sides from each pool will directly qualify for the quarterfinals, while the second and third placed teams will feature in the crossovers.
In the crossovers, the second placed team of Pool A will play against third of Pool D and vice versa, while second of Pool B will face third of Pool C and vice versa for the remaining four quarterfinal spots.
Pool A consists of Germany, Chile, last edition's runners-up Ireland and Netherlands, Pool B has India, China, England and New Zealand. Pool C comprises Argentina, Canada, Korea and Spain and Pool D is made up of Australia, Belgium, Japan and South Africa.
Going into the tournament, Netherlands would be brimming with confidence after winning the FIH Pro League, where Belgium finished second and India ended a creditable third in their debut season.
Even though India's best performance in the tournament was a fourth place finish at the inaugural edition in 1974, they will be no pushovers in this edition of the event as they have been on a rise after achieving a historic fourth in last year's Tokyo Olympics.
Indian women's team achieved its best-ever sixth position in the world rankings in May this year and gave some top teams of the world a run for their money in the FIH Pro League to finish on the podium ahead of sides like Argentina, Australia and England.
And the Janneke Schopman-coached Indian side would be dreaming of registering its name in the record books by finishing on the top four in this tournament, which is definitely not impossible. India will start their campaign against England on Sunday.
While the Netherlands leg of the tournament will be hosted by Amstelveen, the semifinal and final of the tournament are scheduled to be played here.
Also Read : COVID-19 hits men's hockey team, striker Gurjant, coach Graham Reid test positive
News Source : PTI
Neeraj Chopra primed to win medal in Stockholm Diamond League
Stockholm, Jun 29 (Sports News) Buoyed by a strong start to the season, Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is primed to clinch his maiden Diamond League medal in his first appearance in four years in the prestigious one-day meet here on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Chopra was second in the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku with a big national record throw of 89.30m before winning his event at Kuortane Games with a creditable 86.60m effort under treacherous conditions.
Both the events in Finland had strong fields, though the Turku line-up had more stars than at Kuortane, where Chopra slipped after an awkward release of his spear in his third attempt under slippery conditions due to rains. Luckily, he was up on his feet immediately and won the event without any injury.
This will be Chopra's first competition in a Diamond League meet after his fourth-place finish in Zurich in August 2018 with an effort of 85.73m. He has taken part in seven Diamond League meets -- three in 2017 and four in 2018 -- but is yet to win a medal. He had two fourth-place finishes, the other one being in Doha in May 2018, where he had thrown 87.43m.
The prestigious one-day meet at the Swedish capital will be Chopra's biggest event ahead of the World Championships in Eugene, USA, next month. He will also be facing the toughest field of the season so far with all the three Tokyo Olympics medallists in fray.
Germany's Johannes Vetter, who has the maximum number of 90-plus throws among the active throwers, continues to be in the sidelines. He is not fully fit and also did not take part in the German nationals.
After winning gold at Kuortane where he was earlier based, Chopra has shifted to Uppsala, less than 100km from Stockholm, and will be not be taking part in any event after the Diamond League and before the July 15-24 World Championships. The Indian superstar has beaten reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada twice this month. Peters has seen a dip in form after winning the Doha Diamond League meet with a season-leading throw of 93.07m.
After that, he had thrown 86.60m at Paavo Nurmi Games for a third place and 84.75m in Kuortane Games for another third position.
Peters' fitness could also be a concern as he did not complete all his throws in an event at Orimattila in Finland last week, recording a best throw of 71.94m.
Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic and compatriot Tokyo Games bronze winner Vitezslav Vesely will also be in action. This will be the first time all the Tokyo Olympics medal winners will be in action together this season.
Vadlejch, who was sixth at Paavo Nurmi Games with a best throw of 83.91m, returns after skipping the Kuortane Games.
The same is the case for Germany's Julian Weber, who returns after finishing fifth at Paavo Nurmi Games with 84.02m.
Finland's Oliver Helander, who surprisingly won gold at the Paavo Nurmi Games with a big throw of 89.83m, will also be seen in action after skipping the Kuortane Games.
Another Indian, Murali Sreeshankar was to compete in the meet in long jump, an event which is not included in the Diamond League programme. It is listed as an additional event. But he will not be able to make it to the Swedish capital as his passport is held up at the US Embassy in New Delhi for visa processing for next month's World Championships.
He was to compete with Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Tentoglou Miltiadis of Greece and World Indoor Championships silver winner Thobias Montler.
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News Source : PTI
Deepak Punia wins bronze at U23 Asian Wrestling Championships
New Delhi, Jun 27 (Wrestling News) World championships silver medallist Deepak Punia has secured a bronze medal beating Kazakhstan's Maksat Satybaldy in 86kg freestyle at the U23 Asian Wrestling Championships in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The 23-year-old from Haryana, who had participated at the Tokyo Olympics last year, lost to Azizbek Fayzullaev of Uzbekistan 3-7 and Nurtilek Karypbaev of Kyrgyzstan 2-3 in the first two rounds on Sunday.
However, Punia managed to get the better of Satybaldy of Kazakhstan 9-8 to bag the bronze medal.
Punia is part of the Birmingham-bound Commonwealth Games Indian wrestling team.
Also Read : Will compete in both Asian Games and World Championships if enough gap between two: Bajrang
News Source : PTI
Options in drag-flick hands India advantage over others in world hockey: Sandeep
New Delhi, Jun 27 (Hockey News) The emergence of a number of penalty corner specialists in the national team gives India an edge over the other sides, according to former hockey captain Sandeep Singh, who knows the "difficult art" of drag-flicking like the back of his hands.
The Birmingham Commonwealth Games-bound Indian team has as many as three specialist drag-flickers in Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar and Amit Rohidas.
And with junior players like Sanjay, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Sudeep Chirmako waiting in the wings, India are well placed as far as the penalty corner department is concerned.
“Drag-flick is a difficult art which takes years of practice to master. It is a very technical thing, where besides brute power, you need fast hands and quick bodyweight transfer,” said Sandeep.
“Having options in drag-flick gives any team an advantage and we are lucky that we have many penalty corner specialists in the team now. It adds variety. Harmanpreet is a world-class flicker,” added Sandeep, who is nicknamed ‘Flicker Singh’ for his exploits with the goal-scoring technique during his playing days.
Sandeep, a fiery drag-flicker in his heydays, said the current national team under Manpreet Singh has the wherewithal to break its gold medal jinx at the Birmingham Games, starting next month.
Since hockey’s introduction in the CWG schedule in 1998 Kuala Lumpur edition, Australia has swept all the six gold medals. India’s best results are two silver medals in the 2010 edition at home and 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Indian hockey has made tremendous progress. The bronze medal in Tokyo was just the fillip the game needed to revive its past glory,” Sandeep told PTI in an exclusive interaction from the Indian Sports Fan Award 2022, where newly-elected Rajya Sabha member and veteran sports promoter Kartikeya Sharma was honoured with the recognition.
“If you ask me I firmly believe we can win a gold in this Commonwealth Games.
“In today’s hockey there is hardly any gap between the top 5 world teams. If we play to our potential and plan, we can stop Australia’s dominance in the CWG this time,” added the player-turned-politician, who was part of the 2010 CWG silver medal-winning squad.
Sandeep said the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics after four decades and continuous upward movement in world hockey after that under chief coach Graham Reid has instilled self-belief and confidence among the Indian players.
He said the foundation of the game is strong in the country now.
“The medal at Tokyo is just what Indian hockey needed. Look at our bench strength now, we have a main team, an A team and junior side. So, there is no dearth of quality players,” said Sandeep, who is the Haryana Sports Minister.
Also Read : Indian junior women's hockey team loses 1-4 to Netherlands in U-23 5 Nations tournament final
News Source : PTI
I will compete with myself at CWG and strive to better my world record: Mirabai Chanu
Patiala, Jun 26 (Sports News) It won't be surprising if diminutive Mirabai Chanu stands atop the podium, flashing her radiant smile, after winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on July 30.
After all, she will enter Birmingham, as title favourite.
Chanu's personal best is 207kg (88kg+119kg) which is far better than the best effort of Nigeria's Stella Kingsley, who will be her nearest rival and has managed only 168kg (72kg+96kg) till date.
Chanu's legend has only grown since the last edition of the CWG. She has added an Olympic silver, an Asian Championship bronze and a world record to her kitty.
It is not baffling when she avowed that she herself will be her real competition in Birmingham and not her rivals.
"CWG will be easy for me. I will be fighting with myself," Chanu, who already has a silver (2014) and a gold (2018) at CWG, asserts politely.
"There is not much competition in CWG, but that doesn't man there is no competition. I have to give my best performance keeping in mind the future tournaments," she said during a candid chat at Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NIS).
Since there won't be competition, Chanu has bigger targets in mind.
She is eager to rewrite her own clean and jerk world record of 119kg.
"I am thinking of attempting 120kg in the CWG." The former world champion also wants to breach the much-anticipated 90kg mark in the snatch section, which she confesses has become somewhat of a mental block.
"Yes (it has become a mental block). We have planned to lift 91kg or 92kg at the CWG. Hopefully, it will happen." But lifting close to twice your body weight is easier said than done specially when Chanu still struggles with a shoulder imbalance.
Earlier this month, she failed to improve her snatch lift, unable to hoist 89kg twice at a domestic event due to her back.
"My back became stiff (tight) 2-3 days before going. The journey to Nagrota was also five hours. We went form Patiala to Chandigarh a day before the tournament, then took a flight from Chandigarh, which was also late. So the back became more tight." Aware of her weakness in snatch, Chanu has worked on tweaking her technique.
"I haven’t gone above 88kg. That is the weight I have set. But training wise right now I am better placed than I was at the Olympics.
"To lift 90kg in a competition, we set the weight between 80-90kg which we lift consistently everyday. It's not like we lift 90kg everyday," she explains.
Her personal best of 88kg is 8kg less than Tokyo gold medallist China's Hou Zhihui's world record lift of 96kg.
"I have changed my snatch technique. In snatch, while rising, the toes, back and shoulder should be in a line. Back and shoulders are very important they need to move fast. Earlier my movement was not synchronised. Now I have changed it." Chanu conceded that she feels compelled to compensate her frailty in snatch by lifting more in clean and jerk.
"Yes, I feel if not one, then in the other I have to improve. To reach 96kg, it will take some time and it will be a little difficult for me.
"93kg-94kg I can reach. If I perform well in clean and jerk I can get the same total (as the Chinese) or even more." Will wear my Olympic earrings at CWG ======================== Chanu, who will be vying for her third CWG medal, will once again be wearing her gold earrings shaped like Olympic rings, which had stolen the show at the Tokyo Games.
The earring were a gift from her mother, who had sold her own jewellery ahead of the Rio Games, in hope that it would bring her daughter luck. And luck it brought.
"I will wear those earrings at the Commonwealth Games. They brought me luck in Tokyo," Chanu said with an ear to ear grin.
Up and downs in Life ============= After she won the silver at Tokyo Games, in a heart-warming gesture Chanu felicitated the truck drivers who used to give her free rides till her training academy in Imphal, which was about 30km away from her village.
"I found all the truck drivers and because of Corona they were all sitting at home," Chanu reminisced.
"They were really happy. I saw them and I thought of those days when they used to keep blowing their truck horns and I would run to get a lift. When I reflect, I remember all the difficulties I had to go through to reach here. But what to do, life is a cycle, kabhi upar kabhi neeche." Eagerly waiting for Asian Games ==================== The Asian Games now remains the only big ticket-event where Chanu is yet stamp her authority.
Chanu had missed the last edition due to a back injury. And the wait for a medal at the continental event has increased as this year's Asiad has been postponed indefinitely.
"Asian Games is the only medal left. Now I want that." "On the one hand, it's good that it has been postponed. On the other hand it will now be held closer to the Olympics. I have got time for training. But now it will be held alongside other Olympic qualifiers which means I will have to be in competition through out that period."
Also Read : Maha cyclist finishes on podium in 'world's toughest' cycle race
News Source : PTI
Deepika & Co bag silver, India end with three medals in Archery WC Stage 3
Paris, Jun 26 (Archery News) The Indian women's recurve team of Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur settled for a silver medal after the trio's fairytale run was halted by Chinese Taipei in a one-sided final at the World Cup Stage 3 here on Sunday.
India concluded their campaign with one gold and two silver medals -- two of them coming in the compound section.
The women's recurve team, who bagged a lowly 13th seed after the trio slipped out of top-30 in their individual qualification rounds, failed to make much of an impact and lost to Chinese Taipei 5-1 (53-56 56-56 53-56) in straight sets.
With Rio Olympics team bronze medallist Lei Chien-Ying in the line up, third seed Chinese Taipei mounted early pressure with two 10s and four 9s as India shot a 7 in the first set that proved to be the turning point.
The Indian trio bounced back to level the second set but that was not enough as it again slipped in the third set, while Chinese maintained their consistency to seal the gold.
Nevertheless it was a memorable return for world no. 3 Deepika, who returned with a team silver after being sidelined following her Tokyo Olympics debacle.
But the tournament was all about compound archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam's dream comeback, who led India's medal tally with one gold (mixed team event with Abhishek Verma) and one silver (individual) on Saturday.
The world no. 3 Jyothi too was snubbed in the Asian Games trial earlier this year.
Also Read : Abhishek-Jyothi pair grabs maiden compound mixed team gold for India in archery World Cup
News Source : PTI
Will compete in both Asian Games and World Championships if enough gap between two: Bajrang
New Delhi, Jun 25 (Wrestling News) Elite Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia on Saturday said he would compete in both, the postponed Asian Games and the World Championships next year, if there is a gap of at least one month between the two competitions.
The 2022 Asian Games were postponed due to rising COVID-19 cases in China and the organisers are yet to announce new dates for the prestigious Continental event.
The World Championship, set to be held in Russia in September 2023, will be an Olympic qualifying event.
"The 2023 is an important year. The focus is on qualifying for the Paris Games through the World Championships. We don't know as yet what is going to be the gap between Asian Games and the Worlds.
"But if we have one or one-and-a-half-month cushion between the two, I would compete in both," Bajrang said during a virtual interaction, facilitated by SAI.
The 28-year-old Bajrang, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics Games, finds no merit in harping and fretting over past mistakes. Instead he would learn from them and move forward with better goals -- an Olympic gold at the 2024 Paris Games.
"I was injured and was in rehab for about 8 months after Olympics. Olympics is the most important event for any athlete. That was a setback but still I won a bronze. 65 is toughest category in world.
"I have not changed a bit after winning an Olympic medal. The endeavour would be to do better in 2024. I have been training again. In the last four Olympics, India have got medals through wrestling. Bronze and silver are there but not gold. That's the target for Paris Games.
"We have to forget mistakes, learn from them and move forward. Victory and defeats are part of an athlete's life, we have to accept both," he said.
Bajrang is set to leave for USA on Sunday for a training-stint ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The multiple-time world medallist said he gets better sparring partner when he trains outside.
"I will be training at the Michigan University. Many top wrestlers train there. Like, I will be training with the world number one in 70kg (Ernazar Akmataliev, Kyrgyzstan). The 86kg Olympic medallist will also be there. That's why I prefer to train there." "Also, we are saved from usual distractions when we train in India. No one disturbs us abroad." He asserted that no wrestler, from any nation, tries to injure others deliberately during these training stints.
"We may be fierce competitors on the mat but off-mat we are all friends. There is no such fear in my mind that I will get injured, never thought like that. I have trained in Russia, Europe, USA and Asian nations but nothing like that has ever happened," he assured.
The Commonwealth Games, considering the low competition level, will be a test event for Bajrang, who though does not want to take things lightly.
"Remember I had finished second there in 2014," he said.
Also Read : Indian freestyle wrestlers claim Asian team title in U-17 category
News Source : PTI
Jyothi returns with a bang, finishes second in qualification round
Paris, Jun 21 (Archery News) Making a comeback to the national side after more than seven months, star compound archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam on Tuesday emerged as the best among Indians with a second place finish in qualification round of the World Cup Stage 3 here.
World Championship sliver medallist Jyothi, who had failed to make the Indian team for the Asian Games, was back at her best as she shot 712 points to finish second behind Ella Gibson of Great Britain.
Riding on Jyothi's show, the Indian women team had a third place finish, while the mixed team also got an identical seeding as she will reunite with star male compound archer Abhishek Verma.
Former Asian Games gold medallist, Verma was the best among the Indian male archers, finishing sixth in the qualification as the team got fourth seeding.
The world number 3, Jyothi, was shockingly ousted from the Indian team for the Asian Games and first three stages of the World Cup in the national trial in March this year.
She made a comeback after the national federation (AAI) conducted fresh trials for the World Cup Stage 3 following the postponement of the Asian Games.
All eyes now would be on world number 3 Deepika Kumari in the recurve qualification round which will get underway on Wednesday. Deepika too is making a comeback after her Tokyo Olympics debacle last year.
Also Read : Archer Deepika Kumari set for India comeback at Paris
News Source : PTI
Archer Deepika Kumari set for India comeback at Paris
Paris, Jun 20 (Archery News) Sidelined after the Tokyo Olympics debacle, star Indian archer Deepika Kumari is all set to make a India comeback in the upcoming Stage 3 of the World Cup beginning here on Tuesday.
Exactly a year after she won an individual gold here in the same tournament last year, the 28-year-old world number three will look to redeem herself after failing to win a medal at the Tokyo Games.
That the Olympics is slated in two years at the same venue will be an added motivation for Deepika, who also has won a World Cup Final silver medal here in 2013.
Having returned empty-handed from her third Olympics campaign last year, Deepika saw a slump in form along with her husband and country's top male archer Atanu Das and failed to make the Indian team.
The duo also could not qualify for the team for the Asian Games which was later postponed as the Archery Association of India conducted a fresh trial of the top-eight archers for the Stage 3 of the World Cup.
Earlier the same squad was to compete in both the World Cup Stage 3 and the Asian Games but after the postponement Deepika and Pravin Jadhav, who were in the top-8 of the earlier conducted trial, got a fresh opportunity and made the cut.
Das, however, missed out having finished outside top-8 in the earlier conducted trial.
Deepika made the cut at the expense of Komalika Bari, while her Tokyo Olympic mixed team partner Jadhav ousted Sachin Gupta to complete the World Cup Stage 3 lineup.
Deepika was last seen in action for India in the Yankton World Cup Final in September 2021 where she finished fourth.
The compound section also saw the return of World Championships silver medalist Jyothi Surekha Vennam who too had failed to make the Asian Cup contingent earlier this year.
World number 3 Jyothi last competed at Dhaka Asian Championships in November last year where she won an individual gold. She returned in place of Raginee Makoo.
Sangampreet Bisla too made a comeback ousting veteran Rajat Chauhan in the compound section.
India Team: Recurve Men: Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar, Pravin Jadhav and Neeraj Chauhan.
Recurve Women: Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat, Ridhi Phor and Simranjeet Kaur.
Compound Men: Abhishek Verma, Aman Saini, Mohan Bhardwaj and Sangampreet Bisla.
Compound Women: Jyothi Surekha Venna, Priya Gurjar, Avneet Kaur and Muskan Kirar.
Also Read : KIYG: Haryana's Riddi, Maharashtra's Aditi Swami bag archery gold to keep title race evenly poised
News Source : PTI
World C'ships: Sajan Prakash finishes 25th, fails to progress to final
New Delhi, Jun 20 (Swimming News) Ace Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash failed to move to the semifinals, finishing 25th in the men's 200m butterfly event of FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The 28-year-old clocked 1:58.67 to finish eighth in his heat. The top five swimmers from his heat progressed to the semifinals.
The two-time Olympian, who is coming off a shoulder injury, was ranked 25th in the overall list.
His personal best in the event is 1:56.48, which he clocked last year to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
In the men's 800m freestyle event, Delhi swimmer Kushagra Rawat finished 23rd.
The 22-year-stopped the clock at 8:15.96 to finish fifth in his heat, failing to progress to the finals.
Kushagra had clocked the personal best of 8:08.32 in the 800m freestyle event last year during the Senior National Aquatic Championships.
The top eight swimmers move to the final in the event.
Also Read : Swimmer Maana Patel registers Best Indian Time (women's 100m backstroke event)
News Source : PTI
Neeraj Chopra wins the gold medal at the Kuortane Games in Finland
(Sports news) Neeraj Chopra wins the gold medal at Kuortane Games but a nasty fall in third attempt gives him cause for concern going forward. Neeraj Chopra’s attempt of 86.69m in his first throw was enough to make him win the gold medal. The Indian athlete suffered an awkward fall during his third attempt. He made his return to competitive action with a national record at the Paavo Nurmi athletics meet last week as the Tokyo Olympics champion Neeraj Chopra put on another impressive display to win the one more men’s javelin gold at the Kuortane Games 2022 in Finland on Saturday.
In slippery conditions after some rain ahead of the event, Neeraj Chopra’s first throw measured 86.69m was enough for him to clinch the top podium. His winning throw was well short of the 89.30m personal best that he achieved during the Paavo Nurmi Games. London 2012 gold medallist Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago won the silver with a throw of 86.64m while current world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada settled for bronze with a throw of 84.75m. Like he always does, Neeraj Chopra set the pace of the competition early, taking the lead after the first round throws with an 86.69m attempt which was subsequently 0.05m more than Walcott.
The 24-year-old Chopra failed to register a legitimate attempt with his next two throws and ultimately suffered a nasty fall during his third attempt. The Indian was in a lot of pain right after the fall and didn’t try more attempts after that. Sandeep Chaudhary, a Paralympian, finished eighth with a throw of 60.35m. Oliver Helander, who beat Neeraj Chopra in the last competition to win gold at the Paavo Nurmi Games as he even didn’t start the event. Neeraj Chopra is now scheduled to travel to Sweden for the Stockholm leg of the Diamond League before next month's World Athletics Championships in the USA and the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.
New national record eludes Chanu despite gold at Khelo India Women Weightlifting League event
Nagrota Bagwan (HP), Jun 16 (Sports News) Olympic medallist Mirabai Chanu won the gold medal comfortably but could not better her national record in snatch at the inaugural Khelo India Women Weightlifting League tournament here on Thursday.
The Tokyo Olympics silver medallist lifted a total of 191kg (86kg+105kg) to stand atop the podium in the ranking event for women in the senior, junior and youth categories.
Gyaneshwari Yadav 170kg (78kg+92) and former 45kg Asian Weightlifting Championship gold medallist Jhilli Dalabehra 166kg (75kg+91kg) finished second and third respectively.
After starting off with a successful 86kg lift, the 27-year-old Chanu failed to hoist 89kg in her second and third snatch attempts.
The national record and her personal best in the section stands at 88kg, which Chanu had lifted during the National Championships in 2020.
Chanu has been working on tweaking her snatch technique, once considered her weakness. She has been consulting Dr. Aaron Horschig, a former weightlifter-turned-physical therapist and strength and conditioning coach in the USA for the same.
The former world champion, who will be vying for a third Commonwealth Games medal in the quadrennial event next month, has been targeting the 90kg mark for a couple of years.
In the clean and jerk, she hoisted 105 kg in her first attempt, a far cry from her world-record lift of 119kg. She did not attempt a second or third lift in the section.
The gulf between Chanu and the other Indian lifters in the category was on full display as the second placed-lifter Gyaneshwari lifted a whopping 21kg less than the Manipuri while the gap 25kg for Jhilli.
The tournament will help the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) maintain a robust national ranking system while also providing additional competition to the lifters of the country.
In the 49kg Youth event, Maharashtra's Aarti Tatgunti emerged champion with a lift of 148kg (65kg+83kg), while Panchami Sonowal of Assam lifted 143 kg (63kg+80) to secure the second spot. Haryana's Himanshee lifted 132 kg (63kg+69kg) to get herself the third position.
Gyaneshwari also claimed the top spot in the junior 49kg event with a 170kg (78kg+92kg) lift while Sanju Devi, who lifted 154kg (70kg+84kg) and V.Rithika, who hoisted 153kg (67kg+86kg), were second and third respectively.
Also Read : Neeraj Chopra marks his return with a national record throw
News Source : PTI
Neeraj Chopra marks his return with a national record throw
(Sports news) This was Neeraj Chopra’s first competitive event after just over 10 months and was nothing short of extraordinary as he nearly touched the 90m mark. India’s first athletic gold medalist in the Olympics Neeraj Chopra made a spectacular return to competition after his gold at Tokyo with a stunning throw of 89.30m shattering his personal best as well as the national record and helped him finish in him second place in a star-studded field at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on Tuesday.
Chopra’s earlier personal best was 88.07m which he had set in Patiala last year. He had won the Tokyo Olympics gold medal with a throw of 87.58m and his first throw was an impressive 86.92m before sending the javelin to 89.30m. His next three attempts were fouls while his last throw was a 85.85m in his sixth throw. Finland’s 25-year-old Oliver Helander, whose personal best was 88.02m and season’s best of 80.36m, surprised the gold winner with a throw of 89.83m which he produced in his second attempt. Chopra’s 89.30m took him to fifth spot in the world season leaders’ list in men's Javelin throw. Reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada was the pre-tournament favourite as he held the current world lead with a monster throw of 93.07m while also winning gold in the Doha Diamond League last month, he subsequently finished third with a best effort of 86.60m. This was Peters’ first defeat after seven tournament wins on-the-trot this season.
The javelin thrower isn't at it current best as he sat out most of the 2021 season but he's not the one to rest on his laurels. Although he is slowly but steadily inching towards his goal of breaching the 90m mark, Neeraj knows himself that there is a lot of work and practice left to be done. Neeraj has a busy schedule coming up in the next two months as he prepares to get in shape for the major tournaments. He will now compete at the Kuortane Games in Finland before playing in the Stockholm Diamond League in Sweden on June 30. He will also have two major championships up his sleeve as the World Athletics Championships in Eugene and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are coming up.
“Going forward, I am looking to work on my technique, throw, and overall performance. I am in a happy place at the moment and I just want to do well in the upcoming events."
"This was my first competition since the Tokyo Olympics and it went really well as in the first competition itself, I hit my personal best throw and also won the silver medal. Now I am aiming for the next few events which would be bigger than this and of course the Commonwealth Games, where I will face a lot of competition." Neeraj said
SAI to release Rs 6.52 crore as out of pocket allowance for 2189 Khelo India athletes
New Delhi, Jun 15 (Sports News) The Sports Authority of India has sanctioned a total of Rs 6.52 crore as out of pocket allowance (OPA) for 2,189 Khelo India athletes across 21 disciplines, including para, for the April-June period.
"A financial assistance of Rs 6.28 lakhs is allocated for each residential athlete training at the accredited academies as per the annual Khelo India scholarship scheme. That includes an out of pocket allowance of Rs 1.20 lakh," a SAI release stated.
The OPA (Rs 1.20 lakh annually) is transferred directly to the athlete's bank account, while the rest of the amount is spent on the athlete's training, fooding, lodging and education at the Khelo India Academy where the athlete trains. "It also includes expenses towards travel to hometown, diet charges while at home and other miscellaneous expenses incurred by the athletes. The funding has been done as per the Khelo India Talent Development (KITD) Scheme," the release added.
Also Read : Neeraj Chopra shatters own national record in first competition after Tokyo Olympics gold
News Source : PTI
Neeraj Chopra shatters own national record in first competition after Tokyo Olympics gold
New Delhi, Jun 14 (Sports News) India's superstar javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra made a spectacular return to competition after his historic gold in the Tokyo Olympics, a stunning throw of 89.30m shattering his national record and placing him second in a star-studded field at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Chopra's first competitive event after just over 10 months was nothing short of extraordinary as he nearly touched the coveted 90m mark, considered the gold standard in the world of javelin throw.
Chopra's earlier national record was 88.07m which he had set in Patiala in March last year. He had won the Tokyo Olympics gold with a throw of 87.58m on August 7, 2021.
He opened with an impressive 86.92m before sending the spear to 89.30m. His next three attempts were fouls while he came up with 85.85m in his sixth and final throw.
Finland's 25-year-old Oliver Helander, who has a personal best of 88.02m and season's best of 80.36m, was the surprise gold winner with a best throw of 89.83m which he produced in his second attempt.
Chopra's 89.30m effort will take him to fifth spot in the world season leaders' list.
Reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, the pre-event favourite with his world leading monster throw of 93.07m while winning gold in the Doha Diamond League last month, was third with a best effort of 86.60m. This was Peters' first defeat after seven wins on the trot this season.
2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago was fourth with a best throw of 84.02m, followed by Germany's Julian Weber (84.02m) and Czech Republic's Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch (83.91m), who had won silver in Doha with a throw of 90.88m.
Chopra's rival and friend Johannes Vetter of Germany, who has a maximum number of 90m-plus throws among the active javelin throwers, was set to take part in the Paavo Nurmi Games but had withdrawn.
Chopra had said in recent media interactions that he would not put himself under pressure with the thought of throwing beyond 90m and would look to build up gradually to peak during the July 15-24 World Championships in Eugene, USA.
The Paavo Nurmi Games are named after the legendary Finnish middle and long distance runner. It is a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series event, one of the most prestigious competitions outside the Diamond League Meetings.
The competition organisers have provided an extra incentive for the javelin throwers: anyone who throws beyond the Finnish record of 93.09m will win a Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV. Nobody won it on Tuesday though Peters said in a lighter vein on Monday that he would be going for it.
More than 10,000 people turned up to watch the events.
Chopra will next take part in the Kourtane Games in Finland on Saturday where he is currently based. He will feature in the Stockholm leg of the Diamond League on June 30. He had earlier trained in the USA and Turkey before shifting base to Finland last month.
Also Read : Since you are born, you will have to achieve something: Aishwarya Babu
News Source : PTI
USA's Devon Allen produces third quickest 110m hurdles in history
(Sports news) The New York Grand Prix saw Devon Allen produce the third quickest 110m hurdle in the sport’s history on Sunday. The 27 year old won in 12.84 seconds, behind Aries Merritt (12.80) and world champion Grant Holloway (12.81). Allen will be playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL after getting a contract from the team in April. The two time Olympian will be hoping to compete at next month's World Championships in Eugene, Oregon before joining the Eagles.
Speaking after the New York Grand Prix, Allen said “I thought I was going to break the world record today so we'll have to wait for another race.” The 27 year old finished fifth in the 2016 Olympics and fourth at last year’s Tokyo Olympics. This summer, the Eagles invited Allen to visit their training facilities after which he signed a three year contract as an undrafted rookie with the NFL team. He was expected to join the Eagles earlier but tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in his participation at the New York Grand Prix.
In other results, Christian Coleman went under 10 seconds, running 9.92secs in the men's 100 metres, beating Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake (9.95) in the men's 100 metres while American Marvin Bracy was third (10.03). In other events, US 100m champion Sha'Carri Richardson was beaten in the 100m event, finishing second behind Aleia Hobbs who got the time of 10.83secs while Richardson was just behind at 10.85 while Olympic finalist Teahna Daniels was third in 10.99. However, Richardson bounced back to win the 200m in 22.38secs ahead of Tamara Clark (22.62) and the Bahamas' Tynia Gaither (22.66).
Running individual 400m is not yet over for Hima, hints at doing that again in postponed Asian Games
Chennai, Jun 12 (Sports News) Star sprinter Hima Das is not ruling out a return to 400m, an event which shot her to fame in 2018, and is hoping to make a comeback to the quartermile in the now-postponed Asian Games, which is likely to be held next year.
The 22-year-old 'Dhing Express' last ran a major 400m race during the Asian Championships in Doha in April 2019. She pulled out of that race midway due to a lower back injury.
She later ran two 400m races in low-grade events in Czech Republic in 2019, but since then, has not featured in the one-lap race. She also missed the World Championships in the later part of 2019 due to the back injury.
Hima, who became the first Indian to win a global track event title by clinching gold in the World Junior Championships in 2018, first suffered the injury during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta where she won an individual 400m silver and gold medals in the 4x400m and mixed 4x400m relays.
After returning from the injury lay-off, Hima has been running 100m and 200m. She holds the national record of 50.79 seconds in 400m.
"I have not cut (off) running the 400m. It (recovery from injury) is a long process. During my injury time, I was not being able to run 400m because a lot of pressure developed on the right side of my back," Hima said after winning the 100m gold in the National Inter-Sate Championships here with her personal best time of 10.43s.
"My L4 and L5 (two lowest vertebrae in the lumbar spine) were broken and was in a different position. Whenever I run it affects me. Then I did my physiotherapy and ran 30m, 40m, 50m, 100m and then 200m gradually. Till 300m, I am fine. I ran 300m in Europe sometime earlier.
"You need to pick up speed in the last 100m (of 400m) and when I did that once I had to be taken to the hospital (during a training stint in Poland in 2019)," said the sprinter from Assam.
Asked when she can start running 400m, she said, "Not at this point in time, but will surely do it (in near future).
"It may happen at the end of this year, otherwise I may prepare 400m for the postponed Asian Games because I will get time to prepare (for Asian Games)." Hima had also suffered a hamstring injury during the National Inter-State Championships last year in Patiala. She was forced to pull out of the 100m and 4x100m relay finals due to the injury. She ran in the 200m final but finished fifth to miss out on the Tokyo Olympics.
The Asian Games, earlier scheduled to be held in September this year, have been postponed due to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases in host country China. The Games are likely to be held next year.
When asked if 400m coach Galina Bukharina will recommend her to run it, Hima said, "Galina madam and the federation will take the decision what is to be done for me. I will do whatever the AFI says.
"Galina madam is not only my coach but she is also like my mother. I even told my mother at home in Assam not to get tense thinking about me because I have a mother there (national camp) also." Hima was earlier training at the NIS Patiala before shifting base temporarily to Thiruvananthapuram. She was part of the Indian team that underwent a training-cum-competition tour in Turkey. The team returned home earlier this month.
Asked about the experience of running 100m in the last few years, Hima said, "When I started athletics, I was doing 100m and long jump. It was not going together, so I ran 100m and 200m.
"After I was called for national camp (in 2017 after winning 200m gold in National Open in Chennai), I was doing 200m and 400m. Now again, I am doing 100m and 200m. This is a process.
"You need to be strong to be a sprinter and I had coped with injury since 2018 (Asian Games). It was tough to get over my injury and come back to track. But I learnt a lot during this period. Now it is the best point in my life.
"Sachin (Tendular) sir said that a sportsperson and injury are like friends. How to face that (injury) and move ahead and give result is the challenge you have to overcome. His words inspire me." Hima suffered COVID-19 infection in October last year. Asked about it, she said, "I was about to do die (laughs). It was a severe and dangerous COVID infection."
Also Read : Anahat Singh seals berth for World Junior Squash C'ship after topping selection trials
News Source : PTI
Mary Kom ruled out of CWG after suffering knee injury in selection trials
New Delhi, Jun 10 (Boxing News) Veteran Indian boxer MC Mary Kom's bid to compete at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games ended in a heartbreak here on Friday as she was forced to withdraw midway from the selection trials due to a knee injury.
The six-time world champion twisted her left knee in the first few minutes in the opening round of the 48kg semifinals against Haryana's Nitu.
Mary Kom will thus miss the quadrennial event, where she had become the first Indian woman boxer to claim a gold medal in the last edition in 2018.
"I was training so hard for this. This is just bad luck, I have never had a knee injury before," a distraught Mary Kom said as she limped towards her car to head to the hospital.
Mary Kom fell on the canvas while trying to dodge a punch in the very first round of the bout. The 39-year-old tried to keep going after receiving medical assistance but after a couple of punches, she struggled to keep balance as she clutched her left knee and looked in a lot of pain.
"Six-time world champion Mary Kom has withdrawn from the ongoing Women's Boxing Trials for the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to an injury she suffered on Friday," the the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said in a statement.
The Manipuri had to be carried out of the ring with Nitu being announced the winner via RSCI (Referee Stops Contest due to injury).
The London Olympics bronze medallist, whose left knee was heavily bandaged after the fall, was then taken to the hospital for scans.
The multiple-time Asian gold medallist had last competed in the Tokyo Olympics, where she had reached the pre-quarters before bowing out with a hard-fought loss.
"It is really unfortunate what happened. But one can never predict such things. Mary had been training hard for this," national coach Bhaskar Bhatt told PTI.
Mary Kom, the most decorated Indian boxer, had decided to give the World Championships, that concluded last month, and the now-postponed Asian Games a miss to concentrate on the CWG.
Nitu, the two-time former youth world champion, advanced to the final of the CWG trials in the minimum weight division at the Indira Gandhi International Stadium.
The Haryana boxer, who won the gold at the prestigious Stradja Memorial tournament earlier this year on debut, will now compete against Manju Rani for a CWG spot.
Nitu, who had represented India in 48kg in the world championships, is now primed to get a CWG spot in the category.
Nikhat, Lovlina on course for CWG berth ========================= World champion Nikhat Zareen and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain stayed on course for securing CWG spots by registering convincing win in their respective weight categories.
Nikhat (50kg) continued in her sublime form as she out-punched Anamika 7-0.
On the other hand, Lovlina (70kg), who is coming off an underwhelming world championship campaign, also notched a unanimous decision win over fellow Assamese boxer Ankushita Boro by an identical 7-0 margin.
The finals of the all four weight categories -- 48kg, 50kg, 60kg and 70kg -- will take place on Saturday.
The men's team for the quadrennial event has already been named.
Also Read : Mary Kom withdraws from CWG trials after sustaining leg injury
News Sourxe : PTI
Bajrang claims bronze in Almaty, maiden international gold at senior level for Aman
Almaty, Jun 5 (Wrestling News) Bajrang Punia got his act together to claim a bronze medal after ultra-defensive tactics resulted in his opening-round defeat even as Aman claimed his first gold medal at the senior level with a commanding show in the 57kg competition at the Bolat Turlykhanov Cup, here Sunday.
Bajrang, the Tokyo Games bronze winner, struggled in his opening bout against Uzbekistan's Abbos Rakhmonov, losing 3-5 but competed much better in the bronze-play off where he played smartly to score on counter-attacks against Kazkahstan's Rifat Saibotalov, winning 7-0.
Bajrang foiled a right leg attack from Saibotalov and then scored two points on counter attack after his rival went for his right leg.
The 28-year-old converted a left-leg attack into points and foiled another valiant effort from the home-favourite.
Bajrang was quick with his movements that was key in his mix of defence and attack in the crucial bout.
Earlier, the overtly defensive tactics that Bajrang has been adopting, of late, continued against Rakhmonov and paid the price.
Bajrang got the first two points when his rival was cautioned twice for foul play. He hardly made a move but the Uzbekistan wrestler converted a left-leg attack into a take-down move for two points to level the score.
The celebrated wrestler later got one more point on the passivity of Rakhmonov and was leading but dropped guard when only six seconds were left in the bout.
It seemed Bajrang took it easy, thinking the referee has whistled to halt the action but Rakhmonov grabbed the opportunity to launch a leg attack and eventually got decisive two points.
Later Rakhmonov reached final, giving opportunity to fight for bronze.
In the 57kg, Aman, who trains at Chhatrasal stadium with Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Dahiya, was very impressive.
He began with a 15-12 win over Meirambek Kartbay in the high-scoring opening bout and followed that with a technical superiority win over Abdymalik Karachov from Kyrgyzstan.
In his final bout, he edged out Kazakhstan's Merey Bazarbayev 10-9 to stay unbeaten in the five-wrestler category to claim gold.
It is Aman's third medal this season, having won a silver at Dan Kolov and a bronze at Yasar Dogu.
Meanwhile, Vishal Kaliramana (70kg) and Naveen (74kg) missed out podium finishes after losing bronze medal rounds.
Gourav Baliyan (79kg) could not make the medal round while Deepak Punia forfeited all his bouts due to injury in 92kg category, where Viky lost both his bouts.
India thus signed off with 12 medals from the Ranking Series event with the women's wrestlers claiming eight of them, including give gold.
Also Read : Dominant Sarita wins first gold of 2022 season, maiden senior level gold for Manisha
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CWG-bound lifters to reach Birmingham one month in advance
New Delhi, Jun 3 (Sports News) India's Commonwealth Games-bound weightlifting team, including Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu, will reach the host city Birmingham one month in advance to acclimatise with the conditions and undergo a preparatory camp ahead of the quadrennial event.
The CWG are scheduled to take place from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, UK.
The Indian lifters are awaiting visas and are set to fly to the UK on June 20 or 21.
"The government has approved the preparatory camp. All the bookings are done. We are just waiting for the visas," Indian Weightlifting Federation president Sahdev Yadav told PTI.
"The lifters will travel one month in advance. The exact date will be finalised after their visas arrive. The tentative travel dates are June 20 or 21," he added.
Chanu, 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, has already begun her preparation for the big-ticket event.
The 27-year-old had completed a month-long training stint in the US last month.
However, others, including Youth Olympics champion Jeremy Lalrinnunga, were unable to travel to the US due to visa issues.
India are the powerhouse at the Commonwealth level. At the 2018 CWG, the Indians had returned with a haul of nine medals -- five golds, two silver and two bronze.
Chanu to headline inaugural Khelo India National weightlifting ranking c'ships ================================================ Before travelling to Birmingham, Chanu will headline the inaugural edition of the Khelo India Youth, Junior and Senior National ranking women weightlifting championships to be held at Nagrota Bagwan, Himachal Pradesh from June 14 to 22.
The tournament will help the IWLF maintain a robust national ranking system while also providing additional competition to the lifters of the country.
The event will also help the federation select lifters for the national camps and international events.
"This competition falls under the Khelo India scheme. It will be organised four times a year," Yadav told PTI.
"Based on the results, we will prepare the ranking list up to top 15 lifters in each weight category, which will be uploaded on our website.
"Anyone will be able to access the rankings and it will give clarity on the selection process. The children will also get competition," he added.
Apart from Chanu, reigning junior world champion Harshada Garud and the Commonwealth Games-bound lifters, including Asian champion Jhilli Dalabehera, will compete at the event.
As an additional incentive, the federation has also announced cash rewards for the top eight lifters, starting Rs 20,000.
Indian Team for Commonwealth Games ======================== Women: Mirabai Chanu (49kg), Bindyarani Devi (55kg), Popy Hazarika (59kg), Harjinder Kaur (71kg), Punam Yadav (76kg), Usha Kumari (87kg) and Purnima Pandey (+87kg).
Men: Sanket Sagar (55kg), Gururaja Poojary (61kg), Jeremy Lalrinnunga (67kg), Achinta Sehuli (73kg), Ajay Singh (81kg), Vikas Thakur (96kg), Lovepreet Singh (109kg) and Gurdeep Singh (+109kg).
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Sports Ministry provides financial assistance to athletes, including Manika Batra, for future competitions
New Delhi, Jun 2 (Sports News) The Sports Ministry on Thursday granted financial assistance to several athletes across the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) core and development groups, including Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Nishad Kumar and ace woman table tennis player Manika Batra, to support them in their preparations for upcoming competitions.
Nishad, who created an Asian record of 2.06m in the T-47 men's high jump, has been given a financial assistance of Rs 18.9 lakh towards training at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, United States. He has already left for the 73-day training camp, which started on Thursday and will continue till August 12, along with his physiotherapist Aalaap Jawadekar.
Nishad, who will be in action during the Asian Para Games next year, will be training in Chula Vista under Jeremy Fischer, who is the lead coach and director of the centre.
Paddlers Batra and Sreeja Akula have also been extended support. While the former has been provided financial support to have her personal coach Chris Pfeiffer for the WTT Contender Zagreb (June 13-19), Sreeja has been provided financial assistance towards participation in WTT Feeder Otocec, Slovenia (June 20-26).
3000m steeplechase runner Avinash Sable, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, has been granted financial assistance to travel to Colorado Springs. He will compete at the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco, on June 5.
Sable, who is a part of the TOPS core team, will also be assisted with a masseur as well as a Garmin GPS watch. The total financial assistance provided to him is Rs 3.52 lakh.
Tokyo Olympian Annu Rani has also been assisted financially for the procurement of Nemeth and Nordic Valhalla javelins, which will cost Rs 4.15 lakh.
Swimmer Aneesh Gowda has been provided financial assistance towards participation in Singapore National Swimming Championships (June 23-26), while men's sabre fencer Karan Singh has been extended support for a training camp at the Bauer Fencing Academy Orleans, France, from June 1 to July 31. Karan, who will train under the watchful eyes of Christian Bauer, will compete in the Asian Fencing Championship in Seoul from June 10-15 as well as in the Senior World Fencing Championship in Cairo from July 15-23. The only other fencer from India who is training under Bauer is Olympian Bhavani Devi.
Also Read : Nearly 4,700 athletes set to vie for honours in Khelo India Youth Games
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Maha International Open GM chess: Focus on Tajik GM Amonatov, India's Lalith Babu
Pune, May 30 (Chess News) Tajikistan Grandmaster Farukh Amonatov will headline a 140-player field that includes 17 GMs in the inaugural Maharashtra International Open Grandmaster Chess tournament beginning here on Tuesday.
The tourney for players rated above Elo 2000 will see 17 GMs, 29 International Masters, a handful of WGMs and 140 players from 24 countries vie for top honours, according to a press release.
GM Amonatov, with an Elo rating of 2622, is the top-seed and starts favourite while GM Lalith Babu (2563) who has won as many as 20 gold medals in international events will spearhead the Indian challenge as the highest host player in the fray.
Former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, who was expected to participate in the event, could not make it as his visa application was rejected by the authorities, reasons for which were not clear.
"He (Ponomariov) is not coming...His visa did not come through. Yet, the field is strong, there are good players," the organisers told PTI.
The event to be played till June 8 will be a 11-round Swiss League and has attracted players from Tajikistan, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, USA, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh apart from top Indian players.
Among the Indian women, International Masters Bhakti Kulkarni and Soumya Swaminathan, WGMs Mary Ann Gomes, Divya Deshmukh and Priyanka Nutakki are expected to perform well during the event.
The tournament, which offers a total prize money of Rs. 20 lakh, is organized by the Maharashtra Chess Association under the aegis of the All India Chess Federation.
Meanwhile, over 455 players from seven countries including India have confirmed their participation for the 1st Pune Open Chess Tournament (for players rated below Elo 2000) which will be held here simultaneously.
The open event will offer a total prize money Rs 10 lakh and will be on a 10-round Swiss League basis, organisers said in the release.
Also Read : No taking pressure: Chopra wants to repeat Tokyo Olympics approach in World C'ships
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Swimmer Maana Patel registers Best Indian Time (women's 100m backstroke event)
New Delhi, May 30 (Swimming News) Indian Olympian Maana Patel set the 'Best Indian time' in the women's 100m backstroke event at the Canet leg of Mare Nostrum swimming meet in France.
The 22-year-old swimmer from Gujarat, who had competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year, clocked 01:03.69, improving her personal best on Sunday night, which was the final day of the competition.
The previous 'Best Indian time' of 01:03.77 in the event was also under Maana's name, which she had previously clocked in Belgrade last year.
At the meet, Maana qualified 15th overall to qualify for the 'B' final, where she finished with a timing of 01:03:87.
In swimming, a timing is considered a national record when it has been achieved at the National Aquatic Championships. Hence, the timings clocked in other meets are called the 'Best Indian time'.
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No taking pressure: Chopra wants to repeat Tokyo Olympics approach in World C'ships
New Delhi, May 28 (Sports News) A World Championships medal is definitely in his mind, but star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Saturday said he will go into the showpiece in July without taking too much pressure, which did the trick for him during the Tokyo Olympics.
The 24-year-old Chopra said thinking too much about a World Championships medal could be counterproductive though such a feat is within his reach if he gives his best on the day of competition.
"During Olympics last year, I did not take any pressure, was not thinking that I shall have to win a gold. With that, I did well and won gold. My approach has been to do my best on the day according to the situation. I am satisfied if I do my best and learn and improve for the future," Chopra told PTI in an interview from his training base in Finland.
"I will do the same during the World Championships and see whatever is the result, whether I win a medal. It's not like I won gold in Olympics last year, so I have to win a medal in World Championships this year. I will see what improvement I can make in future," said Chopra.
He recently launched a contest on YouTube Shorts to promote javelin throw among youngsters.
"A little bit of pressure is there, it is natural, but I always try to be relaxed, not to think about result too much, and stay as normal as possible while going into a big event." Age is on his side. Chopra, however, would look to make amends for his 2017 London World Championships disappointing show, where he failed to qualify for the final round. He did not take part in the 2019 World Championships in Doha as he was recuperating from an elbow surgery.
"I was not in the best of my fitness in London World Championships and I have played many competitions by then that season. I could not do well," said Chopra who created history by winning the javelin gold in Tokyo with a throw of 87.58m.
Chopra is currently training at Kuortane Olympic Training Centre in Finland, where he reached on Thursday after shifting base from Turkey. He will train at Kuortane till June 22 as part of preparations for the Worlds (July 14-25) in Eugene, USA, and Commonwealth Games (July 28 to August 8) in Birmingham.
His first competition will be at Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku in Finland on June 14. The likes of Johannes Vetter of Germany, who has thrown 90m-plus the most among active athletes, as well as reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, who has begun the season with a massive 93.07m effort at the Doha Diamond League on May 1, will feature in the event.
"My main targets this year are World Championships, CWG and Diamond League Finals and I will try to give my best. I will enter the season gradually and whatever result... hopefully I will do well as I am preparing well.
"Remaining things will depend on the conditions of the day and how my body will respond. I will not take any competition pressure." In Turkey, Chopra had not done much of throwing practice but was doing other things, like lifting of weight, running, strength building, etc. But now the focus will be more on throwing.
"There will be all other things also but there will be more focus on throw, on technical things and on distance-wise. I have to set my run-up, how many metres it will be and where to start and cross it and where to stop, etc.
"We have started on all these things. There is less than three weeks but all these things are going on well." Like many of the Indian athletes training abroad, Chopra also cooked food and washed his clothes. He said he enjoyed doing those things as he had learnt them in childhood.
"In many training centres, there are no washing machines, we have to wash our clothes. Many a times, we felt we should have Indian food cooked by ourselves. So we go to the supermarket and buy food stuffs, vegetables and others.
"So we have to do those things, the simple way of living. When I stared playing sport, for 4-5 years, I washed my own clothes and cooked my own food. These days also, if we get a chance or we are under compulsion or under pressure to do all these things, I do them with pleasure," the champion athlete said.
Chopra recently launched an exciting challenge exclusively on YouTube Shorts. Fans can join him by doing the #JavRun and replicating his distinctive run-up before he throws the javelin.
Modelled on Chopra's medal-winning throwing technique, fans can create a 15-second YouTube Short from the YouTube mobile app and add their own touch of creativity to the challenge.
"Most of the people use YouTube and I thought my training videos can be reached by them through YouTube. When I started the sport in my childhood, I also used to watch a lot of videos of top throwers available on YouTube on how to throw the javelin.
"If children watch my training videos and if they like the videos, they can learn javelin. I want to inspire the kids and youngsters.
"After the Olympics, a lot of children want to start javelin throw but they don't know how training is done. Now, on my YouTube channel, people will know how javelin training is done, what exercises are done, etc.
"Mostly, I will upload my training-related, sports-related videos as of now. Going ahead, I can upload other things, like if I go abroad for training in a new city, I can add the videos also. The response (from the public) has been good so far."
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News Source : PTI
Asian Games postponement give us more time to improve: Savita
Bengaluru, May 27 (Hockey News) Indian women's hockey team captain Savita is confident of a good show at the Asian Games as the postponement of the continental event in Hangzhou provides the side with more training time and improve just like it did when Tokyo Olympics was deferred by a year.
Having already dealt with the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games which was rescheduled for 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian team is yet again faced with the same situation where the Asian Games have been postponed indefinitely.
"We will once again deal with this postponement as an opportunity to train and be better prepared for the Asian Games," Savita said on the Hockey India podcast 'Hockey Te Charcha'.
"The one-year postponement for the Olympics gave us significant time to improve and personally for me, I got to work closely with Janneke (Schopman), who has had a great impact on my improvement as a goalkeeper," she added.
One of the most successful goalkeepers in recent times, Savita will lead the Indian team in the FIH Pro League matches in Europe ahead of the FIH Women's World Cup which begins in July "Having finished fourth in Tokyo, everyone took notice of us. Earlier, there were expectations from the men's team only. But now, people expect the women also to finish in top three in any tournament we play and that is good for the sport," "No one expected we will go beyond the quarterfinals in the Olympic Games. Many of our supporters thought we would reach upto the quarterfinals at the outset, but I don't think anyone believed we could win the quarter finals.
"This zeal to win and not to give up till the last second of the match was inculcated by our coaching staff. We had to, and we knew we would change the script of Tokyo," added the experienced goalkeeper who .
Speaking about the team's preparations here in SAI, Bengaluru, for the Pro League and World Cup Savita said the side is hoping for a top four finish.
"There is a lot of excitement ahead of the Pro League matches in Europe as well as the Women's World Cup. Last time, we exited in the quarter-finals but this time we will do our best to finish in the top 4."
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News Source : PTI
Neeraj to train in Finland ahead of Diamond League: SAI
New Delhi, May 25 (Sports News) Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is set to switch his training base from Turkey to Finland which will host the Paavo Nurmi Games, where he will square off against Johannes Vetter on June 14.
The 24-year-old Indian, who is currently training at Turkey's Gloria Sports Arena, is scheduled to fly out on Thursday to train in Finland's Kuortane Olympic Training Centre till June 22.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said the "four-week training camp has been sanctioned by the government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and would cost the sport ministry Rs 9.8 lakhs approximately." "From Kuortane, Neeraj will then head out to Turku to participate in the Paavo Nurmi Games, followed by Kuortane Games and then Diamond League in Stockholm," SAI said in a release.
"The finance would be used towards expenditure for Neeraj and his coach Klaus Bartonietz's travel, accommodation, training, local travel, and daily out-of-pocket allowance among other expenditures." Neeraj, who has a personal best of 88.07m and won gold in Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.58m, will be taking the field for the first time in 10 months when he competes at the Paavo Nurmi Games, which the one of the biggest track and field events outside the Diamond League.
His next event will be on June 18 at Kuortane Games in Finland where he had finished third last year.
He is planning to feature in the top-flight Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm on June 30 before heading for the July 15-24 World Championships in Eugene, USA.
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News Source : PTI
Learnt important lessons from World C'ship loss, says Olympic medallist Lovlina
New Delhi, May 24 (Boxing News) Olympic medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain considers the pre-quarterfinal exit at the recently-held IBA World Championship a much-needed "learning" ahead of her future endeavours, starting with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina's World Championship campaign in the 70 kg category came to an early end after a disappointing loss in the pre-quarterfinals.
Competing in her first international event since her podium finish in Tokyo last year, Lovlina went down to Cindy Ngamba of Fair Chance Team (FCT) 1-4.
Fair Chance Team has been created by the International Boxing Association (IBA) for athletes who have been forced to leave their countries, often because of conflict.
"My preparation (for the World Championships) wasn't that good. After the Olympics, a lot of things have changed. I had to give time to many things, fulfil commitments," she said on the sidelines on the felicitation ceremony of the country's three medallists in the World Championships -- Nikhat Zareen (gold, 52kg), Manisha Moun (bronze, 57kg) and Parveen Hooda (bronze, 63kg).
"But as there is a saying you don't learn from your wins, you learn from your defeats and this defeat has taught me very important lessons." Asked about her future targets, the lanky pugilist from Assam said: "My main target still remains an Olympic gold but I will have to go step by step for that. So the next step is Commonwealth Games and I want to become champion there." With one gold and two bronze medals in the World Championships, the Indian team secured third position in the team rankings with 23 points after Turkey (48 points) and Ireland (23 points), who finished first and second respectively.
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News Source : PTI
Young Indian team needs to handle pressure in Asia Cup hockey opener against Pakistan
Jakarta, May 22 (Hockey News) A second-string Indian men’s hockey team will have to tactfully deal with the pressure when it opens its title defence against arch-rivals Pakistan in the Asia Cup here on Monday.
While Pakistan has fielded quite a few new faces in the tournament, India will be represented by its ‘A’ team under the leadership of veteran Birendra Lakra, who came out of retirement after the Tokyo Olympics.
For India, the Asia Cup provides a platform to test its bench strength ahead of a busy season, that includes the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and the FIH World Cup next year for which the Tokyo Olympic medallists have already qualified as the host nation.
Pakistan, on the other hand, is looking at the tournament to make the cut for the 2023 World Cup in Bhubaneswar. The top three teams in Asia will qualify directly for the January showpiece.
Both India and Pakistan have won the Asia Cup thrice each.
India had won the last edition in 2017 by beating Malaysia in the final in Dhaka.
India's 20-member squad, to be coached by former captain Sardar Singh, was originally supposed to be led by Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Rupinder Pal Singh, who also came out of retirement but a wrist injury ruled him out of the tournament.
The Indian squad includes another veteran in SV Sunil, who too returned from retirement and is regarded as a livewire on the field.
Sunil, who had missed the Tokyo Olympics squad due to an injury, will serve as Lakra’s deputy.
The Indian team has as many as 10 players who are set to make their senior India debuts, including Yashdeep Siwach, Abhisek Lakra, Manjeet, Vishnukant Singh and Uttam Singh. They were all part of the junior World Cup.
Besides, the side also has new players like Mareeswaren Sakthivel, Sheshe Gowda BM, Pawan Rajbhar, Abharan Sudev and S Karthi and it remains to be seen how Sardar gets the best out of these youngsters.
The new players know that a good outing in the Asia Cup can open the doors for the Commonwealth Games team as the national selectors and chief coach Graham Reid would be closely following the proceedings.
For India, Simranjeet Singh, who was part of the Tokyo Olympics squad, will make a comeback in the forwardline after a long injury lay-off.
But the onus would be on the handful of seniors to guide the youngsters in the clash.
“It (pressure) is always there (in Pakistan match). Any match against Pakistan is always charged up. But being seniors, if we become too excited, the junior players can come under pressure. So we need to take it as a normal match,” India vice-captain Sunil said.
“It is not an easy tournament but if we play according to our plan we can win. We need to motivate the youngsters, guide them and take them along. So there are big responsibilities on our shoulders.” Pakistan will be approaching the tournament after a mixed bag tour of Europe under new coach Siegfried Aikman, where the team played five matches -- two each against the Netherlands and Spain and one against Belgium -- out of which it won two.
With both the teams having youngsters, it remains to be seen how the players control their emotions and tempers on the turf.
After Pakistan, India will play Japan on Tuesday in the second Pool A match and hosts Indonesia on May 26.
Malaysia, Korea, Oman and Bangladesh are clubbed in Pool B.
In the other games on the opening day, Malaysia will play Oman and South Korea will take on Bangladesh in Pool B, while Japan will face Indonesia in Pool A.
Also Read : India names team for FIH Women's Pro League, Savita remains captain
News Source : PTI
Chopra says he is not losing sleep over his international rivals' 90m-plus throws
New Delhi, May 21 (Sports News) Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is not losing sleep over some of his top international rivals producing big early season performances but made it clear that he would want to join the 90m club this year.
Reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada and Tokyo Olympics silver winner Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic had come up with 93.07m and 90.88m throws respectively in the Doha Diamond League on May 13.
But Chopra is not the one to take pressure, thinking about somebody's performance.
"I don't take pressure of distance. Peters and Valdech must be working hard and so doing well. It is also my dream to cross 90m and will try to do that this year in some competition," Chopra said at a virtual interaction from his training base in Turkey.
"I know competition is tough and growing. It also depends on the day's performance, weather and other conditions, how we manage them. I normally don't think about surpassing anybody's performance or record. I just go out to give my best." The 24-year-old Chopra is currently training at the Gloria Sports Arena in Antalya, Turkey along with his coach Klaus Bartonietz. He has a personal best of 88.07m and won gold in Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.58m.
His first competition of the season will be in Turku, Finland at the Paavo Nurmi Games where he will face Peters, another top thrower Johannes Vetter of Germany who has thrown over 90m several times.
"I don't have to hit 90m straightway, 86 or 87m at the start of season will be fine," said Chopra who will be taking the field for the first time after 10 months since winning gold in Tokyo on August 7 last year.
His next event will be on June 18 at Kuortane Games in Finland where he had finished third last year with Vetter taking the gold before the Tokyo Olympics.
Chopra is planning to feature in the top-flight Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm on June 30 before heading for the June 15-24 World Championships in Eugene, USA.
Vetter, however, flopped during the Olympics after he produced a series 90m-plus throws in the lead-up to the Games in Tokyo. He was eliminated after the first three throws in the final.
"My main target this year is to do well in World Championships. Then there is the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (July 28 to August 8) where I will defend my gold (won in 2018 CWG)." He had earlier said that winning a medal in the World Championships will be his main target this year. Chopra said he may or may not take part in the Monaco Diamond League (August 10) which happens just a couple of days after the CWG. He will also decide whether to take part in the Lausanne leg of the Diamond League on August 26.
"We will take a call after the CWG whether to take part in Monaco Diamond League or not, whether to go for (Diamond League) points or not.
"We had planned earlier considering the Asian Games. As the Asian Games are postponed we may rework our plans." Then, there is Diamond League Final in Zurich on September 7 and 8, if Chopra qualifies.
"My aim is also to end season injury free. I am starting 40-45 days before the World Championships so that I can peak there. I am going to have three events next month in the space of just over two weeks.
"Initially, I had planned to compete in Doha Diamond League (May 13) but dropped later. I could have started a bit early had we known that Asian Games would be postponed." Asked about his training and preparations for the season ahead, he said, "The off season was good. I have started throwing training, two throwing sessions in a week. I also do sprinting, lifting weight etc. I have started working on my technique, on my runway, picking up speed and blocking.
"I don't need to make major changes, mostly focussing on my technique, which angle I have to throw, on my blocking, from where I have to start my runway. I don't want to get injured while doing major changes." Chopra had the likes of Vetter and 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallist Thomas Rohler for company at Antalya for a few days. Javelin world record holder Jan Zelezny of Czech Republic was also there for some time.
"I had interactions with them but not much. We generally talked about the state of javelin throw in the world and in India. Sometimes, we also speak about our technique.
"I don't feel like a star in front of Zelezny. They came for training and had left now. Not many people know us here." Two top Indian athletes failed dope tests recently and Chopra urged the youngsters to shun shortcut to success.
"My message is don't go for short cut to success. Work hard with patience. You will achieve your dream with time.
"I am not talking about any individual here but you can take care of things you can control like having good food, proper rest and sleep, hard work and belief in yourself."
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News Source : PTI
Deaflympics gold has spurred me to win medals at Asiad, 2024 Olympics: Diksha
New Delhi, May 20 (Golf News) Bolstered by her unprecedented gold-medal winning run at the 24th Summer Deaflympics, Indian golfer Diksha Dagar has now trained her eyes on returning with medals from the postponed Asian Games and the 2024 Olympics.
The 21-year-old from Haryana defeated American Ashlyn Grace in the final to bag gold at the Deaflympics.
She thus became 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 showpiece.
"Last time, when I lost in the playoffs, I was so disappointed because I expected to win. But this time, I was 100 per cent sure that I will return with gold because of my exposure and experience in international tournaments," Diksha told PTI during an interaction.
"I have played across the globe, against the best players, so I was confident and when I won, I was so proud to see the national anthem play in the stadium. This win is special because it is for the country and bigger than all my individual success.
"Now I want to win medal at the Asian Games and the 2024 Olympics. I have competed at the Tokyo Olympics but it was my first experience. Now I am so motivated to make my country proud in these major events." Dikha was not given a direct entry into the Asian Games with the Indian Golf Union (IGU) deciding to pick Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik based on their world rankings.
"IGU has played a major role in my growth as a golfer but I was really hurt and disappointed when I was not selected despite being only the second Indian to win two events in LET after Aditi Ashok," said Diksha, who had become the youngest Indian woman to win on Ladies European Tour when she claimed the 2019 Investec South African Women's Open.
She had also helped her team win the Aramco Team Series – London last year.
"I didn't know that they will pick two players on world ranking. I thought it would be like the Olympics. But now that the Asian Games has been postponed, I will start my preparation.
"Winning this medal has also spurred me to work harder on my game and rack up ranking points so that I can qualify for the event next year and win medals for the country." Coached by her father Col Narinder Dagar, Diksha has never sought the services of any specialised coach since turning professional in 2019 but now she is seriously planning to have a professional set up around her to prepare her for the Paris Olympics.
"I realised at Tokyo and other tournaments that playing against top players I will have to work hard and this is not enough. I need professional people around me like a specialised coach, physios, mental trainers, nutritionists etc.
"It will help me to play consistent golf. I have to work on my fitness and distance and if I can keep working hard I know I can win medals at Asian Games and Olympics." Diksha also won numerous titles as an amateur with the 2018 Singapore Ladies Amateur Open being the last as she turned pro the following year. "I can't imagine life without golf. I used to play tennis, swimming. But golf is something that I love most. I am a professional but I have been playing like an amateur but now I want to take my game to the next level," she signed off.
ALso Read : Tvesa T-16 after Round 1, Aditi gets hole-in-one in Round 2 at Jabra Ladies
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India names team for FIH Women's Pro League, Savita remains captain
New Delhi, May 21 (Hockey News) India on Saturday named a 24-member women's hockey team, to be led by Savita Punia, for the European leg of the the FIH Pro League matches in Belgium and Netherlands in June.
The team will play six matches from June 11 to 22 ahead of the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup to be held in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1-17.
India play hosts Belgium on June 11 and 12 in Antwerp before shifting base to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to face Argentina (June 18 and 19) and USA (June 21 and 22).
Savita will continue to lead the team though star striker Rani Rampal is likely to return to action after she made her last appearance at last year's Tokyo Olympics.
Rani was under rehabilitation after recovering from a prolonged hamstring injury. She was named in the Indian squad for the last two matches of the FIH Pro League in Bhubaneswar against the Netherlands last month but did not play.
Experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka will be the vice captain of the team which also has junior World Cup stars like Bichu Devi Kharibam, Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Baljeet Kaur, Sangita Kumari and Deepika.
Rajini Etimarpu and Mahima Chaudhary -- who will be the captain and vice captain respectively of the Indian team for the June 4-5 FIH Women's Hockey 5s in Switzerland -- as well as Rajwinder Kaur have been named as standbys.
Talking about the team, chief coach Janneke Schopman said, "This is going to be a very important leg of Pro League matches in Europe as it will give us insights into our progress ahead of the World Cup in July.
"These matches are going to be critical in also finalizing our team for the World Cup," Schopman said.
The Indian team is currently placed second in the standings after Argentina with 22 points from eight matches with four wins, three draws and one loss.
The Team: Goalkeepers: Savita (captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Salima Tete, Baljeet Kaur Forwards: Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Sangita Kumari, Deepika, Rani.
Also Read : On selection radar for South Africa series: Malik, Mohsin, DK
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The dominant Bajrang will be back soon: Bajrang Punia
New Delhi, May 17 (Wrestling News) "You will soon see the Bajrang who ruled the mat in 2018," assured Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia after winning the 65kg trials for the Commonwealth Games while Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia also expectedly triumphed in their respective categories, here on Tuesday.
Bajrang, who is under the scanner for lack of attacking moves in his bouts since the Asian Championship, booked his berth in the national team with wins over Sujeet (4-0) and Vishal Kalliraman (2-1).
Like it happened in the Asian Championship in Mongolia, where he won a silver, Bajrang was largely engaged in standing wrestling against Sujeet, winning points on passivity of his rival.
In the final against Vishal, he attempted a few moves but was put on clock himself for lack of action and eventually prevailed.
"I have just started competing after a long gap, injury was also there, so certainly there is a bit of hesitancy in going for attacks," Bajrang said.
"But you will soon the Bajrang of 2018 (who dominated the mat across globe). It's just a matter of playing more matches. I have World Championship in mind, and will play Ranking Series events before that. I will get better with more competitive bouts." Talking about the final, the 28-year-old said,"Vishal is not a bad wrestler. Also, due to heavy sweating, the mat was getting slippery and that at times nullifies the difference (in quality) between two wrestlers." In the 57kg, the gulf between Tokyo Games silver medal winner Ravi Kumar Dahiya and others was apparent.
He won by fall against Vijay and eked out a win by technical superiority against Aman in the final.
To his credit, Vijay, who hails from Maharashtra, did not get intimidated by Ravi and showed stomach for bout.
There was intense competition in the 74kg where Naveen emerged champion with a TSU win over Gaurav Baliyan, who recently win a silver in Asian Championship in 79kg.
There were many quality yet ageing wrestlers in this category such as Amit Dhankar, Parveen Rana, national champion Pritam along with young guns like Yash Tunir.
In the 86kg, Deepak Punia easily sailed through, winning against Vickey (4-3) and Sanjeet.
In the 97kg, Satyawart Kadiyan and Mausam Khatri bit the dust as Deepak claimed his place in the Indian team with an authoritative win over talented Sahil Ahlawat.
Mohit won the controversy-marred 125kg final.
The Birmingham Games will begin on July 28.
Also Read : Wrestler Satender Malik assaults referee Jagbir Singh during CWG trials, gets life ban
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Boxing World C'ships: Nikhat, Manisha, Parveen confirm medals, 5 others bow out
New Delhi, May 16 (Boxing News) Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Manisha (57kg) and Parveen (63kg) continued their stellar run at the IBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Istanbul on Monday by advancing to the semifinals but five other Indians bowed out after suffering quarterfinal losses.
Confirming their first World Championships medals with a place in the semifinals, Nikhat out-punched England’s Charley-Sian Davison 5-0 while young Parveen got the better off Shoira Zulkaynarova of Tajikistan with an identical margin.
Manisha, on the other hand, dispatched Mongolia's Namuun Monkhor in a hard-fought quarterfinal by a 4-1 split decision.
However, it was the end of the road for Nitu (48kg), seasoned campaigner Pooja Rani (81kg), Anamika (50kg), Jaismine (60kg) and Nandini (+81kg).
Continuing her stellar run from the prestigious Strandja Memorial tournament where she won the gold earlier this year, Nikhat handed India its first medal at this year's tournament with an impressive victory.
The 25-year-old Telangana boxer was all pumped up in her highly physical bout against Davison. Both boxers were attacking each other ferociously in the first round.
However, the second round was a one way street as Nikhat pounded her opponent with terrific body shots to tire her out while also landing clean and sharp punches.
With the two rounds in the bag, Nikhat then displayed her defensive skills as she no longer felt the need to be on the offensive in the final few minutes of her quarterfinal bout.
"My opponent was taller than me today, so my strategy was to block her right hand which is her strength. I am delighted to give India the first medal, hope I can win the gold," Nikhat said after the bout.
The former junior world champion will next square off against Caroline De Almeida of Brazil, who thrashed the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver winner Carly McNaul of Ireland by unanimous decision.
In another bout, the 24-year-old Manisha moved around the ring and used her long reach to great effect as she threw clean punches in the closely fought last eight contest. She will take on Italy's Irma Testa next.
In the fourth Indian bout of the day, Parveen initially seemed hesitant to attack and looked out of depth but as the seconds ticked away and coach Bhaskar Bhatt and the support staff encouraged her to go forward and attack from the sideline, the Haryana boxer gained confidence to notch up a memorable win.
She will be up against Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst in the semifinal.
Anamika and Jaismine fell short of securing medals on their debut appearance at the world event after enduring 0-5 and 1-4 losses respectively.
Anamika lost to Rio Olympic bronze medallist Colombia's Ingrit Valencia and Jaismine succumbed to Rashida Ellis of USA.
Nandini, who had received a first round bye, was handed a 0-5 loss by Morocco's Khadija Mardiin in her opening bout.
Nitu ended her campaign with a 2-3 split verdict quarterfinal loss to reigning Asian champion Alua Balkibekova of Kazakhstan, while two-time Asian champion Pooja went down 2-3 also via a split verdict to Australia's Jessica Bagley.
There was a bit of confusion with Pooja's result as the announcer mixed up the name of the two boxers.
Nitu, who is a two-time youth world champion, started the bout cautiously, enticing her opponent to come at her but struggled to land punches herself.
The Indian tried hard to break Balkibekova's defences as the Kazakh boxer moved around swiftly. Nitu managed to up the ante in the final round but it was too late as the judges ruled in her opponent's favour.
India won four medals, including a silver and three bronze, in the last edition of the tournament.
Also Read : Boxing World C'ships: Nikhat Zareen secures India's first medal in Istanbul
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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
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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
News Source : PTI
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
News Source : PTI
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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
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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
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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).
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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."
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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
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.
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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).
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 were torn to dust in the first match by Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo who knocked out the top seed in straight sets. It did not break her hopes completely and proved it by winning in Cincinnati which was her second WTA 1000 of the season. In the final Grand Slam of the year, Barty faced an early exit when Shelby Rogers scripted one of the most inspiring comebacks of the year. Rogers was down 2-5 in the final set but rallied as the crowds were in full support each time she won a game and then secured the win in the tie break. Barty had won all her previous five matches against Shelby and four of them had come this year.
Barty had withdrawn from the WTA finals Guadalajara saying that she needs rest and needs time to get ready for the 2022 Australian Open. The hip injury had hampered her chances at Roland Garros, though she ended the season in November; the former Big Bash cricketer played 50 matches and won 42 of them. Her best performance at home has been the semifinal finish in 2020, whereas two years later she reached the quarterfinals and next year will be off the blocks to become the first Australian women in three decades to take the singles title.
Damian Warner and his chances of breaking the world record in Decathlon
(Sports news) Damian Warner achieved one of the best performances in the history of Decathlon at the Tokyo Olympics. This year, he has been breaking records in the overall points category as well as in certain events. The Decathlon is the toughest sport as an athlete has to perform well in 10 events each vastly different from others.
The 10 events are 100m, Long jump, Shot put, Javelin throw, Discus throw, High jump, 400m, 110m, 1500m and Pole Vault. So far only four athletes have gone past the 9000 mark in the event, Warner was the last one to do it as he created a new Olympic record. He won the bronze medal in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics and can now become the third man to win the event twice at the Olympics. Ashton Eaton was the last person to win it twice at Rio, he and Roman Sebrle held the previous record although Sebrle achieved it in 2004 and Ashton equalled it 12 years later.
Warner holds the decathlon record in 100m, Long jump and 110m hurdles; he ran the 100m in 10.12 secs and jumped 8.28m in the Long jump along with a timing of 13.36sec. All the performances are impressive even for athletes who only specialize in these particular events, Warner would have won the bronze medal at Tokyo in the Long jump event with that jump. Decathlon athletes have come close to the regular standards as each athlete has his own set of events to excel, only few are able to match the regular standards of athletes who specialize in the event.
The 32 year old became the first athlete to break the 9000 mark in Olympics, Sebrle was the first person to cross the mark and did it in 2001. Eaton remains the only man to do it twice, he did it in 2012, 15 and Kevin Mayers did it in 2018. Warner had come close to achieving it in May this year as he fell short by 5 points. Warner has the chance of breaking the world record as he had a 300 point lead over silver medalist Mayers and 400 point lead against bronze medalist Ashley Moloney. Warner finished in the top 10 in 8 events which included three top finishes, in the long jump he was the only one to clear 8 metres and cleared it by a long margin. His jump of 8.24m was far ahead of the second placed Pierce Lepage who jumped 7.65m, in shot and pole vault he was placed 11th.
The two time Olympic medallist will be certainly looking to build the lead in the sprint and jump event. He has been on top in the 400m and in Discus throw, even in the 1500m he was close to the top three finish showing how he has dominated the decathlon event. Warner is certainly the most complete athlete as the winner of the event is deservingly awarded the title, he is close to breaking the world record and the 2022 season can bring the best out in him.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza back on top three in WTA tour
(Tennis news) Garbine Muguruza has had a great season on the WTA Tour, climbing back into the top three of the rankings. Muguruza played 59 matches this year in which she won 42 of them. She started the year ranked 15 and had a gradual rise to the top three.
The 28 year old reached the final in the second event of the season at Yarra Valley Classic, even beating Sofia Kenin on the way to the final where she lost to Ashleigh Barty. At the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round before losing to champion Naomi Osaka. In the next event at Qatar, Muguruza reached her second final in two months but lost to Petra Kvitova in the final. She came back to reach another final in Dubai, beating Aryna Sabalenka for the second consecutive time and then defeated Barbora Krejcikova in the final.
The Spaniard then did not reach the last four in the next 10 events after three finals in the first 5 events of the season. She also could not secure a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, losing out to Elena Rybakina in straight sets. After a gap of almost 6 months, Muguruza won the title in Chicago after beating Ons Jabeur in the final. At the WTA Finals, Muguruza was the second most experienced player after Karolina Pliskova and the senior most player handed her a defeat in the second match. Muguruza lost only one match on the way to win the biggest title of the season.
"It's been a crazy season with the Olympics involved as well. It has been a year with many challenges, but at the same time, very successful for me.” Muguruza didn't enjoy success at the Grand Slam level in 2021 but still she felt it was the best season of her career.
"I truly believe this has been my best career season, even though I haven't won slam tournaments," Muguruza claimed. "It was a season in which I managed to find continuity in the game, albeit with ups and downs in the result.”
The two time Grand Slam winner was ranked number 1 four years ago and this year she has given herself a second chance to reclaim the top spot. Muguruza struggled at the Grand Slams as she reached the fourth round in Australia and at the US Open meanwhile at Roland Garros she was knocked out in the opening match. At Wimbledon where she last won a Grand Slam, she reached the third round, Muguruza winning the finals title was a stern reminder that next year she can pick up her usual speed at the majors. At the 2022 Australian Open, she will try to avenge her 2020 final loss and lift a crown that can boost her chances of becoming the world number again.
Bajrang begins 26-day training camp in Moscow ahead of busy season
New Delhi, Dec 27 (Wrestling News) Tokyo Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Bajrang Punia reached Moscow on Monday for a 26-day pre-season training camp scheduled till January 21.
This is Bajrang's first training stint after the performance in Tokyo.
"This is my first training camp after the Olympics and I'm hoping this turns out to be a very good one," mentioned Bajrang from Russia in a statement.
"I've chosen Russia as its wrestlers win the most medals in the Olympic Games and World Championships. I will draw benefit from training with the experienced wrestlers here." The Sports Ministry's Mission Olympics Cell (MOC) approved his trip at an overall cost of Rs. 7.53 lakh.
Jitender and Anand Kumar have accompanied Bajrang as his sparring partner and physiotherapist respectively.
Bajrang is set to compete in international meets including UWW Ranking events, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as well as the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
"I have to compete in Ranking Series in Italy and Turkey this February and then the Asian Championships in Mongolia in April. I'm going to give my best as I aim is to change the colour of my medal in Paris 2024," Bajrang added.
Also Read : India's Ritu Phogat to face Stamp Fairtex in MMA finals
News Source : PTI
Erriyon Knighton following Bolt’s footsteps in the 200m
(Sports news) Erriyon Knighton has been on a fast track since the start of the 2021 season. He has broken Usain Bolt’s under 18 and 20 record on the 200m event and is slowly catching up on the 100m event too. Knighton has been one of the top athletes in the men’s 200m this year and came really close to Olympic glory at Tokyo.
The 17 year old became the second teenager after Bolt to run the 200m under 20 seconds. Bolt held the under 18 world record of 20.13 secs in the 200m which he ran in 2003, it was broken this year in May by Knighton when he ran it in 20.11 secs. In the next three months, Knighton went on to improve his timings by a huge margin as in June he broke Bolt’s under 20 record of 19.93 in 200m by lowering to 19.88 secs. The very next day he further lowered it to 19.84 secs as he has been constantly running under 20 secs like the senior athletes.
Knighton became the youngest athlete in the 200m final at Tokyo Olympics, there were two teenagers in the track as he was joined by 19 year old Joseph Fahenbulleh. The junior world record holder became the youngest athlete to make it to an 200m final since 1984, in the final he finished fourth behind Noah Lyles with a time of 19.93 secs.
The age gap has been astonishing in the men’s sprinting field right now. Knighton was born in the year Justin Gatlin won his 100 gold and 200m bronze at Athens. Gatlin is 22 years older than the American teen and will be a sight to watch two generations compete side by side at the track. Knighton has been the 6th fastest this year and the athletes above are at least 6 years older to him. The fastest man this year has been another American Noah Lyles with a timing of 19.52 secs.
The Olympic finalist will be on top with his performances in the last few months especially in the second half. The season 2022 will be eagerly waiting for Knighton to make a mark at the World Championships in the 200m, Bolt’s records have been standing strong since 2009 and next year there might be chances of athletes coming really close. Knighton is halfway there as he has already shaken off junior world records now he has to carry forward that momentum into his senior years.
Men's bronze medal, inspiring 4th place for women at Tokyo Games usher in new dawn for hockey
New Delhi, Dec 26 (Hockey News) A bronze medal was good enough to write a golden chapter in Indian hockey, which was desperately seeking a revival for long, as Indian men and women teams conjured up an inspirational show at the Tokyo Games which will be remembered for ages.
A historic bronze-winning show by the men's team and an outstanding fourth place finish for the women's team infused fresh life into the game which was in danger of slipping into oblivion.
Defying all odds and challenges thrown by the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian men's team ushered in a new dawn in 2021 by ending a 41-year long wait a medal at the Olympics - a stage which it owned in its glorious past.
The women's team narrowly missed out on a historic bronze but its best-ever show at the showpiece made it even more memorable for the fans who emotionally connect with the game.
The players were confined to a bio-bubble at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru in 2020 but the year 2021 started on a bright note as the Indian men's team fought hard against Germany and Great Britain to finish the four-match European tour with two wins and as many draws.
The upward swing continued as India continued its unbeaten run on the Argentina tour, beating the 2016 Olympic champions twice and drawing as many in four practice games.
The team also won against the Los Leones in the two-match FIH Pro League tie to set the momentum for what eventually turned out to be a watershed year for Indian hockey.
Next came the most important event for the eight-time past winners, the Tokyo Olympics, where India finished second in pool stages, winning four out of five matches.
The Manpreet-led side defeated Great Britain 3-1 in the quarterfinal before losing 2-5 against Belgium in the last four round.
However, India staged a remarkable comeback and earned a 5-4 win over Germany to clinch the much-needed bronze medal.
By virtue of their historic Olympic campaign, the Indians swept the FIH Hockey Star Awards 2021 winning all categories, which created a bit of controversy with Olympic champions Belgium crying foul.
Harmanpreet Singh was crowned the FIH Player of the Year, PR Sreejesh won the Goalkeeper of the Year, Vivek Sagar Prasad won FIH Rising Star of the Year award for the second consecutive time and India's chief coach Graham Reid was awarded the FIH Coach of the Year.
The Olympic glory also earned national recognitions for all the members of the hockey team with PR Sreejesh and skipper Manpreet being honoured with the prestigious Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour of the country, and all other players receiving the Arjuna award for their accomplishment.
The year, however, ended on a bit sad note for India as they failed to defend their Asian Champions Trophy title, finishing third after beating arch-rivals Pakistan 4-3 in the bronze medal match.
The Indian women's hockey team also added to the cherry by achieving many firsts in 2021.
From a historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics to achieving the best-ever FIH world rankings to sweeping FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2021 in all categories, the year gone by was nothing short of a fairytale for the Indian women team.
The Rani Rampal-led side, that started the Olympic campaign with three losses, later pulled off, arguably, one of the biggest upsets in world hockey with win over mighty Australia in the quarterfinals.
But as luck would have it, the Indian women missed out on an Olympic medal by whisker after losing 1-2 to Argentina in the semifinals before suffering 3-4 heartbreak at the hands of Great Britain in the bronze medal match.
But the fourth place finish was more than enough to build women hockey's identity in the country.
The fourth-place finish also gave the Indian women's team its highest-ever FIH world ranking, eighth, in August but will end the year a rung below in the ninth spot due to the side's withdrawal from the women's Asian Champions Trophy 2021 in Korea after being hit by the dreaded virus.
However, the Indian junior men's hockey team turned out to be a big let down at the end of the year as it failed to defend its World Cup title in Bhubaneswar earlier this month. The team finished fourth after losing 1-3 to France in the bronze medal play-off.
The year gone by has boosted confidence of the Blue Sticks ahead of two major events lined up next year -- the Asian Games and Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The self belief is first major prerequisite for success and the two teams now have it in abundance.
Also Read : Uttar Pradesh crowned 11th Hockey India junior national championship winners
News Source : PTI
Neeraj Chopra grows into a colossus with elusive track and field Olympic gold
New Delhi, Dec 25 (Sports News) Neeraj Chopra heralded a new era in Indian athletics with his colossal Tokyo Olympics gold that acquired him a super star status in the country which had waited for such spectacular success in track and field events for more than a century.
Son of a farmer, a strapping Neeraj, who turned 24 on Friday, immortalised his name in Indian sports history with his gold-winning throw of 87.58m on August 7, the penultimate day of the showpiece.
It was not even his personal best effort but it did not matter as Chopra became only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal in the Olympics after shooter Abhinav Bindra.
Short of top-class competition in the run-up to the Olympics, Chopra was not even a sure-shot medal contender but he out-performed the field by some distance to enter Indian sporting folklore.
Brimming with confidence, hardly showing any nerves, Chopra literally owned the field with his bossy throw, which was listed one of the 10 magical moments of track and field in Tokyo Games by World Athletics.
Who would have thought that a plump kid who took to athletics to lose weight would end up being India's first track-and-field Olympic gold-medallist.
It was India's first gold in 13 years and second after 1980 Moscow Games.
"It feels unbelievable. It's a proud moment for me and my country. This moment will live with me forever," Chopra said after winning the historic gold.
While Chopra's golden moment is a new beginning in Indian athletics, but the year also witnessed the end of an era with the demise of legendary Milkha Singh -- one of independent India's greatest sporting icons who missed an Olympic 400m bronze by a whisker in the 1960 Rome Games.
Aged 91, the 'Flying Sikh' died in Chandigarh, just a couple of months before Chopra's historic feat.
Chopra dedicated his inspirational achievement to Milkha who had dreamt of seeing an Indian winning an Olympic gold in athletics before his death.
"Milkha Singh wanted to hear the national anthem in a stadium. He is no longer with us but his dream has been fulfilled," Chopra said.
It was also redemption time for Indian athletics, mired into doping controversies for long. The sport finally shed the tag to prove that it can win medals beyond the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Discus thrower Kamalpreet Singh was also in the limelight briefly after she finished second in the qualifying round. She eventually ended in sixth position in the final.
The 25-year-old made rapid progress in recent years as she improved more than 4m to set a national record (65.06m) in Patiala before the Olympics.
The men's 4x400m relay team shattered the Asian record but still failed to make it to the final, underlining how tough competition is in the Olympics.
Avinash Sable was the other Indian who bettered his national record in the men's 3000m steeplechase but could not make the cut for the final while the likes of sprinter Dutee Chand disppointed. Hima Das did not even qualify for the Games.
The sporting world thrown haywire by the COVID-19 pandemic, no one was certain about a medal in the men's javelin throw event except for supremely confident -- rather over confident as it turned out to be -- Johannes Vetter of Germany who came into the Olympics after having seven 90m-plus monstrous throws.
In contrast, Chopra competed in just three international events. The two of them were minor events with local competitors in Europe and Vetter had famously claimed that it would be tough for the Indian to beat him.
But Chopra had the last laugh as he topped the qualification round easily while Vetter struggled to even make it to the final round.
Vetter was eliminated after three throws in the finals while a confident and calm Chopra scooped the gold with a second round attempt.
Such was the frenzy in the country in the felicitation events lined up for him that Chopra had to leave a one such function midway due to exhaustion. His social media following shot up to millions overnight and his brand value skyrocketed. He finally joined camp two months after his Olympics exploits and left for the United States for off-season training.
The year also saw Indian youngsters doing well at the World Junior Championships in Kenya with long jumper Shaili Singh, a protege of Anju Bobby George, and 10,000m race walker Amit Khatri winning a silver each.
Belarusian middle and long distance coach Nikolai Snesarev died at the NIS Patiala hours before a competition while another former athlete, 1951 Asiad medallist and 1952 Olympics marathoner Surat Singh Mathur died of COVID-19.
Legendary coach O.M Nambiar, who nurtured sprint legend P T Usha into a world class athlete, also passed away after he was bestowed with Padma Shree early in the year.
Also Read : PKL: Naveen Kumar stars in Dabang Delhi KC's win over U Mumba
News Source : PTI
The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa had a poor start to the 2021 season as she suffered a fourth round exit at Abu Dhabi and then lost in the first round at the Australian Open. Badosa was ranked 70 twelve months ago and made her top ten debut a month ago. Her rise on the WTA tour has been remarkable and is projected to go higher next year.
The Spaniard reached the semifinals at Lyon where she lost to qualifier Calra Tauson. Her first big jump came at Credit one Charleston Open, she reached the semifinals by beating Belina Bencic in the third round and upsetting Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals. Badosa then reached the last four again at the Madrid Open, she defeated Barbora Krejcikova and Bencic on the way before losing to Barty. Her clay dominance continued at the Serbia Open as she won her career first title, the 24 year old then backed it with a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros as her rankings shot up.
Badosa climbed up 40 places in three months with four consecutive quarter final or better performances. The Roland Garros quarterfinalist then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon while picking up her first victory at the event, she went on to lose to Karolina Muchova in straight sets. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in-form Badosa had to retire in the quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova due to a heatstroke.
A shoulder injury during the Western and Southern Open forced Badosa to retire in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova. An early exit at the US Open and Ostrava Open made her slip one place below in the rankings. The Indian Wells event was next as Badosa was playing in the main draw for the first time, she beat Cori Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, Ons Jabeur and set up a final with experienced player Victoria Azarenka. The final went on for three hours and it took two tie breaks as it gave Badosa her biggest title so far, the win pushed her into the top ten.
The 5 feet 11 inch player then reached the semifinals at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara which took her to 8th place in the rankings. Badosa defeated Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari before losing the final group stage match to Iga Swatiek. In the semifinal clash of the two Spaniards, Garbine Muguruza came out on top to reach the final and eventually win the title.
Badosa has been one of the top performers on clay this season. She will be one of the players to watch out for at Roland Garros and has not taken much time to enter the top ten rankings. The two time title winner has a powerful serve and groundstrokes which came into use at harcourts. Badosa is not afraid to take up chances, she will look to start the 2022 Australian Open with a thumping win and get warmed up for the clay season.
Justin Gatlin approaching 40 in early 2022 season
(Sports news) Justin Gatlin will be turning 40 in two months as he will enter the 2022 season as one of the oldest active sprinters. Gatlin failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics thus missing a third consecutive appearance at the event. He had missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to a doping ban which got over in 2010.
The 39 year old has been in the sprinting world since 2003 and has served two doping bans as the first one had come before his professional years. Gatlin was the gold medalist in the 100m at the 2004 Athens Olympics with a timing of 9.85 secs, he also won the bronze in the 200m with a timing of 20.03 secs. Gatlin was on his way to break the world records in the 100m when the second doping ban made him stay away from the competition for a period of four years.
On his comeback in 2010, there were fresh faces in the competition as Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay were dominating the field along with Asafa Powell. Gatlin was four years senior to Bolt who established himself as a strong competitor in 100m and 200m. Gatlin is more of a 100m sprinter although he has top timings in the 200m, consistency has not been the same in the events. In the 100m, he has run under 10 secs on 64 occasions while in the 200m the sub 20 has been achieved 9 times which is comparatively less.
Gatlin has defeated Bolt twice in their 10 meetings in the 100m. Now Gatlin faces a challenge for the second time in his career similar to the one he had faced 10 years back. The only difference is now the age gap is even more with the present athletes. Su Bingtian and Isiah Young are the only ones who are in their early 30’s as the rest of the field are in their 20’s which is usually the peak for sprinters. Gatlin also remains quiet during the beginning of races and unlike Bolt does not interact with anyone or the crowd, with a grin on his face and tight closed fists the veteran blows away the track.
Gatlin has been subjected to criticism ever since the doping bans but he has been able to divert all those to emerge as one of the most successful sprinters in the last 15 years. It has been 18 years since the five time Olympic medalist ran a sub 10 race in the 100m for the first time, this year he has run under 10 secs twice with the third one exactly timed at 10.00 secs.
Gatlin will have to follow Kim Collins who used to run sub 10 seconds even when he was 40. The 10 time World Championship medallist has a rigid form while running and takes short strides, a technique which helped him run faster. It is tough to predict what will happen next year as Gatlin four years ago had defeated Christian Coleman who was 14 years his junior at the 100m in the 2017 London World Championships. Age doesn’t seem to slow down the serious faced sprinter, maybe missing the Olympics only fuelled him to do even better in the 2022 season or the younger ones will keep him behind the pack. We will know the results in a matter of a few months.
It was Rio all over again in Tokyo but Indian shooters shine elsewhere
New Delhi, Dec 24 (Shooting News) The Indian shooters failed miserably when it mattered the most and on a stage where they were primed for success, making 2021 one of their worst years in recent memory.
The outstanding results everywhere else, at other times of the last 11 months, were applauded but they were never supposed to mitigate the extreme pain caused by the debacle at the Tokyo Olympics.
They entered Japanese shores with hopes of winning a handful of medals, but returned empty-handed instead, as the horrors of Rio 2016 revisited, even after a raft of changes had been implemented by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
As the fancied 15-strong squad crumbled under the mighty Olympic pressure, it belied a billion hopes after promising to deliver like never before.
Excellent performances at the rechristened President's Cup (which used to be the season-ending ISSF World Cup Finals) and the Junior World Championships in Lima did bring some smiles back, but the Indian team's horror run at Tokyo remains fresh in the memory.
So bad was the outing in the Japanese capital, that it forced NRAI chief Raninder Singh to express his disappointment even before the campaign was completed.
Singh had talked about a major revamp on the sidelines of the Olympics but who will fall under its purview is something that's still not clear, although he did say that even the administrators' performance would be reviewed by an independent body.
So far, in a drastic move, the NRAI has decided to end the contracts of all the national coaches that were involved with the Indian shooting team. This is being done with an aim to revamp the structure before the start of the 2022 season.
The federation has not revealed the names of those who will be appointed in place of the outgoing coaches, which includes some well-established names who have contributed immensely to the growth of the shooters and the sport in general in the country.
Needless to say, the trigger for this move was the Olympic debacle and the intra-squad factionalism, which also involved coaches. The drama marred the build-up to the Games and came out in the open as the team's disastrous campaign unfolded in Tokyo.
The NRAI got former India shooter and coach Ronak Pandit to train medal hope Manu Bhaker after she fell out with junior national coach Jaspal Rana. It did try to sort things out but some of them, perhaps, remained unaddressed.
The top brass in the NRAI had no qualms admitting that the team was below-par in the biggest multi-sporting event.
They also don't shy away from talking about implementing wholesale changes but, going by the experience in the last two Olympics, there is no doubt that more is required than what is being done currently.
If they stop after only changing the coaching and support staff, the story is not likely to be any different at the Paris Olympics, which is scheduled to be held in less than three years' time.
"Definitely the performances have not been on expected lines and I have spoken of an overhaul of coaching and support staff," Raninder told PTI.
He is well aware that problem is concerning the game's mental aspects.
"I feel something is lacking in getting our shooters prepared for these big occasions, because clearly the talent is there and we have seen it," the NRAI boss said.
Questions were raised about why the shooters were not able to replicate their excellent showing at the ISSF World Cups at the Olympics.
While they faltered at the biggest stage, fortunes swung dramatically in the Junior World Championships in Peru in October, when Indian shooters won medals by the bagful and topped the standings for the first time.
The tournament saw the emergence of new talents such as Delhi's Namya Kapoor, who fired her way to the gold medal ahead of her celebrated compatriot Bhaker in the women's 25m pistol event.
At 14 years, she created an Indian record of winning the gold medal at an international shooting tournament, raising fresh hopes for the future.
India also did exceedingly well at the President's Cup with the likes of young Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary once again reminding the world of their abilities with their fine showing in Wroclaw, Poland months after they failed to live up to the expectations at the Olympics.
In Lima, Bhaker became the first Indian shooter to win the highest number of medals (5) in a single edition of the ISSF Junior World Championships. These included four gold medals and a bronze.
The Indian shooters' results, before and after the Olympics, makes it clear that the problem is mental fortitude or the lack of it, at the quadrennial extravaganza.
And the sooner it is addressed, the better it is for Indian shooting.
Moving away from the ranges, there was no change of guard at the top of the hierarchy as Raninder became the apex body's president for an unprecedented fourth time with a landslide victory over BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav.
The NRAI went ahead with the polls despite the impediments it faced after the petition filed by Yadav in the Delhi High Court, followed by the sports ministry's directive to initiate elections afresh.
There was no stay order from the high court and it was found that the incumbent had a legitimate claim at re-election.
Also Read : Avani Lekhara bags 'Best Female Debut' honour at Paralympic Awards
News Source : PTI
Suspended NDTL gets back WADA recognition: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur reveals
New Delhi, Dec 23 (Sports News) Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said that the World Anti-Doping Agency has restored the accreditation of the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), which was suspended in 2019 because of its failure to meet global standards.
The NDTL is based in the national capital.
"National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) regains the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accreditation," Thakur posted on his official Twitter page.
"Restoration of accreditation is a boost to India's efforts to achieve the highest global standards of excellence in sport. This is the result of untiring efforts by GOI (Government of India)," he added.
India is currently third in the WADA's global list of dope violators led by Russia.
"Last week in Parliament, we introduced 'The National Anti-Doping Bill 2021', which is another step in India's quest to become a sporting powerhouse," Thakur said referring to the legislation which give the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)powers to conduct raids to nab dope offenders.
The suspension of the NDTL had prohibited it from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including all analysis of urine and blood samples.
The WADA first suspended NDTL in August 2019 for a period of six months and extended the de-recognition period after its inspections showed that non-conformities still existed.
The laboratory's non-conformities pertained to the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) identified during a WADA site visit, including the isotope ratio mass spectrometry — the analytical technique of choice for confirmation of prohibited substances.
During the suspension period, urine samples collected by NADA were being sent primarily to the WADA-accredited lab in Doha.
The process had made the anti-doping programme very expensive for the country because of the significant cost involved in sending samples abroad.
The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed in slowing down the anti-doping activities in India with NADA admitting to have collected a lesser volume of samples.
After outstanding non-conformities were not addressed to WADA's satisfaction, its Laboratory Expert Group (LabEG) recommended the initiation of further disciplinary proceedings against NDTL in January this year.
The disciplinary committee that was mandated to make a recommendation to the WADA chair then asked for an extension in suspension.
Because of the suspension, NDTL could not carry out any testing before Tokyo Olympics in this year.
"Sending of samples for analysis to Qatar lab involves cost and also delays the result management process," lawyer Parth Goswami, who regularly handles doping related cases, had said in an interview to PTI earlier this year.
Also Read : Asia’s fastest athlete Su Bingtian flying high after Tokyo final
News Source : PTI
Asia’s fastest athlete Su Bingtian flying high after Tokyo final
(Sports news) Su Bingtian has been one of the top sprinters in the world over the past twelve months. He is the fourth fastest in the 100m this year with a timing of 9.83 secs at Tokyo Olympics, Su stormed into the final with that timing but came up a bit short of the podium finish. The last Asian sprinter to reach the 100m Olympic final was Japanese sprinter Takayoshi Yoshioka in 1932.
The current Asian record holder has been a regular winner in the Asian Games. Su is also one of the fastest sprinters in the 60 meters and ran a unofficial 6.29 secs in the semifinal at Tokyo which has been the fastest beating Usain Bolt’s run in 2009 when he ran the fastest 100m ever. While the sprinting events have been dominated by Jamaicans in the past decade, now there has been uncertainty in the major events as there are a handful of athletes who have been exchanging the podium finishes.
Su won the Gold at the Shanghai Diamond League in 2017 with a timing of 10.11 secs. He has an explosive start till the 60 meter which if he can hold for another 40 meters can bring his timing down to 9.70 secs. At the Birmingham World Indoor Championships, the Diamond league winner ran the 60m in 6.42 secs which is 6th fastest of all time.
Sprinters usually are short in height, there are a few exceptions, most of them are not tall. Su is 5 feet 8 inches which is perfect for the event, even though he is 32 years old his timings are only getting quicker by each season. The sub 10 second barrier has been broken by the Olympic finalist multiple times, a major change in 2014 has been one of the causes to his form. In the beginning of his career, Su used to start off the blocks with his right foot and for the past 7 years he has been doing the same with his left foot which made a major impact in his timings. The change proved effective in a year as he ran his first sub 10 race in 2015.
China has been in the bottom in the field of athletics at the Olympics. Liu Xiang was the last Chinese sprinter to win a medal at the Olympics, he won the gold at the 100m hurdles 17 years back at Athens. Su can target the World Championships next year as the Paris Olympics are two years away, he is already inspiring many in China and Asia.
Hockey rankings: Indian men to finish 2021 in third spot, women drop to ninth
Lausanne, Dec 23 (Hockey News) Olympic bronze winning Indian men's hockey team will end the year in third spot, its highest-ever, as per the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings released on Thursday.
The Manpreet Singh-led Indian team won the bronze in Tokyo Games earlier this year to end a 41-year medal wait for the country. India, who finished third in the just-concluded Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka, will end the year with 2296.038 points behind Olympic champions Belgium and toppers Australia.
Australia have leapfrogged Belgium in the latest chart following the Red Lions' recent FIH Hockey Pro League draw and defeat at the hands of the Netherlands.
Australia will close the year with 2642.25 points, just 10 points ahead of FIH Hockey Pro League and Olympic champions Belgium, who have 2632.12.
Netherlands (2234.33) and Germany (2038.71) are placed in fourth and fifth positions respectively. The top ten is completed by England (6th - 1990.62), Argentina (7th - 1826.11), New Zealand (8th - 1598.24), Spain (9th - 1532.33) and Malaysia (10th - 1427.18).
The Asian Champions Trophy saw various exchanges of ranking points between the competing teams, although there was little in terms of movement. Champions South Korea remain 16th with runners up Japan still in 17th position. Fourth placed finishers Pakistan continue to hold onto 18th place, while fifth placed Bangladesh have dropped two places to 40.
Among women, India have dropped a rung to ninth spot from the last update.
The Indian women's team, which finished a historic fourth in the Tokyo Olympics, will end the year with 1810.32 points.
Netherlands women will finish the year at the top of the FIH world rankings.
The Oranje end 2021 with 3015.35 points, over 600 ranking points ahead of second placed England (2375.78). Olympic silver medallists Argentina will begin 2022 in the third spot, being just 14 points behind England with 2361.28.
Australia (2334.04) will finish the year in fourth place, with Germany (2126.15) and Spain (1959.62) fifth and sixth positions respectively. Belgium (7th place - 1939.88), New Zealand (8th place – 1821.11), India (9th place – 1810.32) and China (10th place – 1677.96) complete the top ten.
Also Read : Semifinalists identified in junior hockey Nationals
News Source : PTI
Badminton in 2021: Sindhu's journey to greatness, Srikanth's resurgence & Lakshya's emergence
New Delhi, Dec 23 (Badminton News) PV Sindhu's legend grew with a second Olympic medal, Kidambi Srikanth regained his touch with a historic World championship silver and Lakshya Sen continued to dazzle but the listless performance in team events was a significant low for Indian badminton in a topsy-turvy year.
The COVID-19 pandemic expectedly disrupted the international calender with many events either cancelled or rescheduled but Indian shuttlers grabbed the opportunities even though a title win eluded them.
If Rio Olympics silver-medallist Sindhu led from the front with a bronze medal at Tokyo and a silver at the season-ending World Tour Final, Srikanth and Lakshya dished out a year-end special, scooping a silver and bronze respectively at the World Championships.
It was a moment to rejoice as for the first time, two Indian men returned with medals from one edition of the World Championships, a feat that was earlier achieved by Sindhu and Saina Nehwal in women's singles at the 2017 Glasgow event.
However, neither Sindhu nor Srikanth or Lakshya, who had reached the finals at Dutch Open, could go the full distance as India's title draught continued.
The fact that BWF decided to squeeze nine tournaments into 12 weeks after the resumption of the international circuit also didn't help things as many players were left injured.
Sindhu, the 2019 World champion, was subdued at the Thailand leg at the beginning of the year but she soon reached the final at Swiss Open in March before coronavirus forced the suspension of three Olympic qualifiers.
Already assured of a place at the Tokyo Games, Sindhu then sealed her place among the greatest when she added a bronze to the Rio silver medal at the biggest multi-sport extravaganza.
She then took a two-month break and hit a consistent run after her return, registering three semifinal finishes at French Open, Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open.
Sindhu then sizzled at the season-ending World Tour Finals, which ended with a silver medal.
The final finish raised hopes of a successful defence of her world championship gold but it was not to be as Sindhu returned empty handed from the prestigious event for the first time since 2017.
While Sindhu's season ended with a quarterfinal finish in Huelva, Srikanth and Lakshya more then made up for the disappointment.
Since claiming four titles in five finals in 2017, Srikanth had struggled with fitness and form and the lowest point came when he failed to secure the Tokyo berth due to a mix of injuries and cancellation of qualifiers.
However, the 28-year-old from Guntur shook off the disappointment and slowly found his groove with two semifinal finishes at Hylo Open and Indonesia Masters before an explosive performance at the World Championships.
Srikanth dished out one superlative win after another to enter his first final since the 2019 India Open and in the process, became the first man to earn India a silver at the World Championships.
If Srikanth travelled from despair to ecstacy within a few months, the 20-year-old Lakshya charmed with his youthful exuberance as he continued his fine run from 2019 when he had won five titles before COVID-19 somewhat halted his progress.
The youngster from Almora scripted a final finish at the Dutch Open, made it to the semifinals at Hylo and then reached the knockout stage at World Tour Finals on debut.
Lakshya then sizzled with a bronze at the World Championships, thus joining his mentor Prakash Padukone and B Sai Praneeth.
Struggling with a gastroesophageal reflux disease and then post COVID after-affects, HS Prannoy also finished things on a high with a quarterfinal finish in Spain.
It was also a decent year for men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy as they reached the semifinals at Toyota Thailand Open, Swiss Open and Indonesia Open before injury to the latter took a toll.
The duo also won two of the three matches against higher-ranked opponents at Tokyo Olympics but missed out of the quarterfinal after it was decided on the basis of the number of games won and lost.
Plagued by injuries, London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina, however, endured a tough year as she failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and also was forced to pull out of the World Championship for the first time in her career.
The former world no.1 returned to the circuit at Uber Cup but it was cut short due to multiple injuries, including a groin issue.
While the singles players did well, India cut a sorry figure at team events -- Sudirman Cup and Thomas and Uber Cup Finals.
With star players missing, India made an early exit from the Sudirman Cup after wining just one match out of three.
The men's team and women's teams produced a slightly better show at Thomas and Uber Cup Final, finishing at the quarterfinal stage.
The only bright spot was that the likes of Aditi Bhatt, Malvika Bansod, the men's doubles pair of Dhruv Kapila and MR Arjun, Gayatri Gopichand, Rutuporna Panda, Tanisha Crasto, Tasneem Mir and Theresa Jolly hugely benefitted from the campaign.
Other upcoming shuttlers such as Aman Farogh Sanjay, Revati Devasthale, Priyanshu Rajawat also gave hope to Indian badminton by registering international wins in the year goneby.
Also Read : Kiran and Aakarshi win national ranking titles
News Source : PTI
IWF set to propose 10 weight classes for Paris Olympics, Jeremy's category likely to be axed
New Delhi, Dec 22 (Sports News) Battling to survive as an Olympic sport, weightlifting's world governing body is likely to introduce six new divisions among a total of 10 for the 2024 Paris Games, retaining only four from the Tokyo edition, a move that will see Indian teen sensation Jeremy Lalrinnunga's current category being lopped off the roster.
The proposal needs to be approved by the International Weightlifting Federation's General Council before being sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its nod.
The proposed weight categories for Paris 2024 include five each for males and females. They are 61kg, 73kg, 89kg, 102kg and +102kg for men, and 49kg, 59kg, 71kg, 81kg and +81kg for women.
The ones retained from Tokyo are 49kg and 59kg for women and 61kg and 73kg for men.
The changes, which come a year after the IOC allocated a quota of 120 athletes across all divisions for the Paris Games, highlights the diminishing presence of weightlifting at the sporting extravaganza.
While the 2016 Rio Games had seen participation of 260 athletes across 15 weight categories, the quota was cut came down to 196 in 14 classes in the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year.
"This (10 weight categories) is just a proposal, it well first go to IWF's general body for approval followed by the IOC. Only then will these categories be confirmed," Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) president Sahdev Yadav told PTI.
A final decision is expected by the end of February.
"The next (IWF General Council) meeting date has not been decided yet. Chances are that by January or February it will happen," Yadav said.
Should the proposal be approved, Jeremy, who currently competes in the men's 67kg category will have to either bulk up to 73kg or come down to 61kg.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu, the other Indian lifter in the fray for the Paris Games, remains unaffected as her weight class is proposed to be retained.
Asked how the new categories will impact the Indian camp Yadav said, "This will not affect us, we will take Jeremy to the upper category 73kg. I don’t think it (the decreasing weight categories in the Olympics) will make a difference to weightlifting in India." Reiterating Yadav's comments, national coach Vijay Sharma said the Asian Games next year will be the last event in which Jeremy participates in the 67kg category before moving on to his new weight class.
"This is a good thing for us, we will start preparing for the Olympics after the Asian Games. Up till the Asian Games Jeremy will take part in 67kg till. After that he will move to the 73kg category.
"He will have to work hard to bulk up but we will manage," Sharma said from Patiala.
This will not be the first time Jeremy will have to bulk up.
The 19-year-old lifter from Mizoram had won the the 2018 Youth Olympics gold medal in Buenos Aires in the 62kg category.
He had then moved to 67kg to comply with the new Olympic weight categories the IWF had introduced then.
Recently, Jeremy has consistently been improving his personal best in the 67kg and has already qualified in the 67kg category for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games thanks to his gold medal finish at the Commonwealth Championship in Tashkent earlier this month.
Weightlifting also remains at risk of being removed from the 2028 LA Games programme because of governance issues and a lengthy history of doping problems.
Also Read : Marcell Jacobs to target World Championships after Olympic victory
News Source : PTI
Marcell Jacobs to target World Championships after Olympic victory
(Sports news) The men’s sprinting has seen a lot of new names coming this season. With the domination of Usain Bolt missing, a handful of athletes have been coming out on top every event. Justin Gatlin has not been in form this year and will turn 40 next year as the present top sprinters are a minimum 10 years junior to him. The 2004 Athens Gold medallist failed to qualify for the Olympics this year and will be finding it tough to match his younger competitors in the 2022 season.
Trayvon equalled the 6th fastest time of all time in the 100m two months back at Nairobi. The 26 year old reached the semifinals at Tokyo Olympics but has the fastest time of the season. He has the fastest time in the junior category when he ran 9.97 secs in 2014, Bromell won the Bronze at World championships in Beijing a year later. The Wanda Diamond League winner has a powerful start then picks up the lead in the first 30 meters, he will need to perform well at the major leagues.
The Kenyan sprinter is one of the most built athletes in the 100 meters. He ran the second fastest timing of the season and the 8th fastest in history with a timing of 9.77 secs. Ferdinand has been in the news in the second half of the season and reached the semifinals at Tokyo Olympics. The African record holder got the much wanted experience this year and will be a top competitor for the podium finish in the upcoming season.
Lamont Marcell Jacobs
Jacobs had a good start to the 2021 season as he became the second Italian to run the 100m under 10 secs. On May 13th, Jacobs ran a 9.95 which was the fastest by an Italian and broke the record of Filippo Tortu who had run 9.99 three years back. The Olympic champion lowered the mark thrice at Tokyo and ran the fastest one in the final as it was timed at 9.80 secs. Jacobs took the charge when it mattered and he ran his best under pressure. Even though others had faster timings than him all season, the former long jumper made history on the track at the right time.
The 2021 season saw Kerley become the third athlete in history to run the 100m under 10 secs, 200m under 20 and 400m under 44. He switched to the 100m and 200m this year as he was primarily a 400m athlete. The 2019 Championship saw Kerley winning the bronze in the 400m and this year he took the Silver at Tokyo in the 100m. The 6th fastest athlete this season ran 9.84 secs in the Olympic final to finish ahead of Andre De Grasse. The Diamond league 400m champion three years ago won the 100 this year, Kerley has been shaping himself to be a contender in the 100m and 200m.
Karolina Muchova announces withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Karolina Muchova has become the latest player to announce her non participation in the 2022 Australian Open. The 25 year old last played at the US Open where she was knocked out on the first round by Sara Sorribes Tormo, Muchova had announced on September 30 that her season is over. Muchova then declared yesterday that she won’t be playing in Australia.
"I'm sad to announce that my 2022 season will not start in Australia. I'm doing all I can to get back on the court as soon as I'm able," Muchova wrote on Twitter.
The world number 32 had played 28 matches this year and won 19 of them, she reached the semifinals for the first time at this year’s Australian Open. Muchova defeated Karolina Pliskova in the third round and then went on to defeat Elise Mertens in the next match as both her victories were in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, she upset world number one Ashleigh Barty after losing the first set 1-6 to reach the last four where she lost to Jennifer Brady in three sets.
Muchova entered Roland Garros with a career high ranking of 19 but lost in the third round to Sloane Stephens after which her ranking dropped. The Czech player then reached the Quarter Final stage at Wimbledon beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Paula Badosa on the way. Muchova lost to Angelique Kerber as she could only manage to win five games in the match. She had reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon two years ago where she defeated Anett Kontaveit and Pliskova but lost to Elina Svitolina.
Muchova had suffered from an abdominal injury in August while playing at Cincinnati WTA 1000, she had beaten Johanna Konta in the first match and then beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the third round. She faced Belinda Bencic who won the singles Gold and doubles Silver at Tokyo Olympics, Muchova was trailing 3-5 in the first set when she dug through to make it 5 all. Bencic although won the set and in the second set the pain was too much to handle as Muchova retired midway to end the match.
Muchova has an attacking type of play and comes to the net to finish the points. She does not stay in the baseline as her powerful serve and groundstrokes enable her to take control over rallies against her opponent. Although she has not said when she will be back on tour, Muchova will aim to enter the top ten of the rankings in the 2022 season.
Stefanos Tsitsipas to comeback strong for 2022 season after injury recovery
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas is amongst the next big four in tennis along with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Tsitsipas enjoyed a career best of 55 wins in a season which was one more than his 2019 season although he won 3 titles that year compared to 2 this year.
Tsitsipas started with the year with two victories at the ATP Cup and had one of the best starts to the season by reaching the last four in 7 of the next 11 events. He reached the semifinals of the Australian Open after a 4 hour quarter final battle against Rafael Nadal in one of the best matches at the tournament and had lost to him two years ago in the semifinal. Tsitsipas was a two time defending champion at Marseille but this time made a quarterfinal exit as he was beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Tsitsipas won his first title of the season at Monte Carlo which was his second biggest title after the Nitto ATP Finals win in 2019.
Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona to make it two consecutive finals after his win at Monte Carlo, this time he was beaten by Nadal in three sets as the final went on for 3 and half hours. At Roland Garros, Tsitsipas reached the final for the first after beating Zverev and Medvedev on the way to set up a summit clash with Novak Djokovic. After an hour, Tsitsipas took the first set even saving a set point and went on to win the second set as he inched closer to the title but Djokovic’s mental game was too good to break. The Serbian conceded five games in the next two sets and took the final set 6-4 to win his second title of the year.
Tsitsipas then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets but took revenge by beating him in the third round at Tokyo Olympics and lost the next match to Ugo Humbert. Tsitsipas then beat Humbert at Toronto and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to server Reily Opelka. At Cincinnati, he again reached the semifinals but lost to Zverev after having a 4-1 lead in the third set. In the next 6 events he failed to reach the semifinals as his season came to an end at the Nitto ATP finals where he played one match and withdrew due to an elbow injury.
Tsitsipas reached his third consecutive Grand Slam semi final at Roland Garros this year. The Greek god has a classic one handed backhand like Thiem and is one of the few players to still have it. Tsitsipas showed fearlessness against Djokovic in his debut final but could not hold onto the momentum in the final stages which happens at the big stages. Tsitsipas is currently recovering from the injury and is set to make a comeback at the start of the 2022 season.
Tsitsipas will try to get a good start at the 2022 Australian Open and maybe beat Djokovic at his favorite Slam. Tsitsipas had defeated Roger Federer in the 2019 edition and this year took out Nadal so he can target big this time. Amongst the next gen, Tsitsipas is not the best in terms of court temperament as he had some issues at the US Open where had taken too much time for toilet breaks and it did not go well with Andy Murray. Tsitsipas is only 23 and winning big titles at the expense of a few racquets has been occurring for decades now.
Srikanth will need to curb his errors to be more consistent in busy 2022: Gopichand
New Delhi, Dec 21 (Badminton News) Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand has lauded Kidambi Srikanth for winning a historic silver medal at the world championships but said he will need to cut down on his errors in order to remain consistent through a busy 2022.
The 28-year-old from Guntur, a former world number one, on Sunday became the first Indian man to claim a silver medal at the prestigious tournament.
In the summit clash, Srikanth, currently ranked 14th, blew leads of 9-3 and 18-16 in the two games against Loh Kean Yew to see the coveted title slip out of his grasp.
"Srikanth's game got sharper and sharper as the tournament went by. He was lacking in confidence when he started playing this year but some performances against players such as Lee Zii Jia and Kento Momota gave him some confidence," Gopichand told PTI.
"He got his form in time but he will need to curb his errors to be more consistent as he prepares for the big year ahead where there will big ticket events like the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games." Srikanth will be defending his men's singles title at the Commonwealth Games and is expected to play a big role as India look to retain the mixed team gold at Birmingham.
He had a stellar run in 2017, securing four super series titles in five finals. It was a rare feat achieved only by the likes of Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Chen Long in a calender year.
However, the year ended with Srikanth suffering a knee injury during the French Open in November, and he aggravated it at the national championships.
The Andhra Pradesh-born shuttler managed to claim the coveted Commonwealth Games gold at Gold Coast in 2018 and also remained world number one for a week in April, but then came the slide.
The knee injury and other niggles, especially related to his ankle, affected his performance and he eventually missed out on the Tokyo Olympics after three qualifiers were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With back to back tournaments, sometimes it becomes difficult for a player to recover from an injury. Srikanth was troubled by his injuries as he rushed himself back from it with the Olympic qualification at stake," Gopichand, the 2001 All England champion, said.
"But it is good to see him sustain long three-game matches in Spain and he has been also playing continuously right from the Sudirman Cup, so it is a good sign." India had three players in the men's singles quarterfinals, with HS Prannoy and Lakshya Sen also entering the last eight, apart from Srikanth.
While Lakshya lost to Srikanth to sign off with a maiden bronze in his first attempt, former top 10 player Prannoy's fine run came to an end at the quarterfinals after he lost to eventual champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore.
Gopichand said the fine performance of the Indian men's singles players augurs well for the team ahead of a hectic 2022.
"It is good to see three shuttlers reaching the quarterfinals. While Srikanth reached the finals, I think Lakshya also did very well and Prannoy also put up a good performance at the tournament. Praneeth played well in patches, Sameer is also looking good.
"It is good to be on the bright side ahead of an important season ahead," he signed off.
Also Read : Sindhu appointed BWF's Athletes’ Commission member
News Source : PTI
Srihari Nataraj makes it a hat-trick of records at World Championships
Abu Dhabi, Dec 20 (Swimming News) Star Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj continued his record-breaking spree at the FINA short course World Championships here on Monday, registering his third 'Best Indian time' in the tournament.
The 20-year-old clocked 48.65s in the men's 100m freestyle event to better Sajan Prakash's best Indian performance. However, the timing wasn't enough to take the Bengaluru swimmer to the semifinals as he finished 38th in the overall heats and only the top 16 swimmers move forward.
Nataraj, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics after becoming the second Indian swimmer after Prakash to breach the 'A' qualifying time for the Olympics, had lodged 'Best Indian times' in the 50m and 100m backstroke events last week.
Delhi's Kushagra Rawat clocked 15:07.86s in the men's 1500m freestyle to finish 21st in the overall heats.
The timings clocked and records in this meet, which is being contested in a 25m swimming pool, are different from the more traditional long course ones.
A short course meet is contested in 25-metre pools, while the 50-metres pools are called long courses.
In swimming, a timing is considered a national record when it has been achieved at the National Aquatic Championships.
Hence, the timings clocked in other meets are called the 'Best Indian time'.
Also Read : Srihari Nataraj registers Best Indian performance in swimming World C’ships
News Source : PTI
Emma Raducanu crowned Sports Personality of the Year 2021
(Football news) British tennis star Emma Raducanu has been named BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2021 after becoming the first qualifier to win the Grand Slam at the US Open. Having started the year ranked 343, Raducanu ends 2021 with a 19th rank in what has undoubtedly been a meteoric rise for the 19 year old. She beat diver Tom Daley who finished second and Adam Peaty, who came third for the coveted prize.
Speaking to the BBC, Raducanu said “It's such an honour just to be among these nominees - to win it is pretty amazing. I watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up, so I'm really humbled to join the amazing past winners - I'm also really happy for British tennis that we managed to get this award again. All the support I've received this past year has been absolutely insane, and the energy I felt at Wimbledon this year playing in front of my home crowd is something I've never felt before."
The other three individuals shortlisted for the award were Tyson Fury, Raheem Sterling and Dame Sarah Storey while Sir Lewis Hamilton, who was knighted by Prince Charles last week was omitted from the award. The Team of the Year award was given to England for reaching the Euro 2020 finals while manager Gareth Southgate received the Coach of the Year award. Speaking to the BBC, Southgate said “Managing in football now is a very complex business. I'm fortunate to work with good people that make it easier for me."
The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to four-time Olympic gymnast champion Simone Biles. The 24 year old was forced to withdraw from five finals at the Tokyo Olympics due to mental health issues but secured a bronze on the balance beam and silver in the women’s team event. Jennifer Beattie, footballer for Scotland and Arsenal Women, won the Helen Rollason Award for raising awareness of breast cancer, having been diagnosed with the illness at the age of 29 in October 2020.
The Young Sports Personality of the Year Award was given to skateboarder Sky Brown, the 13 year old became Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist in Tokyo this year, winning the bronze at the women’s park event. She was given the award ahead of the likes of England and Borussia Dortmund footballer Judge Bellingham and 17-year-old Ellie Challis who became England’s youngest ever Paralympian medal winner after winning silver at the S3 women's 50 metres backstroke event in August.
The World’s Sports Star of the Year award went to Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore who became the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham followed by a victory at the Grand National, thereby becoming not just the first woman to finish in the top four but also winning it. The Unsung Hero Award went to Sam Barlow who created a support group following the death of her husband in 2020 for people who were grieving and experiencing isolation. She has been offering sport and athletic sessions to children from deprived areas.
Mane wins TATA Steel Tour Championship to emerge PGTI Order of Merit champion
Jamshedpur, Dec 19 (Golf News) Olympian Udayan Mane held his nerve and carded a three-under 69 in the last round to win the PGTI's season-ending TATA Steel Tour Championship by a narrow one-shot margin here on Sunday.
The win also helped him bag the PGTI Order of Merit title for the 2020-21 season.
Mane (68-66-67-69) made six birdies, a bogey and a double-bogey on the final day to end up with a tournament tally of 18-under 270 at the season's showpiece event worth Rs. 1.5 crore in prize money which was played across the Beldih and Golmuri Golf Courses.
The six-foot four-inch tall Pune-based golfer, who made a 12-feet pressure putt for victory on the last hole, made it a year to remember as he followed up his Tokyo Olympics appearance with the bragging rights of being No. 1 in PGTI's money list with season's earnings of Rs. 58,72,275.
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid Khan (70-72-66-63) matched the tournament's lowest round of nine-under 63 on the last day to climb 10 spots and finish runner-up at 17-under 271.
Rashid, who made an eagle and seven birdies in round four, gave himself an opportunity to have a shot at the title and was even staring at a record fourth PGTI Order of Merit crown as his playoff with Mane was looking possible at one stage.
Mane, the overnight joint leader along with Shubhankar Sharma, seized the early initiative with birdies on the second, third and fourth, making two-putts on the two par-5s on that stretch. He made double-bogey on the eighth but soon recovered with birdies on the 11th and 13th where he sank 10-feet putts.
Mane emerged the outright favourite after his terrific up and down birdie from the bunker on the 16th gave him a two-shot cushion at the top.
A bogey on the 17th and an erratic drive on the 18th gave him some anxious moments as clubhouse leader Rashid was just one shot behind at that stage.
However, Mane produced a good approach shot and an ice-cool 12-feet par conversion on the 18th to seal his 12th title on the PGTI.
Mane, who collected the winner's purse worth Rs. 22,50,000, thus zoomed from third to first position in the PGTI Order of Merit as he leapfrogged Karandeep Kochhar and Chikkarangappa in the merit list based on season's earnings.
Mane won an impressive four titles during the 2020-21 season and posted four other top-10s as well.
"I just like the courses here in Jamshedpur. That's the reason I've won here twice. It's a good test for the professionals to adapt from one course to another in the middle of the round.
"Winning the PGTI Order of Merit title is great for my confidence as I will head to the Asian Tour soon. I'd now like to carry this form to Asia," added Mane, who now wins a four-year exemption on the PGTI as a result of emerging Order of Merit champion.
Rashid, lying tied 30th after his first two rounds of 70 and 72, made a brilliant rearguard action with scores of 66 and 63 in the last two rounds to make a strong comeback in the tournament.
He added three more birdies on the back-nine during his flawless final round. As a result of his runner-up finish, Rashid jumped from ninth to fourth place in the PGTI's final money list.
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar shot a final round of 72 to take tied fourth place at 15-under 273 along with four-time European Tour winner SSP Chawrasia (70).
Shubhankar's challenge faded away on the back-nine where he conceded three bogeys and a double-bogey in exchange for two birdies.
SSP's nephew Sunit Chowrasia (69) finished tied sixth at 14-under 274 along with nine-time Asian Tour winner Gaganjeet Bhullar (71).
Karandeep Kochhar, a winner of two events this season, finished tied 23rd at six-under 282 at the season finale. He took second place in the PGTI's money list with season's earnings of Rs. 51,00,880.
Chikkarangappa claimed tied 12th place with a total of 10-under 278. A two-time winner in the season, he thus finished third in the Order of Merit with season’s earnings of Rs. 48,07,880.
Indian golf legend Jyoti Randhawa finished tied 44th at one-under 287.
Kartik Sharma of Gurugram won the PGTI Emerging Player of the Year title with season's earnings of Rs. 18,22,750, the highest among the rookies.
Also Read : Shubhankar's stunning 63 takes him into joint lead, Udayan too rises
News Source : PTI
Semifinal spot assured, India to clash with Japan in ACT hockey
Dhaka, Dec 18 (Hockey News) Assured of a place in the semifinals, defending champions India would look to continue their winning run when they clash with Japan in their final round robin match of the Asian Champions Trophy men's hockey tournament, here on Sunday.
After a slow start to the tournament, Olympic bronze-medallist India roared back into the five-team tournament with two consecutive wins.
Playing their first tournament after a historic Olympic campaign, India were held to a 2-2 draw by Korea in their opener. However the players lifted their games by leaps and bounds to trounce hosts Bangladesh 9-0 and then got the better of arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 on Friday.
India are currently leading the standings with seven points from three games ahead of Korea (5), Japan (2) and Pakistan (1).
Hosts Bangladesh are yet to register their presence in the scoresheet having lost both their games so far.
Coming into the tournament as clear favourites, the Indians were by far the better side among all other teams, simply on the basis of form and world standings.
Having said that, India were slow to get off the blocks as they squandered a two-goal advantage to be held by Korea.
The match against Korea was a sort of wake-up call for the Indians. They looked completely different against Bangladesh, dominating the entire 70 minute contest with their superior display.
The match against neighbours Pakistan was expected to be a close match and it turned out to be so, albeit in the final two quarters.
India were in complete control of the proceedings in the first two quarters as took the lead as early as in the eighth minute before doubling their lead in the 42nd minute.
India's dominance can be gauged from the fact that Pakistan failed to secure a single shot on the goal in the first two quarters, leave aside earning penalty corners.
The encounter spiced up after the change of ends as Pakistan came out with more purpose and gave India a run for their money in the final 15 minutes.
But the Indians did not allow the Pakistanis any inroads as a superior defensive and attacking display helped them to come out on top.
The Indian forward-line has been in impressive form with the likes of Lalit Upadhaya, Akashdeep Singh and Dilpreet Singh on song.
The midfield has been held together by skipper Manpreet Singh while the responsibility of the backline rests on the shoulders of vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh.
In fact, young India custodian Suraj Karkera produced a superb display under the goalpost and denied Pakistan on multiple occasions to keep his ahead on Friday.
Going by the outcome of recent meetings, India have an edge over Japan having defeated them 5-3 in their last meeting at the Tokyo Olympics.
But records and rankings hardly matter in international hockey as a bad day in office can always spoil all the past hardwork.
Also Read : Harmanpreet double strike hands India 3-1 win over Pakistan in ACT hockey
News Source : PTI
Harmanpreet double strike hands India 3-1 win over Pakistan in ACT hockey
Dhaka, Dec 17 (Hockey News) Vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace as Olympic bronze medallist India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 to register their second consecutive win and virtually qualify for the semifinals of the Asian Champions Trophy men's hockey tournament here on Friday.
Harmanpreet (8th, 53rd minutes) converted two penalty corners, while comeback man Akashdeep Singh, who missed a berth in the Tokyo Olympics squad, found the net from a field effort in the 42nd minute for his second of the tournament.
Pakistan's lone goal was scored by Junaid Manzoor in the 45th minute.
It was India's second win in the tournament after their 9-0 drubbing of hosts Bangladesh, while Pakistan are still winless, having drawn goal-less against Japan in their opening match.
India had earlier drawn 2-2 against Korea in their tournament opener.
India are currently leading the points table with seven points from three games and will take on Japan in their last round-robin match of the five-team tournament on Sunday.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have just one point from two games.
India and Pakistan were the joint winners in the last edition of the tournament in Muscat after the final was washed out.
Also Read : Haryana beat MP 5-1 to enter men's Hockey Nationals' quarterfinal
News Source : PTI
Alexander Zverev 6 titles this season paves way for big targets in 2022
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev has been a regular in the top ten rankings of the ATP for the past four years. The 24 year old has been winning at least one title since 2016, his breakthrough year was 2017 where he won 5 titles including two Masters 1000 events. In 2018, he kept on winning as he picked up 4 titles and his biggest title which was the Nitto ATP Finals.
Zverev won 6 titles this year, the most by a player on ATP this season. He won two Masters 1000 titles, gold at Tokyo Olympics and also finished with a second title at the year end championships. Zverev also picked up 300th career win this season at Vienna in October and finished with 59 victories, one less than his personal best of 60 wins in 2018.
The right hander is one of the most promising next gen players. He stopped Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics which denied the Serbian the elusive gold and also defeated Djokovic again at the semifinals of the year end championship. Zverev is a baseliner who has a steady backhand and a powerful serve which is a hard to combat mixture in hard courts. Zverev has won titles in clay and hard courts with only grass remaining in his bucket list.
Zverev reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time last year at the Australian Open and reached the finals of the US Open. This year he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open. He has been struggling in grass courts since beginning, at Wimbledon he has not progressed beyond the fourth round.
Zverev can target the grass courts next year as he has accomplished himself as a top player to beat in clay and hard courts. With his defense and control on court, he can land titles at grass too. Zverev has two runner up finishes at Halle and beat Roger Federer in the semifinals five years back. He will also look to win his first Grand Slam title in the 2022 season as he has been reaching the last four stages continuously over the past two years, the last German to win a Grand Slam in the ATP tour was Michael Stich at WImbledon in 1991.
Zverev will begin his quest at the 2022 Australian Open, he will look to follow Boris Becker as he has won the most Grand Slams for a German player on the ATP tour. Steffi Graff had won 22 Grand Slams which is the most by a German player and Angelique Kerber was the last German to win a Grand Slam in 2018 again at Wimbledon. History has been kind to Germany in grass and it might change Zverev’s fortune next season.
India's Hansini Mathan Rajan beats Tokyo Olympics' youngest athlete to win ITTF title
New Delhi, Dec 17 (Table Tennis News) India's Hansini Mathan Rajan defeated Syria's Hend Zaza, the youngest athlete of this year's Tokyo Olympics, to win the girls singles event at the 2021 ITTF Hopes and Challenge table tennis tournament in Amman.
Playing in the U-12 category, the reigning cadet national champion outplayed Zaza 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6 in the final played on December 14.
Parth Prabhakar was India's entry in the boys singles event which was won by Iran's Komeil Niknejad Divshali.
Hansini, who has stayed back in Amman for the camp organised by the Asian Table Tennis Union, said the final was her toughest match of the competition.
"I knew my opponent had gone to the Olympics earlier this year but I didn't think about that while playing her. There was no pressure and I just played my game," said the 12-year-old who considers her backhand the strongest aspect of her game.
During the tournament, she was accompanied by her mother and coach Mamta Prabhu, who is also a former India player.
The Chennai-based Hansini had also secured her second ITTF World Youth Series title with a win the U-13 girls category in Muscat in October. She had won her maiden Youth Series title in Tunisia in September She is coached by India great Sharath Kamal's father Shriniwas Rao and uncle Muralidhar Rao.
"Ever since she started playing the game as a seven year old, she has looked up to Sharath Kamal," said her mother Pratibha referring to India's finest ever paddler.
After the camp in Amman, Hansini will be returning to India to play national level events.
Also Read : TT veteran Sharath Kamal undergoes procedure to treat heel issue
News Source : PTI
Chopra's gold an opportunity to broaden athletics footprints in India: Coe
New Delhi, Dec 15 (Sports News) World Athletics President Sebastian Coe on Wednesday said India must grab the opportunity provided by Neeraj Chopra's historic gold medal in Tokyo Olympics and broaden athletics' footprint in the country by holding more international events.
Terming India's first Olympic gold in athletics "as a hugely important moment", Coe advised the country to use it in raising the profile of the sport.
"Chopra is a very strong element (in India's athletics profile). A one-off performance from an athlete, how important it is, is not that powerful if you don't have a strong federation behind it. And you have that now," Coe said during a virtual interaction with select Asian media.
"(It is) the opportunity to use that performance to broaden the footprints for athletics," he added.
"Regarding the staging of more athletics events, India is forthcoming in wanting to do that. I don't know the current thinking of the Indian government but I genuinely think that one day India will host the Olympics." Coe, a double Olympic gold medallist in 1500m (1980 and 1984), also said that the impact of Chopra's gold will go beyond India and reach many countries of the world.
"To have done the way he did at the biggest global stage, it will have impact not only in India and Asia but also broadly around the world.
"I know only too well that there are Indian communities in all our big urban populations around the world. So that went far and wide and help in engaging communities in US, Britain and large parts of Europe and Africa wanting to be part of our sport too.
"The transmission mechanism, as they would say in economics, was a very powerful one." Javelin thrower Chopra won India's first athletics medal in the Olympics with an effort of 87.85m in Tokyo on August 7. He also became only the second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win an individual gold in Olympics.
Also Read : Ashwal Rai, Karthik A and Vinith top picks in the PVL auction
News Source : PTI
India trounce Bangladesh 9-0 in ACT hockey; courtesy Dilpreet's hat-trick, Jarmanpreet's brace
Dhaka, Dec 15 (Hockey News) Striker Dilpreet Singh struck a hat-trick as defending champions and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist India thrashed hosts Bangladesh 9-0 to register their first win in the Asian Champions Trophy men's hockey tournament here on Wednesday.
Dilpreet (12th, 22nd and 45th) scored three field goals for India, while Jarmanpreet Singh (33rd, 43rd) struck a brace from penalty corners situations.
In between Lalit Upadhayay (28th) deflected in a variation from vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh's flick from a penalty corner. Akashdeep Singh (54th) also found the net from a field effort before Mandeep Mor scored his debut goal for the country from a set piece in the 55th minute.
If that was not enough, Harmanpreet also put his name on the score-sheet, perfectly converting India's 13th penalty corner in the 57th minute.
Playing their first tournament with some new players after the historic Tokyo Olympics campaign, the Manpreet Singh-led India had earlier drawn 2-2 against Korea in their tournament opener on Tuesday.
India will next play arch-rivals Pakistan in the round-robin stage here on Friday.
Held to a draw by Korea in their lung-opener, the Indians came out with purpose against lowly Bangladesh and controlled the proceedings in the entire first two quarters.
From the onset, India attacked constantly and in the process secured as many as eight penalty corners but could make use of just one.
Bangladesh played the waiting game and defended well with their goalkeeper Abu Nippon shinning bright in set piece situations.
Bangladesh's stout defending could be gauged from the fact that India secured as many as eight penalty corners in the first 12 minutes but the Olympic bronze-medallists failed to breach the opponent's backline.
Seconds later, Dilpreet finally gave India the lead with a field strike after receiving a pass from skipper Manpreet from outside the circle.
The second quarter continued in the same vein and India doubled their lead courtesy a defensive lapse from Bangladesh.
Bangladesh skipper Ashraful Islam was at fault as his wayward pass inside their own circle resulted in a free hit for India and Sumit Walmiki was quick to spot an unmarked Dilpreet inside the circle. The alert striker beautifully received the ball and slammed it into the far post with a reverse hit.
In the 28th minute, India tripled their lead when Lalit deflected in Harmanpreet's variation from a penalty corner.
India extended their lead minutes after the change of ends when Jarmanpreet scored from a penalty corner.
Jarmanpreet was bang on target from another penalty corner variation in the 43rd minute before Dilpreet scored his third goal of the day two minutes later.
The match was a completely one-sided affair as India mounted attacks after attacks on the Bangladesh goal.
Back into the team after being ignored from the Tokyo Olympics squad, Akashdeep answered his critics with a beautiful reverse hit field strike in the 54th minute.
A minute later, Mandeep scored his first goal for the country and Harmanpreet rounded off the tally for India in the 57th minute by converting a penalty corner.
Also Read : Korea hold India to 2-2 draw in men's Asian Champions Trophy hockey
News Source : PTI
SJFI to honour Gavaskar with medal
Mumbai, Dec 14 (Sports News) The Sports Journalists' Federation of India (SJFI) on Tuesday decided to confer the prestigious 'SJFI Medal' to legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.
The body took the decision at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Guwahati.
Neeraj Chopra, who won India's lone gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, was adjudged the SJFI Sportsman of the Year while weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who won a silver at the quadrennial extravaganza, was voted as the Sportswoman of the Year, according to a media statement.
The Indian men's team that won the hockey bronze in Tokyo - its first hockey medal in 40 years - was declared the Team of the Year.
Sumit Antil and Pramod Bhagat, the stars of India's Paralympics campaign, will share the Para-athlete of the Year in men's category while shooter Avani Lekhra will receive the Para-athlete of the Year woman award.
The AGM also elected A Vinod (Kerala) as the new SJFI President, Prashant Keni (Mumbai) as the Secretary and Vidyut Kalita (Assam) as the Treasurer.
The other Executive Committee members are: Vice Presidents: Devendra Pandey (Mumbai), Vikas Pandey (Indore), Sambit Mohapatra (Odisha) and Saraju Chakraborty (Tripura).
Joint Secretary: Amitabha Das Sharma (Kolkata) EC Members: Amol Karhadkar (Mumbai), C Santhosh Kumar (Tamil Nadu), Suprabhat Debnath (Tripura), Partha Chakraborty (Assam), Sushin Ghosh (Assam), Nilesh Deshpande (Nagpur), Tushar Trivedi (Gujarat).
Also Read : AICF announces Indian Chess League in June next year
News Source : PTI
Korea hold India to 2-2 draw in men's Asian Champions Trophy hockey
Dhaka, Dec 14 (Hockey News) Defending champions and Olympic bronze-medallists India were held to a 2-2 draw by a fighting Korea in their opening match of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy men's hockey tournament here on Tuesday.
Playing their first tournament after the historic Tokyo Olympics campaign, India started brightly and scored in the fourth minute through Lalit Upadhyay before vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner in the 18th minute to double their lead.
Trailing 0-2, Korea fought back after the change of ends and scored through Jonghyun Jang in the 41st minute and Sunghyun Kim in the 46th minute to stun the favourites and draw level.
Korea grew in confidence as the match progressed and pressed the Indian defence hard.
The Manpreet Singh-led side also had numerous chances, including penalty corners, but failed to utilise the opportunities as the match ended in a stalemate.
Jaehyeon Kim in front of the Korea goal was the difference between the two sides as he produced numerous brilliant saves to help his side steal a point from the game.
The last encounter between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw in the last edition of the tournament.
India will next play hosts Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Also Read : Hockey: New cycle starts as Indian men take on Korea in Asian Champions Trophy
News Source : PTI
TT veteran Sharath Kamal undergoes procedure to treat heel issue
New Delhi, Dec 13 (Table Tennis News) India's veteran table tennis star A Sharath Kamal has undergone a medical procedure to treat his "severe heel pain".
The 39-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist paddler tweeted alongside a picture of him on a hospital bed.
"Was experiencing severe heel pain since 8 months, that got worse in the last 3 months. Good to get treatment post #WorldChampionships now, with preparations starting soon for #CommonwealthGames, and #AsianGames in the coming year!" Sharath tweeted.
"(I) just have some calcium deposit due to wear and tear.. so had to do a small procedure.. need 3 days complete rest," he told PTI.
With multiple medals at top international tournaments, Sharath remains one of the country's finest players in his sport. His prowess was also in full display during his match against the mighty Ma Long in the men's singles round of 32 match at the Tokyo Olympics.
He has nine national titles under his belt, and he made history by winning India's first table tennis gold at the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne in 2006.
The Asian Games and CWG are slated for next year in Hangzhou, China, and Birmingham respectively.
Also Read : Payas, Suhana to return home with bronze from the Worlds Youth Table Tennis
News Source : PTI
Ryan Crouser’s aiming to continue unbeaten run in 2022, Joe Kovacs still pursuing Olympic glory
(Sports news) Ryan Crouser was one of the nominees for the athlete of the year award as he set new benchmarks in the shot put event. The 28 year old has the top three throws in the history of the event and all of them have come this year. He became the third athlete ever and the first one in 30 years to cross the 23 metre mark. Crouser broke the record of fellow American Randy Barnes who threw 23.12m in 1990, Barnes was the second athlete to achieve the 23m mark. Ulf Timmermann was the first to record a throw above 23m as he did it in 1988 and Barnes erased the record two years later.
Crouser has the 7 top throws of this year and all of them are above 22.80m with 4 of them above the 23m mark. He first crossed the 23 mark in may this year with a throw of 23.01m and went on to break the world record with a throw of 23.37m. Crouser surpassed Barnes and Timmermann becoming the first to do so and he did it twice this year. The second best after Crouser is Barnes' record of 23.12m and the huge difference in them puts Crouser in a league of his own.
Crouser won the gold in 2016 Rio Olympics and in this year’s Tokyo Olympics. He set the Olympic record in 2016 and then broke his own record this year. In the past two Olympics, the medallists have been the same as Joe Kovacs and Tom Walsh repeated what they did at Rio at Tokyo this year. Joe Kovacs was expected to break the 23m barrier this year as he had thrown 22.91 two years which was the first instance since 1990 that an athlete had thrown above the 22.90 mark. But this year it was all Ryan Crouser and it has been for the past two years as he now has a huge lead over Joe and Tom.
Joe Kovacs will need to put up a once in a lifetime performance to better Crouser’s record as he is the only one who can do it. Kovacs will be 34 at the Paris Olympics as an Olympic gold is still pending in his career, Crouser will turn 29 on december 18th and can target 23.50 metre in the 2022 season as he can go further away from his competitors. Crouser has carved his name in all time greats with his performances this year, the way he won events and his dominance in the sport proves he is a tough one to crack.
Hockey: New cycle starts as Indian men take on Korea in Asian Champions Trophy
Dhaka, Dec 13 (Hockey News) Olympic bronze medallist Indian men's hockey team will start its new cycle with a bunch of youngsters aiming to prove their mettle when it begins its Asian Champions Trophy campaign against Korea here on Tuesday.
India have won this prestigious event thrice since its inception in 2011 and have won the previous two editions held in 2016 in Kuantan, Malaysia and 2018 in Muscat, Oman.
India will play their opening match against Korea on December 14, followed by their match against hosts Bangladesh on the next day (December 15).
Their third match will be against arch rivals Pakistan on December 17 and on December 19, they take on Asian Games Champions Japan. The semi-finals and final will be held on December 21 and 22 respectively.
Skipper Manpreet Singh emphasised on getting off to a good start.
"Korea is a good team and are very capable of slowing down our attack. In this same venue during the Asia Cup in 2017, we had drawn (1-1) against them in the league stage. Hence, it's important we don't get complacent against them and ensure our basics are right when we play them tomorrow," he said.
Speaking about the importance of the tournament, Manpreet said, "The tournament is quite an important one for us as it is our first tournament after the Tokyo Olympics. The new cycle has started for us. If we start well, then our confidence levels will go high," he said.
Several youngsters have been given a chance in the India squad for the tournament, and Manpreet went on to explain why doing well for them here will be crucial.
"Youngsters have been given a chance to be a part of the squad because some of them were unable to get a chance over the past two years as the focus was on the core team preparing for the Olympics. The youngsters have been working hard for quite a while, and hence, they have been given a chance to prove themselves," he added.
Speaking on the team's fitness levels before the start of the tournament, the Indian skipper said: "We are in pretty good shape. We focused a lot on our fitness at the recent camp in Bhubaneswar.
"We are looking forward to see how the other Asian teams have shaped up over these past two years. The tournament will be a good test for our squad," he signed off.
In the previous edition of this event held in Muscat, India had jointly lifted the title along with Pakistan as the final was called off due to incessant rains.
Also Read : Sr National Hockey C'ship: Maharashtra, Jharkhand win
News Source : PTI
Indian rowers win one gold, 3 silvers on final day of Asian Rowing Championship
Ban Chang (Thailand), Dec 12 (Sports News) Senior rower Arvind Singh bagged a gold in the lightweight men's single sculls event while his compatriots won three silver medals as India signed off from the Asian Rowing Championship on a high note here on Sunday. Arvind leapfrogged his opponents with a timing of 7:55.942s.
Arvind, who finished 11th at the Tokyo Olympics along with Arjun Lal Jat in the men's lightweight double sculls, beat his rivals from Uzbekistan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. India drew curtains on the championship with three more silver medals -- in the men's lightweight double sculls, men's quadruple sculls and in men's coxless four events.
Overall, India ended returned from the continental event with two gold and four silver medals.
In lightweight men's double sculls, Ashish Phugat and Sukhjinder Singh won a silver with a timing of 7:12.568s, while in the men's quadruple sculls, Bittu Singh, Jakar Khan, Manjeet Kumar and Sukhmeet Singh finished second in a photo-finish clocking, 6:33:661s, losing the gold by 0.523 seconds.
Jasveer Singh, Punit Kumar, Gurmeet Singh and Charanjeet Singh clinched the other silver with a timing of 6:51.661s in men's coxless fours final.
"Overall, another good performance by India. Congratulations and best wishes to all the rowers, coaches, support staff and backend administrators, who managed the team all these months," secretary general of Rowing Federation of India MV Sriram said in a statement.
"A special mention to Ismail Baig, who consistently, year on year, turns out sterling results for India.
Also Read : Asian Rowing C'ship: Arjun Lal-Ravi pair wins gold, Parminder Singh bags silver
News Source : PTI
Yuriy Sedykh's hammer throw record still seems too far after 35 years and counting
(Sports news) In track and field sports there are many records which have stood for long, but there are a few records which remain unbroken and there is little progression even after decades. Mike Powell’s long jump record still seems impossible now and Yuriy Sedykh’s hammer throw record which is one of the longest standing records in track and field. Yuriy was representing the Soviet Union at that time and competed for 19 years at the international level.
Yuriy Sedykh’s record was set on 30th August, 1986 at Neckarstadion in Germany. He threw the hammer at a distance of 86.74 meters and as of now nobody has crossed 86.50 metres. Yuriv’s name appears 10 times inside the top 20 throws of all time, such was his dominance at the sport. Only one man could come a bit near his record was fellow countryman Sergey Litvinov who is the only other man to throw above 86 metres. Sergey’s gold winning effort of 84.80m at the 1988 Seoul Olympics is still the Olympic record, he also won silver at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Yuriy won the gold in 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1980 Olympics. He and Sergey couldn't compete at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as the Soviet Union had boycotted the event, in the 1988 Olympics the silver was taken by Yuriv which was his third and final medal. The top 13 thirteen throws in history consist of Yuriv and Sergey, in fact the best throw in the last decade is 83.93m by Pawel Fajdek which is 44th overall according to the official records in https://worldathletics.org/. The last 85 metre plus throw came in 1988 by Yuriv and the last 84 metre plus throw was in 2008 by Ivan Tikhon.
At this year’s Tokyo Olympics, the gold winning effort by Wojciech Nowicki was 82.52m and this year’s best throw is 83.93m by Pawel Fajdek. Fajdek is the only person in the last decade to cross 82 metres when he threw 83.93m in 2015, he won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
Yuriv is indeed one of the greatest hammer athletes of all time and his records still stands without any competition is a testimonial to that. He did it in 1986 and now in 2021 athletes are far behind him which does not happen very often in any event. Even 3 decades have gone through but it looks tougher as each year passess through. Yuriv passed away this year on September 14 as he left behind a legacy which will always shine bright and keep inspiring upcoming athletes as it has been doing for the past few generations.
Going to be hard to fill Sreejesh's shoes: Karkera
New Delhi, Dec 11 (Hockey news) Suraj Karkera, who has been picked in India's Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament squad in place of the rested P R Sreejesh, says it will be hard to fill the seasoned goalkeeper's shoes.
The 26-year-old Karkera last played for India at the Tokyo Olympics test event in 2019.
"I am really excited to get a chance to play for India after a long time. Anytime you get a chance to don the Indian jersey, you feel the goosebumps. I am not nervous at all as we have trained well. I feel confident about myself and my abilities," Karkera said ahead of the event in Dhaka.
Karkera will have big shoes to fill with veteran goalie Sreejesh being rested from the tournament.
"PR Sreejesh has done so much for India for so many years. It is always going to be hard to fill his shoes. But I will try to give my 100 percent whenever I get an opportunity," Karkera said.
"We have been learning from him for so long. He shares his knowledge with all of us during goalpost training and gives us a lot of tips. So, I have a big responsibility," he added.
Apart from vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh and experienced player Varun Kumar, India have also included young players like Jarmanpreet Singh, Dipsan Tirkey, Nilam Sanjeep Xess and Mandeep Mor in the squad.
This will be India's first competition since the Tokyo Olympics. Three-time champions India will begin their campaign in the tournament on December 14 against Korea.
Also Read : ACT will be great platform for fringe players: Hockey captain Manpreet Singh
News Source : PTI
ICC still not losing hope of featuring in 2028 Olympics as 'additional sport'
New Delhi, Dec 11 (Cricket news) The ICC is not losing hope of cricket being among "additional sports" to be played at the 2028 Los Angeles Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) started the process of identifying the core sports for the grand sporting spectacle.
The IOC on Thursday named 28 sports in the "initial programme" for the 2028 Olympics with skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing finding places in them. Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon were excluded and the respective international federations have been given time until 2023 to meet certain criteria to secure their spot at the 2028 Games.
The list would be put to vote in the IOC Session in Beijing in February next year for approval, which is likely to be a formality.
Host City Los Angeles can also propose additional sports in 2023 to be included in the 2028 Games and the ICC is hoping that cricket is among sports to get the nod of the IOC.
Baseball, softball and a version of American football could be in the running to bid for additional sports in 2028 Olympics. "The process to pick additional sports by the host city starts next year (2023) and we are hoping cricket to be a part of that," an ICC Board member, who is privy to the process, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
"We know it will be tough (for cricket to be included as an additional sport). There are no guarantees and we are up against some other great sports to try and get a spot in the 2028 LA Games." In August, the ICC had expressed its intention to bid for cricket's inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, which also had the backing from the world's richest board BCCI.
The ICC has also formed an Olympic Working Group which will work on making the game part of the Olympics starting from 2028.
“Our sport is united behind this bid, and we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future. We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90 percent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics," ICC chairman Greg Barclay had said then.
In 2024, the IOC will decide on the additional sports proposed by the LA Games organisers. Following Tokyo and Paris (2024), Los Angeles Olympics will be third host which will propose additional sports in its programme.
Six new sports -- baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing -- featured at the Tokyo Olympics as additional sports. Surfing and break-dancing will be among additional sports in the 2024 Paris Games.
Host cities were allowed to proposed additional sports as part of he IOC's “Agenda 2020” reforms with an aim to help host countries’ most played sports gain exposure via the Olympics.
Till 2016, there was a cap of 28 sports in Olympic programme but it was dropped by the IOC in a 2014 decision. Now, each summer Olympics will be restricted to 10,500 athletes and 310 events.
The IOC has a list of main sports which were almost always present at the Olympics.
Also Read : Cricket, 3 other Olympic sports excluded from provisional list of 2028 Los Angeles Games
News Source : PTI
Jeremy wins gold at Commonwealth Championships
Tashkent, Dec 10 (Sports news) India's teenage weightlifting sensation Jeremy Lalrinnunga could not breach his personal best mark but the effort of 305kg was enough to win the gold medal in the men's 67kg category even as Achinta Sheuli became the 73kg champion at the Commonwealth Championships, here on Friday.
Lalrinnunga, the 2018 Youth Olympics gold medallist, finished with a best effort of 305kg (141kg+164kg) in the men's 67kg event. His personal best stands at 306kg (140kg+166kg) which came in 2019.
Meanwhile, Sheuli claimed the top place on the podium with an effort of 316kg (143 + 173) in the 73kg category. He had won a silver in Junior World Championships in May.
The 19-year-old Lalrinnunga also created a national record in the snatch event enroute his podium finish but was unable to do the same in the clean and jerk section where he failed to lift 168kg.
In the World Championships which are being held simultaneously with the Commonwealth Championship, the Mizo teenager was placed fourth in snatch and seventh overall.
Jeremy had suffered a knee injury in April during the Asian Championships here.
He had finished fourth at the Junior World Championship in May but was unable to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships also serve as qualifying event of the 2022 Commonwealth Gamez in Birmingham.
The gold medalists in each weight category in the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships directly qualify for the 2022 CWG and the rest will qualify through Commonwealth rankings.
Also Read : Asian Games Equestrian trials to be held in Mumbai between Dec 12-16
News Source : PTI
Carolina Marin pulls out of World Championships
New Delhi, Dec 10 (Badminton news) Three-time champion shuttler Carolina Marin's much-awaited return to competitive action got further delayed as she pulled out of the World Championship after failing to regain fitness following a knee injury.
The Rio Olympics gold medallist had withdrawn from the All England Championships this year after suffering the injury during the Swiss Open.
The 28-year-old had announced her plans of making a comeback at the home World Championships beginning in Huelva, Spain.
"I was having a really good season start, I had won four tournaments out of five. I was feeing very confident, strong and in a really good physical and psychological condition until just one bad movement broke my knee completely," Marin said in a video posted in her twitter handle.
"Mentally it has been really hard to keep myself up, my priorities have been always health and well being. Therefore my team and myself have decided not to play the Huelva World Championship." Marin, considered as one of the most dominating players in international badminton, said she might be back in February next year but wouldn't want to put a date on her return.
"We have also taken the decision of not having a formal date of comeback to competitions until we are 100 sure my knee is fully recovered.
"So we will be evaluating slowly knee progress and the sensations. I am daily having it, so we believe I might be officially playing again in the month of February and March." Marin, who had missed the Tokyo Olympics, had sustained a knee injury in the Indonesia Masters final in January 2019 and had missed the World Championships that year even as India's P V Sindhu claimed her maiden title. The Spaniard had returned at Vietnam Open in September, 2019 and went on to win the China Open, Syed Modi tournament and a runners-up finish at the French Open that year.
After a second-best finish at Indonesia Masters, Spain Masters and Denmark Open in 2020, Marin returned to claim back-to-back titles at Thailand and a final finish at the season-ending World Tour Finals in Bangkok.
She also won the Swiss Open, beating Sindhu in the finals, besides claiming the European Championships in April.
Marin's withdrawal means the list of top players pulling out of the tournament just got longer as two-time gold medallist male shuttler Kento Momota of Japan had also withdrawn after suffering a back injury at the World Tour Finals in Bali, Indonesia.
In women's singles, 2017 World Championships gold medallist Nozomi Okuhara has also withdrawn, while the Indonesian contingent also decided to skip the event due to concerns over the new COVID-19 variant spreading in European nations.
Also Read : Mulyo Handoyo, Tan Kim Her set to return as India's badminton coaches
News Source : PTI
400 metre hurdles to be one of the most awaited track events next year
(Sports news) The 400 metres hurdles this year was one of the most record breaking events. In the women’s 400 metre hurdles, the two year old record was broken four times this year by three athletes. Sydney McLaughlin was the first one to break it and went on to do it again as Dalilah Muhammad also broke it once alongside Femke Bol.
The women’s 400 metre hurdles record was previously held by Dalilah Muhammad who broke a 16 year old record by Yuliya Pechonkina, in the same year McLaughlin came close to Dalilah who then went on to further reduce her timing once again. Sydney and Dalilah are the only women to run the event in under 52 seconds as Sydney is the only one to do it twice. Pechonkina set the record of 52.34 in 2003 and it has been surpassed seven times as of now with Sydney and Dalilah doing it thrice each and Femke doing it once.
Sydney set the tune this year by running 51.90 secs in June at Eugene as she became the first woman to run the event under 52 seconds. She broke the record of Dalilah who ran 52.16 in 2019 as the two athletes were having a go at each other this year. At the Tokyo Olympics, Sydney again proved to be unstoppable as she broke the world record by running a 51.46 as she edged Dalilah who was timed at 51.58 and bronze medallist Femke had a timing of 52.03 to complete the fastest race of all time. The three medalists produced the top three fastest timings in the history of the event.
Dalilah is the oldest of the three as she is 31 years old and has been competing for the past 8 years. One of the best runners the event has ever produced, Dalilah was too quick against her younger competitors as Sydney is 22 and Femke is 21. It will be a tough competition especially with Sydney and Femke as they are almost of the same age.
In the men’s 400 metre hurdles this year, three athletes broke a 29 year record as Karsten Warholm did it twice within two months. Kevin Young’s world record had been standing since 1992 as he was the first one to run the event under 47 seconds; he had run in 46.78 seconds at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Since then only four athletes have run under 47 seconds. This year, three athletes had run under 47 seconds and the 47 sec barrier was broken five times which was the most as it was broken once in 2018, 2020 and twice in 2019.
Karsten Warholm was the first one to break Kevin Young’s record as he ran in 46.70 at Oslo in July. At the Tokyo Olympics, history was again created as the medallists ran faster than Kevin’s timing to record the fastest race ever at the event. Karsten went on to become the first man to run the event under 46 seconds with a timing of 45.94 secs, Rai Benjamin was clocked at 46.17 and Alison dos Santos ran in 46.72.
The men’s event will be even more competitive next year as the top three athletes are in their early twenties. Santos is the youngest as he is 21 years old, Benjamin is 24 and current world record holder Warholm is 25. Karsten is the only one to run under 46 seconds and in total has run under 47 seconds a record four times. Benjamin has run three races in which he went under 47 seconds. Santos can maybe give tough competition to Warholm or even beat the Norwegian’s record at the event. Next year, the 400 metres hurdles will be the most closely fought track event as the men’s and women’s fields are filled with potential.
Mulyo Handoyo, Tan Kim Her set to return as India's badminton coaches
New Delhi, Dec 10 (Badminton news) Indonesia's Mulyo Handoyo and Malaysia's Tan Kim Her are set to return as India's singles and doubles badminton coaches with the national federation hoping to finalise their appointments by the end of this month.
Tough taskmaster Mulyo, who has coached Athens Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat, had a brief stint in India and is credited for the success of men's singles players like Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy in 2017.
Tan Kim Her, on the other hand, is the man responsible for forging India's best doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who under his guidance won the Commonwealth Games silver, played a vital role in the team gold in 2018 and also broke into world's top 20.
"Mulyo and Tan Kim Her are among the few top names who applied for the posts after we advertised for it and BAI (Badminton Association of India) wants to avail their services as they have prior experience of working with our Indian players," BAI secretary Ajay Singhania told PTI.
BAI had advertised for the coaches' posts on November 18 after men's singles coach Agus Dwi Santoso departed last month, few weeks before the completion of his contract.
"Mulyo and Tan have been in the Indian set up so we are favouring them and we are hoping to get their services from the India Open in January. Of course, it is yet to be finalised as we are still discussing the details," Singhania said.
Under Mulyo, Indian male shuttlers secured an unprecedented five Super Series titles in 2017, which included four titles by Srikanth and one by Praneeth.
"The contracts of all the coaches expire in December end, so we will have to seal the appointments by this month. Our chief coach Pullela Gopichand is discussing with the coaches on various issues such as salaries, accommodation etc.." In his last stint, Mulyo didn't complete his contract and quit in December, 2017 to join the Singapore team, while Tan Kim Her, who had a contract till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, resigned in 2019 and went on to coach the Japan national team.
With Tokyo Olympics in mind, BAI had roped in London Olympics silver-medallist and former world No.1 Mathias Boe for the Indian pair of Satwik and Chirag, who won two of the three matches in their group at the Japanese capital.
Boe's contract was till the Olympics but the Denmark great had said that he wanted to continue coaching the doubles players and had sent a detailed proposal to BAI.
Asked why he was not considered, Singhania said: "Boe is a good coach but he couldn't commit to a full time role, he wanted it more like a temporary basis which is something that couldn't be worked out." India's next assignment is the World Championships scheduled to begin on Sunday in Huelva, Spain.
While defending champion P V Sindhu's coach Park Tae Sang is already in Spain, Indian coaches Siyadatullah and Arun Vishnu (doubles) left for Spain on Thursday and will be sharing the responsibility of the competing players.
Also Read : Krishna Khaitan memorial badminton tournament to be held in January
News Source : PTI
ACT will be great platform for fringe players: Hockey captain Manpreet Singh
Bhubaneswar, Dec 10 (Hockey news) The upcoming Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka will be a perfect platform for the fringe players to showcase their talent and stake a claim in the first team, said Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh.
The tournament, originally scheduled to be held last year, has been postponed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will now be played from December 14 to 22.
This will be India's first outing after the team's historic Olympics bronze medal winning campaign earlier this year. The Manpreet Singh-led side will be without eight players from the Tokyo Games squad, including the likes of veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh who has been rested, "With nearly 10 players who were part of the Tokyo Olympic squad being rested, this is a fantastic opportunity for the players who had been waiting on the sidelines to get a chance to perform in a major international tournament. This will be a good platform for them to showcase their talent and temperament," said Manpeet before leaving for Dhaka on Friday.
Defending champions India would begin their campaign on the opening day against Korea before locking horns against Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh in the single-pool tournament for top honours.
"This is our first outing after the Tokyo Olympics so naturally there is a lot of excitement among the players. We have had a good training camp in Bhubaneswar and I feel since the weather here is quite similar to that of Dhaka, we won't take long to acclimatise," the skipper said.
"It will be a good tournament not just in terms of competition but also to understand about other team's capabilities. We assess the progress of other Asian countries ahead of the all-important Asian Games and Asia Cup next year,' the ace mid-fielder added.
After Korea, India will play Bangladesh on December 15, followed by matches against arch-rivals Pakistan on December 17, Malaysia on December 18 and Japan on December 19.
The top-four teams from the pool stages will progress to the semi-finals to be played on December 21 followed by the title clash on December 22.
In the previous edition of the event held in Muscat in 2018, India had jointly lifted the title along with Pakistan as the final was called off due to incessant rains.
Also Read : Indian women's hockey team's ACT campaign ends due to COVID case in squad
News Source ; PTI
Mary Kom, Amit Panghal among bigwigs missing from list of national campers
New Delhi, Dec 9 (Boxing news) Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom and Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal are among the top names missing from the list of boxers finalised for the 13-day national camps for men and women that will get underway at separate locations from December 11.
In fact, none of the five male boxers who competed in the Tokyo Olympics, including Manish Kaushik, Ashish Chaudhary, Vikas Krishan and Satish Kumar, have made the list of 52 men who will train from December 11 to 24 at Patiala's National Institute of Sports (NIS). Of these, Vikas is currently nursing a shoulder injury, which required surgery.
The women's camp will be held at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Rohtak on the exact same dates.
"It's because they did not compete in the national championships. It was pre-decided that this camp will only be for national medal winners and the ones who were picked after a trial at the end of Nationals," a top federation source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
"It does not apply to camps that will be held later and nobody should get too concerned about missing out here. All those who are not there right now will have a chance to be back in the camps that will be held later," he added.
When contacted, Mary Kom did not dwell on the subject and said, "I am just training at home right now. I will get down to rigorous training with my team in mid January and prepare for the world championships." The 38-year-old Manipuri, who is a former Olympic bronze-medallist, is also a serving Rajya Sabha MP. She is aiming to compete in the world championships and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year.
The women's world championship, to be held in Istanbul, was pushed from December this year to March by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event is set to be further delayed to May next year.
The national women's camp will feature 49 boxers, including the likes of Tokyo Olympics bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain (70kg), former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (52kg), and Asian champion Pooja Rani (81kg) among others.
Borgohain did not compete in the nationals either but in her case, the federation had decided to make an exception due to her medal-winning performance in Tokyo.
"The list is as per the last executive committee meeting decision in which Lovlina was the only one given an exemption," the source said.
Also there is Arundhati Chaudhary, the 19-year-old youth word champion who kicked up quite a storm when she challenged Borgohain's automatic selection for the world championship in the Delhi High Court. The federation ultimately agreed for a trial after the mega-event was postponed.
Her national gold has secured her a place in the camp and she would be trying to make an impression.
In the men's camp, five-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Asian silver-medallist Deepak Kumar (51kg) and former world championship quarterfinalist Kavinder Bisht (57kg) are among the prominent names in the list of campers.
The two camps will be conducted by new head coaches for both men and women. While Narender Rana will be in charge for men, Bhaskar Bhatt will be heading the women's camp.
Men's High Performance Director awaits extension =============================== Men's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva is awaiting a longer extension to his contract that ended with the October-November world championships in Serbia.
It is reliably learnt that the Swede is likely to be retained despite coming under pressure after an underwhelming Olympic campaign during which none of the male boxers could make the medal rounds.
At the recent world event, India claimed one medal, a bronze through debutant Akash Kumar in the 54kg category.
Also Read : Turkey boxing championship postponed, fresh trials to be held: BFI to HC
News Source : PTI
Indian sports fraternity mourns CDS Gen Bipin Rawat's tragic death
New Delhi, Dec 8 (Sports news) India's sporting stars joined the country in mourning the tragic demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others on Wednesday, describing it as a sad day for the nation.
The 63-year-old Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other armed forces personnel died on Wednesday after the military helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force said.
"Deeply saddened by the untimely demise of CDS Bipin Rawat ji and other officials in a tragic helicopter crash. My deepest condolences to the friends & family members," tweeted India Test cricket captain Virat Kohli.
Offering his condolences, Sachin Tendulkar wrote: "Gen Bipin Rawat's pride and utmost commitment for India was palpable. It's a sad day for India and our defence forces.
"Prayers for the departed souls of Gen Rawat, Mrst rawat and all the defence forces personnel who were in this unfortunate incident." The lone survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is currently under treatment at a military hospital in Wellington.
"Praying for the speedy recovery of Gp Capt Varun Singh," Tendulkar wrote.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and London Olympics bronze winner shuttler Saina Nehwal also took to the micoblogging site to offer their prayers.
"Extremely tragic news about the helicopter crash near Conoor. RIP," tweeted Mirabai.
Saina wrote: "Very sad to hear about the news …RIP #bipinrawat sir." Athletics Federation of India shared a two year old photograph of Rawat, which was taken during his participation at the One-mile run event.
"We have lost a great lover and supporter of sport... Rest in Peace Chief," AFI tweeted.
"Such a tragic loss!" wrote AFI president Adille Sumariwalla.
Former India cricketers such as Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and others too paid their condolences, calling his passing away as "tragic".
"Deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife Mrs. Madhulika Rawat and 11 other personnel of our armed forces. My deepest condolences to their families and well-wishers," Yuvraj tweeted.
Former opener Virender Sehwag tweeted, "Extremely pained to hear about the passing away of Shri #BipinRawat , his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 army personnel in the tragic helicopter crash. Gratitude for his wonderful service to the nation." India pacer Mohammed Shami wrote: "Very sad news & Deeply saddened to hear about the BipinRawat and his wife in a helicopter crash. The nation will always be grateful to Sir Bipin Rawat & his wife Madhulika Rawat & 11 more soldiers. Rest in Peace." Former Test batsman VVS Laxman too was left saddened by the tragic loss of Rawat.
"Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Sh. #BipinRawat and his wife in a tragic helicopter crash. The nation will always be grateful to Gen. Rawat for his service to the nation." Former seamer Venkatesh Prasad described Rawat as someone who felt like a family to him.
"There are some men who feel like ones from our family. Our security forces feel like family and feel extremely pained to hear about the demise of CDS #BipinRawat and his wife in the tragic helicopter crash. May Parmatma give Sadgati to the bravehearts who lost their lives." Legendary sprinter PT Usha also was left deeply anguished by the news of his tragic demise.
"Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat, CDS, Mrs. Rawat, and the 11 others on board the chopper. My prayers for the departed souls, and deepest condolences to the families."
Also Read : India win 41 medals at Asian Youth Para Games
News Source : PTI
Usain Bolt’s 100m and 200m records standing strong and secure
(Sports news) It has been 4 years since Usain Bolt announced his retirement from the sport. Having set the world records in the 100m and 200m category in 2009, Bolt’s record remains intact more than a decade later. He set the Olympic record for the 100m in 2012 at London and set the 200m record even back further in 2008. Bolt has set a high benchmark for the present day athletes who have been struggling to match his level of speed and consistency. His record of 9.58 secs and 19.19 secs in 200m has been one of the most incredible records in the field of sprinting. Since then, nobody including Bolt has gone under 9.60 secs in the 100m and under 19.25 secs in 200m.
The sprinting world has been affected by doping many times since the testing was made compulsory. Christian Coleman has run the fastest time in the last five years, he ran 9.76 secs in 2019 but his doping ban ended a month back this year which caused him to miss the Tokyo Olympics. This year ,Trayvon Bromell ran the 6th fastest time in history when he equalled Coleman’s timing in september.
The current Olympic champion in the 100m category, Lamont Marcell Jacobs ran a time of 9.80 seconds which is far away from Bolt's record of 9.63 secs. Andre De Grasse, the 200m champion this year at Tokyo had a timing of 19.62 secs at the finish line as compared to Bolt who ran 19.30 at Beijing Olympics in 2008. Bolt’s 200m looks even more difficult to beat than his 100m record as no athlete has run under 19.50 secs other than Yohan Blake’s 19.26 run in 2011. Michael Johnson’s record of 19.32 secs at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics was the first time an athlete had run under 19.50 secs.
This year the fastest time in 200m has been by Noah Lyles, he ran in 19.52 seconds in August and the second fastest was by De Grasse at Tokyo Olympics. Lyles clocked 19.50 seconds in 2019 which has been the fastest in the last five years, also with Bolt’s departure, no athlete has been able to dominate both the events like he did. De Grasse won the gold in 200m and bronze in 100m in Tokyo, Fred Kerley has also been a fierce competitor in both the events with sub 10 and sub 20 timings this year. The 2022 season will be eagerly waiting to break records or come closer to breaking existing records.
Winners of the 2021 WTA Player Awards announced in five categories
(Tennis news) The WTA named winners of the five categories for the 2021 season. Barbora Krejcikova won two awards for her outstanding season as the 25 year old ended the year with Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Carla Suárez Navarro also bid farewell to the sport as she played her 18th and final season on tour.
WTA Player of the Year: World No.1 Ashleigh Barty won the award for the second time as she had won in 2019. This season she had a tour leading five WTA titles. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and reached the fourth round at the US Open. Barty also won 42 matches while losing only 8 and continued her third consecutive year at the top of the rankings.
WTA Newcomer of the Year: Emma Raducanu undoubtedly won the Newcomer of the Year after making history at the US Open where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam. Raducanu won all 10 of her matches without dropping a set. She played her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon this season and went on to reach the fourth round as she became the youngest British woman to achieve this feat. Raducanu is currently the world number 19 after climbing over 350 places in a period of six months.
WTA Doubles Team of the Year: The pair of 25 year olds, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the Award for the second time, as they took the title previously in 2018. In 2021, the Czech duo won the French Open to win their third Grand Slam together, they also won the doubles gold at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and had a perfect end to the season by winning the Doubles Trophy at the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. They also finished the season as the no 1 ranked doubles team.
WTA Most Improved Player of the Year: Barbora Krejcikova won her second WTA award in 2021 as she earned the WTA Most Improved Player of the Year award. She won her first Grand Slam title in singles at the French Open while also winning the doubles title, Krejcikova also won her first mixed doubles title at the Australian Open with Rajeev Ram. She was ranked 65 at the start of 2021, in November she achieved her career best of rank 3 and is currently ranked no 5. She also became the first player since Karolina Pliskova in 2016 to qualify for the singles and doubles at the year end event.
WTA Comeback Player of the Year: Carla Suárez Navarro’s farewell season was supposed to be last year but the pandemic made her rethink her decision. She had been down with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September 2020 but overcame cancer and decided to end her career this year. The Spaniard is a 7 time quarterfinalist at the Grand Slams. She ended her career with over 500 wins and was the world no 6 five years ago which remains her career best ranking.
Time to put past to rest and focus on future: Neeraj after reaching Chula Vista
Chula Vista (US), Dec 8 (Sports news) The Tokyo Olympics triumph is done and dusted for star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who now looks ahead for success in the coming years as he arrived here for his off-season training.
Chopra will train at the world class facility here for 90 days along with coach Klaus Bartoneitz after the Sports Authority of India cleared a proposal in quick time on Friday last.
"It's time to put the past to rest and focus on the future. Have arrived for my off-season training and look forward to restarting the process of getting better," Chopra tweeted.
The proposal, moved by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), was approved inside four hours to ensure that Chopra can fly out on Sunday.
The cost approved to train at the prestigious Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Centre under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) will be Rs 38 lakh.
"Immensely grateful to DG sir, @Media_SAI, the TOPS and @afiindia teams and everyone involved in making this happen," wrote Chopra who sent the javelin to 87.85m in Tokyo on August 7 to clinch India's maiden Olympic gold in athletics.
Under the earlier plan, Chopra was to proceed to Potchefstroom, where he had trained earlier in 2019-2020, but it was scrapped due to the new COVID-19 strain in South Africa.
Given the uncertainty across the world, SAI decided not to wait for the Mission Olympic Cell meeting to approve the proposal.
Chopra has thus started his preparation for the 2022 World Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Asian Games in China.
After winning the historic gold in Tokyo, Chopra had expressed his desire to win a medal in the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene (USA) from July 15 to 24. He is the reigning Commonwealth Games and Asian Games champion. The state-of-the-art centre at Chula Vista, spread over 155 acres, is one of the world's finest training and competition venues.
Also Read : Asia Youth Para Games: Indian para shuttlers win 16 medals; Palak, Sanjana, Hardik clinch three each
News Source : PTI
Christine Mboma and Athing Mu will be setting sights on the world record next year
(Sports news) Christine Mboma and Athing Mu are both teenagers who have been one of the fastest women in their respective events. Athing Mu is 19 years old, she is the current Olympic champion in the 800m and a part of the 4x400m relay team. She has the 8th fastest time of all time in the 800m, her timing was 1:55:04 secs in August this year. She also has the two of the fastest timings this year at the event and also holds the second fastest time ever in the U20 women’s 800m.
Athing Mu created history for the US when she won the gold in the 800m event as she became the first US athlete in 53 years to win the women’s 800m event, the last time it happened was in 1968 Mexico Olympics when Madeline Manning won the gold. Athing Mu was leading from the start in the race, she completed the first lap in 57.82 but was still in close pursuit . In the last 300 meters there was a change in gear as Mu picked up her speed and began slowly increasing the gap between the rest of them, in the last 50 meters it became sure she would win the medal as another 19 year old Keely Hodgkinson of Britain would take the silver medal.
Athing has been one of the most promising athletes this year and without much exposure she made it big at her first Olympics. The world record for the women’s 800m event is 1:53:28 by Jarmila Kratochvílová in 1983 and she was 32 years old when set the record. Athing clearly showed her speed on the biggest platform this year and has a major opportunity to break a 38 year record. She won the female rising athlete of the year award edging out Mboma, Keely Hodgkinson, 3000m steeplechase runner Zerfe Wondimagegn and hammer thrower Silja Kosonen.
Christine Mboma is an 18 year old athlete from Namibia. She was one of the two teen finalists in the women’s 200m final at the Tokyo Olympics, Mboma won the silver medal behind Elaine Thompson. Mboma was running in lane 5 right next to Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce in lane 4, Mboma was placed fourth in the last 70 meters of the race and overtook Fraser Pryce a few meters before the finish line. Mboma beat bronze medalist Gabby Thomas by six hundredth of a second as her timing of 21.81 secs thanks to a final nitro boost which got her the second position.
Mboma ran 21.78 secs a month later at Zurich which is the third fastest time this year and 19th fastest of all time. She is the current under 20 world record holder in 200m and 400m with a timing of 49.22 secs which is also the third fastest this year. She wasn’t allowed to compete in the 400m event at the Tokyo Olympics as the World Athletics (WA) does not allow female athletes to compete in the event who have blood testosterone levels above 5 nmol/L. Many athletes have been affected by this rule as some are born with this condition.
Athing Mu and Mboma have been the top runners at their respective events, they still have 2 more years for the Paris Olympics. They will have the world record in sight but will be much more focused to have a injury free run next season, they will also need adequate support from the respective federations from their country. They will be one of the athletes to watch out for in the 200m and 800m as the new generation are slowly catching up on the older ones.
Sindhu enters final of BWF World Tour Finals, beats Yamaguchi in semis
Bali, Dec 4 (Badminton news) Indian badminton ace P V Sindhu entered the summit clash of BWF World Tour Finals with a hard-fought win over Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in the semifinals here on Saturday.
Sindhu, the reigning world champion and two-time Olympic medallist, beat Yamaguchi 21-15 15-21 21-19 in a thrilling match that lasted one hour 10 minutes.
She will face Korea's An Seyoung, who beat Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand 25-23 21-17 in the other semifinal, in the summit clash on Sunday.
It will be Sindhu's third final appearance in the season-ending tournament. She had won the title in 2018 to become the only Indian to achieve the feat.
The world number 7 Indian had come into the match with an overall head-to-head win-loss record of 12-8 against the world number three Japanese.
Sindhu has been in fine form after picking up a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics. She had reached the semifinals in her last three events -- French Open, Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open -- before coming into the BWF World Tour Finals.
She had finished runner-up in the Swiss Open in March.
But it won't be easy for Sindhu in the final against Seyoung who had come into the season-ending tournament with back-to-back titles in the Indonesia Masters and Indonesia Open.
The world number six Seyoung had also beaten Sindhu in the quarterfinals of the Denmark Open in October.
Against Yamaguchi, Sindhu trailed 0-4 in the first game but quickly came to level terms at 4-4 and then 9-9. The duo were neck and neck but Sindhu zoomed ahead from 15-14 to reach 18-15. She then took three straight points to pocket the first game.
The second game was also a tight contest as the two players were levelled at 10-10 before Yamaguchi shifted the gear to pocket it without much fuss.
In the deciding game, Sindhu and Yamaguchi were tied at 5-5 before the Indian reeled off seven straight points. The Japanese made a sort of comeback by narrowing down the gap to 11-13 but Sindhu cruised to 17-12.
Yamaguchi was not the one to throw the towel without a fight and took the scoreline to 19-19. But Sindhu saved the best for the last as she won two consecutive points to win the third game and pocket the match.
Young Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen will face reigning Olympic champion and world number one Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the men's singles semifinals later in the day.
Also Read : Axelsen, Tzu Ying named BWF Male and Female Player of the Year
News Source : PTI
India hope to make winning start in women's Asian Champions Trophy
Donghae (Korea), Dec 4 (Hockey news) The Indian women's hockey team would look to begin its Asian Champions Trophy campaign on a winning note when it takes on Thailand here on Sunday.
The tournament marks the team's first outing after missing a bronze medal by a whisker in the Tokyo Olympics.
India had won the ACT title in 2016 before finishing runners-up to tournament hosts Korea in the same city in the 2018 edition.
Captain and goalkeeper Savita said her team is geared up for the challenge.
"The team's focus right now is to make a good start. This is our first international outing after the Olympics and playing the first match will always create some butterflies in the stomach," Savita said ahead of the opening match.
China, Korea, Japan and Malaysia are the other teams in the single-pool competition.
Talking about the other opponents, Savita said, "We are looking forward to a tough challenge from hosts Korea and surely we cannot under estimate China or Japan who are Asian Games Gold medalists.
"After arriving here, we went through some good practice sessions on the pitch here to get acclimatized. It is a beautiful facility and we are not new to the conditions in this pitch. Weather is quite cold and getting used to this could be a bit of a challenge initially," she said.
Savita also highlighted the importance of this tournament ahead of a busy schedule next year when they will defend the Asia Cup and also vie for the top spot in the Asian Games to ensure they book a berth for the Paris Olympics.
India play Malaysia in their second match on December 6 before facing hosts and defending champions Korea two days later. They play China on December 9 and Japan on December 11.
The final will take place on December 12 between the top two teams in the pool.
Also Read : Indian women's hockey team leaves for Korea to take part in Asian Champions Trophy
News Source : PTI
Demoralised India eye revenge against France in bronze medal match in Junior Hockey WC
Bhubaneswar, Dec 4 (Hockey news) Hopes of title defence shattered, a demoralised India would look to put behind the disappointment quickly and get their acts together as they seek revenge against France in the bronze medal play-off match of the FIH Junior Men's Hockey World Cup here on Sunday.
Defending champions India's quest for a second consecutive Junior World Cup title ended after they suffered a 2-4 defeat at the hands of six-time winners Germany in the semifinal on Friday.
Germany will meet Argentina in the summit clash, while the Indians will get an opportunity to avenge their 4-5 loss to France in their tournament opener.
But to finish on the podium, the Indian juniors will have to lift their game by leaps and bounds, and make amends of their sloppy show against Germany.
The Indians, who last won the Junior World Cup title in Lucknow in 2016, looked a pale shadow of themselves against Germany.
Consistency is something that has been missing from India's game since the start. The hosts didn't play flawless hockey in any match of the tournament so far.
And, that is something which would be bother chief coach Graham Reid, who is in charge of the junior team in this tournament after having guided the senior side to a historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Against Belgium in the quarterfinals, the Indian defence was extraordinary but the same backline was caught napping by the Germans on Friday.
The likes of Yashdeep Siwach, vice-captain Sanjay Kumar, Shardanand Tiwari and Abhishek Lakra failed to control Germany's press and the would be looking for a much-better outing on Sunday to at least clinch a consolation third place finish.
Reid had no qualms in admitting that his wards lacked in every department of the game against Germany. "Germany showed what we need to be doing as far as defending is concerned. They were in front, they tackled the ball well, they tackled in groups. If you have to win at the world stage at this level, basics has to be flawless," he said after the match on Friday night.
"We created opportunities but they weren't quality ones. We have to come out on Sunday and avenged that first game we played against France." Against against Germany, there was no cohesion between the midfield and forwardline with only Uttam Singh showing his brilliance in patches.
With four quality penalty corner specialists in the side in Sanjay, Araijeet Singh Hundal, Tiwai and Lakra, India's weapon is set pieces but they secured just one against Germany which Sanjay couldn't utilise.
The Indian players looked to be short of ideas when the ball was in their possession.
Instead of trying to earn penalty corners, the Indians were guilty of holding on to the ball too long and dribbling too much inside the opponent's circle.
The coach said decision making from the Indian players has to be spot on against France if they desire to finish on the podium.
"Smart players decide at that time and make better decisions. Our decision making wasn't good as it should have been (against Germany). It was visible in all ends of the pitch.
"Our decision wasn't up to scratch at the midfield as well. At the end of the day that's what gives you outcomes the ability to make good decisions inside the circle," Reid said.
With forecast of heavy showers and high winds on Sunday due to the landfall of cyclone Jawad near Puri, which is just around 65 km from here, pitch conditions are expected to be tough on the final day of the showpiece junior event.
Also Read : Germany dash defending champions India's hopes in Jr Hockey WC
News Source : PTI
SAI approves Neeraj Chopra's off-season training in USA
New Delhi, Dec 3 (Sports news) The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Friday approved an urgent proposal to enable Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra to travel to the US for a 90-day off-season training ahead of a busy 2022 season.
The proposal, moved by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), was approved inside four hours to ensure the javelin thrower can fly out on Sunday, SAI said in a press release.
The cost approved to train at the prestigious Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Centre under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) will be Rs. 38 lakh.
The proposal was moved after the plan to base the javelin throwers in Potchefstroom was scrapped due to the new COVID-19 strain in South Africa.
Given the uncertainty across the world, SAI decided to not wait for the Mission Olympic Cell meeting to approve the proposal.
The nodal sports body will seek ratification of the decision from the next meeting of the MOC since the approval was granted to make sure that Chopra can leave India on Sunday.
Chopra will thus start his preparation for the 2022 World Athletics Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games at the training centre in Chula Vista, San Diego.
The state-of-the-art centre, spread over 155 acres, is one of the world's finest training and competition venues.
The proposal for the camp is from December 5 to March 4 next.
Coach Klaus Bartonietz will travel to the US with Chopra, who created history by becoming the country's first medallist in Olympic track and field events when he claimed gold in javelin throw.
Also Read : 3,000 year-old Olympic truce declaration to be used to promote peace and unity amongst different nations
News Source : PTI
Axelsen, Tzu Ying named BWF Male and Female Player of the Year
New Delhi, Dec 3 (Badminton news) Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen and Tokyo Games silver medallist Tai Tzu Ying were named the BWF Male and Female Player of the Year respectively in recognition of their stellar runs this season.
It was the first season-ending award in this category for both Axelsen and Tai Tzu Ying -- the All England champions of 2020.
All eight winners were honoured in a virtual broadcast on Friday.
Axelsen was rewarded for his extraordinary run starting from the Barcelona Spain Masters in February 2020.
The Dane made 10 finals in 11 individual tournaments, winning seven of those, including gold at the Tokyo Games.
"This means a lot to me," said Axelsen in a release.
"Thank you to my team, my coaches, my friends, my family, my competitors. This year has been really eventful. A few downs, but a lot of ups, with the Olympics being the biggest win, a dream coming true. This award gives me a lot of motivation to work harder." Tai Tzu Ying won the All England 2020 and then struck a rich vein of form at the three-tournament Asian Leg in January 2021, making all three finals, and clinching the BWF World Tour Finals 2020.
The Chinese Taipei player then made the final of the Tokyo Olympics, going down in a thrilling match to China's Chen Yu Fei.
"It's a pity I can't be in Indonesia for the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals," said the world No.1.
"I really miss competing in Indonesia which has such enthusiastic fans. I never thought that I could win this award. I'll continue to compete and try to achieve better results. I hope that fans will continue to support me." Given the disruption caused to the circuit by COVID-19 over the last two years, the period of consideration for the BWF Player of the Year awards was from November 2019 until October 31, 2021.
Among others, Olympic champions Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei were named the Most Improved Player of the Year ahead of Lee Zii Jia, Pornpawee Chochuwong and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik.
Lee and Wang won all three titles at the Asian Leg in January 2021, before going on to capture a historic gold medal for Chinese Taipei at Tokyo 2020.
Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu, who claimed the women's doubles gold at Olympics, won the Pair of the Year award.
While the Olympic gold was the high point of the season, the Indonesians were also successful at other World Tour events, winning the Indonesia Masters and Barcelona Spain Masters in 2020, and the Thailand Open in early 2021.
Thailand's Kunlavut Vitidsarn, the three-time world junior champion, who has started to make waves on the senior circuit, was named Eddy Choong Most Promising Player, beating other contenders Line Christophersen, Toma Junior Popov and Brian Yang.
In Para badminton, Qu Zimo, and Leani Ratri Oktila won the year-end Player of the Year honours for the second time.
Qu Zimo was named Male Para Badminton Player of the Year, and Oktila the Female Para Badminton Player of the Year.
France's Lucas Mazur/Faustine Noel were honoured with the Para Badminton Pair of the Year award.
The BWF Awards Commission also made special mention of Guatemalan Kevin Cordon's journey across four Olympic Games and his inspiring performances at Tokyo which took him to the semifinals.
Also Read : World Tour Finals: Already qualified for semis, Sindhu loses final group match, Srikanth bows out
News Source : PTI
HWC: Morikawa aiming to end year as top ranked golfer
Nassau (Bahamas), Dec 2 (Golf news) With an eye on the top spot in the rankings list, Collin Morikawa will aim to end his impressive 2021 campaign on a high at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament but standing in his way is field studded with major champions and PGA Tour winners, including the likes of a resurgent Rory McIlroy.
The tournament, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, will include two additional players after the field was permanently expanded from 18 to 20 this year.
Tournament host Tiger Woods, who is still recovering his near-fatal car crash in February, will not be competing but the veteran golfer has assembled plenty of star-power for the event.
World No. 2 Morikawa, who will make his maiden appearance, heads into the Albany Golf Club on the back of a sensational year that includs winning his second Major (the Open Championship) besides clinching the Ryder Cup and claiming the European Tour’s season-long points race, the Race to Dubai.
The 24-year-old, who joined Woods as the only player to win a major and WGC before turning 25, could end the year as the top ranked golfer, overthrowing Spaniard Jon Rahm with a win here.
Asked how he will approach the tournament Morikawa said, "I could have thought about scenarios and obviously there's one scenario here, I have to win, but I've got to focus on the tournament." “I said it all two weeks ago in Dubai, I've got to be ready on Thursday. I've got to be ready once I tee it up and that's the focus.” However, Morikawa will face stiff competition from four-time majors winner McIlroy who will also be making his debut.
The world No. 8 from Northern Ireland seems to have found his mojo back after an inconsistent run earlier this year. He won the CJ Cup in October. He was agonisingly close to winning the DP World Tour Championship but a bad break in the final round saw him finish sixth last month.
Talking about his year, McIlroy said,"Obviously there was a stretch during the year where I didn't feel like I was playing my best and went on a different path in terms of sort of looking for answers and came back sort of down that road, came back up that road and learned some things.
"Feel like I'm certainly a more like a wiser player than I was maybe nine months ago. It's been a year where I've struggled in parts, but I still got two wins on Tour, which is still pretty good. I got myself -- I was tied for the lead with nine holes to go in the U.S. Open.
“I played well in parts, I just didn't do it consistently enough. I go back to 2019 and had like 19 top-10 finishes or whatever it is, that's the level I want to play at.” Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Xander Schauffele will also be eager to register a win on the Tour.
The world No. 5 from USA has had eight top-10 finishes, including three second place finishes but a victory has eluded him.
Others in the field include three-time major winner Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and defending champion Sweden’s Henrik Stensen, who will look retain his title.
The tournament purse is USD 3.5 million and the winner gets USD 1 million.
Also Read : Chadha on top with 63 on rain-marred opening day
News Source : PTI
Sports Ministry adds seven former athletes to Mission Olympics Cell
New Delhi, Dec 2 (Sports news) Eyeing a stellar show at 2024 Paris Olympics, the Sports Ministry has added seven former athletes as core members in the revamped Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), making the crucial body more athlete-centric.
MOC drives India's Olympics preparation through Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS), an initiative of the ministry.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said the decision was driven by the experience gained in the last Olympic cycle.
"The inputs by former athletes in the incumbent MOC played a significant role in supporting the training and competition of the athletes who competed in Tokyo 2020 and won 7 medals & 19 in Para Olympic Games," he said.
The new MOC will now include former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, World Athletics Championships long jump medallist Anju Bobby George, former India hockey captain Sardara Singh, rifle shooting legend Anjali Bhagwat, former hockey captain and CEO Olympic Gold Quest Viren Rasquinha, table tennis star Monalisa Mehta and badminton ace Trupti Murgunde.
MOC will be chaired by Director General, SAI, Sandip Pradhan.
Olympian sailor and sports science specialist Malav Shroff will continue to be in the MOC.
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adile Sumeriwala and CEO TOPS Cmde Pushpendra Garg are other former players in the MOC.
Union minister Arjun Munda, Ajay Singh and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by virtue of president of Archery Association of India, Boxing Federation of India and Wrestling Federation of India will be part of the MOC.
MOC is a body set up by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to select athletes for financial assistance under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
The MOC also focuses on selection, exclusion and retention of athletes, coaches, training institutes that can receive TOPS assistance.
The Indian contingent returned with a record seven medals, including a historic athletics gold, from the Tokyo Olympics, which was followed by the para athletes stellar show at the ensuing Paralympics in the Japanese capital.
Mission Olympic Cell: Baichung Bhutia, Anju Bobby George, Anjali Bhagwat, Trupti Murgunde, Sardara Singh, Viren Rasquinha, Malav Shroff, Monalisa Mehta, Presidents of Indian Olympic Association, Wresting Federation of India, Archery Association of India and Boxing Federation of India, Executive Director (TEAMS), SAI; Director (Sports), MYAS; CEO, TOPS (Convenor) and Joint CEO, TOPS (Co-convenor).
Also Read : I live and breath athletics, my aim is to groom Olympic medallists: Anju
News Source : PTI
Solid India eye Germany scalp en route to Junior Hockey WC title defence
Bhubaneswar, Dec 2 (Hockey news) High-flying defending champions India would bank on their solid defensive structure and drag-flicking prowess to outsmart six-time title-winners Germany in the semifinal of the FIH Junior Men's Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.
After a disappointing start to the tournament when they were stunned 4-5 by France, India lifted their game by leaps and bounds to qualify for their second consecutive semifinal in the Junior World Cup.
India produced a defensive master-class on Wednesday to eke out a narrow 1-0 win over European giants Belgium with the likes of Yashdeep Siwach, vice-captain Sanjay Kumar and Shardanand Tiwai shinning bright in the backline.
India's two goalkeepers -- Prasanth Chauhan and Pawan, in particular --, were terrific against Belgium and produced some breath-taking saves to deny their opponents.
With four quality penalty corner specialists -- Sanjay, Tiwari, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Abhishek Lakra -- in their ranks, India's strength lies in set pieces and it has been quite evident in the tournament so far.
In fact, India's winner against Belgium came from a penalty corner through Tiwari after he was brilliantly set up by a dummy from Sanjay.
Even though Sanjay didn't score in the quarterfinal, he still remains India's best bet from set pieces and has already registered back-to-back hat-tricks against France and Poland in the pool stages.
The hallmark of India's performance against Belgium was the calm and composed mindset of the players when put under pressure and chief coach Graham Reid too accepted the fact.
"Our defence was much better than our first game against France. We did a lot of work on it," he said.
"Both keepers played very well. It was nice to see them really shine. But we have still got some work to do.
"One of things I talk a lot about is focus and making sure that whenever we are on the pitch we are living in present about whatever we are doing. Calmness normally comes from being prepared. If you are prepared that helps," the Australian added.
Against Belgium, Uttam Singh was a livewire upfront, showing his wide range of skills by twisting and turning to create opportunities, but Hundal and Bobby Singh Dhami need to be more creative.
Skipper Vivek Sagar Prasad, who already has the experience of playing top-level hockey having been a part of India's historic bronze medal-winning campaign at the Tokyo Olympics, continued to shine in the midfield with his calming influence.
But the Germans would be a tough nut to crack as they would be aiming to reclaim the world title after a hiatus of eight years.
Germany last won the Junior World Cup title in 2013 in New Delhi but since then, a third place finish in the last edition in Lucknow in 2016 was the best they could achieve.
Reid too acknowledged Germany's potential at this level.
"You should never ever write Germany off even in last seconds. They have proven over the years that they are a class side, specially in this level of competition. Junior World Cup they almost own it," he said.
"They are a quality team." Meanwhile in the other semifinal, tournament's surprise package France will be up against Argentina.
Also Read : India beat Belgium 1-0 to enter semifinals, on course to defend Junior Hockey WC title
News Source : PTI
Sindhu gets first round bye in World C'ships, Tai Tzu in line in quarters
Huelva (Spain), Dec 1 (Badminton news) Defending champion PV Sindhu has got a first round bye and faces the prospect of coming up against Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Tai Tzu Ying and former world number one Carolina Marin in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively of the World Badminton Championships here.
Sindhu, who won a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics, has been seeded sixth in the December 12-19 showpiece event.
The world number seven Indian has seen a resurgence in form as she had reached semifinals in the last three tournaments she had played.
Sindhu faces the winner of Martina Repiska of Slovenia and Ruselli Hartawan of Indonesia in the second round. If she clears the third round, Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu, who had beaten her in the Tokyo Olympics semifinals, will be awaiting her in the quarterfinals.
If she Sindhu gets past Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu, she could be up against Marin who had beaten her in the 2016 Rio Olympics summit clash. Marin returns from injury straight into the World Championships and she will be playing in an arena named after her.
Tai Tzu has also taken sufficient rest as she hasn't played since winning silver at Tokyo 2020.
The other half of the women's singles has two players -- Akane Yamaguchi of Japan and An Seyoung of Korea -- who have swept the prominent World Tour titles since the Olympics.
Nozomi Okuhara of Japan whom Sindhu had beaten in the 2019 final is also in the other half of the draw.
Tokyo Olympics champion Chen Yu Fei of China is not taking part like many other players from her country.
In men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth, seeded 12th, will open his campaign against local player Pablo Abian and has the prospect of facing compatriot B Sai Praneeth (seeded 14th) in the quarterfinals, if both are able to reach that stage.
Defending champion and top seed Kento Momota of Japan could be the man waiting for the Indians in the semifinals.
Young Lakshya Sen has also been drawn in the same half as his two senior compatriots and faces Max Weisskirchen of Germany in the opening round. He can be up against Momota in the quarterfinals if the Indian reaches there.
In the men's doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have been seeded eighth and handed a first round bye. Three other Indian pairs -- Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila, and Arun George and Sanyam Shukla are also in the fray.
In women's doubles, the pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will face the French duo of Delphine Delrue and Lea Palermo in the first round.
Two other Indian pairs -- Pooja Dandu and Sanjana Santosh, and Maneesha K and Rutaparna Panda -- are also in the fray.
In mixed doubles, three Indian pairs -- Saurabh Sharma and Anoushka Parikh, MR Arjun and Maneesha K and Utkarsh Arora and Karishma Wadkar -- are in the fray.
Also Read : World Tour Finals: Sindhu, Srikanth make winning start; Ashwini-Sikki pair loses
News Source : PTI
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic hoping for a good start to 2022 season
(Tennis news) Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic dominated the doubles season with nine titles this season. They played together for the first time from january and found success right from the start.
They played 74 matches this year while winning 61 of them and also are the current world number one. They last played at