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Sampras, Agassi set up title clash
LONDON, july 3 — Andre Agassi outgunned second seed Pat Rafter 7-5 7-6 6-2 today to reach the men’s Wimbledon singles final and regain the world number one ranking he last held in February 1996.

Steffi Graf (right) and Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic exchange kisses, after their women’s singles semifinal match on Wimbledon’s number one court on Saturday. Graf won the match 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final of the tournament, where she will meet Lindsay Davenport of the USA.
Steffi Graf (right) and Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic exchange kisses, after their women’s singles semifinal match on Wimbledon’s number one court on Saturday. Graf won the match 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-3 to reach the final of the tournament, where she will meet Lindsay Davenport of the USA.— AP/PTI
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Kasparov defeats Karpov
FRANKFURT. July 3 — World chess champion Garry Kasparov bested his bitter rival, Anatoly Karpov, and forced another Russian, Vladimir Kramnik, into a draw to win the Siemens Giants Chess Tournament yesterday.

England race to 7-wicket victory
BIRMINGHAM, July 3 — Nightwatchman Alex Tudor hit an astonishing 99 not out to lead England to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first Test today with two days to spar.

Boldon, Jones race to glory
GENEVA, July 3 — Trinidad’s Ato Boldon beat out world record holder and training partner Maurice Greene, winning the men’s 100 metre showcase at the Athletissima Track Meet yesterday.

Brazil, USA in semis
STANFORD, July 3 — Five years to the day after their male counterparts met in the World Cup on the same soccer field, Brazil and the USA will battle tomorrow in the semifinals of the women’s World Cup.

BCCI to select team in August
BARODA, July 3 — Mohd Azharuddin’s fate at the helm of the Indian cricket team will be decided when national selectors meet in the first week of August to pick the captain and team for the triangular one-day series to be held in Sri Lanka from August 22 to 31, board sources today said.

Govt move to hit PCA hard
CHANDIGARH, July 3 — If the Punjab Government goes ahead and recovers entertainment tax from the Punjab Cricket Association for hosting the India-Pakistan cricket match at the PCA stadium in S.A.S. Nagar last year it will deliver a body blow to international cricket in the state, according to Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, President of the Punjab Cricket Association.

50 national pool footballers shortlisted
CALCUTTA, July 3 — The All-India Football Federation today released the list of 50 reserve national football players for 1999-2000 who may figure in the national team for various championships.

Cagers disgruntled with BFI
PATIALA, July 3 — As the Indian basketball is being provided a professional touch by the Honk Kong-based National Basketball Council, the top players of the country are up in arms over the step-motherly treatment being meted out to them by the Basketball Federation of India.

Jeev joint third after 2nd round
NEW DELHI, July 3 — Jeev Milkha Singh, looking well set for lone occupancy of the third spot, double-bogied the 15th hole and had to share the third place with four others at the end of the second round of theb Euro 1.4 millon Murphy’s Irish Open, being played at the Glen Druid golf course, 10 miles south of Dublin.

Murali captures 37 in 3 matches
LONDON, July 3 — Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan helped Lancashire overcome Essex at Old Trafford yesterday and took his tally to 37 wickets in his three county championship matches so far.

Simi tied for 45th place
NEW DELHI, July 3 — Good news finally trickled in from the elite Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association Tour when Simi Mehra, the only Indian lady professional playing the Tour, overcame her terrible form by making only her second cut this season at the $ 900,000 Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.

 



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Sampras, Agassi set up title clash

LONDON, july 3 (Reuters) — Andre Agassi outgunned second seed Pat Rafter 7-5 7-6 6-2 today to reach the men’s Wimbledon singles final and regain the world number one ranking he last held in February 1996.

Agassi, seeded fourth, will meet top seed and defending champion Pete Sampras in an all-American final on July 4, Independence Day after Sampras beat Henman 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-4.

Agassi’s blistering ground strokes and astonishing speed around the court proved too hot for U.S. Open champion Rafter as the 1992 Wimbledon champion booked his spot in the final in two hours two minutes.

Australian Rafter spurned two set points in the opening set and Agassi, who won the French Open last month, immediately broke before serving out to edge ahead.

He won the second 7-5 on a tiebreak, smashing a backhand return past the advancing Rafter on set point.

Rafter’s head dropped and he was broken in the second game of the third set after missing three volleys. He never recovered and Agassi broke him again for 6-2 and victory.

Five times champion Sampras strode into the Wimbledon final breaking centre court hearts with a 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 win over local hero tim Henman.

The top-seeded American, with little match practice this week after lengthy rain breaks and a quarter-final default win, took the first set to find his rhythm, serving three double faults in his first service game as he was broken.

Sixth seed Henman, who has never beaten Sampras in six meetings including last year’s semifinal here, put up a brave fight, producing some sharp volleys and fine backhand passes.

But despite passionate crowd support, he could not match Sampras’s power and range of shots and the American now has the chance to set a modern era record of six men’s Wimbledon singles titles on July 4, Independence Day.

American Lindsay Davenport raced into her first Wimbledon final and back to the top of the world rankings when she beat qualifier Alexandra Stevenson 6-1 6-1 in a centre court semifinal today.

Davenport, number one for the first time at the end of last year, takes over from Martina Hingis of Switzerland, the top seed here who was knocked out in the first round by Jelena Dokic, another qualifier.

Stevenson beat Australian Dokic in the quarter-finals.

Stevenson, who played nine Wimbledon singles matches in three weeks to get to the semifinal, was not disgraced and will rue the seven break points she failed to take advantage of against the third seed during the 47-minute match.

“It was a tough match, Lindsay played very well and she just showed why she is number one”, Stevenson said.

“She played to her top potential on every point. When I play a top three, top five (player) I have to be concentrated on every single point”.

Seven-time winner Steffi Graf reached the women’s singles final at Wimbledon today by beating Croatian Mirjana Lucic 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-3.

Neither 17-year-old Lucic Nor Graf seemed able to hold serve at the start of their semifinal on court one.

The 30-year-old German looked to have upped her game at just the right time to break for 5-4 against Lucic, who at 134 was the lowest-ranked player in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

But Graf, sporting a strapping on her left thigh, found herself on the end of some vicious Lucic forehands and the Croatian achieved the eighth break of serve to level at 5-5.

Lucic, who knocked out fourth seed Monica Seles in the third round, held to love in the next game and Graf suddenly found herself at 15-40 and facing two sets points against her. The German dug deep and produced three huge serves to force the tiebreak.

It was Graf’s first of the tournament, while Lucic had won all her previous three and true to form Lucic roared through it 7/3, her crushing forehand reminiscent of Graf in a younger day.

The second set went with serve until at 5-4 and with Lucic serving Graf produced a killer break to take the second set as her Croatian opponent missed a simple volley.

The German was quickly a break up in the decider as Lucic erred on her forehand and suddenly Graf was 3-0 ahead with her fourth love service game.

Lucic, making her first Grand Slam singles semifinal appearance, was in unknown territory and could do nothing as Graf held again to love to go 5-2 up.

Serving for the match at 5-3 Graf took victory when Lucic netted a return on her first match point.Top



 

Paes-Bhupathi duo moves into final

LONDON, July 3 (AFP) — Indian top seeds Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi recorded their second five-set win in succession to reach the men’s doubles finals at Wimbledon today.

Paes and Bhupathi beat French duo Olivieer Delaitre and Fabrice Santoro 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, (7/5), 4-6, 7-5 and will play Dutchman Paul Haarhuis and his American partner Jared Palmer in the final.

The Indians, who won the French Open doubles title last month, came from two sets down to beat Canadian Sebastien Lareau and his US partner Alex O’Brien in five sets in the quarterfinals.

This is the world number one pair’s third straight Grand Slam final appearance, after finishing losing finalist at the Australian Open in January and winning the French Open. The Indians had lost a classic five set duel to Pat Rafter (Australia) and Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden) at Melbourne Park, but made amends by winning their maiden doubles Grand Slam title beating Croatian Goran Ivanisevic and Jeff Tarango.Top


 

McEnroe, Graf enter semis

LONDON, July 3 (AFP) — John McEnroe and Steffi Graf roared into the mixed doubles semifinals at Wimbledon yesterday when they beat American eighth seeds Venus Williams and Justin Gimelstob in straight sets.

McEnroe, the 40-year-old three-time singles winner who hasn’t played at Wimbledon since 1992, partnered Graf to a 6-4, 6-3 success at a packed centre court.

The ninth seeds were given a walkover into the quarterfinals earlier yesterday when American Lindsay Davenport and her Australian partner Todd Woodbridge pulled out of the event so that Davenport could concentrate on her singles semifinal.

Yesterday’s loss was another blow to Williams, beaten in three sets by Graf in the singles quarterfinals on Thursday. Top


 

Tracing Stevenson’s paternity

LONDON, July 3 (DPA) It’s official. American Wimbledon qualifier Alexandra Stevenson is the love-child of former basketball great Dr. J.

Julius Erving, now an executive with the Orlando Magic, admitted in a statement that he fathered the child in 1980 when Stevenson’s mother Samantha was a sports writer covering his team, the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I acknowledge a relationship with her mother in 1980,’’ he said. “My wife (who has known from the beginning) and children are aware of this situation”.

“All matters concerning Alexandra since her birth have been handled privately through counsel. I am pleased to see Alexandra, at 18, doing so well and I applaud her mother’s efforts and courage.’’

The mystery of the player’s parentage emerged during the fortnight, with Stevenson and her mother refusing to confirm or deny that the basketball hall of fame player was the father. But a Florida newspaper this week produced a copy of Stevenson’s birth certificate with Erving listed as father.

Erving had at first denied the link with the player.

Martin may step down: Good-natured Todd Martin is prepared to step down to let Pete Sampras play doubles when the USA Host Australia in the Davis Cup later this month in Boston.

Martin got a taste of what to expect from the opposition as he went out to Aussie Pat Rafter in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

Sampras has snubbed the Davis Cup in recent years, but suffered a change of heart after watching his former team-mates beat Britain in the first round.

He then offered to play only doubles so as not to deny Martin and Jim Courier, the heroes of the April weekend, their shot.

“I think Pete should be playing singles,’’ said Martin, known as something of a good sport. “I don’t know if Pete thinks that”.

“I don’t know if Gully (team captain Tom Gullikson) thinks that, and I don’t know if Jim (Courier) thinks that, but I want our best team on court.’’

Rafter said he, for one, would not give up a singles place and he didn’t see why Martin should either. The Aussies will be without Mark Philippoussis, out for up to six weeks after injuring a knee in his quarterfinal loss against Sampras.

A traditionalist: When it comes to Wimbledon, American Pete Sampras remains a tried-and-true traditionalist in the staunch British tradition.

The top seed is totally against putting a roof over the centre court, that’s despite the buckets of rain which disrupted much of this week’s play.

“I don’t think they should touch this stadium”, said the five-times champion. “This is the way it’s been for many, many years, and to change it would be a mistake”.

“If you put a roof on centre court, what are you going to do with the other courts and scheduling? It’s part of what makes this tournament Wimbledon, the rain delays. It’s just part of it and a roof is a bad call”.

That argument doesn’t wash with the Australian Open, where a covered main showcase court ensures that at least some play can continue on one of the rare days that it rains in the January Australian summer. Top


 

Kasparov defeats Karpov

FRANKFURT. July 3 (AP) — World chess champion Garry Kasparov bested his bitter rival, Anatoly Karpov, and forced another Russian, Vladimir Kramnik, into a draw to win the Siemens Giants Chess Tournament yesterday.

Kasparov and Karpov, in their first matchup in three years, played to draws against each other in the first three days of the tournament, part of Frankfurt’s chess classic ’99 which began on Tuesday.

In yesterday’s game, however, Karpov got into time trouble and lost a pawn on the 24th move, giving Kasparov the opening to win 19 moves later.

Kasparov clinched the tournament by drawing with Kramnik, then played to another draw with Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand in the final round to finish with 7.5 points.

Anand, who also beat Karpov yesterday, tied for second with Kramnik at 6 points each, Karpov brought up the rear with 4.5 points.

Karpov holds the world chess federation title, but Kasparov, regarded as the true world champion, broke with the organisation in 1993 to form the Professional Chess Association, of which he is the reigning champion.Top


 

England race to 7-wicket victory

BIRMINGHAM, July 3 (Reuters) — Nightwatchman Alex Tudor hit an astonishing 99 not out to lead England to a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first Test today with two days to spar.

Brought in to protect the more established batsmen when the first wicket of the England second innings fell last evening, fast bowler Tudor stayed until the end of the match, making the winning hit with his 21st boundary.

His 99 not out marked the highest-ever score by a nightwatchman for England but remained one tantalising run short of his first century in first-class cricket.

“All I wanted to do was win the game, that was the important thing. I don’t see myself as a tail-ender and I’ll continue to work hard on my batting,” Tudor, named ‘man of the match,’ said.

On a much brighter morning, batting conditions were far easier than on the first two days when 31 wickets had fallen at an average of little more than 15 runs each.

Resuming on the third day at three for one, England adopted a positive approach from the start and raced to their target of 208 from less than 44 overs.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said his side had thrown the match away when, after taking a first innings lead of 100, they tumbled to 52 for eight in their second innings.

“We didn’t bat well enough and they took the game out of our hands,” he said. “Then we fell into the same trap as England of bowling too short.”

England took full advantage, making 65 in the first hour, 124 by lunch and wrapping up victory by mid-afternoon as batsmen at last dominated bowlers for the first time in the match, the first in the four-Test series.

Mark Butcher (33) and captain Nasser Hussain (44) were the only batsmen to fall, Hussain’s first nine scoring strokes having been boundaries.Top


 

Boldon, Jones race to glory

GENEVA, July 3 (AP) — Trinidad’s Ato Boldon beat out world record holder and training partner Maurice Greene, winning the men’s 100 metre showcase at the Athletissima Track Meet yesterday.

In the women’s 100m, American sprint sensation Marion Jones proved she still has what it takes in the short sprint, winning with the season’s fastest time of 10.80.

Boldon took advantage of the warm lakeside air, blitzing down the lightening quick pontaise track in 9.86, tying the season’s second-best time and his personal best — again.

“The last thing my mother said was `don’t run 9.86 again’,” laughed Boldon, who has run the 100m in 9.86 four times. “Maybe they were expecting a record but it is nothing to be ashamed of when you hit your personal best for the second time in three weeks.”

Boldon also ran 9.86 in Athens earlier this season, but finished runnerup to Greene, who pulverised the world record in 9.79.

This time, however, Boldon finished 0.07 ahead of Greene, who appeared disappointed after the race. “If it were anybody else I’d probably be upset,” said Greene. “But I’m not unhappy. I believe I ran the best race that I could today. He just ran better than me.”

Britain’s Jason Gardener crossed the sub-10 mark for the first time of his career to finish third in 9.98, while Olympic silver medallist Frankie Fredericks of Namibia finished fourth in 10.0 flat.

Red-hot Canadian Bruny Surin, who has run under 10 seconds his last three races and clocked a wind-assisted 9.88 at the Canadian championships last week, pulled out at the last moment due to illness.

Jones, fresh off a victory in the 200m in Oslo on Wednesday, shaved a full 0.10 off the year’s previous best mark in the 100m set by Nigeria’s Glory Alozie.

Sevatheda Fynes of the Bahamas finished runnerup in 10.91, ahead of American Inger Miller, the new US 100m champion, who finished third in 11.02.

While she had completely dominated the 100m event last year, winning all seven of the grand prix races, this season the powerful American Jones appears focused on the 200m, even skipping the shorter sprint at the US championships. Jones still remains unbeaten in the track events since losing to Marlene Ottey in the 100m in Tokyo in September 1997, aside from a double false start disqualification in the 100m final in Durham in April.

Only recently recovered from a thigh injury, which forced him to pull out of a 200m showdown with Greene at the US championships last week, Michael Johnson kicked off his European season with a clean victory in the 400m, crossing in 43.92, improving the season’s previous best by 0.29.Top


 

Brazil, USA in semis

STANFORD, (USA) July 3 (Reuters) — Five years to the day after their male counterparts met in the World Cup on the same soccer field, Brazil and the USA will battle tomorrow in the semifinals of the women’s World Cup.

In 1994, the South Americans took a 1-0 victory en route to winning the cup 13 days later. Now, playing on the USA Independence Day holiday, the hosts are looking for revenge.

“It was an historic game for sure, and a very honourable game for the USA against the tournament champions,” said USA coach Tony Dicicco.

“We’re going to go after this victory as hard as any we have ever gone after,” he said.

“I hope that July 4 repeats itself because if it does, we will be in the final and our dream will still be alive,” said Brazil coach Wilson Oliveira. “It’s the same date and the same place again, but each match has a different history, a different story.”

This time, the odds favour the North Americans, who fought back twice to defeat Germany 3-2 in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

But the USA will have to contend with Sissi, the tournament’s top scorer with seven goals, including the game-winner in extra-time on Thursday as Brazil defeated Nigeria 4-3 after blowing a 3-0 lead.

Fielding a more disciplined and experienced defence will be vital against the South Americans, who love to attack.

“The US team is always well-prepared,” said Sissi. “They play a good team game and we have to keep our heads against them.”

For the USA 10 different players have scored goals, including Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett, Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan and Tisha Venturini, who have multiple goals.

Brazil’s midfield is led by Sissi, Cidinha and Raquel, who link with forwards Pretinha and Maicon.

In the other semifinal, holders Norway meet China at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The cohesive Chinese have swept through the tournament in a quiet, workmanlike fashion.

“We’re very stable,” said China coach Ma Yuanan. “This game is about tactics, strategy and mental poise. It’s a matter of life and death.”

“We’re not going back to Bejing just yet - we’re going to fight.”

Led by forward Sun Wen (five goals), the Chinese midfield, run by Liu Ailing and Zaho Lihong, often combines with defenders to attack on the flanks with deadly precision. Jin Yan (three goals) is also dangerous up front.

The Norwegians face a defence that has yielded only two goals

“It’s going to be tough,” said Norway coach Per-Magthias Hogmo, “They (China) always are, but we’re prepared.”

Norway’s squad is led by veteran defender Linda Medalen, midfield dynamo Hege Riise and forwards Kristen Aarones and Marianne Pettersen. Goalkeeper Bente Nordby has conceded only three goals in four games.

The USA, Brazil and Norway have scored 16 goals apiece, China 14.

The finals will be played on July 10 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.Top


 

BCCI to select team in August

BARODA, July 3 (PTI) — Mohd Azharuddin’s fate at the helm of the Indian cricket team will be decided when national selectors meet in the first week of August to pick the captain and team for the triangular one-day series to be held in Sri Lanka from August 22 to 31, board sources today said.

With master batsman Sachin Tendulkar declaring in Chennai yesterday that he was not interested in the job, Ajay Jadeja, Anil Kumble, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have come into contention alongwith Azhar, the sources told PTI.Top


 

Govt move to hit PCA hard
By Abhijit Chatterjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 3 — If the Punjab Government goes ahead and recovers entertainment tax from the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) for hosting the India-Pakistan cricket match at the PCA stadium in S.A.S. Nagar last year it will deliver a body blow to international cricket in the state, according to Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, President of the Punjab Cricket Association.

The Punjab Government has slapped a tax of approximately Rs 1 crore on the association for the sale of tickets for the international cricket match as well as a star nite held at the same venue last year. Also, the government has informed the association that it will have to pay entertainment tax for the Pandove benefit match scheduled to be played on July 10.

While the association does not mind paying the entertainment tax on the star nite it has reacted strongly to the demand of the government to pay tax on a sporting fixture. Also, the association has questioned the wisdom of slapping entertainment tax on a benefit match for a former cricketer who has done so much for the game.

Mr Bindra said senior functionaries of the association proposed to meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal , on Monday to present the association’s case for grant of exemption from paying entertainment tax.

In this connection Mr Bindra pointed out that no cricket association in the country pays any entertainment tax for conducting international matches. Also, the Income Tax Department has granted exemption not only to the Board of Control for Cricket in India but also to the Punjab Cricket Association from the payment of income tax on profits made from matches because all profits made are ploughed back into the game.

Mr Bindra disclosed that the association had applied for exemption from entertainment tax 30 days prior to the match as per rules. In the absence of any communication from the Finance Department it was assumed that exemption had been granted. “It was the duty of the department to communicate to the association that exemption had not been granted. In that case the match could have been shifted elsewhere. In any case how can the department charge tax from a back date ?” he asked.

Mr Bindra said in case the Punjab Government went ahead and recovered the tax then it would end all international cricket in the state as the Board of Control for Cricket in India would not allot any international tie to the PCA as part of the profits earned are taken by the board for promoting cricket .

The PCA President pointed out that cricket had played a major part in ushering peace in the troubled state. “Even during the height of terrorist violence in the state the PCA organised international matches not only in S.A.S. Nagar but also at Jalandhar and Amritsar. And now , instead of encouraging the association the government wants to recover arrears of entertainment tax.”

Mr Bindra pointed out that all other sports associations went with a begging bowl whenever they wanted to host any meet, national or international. Cricket was the only association which conducted its activity without any help from the government. All income from the game was used to promote the game in the state and therefore it was wrong to call the association a private body as has been done by the Finance Department.

Mr Bindra said if the PCA was compelled to pay the tax then the Punjab Olympic Association which was to host the national games next year would also be forced to pay entertainment because their events too would be held under gates.

Mr Bindra questioned the stand of the government which on the one hand was promoting sport by making budgetary provisions and on the other was curbing the growth of sport by slapping entertainment tax for events held in the past.Top


 

50 national pool footballers shortlisted

CALCUTTA, July 3 (PTI) — The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) today released the list of 50 reserve national football players for 1999-2000 who may figure in the national team for various championships.

The 45-match restriction during the year would be applicable on these players, according to a Press note issued by the AIFF.

The list would be subject to modification if necessary the note added.

Following is the list of players: Hemanta Dora, Juje Siddi, Prashanta Dora, Sebastian Nato, S.G. Mukherjee, Virender Singh, V.N. Dinesh, Jules Alberto, Anit Ghosh, A.S. Firoz, Debjit Ghosh, Deepak Mondal, Daljit Singh, Falguni Dutta, Feroz Sharif, Franky Barreto, Mahesh Gawli, Prabhjot Singh, Reazul Mustafa, Ratan Singh, Roberto Fernandes, Ranjan Dev, Rocky Barreto, Amit Das, Andrew Lewis, Basudev Mondal, Bruno Coutinho, Carlton Chapman, Francis Silveira, James Singh, Lolendra Singh, Noel Wilson, Renedy Singh, Rampal, S. Venkatesh, Tejinder Kumar, Abdul Khalique, Bhaichung Bhutia, Biswarup Bishy, Bijen Singh, Dipendu Biswas, Hardip Singh Sangha, Hardeep Gill, I.M. Vijayan, Manjit Singh, Raman Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, Syed Sabir Pasha, Surjeet Singh, Sheikh Sanjeeb.Top


 

Cagers disgruntled with BFI
From Our Sports Reporter

PATIALA, July 3 — As the Indian basketball is being provided a professional touch by the Honk Kong-based National Basketball Council (NBC), the top players of the country are up in arms over the step-motherly treatment being meted out to them by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

Earlier women’s hockey, when it found itself a neglected lot, broke away from the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) to form the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation (IWHF). Now it seems it is the turn of the country’s top women cagers to form a new body, in the process completely delinking itself from the BFI.

Sources confirm that talks are going on at various levels among women cagers to form a separate federation and get it affiliated to the Asian Basketball Federation (ABF). After the senior nationals held at Jaipur in February, the BFI had more than 45 days to select probables and put them through a training camp before sending the team to the prestigious Asian Basketball Championship (ABC). The players felt that the players who had given exceptional performances in the nationals were cold shouldered as the BFI decided against sending the national women’s squad to Japan.

Preferring anonymity, a former international women cager said: ‘The BFI has virtually ruined the game in the country. We enjoy good standard in Asia. In 1996, India finished second in Group ‘B’. This time we could have moved into Group ‘A’ but the BFI virtually shut the door on us.

If the women are upset, men cagers are not behind. The Asian Basketball Championship (ABC) for men is scheduled to be held in Chinese Taipei from August 28 to September 5, yet till now there has been no confirmation of India participating in the event and nor has the BFI gone ahead with any training camp.

In the past some highly talented cagers had emerged from the ABC meets. In the last edition of the ABC, Indian Bank cager Jayashankar was selected in the Asian All-Star team which played a series of matches at Seoul.

Sources confirm that Mr MaCarthy of the NBC is making contacts with people here in an effort to see the game being controlled in the country by professional people.

This is being done to tap the huge Indian basketball market which in turn will help top Indian cagers earn more money while playing in international tournaments. Top


 

Jeev joint third after 2nd round
From Our Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI, July 3 — Jeev Milkha Singh, looking well set for lone occupancy of the third spot, double-bogied the 15th hole and had to share the third place with four others at the end of the second round of theb Euro 1.4 millon Murphy’s Irish Open, being played at the Glen Druid golf course, 10 miles south of Dublin.

According to information reaching here, the Hero Honda-sponsored Jeev shot a two-under 69 to aggregate seven-under 135 and was placed along with world No 6 Colin Montgomerie, Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy, Germany’s Alex Cejka and Jarrod Moseley of Australia.

At the 7,012-yard, par-71 course, Jeev began badly with a bogey on the par-3 second hole and despite a birdie on the par-5 fifth, he was still one-over after making another bogey on the par-4 sixth hole. Thereafter, the Indian ace caught fire as he made four birdies in the next five hole (he missed out on the ninth) and was leading the tournament at one stage when he went four-under for the day with another birdie on the short par-4 14th hole. But the double bogey on the par-4 15th pulled him two strokes back and he managed only pars in the next three holes to finish the day at two-under 69.

The 27-year-old Chandigarh profesional continued having trouble off the tee and missed as many as nine fairways. But his putting helped for the second successive day as he completed the round in 26 putts, as against 24 yesterday.

Leading the tournament were Denmark’s Soren Hansen, and Welshman Phil Price at 10-under 132. Hansen, who has a penchant for the unexpected, holed his eight-iron second shot on the par-4 first hole for an eagle-two, and added another regulation eagle on the par-5 16th. During the German Open this year, the rookie made a hole-in-one to win a $ 40,000 BMW sports car. Price, on the other hand, returned a bogey-free card punctuated with six birdies.

Colin Montgomerie, looking to win the European Tour Order of Merit for the seventh successive year, made three birdies in the last five holes to catch up with Jeev and others. Spanish sensation Sergio Garcia was tied for 12th place at five-under and so was overnight leader Craig Hainline, who shot a one-over 72 after his 65 yesterday. World No 9 Lee Westwood was tied 16th at four-under along with German legend Bernhard Langer. England’s David Carter, the defending champion and 1996 Honda-Siel PGA champion at the AGC, Dhaula Kuan, also made the cut and was tied for 28th place at two-under 140. Also making the cut was explosive American John Daly, who made an eagle on the 16th hole to finish at one-under 141 and tied for 43rd place.

The cut was applied at level-par 142 and among those who missed out were India-born Swede Daniel Chopra, who played a three-under 68 second round but was undone by his 76 on the first day, and Spanish maestro Seve Ballesteros.

Scores (after 36 hole): Ist: 132- Soren Hansen (Den) 69,63, Phil Price (Wal) 67,65; T-3rd: 135 - Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 66, 69, Jarrod Moseley (Aus) 66, 69, Colin Montgomerie (Sco) 68,67, Alex Cjeka (Ger) 67, 68, Eamonn Darcy (Ire) 68, 67; T- 8th: 136 - Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70, 66, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 70, 66, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 70, 66, Andrew McLardy (Sco) 69, 67.Top


 

Murali captures 37 in 3 matches

LONDON, July 3 (AFP) — Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan helped Lancashire overcome Essex at Old Trafford yesterday and took his tally to 37 wickets in his three county championship matches so far.

Lancashire claimed their second championship win of the season, thanks to six for 61 from Muralitharan who had match figures of 13 for 134.

Paul Grayson (76) top-scored for Essex before he ran into the star of the show, while Peter Such was forced to take second billing to Muralitharan after he also claimed 13 wickets for a career-best 13 for 213.

Min Patel also took six wickets — a season’s best six for 43 — as Kent wrapped up their second championship win of the season inside three days against Warwickshire at Maidstone.

Kent won by 91 runs after Warwickshire, starting the day on 104 for seven, were bowled out for 156.

Alamgir Sheriyar became the first bowler to claim 50 first-class wickets this season as Worcestershire completed a 112-run victory over Northamptonshire.

The 25-year-old left-arm paceman picked up three for 56, including the key scalps of Matthew Hayden and Mal Loye in the space of five balls, and helped dismiss the home side for 177.

The championship table’s bottom club, Durham, face a mountainous task to beat league leaders Surrey at The Oval. They still need 334 to reach a victory target of 366 after closing on 32 for two in their second innings.

Pakistani World Cup star Saqlain Mushtaq took five for 72 to reduce the northern county to 217 all out.

Yorkshire were still 111 runs short of Leicestershire’s first-innings total of 297 after they closed on 134 for five in their second innings.

In answer to the visitors’ pitiful 52 first time around, Darren Maddy carried his bat for an unbeaten 158 which inspired the champions to 297 in reply.

Former England wicketkeeper Jack Russell claimed his 1000th first-class catch as Gloucestershire battled to maintain the upper hand at Bristol.

He reached the milestone when diving full length down the leg side to dismiss Tim Robinson off Jon Lewis.

The visitors had done well to concede a first innings lead of only 48, bowling out Gloucestershire for 317 after they had resumed on 210 for three. But after wiping out the deficit and reaching 140 for two, a middle order collapse saw Notts slump to 161 for six.

They added 15 more runs without further loss, and were leading by 128 when rain and bad light brought an early close.

Australian batsman Michael Di Venuto led a Sussex fightback against Somerset at Taunton with his third championship century of the season.

After following on 338 runs behind, Sussex were indebted to a brilliant 105 from Di Venuto and to half-centuries from Wasim Khan, Robin Martin-Jenkins and Umar Rashid.

Hampshire are just four wickets from victory against Glamorgan at Swansea. The hosts still trail Hampshire’s first-innings total of 345 by 81 runs with Steve James’ 53 providing the only bright spot as they crumbled to 102 for six.Top


 

Simi tied for 45th place
From Our Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI, July 3 — Good news finally trickled in from the elite Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association (LPGA) Tour when Simi Mehra, the only Indian lady professional playing the Tour, overcame her terrible form by making only her second cut this season at the $ 900,000 Jamie Farr Kroger Classic.

According to information reaching here on Saturday from Sylvania, Ohio, the Calcutta girl shot a three-over 75 on the second day following her three-under 68 on the opening day and was tied for the 45th place in the tournament being played at the par-71 Highland Meadows Course.

Simi, who had some sterling results last season, including a fourth place finish in the Australian Ladies Masters and sixth in the Ladies British Open has been struggling this year. To add to her misfortune, she had a series of injuries. But a good finish here can go a long way in restoring her confidence.

Leading the tournament was Australian Mardi Lunn at 10-under 132, while Peruvian Jenny Lidback was second at seven-under 135. Australian superstar Sarrie Webb shot seven birdies in a row from her third hole onwards, but could only manage a five-under 66 to be tied for the third place at six-under 136. Korean sensation Se Ri Pak, who is the defending champion here and holds the course record of 10-under 61 which she shot last year, was among those tied for the eighth place at five-under 137.Top



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