August 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India
El Guerrouj signs off with message of
Tendulkar in Sir Bradman’s ‘dream team’
Onus will be on senior
Saurav Ganguly writes
Injured Cairns to miss Pak
“Games put off indefinitely”
Afro-Asian Games: panel reviews preparations
Kubo pulls out due to knee injury
Easy wins for El Guerrouj,
Zelezny Edmonton, August 13 In the final race of the 10-day competition yesterday, the USA easily won the men’s 4x100 m relay to tie Russia atop the medals standing with 19, with the Americans winning nine golds to six for the Russians. El Guerrouj of Morocco, the world record holder, won a third straight world championship in the 1,500 metres, easily pulling away on the last lap and even waving to the crowd before crossing the finish line. Zelezny did even better, setting a championship record in the javelin with a heave of 92.80 metres for his third world title to go with three Olympic gold medals. Other winners on the final day of the championships were Lidia Simon of Romania in the marathon, Hestrie Cloete of South Africa in the high jump, and the US in the men’s 4x400 m relay team.
Edmonton, August 13
In the final race of the 10-day competition yesterday, the USA easily won the men’s 4x100 m relay to tie Russia atop the medals standing with 19, with the Americans winning nine golds to six for the Russians.
El Guerrouj of Morocco, the world record holder, won a third straight world championship in the 1,500 metres, easily pulling away on the last lap and even waving to the crowd before crossing the finish line.
Zelezny did even better, setting a championship record in the javelin with a heave of 92.80 metres for his third world title to go with three Olympic gold medals.
Other winners on the final day of the championships were Lidia Simon of Romania in the marathon, Hestrie Cloete of South Africa in the high jump, and the US in the men’s 4x400 m relay team.
Mutola of Mozambique continued her close rivalry with Stephanie Graf, catching the Austrian at the finish line for her second world 800 m title. That made her the reigning Olympic, world indoor and world outdoor champion.
“It’s a dream come true,” mutola said after her desperate sprint over the final 100 metres caught and passed Graf a step before the finish in one of the closest races of the championships.
In the marathon, Simon finally got her gold, outlasting Japan’s Reiko Tosa to win after an Olympic silver medal last year and twice taking the bronze at the world championships.
She hung back early before chasing down leader Constantina Dita, also of Romania, just before the 35-km mark. It became two-woman race between Simon and Tosa, and Simon pulled away as they entered the stadium to win by five seconds in a time of 2 hours, 26:01 minutes.
Simon, (27), was blowing kisses to the crowd as she approached the finish line.
“The medal means everything to me,” she said, especially after her eight-second loss to Japan’s Naoko Takahashi in the Sydney Olympics. “I was thinking all the time of Sydney.”
Tosa credited Simon for withstanding repeated attempts to shake her off as the two ran alone over the final 6 km.
“When there were just two of us, I was making many long sprints to wear Simon out, but she held on,” said Tosa, also a second-place finisher in the Tokyo and Nagoya marathons last year. “I knew she would have a better sprint if we entered the stadium together.”
El Guerrouj needed no final heroics for his victory, easily winning in a time of 3 minutes, 30:68 seconds, then dropping to his knees to outline a message on the Commonwealth Stadium track.
“It’s an incredible day. I can’t believe it,” he said, confirming it would be his last 1,500 m race as he plans to move up to the 5,000 m. “I’m here to give the fans a show. I’m so happy.”
Bernard Lagat of Kenya took the silver and Driss Maazouzi of France the bronze.
Zelezny cemented his status as the greatest javelin thrower ever by edging defending champion Aki Parviainen of Finland, while Konstadinos gatsioudis of Greece took bronze.
The 35-year-old Czech had earlier won the world title in 1993 and 1995, and also was the Olympic champion at Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.
He set the championships record on his second attempt, bettering parviainen’s mark of 91.31 m. They were the only two to break the 90-metres mark, with Gatsioudis finishing with 89.95 m.
“I am older and I’m throwing better and better, and I don’t know when it will stop,” Zelezny said.
Cloete of South Africa won the high jump over defending champion Inga Babakova of Ukraine, even though both cleared 2 metres. Cloete earlier jumped 1.97 metres on her first attempt, while Babakova had a miss that cost her the title.
Kajsa Bergqvist of Sweden took the bronze at 1.97 metres.
“South Africa saved the best until the last,” Cloete said of her country’s only triumph of the championships.
That also proved true in the 4x100 m elay, in which South Africa set a national record to win the silver medal behind the victorious Americans.
Tim Montgomery, the 100 metres silver medallist, anchored the US team as Maurice Greene, the world record holder and 100 metres gold winner, missed the race due to leg problems. Lead runner John Drummond also sat out with a leg injury.
El Guerrouj signs off with message of love
Edmonton, August 13
The 27-year-old world record holder, who is to step up to 5,000m without ever winning the Olympic title at 1,500m, was so comfortable he started celebrating half way down the home straight and then having crossed the line knelt down and wrote out “I love you all” on the track.
El Guerrouj, who was watched by his father Al-Ayash for the first time at a major championships, said the title made up for the huge disappointment in Sydney when Kenya’s Noah Ngeny beat him for the very first time.
“This victory has banished all those memories from Sydney,” he said.
“I have been helped enormously by those around me since those dark and depressing days and I dedicate the title to them.
“I am delighted to leave this distance that I love having regained my respect and shown the people who doubted me that I had not lost my talent,” he added.
Kenya’s Bernard Lagat came through for the silver though he never looked like closing on El Guerrouj after the master had taken the lead off his team-mate Adil Kaouch with 600 metres to go.
However Lagat, who had been a late call-up to the team after Ngeny was dropped for not turning up at the Kenyan training camp, was ecstatic at his performance.
“I saw that El Guerrouj was in the best shape I have ever seen him in,” Lagat said.
“So I decided to race for the silver and given that I had short notice to prepare mentally for these championships I am really pleased,” he added.
Another Moroccan took the bronze though this was the naturalised Frenchman Driss Maazouzi, who held on really well and passed another Kenyan, William Chirchir, on the final bend.
The 31-year-old, who became eligible to run for France in 1999, acted as if he had won the title itself as he hugged anybody who came within his range and declared himself prepared to take over El Guerrouj’s mantle
Paes-Bhupathi duo wins doubles
New Delhi, August 13
Tendulkar in Sir Bradman’s ‘dream team’
Though two other Indians besides Tendulkar — Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev — were among a pool of 69 cricketers chosen, only Tendulkar could make the coveted Bradman’s grade, according to a book, Bradman’s Best, chronicled by Roland Perry and published today.
Exclusive extract from the book was published in The Times here today.
The dream team selected by Bradman, with the understanding that it would be revealed only after his death, includes (in batting order with 12th man) —
Barry Richards (South Africa), Arthur Morris (Australia), Don Bradman (Australia), Sachin Tendulkar (India), Garry Sobers (West Indies), Don Tallon (Australia), Ray Lindwall (Australia), Dennis Lillee (Australia), Alec Bedser (England), Bill O’Reilly (Australia), Clarrie Grimmett (Australia) and Wally Hammond (England)(12th man).
According to the report, the legendary batsman picked six Test captains, representatives from five nations spanning almost 80 years, one player from the present (Tendulkar) and seven Australians, including himself, in his first XI.
Bradman ranked Tendulkar above Brian Lara, Graeme Pollock, George Headley, Wally Hammond, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Viv Richards, Everton Weekes, Stan McCabe, Charlie Macartney, Neil Harvey, Greg Chappell, Denis Compton, Peter May and Victor Trumper.
“When you look at the statistics — and it’s fair to say they mean something if sustained over time — most of these batsmen were close in performance. You could choose any one of them to come in at No 4 and he would do well. They are all greats,” Bradman said.
Nevertheless, “from our discussions, I had the impression that he (Bradman) ranked Tendulkar and Lara marginally above the rest, Perry says in the book.
“Lara and Tendulkar proved to be the two best batsmen in the 1990s,” Bradman said. “Tendulkar has a very strong defence. But he can be very aggressive. On balance, however, Lara has probably proved more aggressive though more mercurial. Tendulkar is proving more consistent.”
In the end, he selected Tendulkar, which seemed as much based on his similarity to himself than his superiority to Lara and the others. “Bradman felt he was looking at a mirror-image of himself when he watched the little Indian,” Perry commented.
While branding these two as the best of the modern-day players, he was at pains to praise both the Waughs. He ranked Mark in technique with the best stroke makers, including Greg Chappell, and had high regard for Steve’s “tremendous” application in tough situations. Though Bradman said he did not want any “argument” regarding his selection of a best Test team, “yet there were discussions and questions,” the author said.
With so many openers of almost equal performance from whom to choose, he selected the best left-hander in his eyes, Arthur Morris, first. “What I saw in 1948 was enough for me (concerning Morris),” Bradman said.
Morris’s partner in the World XI was Barry Richards, whom Bradman considered the best right-hand opener. “He was one of the best players of the short ball, opener or otherwise, ever,” Bradman noted.
Bradman found both Len Hutton and Sunil Gavaskar fine “technicians” but thought their chief fault was lack of aggression. “It is not sufficient to keep the ball out of the stumps and not give a catch. There is a need to attack, take the initiative from the bowlers and set up conditions for the batsmen to follow,” Bradman said.
Bradman first saw the great English opener, Jack Hobbs, play in 1928 when, at 46, he was past his best. Yet Bradman still found Hobbs the best batsman — in the technical sense of stroke play and footwork — he had seen (although he could not find a place for him in his greatest side), the report said.
The next three places, three, four and five in the batting order, were easy for Bradman. He was at No 3 which left one right-hander for the No 4 position and he chose Sachin Tendulkar.
Another player for whom he would have liked to have found a place was Viv Richards. “Until I saw Viv Richards,” he commented, “I didn’t think I’d see anyone who could hit the ball as hard as Garry Sobers and Wally Hammond.
Viv, like Wally, seemed to be caressing the ball when they really thumped it.” PTI
Onus will be on senior members
Galle, August 13
India’s last series win on foreign soil came against Sri Lanka in 1993-94, and they would be hoping that the island nation proves a lucky destination for them again.
The task is extremely tough though, with the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman severely affecting the batting strength of the Indians. Ashish Nehra, who has been the most effective of Indian bowlers in the last two series, is also out due to injury.
Besides, the Sri Lankans have developed into a very balanced side in the last couple of years and are a formidable force on their home turf.
The young Indian side will also have to leave behind the disappointment of the recently concluded triangular one-day series where they were defeated in the final by the hosts for their eighth consecutive loss in a final match.
The onus will obviously be on the senior members of the team to not only lead by example but also motivate the youngsters to play to their potential.
Ganguly has been under fire for his dubious performances on and off the field but the captain will need to put aside all controversies to focus on the goal. In the absence of Tendulkar, he is probably the most charismatic member of the team and his performance would be vital for the team’s chances.
As would that of his deputy Rahul Dravid who has been the most consistent of Indian batsmen in recent times. Dravid is a totally transformed batsman after that magical knock in the Kolkata test against the Australians. He has proved he is quite capable of playing the big knocks and he would be required to come up with exactly those on this trying tour. The 40s and 50s just may not be enough.
Apart from Ganguly and Dravid, the most experienced batsmen in the Indian side are openers Shiv Sunder Das and Sadgopan Ramesh. The duo, who till the other day were being seen as part of the young brigade and getting the benefit of doubt for their mistakes, would suddenly find themselves shouldering a majority of the responsibility with their performance under more critical watch than ever.
The score of youngsters in the team have a godsend opportunity to prove their credentials and seal a permanent berth in the side. Hemang Badani, Mohammed Kaif, Dinesh Mongia and Jacob Martin would be under watch as they take on the likes of Muthiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas. And therein would lie the test of their skill and patience.
With the veteran duo of Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad back in business, the Indians should not have much worries in the bowling department despite the absence of Nehra. They bowled beautifully in the only warm-up game against the Board President’s XI thus proving that they hadn’t put any rust during their absence from international cricket.
Saurav Ganguly writes
THE first Test starts tomorrow at the beautiful town of Galle. It’s about three hours drive from the city of Colombo, with beautiful beaches and a lovely blue sea. We are playing a Test for the first time at this venue. We played a one-dayer last time in 1999 when we toured here. It’s a new Test venue and is a good change away from the city of Colombo and the slow low track at the Premadasa Stadium.
We have played one warm-up game at Colombo prior to the Test and there were only two days of play, the third day being abandoned due to playing conditions being below par. We had a decent workout in the warm-up game, with the bowlers having 100 overs to bowl. Srinath and Prasad looked in good form with the ball and Ramesh and Das with the bat. It was not the easiest of tracks to bat on the openers applied themselves well. Anyway, it was a mixed preparation for the Test match.
We have been suffering from a lot of injuries in the last 10 months and Sachin and Laxman are the new additions to the casualties. This of course means it will be a good opportunity for the young boys like Kaif and Badani to make a mark at the international level. Since the time I have been appointed captain, I have not had the pleasure of leading a full strength Indian team but it has also opened the door for a lot of young stars who have risen well to the occasion.
The ground looks in good condition and it is good to see a lot of grass in the wicket. In the past Sri Lanka used to prepare slow turners because they used to bank a lot on Muralitharan. Its good to see a lot of change with a lot of greenery on the surface. The underneath surface is hard and it is going to provide some assistance to the seamers. Both the sides will probably look to play three fast bowlers. The wicket will have a bit of carry. It will carry for the first part of the Test match and then probably turn from the third or fourth day.
According to the curator they had prepared a similar track against Pakistan two years ago, where Sri Lanka lost the Test match by an innings. The Sri Lankans have not had a good run in Test matches for the past one year losing to Pakistan, South Africa and England at home. The focus has been mostly on one-day cricket.
So it will be a good opportunity for us to do well if we play to our potential. There will be quite a few entertaining cricketers on show. The main attraction of course would be Harbhajan and Muralitharan because they are the best in the profession of spin bowling at present.
I was very happy to see the wicket, since it reflected a change in the thinking of Sri Lankan cricket. The game is sure to draw crowds for Test matches are surprisingly rare when compared to Colombo and Kandy.
Injured Cairns to miss Pak tour
Wellington, August 13
Cairns, (31), set the Pakistan tour as a target for his return to international cricket after undergoing surgery nearly six months ago to the patella tendon on his right knee.
But the player’s plans had been dashed because of the order of games in Pakistan and some pain in his knee, NZ Cricket’s fitness advisor Warren Frost said.
The three one-day internationals in Pakistan have been timed at the beginning of the tour, in September, while the three Tests are scheduled for October.
“As the one dayers are first they are too soon for him to target and a Test match loading would not be a sensible way to reintroduce him to the demands of international cricket,’’ Frost said.
Added to that was a further problem with pain in the knee, which Cairns injured during New Zealand’s tour of Africa last year.
“It’s not the same problem in terms of the tendon but it’s sort of slightly interlinked,’’ Frost told Reuters.
Cairns had started running and doing some other exercises at the NZ Cricket High Performance Centre near Christchurch but he was not bowling yet, Frost said.
“Once we’ve got him running well then we’ll move on to the bowling.’’
“Games put off indefinitely”
New Delhi, August 13
The National Games Organising Committee, at its meeting in Ludhiana on Saturday, had decided to postpone the Games, scheduled to be held from September 16 to 28, as some of the equipment were still in the process of being imported. I.S. Bindra, secretary general of the committee, had announced that the Games would now be held from November 18 to December 1.
However, Kalmadi told reporters here today there were difficulties in holding the Games on the fresh dates due to various reasons.
“So many factors like the possibility of early elections in Punjab, the various championships coming in between as well as the availability of equipments have to be ascertained before any new date is set”, Kalmadi said.
“It seems the National Games have been postponed indefinitely,” he said.
Kalmadi squarely blamed the organisers for the fiasco saying they were not ready for hosting the Games, which had already been postponed twice after originally scheduled to be held in November 2000.
“The National Games had to be postponed since Punjab, which is hosting the Games, was not ready with the equipment”, he said.
“Equipment to the tune of Rs 4 crore still need to be imported”, he said adding “the moment these (equipment) land in Mumbai, the IOA would give its clearance for the Games”.
The National Games Organising Committee had cited the proximity to the South Asian Federation Games, scheduled in Islamabad in October, and the Afro-Asian Games in Delhi in November, as another reason for the postponement. But Kalmadi said these were not the reasons at all as several states were getting ready for the National Games and had already been running coaching camps for the event.
“They cannot cover up for their lack of preparedness,” Kalmadi said.
Afro-Asian Games: panel reviews preparations New Delhi, August 13 The Games are slated to be held here from November 3 to 11. The review meeting, which decided to provide state of art facilities in each stadium, was of the view that all the work was under control. The stadiums-venues, the facilities of which were reviewed, included Indira Gandhi Stadium, Nehru Stadium, National Stadium, Talkatora swimming pool, Dr Karni Singh shooting ranges, Ambedkar Stadium, Chhatarsal Stadium, Tyagraj Stadium, Shivaji Stadium and R.K. Khanna tennis Stadium. The meeting was attended by Secretary (Sports) S.S. Sharma, Director General Sports Authority of India, Shekhar Dutt, Secretary General Indian Olympic Association, Randhir Singh, senior officials of the Delhi Government and all the agencies responsible for carrying out works at various stadia for the Afro-Asian Games. Special emphasis was given to the review of the order for electronic scoreboards, laying of synthetic turf, cabling of various electrical systems and public address system. Secretary (Sports) S.S. Sharma suggested that a three-stage quality control system should be set up for each work, especially that of synthetic turf, scoreboards, cabling, air-conditioning and provision of amenities like hot water.
New Delhi, August 13
The Games are slated to be held here from November 3 to 11.
The review meeting, which decided to provide state of art facilities in each stadium, was of the view that all the work was under control.
The stadiums-venues, the facilities of which were reviewed, included Indira Gandhi Stadium, Nehru Stadium, National Stadium, Talkatora swimming pool, Dr Karni Singh shooting ranges, Ambedkar Stadium, Chhatarsal Stadium, Tyagraj Stadium, Shivaji Stadium and R.K. Khanna tennis Stadium.
The meeting was attended by Secretary (Sports) S.S. Sharma, Director General Sports Authority of India, Shekhar Dutt, Secretary General Indian Olympic Association, Randhir Singh, senior officials of the Delhi Government and all the agencies responsible for carrying out works at various stadia for the Afro-Asian Games.
Special emphasis was given to the review of the order for electronic scoreboards, laying of synthetic turf, cabling of various electrical systems and public address system.
Secretary (Sports) S.S. Sharma suggested that a three-stage quality control system should be set up for each work, especially that of synthetic turf, scoreboards, cabling, air-conditioning and provision of amenities like hot water.
Kubo pulls out due to knee injury Tokyo, August 13 Kubo, who has yet to score in nine international appearances, suffered inflammation in his right knee following a heavy tackle on him in Hiroshima’s 6-2 win at Cerezo Osaka on Saturday. Urawa Reds forward Yuichiro Nagai has been called up as a replacement, along with Kashima Antlers winger Masashi Motoyama.
Tokyo, August 13
Kubo, who has yet to score in nine international appearances, suffered inflammation in his right knee following a heavy tackle on him in Hiroshima’s 6-2 win at Cerezo Osaka on Saturday.
Urawa Reds forward Yuichiro Nagai has been called up as a replacement, along with Kashima Antlers winger Masashi Motoyama.
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