SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Anju to carry flag at Athens
Anju Bobby
New Delhi, August 6
Long jumper Anju Bobby George will carry the Indian flag in the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics beginning August 13, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi announced here today.

In video (28k, 56k)

Aim it like Arjuna, Dutt asks archers
New Delhi, August 6
Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sunil Dutt today asked the Athens-bound Indian archers to draw inspiration from the Mahabharata and said there was no reason why they could not put up a good show at the Olympics.

Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sunil Dutt with the Indian archery team for the Athens Olympics
Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sunil Dutt with the Indian archery team for the Athens Olympics in New Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo

Wrestlers keen to emulate Jadhav
New Delhi, August 6
More than five decades after Kashaba Jadhav bagged Independent India’s first individual Olympic medal at Helsinki, Indian wrestlers hope to emulate the grappler when they reach Athens.

Judoka hopes for memorable Olympics
New Delhi, August 6
The name of Akram Shah may not ring a bell among sports followers across the country but the lone Indian judoka at Athens is not ready to lament that. “Forget me. In a land where cricket rules the roost, even the stars in the so called ‘minor sports’ lose their identity.


Former world chess champion Bobby Fisher's lawyer Masako Suzuki speaks during a news conference
Former world chess champion Bobby Fisher's lawyer Masako Suzuki speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. Fisher, wanted by Washington for defying sanctions on Yugoslavia, plans to renounce his US citizenship, Suzuki said. He was detained at Narita airport near Tokyo last month when he tried to leave for Manila on a passport US officials say was invalid. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
 

Thorpe chases his own destiny 
Sydney, August 6
A brush with death convinced Ian Thorpe his chosen path to Olympic immortality was futile. Like every other swimming prodigy of the past three decades, Thorpe’s achievements are measured against those of Mark Spitz, the American who won a record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Games.

‘Tainted’ Ukrainian doc cleared for games
Patiala, August 6
The Sports Ministry has cleared the name of a Ukrainian doctor, suspected of doping athletes, to accompany the athletics squad to the Athens Olympics. On a recommendation of the AAFI, the ministry has given the nod to Dr Potrebenko Volodymyr to accompany the 18-member athletic squad as a coach.

HC not to restrain Prasar Bharti from sending team
New Delhi, August 6
The Delhi High Court today refused to restrain Prasar Bharti from sending a team of reporters and TV crew to cover the Athens Olympic Games but said it would hear the petition alleging “nepotism” in the selection of the personnel for the media coverage of the event.

Punjab announces incentives for medal winners
Chandigarh, August 6
Any sportsperson from Punjab who wins the gold medal in the Athens Olympics will be awarded Rs 1 crore, said Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, who is holding independent charge of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Dravid will keep wickets, says Ganguly
New Delhi, August 6
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly put at rest any ambiguity regarding the wicketkeeper’s slot, when he asserted here today that Rahul Dravid will continue to don the gloves in India’s forthcoming one-day international series, and new face Dinesh Karthik will get a look-in only if Dravid falls sick or gets injured.

In video (28k, 56k)

Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly  wishes good luck to Indian ace  swimmer Bula Choudhury in new Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo

Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly  wishes good luck to Indian ace swimmer Bula Choudhury

Murali recaptures record
Galle, August 6
Sri Lanka off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan recaptured the world Test wicket record on the third day of the first Test against South Africa on Friday before Jacques Rudolph scored a painstaking 85 not out as the visitors closed play at 347 for seven.
Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana jumps in the air as he successfully appeals for LBW against South African batsman Graeme Smith Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene celebrate the dismissal of South African batsman Boeta Dippenaar on the third day
Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana (R) jumps in the air as he successfully appeals for LBW against South African batsman Graeme Smith on the third day of the first Test in Galle on Friday. Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan (R) and Mahela Jayawardene celebrate the dismissal of South African batsman Boeta Dippenaar on the third day of the first Test in Galle on Friday. — Reuters photos

Paes-Bhupathi reach last 8
New Delhi, August 6
The rookie Czech duo of Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl almost derailed the “Indian Express” before Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi hauled themselves back on the track to reach the quarterfinal of the Cincinnati Masters doubles title.

Giantkiller Sonu in semis
Hisar, August 6
Sonu Chahal of Haryana, who upset Asian Games gold medallist N.G. Dingko Singh in the pre-quarterfinal of the National Boxing Championship here yesterday, sprang another surprise today by defeating Kargaokar of Goa in the feather weight category.

Deepank, Anita win TT titles
Amritsar, August 6
Sixth seed Anita Agnihotri upset top seed Mamta Mukhi in the women’s final while top seed Deepank Das beat third seed Satnam Singh in the men’s final on the concluding day of the two-day LIC Northern Zone Table Tennis Tournament at Municipal Corporation Indoor Stadium today.

Japan’s midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura takes a free kick during a training session Japan’s midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura takes a free kick during a training session in Beijing on Friday. Japan clash with arch-rival China in the final of the Asian Cup on Saturday. — Reuters

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Anju to carry flag at Athens

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi along with IOA vice-president Vijay Kumar Malhotra addressing a press conference
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi along with IOA vice-president Vijay Kumar Malhotra addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. — Photo by Rajeev Tyagi

New Delhi, August 6
Long jumper Anju Bobby George will carry the Indian flag in the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics beginning August 13, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi announced here today.

Anju is the first Indian to win a bronze medal at the World Athletics Meet in Paris and considered the brightest medal prospect for the country at Athens.

Tennis star Leander Paes, the winner of bronze medal at Atlanta edition of the Games in 1996, was India’s flag-bearer at Sydney in 2000.

India is sending a 75-strong contingent to the four-yearly games. “The Sports Ministry has agreed to hike the pocket allowance to $ 50 each per day but it is awaiting clearance from the Finance Ministry,” Kalmadi said.

He said the IOC provided Rs 1.5 crore to the IOA for the preparation of the Indian contingent under the Olympic solidarity programme.

“The beneficiaries include the national hockey team (Rs70 lakh), Abhinav Bindra (Rs 22 lakh), Karnam Malleswari and Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat (Rs 8.5 lakh each) and Anju Bobby George (Rs 6 lakh),” Kalmadi said.

The IOA president hoped for a best performance from the Indian contingent saying “this is best team ever to leave the Indian shores.”

“We have hopes in men’s hockey, tennis (from Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes), athletics, weightlifting and wrestling,” he said.

Kalmadi also recalled with pride that India came up with their best ever performance in the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 and in the Busan Asian Games.

“In Busan we were second to China in athletics,” he said.

But Kalmadi added a note of caution that “in the last 50 years we have not won more than one medal in any Olympics. But this time we have strong chance to win more medals”. On recent media reports about some Athens-bound athletes returning positive dope tests, Kalmadi said that was not true. —PTI 

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Aim it like Arjuna, Dutt asks archers

New Delhi, August 6
Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sunil Dutt today asked the Athens-bound Indian archers to draw inspiration from the Mahabharata and said there was no reason why they could not put up a good show at the Olympics.

“Remember we are from the country where Arjuna hit the fish’s eye by just seeing the reflection. Maybe the game has become more technical these days but do not let other things affect your concentration,” he said, citing that archery had been one of the primitive sports practised in India.

“I will be there at the airport to receive you when you come back with a medal,” he said, exhorting the players to put up a good show at Athens.

The Indian archers include Tarundeep Rai, Satyadev Prasad and Majhi Sawaiyan in the men’s team while Dola Banerjee, Reena Kumari and Sumangala form the women’s team.

PN Mukherjee is the team captain while Evan Evanov Lotov (Bulgaria) and Chea Hong Gi (Korea) are the two coaches attached to the team.

The president of the Archery Association of India, VK Malhotra, pointed out that the players had done well in the Asian Grand Prix and three European Grand Prix this year.

“We have organised 12 national ranking prize-money tournaments in the past 18 months and the improvement in their performance is evident,” he said.

The team also received a huge boost with Dola Banerjee and Reena Kumari being offered jobs by the Railways today. Sumangala was also promised a Railways job in the near future.

“We had approached the Railways for jobs to eight boys and as many girls and the authorities have assured us to provide it,” he said.

India was one of the three countries that secured Olympic berths for both the men and women teams at the 42nd World Championships in New York last year. — UNI 

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Wrestlers keen to emulate Jadhav

New Delhi, August 6
More than five decades after Kashaba Jadhav bagged Independent India’s first individual Olympic medal at Helsinki, Indian wrestlers hope to emulate the grappler when they reach Athens.

The Athens bound seven-member Indian wrestling team includes six in freestyle— Yogeshwar Dutt(55kg), Sushil Kumar(60), Ramesh Kumar(66), Sujeet Mann(74), Anuj Kumar (84) and Palwinder Singh Cheema(120) while Mukesh Khatri(55) is the lone Indian grappler in the Greco-Roman category.

Talking to UNI before flying to Bulgaria, seniormost member of the side Sujeet Mann said: “We had rigorous 25-day training first at Shilaru in Himachal Pradesh and then we slugged it out for nearly a month at the NIS, Patiala. I also underwent a three-month training in Canada. Now we are going to Sofia, Bulgaria, for the last leg of our training and I hope we can pull off a surprise or two at Athens.”

Talking about his performance, the grappler who, along with Sushil Kumar, qualified in September last year during the World Wrestling Championship in New York said: “I think I’m in good form. I’ve won the silver at the Senior Asia Championship in Iran early this year and there too I missed the gold by a whisker.”

The World Championship saw him finishing eighth while in the Asian Championship he stood seventh. The wrestler, currently ranked eigth, had also won bronze at the Asian Championship last year and was declared the best grappler at the Commonwealth Championship in Canada where he bagged gold. He also won the silver at the Canada Cup.

“If I get a favourable draw, I think I can finish among the top two wrestlers at Athens,” asserted the Arjuna awardee.

Fellow wrestler Sushil Kumar also seemed confident of a good show at Athens.

“We’ve toiled hard under our Georgian coach Vladimir Mesvirishvill and we won’t disappoint there at Athens,” he said.

Sushil won the gold at the Commonwealth Championship last year and followed it up with a bronze in the Asian Championship. He also stood fourth in the World Championship in the USA.

Meanwhile, for Yogeshwar, Athens means a rare chance to represent the country at the highest level and his aim is to give it his best, without bothering about medals.

Palwinder Singh Cheema remains another wrestler to look out for. Son of two-time Asian Games bronze medallist Sukchain Singh, Cheema won the bronze at Busan Asian Games.

Earlier he had won the World Junior Wrestling Championship in 2001. Ramesh Kumar will lead the Indian challenge in the 66kg category. — UNI

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Judoka hopes for memorable Olympics

New Delhi, August 6
The name of Akram Shah may not ring a bell among sports followers across the country but the lone Indian judoka at Athens is not ready to lament that.
“Forget me. In a land where cricket rules the roost, even the stars in the so called ‘minor sports’ lose their identity. I’m the last person to lose sleep over it. Instead, I got a huge responsibility to lead India’s challenge in judo at Athens and I’m focussing only on that,” he told UNI.

Akram had qualified for the event in the 60 kg category at Athens during the Asian Judo Championships held at Almaty, Kazakhstan, in May this year. Though he lost his second round bout, the points he accumulated there were enough to book a berth for Athens.

Akram fetched India’s first ever judo silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and finished seventh in the Busan Asian Games. He also bagged the bronze at the Asian Championship in Jeju, South Korea, last year.

Under a one-month programme, the judoka went to train for two weeks in Japan and then in Uzbekistan this year.

“I learnt a lot abroad during the training, especially because both the countries are judo super powers. Unfortunately back home, you don’t get to know about the latest changes in techniques and I was amazed by their technical prowess,” said an awe-struck Akram. — UNI

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Thorpe chases his own destiny 

Sydney, August 6
A brush with death convinced Ian Thorpe his chosen path to Olympic immortality was futile.
Like every other swimming prodigy of the past three decades, Thorpe’s achievements are measured against those of Mark Spitz, the American who won a record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Games.

When Thorpe won three gold and two silver medals as a 17-year-old at the Sydney Olympics, his destiny seemed assured.

The Australian took the bait and started to prepare himself for a crack at the magnificent seven. The early signs were promising.

He won six gold medals at the 2001 world championships in Japan but the events of September 11 suddenly reshaped his thinking.

Thorpe was holidaying in New York that day and was on his way to the World Trade Center when the first hijacked plane struck the twin towers.

The harrowing experience made him reassess his priorities and he vowed not to waste another day of his life. After finishing with six golds at the Commonwealth Games a year later, Thorpe abandoned his quest of pursuing Spitz.

“It’s not me,” Thorpe said. “I’m not doing something to have accolades or the recognition.”

Thorpe’s success in Sydney had already made him rich beyond his dreams but it came at a high price. He is a national hero in Australia but cannot lead a normal life.

He is mobbed by fans every time he walks down the street and his every move is scrutinized by the media and public. Earlier this year, he was moved to address rumours about his sexuality after Sydney’s gay community adopted him as an icon.

For the record, he said he was not homosexual but was flattered by the description. — Reuters

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‘Tainted’ Ukrainian doc cleared for games
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, August 6
The Sports Ministry has cleared the name of a Ukrainian doctor, suspected of doping athletes, to accompany the athletics squad to the Athens Olympics.
On a recommendation of the AAFI, the ministry has given the nod to Dr Potrebenko Volodymyr to accompany the 18-member athletic squad as a coach.

Interestingly, AAFI officials pulled the wool over the eyes of ministry officials by referring to Dr Volodymyr as a “coach” when the federation recommended the Ukrainian’s name. An SAI official revealed that this was done because the ministry would have refused to give the green signal to the AAFI’s recommendation had they forwarded the name of Dr Volodymyr as a doctor to go with the squad because of his “dope tainted” reputation.

Sources said Dr Volodymyr was a “recovery expert” and had been a regular at all domestic circuit meets organised by the AAFI. Even at the circuit meet held at Patiala early this year, he was allegedly seen in the company of Ukrainian masseur Inna Zveryev, providing prohibited substances to athletes on the sly. The latter’s name has also been cleared by the ministry as a masseur to accompany the squad along with her Ukrainian compatriots Ogorodnik Yuriy (throwing coach) and Minakov Yuriy (sprint coach).

A top SAI official has revealed that it was only on the recommendations of Dr Volodymyr that the AAFI charted out a comprehensive programme to make the Athens-bound athletes train in Ukraine. Intriguingly, there is no IOC-accredited laboratory in Ukraine which can keep a check on the misuse of dope among athletes. At present, barring long jumper Anju Bobby George and discus thrower Anil Kumar, all athletes are training in Ukraine from where they are scheduled to fly directly to Athens.

Interestingly, this is in complete contrast to the ministry’s ruling which says that “the IOA is requested to ensure medical fitness and dope testing in IOC-accredited laboratories or the SAI laboratory in New Delhi”.

Apart from the three Ukrainian “coaches” and masseur, the others whose names have been cleared by the ministry to go as coaches with the athletes are Gurmeet Singh, Robert Bobby George, Sanjay Kumar Garnaik and Jaswant Singh Dogra.

The name of Lt-Col Dr A.K Mehta, who is slated to go to the Olympics as doctor with the athletes, has also raised eyebrows. Lt-Col Mehta has been associated not with the athletics contingent, but with the Indian boxing squad. He has accompanied boxing squads to all three pre-qualifying tournaments held abroad. He was also with the boxers when the team took part in the SAF Games held in Islamabad in March this year. 

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HC not to restrain Prasar Bharti from sending team

New Delhi, August 6
The Delhi High Court today refused to restrain Prasar Bharti from sending a team of reporters and TV crew to cover the Athens Olympic Games but said it would hear the petition alleging “nepotism” in the selection of the personnel for the media coverage of the event.

“The stage has reached that no order can be passed in public and national interest,” Mr Justice Manmohan Sarin said, adding that “the selection was done keeping in mind the requirement of the programme”.

However, the court said there should be guidelines for the selection of personnel for foreign visits and observed that “there should be efforts to see that eligible and qualified persons having expertise are considered for foreign trips”.

The court said no interim order could be granted at this stage when the mega event was to start within a week and the preparations for which had started in March this year.

Prasar Bharti’s counsel informed the court that the accreditation cards, which will be treated as visa in Greece, had already been issued to the members of the team, some of whom have already left for Athens.

Meanwhile, the court said it would hear the petition of the Programme Staff Welfare Association of AIR and Doordarshan alleging arbitrary selection of Doordarshan/AIR team for the coverage of Athens Olympics and sought replies from Prasar Bharti and others on their contentions.

The court fixed October 15 as the next date of hearing. The association, through its president Pramod Mehta, has alleged “irregularities and discrimination in the selection of programme personnel for various foreign and national assignments”. — PTI

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Punjab announces incentives for medal winners
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, August 6
Any sportsperson from Punjab who wins the gold medal in the Athens Olympics will be awarded Rs 1 crore, said Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, who is holding independent charge of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Rana Sodhi was speaking to mediapersons during a function organised to honour him at the CGA golf range on Friday.

He said any sportsperson from Punjab winning the silver would be given Rs 50 lakh while a bronze medallist would get Rs 25 lakh. Rana Sodhi, a former international clay pigeon shooter, said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was keen to give fillip to sports in the state and had asked him to go to Athens to encourage sportspersons from Punjab. 

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Dravid will keep wickets, says Ganguly
M.S. Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, August 6
Indian captain Sourav Ganguly put at rest any ambiguity regarding the wicketkeeper’s slot, when he asserted here today that Rahul Dravid will continue to don the gloves in India’s forthcoming one-day international series, and new face Dinesh Karthik will get a look-in only if Dravid falls sick or gets injured.

Dinesh Karthik, who had a good Ranji Trophy season for Tamil Nadu last year, and also did well for the Indian under-19 team in the Junior World Cup in Bangladesh and the India A team, has replaced Parthiv Patel in the Indian squad for the Holland, NatWest and ICC Champions Trophy series. Sourav said a lot of deliberation was done before Karthik was preferred over Parthiv.

Sourav said India A team coach Sandeep Patil was also consulted before picking Karthik, as the young keeper has been doing well, both with the bat and behind the wicket, in the ongoing tour of the India A team to Kenya.

On the merit of Rohan Gavaskar getting the nod over Dinesh Mongia’s claim, Sourav explained that the former’s “all-round” talent clinched him the berth. “Rohan had also done well in Australia in the limited opportunities he got there (last year). Batting at the No 7 slot is not that easy”, Sourav said.

The captain said seven batsmen selected themselves, and though Dinesh Mongia’s name was considered, he could not be fitted in. “The selectors felt that Mongia got enough opportunities and did not perform well. He was not part of the India A team either”.

Former Indian opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth said the team for the ICC Champions Trophy was a “very well-balanced one”.

“It’s an ideal side, considering the conditions in England”, observed Srikkanth.

Srikkanth exhorted the Indian boys to bring home the ICC Trophy in September, at a function to unveil the ICC Champions Trophy here today, in which Sourav, Yuvraj and Ravi Shastri were also present.

The ICC Trophy will embark on an 11-city “Live the Game” tour of the country.

Sourav hoped that the dashing Yuvraj Singh, who made his India debut at the ICC Trophy in Kenya two years ago, will come good in the Champions Trophy this time around too. India cannot afford to lose a match in the knock-out ICC Champions Trophy as they have been clubbed with Pakitan and Kenya. One defeat will force the exit of the losers.

Dwelling on the Indian team’s performance in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, and the preceding few months, Sourav said it was very unfair to put the tag of “chokers” on the team considering the fact they have won 17 of their 20 matches in the last two years.

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Murali recaptures record

Galle, August 6
Sri Lanka off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan recaptured the world Test wicket record on the third day of the first Test against South Africa on Friday before Jacques Rudolph scored a painstaking 85 not out as the visitors closed play at 347 for seven.

Muralitharan had opener Martin van Jaarsveld caught at slip in the first session for his 528th wicket to pull one ahead of Australian leg spinner Shane Warne and then combined with Sanath Jayasuriya to peg down the South Africans' scoring rate.

South Africa started the day on 82 without loss in reply to the hosts' 486. Just 14 runs were added in the first hour with the loss of Boeta Dippenaar, before Jacques Kallis scored a commanding 59, adding 72 runs for the third wicket with Rudolph.

Kallis pushed Sri Lanka onto the back foot with his aggressive approach, especially against Muralitharan, whom he slog-swept for several boundaries before the off spinner tempted him into another that he mistimed and skied a catch to Kumar Sangakkara at mid wicket.

Captain Graeme Smith, pushed down the order after suffering from a virus, added 45 runs with Rudolph for the fourth wicket before being trapped lbw for 23 by left-arm spinner Jayasuriya.

Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher was also snared by Jayasuriya, one of four spinners to be used by the hosts on the dry and cracked pitch, to reduce South Africa to 225 for five.

Sri Lanka took their second new ball but struggled to break a 62-run stand between Shaun Pollock (25) and Rudolph that carried South Africa past the follow-on mark of 287.

Eventually, left-armer Chaminda Vaas produced a delivery that kicked off a length to catch the shoulder of Pollock's bat and fly to gully, where Sangakkara took the catch.

Lance Klusener, playing his first Test innings since 2002, lasted just 16 balls before popping up a catch in close.

Scoreboard

Sri Lanka (1st innings) 486

South Africa (1st innings)

Dippenaar run out 46 Van Jaarsveld c

Samaraweera b Murali 37

Rudolph not out 85

Kallis c Sangakkara b Murali 59

Smith lbw Jayasuriya 23

Boucher c Kaluwitharana b Jayasuriya 6

Pollock c Sangakkara b Vaas 25

Klusener b Jayawardene b Dilshan 2

Boje not out 31  

Extras (b-14 lb-8 nb-10 w-1) 33

Total (7 wkts, 124 overs) 347

Fall of wickets: 1-84, 2-96, 3-168, 4-213, 5-225, 6-287, 7-295

Bowling: Vaas 22-9-45-1, Maharoof 19-9-42-0, Muralitharan 39-8-112-2, Chandana 18-0-68-0, Jayasuriya 20-9-34-2, Dilshan 6-0-24-1. — Reuters

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Paes-Bhupathi reach last 8

New Delhi, August 6
The rookie Czech duo of Frantisek Cermak and Leos Friedl almost derailed the “Indian Express” before Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi hauled themselves back on the track to reach the quarterfinal of the Cincinnati Masters doubles title.

The more than two-and-a-half hour see-saw match saw the first set being grabbed by the Czech duo through tie-breaker while Leander and Bhupathi seemed basking in the glory of their recent Toronto Masters triumph at Canada.

However, the subsequent two sets in the second round match at court No. 2 saw a remarkable comeback by the Indian duo who kept their cool and won both to reach the last eight stage with a 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 win.

In the quarterfinal, the eighth seeded Indian pair will take on Canada’s Daniel Nestor and his partner from Bahama Mark Knowles whom they had beaten last week in the semifinal of the Toronto Masters. The Indian Express duo had won the Cincinnati Masters doubles title in 2001. —UNI 

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Giantkiller Sonu in semis
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, August 6
Sonu Chahal of Haryana, who upset Asian Games gold medallist N.G. Dingko Singh in the pre-quarterfinal of the National Boxing Championship here yesterday, sprang another surprise today by defeating Kargaokar of Goa in the feather weight category.

Sonu started his fight cautiously and was defensive in the beginning. Still, he maintained a lead of 4-0 after the first round. The fight gained momentum gradually and by the third round, it became quite exciting. Though the Goan pugilist improved a lot in the final round, Sonu won 12-10 and entered the semifinal.

H.K. Beliwal of Services seemed confident from the beginning of his quarterfinal bout in the flyweight category and outscored his opponent, Sundi Raju of the Railways, in the second round.

The gold medallist in the last championship, Robin Dev of Steel Plants, booked his place in the semifinal by winning a bout that stretched to the final round. He defeated Ashwani Singh of Chandigarh 25-20 in the flyweight category.

Bijender Singh of Haryana established his superiority in the first round of his bout in the bantamweight category over Bipin Pying Rope of Services. Bijender won a tough bout 31-31 (74-59) and ensured his berth in the semifinals.

In another quarterfinal bout in the featherweight category, Naveen Dev of Haryana furiously attacked his opponent, Mujtfa Kamal of Services, who adopted the strategy of defence. Thanks to his cautious approach, Kamal won the bout 17-13.

Winning other quarterfinal bouts, Mohammad Ali Qamar of the Railways, Jonathan of Services, Balbir of Delhi and Raj Kumar of Karnataka also entered the semifinals in the light flyweight category. In the flyweight category, Pawan Singh of Sikkim and Abhishek Shah of Delhi also entered the semifinal round. Dharamvir Singh of the Railways and Sumi Khukiye of Nagaland also entered the semis in the bantamweight category.

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Deepank, Anita win TT titles
Our Sports Reporter

Amritsar, August 6
Sixth seed Anita Agnihotri upset top seed Mamta Mukhi in the women’s final while top seed Deepank Das beat third seed Satnam Singh in the men’s final on the concluding day of the two-day LIC Northern Zone Table Tennis Tournament at Municipal Corporation Indoor Stadium today.

Anita lost the first, third and fourth sets but came back strongly to win the last three sets. She defeated Mamta 4-3. Vijeta Virayani secured the third place by defeating Nirmala Ajbani 3-2.

Favourite Deepank Das did not face much difficulty in beating Satnam Singh 4-1. Ram Singh Sengar secured the third place after defeating S. K. Jain 3-0. Earlier, in the men’s semifinals, third seed Satnam Singh outplayed second seed Ram Singh Sengar 4-0. Deepank Dass beat S. K. Jain 4-0 to enter the final. In the women’s semifinals, Mamta Mukhi outclassed Nirmala Ajbani 4-0 and Anita Agnihotri crushed Vijeta Virayani 4-1. Mr Suchindra Sharma, Senior Divisional Manager, distributed cash prizes among the winners.

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 BRIEFLY


Iran's Ali Daei is slide tackled by Bahrain's Mohamed Salmeen
Iran's Ali Daei is slide tackled by Bahrain's Mohamed Salmeen during the playoff game for the third and fourth places at the Asian Cup in Beijing on Friday. — Reuters

Ronak cultural ambassador
Mumbai:
City-based Junior Asian pistol shooting champion Ronak Pandit has been chosen as India’s cultural ambassador for the August 13-29 Athens Olympics and will take part in the Olympic Youth Camp lasting the duration of the Games.
He will have an opportunity to watch the Games opening and closing ceremonies as well as four sports of his preference, visit the Olympic Village, meet International Olympic Council members at ancient Olympia, besides participating in team welcoming ceremonies and cultural events. Current national pistol champion Pandit, son of former Commonwealth Games champion Ashok, was picked up by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for the camp. He is set to leave for Athens on August 12, a Maharashtra Rifle Association release said here. —UNI

Pramila misses Athens berth
BANGALORE:
Karnataka’s Pramila Aiyappa failed to secure an Olympic berth in heptathlon after finishing three points away from the qualifying mark of 6,050 at the national combined events meet here on Friday.
A poor performance in her pet event, the long jump, spoilt her chances of making it to Athens. In long jump, she managed only a poor 6.08 metres, against her personal best of 6.56 metres. The effort gave her 874 points but she could have collected 100 more if she had put in a better performance at the Sri Kanteerava Stadium. Pramila’s two other attempts were ruled foul. — PTI

China poised for Sydney encore
LONDON:
China won four of the five Olympic badminton golds at the Sydney games, making up for modest showings in Atlanta and Barcelona, and their markers are firmly down for Athens.
Only Denmark’s golden boy Peter Gade, his ex-fiancee Camilla Martin and Mia Audina Tjiptawan, the former Indonesian teenage prodigy who now plays for the Netherlands, look capable of spoiling the party. In Athens, they have 13 entries across the sport’s five disciplines, including the maximum of three in both of the singles events and the women’s doubles. In the men’s singles, the Chinese are fielding All-England champion Lin Dan, a dynamic 20-year-old, backed up by the equally formidable Chen Hong and Bao Chunlai. — Reuters

No heatwave
ATHENS:
Athletes were taking off their cooling ice vests and switching off fans on Thursday as Athens Olympics organisers said weather during the games would be ideal for sport.
Searing heat has been the biggest worry for teams preparing their athletes for the August 13-29 games with many going to extreme measures to keep them cool. “Conditions are going to be ideal,” games spokesman Serafim Kotrotsos told reporters. “According to the National Weather Service, the danger of a heatwave is very small and no heatwave has been forecast for the last 10 days of August.” — ReutersTop

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