SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

India favourites, says Inzamam 
Inzamam-ul-Haq Lahore, January 1
Pakistani skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq today tipped India as favourites in the forthcoming Test series, saying that home advantage and Pakistan’s recent series win over England would count for little.

Kaneria keen to play key role in series
Karachi, January 1
Billed as Pakistan’s trump card against India, champion spinner Danish Kaneria said it would be a new and tougher challenge for him but he was determined and motivated to play a leading role in the upcoming home series.

ODI schedule likely to be revised
Lahore, January 1
The ODI schedule for the forthcoming India’s tour to Pakistan is likely to be changed again after the organisers for the first two matches in Rawalpindi and Peshawar expressed their inability to host the matches in the first ten days of the month of Muharram.

Langer may play in third Test
Sydney, January 1
Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting today said he expects opening batsman Justin Langer to make his return from a hamstring injury for the third and final Test against South Africa beginning tomorrow.

Indian eves crush Lanka
Karachi, January 1
Indian eves trounced Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to continue their unbeaten streak in the Women’s Asia Cup at the Gymkhana Stadium here today.

Pak veterans win series 3-1
Kochi, January 1
Captain Rashid Latif hit an unbeaten 124 and fast bowler Waqar Younis took four wickets as Pakistan veterans thrashed India by 121 runs in the fourth one-dayer of the veterans’ cricket series here today.

Negi is India’s youngest IM 
Parimarjan Negi Hastings (England), January 1
Parimarjan Negi became the youngest International Master of the country with a fantastic victory over Grandmaster Sergei Erenburg of Israel in the fourth round of the Masters section of Hastings International Chess Congress here.                        Parimarjan Negi




South African captain Graeme Smith puts on his gloves prior to a practice session in Sydney
South African captain Graeme Smith puts on his gloves prior to a practice session in Sydney on Sunday. The third Test between Australia and South Africa begins on Monday. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES
 

Chennai Open
Ljubicic, Moya top contenders

Chennai, January 1
Unable to bring in crowd pullers of the likes of Boris Becker after 1996, when it was being staged as Gold Flake Open, another edition, the tenth, of the ATP World Tour now in a new ‘avatar’ as Chennai Open to be held here tomorrow, has a depleted Indian challenge with Croat Ivan Ljubicic and two times winner Carlos Moya taking the centre stage.

Bharat Petroleum rout Signals
Jalandhar, January 1

In a pre-quarterfinals match of the Surjit Memorial Hockey Tournament, Bharat Petroleum (BP) crushed Signals 5-1. Bharat Petroleum would now meet last year’s champions Punjab and Sind Bank in the quarterfinals.

Bharat Petroleum forward Ravi Pal Singh (left) gets past a Signals player during a match in the Surjit Memorial Hockey Tournament in Jalandhar on Sunday. — Photo by S. S. Chopra
Bharat Petroleum forward Ravi Pal Singh  gets past a Signals player during a match in the Surjit Memorial Hockey Tournament in Jalandhar on Sunday

I didn’t like my nickname: Pele
Berlin, January 1
Pele was so angry with a school classmate who dreamed up his nickname that he punched him, the soccer great recalled today. “Pele isn't my real name,” the Brazilian told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview. “My name is Edson. I didn’t come up with Pele myself. I didn’t want the name. Pele sounds like baby-talk in Portuguese. Edson sounds like Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb.

Rupesh, Ksenia top seeds
Chandigarh, January 1
Rupesh Roy of India and Ksenia Palkina of Kyrgyzstan are the top seeds in boys and girls singles, respectively, in the ITF Juniors (Grade 3) Tennis Tournament which begins tomorrow at the CLTA Tennis Stadium in Sector 10.

Yadvinder, Amit enter judo final
Patiala, January 1
The All-India Inter-University Judo Championship for both men and women commenced at the Raja Bhalinder Singh sports complex, Punjabi University, here today.

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India favourites, says Inzamam 

Lahore, January 1
Pakistani skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq today tipped India as favourites in the forthcoming Test series, saying that home advantage and Pakistan’s recent series win over England would count for little.

“We will need to work extra hard. For me, India will be favourites in the series,” Inzamam told reporters ahead of the three Tests and five one-dayers — the third series between the arch-rivals in two years.

India arrive on January 5 and start the tour with a three-day side match against Pakistan A on January 7. A final tour itinerary is likely to be released tomorrow.

Inzamam said the victory over England would not be of great help. England came to Pakistan on the back of their Ashes triumph, their first in 18 years, but lost the three-Test series 2-0 and the one-day series 3-2.

“The win against England is a thing of the past now, and since there is not much difference in pitches and other things in India and Pakistan, there will be no home advantage,” said Inzamam.

Inzamam, who was in top form with 431 runs against England in three Tests, said India had an experienced squad.

“India has a strong batting line-up and with Sourav Ganguly’s return it has further strengthened. Although Rahul Dravid does not have experience as a captain he is a wise batsman and will mature as captain.”

The Pakistan captain, however, said his team had an edge in fast bowling.

“Our fast bowlers did well against England and in that department we have an edge over India. I think my quicks have the ability to help us beat India,” said Inzamam.

Express paceman Shoaib Akhtar took 17 wickets in Tests against England and with his changed attitude and resolve looked a transformed bowler. Pakistan also have Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and fit-again Umer Gul.

Inzamam said Pakistan matched India in the spin department. “We are not weak in the spin department because we have Danish Kaneria, Arshad Khan, Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi, so we can match India who have Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh,” he said.

The Pakistan skipper said he wanted pitches to assist his pace bowlers. “I am thankful to Wasim Akram for advising us to prepare hard pitches keeping in view the good form of our bowlers in the series against England,” said Inzamam, who will meet groundsmen tomorrow to devise a strategy.

He disagreed that Pakistan relied heavily on him in batting and Akhtar in bowling.

“Salman Butt, Mohammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal have batted well in recent matches, so has Afridi and in bowling we also have Naved, Kaneria and others who have done well.” — AFP

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Kaneria keen to play key role in series

Karachi, January 1
Billed as Pakistan’s trump card against India, champion spinner Danish Kaneria said it would be a new and tougher challenge for him but he was determined and motivated to play a leading role in the upcoming home series.

“The series will be tough for me in several ways, like different balls to be used in the series and tough weather conditions in which the Tests would be played,” Kaneria said.

“But the bottomline is that it will be a new series and we as a team will not try to rest on past laurels but would try to extend our success run,” Kaneria, who sparkled in Pakistan’s recent victory against England, told PTI in an interview.

The 25-year-old, who took 19 wickets against India last year, said the Tests would be played in the chilly Punjab weather that would make it difficult for spinners to bowl.

“The fingers take time to warm up and sometimes you struggle to properly use the wrist. I think my experience with Essex would help me in the series against India in more than one way,” he said.

Kaneria said he was getting adjusted to playing with different kind of balls in international cricket as he bowled with SG balls in India and Australian kookaburras against England at home.

“The SG balls have lifted seam but after 15 overs or so, the seam softens whereas the Kookaburra balls don’t have lifted seam at all,” said the second most successful Pakistani bowler in the team after paceman Shoaib Akhtar, with 143 Test wickets, including 26 from five Tests against India.

Kaneria was diplomatic when asked which Indian batsmen he would be targeting but revealed he would like to grab frontline players. — PTI 

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ODI schedule likely to be revised

Lahore, January 1
The ODI schedule for the forthcoming India’s tour to Pakistan is likely to be changed again after the organisers for the first two matches in Rawalpindi and Peshawar expressed their inability to host the matches in the first ten days of the month of Muharram.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) source said the organisers and the law enforcement agencies of Rawalpindi and Peshawar had conveyed to the board that hosting matches in the first ten days of Muharram will create problems for them as there would be shortage of manpower to provide top class security to both the teams, besides having logistical difficulties.

They wanted the matches to be held earlier or after the 10th day of Muharram month, which start some time in the first week of February.

The first two one-dayers are scheduled on February 6 and 8.

“One option under consideration is that if the organisers insist on not having the matches in the first ten days of Muharram, then Lahore, Multan or Karachi might stage the first two ODIs with the last two matches in Pindi and Peshawar. But, the dates will not be changed,” a PCB source was quoted by The News as saying.

The newspaper said the Indian board had been told by the PCB to wait until tomorrow for the final itinerary to be released after meeting Interior Ministry officials. — UNI

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Langer may play in third Test

Sydney, January 1
Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting today said he expects opening batsman Justin Langer to make his return from a hamstring injury for the third and final Test against South Africa beginning tomorrow.

Langer suffered the injury in the drawn first Test in Perth and was ruled out of the second in Melbourne won by Australia by 184 runs.

Langer had two sessoins at the Sydney Cricket Ground nets this morning and also did some sprint work.

Langer did not make any formal announcement after training, but relayed his positive fitness news to Ponting.

“He’s had a pretty solid workout this morning and did a lot of running between the wickets in the nets, he’s done a bit of extra running I think after that as well,” Ponting said.

“I spoke to him and he said he’s fine, so I would imagine he would be playing.”

Should Langer return to the side, he would regain the opening position from Phil Jaques, who made his Test debut in Melbourne but was dropped for the third Test.

Ponting said he had not settled on the final team, but it was unlikely there would be any other changes made from the Melbourne Test.

Australia is likely to go with two spinners — Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill — with Nathan Bracken again 12th man.

South Africa is not expected to name its team until tomorrow morning. It is also leaning towards playing two spinners, having flown 23-year-old offspinner Johan Botha out for a possible Test debut with left-armer Nicky Boje.

Pace bowler Andre Nel is expected to be promoted to do new-ball duties with Shaun Pollock after No. 1 strike bowler Makhaya Ntini broke down in the second Test with a knee injury.

Also in consideration for the third Test are Justin Kemp, who is returning from injury after missing the second Test, and bowler Charl Langeveldt, who sat out of the second match.

Teams (from): Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Brad Hodge, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Stuart MacGill, Glenn McGrath and Nathan Bracken.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), A.B. de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Jacques Rudolph, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje, Andre Nel, Garnett Kruger, Johan Botha, Charl Langeveldt and Justin Kemp. — AP

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Indian eves crush Lanka

India’s Neetu David bowls during a Women’s Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka at the Gymkhana Stadium in Karachi on Sunday Karachi, January 1
Indian eves trounced Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to continue their unbeaten streak in the Women’s Asia Cup at the Gymkhana Stadium here today.
Defending champions India bundled out Sri Lanka for a paltry 124 in 49.1 overs and then comfortably reached the victory target without losing any wicket. Rumeli Dhar (3-10) Varsna Raphael (3-22), Neetu David (2-12) and Noosheen Al-Khadeer (2-26) cause Sri Lanka’s downfall. Indian openers Monica Sumra (63) and Karuna Jain (54) scored half centuries. India and Sri Lanka meet again in the final on January 4.— PTI 

India’s Neetu David bowls during a Women’s Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka at the Gymkhana Stadium in Karachi on Sunday. — AFP photo

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Pak veterans win series 3-1

Kochi, January 1
Captain Rashid Latif hit an unbeaten 124 and fast bowler Waqar Younis took four wickets as Pakistan veterans thrashed India by 121 runs in the fourth one-dayer of the veterans’ cricket series here today. With this win, Pakistan veterans clinched the series 3-1 and won the NTPC Trophy.

Electing to bat, Pakistan scored 289 for 7 wickets in their allotted 40 overs. India, chasing a victory target of 290 runs, were all out for 168 in 29 overs.

Waqar scalped four for 26 off six overs, while Mansoor Elahi gave him ample support, capturing three wickets for seven runs in two overs.

Latif, who began cautiously, later went after the Indian bowlers to score 124, which included 10 boundaries and five sixes, off just 87 balls. He was declared the man of the match.

Latif, along with Shujad Ali (20), added 140 runs for the seventh wicket off 97 balls.

Pakistan opening batsman Naveed Anjum scored a breezy 48 off 40 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six.

Chasing the victory target of 290 runs, India lost wickets at regular intervals and were 46 for 6 at one stage. Former Indian off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan hit 53 runs off 52 deliveries.

Brief scores: Pakistan veterans 289 for 7 (Latif 124 not out, Anjum 48, Elahi 30; Razdan 3-35, Prasad 2-61); Indian veterans 168 all out (Chauhan 53, Raju 33; Waqar 4-26, Elahi 3-7). — PTI

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Negi is India’s youngest IM 

Hastings (England), January 1
Parimarjan Negi became the youngest International Master of the country with a fantastic victory over Grandmaster Sergei Erenburg of Israel in the fourth round of the Masters section of Hastings International Chess Congress here.

Twelve-year-old Negi, who had been on the brink of getting the IM title for quite some time finally made the grade as he now stands to gain a staggering 30 ELO rating points from the first four rounds of this traditional event.

Negi also remained in joint lead amidst a star studded field and now has 3.5 points out of a possible four.

Earlier, in the second round of the tournament, Negi had beaten English Grandmaster Mark Hebden while in the third he had drawn with higher rated IM Jean Pierre Le Roux of France of France.

Negi, currently 2396 on the ELO rating list issued on the new year, needed around 24 points to become the next IM of the country and has cleared that barrier after his fourth round victory.

Tata-sponsored Negi is in fact running for the Grandmaster’s norm in the event for which, going by the current statistics he needs 3 points in next 5 rounds.

Delhi-based Negi shares the lead with Grandmasters Vladimir Belov of Russia, Milos Pavlovic of Serbia, Valeiry Nevenor of Ukraine, Bogdan Lalic of Croatia and IM Simon Williams of England. Six more rounds remain in the event.

Other two Indians in the fray continued to have mixed results with World under-10 champion Sahaj Grover succumbing to his fourth loss in a row in the event bowing to Andrew Tucker of England and his coach Gurpreet Pal Singh coming out triumphs against another English Peter Poobalasingam.

In the game against Erenburg, Negi proved why he is hailed as amongst the brightest talent of the country.

Playing the white side of a Caro Kann, Negi was technically superb in cashing out a slightly better endgame arising after a topical variation.

Winning a pawn by force with excellent manoeuvring in the rook and minor pieces endgame, Negi turned the tide decisively in his favour in the end. The game lasted 73 moves.

“I think he made some mistakes in the endgame where I was slightly better. It just took correct manoeuvring to win one pawn and I think the endgame thereafter is just winning,” Negi said without showing excitement.

“I knew it would come soon, I had made my norms and only the rating was an issue, I think I should thank my sponsors Air India and Tatas, family, school and coaches for this achievement, next is the Grandmaster title,” he said.

Negi who was battered in the last Asian Youth Chess championship despite starting as the top seed apparently got over the debacle in quick time.

“That was a bad tournament for me, I was playing terribly there,” the student of Amity International said. — PTI

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Chennai Open
Ljubicic, Moya top contenders

Chennai, January 1
Unable to bring in crowd pullers of the likes of Boris Becker after 1996, when it was being staged as Gold Flake Open, another edition, the tenth, of the ATP World Tour now in a new ‘avatar’ as Chennai Open to be held here tomorrow, has a depleted Indian challenge with Croat Ivan Ljubicic and two times winner Carlos Moya taking the centre stage.

Ljubicic, ranked No 9 at the end of the 2005 season in the ATP race, has been seeded No 1. The original top draw player for South Asia’s only ATP event, and world No 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain, had to pull out as his leg injury was yet to heal.

However, apart from Ljubicic, who has had a great year, during which he helped Croatia win the Davis Cup for the first time, the limelight will be on Spaniard Carlos Moya, who would be hoping to kick-start the new season completing a hat-trick of wins in Chennai. Moya, who had won the title here in 2004, defended it in 2005.The ‘groaning’ big server that he is, Moya is currently ranked 30 in ATP race.

However, for the tennis buffs, who may be sceptical about turning out in large numbers as they had when Becker ‘graced the courts’ here, the weak Indian challenge in the singles would be another dampener.

With Davis Cup stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupthi no longer together after making history here in the past, and the former deciding to play doubles and the latter not turning up at all, the Indian interest in Chennai Open 2006 singles is confined to the two wild cards Prakash Amritraj and Vishal Uppal.

The Indian presence, spearheaded by Leander will be prominent only in the doubles with Prakash teaming up with Rohan Bopanna as wild cards and Karan Rastogi pairing with the former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. Cash will also be playing a double role coaching the juniors and being part of the commentary team of ESPN Star Sports,who have bagged the rights to telecast the matches live.

However, former India Davis Cup captain and Wimbledon quarter finalist Vijay Amritraj, who as a former President of ATP players council was responsible for bringing an ATP tour event to his home town, asserts that the field is ‘fantastic and strong’ despite the pull out of Nadal.

The Asian challenge headed by Srichaphan includes the talented Yeu-Tzuoo Wang of Chinese Taipei.

The Chennai leg of the ATP world tour, which kicks off the new season, has a total prize money of $ 400,000 with the singles winner taking home $ 52,000 and the doubles winners $ 16,350. — UNI

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Bharat Petroleum rout Signals
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 1
In a pre-quarterfinals match of the Surjit Memorial Hockey Tournament, Bharat Petroleum (BP) crushed Signals 5-1. Bharat Petroleum would now meet last year’s champions Punjab and Sind Bank in the quarterfinals.

BP’s penalty corner expert, Len Ayi Appa, scored two goals — the first coming form a penalty corner and the second from a penalty stroke in the 12th and 55th minute, respectively.

The first goal for the winners came in the 9th minute of the match when Hari Prashad converted a pass from Prabhdeep. The other scorers were Sabu Virkey(63rd minute) and Pundlik Bellary (65th). Sumit Singh of Signals scored the only goal for his team in the 70th minute.

In the second match of the day (men’s section), BSF beat EME to enter the quarterfinals. The BSF would now meet hot favourites Punjab Police tomorrow. BSF's Peter Tirkey converted a penalty corner in the 24th minute and second goal came from Devinder Kumar in 36th minute through a field goal. The lone goal for the EME team was scored by Jagjit Singh.

In the women’s section, Haryana XI beat Central Railways 5-1 to continue their winning spree. Ritu Rani scored a hat-trick with goals in the 21st, 59th and 69th minutes. The other scorers were Lakhwinder Kaur and Balwinder Kaur. The lone goal for the Central Railway was scored by Sadhana Singh. 

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I didn’t like my nickname: Pele

Berlin, January 1
Pele was so angry with a school classmate who dreamed up his nickname that he punched him, the soccer great recalled today.
“Pele isn't my real name,” the Brazilian told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview. “My name is Edson. I didn’t come up with Pele myself. I didn’t want the name. Pele sounds like baby-talk in Portuguese. Edson sounds like Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb.

“But a classmate wanted to anger me with the name Pele. I flipped out when he called me that. I punched him....I was actually a good student and wouldn’t hurt a fly. But for the punch I got suspended from school for two days.” Pele, now 65, began life as Edson Arantes do Nascimento and remains unsurpassed as the world’s greatest player. He won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

He told the newspaper that Brazil were top contenders to win the World Cup in Germany starting on June 9 but said favourites never had an easy task.

“We’re the clear favourites but favourites have often failed,” he said. “Whether it’s Brazil, Spain or England — there seems to be a special curse on them. That’s why we have to be ready, especially when it comes to hosts Germany.” — Reuters

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Rupesh, Ksenia top seeds
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, January 1
Rupesh Roy of India and Ksenia Palkina of Kyrgyzstan are the top seeds in boys and girls singles, respectively, in the ITF Juniors (Grade 3) Tennis Tournament which begins tomorrow at the CLTA Tennis Stadium in Sector 10.

Local favourite and fifth seed Kinshuk Sharma has been drawn to face Rubal Shandilya in his opening game. Another Chandigarh boy, wild-card holder Vijayant Malik, will face sixth seed Tejesvi.

Yet another local player and wild-card entrant Shiva Sangwan will face Alapati Siddharth. Third seed Ivan of Ukraine and Punjab’s Gursher Harika are pitted against each other. Sanam Krishan Singh of Chandigarh had opted out of the tournament as he is busy for the Australian Junior Open.

In the girls singles, Ksenia Palkina (ranked 122) will face 545th-ranked Benli Rylul of Turkey in the first round encounter.

Fourth seed Sanaa Bhambri (214) will met 412nd ranked Ashmitha Easwaramurti in her opening tie.

Seedings: Boys singles: Rupesh Roy (India) 1, Sumit Parkash Gupta (India) 2, Ivan Anikanov (Ukraine) 3, Akshay Bajoria (India) 4, Kinshuk Sharma (India) 5, Tajesvi Rao (India) 6, Min-Woo Shin (Korea) 7, Yin Xiao Long (China) 8.

Girls singles: Ksenia Palkina (Kgz) 1, Julia Glushko (Isr) 2, Poojashree Venkatesh (India) 3, Sanaa Bhambri (India) 4, Elizaveta Titova (Russia) 5, Sweta Solanki (India) 6, Tejaswini Datla (India) 7, Karina Ahuja (India) 8. 

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Yadvinder, Amit enter judo final

Patiala, January 1
The All-India Inter-University Judo Championship for both men and women commenced at the Raja Bhalinder Singh sports complex, Punjabi University, here today.

The five-day meet, which has drawn about 700 participants from 47 universities, was inaugurated by the Patiala Zone IG, Mr S.M. Sharma, in the presence of former Olympian G.S. Randhawa, Director (Sports), Punjabi University, Dr Raj Kumar Sharma, and a galaxy of national and international-level judokas.

The hosts started off their campaign on a positive note when their judoka Yadvinder Singh beat Nirdesh Kumar (Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla) to enter the final in the 100 kg event. In the other semifinal of the same weight category, Amit Kumar (Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak) downed Chetan Kumar (Kurukshetra University). — OSR

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 BRIEFLY


Taylor Dent and Lisa Raymond of the USA celebrate their win in the mixed doubles match against Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and Montenegro during the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, on Sunday
Taylor Dent (right) and Lisa Raymond of the USA celebrate their win in the mixed doubles match against Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and Montenegro during the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia, on Sunday. The US pair won 7-6, 6-2. — Reuters photo

Kherar clinch football title
Chandigarh:
Kherar emerged winner in the 25th Punjab Rural Senior Football Tournament on Sunday when they upset defending champions Chak Mallan 2-1 in the final played at Nangal Khilarian village, about 18 km from Hoshiarpur. Kherar lifted the trophy for the eighth time. Both teams were level at 1-1 at half time. Madan scored both goals for Kherar, while Ghona struck for Chak Mallan.
The chief guest, Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for development work in Nangal Khilarian. — TNS

Mallakhamb meet
AMRITSAR:
The Amateur Mallakhamb Association of Punjab would organise the three-day 23rd National Mallakhamb Championship at Sri Guru Angad Dev College, Khadoor Sahib, near here, from January 16.
According to Prof Sarbjit Singh Chhina, general secretary of the association, over 500 players from across the country would participate in the meet. — OSR

Anand third
New Delhi:
Indian Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has slipped to the third spot in the latest FIDE ranking released on Sunday.
Anand, who occupied the second spot for many years, is now behind Gary Kasparov and reigning world champion Veselin Topalov. — UNI

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