SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Manavjit Sandhu holds up his individual and team trap shooting silver medals in Doha on Sunday. Shooters pluck three silver
Doha, December 3
Manavjit Singh Sandhu stole the thunder in the Lusaill shooting ranges by clinching two silver medals for India in the men’s trap event in extremely windy conditions.

Manavjit Sandhu holds up his individual and team trap shooting silver medals in Doha on Sunday. — AFP

Antil flunks dope test
Doha, December 3
India were shamed once again during a multi-disciplinary event with the country's top discus thrower Seema Antil testing positive for a banned drug and withdrawing from the Asian Games here at the last minute.





EARLIER STORIES




China’s Chen Yanqing acknowledges the crowd after breaking world records in the women’s 58kg weightlifting event in Doha on Sunday.Weightlifting: Chen sets three world records
Doha, December 3
China’s Olympic champion Chen Yanqing swept all three world records in the women’s lightweight weightlifting on her way to a gold medal at the Asian Games today. Chen took the snatch record from fellow Chinese Wang Li with a lift of 111kg before a clean and jerk of 140kg gave her a record competition total of 251.




China’s Chen Yanqing acknowledges the crowd after breaking world records in the women’s 58kg weightlifting event in Doha on Sunday. — AFP photo

Hockey: Men begin campaign today
Doha, December 3
Weighed down by a prolonged sequence of dismal shows in recent times, India will have to defy form and history in their quest for a coveted gold medal in the hockey event of the 15th Asian Games which begins here tomorrow with a relatively easy game against Bangladesh.

Kullu stars in India’s win
Doha, December 3
Captain Jyoti Kullu scored a hat-trick as Indian women opened their campaign in the Asian Games field hockey competition with a 7-0 whipping of Chinese Taipei today.

 Sepak takraw: Myammar, Thailand thrash India
Ngasepam Rakeshor kicks the ball as Myanmar’s Myin U Aung Cho jumps to block during a sepak takraw preliminary round match in Doha on Sunday. Doha, December 3
India's campaign in the Asian Games sepak takraw event is fast turning out to be a major embarrassment as the hapless team lost both their matches in convincing fashion here today.










Ngasepam Rakeshor kicks the ball as Myanmar’s Myin U Aung Cho jumps to block during a sepak takraw preliminary round match in Doha on Sunday. — AP/PTI

Football: India pip Maldives 2-1
Doha, December 3
Substitute Subhas Chakraborty scored a brilliant goal in the dying minutes to give India a thrilling 2-1 victory over a spirited Maldives in a Group-D football league match at the 15th Asian Games here today.

Smooth sailing for rowers
Doha, December 3
The Indian duo of Kiran Yalamanchi and Bijender Singh created ripples in the West Bay Lagoon by winning their heat in the men’s lightweight double sculls event of the Asian Games here today.

12-yr-old ready to take on veterans
Doha, December 3
Qatari water polo player Ali Abdin insists he won’t be out of his depth at the Asian Games, despite facing competitors 32 years his senior. Abdin will be up against hardened veterans in the tough, physically demanding sport, but the 12-year-old is showing no signs of being intimidated.

Indian kabaddi coaches in demand
Doha, December 3
Desperate to catch up with the mighty Indians, kabaddi teams competing in the 15th Asian Games have turned to the experts from the country to scale the next level in the sport.



5th One-dayer
Whitewashed
Proteas humiliate India with a nine-wicket win in last ODI
Centurion, December 3
India were outplayed by a clinical performance from South Africa who inflicted a huge nine-wicket defeat on the visitors for a 4-0 whitewash in the one-day cricket series here today.


South African batsman AB de Villiers hits a four during the 5th ODI against India in Centurion on Sunday. — AFP
South African batsman AB de Villiers hits a four during the 5th ODI against India in Centurion on Sunday.

Aussie Ricky Ponting celebrates after reaching his 33rd century on day three of the second Test against England in Adelaide on Sunday. Ponting leads Australian fightback
Adelaide, December 3
Ricky Ponting became Australia's pinnacle Test centurion with his 33rd hundred and Mike Hussey narrowly missed a ton to lead a home recovery on the third day of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval today.


Aussie Ricky Ponting celebrates after reaching his 33rd century on day three of the second Test against England in Adelaide on Sunday. — AFP

Gaurav shines on day 3
Mohali, December 3
Punjab have a chance to make up for the loss they suffered in the first match against Bengal. Good performances, first by Love Ablish, and later by the batsmen have put Punjab in a virtual impregnable position.

Jeev Milkha Singh with the Nippon Series JT Cup in Tokyo on Sunday. The win will carry him into the top-50 of the world golf rankings. Jeev seals another win
Tokyo, December 3
Jeev Milkha Singh capped a spectacular season when he won his fourth title of the year and second in as many weeks by clinching the season-ending Nippon Series JT Cup golf tournament here today. The win, which fetched Jeev a cheque of 30 million Yen, will also carry him into the top-50 of the world golf rankings and ensure a place in the prestigious Augusta Masters next April.


Jeev Milkha Singh with the Nippon Series JT Cup in Tokyo on Sunday. The win will carry him into the top-50 of the world golf rankings. — AFP

Irina Brar Irina enters pro circuit with a bang
Chandigarh, December 3
Discarded from the Indian golf team for the Doha Asian Games, Chandigarh’s golf icon Irina Brar clinched her first pro circuit title and pocketed her first cash prize of Rs 74,000 at the Golden Greens in Gurgaon.

Russia win Davis Cup
Moscow, December 3
Marat Safin overpowered Argentine substitute Jose Acasuso 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in a nerve-racking fifth and decisive rubber to clinch the Davis Cup title for Russia today.

Mohali shock Patiala in football
Patiala, December 3
Mohali shocked hosts Patiala 4-2 while Ludhiana pounded Faridkot 4-0 on the day two of the Punjab state inter-district (u-16) football championship, played at the local Polo Grounds here today.

 


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Shooters pluck three silver
M.R. Mishra

Doha, December 3
Manavjit Singh Sandhu stole the thunder in the Lusaill shooting ranges by clinching two silver medals for India in the men’s trap event in extremely windy conditions.

World Champion Sandhu teamed up with Anwar Sultan and Mansher Singh to clinch the team silver but then had to be content with a second place finish in the individual event held amidst gusty winds which did have an effect on the shooters.

The women’s 10m air pistol team comprising Harveen Srao, Sonia Rai and Shweta Choudhury then brought more glory for the country by bagging the silver with a tally of 1142 points.

China predictably took the gold in the event with a new Asian Games record 1161 points while Korea had to be content with bronze with 1140 points.

The Indians, who had bagged two bronze medals on the opening day of competitions, now have a tally of three silver and two bronze in the event which has been dominated by Asian powerhouse China.

Manavjit was neck and neck with his rival Naser Meqlad in the final before the Kuwait shooter gradually increased his lead and tilted the scale in his favour on a day of mixed fortunes for the Indians.

Apart from the two medals in the trap event, it was otherwise a disappointing day for the Indians with the much-touted Samresh Jung failing to qualify to the final of the men’s 10 m air pistol event with a rather poor score of 576.

India went into the day with expectation of a gold medal with Manavjit leading the table on the first day of qualifications but the strong winds paid put to their chances.

Manavjit finished with a score of 130 while Kuwait’s Meqlad clinched the gold with 133 and his compatriot Khaled Almudhaf had to be content with the bronze with 128.

“Well, I am disappointed for not being able to win a gold medal. I gave my best shot, but the conditions were tough because of the strong winds. Luck played a big part today,” Manavjit said.

“The conditions were not ideal. The left targets were being swept away by the winds and it was not easy to perform at your best,” he said.

Manavjit said the he had prepared hard for the event though it was coming at the fag end of the year. “We all trained hard last year we got only a silver, this year we have two, so we can say that there is an improvement,” he said.

Anwer Sultan, who also made it to the final, finished sixth with a total of 122 while Mansher Singh failed to make the cut with a score of 99.

The performance of ‘Goldfinger’ Samresh Jung, who shot Olympic level scores in the trials, came as a disappointment in the men’s 10m air pistol event as he produced a below-par score to finish 11th in the qualifications.

“It was disastrous. Jung can shoot better than what he did today. If all our three shooters had put in an average score of 580, we could have got a medal. But that did not happen,” coach Sunny Thomas said.

“Deepak Sharma shot 571 but he is not experienced enough, so he will learn to handle the pressure of such big events. We have to give him time to mature,” Thomas said.

While Deepak Sharma did not make much of a flutter with a score of 571, the experienced Ronak Pandit was equally disappointing with a score of 565.

In the men’s 50m rifle prone, the three Indians in the fray—Surendra Singh Rathod (578), Sushil Ghalay (578) and Imran Hasan Khan (576) did nothing of note.

Srao misses bronze by whisker

Srao missed a medal in the women’s 10m air pistol individual event by a whisker. She compiled 484.5 points to miss out on a bronze medal by an agonising 0.1 point behind third-placed Byung Hee Kim of South Korea.

The Indian shooter compiled 383 in the qualification rounds and added an impressive 101.5 in the final. The Korean markswoman could manage only 98.6 in the final, but managed to hold on to the third place with a total of 484.6 points.

In the final analysis, the three-point deficit from the qualification rounds was the reason Srao missed out on adding another medal to the Indian kitty.

The gold went to China’s Luna Tao, whom set an Asian record with an aggregate of 490.3 (391+99.3). Her performance in the qualification rounds was also the best by an Asian.

Her compatriot Wenjun Guo grabbed the silver medal totalling 487.0 (389+98.0). — PTI

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Antil flunks dope test

Doha, December 3
India were shamed once again during a multi-disciplinary event with the country's top discus thrower Seema Antil testing positive for a banned drug and withdrawing from the Asian Games here at the last minute.

Seema tested positive for a steroid apparently in an out of competition test during a training camp.

Although there was no official confirmation as usual, Indian officials admitted privately today that the 23-year-old had indeed been withdrawn from the contingent.

"Seema has been withdrawn from the Asian Games contingent after testing positive for a banned steroid," a team official said on condition of anonymity.

Seema had quietly returned to the country from Muscat, where a part of the Indian athletics contingent was training for the Games, earlier this week.

This being the second dope offence by the athlete — her junior world gold medal was stripped of in 2001 — her career now hangs in balance.

The 23-year-old Melbourne Commonwealth Games silver medallist had tested positive for a banned substance during the world junior championships in Chile in 2000.

According to the World Anti-Doping Agency code, a second dope offence leads to a life ban.

The Haryana girl is the latest in a string of dope offenders which is led by weightlifters. In fact, the Indian Weightlifting Federation has been banned for the second time by the world body in less than two years.

Seema had risen to become the country's top discus thrower after previous record holder Neelam Jaswant Singh was banned for two years in 2005 for testing positive for a stimulant at the Helsinki World Athletics Championships.

However, Chef-de-Mission Ramlal Thakur said he was not aware of any such development.

"I am not aware of such a development. As far as we know the list of athletes has been prepared by the federation and Seema Antil's name is still in that list." He said the athletics contingent was supposed to arrive in batches from tomorrow for the games and "only after that we will have a clearer picture".

When Seema returned home from Muscat in mysterious circumstances, AFI General Secretary Lalit Bhanot had said "she is back due to her father's illness".

Today, the AFI officials were incommunicado — a general practice whenever a dope scandal breaks out. — PTI

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Weightlifting: Chen sets three world records

Doha, December 3
China’s Olympic champion Chen Yanqing swept all three world records in the women’s lightweight weightlifting on her way to a gold medal at the Asian Games today.

Chen took the snatch record from fellow Chinese Wang Li with a lift of 111kg before a clean and jerk of 140kg gave her a record competition total of 251.

“I feel really great,” the 27-year-old student, now a clear gold medal favourite for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, told reporters after collecting her medal. “My first priority was to be the champion and I had no other goals today but to do my best and be positive.”

She takes the latter two records from compatriot Gu Wei, who set the marks in Doha just over a year ago but failed to make the team for the Asian Games, a further illustration of China’s depth of talent in weightlifting.

China have won all four gold medals awarded in weightlifting so far at the 15th Asian Games.

Chen dominated the competition, striding out to make her first attempt in the snatch—where competitors must lift the barbell above their heads in one steady movement—at 103kg, five kg heavier than the best effort from the rest of the field.

The 58kg, 158cm Chen comfortably made that weight and the 108kg lift that followed before beating the 110kg lifted by compatriot Wang in Denpasar, Bali, in 2003.

Again in the final section, where competitors ‘clean’ the barbell to shoulder level then ‘jerk’ it above their heads, she destroyed the field with her first lift at 131kg, which won her the total world record and gold medal.

A 137kg attempt extended the total record but left her still 2kg short of Gu’s clean and jerk mark and, as the officials scurried around adding the extra weights for the record attempt, she sat wrapped in a towel behind the scenes staring straight ahead.

“I was thinking, ‘do my best’, nothing else,” she said.

Thai Kameaim Wandee won the silver with North Korea’s Pak Hyon-Suk claiming bronze. — Reuters

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Hockey: Men begin campaign today

Doha, December 3
Weighed down by a prolonged sequence of dismal shows in recent times, India will have to defy form and history in their quest for a coveted gold medal in the hockey event of the 15th Asian Games which begins here tomorrow with a relatively easy game against Bangladesh.

The Asian Games have not been a happy hunting ground for the Indians having won the gold medal only twice. The poor performances of the team has meant that they don't start as gold medal contenders in the tournament which has arch-rivals Pakistan and South Korea as the favourites.

Pakistan have a very good track record in the Games having won the gold seven times, including four times in succession, while South Korea have emerged as a force to reckon with at the international level leaving India's task all the more daunting.

The Indians had won a silver medal in the last edition of the Games in Busan and this time also they have no choice but to finish among the top two teams to secure an automatic qualification for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Despite the brave front the team management is putting up, the sacking of a number of senior players like Gagan Ajit Singh, Vikram Pillay and Viren Rasquinha has meant that India have a relatively inexperienced team.

The tendency to concede last minute goals has become a perennial problem for the team and coach Vasudevan Baskaran has to find a way plug this loophole.

However, the coach asserted that the team would push through their way to garner at least a silver medal.

"We are confident of doing well and working hard. Our first target is to reach the final," Baskaran said.

Rasquinha's last minute dropping from the squad created some uneasiness before the team's departure for the Asiad.

This has not only incensed the player, but also gave a reflection on how the game is being run in the country which once ruled the hockey world for decades.

The constant changings and choppings have become a routine affair with the Indian Hockey Federation, but only time will tell whether the omission of the seniors was justified.

A good performance will silence all the critics, but another flop show will invite a barrage of criticism and questions would be asked on selection process.

The Indians are lucky to be placed in the relatively easy Group-B which also comprises South Korea, Bangladesh, China and Oman. Pool-A has Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong.

Unless the team slumps to an abysmal level, securing a place in the semi-finals should not be a problem. From the semi-final stage, it will be a test of skills and nerves.

Captain Dilip Tirkey will have a key role to play in the defence as he is the most experienced player in the team. His experience should come handy in pressure situations.

Ignace Tirkey and V S Vinaya will be a key figures in the midfield performing the roles of linkmen.

Strikers Tushar Khandekar, Hari Prasad and Shivendra Singh are the new talents in the team and all of them have to dish out an inspired show if India wished to regain the gold medal which they last won in Bangkok in 1998. — PTI

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Kullu stars in India’s win

Doha, December 3
Captain Jyoti Kullu scored a hat-trick as Indian women opened their campaign in the Asian Games field hockey competition with a 7-0 whipping of Chinese Taipei today.

After scoring a lone goal in the first period, the Indian eves exploded in the second and made mincemeat of their inexperienced rivals.

Besides Kullu, Surinder Kaur with two goals was the other major scorer for India.

“We were the better team and we deserved to win. Hopefully we can carry on this form against the more seasoned opponents,” coach M K Kaushik said.

Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia and Hong Kong are the other teams in the seven-nation competition that is played in round-robin format with the top four teams getting to play the semifinals.

In other matches, Japan held Korea 2-2 and Malaysia defeated Hong Kong 3-1.

Boxing: Jitender, Diwakar in quarters

Mumbai: Flyweight Jitender Kumar and featherweight Diwakar Prasad stormed into the last eight of the Asian Games boxing competition with impressive displays in their preliminary round bouts here today.

Bhiwani-based teenager Jitender shocked Busan Asian Games silver medallist Karim Nauman of Pakistan 14-6 in a second round bout to earn a shot at Filipino Violita Payla on Thursday for a berth in the semis in the 51 kg class.

The 18-year-old Haryana fighter was ahead on points against his rival in all but one of the four rounds after starting with a flurry of point-earning punches in the opening stanza to take a handy 5-1 lead against the 2004 Asian champion.

Ranchi-based Diwakar Prasad was also impressive in his second round bout against Syrian Dmirieh Mohammed to earn a one-sided 20-11 verdict in the 57 kg class to enter the quarters where he will meet a formidable opponent in Uzbekistan’s B Sultonov.

The Uzbek pugilist stopped Eddy Kalai of Malaysia well inside the distance for a meeting with the 22-year-old Indian for a berth in the last four, also scheduled for December 7.

Judoka bites dust

Doha: Judoka Anil Kumar proved no match for Hossein Ghomi of Iran in the -90kg category and the Indian was handed a few lesson before being thrashed in the Round of 16 bout at the Qatar Sports Club Indoor Hall here today. The Iranian’s far superior throwing and groundwork gave him an early upper hand and Ghomi earned a yuko before settling the issue beyond any doubt with an ippon, a full point, to seal the match in nearly five minutes. — PTI, UNI

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Sepak takraw: Myammar, Thailand thrash India

Doha, December 3
India's campaign in the Asian Games sepak takraw event is fast turning out to be a major embarrassment as the hapless team lost both their matches in convincing fashion here today.

The Indians were first routed by Myammar by an emphatic margin of 129-65 and then suffered another big defeat at the hands of Thailand who recorded a 126-24 victory at the Al-Saad Indoor Hall.

The Indians, making their debut at the Asian Games in the event, had lost to Malaysia in their opening match yesterday and the script unfolded on similar lines today with the team proving to be much inferior to their opponents.

The Indians started off well against Myammar by keeping the score at 45-33 in the first regu but lost the plot gradually in subsequent regus to virtually hand the game on a platter to their opponents.

The team's fortunes showed no signs of improvement in the next match with the Thais opening up a huge lead in the first regu which ended at 42-10.

From then on, the Thai players kept increasing the lead to leave the Indians in a daze. — PTI

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Football: India pip Maldives 2-1

Doha, December 3
Substitute Subhas Chakraborty scored a brilliant goal in the dying minutes to give India a thrilling 2-1 victory over a spirited Maldives in a Group-D football league match at the 15th Asian Games here today.

The Indians, desperately needing a victory to brighten their quarterfinal hopes, displayed an attacking brand of football and were lucky enough to find the winner in the 89th minute of the keenly contested floodlit encounter at the Al-Saad Stadium.

Bhaichung Bhutia and his men, who did reasonably well to hold Hong Kong to a 1-1 draw in their opening match, had three points from two matches and were still in contention for a last eight place. They will now take on title aspirants Iran in their last league match.

The Indians shot into the lead in the 34th minute of the contest with defender Surkumar Singh producing a stunning long ranger, which took Maldivian goalkeeper Imran Mohammad by surprise.

The goal-bound move was initiated by captain Bhutia who passed to Climax Lawrence, who in turn executed a square pass to an unmarked Surkumar. Surkumar’s blistering 30-yard shot bounced just in front of the goalkeeper and spun into the goal.

But the euphoria was short-lived for the Indians as the islanders found the equaliser four minutes later through the hard-working forward Ashfaq Ali who pierced through the defence and slotted home from close range.

Both teams went all out to find the match-winner and substitute Subhas Chakraborty, who came in place of Steven Dias, send the Indians into a frenzy when his angular grounder following a lovely pass by Bhutia, went into the goal.

The Indians, ranked 148th in the FIFA rankings, went into the match with an attacking frame of mind and coach Bob Houghton also strengthened the midfield to back the forwards.

Both teams played at a fast pace in the opening session and the honours were more or less shared as neither team could dictate terms.

After the interval, the Indians attacked with renewed vigour and came close on a number of occasions but lacked the finishing touch to gain an upper hand.

They unleashed a series of raids from both flanks but the Maldivian defence was equal to the task, thwarting most of the moves before they could assume dangerous proportions.

The Indian midfield again did a decent job with Climax Lawrence taking a big load but forward Manjit Singh appeared a trifle off-colour like in the previous game against Hong Kong.

The Maldivians, ranked 146th in FIFA rankings, also gave a few anxious moments to the Indians, particularly in the second session. In the 67th minute, Ashad Ali broke through the defence with deft footwork but his right-footed grounder missed the mark by a whisker, much to the relief of the Indians.

Handball: men go down to Qatar

India started their campaign in the men’s handball competition of the 15th Asian Games on a wrong note as they went down 14-29 to hosts Qatar in their opening men’s Group A preliminary league match here today.

Qatar totally dominated the first half to lead 19-9 at the breather and then staved off a fightback from the Indians to emerge easy victors.

For India, Firoz Ahmed Khan found the target five times while the other successful marksmen were Gaurav Sehgal, Rasheed Khan, Naya Chandra Singh Rungbam (2 each), Sukhdev Singh, K Praseed Kumar and Sachin Chaudhary. — PTI

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Smooth sailing for rowers

Doha, December 3
The Indian duo of Kiran Yalamanchi and Bijender Singh created ripples in the West Bay Lagoon by winning their heat in the men’s lightweight double sculls event of the Asian Games here today.

The Indian duo won the heat in 4:15.29 to head the qualifiers for Tuesday’s semifinals.

They will be joined by Japan, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, who won their respective heats to progress automatically.

In men’s double sculls, the Indian pair of Anil Kumar Mehrolia and Bajranglal Takhar timed 4:02.42 to finish third in the heat and move on to tomorrow’s repechage, along with their opponents from DPR Korea, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

TT: paddlers lose in mixed doubles

Indian paddlers bowed out of the mixed doubles event after losing their first round ties in the 15th Asian Games here today.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Poloumi Ghatak went down tamely to the Korean pair of Lee Jung Woo and Lee Eun Hee 6-11, 8-11, 9-11 in the round of 32.

The other Indian pair of Soumyadeep Roy and Mouma Das lost to Zhang Xue and Ning Gao of Singapore 9-11, 11-8, 3-11, 10-12. — UNI, PTI

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12-yr-old ready to take on veterans

Doha, December 3
Qatari water polo player Ali Abdin insists he won’t be out of his depth at the Asian Games, despite facing competitors 32 years his senior. Abdin will be up against hardened veterans in the tough, physically demanding sport, but the 12-year-old is showing no signs of being intimidated.

''I'm not scared,'' the centre forward said. ''I've played with older players before.'' Abdin, who took up the sport at the age of eight and is the youngest water polo player at the games, says he would love to earn a medal in Doha but was equally happy just pulling on the trunks for Qatar.

''It would be great to win in my first Asian Games,'' he said.

''I am playing for pride in my country and lifting my flag up high.'' Qatar take on Iran in their opening water polo match on Thursday. — Reuters

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Indian kabaddi coaches in demand

Doha, December 3
Desperate to catch up with the mighty Indians, kabaddi teams competing in the 15th Asian Games have turned to the experts from the country to scale the next level in the sport.

E. Prasad Rao, the man who took the game from the mud fields of India to the mats inside international stadiums, has helped many Asian teams in the past and continues to get offers.

Rao is a recipient of the Dronacharya Award and has played a big role for the development of kabaddi in India, which has won all four gold medals ever since the sport was introduced in the Asian Games in 1990.

He has taught the sport in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan and Korea and more recently he has been approached by Iran to learn the more aggressive style of play and challenge India’s stranglehold.

“India are the champions and everybody will imitate the champions because they are the most skillful. So we are trying to teach Japan and Iran these skills. I have taken kabaddi from the mud to the mats and now my dream is to see the game at the Olympics”, Rao said.

On Iran, who finished second to India in the 2004 World Cup in Mumbai, he said: “This may be Iran’s first time at the Asian Games, but do not underestimate them, they are slim but strong which is ideal for a contact game.

Iran, who have been coached by former Indian player Manjit Singh Sandhu, have emerged as a force to reckon with as Sandhu has instilled a more aggressive style of play into the West Asians. — PTI

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5th One-dayer
Whitewashed
Proteas humiliate India with a nine-wicket win in last ODI
Ashish Shukla

Centurion, December 3
India were outplayed by a clinical performance from South Africa who inflicted a huge nine-wicket defeat on the visitors for a 4-0 whitewash in the one-day cricket series here today.

After restricting India to 200 for 9 on an easy-paced track, the South Africans overhauled the target without breaking a sweat in just 31.2 overs at the Supersport Park.

AB de Villiers, promoted to open for the first time in the series, remained unbeaten on 92 while skipper Graeme Smith finally struck form to score 79 to make a mockery of the seemingly competitive target.

The show of these two batsmen completely overshadowed the efforts of Sachin Tendulkar who laboured to a 97-ball 55 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (44) — the duo ensuring India touched the 200-run mark for the first time in the series which was nothing short of a disaster for them.

The comprehensive win in the fifth and final match of the series, the first tie of which was washed out, ensured South Africa would go into the three-Test series, starting on December 15, with their confidence sky high.

Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar hit a gritty half century as India batted slowly to last their quota of 50 overs and make 200 for 9 in the final cricket one-dayer against South Africa here today.

Tendulkar made 55 off 97 balls while Mahendra Singh Dhoni (44) and Dinesh Mongia (41) chipped in with useful knocks on a slow-paced Centurion track after the visitors had lost two wickets for just 18.

Tendulkar, struggling for runs in the ODI series which India have already conceded 3-0, put on 85 runs from 149 balls for the third wicket but the total, their highest so far in the series, still looks inadequate.

In fact the Indians could stretch this far due to Dhoni’s heroics whose 49-ball knock with two fours and two sixes gave some urgency to the innings.

Shaun Pollock, the leading bowler for the hosts in the series, was once again at the forefront with figures of 2 for 17 from his 10 overs and was well supported by the pace duo of Makhaya Ntini (3 for 32) and Andre Nel (1 for 34).

Put in to bat, India were rocked early in their innings by Pollock who picked up Virender Sehwag (11) and V. V. S. Laxman off successive balls to reduce them to a shaky 18 for 2.

Sehwag, unable to make of an early missed chance against the same bowler, departed when he flashed a catch behind the stumps to Mark Boucher.

Laxman, brought in specially for this game, was out to a first ball duck when he tamely edged an outswinger into the hands of Graeme Smith at first slip.

Tendulkar and Mongia then dropped anchor but the scoring dropped almost to a trickle with only one run coming between the 10th and 15th over of the innings.

Tendulkar blossomed with the introduction of left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and hit him for four fours in five overs. In between, there was a sharp blow on his left-forearm from Andre Nel which needed medical attention on the field.

But he was once again jittery when pacemen were introduced from both ends and was brilliantly caught in the covers by AB de Villiers after making 55 from 97 balls with eight fours.

Mongia dug in there but was dismissed in the 38th over after making 41 from 89 balls with three fours. India, at the 40 over stage, were 139 for four.

Dinesh Kaarthick (11) appeared innovative in his brief knock of 11 from 15 balls with two fours before slicing a catch to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher off Andre Nel.

Jacques Kallis then cleaned up Irfan Pathan (7) who backed away and found his stumps rattled by a straight delivery.

Zaheer Khan hit an enormous six off Ntini in the final over to make the visitors touch the 200-run mark for the first time in the series. — PTI

Scoreboard

India

Sehwag c Boucher b Pollock 11

Sachin c De Villiers b Kemp 55

Laxman c Smith b Pollock 0

Mongia b Kemp 41

Dhoni c Nel b Ntini 44

Kaarthick c Boucher b Nel 11

Pathan b Kallis 7

Harbhajan c Pollock b Ntini 1

Zaheer not out 16

Kumble b Ntini 1

Extras (lb-5, w-8) 13

Total (9 wkts, 50 overs) 200

Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-18, 3-103, 4-127, 5-154, 6-173, 7-183, 8-183, 9-200.

Bowling: Pollock 10-4-17-2, Ntini 10-1-32-3, Kallis 10-1-56-1, Nel 10-1-34-1, Peterson 5-0-33-0, Kemp 5-0-23-2.

South Africa

Smith c Karthik b Harbhajan 79

De Villiers not out 92

Pollock not out 16

Extras (lb-4, w-5, nb-5) 14 Total (1 wkt; 31.2 overs) 201

Fall of wicket: 1-173.

Bowling: Zaheer 7-1-46-0, Sreesanth 3.2-0-31-0, Pathan 6-0-48-0, Harbhajan 8-0-39-1, Kumble 7-0-33-0.

Zaheer accused of assaulting spectator

Speedster Zaheer Khan was today accused of assaulting a spectator during the fifth and final cricket one-dayer against South Africa. The team management categorically denied the incident.

“Zaheer totally denies the charge. This fan had actually trespassed into the Indian dressing room and security personnel are investigating the incident,” said Rajan Nair, media manager of the Indian team.

The person in question, a local resident of Indian origin, claimed that Zaheer had first thrown a water bottle at him while fielding at third man and later when he had gone to the Indian dressing room to ask for an explanation, the cricketer manhandled him. — PTI

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Ponting leads Australian fightback

Adelaide, December 3
Ricky Ponting became Australia's pinnacle Test centurion with his 33rd hundred and Mike Hussey narrowly missed a ton to lead a home recovery on the third day of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval today.

The skipper cashed in after being dropped on 35 to reach 142 as the Australians moved within 40 runs of the 352-run follow-on target in reply to England's imposing first innings of 551 for six declared.

At the close, Australia were 312 for five with Michael Clarke on 30 and Adam Gilchrist on 13.

It was 31-year-old Ponting's 10th century in his last 13 Tests — he has played in 107 in all — and took him past previous captain Steve Waugh's 32 centuries off 168 Tests.

Hussey, bowled for 86 in Brisbane, had the anguish of missing out on another deserved century when he played on and was bowled by seamer Matthew Hoggard for 91 in almost five hours with 30 minutes left to stumps.

The West Australian left-hander, who survived a line-ball run-out decision on 70, lifted his impressive batting average to 77.41 in his 13th Test.

Ponting, who batted for 353 minutes and faced 245 balls with 12 boundaries, was also close to being run out on 46 when Paul Collingwood's direct throw just missed the stumps at the bowler's end, with the Aussie skipper well out of his ground.

Hoggard also claimed the wickets of Matthew Hayden (12) and Damien Martyn (11) and following yesterday's wicket of Justin Langer (4) finished the day with 4-76 off 27 overs.

"We know it's still going to be hard work, we've got 250 runs to play with, we've got five wickets to get, it's been hard work to get wickets on that wicket, so it's going to have to be a good professional performance tomorrow," Hoggard said.

"We will be trying to get five wickets reasonably quickly and then we have to reassess from there.

"I don't think the noose is quite tight at the moment. The wicket is very placid and it takes a long time to bowl people out.

Martyn, whose Test place is under growing pressure following his 29 in Brisbane and a poor Ashes series last year, followed in the 23rd over when he was snapped up low down by Ian Bell in the gully.

Scoreboard

England (1st innings) 551 for 6 decl.

Australia (1st innings)

Langer c Pietersen b Flintoff 4

Hayden c Jones b Hoggard 12

Ponting c Jones b Hoggard 142

Martyn c Bell b Hoggard 11

Hussey b Hoggard 91

Clarke batting 30

Gilchrist batting 13

Extras (lb-2, nb-7) 9

Total (5 wkts, 97 overs) 312

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-35, 3-65, 4-257, 5-286.

Bowling: Hoggard 27-2-76-4, Flintoff 22-4-74-1, Harmison 13-4-46-0, Anderson 14-2-49-0, Giles 16-2-45-0, Pietersen 5-0-20-0. — AFP

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Gaurav shines on day 3
Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 3
Punjab have a chance to make up for the loss they suffered in the first match against Bengal. Good performances, first by Love Ablish, and later by the batsmen have put Punjab in a virtual impregnable position.

It was Ablish who impressed on the first day with a five-wicket haul. The second day belonged to opener Ravneet Ricky, who scored an unbeaten century which provided the hosts the platform to put the rivals on the mat.

Gaurav Gupta then scored an unbeaten century today, helping the hosts pile up a mammoth 503 for nine on the third day of the Super League (Elite Group B) Ranji Trophy match at the PCA Stadium here today.

Number four batsman Gaurav Gupta chose an opportune moment to perform. Continuing the good wok done by his team-mates, he notched up an unbeaten 121 enabling his side to take a crucial 295-run first innings lead.

On a day when most of other Punjab batsmen failed to make much of an impression, Gupta showed enough application and discipline and played a knock of immense value to his side. In-form Ricky, not out on 142 overnight, added just two runs to the total before being back in the pavilion, castled by left-arm seamer Ashraf Makda on 144.

Though none of the other batsmen failed to stay put on the wicket, Gupta held firm at one end and scored runs. Though, at times, he was subdued and lacked flamboyance, but he added valuable runs to the total. A brief cameo knock by Ishan Malhotra provided the innings late thrust.

Seamers Makda, Hitesh Majmudar and Amit Singh toiled hard and bowled marathon spells. Majmudar was the most successful bowler claiming three key scalps.

Starting again in an effort to wipe out the 295-run deficit, Gujarat were 86 for the loss of Akash Christian's wicket.

Scoreboard

Gujarat (1st innings) 208

Punjab (1st innings)

Ricky b Makda 144

Goel c Modi b Majmudar 95

Munish c Amit b Majmudar 30

Gupta not out 121

Dharmani b Majmudar 11

Kaul run out 18

Sodhi c Majmudar b Timil 7

Malhotra c Majmudar b Timil 29

Gagandeep c sub b Niraj 21

Rajesh run out 1

Extras (lb-5, nb-21) 26

Total (9 wkts dec) 503

Fall of wickets: 1-178, 2-248, 3-334, 4-357, 5-404, 6-412, 7-456, 8-500, 9-503.

Bowling: Makda 34-4-92-1, Majmudar 27-2-105-3, Amit 34-6-99-0, Kirat 16-2-48-0, Timil 30.3-3-110-2, Watekar 11-0-34-0, Nira 4-0-10-1.

Gujarat (2nd innings)

Modi not out 34

Christian lbw Gagandeep 16

Timil not out 33

Extras (b-1, lb-1, nb-1) 3

Total (1 wkt, 32 overs) 86

Fall of wicket: 1-18

Bowling: Ablish 11-2-22-0, Gagandeep 9-1-32-1, Rajesh 7-0-13-0, Malhotra 3-0-7-0, Goel 2-0-10-0.

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Jeev seals another win

Tokyo, December 3
Jeev Milkha Singh capped a spectacular season when he won his fourth title of the year and second in as many weeks by clinching the season-ending Nippon Series JT Cup golf tournament here today.

The win, which fetched Jeev a cheque of 30 million Yen, will also carry him into the top-50 of the world golf rankings and ensure a place in the prestigious Augusta Masters next April.

Jeev shot an even par 70 on the final day to finish with a score of 11-under 269, one shot clear of fast-approaching Nobuhiro Masuda.

The Indian needed to hole a tense 10-footer to ensure he avoided a play-off and won in regulation.

"I am happy the way I have managed to keep myself going in tense situations. I have followed my routine and done the right things and I have been patient," said Jeev, whose ranking should be somewhere in the 40s when it is announced tomorrow.

Jeev also finished a career-best third on Japan Money List, which was topped by Shingo Katayama of Japan.

This year Jeev has been first in Asia, third in Japan and 16th in Europe. He has had four titles and a total of 18 top-10 finishes around the world. His climb in world rankings has been the most remarkable in the world, from 376th to inside top-50.

"I cannot describe the feeling of elation that I am going through. It has been a dream season from the time I started way back in January. Four titles on three different tours, topping UBS Asian Tour Order of Merit and winning twice in Japan and the Volvo Masters of Europe, it is going to take some time to sink in," he said after the win.

Jeev will now be a starter at all Majors including Masters, where no Indian has teed up before and the British Open, where Jeev narrowly missed an entry last year.

Jeev, whose performance is best by any golfer in a season barring Tiger Woods, was the first Indian to play and make the cut at the US Open in 2002 and he also played in 2006.

The Indian pro set the pace in the tournament in the second round itself. He shared the lead at halfway stage and then in the third round before breaking away from the crowd to open a four-shot lead that put him on top. On the final day, he kept the momentum going and kept his date with destiny. — PTI

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Irina enters pro circuit with a bang
Donald Banerjee

Chandigarh, December 3
Discarded from the Indian golf team for the Doha Asian Games, Chandigarh’s golf icon Irina Brar clinched her first pro circuit title and pocketed her first cash prize of Rs 74,000 at the Golden Greens in Gurgaon.

Also participating in the third leg of the DLF Women’s Golf Competition organised by the Women’s Golf Association of India was amateur Vaishavi Sinha, a member of the Asiad team. Although she was not a competitor in the pro circuit, she finished 12 strokes behind Irina.

The Golden Greens is a tough course with winds coming in from different directions. But, the Chandigarh girl tamed the winds and the course as the match progressed.

Returning a five-over card on the first day, Irina showed her class playing a par round and a one-under card on the subsequent two days. She finished with an overall three-round aggregate of four-under 220.

Another Chandigarh girl, who has turned a pro, Parneeta Garewal finished second with a three-round score of 238.

But the challenge that Irina was waiting for was missing at Gurgaon. Yes, Simi Mehra-Guffins, who won the first two legs of the women’s pro circuit, kept away from the third leg competition. But she will be playing in the fourth leg to be played at Pune from December 18 to 20.

“I have learnt a lot from Simi and am eager to meet her on the greens at Pune”, said Irina.

Now that she has tasted her first pro victory, Irina is all fired up for the remaining matches of the women’s pro circuit.

Talking about Parneeta, Irina said she played well at Gurgaon, but luck was not on her side. She looked forward to some keen competition with her Chandigarh buddy.

Irina was practising at the Chandigarh Golf Club greens when I rang her up. She will be leaving for Agra tomorrow to take part in a corporate event.

The IOC had signed her up as an amateur. But now that she has turned professional, Irina will be looking forward to other sponsors.

Once the Indian pro circuit is over, Irina plans to move to Macau, Hong Kong and Thailand for some big time golf. 

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Russia win Davis Cup

Moscow, December 3
Marat Safin overpowered Argentine substitute Jose Acasuso 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in a nerve-racking fifth and decisive rubber to clinch the Davis Cup title for Russia today.

Russia, undefeated at home since the 1995 final, beat Argentina 3-2 to win their second Davis Cup following their triumph in 2002 in Paris.

Argentine number one David Nalbandian had overwhelmed Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the first reverse singles to level the three-day final at Moscow’s Olympic arena at 2-2.

In the decider, Safin secured the first set with a single break of serve but Acasuso, who replaced Juan Ignacio Chela in the Argentine line-up for the reverse singles, returned the favour in the second set by breaking the former world number one in the sixth game.

The big Russian nudged ahead once again in the third set but the 24-year-old Argentine, who made his Davis Cup debut earlier this year, fought back after taking a medical time-out to treat his right foot at the end of the fifth game.

Safin conceded, however, that if the match had gone into a fifth set he probably would have lost.

“I must say that we had some doubts who to play in the last match, me or Dmitry Tursunov,” said the Russian, who fired 16 aces to Acasuso’s six. — Reuters

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Mohali shock Patiala in football
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, December 3
Mohali shocked hosts Patiala 4-2 while Ludhiana pounded Faridkot 4-0 on the day two of the Punjab state inter-district (u-16) football championship, played at the local Polo Grounds here today.

Bathinda played truant, which enabled Fatehgarh Sahib district to get a walkover and enter the quarter-finals.

In the last-eight stage, Jalandhar square off against Nawanshahr, Ropar take on Kapurthala, Gurdaspur clash with Ludhiana while Fatehgarh Sahib face Mohali for a spot in the last four.

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