Denial of Affiliation
Right: Hockey Punjab president Sukhbir Badal, Punjab Olympic Association president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Hockey Punjab secretary general Pargat Singh during a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui
Gill: HI inconceivable without Punjab
East Bengal lift Federation Cup
Sri Lanka’s captain Kumar Sangakkara, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and MS Dhoni with Idea Cup in Dhaka on Sunday. — Reuters
‘Kicking’ up a storm
Lajong FC players during a training session. — PTI
Chennai Open: January 4th to 12th
Strange to pair up with Moya: Yuki
Prakash, Yuki in final qualifying round
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 3
Sukhbir Badal, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, said the stubborn stand of Hockey India was a serious blow to the State’s efforts for the revival of the game.
Hockey Punjab secretary-general and ex-Indian captain Pargat Singh said Hockey Punjab was being denied affiliation despite being the first State in the country to hoist a unified body, following the direction of Hockey India.
He said ever since Hockey Punjab was formed four months ago, the association had written four letters - the last letter was despatched on December 10 - to Hockey India seeking affiliation, but the State had met with stony silence from the other end.
Badal asserted that Hockey Punjab would exercise all its options before taking legal recourse to get affiliation from Hockey India. Hockey India had announced that on January 29, proper elections would be held to put a legitimate body in place, instead of the present ad hoc arrangement to run the affairs of hockey.
Addressing a crowded press conference here today, in which Punjab Olympic Association (POA) president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and office-bearers of Hockey Punjab were also present, Sukhbir Badal said the onus was now on IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, who is also the key man at the helm of Hockey India, to explain why Hockey Punjab was being denied affiliation.
“We were the first State body to abide by the IOA guidelines to form Hockey Punjab by merging the three associations in the State”, explained Pargat. Sukhbir said it was the democratic right of Hockey Punjab to get affiliation to the apex body.
“Why that right is being denied to Punjab is a perplexing mystery. It is very strange and intriguing”, he added. Sukhbir said not only Punjab, but other hockey nurseries like Jharkhand, Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc. were also being denied affiliation without assigning any plausible reason.
Sukhbir said, “The maximum number of hockey players in the Indian team are from Punjab.” He said there were six players from the State in the senior team, three in the women’s team and nine in the junior team.
“Kalmadi has to give us an answer why Punjab and other States are being denied the right for recognition,” Sukhbir asserted. He said before Hockey Punjab was formed, due procedure, as laid down by the IOA, and implemented through the POA, was followed in the merger of the three hockey bodies in the state as a single unit, as was mandated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Pargat said when he met FIH vice-president Peter Von Oudorze some time back, he had assured that Hockey Punjab would be given affiliation by Hockey India. “But whenever I approach Hockey India for affiliation, they say verbally that there are complaints against the State body, though it was never explained what those complaints were. Nor such things were put in writing”, noted Pargat.
Gill: HI inconceivable without Punjab
New Delhi, January 3
He said the Sports Ministry had appointed a senior Election Commission official Mendritta to supervise the hockey election in a fair, transparent and truthful manner. Government observers Ajitpal Singh and Zafar Iqbal were also expected to play it fare, for the larger good of Indian hockey.
"They can hold the Hockey India election through secret manner, but it should be representative of the whole of India, so that the very best committee is elected to run the game in the country". Dr Gill said when he met International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre some months ago, he had made it very clear that India should have a unified hockey body in place before the World Cup in February-March.
Subsequently an ad hoc body was formed by the Indian Olympic Association to run the game, but it was not a representative body, and Negre asserted that a properly elected Hockey India should be in place before the World Cup.
"Otherwise, the FIH will not allow the holding of the World Cup in Delhi", Dr Gill explained. He said his experience of over six years as the Chief Election Commissioner of the country had taught him that a proper electoral roll was a mandatory requirement to hold a fair and transparent election. "Otherwise, the election process is irrelevant", he added. "The new hockey body should give hope for the game in the country", noted the Minister.
Lalit Bhanot, who is in the affiliation committee of Hockey India, said Pargat Singh had been called for a meeting tomorrow to discuss Hockey Punjab's affiliation with Hockey India tomorrow.
Serious allegation behind delay: HI
New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) today dismissed allegations that it was purposefully denying affiliation to Hockey Punjab, saying the delay in recognising the state body was because of some serious allegations made by HP members. "We are in the course of finalising all the affiliation issues, including that of Punjab. There were some serious issues raised by some members within HP and that is why it has not been granted affiliation till now," Mattoo told PTI even though he did not disclose what were those allegations.
New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) today dismissed allegations that it was purposefully denying affiliation to Hockey Punjab, saying the delay in recognising the state body was because of some serious allegations made by HP members. "We are in the course of finalising all the affiliation issues, including that of Punjab. There were some serious issues raised by some members within HP and that is why it has not been granted affiliation till now," Mattoo told PTI even though he did not disclose what were those allegations. — PTI
Guwahati, January 3
Yusif Yakubu, Nirmal Chhetri and Sanju Pradhan scored for the Kolkata outfit in the penalty shootout after stipulated 90 minutes as well as the extra-time failed to determine the champion of the prestigious tournament. Lajong, who had shocked I-League champions Churchill Brothers 1-0 to book their maiden final berth earlier, rode on the crowd support to thwart the Kolkata giant in the regulation time before losing the plot in the penalty stage.
Earlier, the match saw a well-contested but barren first half with Lajong defenders standing firm to save their citadel despite some nippy attack by East Bengal. The Kolkata outfit came tantalizingly close to scoring when Harmanjot Khabra was allowed by Lajong defenders to take a free header at the near post off a corner but he failed to find the net.
The Shillong boys looked quite dangerous on counter-attack and East Bengal, despite their early dominance, could not take it easy for even a second. Just before the breather, Subhash Singh curled in a pass into the penalty box and it almost sneaked through for Harmanjot at the far post, but an alert Boithang did his job rightly under the bars.
Although, East Bengal looked a better side in the second half, the Baichung Bhutia-led team could not penetrate into the Sikkim citadel despite several attempts. East Bengal charted a quick attack to the end of second half, but a visibly tired Yakubu could not found the back of the net as his wobbly shot failed to get past the Lajong custodian.
During the shootout, Anil Gurung, Ramengmawia and Lyngshing took the kicks for Lajong but failed to open the goalmouth. Although Harmanjot missed the third penalty for the Kolkata team, Sanju made no mistake to score and seal the winning goal for his side. — PTI
Dhaka, January 3
Batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya and Chamara Kapugedera, fast bowler Lasith Malinga and spinner Ajantha Mendis were dropped and batsman Mahela Jayawardene, all-rounder Angelo Mathews and bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando are injured. "We had a number of injuries in India which forced us seeing some of the young players that have been close to the team for long years. We are very happy with the way they were performing in the last few games," Bayliss told a news conference.
"It has brought some youthful enthusiasm to the team and we are looking forward to see how they develop over the coming month and years," he said. "They may be lacking a little bit of experience. But the more games they play the more they will be experienced. If we play good cricket we have a good chance of winning." he said.
Sri Lanka will be without leading spinners Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis. "Obviously, we have come from India and the young Suraj Randiv is probably the best spinner we had on the tour," Bayliss said.
"He bowled exceptionally well against India in his first two or three games. So we are very happy the way he is coming to international cricket. "Obviously Malinga Bandara, he has been around for a number of years playing second fiddle to Murali and Mendis. He gets another opportunity." "The spin bowling all-rounder (Muthumudalige) Pushpakumara made his debut in India," Bayliss added. "So we are quite happy with the depth we have in our bowling. They are very young and inexperienced but they are talented." — Reuters
Guwahati, January 3
Credit goes to the coach Stanley Rosario who has raised the young team comprising players mainly from the North Eastern states and a few from abroad as a very cohesive unit . Right from the beginning on 2009, the team has been playing good football and creating ripples in the soccer circuit.
The hardworking players of Lajong stand example of soccer talents available in the North East who if groomed properly can rise to a stature from where they can rule the roost. The team is capable of playing fast and strategic games much to the awe and surprise of their more famous opponents
The livewires of Lalong FC have entertained the local crowd like no other team since the tournament began. They fully deserves a place in the history given that it was their first ever Federation Cup campaign. The young side has excited experts and captured the imagination of fans through their hardwork and strategic display of prowess on the green of Nehru Stadium here in front of a cheering home crowd.
From a bunch of lesser -known in January 1 , 2009, Lajong has risen to one of the most watched and fancied team just a year after having already jumped one division up to claim a spot in one of India's most prestigious cup competitions (Federation Cup).
Right from the moment the season began, Lajong were tipped by many to be a tricky side, which was predicted to be causing many an upset during the course of the campaign.
Wins against Sporting Clube de Goa and Air India gave them the confidence, which they carried into clashes against giants . As the tournament progressed they started looking more and more confident and entered the final playing their natural game in defeating Churchill Brothers in the semifinal.
The team consists primarily of local players, with a few foreign additions like Daniel Bedemi, James Giblee, and Nepal star Anil Gurung.
But Lajong are not riding on the back of only those foreign players to secure victory. It's the Indian talent which is coming to the fore making the fans go ga ga over it. Players like Gumpe Rime, Wailadmi Passah, Airbor Khongjee, Boithang, Niwano, Kryshan Lyngshing, and above all, Seikhohao Tuboi, have scaled a greater height in the last two weeks with some superb performances, and mind you they are yet to peak.
Tuboi has proven that explosiveness and size are inversely proportional, and must have been watched carefully by India coach Bob Houghton. His capability to work hard, commitment, and a keen eye for goal and for the final pass makes him an invaluable player for Lajong. Three cheers for Lajong, a rising star in country’s soccer horizon.
Chennai, January 3
Top seed Soderling, who comes eighth in ATP ranking, will certainly take heart from his recent victory over world number one Roger Federer when he starts campaign in the event by taking on Robby Ginepri of the United States.
The 25-year-old stunned Federer in their 13th meeting in an exhibition tournament at Abu Dhabi, before losing the final to Rafael Nadal yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Indians, including country's numero uno singles player Somdev Devvarman will also have to overcome some stiff competition in what is considered as on of the toughest first round draw in Chennai Open's history.
Somdev, ranked 127, plays Rainer Schuettler of Germany, while compatriot Rohan Boppana have to come out with almost flawless tennis when he locks horn with third seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who is currently world ranked 21.
The Indian wild card, however, was looking to capitalise on the home support before the tough encounter.
"It will surely be a tough match and I am counting on the home support," Bopanna said.
Somdev, who almost won the title last year before losing to Croatian Marin Cilic in final. Somdev, 24, along with Bopanna was instrumental in bringing India back to the Davis Cup World Group last year and the duo will try to re-create the magic here once again.
Vijay Amritraj praised Somdev but at the same time reminded that his campaign-opener would not be an easy one.
"If Sheuttler brings his hundred per cent on court, it will turn out to be a good match," Amritraj said.
The bottom draw looks to be much stronger with defending champion, second seed Cilic and fourth seed Serb Janko Tipsarevic are tipped to have a run up to the semifinal.
Cilic, who beat world number two Andy Murray in US Open pre-quarterfinal last year, is pitted against Russian Igor Kunistyn in first round, while Tipsarevic plays two time champion Carlos Moya of Spain — a wild card entrant.
In doubles main draw, starting tomorrow, Indian interest revolves around the pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Bopanna, besides wild cards Somdev-Sanam Singh and Yuki Bhambri-Moya.
Third seed Bhupathi-Bopanna, drawn in the bottom half, cross swords with American pair of James Cerretani and Travis Rettenmaier, while Somdev and Sanam from the top half take on Rik de Voest (South Africa) and Scott Lipsky (USA).
Bhambri and Moya fight Robby Ginepri (USA) and Dudi Sela (Israel). — PTI
Mumbai, January 3
Reduced to 86 for three on a bouncy pitch, Mumbai staged a remarkable recovery, thanks mainly to Nayar's gritty display and his two significant partnerships with Onkar Khanvilkar (70 off 115 balls; 4X8) and Ajit Agarkar (57 batting off 84 balls; 4X9).
At stumps, the 38-time champions were at a sound 329 for four in 83 overs which looked a distant dream when they had lost their top three batsmen, including skipper Wasim Jaffer, by the 25th over in an extended first session.
Nayar added 145 runs for the fourth wicket with another left-handed batsman Khanvilkar off 221 balls to steady the rocking boat on either side of lunch and then put on 98 runs during a breezy, unbroken fifth-wicket partnership with the free-stroking Agarkar to consolidate the innings.
Towards close Nayar, who missed Mumbai's last three games due to a hand injury, suffered cramps in the right hand but his partnership with Agarkar, which produced a near-century stand in only 105 minutes, has swung the match towards the hosts.
Pandey propels Karnataka to 255
Bangalore: Half centuries from Manish Pandey (66) and K B Pawan (52) helped Karnataka make a steady 255 for four on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal against Uttar Pradesh at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here today. A composed Rahul Dravid (37 batting) and R Vinay Kumar (7 batting) were at the crease, promising to consolidate hosts' position on a hurriedly prepared slow and low deck. Opting to bat, Karnataka began on a sedate note with Robin Uthappa (32) and K B Pawan producing a 42-run stand for the first wicket. Uthappa was in good nick before committing hara kiri, unsuccessfully attempting to paddle sweep left arm spinner Praveen Gupta. Umpire Sanjay Hazare had no hesitation whatsoever in adjudging Uthappa leg before the wicket. Pawan, a prolific run-getter this season, frustrated Uttar Pradesh with his dour defence in the company of a confidence-personified Ganesh Satish (49). They were in complete command before left-arm medium pacer R P Singh produced two wickets in five balls, having Pawan and Satish snared behind the wickets by Amir Khan.
Bangalore: Half centuries from Manish Pandey (66) and K B Pawan (52) helped Karnataka make a steady 255 for four on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy semifinal against Uttar Pradesh at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here today. A composed Rahul Dravid (37 batting) and R Vinay Kumar (7 batting) were at the crease, promising to consolidate hosts' position on a hurriedly prepared slow and low deck. Opting to bat, Karnataka began on a sedate note with Robin Uthappa (32) and K B Pawan producing a 42-run stand for the first wicket. Uthappa was in good nick before committing hara kiri, unsuccessfully attempting to paddle sweep left arm spinner Praveen Gupta. Umpire Sanjay Hazare had no hesitation whatsoever in adjudging Uthappa leg before the wicket.
Pawan, a prolific run-getter this season, frustrated Uttar Pradesh with his dour defence in the company of a confidence-personified Ganesh Satish (49). They were in complete command before left-arm medium pacer R P Singh produced two wickets in five balls, having Pawan and Satish snared behind the wickets by Amir Khan. — PTI
Ludhiana, January 3
Even in the women’s section, where the current champions, Indian Railways faced a little resistance from their opponents and last year's losing finalists, Delhi, they finally took the title with a 84-62 win, and also retained their win at Surat last year.
The men’s final turned out to be a see-saw battle, exchanging leads very quickly. The reigning champions got off to a flying start and they were into the lead immediately (8-0) with Yadwinder and Prakash Mishra, right on target.
Then, Punjab not only caught up with them but surged ahead also. The two teams were tied at 12-all and again at 14-all. Punjab gained lead and were placed comfortably (39-34) at the end of the second quarter.
Both teams exhibited great mobility in their attacks and players moved like well-oiled machines. With both teams neck and neck, and in no mood to give up, the match boiled down to the fourth quarter the and the final 10-minutes.
Not only that, the outcome of the match was decided in the last 34 seconds, where Railways enjoyed a one point lead 75-74, and were able to contain the home team to take it 75-74.
For Railways, Yadwinder Singh played the pivot role, chipping in with 20 points, followed by Vishesh Kumar and Arjun Singh who contributed 17 points each, while Prakash Mishra accounted for 13 points. For Punjab, skipper, Talwinder Singh Sahi netted 26 points while, Jagdeep Singh and Dilawar Singh scored 18 and 17 points, respectively. Mod Singh contributed 11 points.
In the women’s section, defending champions, Indian Railways got the better of Delhi 84-62, to retain the trophy. In the first two quarters, both the teams fought for possession of the ball. But balance of fortune tilted towards Railways after the third quarter as they were leading by just two points (32-30) at half time.
The story was similar in the fourth quarter, with Railways enhancing the margin of victory, and Delhi lost the rhythm and their grip over the game.
Taking advantage of the error prone Delhi cagers, the eventual winners further blocked the rival cagers from excelling under their basket.
Geethu Anna Jose was the main architect of the team’s victory scoring 28 points. P Anita (12) and Anju Lakra (10) also contributed to the team’s total.
For Delhi Prasanthi Singh top scored with 20 points, while Shiba Maggon netted 16 points. In a play-off match, Tamil Nadu outplayed Uttarakhand 76-68 to win third place in the men’s section. In the women’s section, Chattisgarh edged passed Karnataka 67-66 to win bronze. by one point.
New Delhi, January 3
A 1998 French Open champion, Moya's career has been marred by injuries in the last few years. "No doubt, it's a big opportunity to play alongside a former world number one. How many times do you get a chance to pair up with a player of that stature?" Yuki told PTI in an interview. "It definitely looks a strange combination. Age difference is there but it's a good chance to gather knowledge from somebody who has played on the tour for so long," he added. — PTI
Chennai, January 3
An error-prone Amritraj dropped the first set but recovered in time to get the better of Peter Polansky of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9) in a two-and-a-half hour battle, while 17-year-old Bhambri came through a first set tiebreak to oust Ilya Marchenko of Ukraine 7-6 (2), 6-3.
Amritraj will next take on Lars Poerschke of Germany while Bhambri faces Ireland's Louk Sorensen in their respective final qualifying matches tomorrow.
The winners of the two other qualifying matches, also scheduled for tomorrow, Dustin Brown vs Tsung-Hua Yang and James Ward vs Noam Okun, will also progress to the main draw of the tournament. — PTI
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