|S P O R T||
Tuesday, December 8, 1998
India bundled out for 103
Dept gearing up to meet requirements
carrom meet from January 12
Gibbs replaces Bacher
Merchant loses in q-finals
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) Former Asian amateur champion Yasin Merchant of India lost hopes of reaching the medal round when he went down to Sam Chong of Malaysia 4-5 in a thrilling snooker singles quarterfinal at the Asian Games today.
Merchant, who beat Pakistans Mohammed Saleh with his last pot to begin with and then sailed past Pang Wei-Guo of China 5-1 in the morning looked, well set to cruise into the last four before his seasoned rival fought back and eventually won in the deciding frame of the best-of-nine frame encounter.
The 32-year-old Merchant raced to 2-0 frame lead but his rival fought back as the frame score went neck and neck to be 2-all and 3-all.
Sam Chung tallied up a century break of 107 in the seventh to lead 4-3, but the Indian cueist produced an even better effort of 109 in the next to push the affair into the thrilling final frame.
But Merchant, nursing hopes of winning the first medal for India in the green baize game making its debut here, faltered to give his opponent an opening which the Malaysian grabbed to reel off a break of 76 which settled the issue and put the Indian out.
Merchant lost the thrilling affair 99-17, 98-0, 34-74, 31-55, 75-21, 37-62, 4-107, 109-0 and 0-76. The Indian had breaks of 40 (first), 52 (second) showing early flourish and then tallied 59 (fifth) and 109 (eighth). Chong scored breaks of 40 (fifth) and 109 (eighth) and 76 in the final frame.
Indian hopes also vanished in the carom three cushion singles when reigning world billiards champion Geet Sethi and Mukesh Rehani both went down in first round.
Sethi, adding carom to his main event of billiards where he is the favourite, went down tamely to Reynaldo Grandea of the Philippines 23-50 while Mukesh Rehani fought well showing his snooker prowess before narrowly succumbing to Yao Huei Yang of Taipei.
Earlier in the morning, Merchant beat Pang Wei-Guo in the last 16 with a 5-1 verdict (46-72, 77-46, 73-26, 66-18, 62-56) but the second singles entrant Alok Kumar went down 3-5 to Pakistan number one Shokat Ali (6-73, 52-72, 64-13, 40-76, 56-1, 53-19, 15-80).
The snooker table
continued to pile on upsets as Hong Kongs star
Marco Fu Ka-Chun followed in the footsteps of Thai
superstar James Wattana who was shocked in the first
round. The 21-year-old Fu was scalped 3-5 by Ooi Chin Kay
of Malaysia 85-9, 60-47, 9-72, 77-63, 13-70, 63-37,
Dismal performance by Indians
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) It was an all-too-familiar dismal story for India on the first full day of the competition in the Asian Games today.
The jumbo-sized Indian contingent faced reverses on most fronts with medal hopefuls, notably the womens football team and diminutive woman weightlifter Kunjarani Devi, and not-so-hopefuls tumbling to losses and putting a dampener on the countrys aspirations in the 13th games.
The women footballers, touted by the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) as sure bets to reach the medal bracket, were trounced 7-0 (half-time 3-0) by South Korea while their male counterparts slid to a 2-3 defeat against strong Turkmenistan in their opening group one second round clash.
Central Reserve Police Force officer Kunjarani brought up the rear by finishing seventh in the 48 kg class with a combined lift of 165 kg (70 kg in snatch and 95 kg in clean and jerk).
Kunjaranis combined effort was as much as 22.5 kgs lower than gold medallist Liu Hiu Hja of China who, in the process, also set up a world snatch record of 83.5 kg. Myanmars Kay Chi Win and Indonesias Sri Indrayani secured the silver and bronze.
The Indian men footballers fought back after seemingly headed towards a rout, similar to the drubbing received later by their women, when they trailed 0-3 with only the last seven minutes remaining.
The Indian spikers began their bid in mens volleyball on a losing note when they were beaten in straight sets (15-9, 15-7, 15-11) in 90 minutes by the strong Chinese squad in their opening group B match.
Indias campaign in the shooting range too began in nondescript fashion.
Satinder Kumar failed to qualify for the final after finishing a lowly ninth with 552 points in the mens individual free pistol qualifying event topped by Kazakh Vladimir Guchsha (567) while the womens air rifle trio Anuja Tere, Suma Dixit and Anjali Vedpathak ended up eighth with a tally of 1,152 points.
Individually they finished 16th, 27th and 35th respectively.
The Thai women, aggregating 1,178 points, took the first gold in shooting by winning the air rifle event. South Korea (1,171) and China (1,169) bagged the silver and bronze medals.
The mens skeet shooters Rao Inderjit Singh, Harinder Singh Bedi and Rahoul Rai were placed 21st, 25th and 35th respectively after the first days round of 75 targets.
Indian eves start favourites
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (UNI) India start favourites as they take on host Thailand in their opening fixture of the womens hockey competition in the 13th Asian Games here tomorrow.
"The round robin league format of the competition is good for us, it will give our players a chance to cover up their grey areas, coach G.S. Bhangu said today.
"We have a reasonably good chance to strike a medal here if our forwards click. I think we can return home with a medal the coach said.
He admitted that defending champion South Korea and China are very tough sides but added, "this is Asian Games and every country sends its best side.
Bhangu was of the view that a good showing in the Commonwealth Games where India had finished fourth has certainly boosted the morale of the players.
Even in the Utrecht World Cup where the Indians ended last, the performance was not bad but luck deserted them.
The coach said players are eagerly looking for the start of the competition. "All of them are fully fit, he said adding that winger Kamla Dalal has recovered from her mild illness and will play if need be in the opener.
The Indian attack will revolve around Pritam Thakran, Nidhi Khullar and Manjinder Kaur and Bhangu was hopeful that the trio will perform upto the expectations.
On paper the Indian half line is very sound. It is being marshalled by veteran Sita Gussein and the flanks will be covered by Kamla Dalal and Waikom while World Cup captain Sandeep Kaur will look after the defence.
On the given form, India should end its 16-year-old medal drought here with lot of determination, good display and luck.
With the withdrawal of Sri Lanka, the organisers rescheduled the whole programme and decided to play the competition on round robin league basis.
India, after playing Thailand, faces China on December 10, Uzbekistan on December 12, South Korea on December 13, Kazakisthan on 15 and Japan on 16.
Tough task ahead for men's hockey team
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) Can India pull off once again what it did 32 years ago in this very "City of Angels" for its lone Asian Games mens hockey gold so far?
With a poor track record in the immediate past and no new faces to inject fresh ideas, the Indian team has quite a job on its hands in the mens hockey tournament at the 13th edition of the Asian Games starting here tomorrow.
Asian hockey is no longer an easy scene for one to dominate with the emergence of South Korea as a major power breaking the stranglehold enjoyed down the years by Pakistan and India, and, with its ability to spring a surprise or two, Malaysia is always there causing sleepless nights to the major players.
In the Utrecht World Cup in May this year, India went down 3-4 to Korea, with whom they are grouped here too, in a pool match and then crashed to a 1-4 defeat against Canada. India had lost to Korea in the play-off match of Atlanta Olympics also two years ago.
The seemingly never-ending tale of Indian hockey reverses continued as India went down 2-5 against Australia in the opening match in the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games two months ago.
They then lost 0-1 to Malaysia in the semi-finals before yielding to England in the play-off for the bronze medal.
With no international exposure after that, the Indian Hockey Federation selectors had no recourse but to fall back on the tried and trusted players like Dhanraj Pillai, Mukesh Kumar in the forward line and Aashish Ballal and A.B. Subbaiah under the bar.
If India finish second in the tougher pool, where they are placed along with Korea, they are likely to run into Pakistan which has started getting its act together once again.
After finishing fifth in the World Cup, Pakistan failed to make it to the semi-finals in the Commonwealth Games because of its young and inexperienced team, but bounced back to finish runners up in the Champions Trophy last month.
The team, which is without Shahbaz Ahmed, Tahir Zaman and Mohd Shahbaz, has some fresh young blood like forwards Mohd Anees, Atif Bashir, Mohd Sanwar and Sohail Abbas and half back like Mohd Usman.
The Koreans, who finished seventh in both the Atlanta Olympics and the World Cup, recovered from the slump with some impressive performances in the Lahore Champions Trophy.
Coached by Paul Lissack, Malaysia stunned a profligate India 1-0 in the Commonwealth Games semi-finals and is not a team to be taken lightly.
Coming back to the Indian team, it had a harrowing time on arrival and its movement to the village and checking in took as long as six hours due to some communication mess-up.
It has also got over the worry about the fitness of Anil Aldrin who was suffering from herpes.
The team has been having regular practice sessions and also played a warm up match against Japan which it won 3-2.
The goals conceded, according to chief coach M.K. Kaushik, were due to the fact that the team did not want to take undue risks.
The Indian squad:
Goalkeepers: Aashish Ballal and A.B. Subbaiah.
Full backs: Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla and Anil Aldrin.
Half backs: Ramandeep Singh, Thirumalvalavan, Baljit Saini and Sandeep Somesh.
Forwards: Mohd Riaz, Baljit Dhillon, L. Prabhakaran, Samir Dad, Mukesh Kumar, Sabu Varkey and Dhanraj Pillay.
Match schedule: Dec 8 - 1.35 p.m. - pool A - Thailand vs Pakistan, 3.35 p.m. - pool A - Japan vs Malaysia, 5.35 p.m. - pool B - Bangladesh vs China, Dec 9 - 1.35 p.m. - pool B -India vs Singapore, 3.35 p.m. - pool A - Malaysia vs Hong Kong (China), 5.35 p.m. - pool B - Bangladesh vs Korea, Dec 10 - 1.35 p.m. - pool A - Japan vs Thailand, 3.35 p.m. - pool B - Singapore vs China, 5.35 p.m. - pool A - Hong Kong (China) vs Pakistan, Dec 11 - 1.35 p.m. - pool B - China vs Korea, 1.35 p.m. - pool B - India vs Bangladesh, 5.35 p.m. - pool A - Thailand vs Malaysia, Dec 12 - 1.35 p.m. - pool A - Japan vs Hong Kong (China), 3.35 p.m. - pool B - Korea vs Singapore, 5.35 p.m. - pool A - Malaysia vs Pakistan Dec 13 - 1.35 p.m. - pool B -Bangladesh vs Singapore 3.35 p.m. - pool A - Hong Kong (China) vs Thailand, 5.35 p.m. - pool B - China vs India, Dec 14 - 3.35 p.m. - pool B - India vs Korea, 5.35 p.m. - pool A - Pakistan vs Japan Dec 15 - rest day Dec 16 - 1.35 p.m. - 9th/10th place - 5th pool A vs 5th pool B, 4.05 p.m. - 5th to 8th - 3rd pool A vs 4th pool B, 6.35 p.m. - 5th to 8th - 4th pool A vs 3rd pool B, Dec 17 - 3.35 p.m. - 1st to 4th - 1st pool A vs 2nd pool B, 6.05 p.m. - 1st to 4th - 2nd pool A vs 1st pool B Dec 18 - 3.35 p.m. - 7th/8th, 6.05 p.m. - 5th/6th final classification matches, Dec 19 - 1.35 p.m. - 3rd/4th final classification match, 4.05 - 1/2 final.
Indian spikers go down to China
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) India failed to maintain consistency despite intermittent domination to go down to world powers China in straight games in their inaugural group 'B' outing of the Asian Games volleyball competition at the Muang Thong Thani complex hall today.
India, comprising many players who had helped the country qualify to the 1995 World Cup, committed many unforced errors and showed lack of coordination at vital moments before going down 9-15, 7-15, 11-15 in a clash lasting over 90 minutes.
The Indians showed glimpses of their capability as they took early leads in all three games but failed to sustain it in the face of the varied attack from the superior Chinese, arriving fresh after figuring in the recent world championship in Japan, who raised their game considerably whenever challenged by the Indian spikers.
Indian spiker Joby Joseph maintained superb spiking form from the flanks throughout but their reception and first pass left much to be desired which enabled the seasoned Chinese to force themselves into each game before claiming a comfortable victory in the end.
India led 5-4 in the opening set before their opponents ran away with the game. In the second with Raj Vinod doing a fine job as Libero and Yavar Ali complementing Joby Joseph, India once again raced to 4-1 only to show tentativeness in the net blocks and lack of venom in finishing off points as China made it 2-0.
Chinese setters Hebing Wang was their star who showed great variety in his boosts to help Jianan Zhou. Jaijie An in the final set in particular and Qi Chen to uncork terrific smashes from the flanks and through the Indian net blocks.
The Indian spikers, however, fought valiantly in the third game catching up at 4-all and then going ahead 6-5 and again keeping level at 8-all. The game was replete with thrilling rallies as Surjit Singh and Ratan Lal with net blocks and setter Ravikant Reddy with disguised drops rattled the Chinese.
But once again lack of coordination, attributed by chief coach Al Wassimi of Germany to the team playing their first international match in four months, helped the Chinese bounce back to seal the match, off the third match point.
"I am extremely happy with the performance. We'll definitely be better in the next outing," Wassimi said. India play equally tough opponents Japan in their second group clash tomorrow.
China displayed superb defensive techniques to gain points in the set where the Indian reception and net blocks could not cope up with the triple attacks mounted to precise boosts by Wang.
In the third, the Chinese lapsed into errors as the Indians steadied their game to make a fight of it, but Roy Joseph looked at off-colour serving a few times into net and the defence also failed to properly pick up the smashes as the Chinese, time and again, managed to penetrate the double net blocks by Surjit Singh, Ravikant Reddy and Rattan Lal.
Turkmenistan down India 3-2
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) India fought an equal battle in the first half and made a superb rally late in the second half when trailing 0-3 before going down 2-3 to title aspirants Turkmenistan in their opening group one second round mens football clash in the 13th Asian Games here today.
Buoyed by their fighting display in making it to the second round, India showed lot of cohesion and even came close to scoring through mercurial striker Baichung Bhutia before losing steam in the second session to be hopelessly down 0-3 with only seven minutes left.
But captain I.M. Vijayan (83rd) and Tushar Rakshit (87th) etched their names in the Asian Games books by stunning their opponents with goals in the space of four minutes at the fag end as India, who were 0-1 behind at half time, came away with their heads held high despite the loss.
Nejelev Dmitry gave Turkmenistan the lead in the 39th minute lead off a defence lapse, Agaev Muslim (49th) made it 2-0 and lanky Igor Kislov headed in the third from close range in the 74th, pointing to a rout.
But Vijayan, who chested and slammed home a Chapman diagonal cross from right, and Rakshit, who pulled wide of goalkeeper Korobko after Bhutia had sped into the box and laid the ball on to him, gave much for the Indian squad to feel proud about.
India take on defending champions Uzbekistan in their second league match on December 9.
India, after their fighting display in the 1-0 loss to Japan and the win over Nepal to qualify from group C, began confidently against the side which upset South Korea on their way to topping group A. Playing quick short passes and with accent on defence they did not allow the Turkmenistan forwards any free run.
India had a fair share of exchanges in the first half with Vijayan falling back to help the midfield where Carlton Chapman, who scored the winner against Nepal, Basudev Mondal, defensive medio Vankatesh and the overlapping wingback K.V. Dhanesh were quite sure in their tackling and passing.
They slowly broke out of their early defensive shell to carry out quite a few well-knit moves where right wing back Roberto Ferdando joined to provide the ammunition for Baichung Bhutia to fire in, which he almost did on a few occasions.
Turkmenistan forwards Roman Bondarenko and Agaev Muslim were a constant threat lurking at top of the box while right winger Nejelev Dmitry initiated several moves with quick running and crossing.
The ex-Soviet side almost went up midway through first half when Roman headed off a corner from the left, but keeper Hemanta Dora collected with confidence. A Dmitry cross was then back volleyed by Roman just over.
India had a few fine chances with Bhutia in the thick of it all. First he collected an I.M. Vijayan pass and raced down the middle but delayed passing to Venkatesh, running parallel on the left and when he eventually did, the latter was offside.
Venkatesh kicked the ball into the goal and was promptly booked by the refree Ballan Hany of Qatar, who was extremely strict and penalised any small infringement.
Bhutia, who remained a handful for Turkmenistan stoppers Sosenko Konstantin and Yuriy Borodolimov, had the best chance to find the lead as Basudev Mondals freekick was relayed from the left by Vijayan, but he handled the ball while chesting just a couple of yards from the goal.
He again produced a diving header at the far post off a Vijayan freekick from the right but the ball agonisingly bounced over goalkeeper Evgeny Naboychenki and the bar.
Turkmenistan found the
lead off an error by Mondal, who fumbled at the top of
the box in the 39th minute and the crafty Dmitry Nejelev
pounced on the ball and took a curling right footer which
grazed the right upright and went in, giving Dora no
Japanese out to end Chinas domination
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (AFP) Japanese swimmers launched their bid to end Chinas domination of the Asian Games pool, qualifying fastest in two events on the opening day of the competition today.
Yasuko Tajima in 4:46.91 and Miyuki Ishikawa in 4:51.67 each won one of the two heats to lead qualifying in the womens 400m individual medley.
But there was every chance that Chinas Chen Yan, who holds the world record of 4:34.79, was merely saving herself for the final when she posted the third-fastest time of 4:53.71.
Koreas Lee Ji-Hyun had the fourth-fastest time of the day and China put another threat in the final when Wu Yanyan, world record holder in the 200m version of the medley, clocked the fifth-fastest time of 5:03.39.
Sumiko Minamoto and Junko Nakatani gave Japan the top two qualifying spots in the womens 100m freestyle, ahead of Chinas Chao Na. Minamoto won her heat in 57.20 sec and Nakatani was second in the same heat in 57.31.
Defending champion Shan Yings 58.23 third in a heat won by Koreas Hong Chan Lim was good enough for the seventh qualifying spot.
While its Japans men who are reckoned to give them the best chance of topping China in the swimming medals table, China had the top qualifier in the mens 100m breaststroke and the number two finisher in the mens 200m freestyle.
Zeng Qilang led the 100m breast qualifying ahead of defending champion Akira Hayashi of Japan and Chinas Zhu Yi. Thailands Torlarp Sethsothorn won the final heat of the day to qualify first in mens 200m freestyle in 1:52.77.
Eastern flavour in village
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (Reuters) They like the food, the karaoke, and most of all, Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan.
Life in the Asian Games athletes village took on a typically eastern flavour as the approximately 7,000 residents from 41 countries settled in on the first full day of action today.
Athletes and officials at the sprawling Thammasat University campus north of Bangkok, had a dizzying array of activities to help relieve the stress of international competition.
The theatre has a schedule of about 40 Hollywood movies, but Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan has packed in the most residents so far, volunteers said.
"Everyone is very fond of Jackie Chan," said Photjanw Luanphaisarmot, a Thai student volunteer at the theatre.
Chans hit film "Rush Hour" is the most popular film, she said, and second was another Chan movie "Who Am I?"
In the karaoke room, would-be singers can spend their evenings crooning the latest hits. More popular still, is the deafening video game room, where there is every sport including virtual skiing.
Along with the free movies and video games, the village has a sauna with traditional Thai massage available in the mornings.
The food received high scores from most athletes. "I think its delicious because Im Asian. So theres no problem," said Indonesian badminton player Tony Gunawan.
Cambodian table tennis head coach Southearith Sun also said the food was good. "Thai food and Cambodian food are about the same, so its ok for us," he said.
Hong Kong water polo player Howard Wong Kai Hay said the foods taste was fine, but the selection was lacking. "There are only two or three things on the menu, so if you dont like whats on offer, youre stuffed," he said.
The most cramped room of all in the centre is the souvenir shop, where two dozen athletes scrambled to buy everything from official T-shirts to stamps, a heartening sign for games organisers who are facing a budget shortfall.
Key chains of the games elephant mascot Chai-Yo, at 149 baht (about Rs 180.60) each were the hottest sellers, a clerk said. They are selling hundreds every day, he added.
Land of fakes
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (AFP) Despite a promised police crack-down on fake Asian Games products, licensed merchandisers say pirates will eat away a large portion of the cash windfall expected from the games.
In the "land of smiles" not everything is what it seems. Although the smiles of Thai vendors hawking Asian Games products may be real, much of their merchandise is not, officials say.
Foreign sports fans flooding into Thailand for the games, which began yesterday and run to December 20, are expected to spend more than 80 million bhat (approx Rs 92.4 million) a day, according to tourism authorities.
But a good chunk of the profits, as much as 20 per cent, will likely end up lining the pockets of merchandise pirates operating in Bangkoks myriad markets, rather than licensed producers.
Bangkok Asian Games organising committee (BAGOC) chairman Santiparb Tejavanija said there was widespread infringement of copyrights on the games logos and mascot.
"We have contacted the office of the intellectual property rights protection to arrest violators," he said, adding some arrests had already been made.
Football Thai Sporting Goods Company, the official licensee for Asian Games products, expects sales of some 2,000 items to generate close to 1.5 billion bhat for the firm.
Weightlifter Kunjarani disappoints
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) Hiroshima Games bronze medallist Kunjarani Devi today plummeted to the bottom of a seven-competitor field in the Asian Games weightlifting competition here today.
A total of 165 kg from 70 in snatch and 95 in clean and jerk, the diminutive Central Reserve Police Force officer found, was just not enough to fetch her anything in the 48 kg category.
Starting in snatch with 70 kg, Kunjarani jumped to 75 and failed with her second and third attempts and that effectively put her out of the race which was won by Chinas Liu Hiu Hja.
Liu won the gold with lifting a total of 187.5 kg on her way to setting a new world record of 83.5 kg in snatch. The Chinese, in a bid to establish one more record in clean and jerk too, jumped from 105 to 115 but failed.
Kay Thi Win of Myanmar lifted 77.5 kg in snatch and 105 in clean and jerk for a total of 182.5 which got her the silver and Sri Indrayani of Indonesia bagged the bronze medal with a total of 180 (80 in snatch and 100 in clean and jerk).
A sorely disappointed chief coach Pal Singh Sandhu had a very simple explanation: "Her best was just not enough against the fast emerging youngsters from other countries."
Chinese gold rush begins
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (Reuters) Thailand basked in praise from all sides for staging the Asian Games today before the spotlight shifted to the start of the Chinese gold juggernaut.
On the second day of the games, Thailand not only collected their first gold medal, in mountain biking, but also lavish praise from Olympic boss Juan Antonio Samaranch who described yesterdays opening ceremony as one of the best he had ever seen.
Only Japans swimmers were able to compete on close to level terms with the Chinese after a tongue-lashing from a top Beijing sports official about a poor start to the games sent Chinas weightlifters, gymnasts and swimmers on a gold rush.
Mr Samaranch, the veteran International Olympic Committee president, said Thailands transport arrangements and the athletes village were up to Olympic standards, dismissing complaints by critics that the facilities were inadequate.
China, medals champions since 1982, started their chase for another title with three gold medals from female weightlifter Liu Xiuhua in the 48 kg event.
Her awesome power even brought her a world record in the snatch.
Chinas men gymnasts snatched the artistic gold from South Korea who took the silver and Japan the bronze.
It did not go all Chinas way in the pool - now cleared of earlier invasions of insects - when Japans swimmers took two of the five gold up for grabs with the others going to China.
World record by Chinese lifter
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (AP) Chinas tiny Liu Xiuhua set a world record with a snatch of 83.5 kilograms today on her way to the Asian Games gold medal for 48-kilogram division womens weightlifting.
Liu won the gold with a
total of 187.5. Myanmars Kay Thi Win took the
silver with 182.5 and Indonesias Sri Indriyani the
bronze with 180.
She chose instead to go for 83.5 to break the world mark of 83.0 set by Chinas Li Zhuo on September 16. She succeeded on her second try.
In the total, however, she was credited with only the 82.5 she was supposed to have tried next.
"I am happy at last even though I should have done better in clean and jerk," she said through an interpreter.
Ist round byes for Gopichand, Aparna
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (PTI) Indian national champions Pullela Gopichand and Aparna Popat have both drawn first round byes in the singles events of the Asian badminton competition to be held at Thammasat University hall from December 8 to 17.
Gopichand, placed in the bottom half of the 26-player mens draw will meet the winner of the match between South Koreas Sung Woo Park and Cambodias Sokhang Kranu on December 14. The individual events will be held from December 13 to 17.
Former world junior runner-up Aparna Popat will meet the winner of the clash between Malaysias Mee Fen Ng and Honkongs Wai Chee Koon on December 14.
Gopichand led India to the team silver and took bronze in mens singles at the September Commonwealth Games while Popat made it to the silver grade in singles besides spearheading Indias bronze medal winning effort.
India bundled out for 103 in opener
NAPIER, Dec 7 (PTI) India began their New Zealand tour on a disastrous note as the formidable batting line-up crashed to a shocking 103 on a difficult pitch against the Central Districts on the opening day of the four-day match at the McLean Park here today.
Put into bat by host captain Craig Spearman, the Indians, including star attraction Sachin Tendulkar, failed to adjust to the conditions made difficult by moisture due to recent rains and struggled against an attack that had no proven name.
A resolute sixth-wicket stand of 46 runs between Sourav Ganguly (37) and Nayan Mongia (21) enabled the visitors to cross the 100-run mark in their first innings after the top half was gone for a mere 20 runs by the 10th over.
With conditions improving as the day wore on, the Kiwi side easily overtook the Indian total and were comfortably placed at 121 for one when stumps were drawn for the day.
India were dealt a twin blow by medium pacer Andrew Penn (4/43) in the third over removing opener Ajay Jadeja (1) and Rahul Dravid (0) in the space of three deliveries.
Penn, who toured India for the 1997 Independence Cup and is said to have an outside chance for selection to the first Test, induced Jadeja to snick to the slip cordon and caught Dravid plumb in front as the Karnataka batsman reacted late to a quickish swinging delivery.
Navjot Singh Sidhu contributed just two runs before left-arm seamer David Blake (3/28) had him lbw playing across and missing the line.
Skipper Mohd Azharuddin fell to David Blake beaten by the swing while playing half-forward and was caught by Spearman.
A straight delivery outside the off-stump from young Michael Mason outwitted a watchful Tendulkar after he let go a series of away-swinging deliveries. It is not always that the master batsman bats for 45 minutes and 33 balls to make five, but conditions and wisdom demanded what he did.
Reeling at 20 for five, the tourists made a brief recovery through Ganguly and Mongia both of whom showed a compact technique and made most of the conditions, getting easier by the minute.
After an 83-minute, 55-ball vigil, Mongia fell to part-time medium pacer Jacob Oram.
Improved conditions and a fair slice of luck brought Venkatesh Prasad 14 runs, but once Ganguly departed at 101, beautifully held at third slip from a thick edge off Penn, drawing the curtains on the Indian innings was just a matter of time.
When the Indians came on to bowl, the wicket had eased considerably rendering the pace trio of Prasad, Debashish Mohanty and Robin Singh Jr ineffective. Only Harbhajan Singh kept the batsmen watchful.
At the end of the day, Spearman, with eight Tests behind him, was unbeaten on a strokeful 65 (4x9) and Matthew Sinclair on 28. The only success came Mohantys way when he rattled the stumps of Glen Milen (20).
India (Ist innings):
Jadeja c campbell b Andrew Penn 1
Sidhu lbw b David Blake 2
Dravid lbw b Penn 0
Tendulkar c Spearman b Mason 5
Azharuddin c Spearman b Blake 2
Ganguly c Mark Douglas b Penn 37
Mongia c Martyn b Oram 21
Harbhajan lbw b Blake 0
Prasad c Englefield b Mason 14
Mohanty b Penn 5
Robin Singh Jr not out 2
Extras (w-2, nb-8, b-2, lb-2) 14
Total (all out in 45.5 overs) 103
Fall of wickets: 1/4, 2/4, 3/12, 4/14, 5/20, 6/66, 7/67, 8/85, 9/101
Bowling: Penn 16-3-43-4, Blake 15-3-28-3, Mason 10.5-3-21-2, Oram 4-1-7-1
Central Districts (Ist innings):
Spearman not out 65
Michaels b Mohanty 20
Sinclair not out 28
Extras (b-2, nb-6) 8
Total (for one wicket in 42 overs)121
Fall of wickets: 1/61.
Bowling: Prasad 13-3-46-0, Mohanty 10-6-16-1, Robin Singh Jr 5-2-18-0, Ganguly 3-0-17-0, Harbhajan Singh 11-4-22-0.
CHENNAI, Dec 7 (PTI) West Indies A clinched the two-Test series 2-0 when they defeated India A by six wickets on the fourth and final day of the second cricket Test here today.
Set a victory target of 201 in 72 overs, after the home side declared their second innings at 146 for nine, the visitors, who won the first test at Bangalore, scored 202 for four with 13.4 overs to spare.
Opener Adrian Griffth and south paw Wavel Hinds laid the foundation for the victory with a 109-run second-wicket stand. Griffth (67) and Hinds (60) made most of the weak Indian attack as the spinners failed to take advantage of a helpful pitch.
The trio of Rahul Sanghvi, Nikhil Chopra and Sanjay Raul lacked variety and bowled too many short-pitched deliveries. The Indian fielding was also not up to the mark.
Though Griffith and Hinds departed, Christopher Gayle and Richard Smith, first innings top scorer, guided their team to victory. Needing 25 runs in 20 overs, they reached the target without much problem. Gayle was unbeaten on 10 and Ram Naresh Sarwan on seven.
Griffith batted superbly and hit seven fours for his 67. He was caught at short leg by Raul off Sanghvi. Hinds scored 60 in 122 minutes with eight fours, before being removed by Sanghvi.
Earlier, India, who were 64 for two overnight, declared their innings for the addition of just 82 runs for the loss of nine wickets, most of their batsmen getting out to indiscreet shots.
innings): 297 for nine declared.
Punjab powermen rout Karnataka
MUKTSAR, Dec 7 In the opening match of the 26th All India Electricity Board Basketball/Wrestling Championship which started at Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant Sports Complex at Bathinda today PSEB team beat Karnataka by 114-41 points. PSEB team established lead in the Ist half by 45 points. Gurlal Singh, Gurprit Singh and Ravinder Paul Singh played very well for winners.
In wrestling in 54 kg weight, Vinod Yadav (MP) beat R Thanikasalam (TN), Suresh Kumar (Haryana) defeated S M Sonar (Maharashtra) and Subhash Chander (PSEB) subdued Bijinder Singh (UP).
In 58 kg Satvir Singh of Delhi humbled S Suriappan (TN), M M Dhipla (Maharashtra) beat Kishori Lal (HSEB) and Judge Singh (PSEB) defeated Sita Ram (UP).
In 63 kg weight Kailash Kohar (MP) routed A Mani Kapavasgan (Tamil Nadu), Rajbit Singh (Delhi) defeated Shiv Dhanni (UP) and Rajesh Kumar (Haryana) pipped U B Patil (Maharashtra).
69 kg: D L Godmore (Maharashtra) b Shankar (MP), Surinder Singh (Delhi) b Prem Singh (Haryana).
76 kg: Jaswinder Singh (PSEB) b Satish Kumar (Haryana), N N Khore (Maharashtra) b Suresh Rathore (MP).
85 kg: Ramesh Kumar (Haryana) b Joginder Singh (UP), Nirmal Singh (PSEB) b RK Yoshlakar.
97 kg: Kuldip Singh (PSEB) b Vishnur Dutt (Delhi), Mukhtiar Singh (Haryana) b Jatan Singh (UP).
+ 97 kg: Gurdip Singh (Haryana) b J P Goswami (MP).
SRC derail Central Railway
PATIALA, Dec 7 Riding on a hat-trick by the nippy Sukhminder Singh (sr) the first of the tournament, SRC, Ramgarh, managed to quell a spirited challenge put up by Central Railway, Bhopal, while Thapar Academy, Sansarpur, showed glimpses of brilliance as they downed AOC Secunderabad 6-5 in the 23rd All-India Liberals Hockey Tournament at Ripudaman College grounds, Nabha, near here today.
The other teams to move into the next round were NYC, Bhopal who outstroked BEG, Roorkee 5-4, and Haryana XI who managed to scrape past Assam Regiment 2-1.
In the match played between SRC Ramgarh and Central Railway, the first half was bereft of a single worthwhile move but it was the second half which produced a lively contest. After AM Qureshi of the railway outfit scored to put his team a goal up, it was Ramgarh centre-forward Sukhminder Singh who stole the limelight with his defence splitting passes and crafty stickwork. Within a span of 17 minutes Sukhminder not only managed to find the equaliser with an opportunistic effort but also made sure the Ramgarh players romp home comfortably winning the duel 3-1.
Showing better speed, skill and stamina Thapar Academy, Sansarpur after playing a 2-2 drawn in regulation time, outstroked their rivals AOC, Secunderabad 6-5 to move into the next round.
The third match between Haryana XI and Assam Regiment was a lacklustre encounter. Left-half Vinod and Deepak scored for Haryana while Sanga reduced the deficit for the Assam team.
In the last match, BEG, Roorkee and NYC, Bhopal played a 1-1 draw in regulation period. In the tie-breaker the Bhopal custodian showed better reflexes and agility than his counterpart enabling his team NYC to chalk out a 5-4 win over BEG Roorkee.
Sports Dept gearing up to meet
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 The Punjab Sports Department in coordination with the Punjab Olympic Association is gearing up to meet the requirements for the National Games scheduled to be held in Punjab in the year 2000.
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has already intimated the PMO and the Ministry of Human Resource Development regarding release of grant of Rs 25 crore for 1998-99 and 1999-2000. The matter is now being pursued at the Sports Directorate level. In addition the Punjab Sports Department has already submitted its financial requirements to the planning department which is giving final touches to the outlay for the next financial year.
According to Col Raminder Singh, Director Sports, a comprehensive programme for the coming National Games will be worked out shortly, so that within the stipulated time all aspects of the games are given final shape. He said the infrastructure for the 1988-89 National Games which were cancelled at the last hour required replacement. Synthetic surfaces laid then have already outlived their utility. Equipment imported at that time has been utilised.
Many more disciplines have been added since then and the 2000 games will have 25 or 26 disciplines.
A survey of the existing infrastructure has already been carried out and a requirement of Rs 41 crore has been projected to cover all aspects of the games.
Besides the Government of India and the state government, sponsors will be approached to give adequate financial back up for the games. Giving the break up of the proposed expenditure, the Director Sports listed Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chandigarh (venues of the games) for infrastructural development.
Various committees under the aegis of the POA and the government will take care of other issues. The Punjab Olympic Association is also busy preparing the blueprint. A meeting is proposed to be convened soon where all related matters be discussed.
School carrom meet from January
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 The Directorate of Sports and Youth Services, Maharashtra, which is a member of the School Games Federation of India has been given the responsibility of holding the first National School Carrom Championship at Akola to the District Sports Officer, Akola and President Akola District Amateur Carrom Association from January 12 to 15, 1999, according to Mr B.D. Gandhi, Secretary-General School Games Federation of India.
Carrom is a game which has been placed in priority category by the Ministry of Sports, Government of India, and as such a good number of opportunities are available to the players of this game to play matches at various Asian/international level. The championship will be organised for boys and girls under-19 and the championship will be held for team championship as well as individual championship. Each state can sponsor four boys and four girls for the competition.
All the states/UTs and other members of the federation have been requested to confirm their entries to Khan Mohd Azhar Hussain, organising secretary for the first All India Inter School Carrom Tournament so as to enable him to make all the necessary arrangements for the holding of the inaugural championship.
Meanwhile, the 44th National School Games in the discipline of volleyball for all the three age-groups i.e. under-19,under-17 and under-14 which is being organised by the Directorate of School Education, West Bengal Government, will now be held from January 15 to 20 instead of January 25 to 30 as already notified, Mr Gandhi added.
This change in the programme was necessitated as the earlier dates were clashing with the dates of Junior Volleyball Championship. All the states/UTs and other affiliated members of the SGFI have been informed of the new dates and requested to make their booking arrangements accordingly. The entries are to be sent to Mr S.K. De, Assistant Director of School Education, West Bengal Government, by January 7.
Herschelle Gibbs replaces Bacher
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, Dec 7 (Reuters) Herschelle Gibbs was brought in for Adam Bacher yesterday as the only change to the South African squad for the second Test against West Indies which starts on Thursday.
Gibbs is set to open the batting despite having appeared in the middle order for Western Province for most of his first-class career.
The rest of the squad of 12 for the match at St Georges Park is identical to that which beat the tourists by four wickets in the first Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Squad: Gary Kirsten, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Daryll Cullinan, Hansie Cronje (captain), Jonty Rhodes, Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher, Pat Symcox, Allan Donald, Paul Adams, David Terbrugge.
Australia recall MacGill
SYDNEY, Dec 7 (AFP) Legspinner Stuart MacGill has been recalled to the Australian cricket side for the third Test against England in Adelaide starting on Friday.
The Australian selectors have dropped paceman Michael Kasprowicz from the 12-man squad.
MacGill was left out of Australias second Test win in Perth after playing a key role in the drawn Ashes opener in Brisbane because the selectors believed rightly that pace would be the factor in Perth.
If Australia face a dry, spinners pitch in Adelaide and decide to play MacGill and Colin Miller, either Damien Fleming or Jason Gillespie would have to make way.
In that case the odds are South Australian speedster Gillespie would carry the drinks in front of his home fans.
Shane Warne was initially planned to return in Adelaide but his results for victoria suggest he is below Tests-match form. Warne believes he will be back for the fourth Test starting in Melbourne on December 26.
Warne said he was not confident enough to bowl his flipper but was practising a variety of deliveries and hoped physiotherapy would clear up the stiffness which is inhibiting him. "Im dropping them short, which Ive never done in my whole career," he said.
Mark Taylor (Capt), Steve Waugh (vice Capt), Michael Slater, Justin Langer, Mark Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Ian Healy, Stuart MacGill, Damien Fleming, Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Colin Miller.
South Korea beat Japan 2-0
BANGKOK, Dec 7 (AP) In a clash between the 2002 World Cup co-hosts, veteran striker Choi Yong-soo scored two unanswered goals today to lift South Korea over arch rivals Japan, opening the second round of Asian Games soccer competition.
Chois goals, added to his four from the first round, briefly tied him with Farj Laheeb of Kuwait as the top Asian Games goal scorer. But Laheeb moved back ahead later in todays second group J match against the United Arab Emirates.
Waving flags and banging gongs, Bangkoks large South Korean community turned out in noisy droves at the Rajamangala National Stadium, site of todays lavish opening ceremonies.
Punjab TT results
PATIALA, Dec 7 (FOSR) Patiala clinched both the boys and girls (under-12) team titles in the State Bank of Patiala 39th Punjab Open and Inter District Table Tennis Championships played at the NIS here today. In the men's section favourites State Bank of Patiala (SBOP) will cross swords with PSEB in the final.
Cadet boys team: Semifinal: Patiala beat Ropar 3-2. Amritsar beat Jalandhar 3-1.
Cadet girl's Team: Semifinal: Faridkot beat Amritsar 3-1, Patiala beat Ropar 3-1.
Final: Patiala beat Faridkot 3-1.
Sub junior boys team (super league):
Jalandhar beat Amritsar 3-1, beat Ludhiana 3-1, beat.
Patiala 3-1 and got 1st position, Patiala beat Amritsar 3-1. Beat Ludhiana 3-0, lost to Jalandhar 1-3 and got second position.
Junior girls team position: Amritsar 1, Jalandhar 2, Fatehgarh Sahib 3.
Sub junior girls team position: Ropar 1, Jalandhar 2, Amritsar 3.
Women's team final position: Amritsar 1, Jalandhar 2, Ropar 3.
Parveen beats Kamal
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 (BOSR) Manav Dhawan and Parveen Duggal had to fight tooth and rail against their respective opponents on the fourth day of the 16th Chandigarh State Billiards and Snooker Championships at the Sector 22 centre here today. Parveen downed Kamal Kant in five thrilling frames at 54-50, 37-48, 66-16, 35-56 and 62-21. Manav was extended to five frames by Pranav Jain before winning at 49-37, 66-54, 44-50, 59-48 and 68-48.
In other matches, Tarun Kumar faced stiff resistance from Ashu Duggal at 75-48, 69-41, 39-55, 41-67 and 64-26, while GB Singh got the better of Shiv Pal Singh in three straight frames 52-34, 67-55, 49-30.
CHANDIGARH, (BOSR): The
Chandigarh Kho-Kho Association will conduct trials to
select the Chandigarh team (boys and girls) for the 34th
Senior National Kho-Kho Championships to be held at
Indore from December 26 to 30. The trials will be held at
SGGC School, Sector 35, on December 10 at 2.30 p.m.
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