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Friday, December 18, 1998
Lanka may order probe
Jyotirmoyee, Dingko steal the show
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (PTI) India went on a gold-hunting spree through athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, bantamweight boxer Dingko Singh and billiards due of Geet Sethi and Ashok Shandilya as the Asian Games approached the home stretch today.
Sikdar, the 29-year-old Railway athlete from Bengal, completed a grand middle-distance double crown by adding the 800m title to the women's 1,500m one she had won on Monday to start India's golden streak.
Pocket dynamo Dingko Singh, a 20-year-old Junior Commissioned Officer of the Indian Navy, continued in the same vein by pummelling world number five Uzbek pugilist Timur Tulyakov into submission with his all-out attack to cause a major upset in the 54 kg final.
Not to be outdone by these two feats, world professional billiards champion Sethi and his partner Shandilya edged out Thailand's 65-year-old Mongkhol Kanfaklang and Praput Chaithanasakun 5-4 to win the billiards doubles gold.
Added to these three outstanding performances were the excellent displays put up by the men's hockey team, who thrashed Japan 3-1 to make the final against South Korea who got past Pakistan 3-2, and athletes KC Rosa Kutty and Anil Kumar who picked up silver medals in the women's 800m and men's discus throw.
India, thus, boosted their medal tally on the 12th day by 7 to 24, comprising five gold, 6 silver and the rest bronze. Two bronze medals, in men's singles of tennis, would be reflected in the table only after the event's final.
Mens discus thrower Anil Kumar raked in a silver with an effort of 58.43 metres to add to the medal haul.
Later the 20-year-old Dingko Singh completed a virtual rags-to-riches fairytale story by pummelling world number five Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan into submission with a flurry of punches in the 54 kg final which forced his rival to throw in the towel after the fourth and penultimate round.
The Junior Commissioned Officer in the Navy, thus, became the fourth Indian boxer to secure an Asiad gold.
The Manipur pocket dynamo was, incidentally, not in the original list of sportspersons cleared for the games by the government.
It is a mystery how he was kept out of the jumbo-sized squad before making it to Bangkok at the eleventh hour and ending Indias medal drought in the ring after 16 years.
Earlier, Jyotis feat not only provided India with their third gold medal of the games but also ended the countrys 20-year title drought in the womens 800m at the continental games.
Geeta Zutshi had clinched the gold in the event at this very city in 1978 and was the last Indian woman to do so.
The success of Jyoti more than made up for the failure of erstwhile sprint queen P T Usha to qualify for the 200m final which she had won in 1986 and the reverses in tennis where the Indian quest for a gold came to nought with the exit of Mahesh Bhupathi and Prahlad Srinath in the mens singles semifinals.
Usha, who had finished sixth in the 400m, could return a pedestrian 24.27 seconds while finishing fourth in the second semifinal heat and failed to advance to the final slated for tomorrow.
In tennis, an exhausted Bhupathi, who has carried a heavy burden on his strong shoulders, just did not have much in reserve after the shock straight-set win over top seed Oleg Ogorodov in the quarterfinals yesterday, when he took on Japans Satoshi Iwaguchi in the semifinals and lost it 4-6, 6-7 (1-7) in 75 minutes.
Iwaguchi had beaten Srinath in the team semifinals.
India, South Korea in final
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (PTI) India, continuing with their winning streak, defeated Japan 3-1 to set up a grudge title clash against defending champions South Korea in the 13th Asian Games men's hockey tournament here today.
Winger Baljit Singh Dhillon (17th min), Ramandeep Singh (29th) and Skipper Dhanraj Pillay (50th minute) struck for India in their sixth Asian Games semifinal win against Japan, for whom Katayama pulled one back in the 43rd minute.
Earlier defending champions South Korea kept a spirited Pakistan at bay to move into the final with a 3-2 win.
The new-look Pakistanis, fielding just two players who featured in the World Cup in May, lived up to their coach Shahnaz Sheikhs promise of giving the favoured Koreans a tough fight.
The Koreans, stunned by a fifth minute goal by Pakistani penalty corner exponent Sohail Abbas, hit back with three quick goals to lead 3-1 at half-time.
The lanky Abbas narrowed the margin midway through the second half with another penalty corner.
Two crucial defensive errors, however, took the match away from Pakistan.
Jeong Yong-Kuen drew level in the 18th minute when his free hit from outside the circle hit a Pakistani defenders stick and went in.
Yeo Woon-Gon made it 2-1 in the 26th minute by deflecting in a penalty corner, but Pakistan had only themselves to blame for the third goal six minutes later when an unmarked Kang Keon-Wook cooly pushed in a pass from the right.
Pakistani coach Shahnaz Sheikh said. "In the end, it was those two mistakes that cost us a place in the final."
"There is no one to blame but the inexperience of these young lads. I am not complaining because this is a team of the future," he said.
"There are no stars in the current team, only honest players willing to give their best," Shahnaz said. "They will be the best one day."
South Korean coach Koo Jin-Soo, worried after Mondays defeat by India, appeared relaxed afterwards and said he was looking forward to winning the final to gain a direct entry into the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
"I am glad we recovered well in three days," he said.
"I think we will now win the final also." Koo said.
Gold for Sethi-Shandilya duo
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (PTI) World billiards champion Geet Sethi wielded his cue like a magic wand to propel India to their gold medal from the green baize sport as he and Ashok Shandilaya won a nerve-wracking billiards doubles final against Thailand's C Praprut and K Mongkon at the Asian Games tonight.
The world professional billiards champion notched up scintillating breaks of 150 unfinished in the opening frame of the best of nine final.
They then pulled India from the verge of a stunning upset by producing breaks of 79 and 76 in the fifth and sixth frames to pull them from a 1-3 deficit to 4-3, before compiling a scintillating 141 in the decider to carry India to their first of two expected gold medals.
Sethi and Shandilya won 150-0, 51-150, 51-152, 139-151, 151-83-152-23, 152-73, 46-151 to claim gold pushing the Thai pair to silver. India also claimed the bronze medal when Devendra Joshi and Balacahandara Bhaskar made up for their unexpected semifinal loss in the morning to swamp Raynaldo Grandea and his partner B Ancaja of the Philippines at 151-144, 151-98, 150-137, 150-9 with Joshi' break of 106 in the third of the best of seven affair standing out.
The Thai team led by the diminutive Praput, a world amateur billiards finalist, pulled ahead once again by winning the eighth frame, by a masterly 141 by Sethi in the dramatic decider put India on the verge of their first gold medal in billiards and snooker competition here.
In the decider, the hearts of the Indian supporters skipped a beat as Sethi missed a red pot, the ball stopping at the tip of the pocket.
The 65-year-old Mongkon gained only nine but Shandilya, needing just three shots to seal the title, missed a cannon under pressure to leave the field open for Praprut to exploit.
But Praprut, a world amateur finalist, too was bitten by the Wattana bug as he missed a cannon.
At 143-34, Sethi was left to reel off the last seven points, and the Ahmedabad-based star punched the air in triumph even before his last cannon found the mark.
"This is the greatest feeling I have ever had. I have never done such a thing before," he said.
Mixed luck for Indian grapplers
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (UNI) Indian grapplers had mixed luck in the preliminary round bouts of the Asian Games freestyle wrestling here today.
In the 69-kg category, 20-year-old Sujit Mann scored a narrow 4-3 win over Ochir Damdinov of Kazhakistan.
A silver medallist of the World Cadet Championship at Chicago in 1994, Sujit warded off Damdinovs challenge with some swift moves and grappled well to earn three technical points.
In the 130-kg category, Jagdish Singh lost to Igor Klinov of Kazhakistan in just 34 seconds.
The 28-year-old Indian was no match to his rival as Klinov scored a clear victory by pinning him down in the first round itself.
Jagdish showed no tactics to grapple his superior opponent.
In the 63 kg category, Mukesh Kumar won his third bout defeating Hiroaki Yayama of Japan 4-3 in five minutes.
He lost his fifth bout to Mongolias T. Tsogtbayar on points 1-3 to finish fifth in his category.
Indian hopes shattered
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (UNI) Indias hopes for a tennis gold were shattered as Mahesh Bhupathi and Prahlad Srinath lost in straight sets to their rivals in the singles semifinals of the 13th Asian Games here today.
Bhupathi went down to Japans Satoshi Iwabuchi 4-6, 6-7 (1-7) in 75 minutes while Srinath lost to Koreas Ong Il Soon 3-6, 3-6 in 70 minutes.
Bhupathi, who led the Indian tennis challenge here in the absence of Leander Paes, ended up with two bronze medals. His other bronze came from the mixed doubles event.
In all, India won five bronze medals from tennis events at the current edition of the games. In the singles, Srinath, Bhupathi and Nirupama and in mixed doubles, Bhupathi and Nirupama reached the semifinals to claim the bronze. The Indians also took the team bronze.
The country had bagged the team and mens doubles gold at the Hiroshima Asiad four years ago.
Today, it appeared that the 21 sets Bhupathi played in the past three days was taking its toll on him.
After beating world No. 214 Oleg Ogodorov of Uzbekistan in a tiring three set match yesterday, Bhupathi had said: "In the third set I was bone tired and Ogodorov was just getting stronger and stronger.
Today, Mahesh tried to do his best by increasing the pace of the game. But, Iwabuchi matched his pace, broke Mahesh in the 5th game and went on hold his serve to close the first set, 6-4.
The second set was slightly different, in which both went on to hold their serve till the 7th game, when Iwabuchi broke him.
Summoning his last strength, Mahesh broke Iwabuchi back in the very next game and levelled the score 5-5. He then went on to hold his serve to make it 6-5.
Mahesh had his chance to take the set on Iwabuchis serve at 5-6 (30-40), but the Japanese clinched the next three points and forced the second set to a tie-breaker. The Indian was tired by then and could not match Iwabuchis strong serve and volley and went down to him 7-1.
Mahesh later said: "This experience will stand me good for the future. Im confident of putting up a better show the next time.
Srinath broke the Koreans serve in the very first game to lead 1-0 and then kept up the pressure, holding serve till the 4th game.
The superior Korean then unleashed some blazing returns to equal the game and went on in similar vein to stamp his authority in the match.
Giving no respite to Srinath, he broke him again on the 6th game to close the set 6-3.
It was the same story in the second set in which the Korean displayed tremendous agility against a tired-looking Srinath. The Indian was finding it difficult to cover the court as Yoon started unleashing big serves and returned well.
Srinath was left stranded several times as Yoon passed him with stunning cross court returns.
Yoon broke Srinath in the 5th and ninth games to finish the match 6-3 to reach the final.
"It was a bit disappointing, said coach Jaideep Mukherjea after the two matches. "We were hoping for the gold but both Iwabuchi and Yoon played well, though Bhupathi had his chances, he said.
"The bronze medals are good, but a gold would have made the difference, the coach said adding that despite constraints his boys played well. "It was a good performance by Bhupathi and Srinath.
Indian eves eyeing hockey gold
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (UNI) Indian eves will seek the first Asian Games hockey gold in 16 years when they take on defending champions South Korea in the finals at the Kasetsart University Stadium here tomorrow.
India, who edged out Japan on superior goal difference yesterday to enter the finals, will need a superlative performance from their ranks to return with the bullion.
After the 1982 New Delhi Games where the team won the inaugural gold, India had never been successful barring the bronze they earned at the Seoul Games 12 years ago. On the other hand the gold remained with Korea ever since they won it in 1986.
But a determined India are capable of causing an upset notwithstanding the fact that the odds are loaded heavily in favour of the mighty Koreans who carry too many guns and remained undefeated in the league phase.
India would like to erase from memory the 0-5 plundering they received from the Koreans in the league phase. That was the only defeat India suffered as they started their campaign in a rousing fashion defeating hosts Thailand 13-0.
Despite finishing last in the World Cup at Utrecht, losing even to China, India put up a remarkable show here thus far and have the necessary talent that should give them a deserving win.
Their penalty corner conversions have a lot of variations and the success rate is much better.
The sheer pace and power of the Koreans is a worrying factor for the Indian defence. Added to this is the confidence that got them goals in the seven-team league.
The Indian defence, spearheaded by Sita Gussain, has a tough job on hand to keep a constant vigil on their tenacious rivals. A disheartening factor is that the Indians lacked consistency in their game and attack during the full duration of a match.
There had been islands of non-performance during their previous encounters, especially their last league encounter with Japan which they ought to have won effortlessly judging by the superiority they enjoyed in ball control and exchanges.
Instead they tended to relax once they took a 1-0 lead and allowed Japan to equalise late in the second half. Bold in their approach, the forwardline had been moving in good speed with Jyoti Kullu and Neethi Khullar in either flanks doing a tremendous job to assist Manjinder Singh and captain Pritam Thakaran.
The determination that the country would go back with a medal, if not the gold, was quite evident from day one when they thrashed Thailand and overcame a major hurdle defeating China 2-1. India thus avenged their Utrecht defeat at the hands of the Chinese.
The team followed it up with a similar victory over Uzbekistan. Then came the stunning blow inflicted by the Koreans. However, undeterred they went on with their job and scored yet another big victory when they trounced Kazakhstan 6-1.
This bolstered the goal difference as Japan alongside were also making good progress to make it to the finals. Before yesterdays final league match, Japan had equal wins like India and lost only to the Koreans.
While India needed a mere draw, the Japanese had to win the match if they had to make it to the gold round to overcome the superior goal difference enjoyed by the Indians.
It would be India walking away with the honours tomorrow if they are able to put in an extra effort and baulk the Koreans who have a tremendous record so far in the games. They swamped Kazakhstan 6-0, Thailand 7-0, Japan 4-2, Uzbekistan 5-0 and defeated China 3-2.
Sikdar achieves golden double
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (PTI) Jyotirmoyee Sikdar landed a golden double in pronouncing herself the best woman middle distance runner of Asia and led a one-two Indian medal parade in the womens 800 metres with Rosa Kutty and Anil Kumar claimed the mens discuss throw silver medal on yet another great day for the country at the Asian Games athletic championships today.
The 29-year-old Bengal runner, who hoisted Indias first gold medal of the games, ran yet another flawless race by tucking nicely behind leader Rosa Kutty and Chinese challenger Wang Yuan-Ping before bursting through into the home stretch to claim victory in a personal best of 2 minutes 01.00 seconds at the Thammasat University Stadium.
Giving the best-ever performance by an Indian athlete since Ushas four-gold haul at the 1986 Seoul Games, the Railway employee hailing from 24 Parganas ran with tremendous confidence and poise, gained after claiming the 1500 metres title two days ago as she pulled away from the rest of the eight-woman field in the last 90 metres to claim Indias first gold in the event since Geeta Zutshi won it in 1978 at the same city.
The 25-year-old Anil Kumar, a medium-pacer cricketer turned discus thrower, delivered a promised medal by hurling the discus to 58.43 metres in his very second try to claim silver behind Chinas Li Shaoji, who broke the games mark of 61.18 with a fifth attempt of 64.58m to cap a series of throws which all measured over 60 metres.
But tragedy struck for veteran P T Usha as she failed to qualify for the womens 200 metres after trailing fourth in the second semifinal heat with a pedestrian 24.27 seconds to end up 10th in the final placings and go out of reckoning for the top eight who make the final to be held tomorrow.
The 34-year-old Rosa Kuttys decision to do the front-running paid rich dividends as Wang fell away in the last 50 metres and she snatched silver in an impressive 2:03.34 with the Chinese trailing in third at 2:04.45.
"I am extremely happy. I came here confident of winning medals in both events, but once I won the 1500m, I knew I could easily win the 800m gold. It was an easy race and after watching the way the heats went, I was only a bit concerned about the Japanese," Jyotirmoyee, wife of former international 400m and 800m runner Avtar Singh, told reporters after completing a lap of honour along with Rosa Kutty carrying the national flag around the stadium to much approbation from the sizeable number of Indian fans gathered.
"I was a little bit tense going into the race. I knew I will get some medal, but I badly wanted the gold," said the ecstatic Sikdar, who also acknowledged that she was keenly looking out for the red flag at the 110m mark, before cutting the lane.
"Shiny Wilsons cutting lane at Seoul and getting disqualified was very much in my mind. So I was extremely careful not to do any such thing," she said when asked whether that unfortunate incident which cost India a certain gold 12 years ago, was in her mind.
Rosa Kutty was stung by comments that she was getting too old to win a medal at this level.
"Today I decided that if ever I win a medal it would be running from the front. I was also hurt by people commenting that I was getting too old to compete at this level," the veteran athlete who took a long while to recover after a bout of typhoid earlier this year, said.
Both the Indian runners said there were no team tactics discussed, but once Rosa Kutty hit the front, this worked out smoothly.
The Haryana thrower, Anil Kumar, unleashed a consistent series of 57.06 m, 58.43, 56.92, 56.94, 54.55, 57.33 to push the second Chinese Zhang Cunbiao to the bronze standard. Cunbiao could only reach 57.28 metres with his second throw after flouting three of his six tries.
Seasoned Ajit Bhaduria failed to click, finishing sixth with a poor final attempt of 54.03 metres. Bhaduria opened with a modest 51.74m and then fouled his next four tries before landing his best which could place him only sixth in a field of 10.
Dingko Singh answers Indian
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (PTI) Bantamweight pugilist NG Dingko Singh answered Indian prayers after a 16-year drought in a classy manner by outboxing the favoured Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan and forcing him to retire after the fourth round of a thrilling bout at the Asian Games here today.
The 20-year-old Naval Junior Commissioned Officer capped his brilliant showing by opening out with a flurry of punches to the Uzbek world number fives body and face, and then cleverly kept out of harms way as his opponent desperately tried to connect a deadly left hook.
The Indian boxer who clinched a two-point lead in the first round ran up a huge eight-point leeway after the second which he built to 12 by the end of the fourth round forcing the Uzbek bench to abandon the fight as they realised the futility of trying to bridge the gap.
Timur camps decision to stop the fight in the penultimate round came as he had suffered a right hand injury during the well-fought round.
"This is one part of my dream fulfilled. The other is to win the gold at 2000 Sydney Olympics," declared the diminutive Manipur-born boxer triumphantly.
Dingko Singhs gold medal enabled India to finish with two medals from the ring after fielding four boxers. Lightheavy Gurcharan Singh was assured of a bronze medal when he made it to the last four stage.
In the 1994 Hiroshima Games, India had claimed four bronze medals while they had to be satisfied with a lone bronze at Beijing in 1990.
Dingko Singh, who let his mitts do the talking after the Sports Ministry decided not to clear him despite the boxing associations pleas, became the first Indian since heavyweight Kaur Singh won the gold medal in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games.
Dingko also became the only fourth Indian boxer to earn the distinction of winning the gold by joining the illustrious Padam Bahadur Mall, who won Indias first games gold in the 1962 Jakarta Games, Hawa Singh the 1966 and 1970 Bangkok winner before Kaur Singh in 1982.
Familiar with the ambience after winning a gold medal in the 1997 Kings Cup competition here, Dingko adopted the same tactics as he had done in toppling favourite and local hero Wongprates in the semifinal.
Aware that he may not last the distance as he was low on stamina, the Indian pugilist went all out from the first gong, landing a one-two to the Uzbeks face and again a flurry of combination punches towards the end of the first round.
Tulyakov, the 23-year-old who had returned to the amateur sport after flirting with professional boxing in the USA was not a match to the speed of Dingko Singhs punches as the Indian cleverly kept out of harms way as his opponent tried to duck and weave to breach the defence.
Dingko opened the second round in an explosive manner, chasing his opponent to land left hooks and upper cuts followed by a right straight which sent Tulyakov staggering. Though the Uzbek recovered to land a couple of punches, Dingko was alert to keep distance once he had scored vital points.
In the third Dingko again rattled his opponent with a right straight to his head. The Uzbek boxer, who had finished fifth in last years World Championship in Cuba, managed to land some blows as Dingko punched the air trying to catch his rival with his left hook.
The tiring Indian, however, grimly held on in the fourth round as Tulyakov found the mark with a couple of jabs, but digging deep into his resources he returned the favour landing a quick left-right to again score points. "I was short on stamina. So the plan was to go all out in the first three rounds which I did and it proved successful," said Dingko.
"I have nothing to react, I have forgotten it," answered Dingko Singh when asked whether his victory here was a fitting reply to the judgement of government officials back home. The young boxer had fallen into deep depression on hearing that his name had been scratched from the list of those selected before the boxing officials assured him and brought him along with the others.
"We have a great sense of satisfaction," said a thrilled coach Gurbux Singh Sandhu and Cuban trainer BL Fernandez, both embracing the boxer at the ring even as the announcement came that the Uzbek had retired after the fourth round.
Explaining the decision, Indian referee at the games Krishan Narsi said the Indian boxer was up by nine points after the fourth round. "There was no way he was going to make up. And he had also suffered a right hand injury. The best thing was to give up."
Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, secretary-general Randhir Singh and Chef-De-Mission GS Mander all rushed in to congratulate the boxer.
From agony to ecstasy
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (UNI) Dingko Singh, who was declared the best boxer in the Kings Cup at Manila this year, had to wait agonisingly till the last moment to board the flight to Bangkok. Today, at the stadium every official of the huge Indian contingent wanted to be seen with him. They hugged him, lifted him and cheered him all through - during and after the bout.
I was under no tension, said a beaming Dingko Singh, adding I have achieved half of my lifes ambition. The other half is to win the Olympic gold.
He said this was his biggest victory and will spur me to do more in future. I am very proud that I got back the boxing gold for India after 16 years.
I slept well last night. Though my coaches were a bit worried. Even during the bout, they thought I was tired and should not be fast and save energy.
But I can still fight two more rounds, he said.
He wanted to forget the controversy of his not being cleared at the first place, saying let us forget the past.
I had a feeling that I will win the gold. I fought with utmost confidence and at no time in the four rounds was under any pressure. It was much easier than I had imagined. My bout against Sontaya Wongprates of Thailand in the semis was much tougher, he added.
Geet Sethi gets kit at last
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (AFP) World billiards champion Geet Sethi can finally get on with the task of winning two Asian Games gold for India now that officials have given him something to wear.
Sethi lashed out at Indias games officials last week for refusing to provide track suits, shirts and caps emboldened with the Indian Tricolour to the billiards squad.
"Its not that I cant do without them," the 33-year-old millionaire said. "But surely they could make us feel part of the Indian team. After all, we are here to represent the country".
Sethi was finally awarded his kit, but not before a comic, but heated exchange of words.
A top official of the 300-strong Indian contingent first asked a colleague who this angry young man was.
When told that the concerned athlete was the undisputed number one billiards player in the world, the official took Sethi aside and whispered: "Well give you a kit, but dont tell the rest."
A livid Sethi refused, insisting that either the whole team got the kit or none at all.
When the kit was finally delivered to the team, the players found two T-shirts, one short and a pair of Reebok shoes missing.
In contrast, the 70-odd officials accompanying the athletes, have been seen in full gear from the first day.
Sethi, a professional billiards player, has spent most of his free time writing a daily column on the games and cheering the Indians in other disciplines.
Bribe attempt at Asiad
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (AFP) A top Chinese sports official said today an attempt was made to bribe a Chinese athlete to throw a gold medal final at the Asian Games in exchange for cash.
Li Furong, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Olympic Committee, did not identify the sport involved but insisted the offer was rebuffed.
"A person has repeatedly visited our athlete and tried to buy a gold with money but the offer has been categorically rejected," Li told a press conference.
Li did not also identify the country or sex of the briber.
Li said the Chinese athlete replied that even $ 100,000 would not force him or her to give up the title chase. "I have not come here for the sake of money," the Chinese athlete was quoted as saying.
"These two sentences
summed up everything. The honour of the country cannot be
exchanged for money," the Chinese sports leader
said. "The Chinese athlete has proven that nothing
is greater than the honour of the country."
Atherton dropped from squad
CANBERRA, Dec 17 (Reuters) Former captain Michael Atherton was dropped from the England squad to contest next years limited-overs series with Australia and world champions Sri Lanka.
Veteran paceman Angus Fraser was also left out as Rnglands selectors picked a 16-man squad for the triangular one-day series to be played in Australia in January and February.
England manager Graham Gooch said Athertons omission had nothing to do with the openers injured back but did not mean he was out of the running for next years one-day World Cup.
"In no way does it cloud the issue of his possible selection for the World Cup squad," Gooch said.
"Athers has played a lot of cricket already and we thought it best if he doesnt undertake this part of the tour".
"It has nothing to do with his back, because as far as I know thats in shape, although we have to realise the history of it."
Atherton and Fraser will leave Australia after the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia in Sydney from January 2-6, along with Matthew Fleming, Peter Martin, Warren Hegg, Ian Austin and Sougie Brown.
They will be replaced by Adam Hollioake, Mark Ealham, Neil Fairbrother, Nick Knight, Mark Alleyne, Ashley Giles and Vince Wells, who will arrive in Australia on December 26, the first day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.
Australia retained the ashes after beating England in the third Test in Adelaide to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
England chairman of
selectors David Graveney said the 16 players chosen for
the series were likely to form the nucleus of
Englands squad for the Sharjah tournament in April
and the World Cup in May and June.
Sri Lanka may order probe
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (AP) Sri Lankas Sports Authority is likely to investigate sprinter Susantika Jayasinghes abrupt withdrawal from the Asian Games, which spoiled the nations hope for womens relay medals, officials said yesterday.
The Sri Lankan sports officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a decision on whether to investigate the latest controversy involving the world 200-metre silver medalist will be taken after the games are over and the team returns home.
Jayasinghe had been counted on for medals not only in the individual sprints, but in the 4 x 100 metre and 4 x 400 metre relays, which she would have anchored.
But she left for home on Monday, skipping the final of the 100 metres. She said she had injured a hamstring in Sundays semifinals.
Sri Lankas 4 x 100-metre womens relay team finished sixth in 44.94 seconds, well behind the games record 43.36 by winner China. Had Jayasinghe entered and run her best, the Sri Lankan team, including 400-metre gold medalist Damayanthi Darsha would have been a likely medalist.
At her home in Colombo, Jayasinghe angrily denied media reports that fear of losing to the Chinese runners had made her pull out of the 100-metre final. She showed reporters a report from the doctor on call at the athletes village in Bangkok, advising her to rest her injury for a week.
"How could I run, when I am injured?" said Jayasinghe, (23).
But the reported injury wasnt the first of her problems at the games.
The Sri Lankan officials said that after Jayasinghe arrived in Bangkok on December 5 with other athletes, she had mostly kept to herself. She did not turn up for practice for two days, saying she was suffering from flu.
Sri Lankan team leader Daya Gunasekhara is likely to submit a written report on the case, the officials said.
Last year, Jayasinghe accused unnamed Sri Lankan sports officials of sexual harassment. Months later, she tested positive for a steroid in an out-of-competition test. She then accused the sports officials of trying to ruin her career.
The Sri Lankan Track Federation cleared her of the drug charges after she said she used the drug to control her menstrual cycle.
But she now is awaiting an international arbitration ruling on her drug case.
Jayasuriya seeks divorce
COLOMBO, Dec 17 (PTI) Sri Lankas star batsman Sanath Jayasuriya has moved a court here seeking divorce with Sumudhu Karunanayake on the grounds of "malicious desertion" barely six months after wedding.
In his lawsuit filed last week, Jayasuriya accused Sumudhu, a former Air Lanka air hostess, of "cruel behaviour" and said the continuation of the marital relationship was "detrimental" to his cricketing career.
The news of Jayasuriyas legal action for divorce was confirmed by sources in his family setting at rest weeks of speculation about the problems dogging the cricketers marriage.
Jayasuriya, married Sumudhu at a grand ceremony last May which was attended by Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other dignitaries.
Speculations about the cricketer's troubled married life grew when Jayasuriya attended a felicitation dinner given in his honour last week without his wife.
Jayasuriya along with the rest of his teammates is scheduled to fly to Australia towards the end of this month to play in the tri-nation one-day tournament featuring Australia, England and Sri Lanka.
Pak probe panel warns Sohail
LAHORE, Dec 17 (AFP) A Pakistani judicial commission investigating match-fixing allegations in cricket yesterday sternly warned Amir Sohail over his second failure to appear before it.
"I am going to issue warrants or appoint a commission to record his statement in his home," said inquiry judge Malik Mohammad Qayyum, adding that Sohail would find himself "in real trouble" if he did not comply.
Sohails lawyer Shabbir Lali assured the commission that his client would appear on Saturday.
Pakistan cricket Boards legal advisor Ali Sibtian Fazli later told reporters that Sohail himself volunteered to testify but failed for a second time to turn up, sending a medical certificate instead.
Sohail pulled out of the second Test against Zimbabwe in Lahore, saying he had fever and a headache.
He is included in Pakistans squad for the third Test but cricket officials said he was unlikely to play.
Fazli told the court the Australian Cricket Boards lawyer Brian Ward had put three options to the commission regarding the summons it issued to Shane Warne and Mark Waugh.
"They gave us three options either we communicate through video, the judge goes to Australia and records statements or Shane Warne comes to Pakistan," Fazli said.
Waugh testified before the commission on October 6 during the Australian teams last tour of Pakistan.
MELBOURNE: Australian Test cricketer Ricky Ponting admitted on Wednesday he made an error in not telling the Australian Cricket Board sooner about being offered money by a bookmaker in Sydney last year.
The bookmaker offered him a four figure sum for information about team selections and pitch conditions, but Ponting said he turned down the offer.
Ponting has been struggling in the Test series against England and is in danger of losing his place for the fourth test but denied his lack of form was connected to the betting scandal.
"I dont think so. It hasnt been playing on my mind at the crease and hopefully it wont affect me from here on" he said. "Its just been a concentration thing."
Ponting said he told his manager about the approach of the bookmaker and then decided to let the matter rest, believing it was not a serious issue.
But he informed ACB Chief Executive Malcolm Speed before the start last week of the third Test at Adelaide.
MCM DAVC eves record win
CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 (BOSR) MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, today blanked out Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana, by 9-0 in the Panjab University Inter College Hockey Tournament being played here on the PU Campus. In another match, Government College for Girls, Sector 42, drew with Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd 1-1.
In the MCM versus Khalsa College match, Babita, Bharti and Suman scored two goals each, white Dimpal, Sushma and Prabhjot scored one goal each for MCM College.
CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 (BOSR) The Amateur Judo Association of Chandigarh will hold the selection trials to select the Chandigarh junior boys judo team at the Sector 42 Judo Centre on December 19, according to Mr NS Thakur, General Secretary of the association.
The Chandigarh team will participate in the Junior National Federation Cup to be held at Hardwar (UP) from December 24 to 26.
Panjab University finish on top
KURUKSHETRA, Dec 17 (FOC) The North-East Zone Inter University Handball (men and women) Tournament organised by Kurukshetra University concluded here last evening. In the Women's section, Punjabi University, Patiala, Kurukshetra University and Guru Nanak Dev University stood first, second and third respectively.
In the men's section, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Kurukshetra University and Delhi University stood first, second and third respectively.
Deputy Commissioner Alok Nigam who was the chief guest, gave away the prizes.
Earlier, the president of the Kurukshetra University Sports Committee, Mrs Sushil I.S. Uppal, while presenting a vote of thanks said in all 44 teams had participated in the tournament.
Kurukshetra University will also host the All-India Inter-University Handball (men and women) Championship in which teams from North, East, West and South Zones will take part. Mr Resham Singh, DIG Ambala Range will inaugurate the championship.
Cricketer Rana dead
AMRITSAR, Dec 17 (FOSR) Former Punjab Ranji player Ravinder Rana died here last night.
Rana was an outstanding batsman who played for the state and district teams at the national level. The Amritsar Games Association at its meeting here today mourned the death of Rana and passed a condolence resolution conveying their sympathies to the bereaved family.
SD school, Bokaro lads in final
CHANDIGARH, Dec 17 (BOSR) SD Public School, Sector 32, will clash with Bokaro Ispat Vidyalaya, Bokaro, in the final of the first CBSE North East Zone Schools Football Tournament being played here at the DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8 today. In the first semifinal, SD School boys won through the tie breader 3-2 against Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi, as both the teams failed to score any goal in the stipulated period. Gopal, Satinder and Sandeep scored for the winners while Deepak and Sudeep Rana scored for the losers.
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