118 years of Trust S P O R T THE TRIBUNE
Saturday, December 19, 1998
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Sunita claims silver as Usha saga ends
BANGKOK, Dec 18 — India's 19-year-old Sunita Rani missed out on a gold by a fraction of a second and settled for the women's 5,000 metres silver while the glorious saga of former continental track queen P T Usha finally came to a controversial end at the Asian Games today.

Dingko Singh of India shows his gold medal to photographers during the awarding ceremony for the 54kg class boxing final in the 13th Asian Games on Thursday. Singh defeated Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan — AP/PTI
Dingko Singh of India shows his gold medal to photographers during the award ceremony for the 54 kg class boxing final in the 13th Asian Games on Thursday. Singh defeated Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan — AP/PTI

Chinese collapses at
finish line

BANGKOK, Dec 18 — Chinese walker Wang Yinhang collapsed at the finish line of the Asian Games 50km road walk today after beating defending champion Sergey Korepanov of Kazakhstan in the final strides of the gruelling race.
50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence


Opening day's play washed out
DUNEDIN, Dec 18 — A heavy downpour washed out the opening day’s play of the first Test between India and New Zealand at Carisbrook here today.
Regional Sport Briefs

No play for 2nd day
FAISALABAD, Dec 18 — Thick fog wiped out play for the second consecutive day on the second day of the third and final Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe today.

Badminton camp at Sangli
CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 — One boy and one girl each from Punjab and Haryana figure in the All-India Badminton coaching camp (under 13) scheduled to be conducted at Sangli (Maharashtra) from December 20 to January 10 next year.





Sunita claims silver as Usha saga ends

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (PTI) — India's 19-year-old Sunita Rani missed out on a gold by a fraction of a second and settled for the women's 5,000 metres silver while the glorious saga of former continental track queen P T Usha finally came to a controversial end at the Asian Games today.

Elsewhere, the Indian women's hockey team played their hearts out and yet were confined to the silver standard by defending champions South Korea who notched up a hard-fought 2-1 to clinch the title for the fourth successive time after trailing by skipper Pritam Rani's 27th minute strike.

The Indian rowers finally landed a bronze medal in the men's coxless lightweight fours through Binu Thankachan Kaleekalethu, Kasam Khan, Pappi Singh and Rampal Singh.

Sunita Rani was overtaken on the home straight while surging for the gold by Indonesia's Supriati Sutono and lost the gold by two hundredths of a second while setting a new national mark of 15 minutes, 54.47 seconds.

It was the second medal for the teenager, who hails from Sangrur district in Punjab, following the bronze she secured in the 1,500m which was won by her compatriot Jyotirmoyee Sikdar.

However, the games ended on a bitter note for Usha who was replaced by 21-year-old Jincy Philips in the women's 4x400m relay squad after her off-colour performance here.

Usha, who finished a lowly sixth in the 400m and did not even qualify for the 200m final, blamed the team's Russian coach Valery for her recent spate of injuries.

It was a sad end the veteran's campaign in the Asian Games, an arena she had lit up in 1986 at Seoul by winning four gold and one silver medal.

The 34-year-old Usha, whose hopes to bow out in glory after almost two decades of international competition came to nought, alleged that certain coaches in the squad had played politics here.

"I am terribly upset. I had actually planned to quit after a good performance here. But now I will not commit myself and will definitely produce one good effort before quitting the (athletics) scene," said a tearful Usha.

Usha's outburst left a bitter taste in the mouth on a day when Sunita Rani provided India with their third silver medal in athletics and the men's 4x400m relay squad had set a new national mark while qualifying for the final despite the absence of star quarter-miler Paramjit Singh who was rested.

The Indian quartet of Lijo David Thottan, P Ramachandran, Dinesh Rawat and anchor Jata Shankar had clocked a 4 minutes, 4.86 seconds to better the mark set at the inter-state meet in Calcutta last month with Paramjit as one of the runners.

The haul from athletics at the end of the day stood at 12, including two gold and three silver, with a few more expected tomorrow.

In the women's hockey final, India shocked the Koreans by taking the lead in the 27th minute through Pritam Rani which was neutralised in the stroke of half time by Kim Tae-Seon.

The match-winner, for the Korean, was scored midway through the second stanza by Oh Seung-Shin, India won a medal in women's hockey after a gap of 12 years.

Woman triple jumper Lekha Thomas was out of depth and ended up ninth out of 15 competitors with a best effort of 13.05 metres. It was far below her personal best of 13.39m made at the trials in Delhi which helped her make the squad.

The 13th day of the games had started well for India in the Map Pracham Reservoir in Pattaya when the rowing foursome of Binu Kurien Kaleekkalethu, Kasam Khan, Pappi Singh and Rampal Singh clinched the first medal in rowing.

The Indian quartet clocked 6 minutes, 11.48 seconds to finish third behind gold medalists China (Liu Zewu, Mao Zhixing, Wang Xutao and Zhour Guoyang), who crossed the finish line in 5:56.32 ahead of second-placed Japan (6:00.13).

North Korea (6:13.60), the Philippines (6:24.68) and Thailand (6:38.56) finished behind India in that order.

The grapplers came away empty handed. Sujit Mann, in the 69 kg freestyle class, narrowly missed a medal by finishing fourth after losing 2-3 in the bronze medal bout against Ryusaburo Katsu of Japan. Jagdish Singh (130 kg) lost 0-5 to eventually bronze winner G Usukhbajar of Mongolia in his second bout and crashed out of medal contention.

India's medal tally after the 13th day read: five gold seven silver and 16 bronze after the addition of two silver and a bronze to their kitty today.

The jumbo-sized squad is hoping to reap a rich medal harvest tomorrow in athletics, men's hockey and billiards singles in which gold medal favourite Geet Sethi and Ashok Shandilya have reached the semifinals.

The men's hockey gold after a long wait of 32 years would be the perfect way to end India's campaign in this 'city of angels'.



Sunita Rani strikes silver in
women's 5000 metres

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (PTI) — Teenager Sunita Rani ran the race of her fledgling career to land the women’s 5,000 metres silver worth its weight in gold and eclipsed the national record in the process to steal the Indian show at the Asian Games athletics championship today.

The 19-year-old girl, who snatched a bronze medal in the 1,500m after a courageous effort, almost fetched India the gold today before Indonesia’s Sutono Supriati, with a brilliant surge into the final bend, caught Rani by surprise and shot past the slowing Indian close to the finish to snatch the gold by a hair’s breadth.

The Indonesian edged out the Indian girl, hailing from Sunam town in Punjab’s Sangrur district, by two hundredths of a second to hoist her country’s first athletics title in 36 years.

Sotono crossed the line in 15 minutes, 54.45 seconds. Sunita Rani followed her across the finish in 15 minutes, 54.47 seconds to shatter her own national record of 15:59.06 set at the Calcutta inter-state meet last month.

Rani’s superb effort boosted the Indian medal haul from athletics to two gold, three silver and seven bronze.

The Indian men’s 4 x 400m relay quartet also set a national record of 4 minutes, 4.86 seconds, despite resting 400m bronze winner and national record holder Paramjit Singh, while qualifying for the final.

But woman triple jumper Lekha Thomas finished a poor ninth with a best clearance of 13.05m, far below her personal best of 13.39m done at the trials in Delhi.

The feat of frail-looking Sunita who had finished tenth in the 1.500m at the 1996 Sydney world juniors and was a 5,000m silver medallist at the New Delhi junior Asian meet the same year, was India's first medal in women's long distance events since Suman Rawat's third-place finish in the now defunct 3,000m at the 1986 Seoul Games.

"I was confident I would win a medal, but I am a bit sad that I was within striking distance of the gold itself before it slipped away," said Sunita with mixed feelings after the brilliant effort.

The bronze medal was claimed by Shimizu Michiko of Japan in 15:55.36.

Later the Indian men's longer relay foursome of Lijo David Thottan, P Ramachandran, Dinesh Rawat and anchor Jata Shankar broke the national record set at Calcutta last month by 0.05 seconds while finishing second behind Japan in the first semi-final heat.

The national mark was set with Paramjit Singh running a leg in place of Rawat and therefore there is every hope of the Indian foursome taking a medal with the former set to run the final tomorrow.

Disaster struck Sri Lanka in the second semi-final when anchor runner WM Wijetunga — running in the absence of 400m champion Sugath Tillekeretne — dropped the baton while coming a comfortable second to trail in last.

Ruiping's compatriot Wu Lingmei took the triple jump silver in 14.25 while V. Brigadinaya of Turkmenistan took the bronze in 13.66m. The top six cleared 13.25m plus.

Koji Ito of Japan completed a golden sprint triple by adding the men's 200m, clocking a games record of 202.5 second, to the 100m — won by creating a new Asian mark — and the 4x100m titles he had won earlier.

Sri Lanka's Damayanti Darsha too set a new games mark by clinching the women's 200m gold to add to the 400m crown she had bagged earlier.

The 23-year-old from central Sri Lanka took centrestage after her controversial team mate Susantika Jayasinghe left Bangkok abruptly to upstage 100m champion Li Xuemei of China with a superb effort of 22.48 second which lowered the games mark of 23.16 she set in winning her semifinal heat yesterday.

Li Xuemei clocked 22.53 to take the silver and Asian champion Jan Jainkui of China took the bronze at 3.15.

Favourite Lee Jin-Teak of Korea claimed the men's high jump clearing 2.27 metres, while Olge Veretelnikov of Uzbekistan was crowned the strongest man of the meet after he won the decathlon gold with a new games record of 8.278 points.

His compatriot and defending champion Ganiev Ramil, who had set the mark of 8005 at Hiroshima, was pushed to silver with 7857 points.

Wang Yinhang of China survived two warnings to claim the gruelling men's 50 km walk, clocking three hours 59 minutes 26 seconds in a thrilling finish. He pushed Sergey Korepanov of Kazakhstan to the silver by just 0.01 secs. Fumio Imamura of Japan took the bronze.

 The women's 5000m proved to be an exciting affair. Sunita Rani neatly tucked into the leading pack till about four laps remained as Japanese Shimizu Michiko led for most part with Wang Chunme of China and Tanaka Megumi (Japan). Both credited with much faster timings, keeping to her shoulder in windless and extremely humid conditions.

After Wang had recovered from a fall with five laps to go to keep with the leaders. Sunita made her move when two laps were left and hit the front.

Wang and Supriati chased her as the race hotted up in the final lap. But Sunita made a strong run to the finish in the final 300 metres, which saw others fall away.

But the Indonesian, whose previous best was only around 16 minutes 11 seconds, sprinted after Rani and with gold almost in the young Indian's grasp, surged ahead to the finish before collapsing on the track to be stretched away.

Supriati and Sunita were later congratulated on the fine race by sprinter Mohammad Sarengat, who won gold in 100m and 110m hurdles and a 200m bronze at the Jakarta Games.



Iran start favourites in football

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (Reuters) — The last time Iran won the Asian Games soccer gold medal in 1990, they were giant-killing underdogs emerging from a decade of war.

They will be the red hot favourites tomorrow as they battle Kuwait under a pall of apprehension after US -led missile and air strikes on Iraq.

Thai security forces went on full alert today after a second day of strikes against Iraq and ahead of the final, although they said there was no indication of trouble.

"The anti-terrorist units have been ordered on to full alert, especially to provide security for Kuwait and Iran," said Major-General Banchorn Chavalsilp.

Iran and Kuwait, the newly crowned gulf champions seeking to go one better than they have ever done before, will also have to deal with tomorrow’s expected start of the month of Ramadan as they vie for the Asia Games title.

In 1990, when they were just emerging from 10 years of a bloody war against Iraq, the Iranians stunned the Asian football world with a gold medal victory over North Korea.

This time, they have a squad fresh from playing in the World Cup finals in France, led by Bayern Munich striker Ali Daei, scorer of seven goals so far at the Asian Games. With their 2-1 victory over the United States, Iran were the only one of four Asian teams in France to notch a win en route to first-round elimination.

Iranians, stung by a humiliating 4-2 defeat at the hands of tiny Oman, came back to beat China 2-1 in a second round group game.

They did it again in the semifinals by beating China 1-0.

The Kuwaitis, silver medallists in 1982 and bronze medal winners in the last games in Hiroshima, stuttered and stumbled through the second round and quarterfinals.

Their goal machine of Jassem Al-Huwaidi and 19-year-old Farj Laheeb had stalled until they came up against a generous Thai defence in the semifinal and ran out 3-0 winners as the Laheeb took over as tournament’s top scorer with his 9th goal.

But they may be without the injured Al-Huwaidi in the final and the Iranian defence, with Mohammad Khakpour likely to be back after missing the semifinal, will be a much tougher proposition.

Ali Daei has looked head and shoulders above any other striker in the tournament, while Khakpour’s ability to turn defence into attack has been watchable feature.



Usha dropped from relay team

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (PTI) — Asian track legend P.T. Usha has run her last race in the Asian Games with the Indian athletic management deciding to field the 21-year-old Jincy Philips in place of the off-colour veteran for a 4 x 400m women's relay to be run on the last day of track and field competition tomorrow.

Confirming that Usha will not be running the relay, the Amateur Atheletic Federation of India secretary, Lalit Bhanot said the decision was made after much deliberation and that it would be prudent to field young Jincy Philips.

He said Usha was less than fit which was reflected in her poor sixth place finish in the 400 metres and inability to qualify for the 200m final.

But the 34-year-old Usha, whose hopes to bow out in glory after almost two decades of international competition, today alleged that certain coaches in the squad here were playing politics. She said her recent spate of injured had been "caused" as she was forced to train under the Russian coach Velery against her wishes.

"I am terribly upset. I had actually planned to quit after a good performance here. But now I will not commit myself and I will definitely produce one good effort before quitting the scene," a tearful Usha said, adding that despite the injury-related setback, he was still the fourth best runner in the relay squad and deserved to find a place.

Usha said the coach in charge of the relay squad was making insulting remarks against her though Jincy Philips herself was her own room-mate.

"I had hoped to run the 200 metres under 23 seconds here and also win a 400m medal," she said pointing to her effort in claiming the bronze medal in both events after twice equalling her own national record in the 200 metres in the July Fukuoka Asian meet.

Usha said she was comfortable training under her coach J.S. Bhatia, but was forced to go under the Russian coach which totally upset her schedule.

"I have never done the kind of workout he prescribed like running with spikes in the morning and evening and my plea to be taken off from his charge fell on deaf ears," she said.

"I was told that his training methods were the latest but finally I was only used as a guinea pig to test these methods, were they trying to change my running style after all these years".

Usha blamed the training schedule of the Russian trainer for the heel injury she suffered after the Fukuoka meet.

"They didn't allow me to train under Bhatia. This pushed my training and finally led to the hamstring injury in Calcutta last month," she said.

Asked whether she could have opted out of the Asian Games if she was not up to her best. Usha said the heel injury had healed and she had also recovered sufficiently from the hamstring pull.

"But lack of speed training affected me in both 200m and 400m. In the shorter race. I simply gave up", she said.

The sprint queen said even in the shorter relay, where India were placed fourth after she was overtaken in the anchor leg, she had suggested entering Vinita Tirpathi.

"They knew the only chance was with my running. But they did not decide till the last minute before insisting that I had to run," she said blaming the coaches.

The Indian challenge in the women's relay would comprise K.M. Beenamol, Rosa Kutty, Jyotirmoy Sikdar and Jincy Philips.



Kuwaiti lifter tests positive, disqualified

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (Reuters) — Kuwaiti weightlifter Jaber al-Ajmi has tested positive for drugs at the Asian Games in only the second doping case of the event and has been disqualified, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said today.

It said in a statement that Al-Ajmi, who finished 10th in the over 105 kg category, tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.

Al-Ajmi was the second competitor at the 36-sport Asian Games, which brought together athletes from 41 countries, to be found guilty of doping.

Both were weightlifters.

On December 9, three days after the games opened, Jordan’s Ayed Jassar Khwaldeh, competing in the 56 kg division, had tested positive for the banned diuretic triamterene and was sent home.

The OCA said today, three days before the games end, that Al-Ajmi would be subject to sanctions under the rules of the International Weightlifting Federation, but did not spell them out.

Al-Ajmi was subjected to a random drug test after competing on Monday and both his urine samples were found to contain nandrolone, said the OCA, which has overall control of the games.



Indian eves settle for silver
From K. Jagannadha Rao

BANGKOK, Dec 18 — Unmindful of the reputation of their formidable opponents, India waged a spirited battle before going down 1-2 in the women's hockey final to South Korea, who won their fourth successive Asian Games title here today.

Despite their impressive showing in the round-robin stage, in which they lost only to the ultimate winners, the Indians had been written off by the 'experts' as 'no hopers' in the final.

But skipper Pritam Rani Thakran and her squad had other ideas. They matched the Koreans move for move and drew first blood through the Indian captain.

The Koreans drew level on the stroke of half-time through Kim Tae-Seon and scored the winning goal through Oh Seung-Shin midway through the second session to bag the gold, pushing the Indians to silver.

India had won the gold in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games where women's hockey made its debut and took the bronze in the 1986 Seoul Asiad.

They did not go to Beijing in 1990 and ended up fourth at Hiroshima four years ago.

The Koreans, who had won 5-0 against the Indians in the league stage, were certainly expected to dictate terms when the proceedings began this evening.

And they started off the skirmishes by forcing the first penalty corner in the fifth minute. Nothing came of it and the Indians replied in kind two minutes later.

The Indians began forcing their way into the Korean circle and in the 11th minute a Manjinder Kaur shot went in via Nidhi Khullar. To the disappointment of the sizeable that it had gone via the outside right's thigh and not stick.

Then came another Indian penalty corner. This time Sandeep Kaur's shot into the vacant area went abegging as no team-mate of hers was there.

The Indian efforts ultimately bore fruit in the 27th minute. Sita Gussain fed Jyoti Kullu a long pass from Kamla Dalal. Joyti relayed it to Pritam Thakran who shot the ball home to put India in the lead.

This was the wake-up call for the Koreans who swung into action and a lob by Choi Mi-Sook over an out of position goal-keeper Tingongleima Chanu fell dangerously on the goal line before rolling out and away without causing any harm.

Choi Mi-Sook apparently lost her cool and was given temporary marching orders by Zhang Jun.

Kim Tae Seon converted her team's fifth penalty corner to restore parity.

Earlier, China bagged the bronze defeating Japan 2-0. Both goals came in the first half scored by Fu Baorong converting a penalty corner and a field goal by Yang Huiping. — PTI



Sethi set for golden double

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (PTI) — Favourite Geet Sethi looked well set to deliver India their second gold medal from the green baize game as he put up a scintillating display to defeat Hung Chung-Ming of Chinese Taipei with a flourish to storm into the semifinals along with compatriot Ashok Shandilya at the Asian Games here today.

The world professional billiards champion was in roaring form as he rattled off two century breaks to simply vanquish his rival 3-0, while Shandilya, who claimed the billiards doubles gold last night with Sethi had some minor hiccups before scoring an identical 3-0 frame victory over Sirisome Kohobala of Sri Lanka and came through the best of five affair unscathed.

Sethi will meet the left-handed cueist Reynaldo Grandee of the Philippines, who along with team mate Ancaja had gone down to the top Indian duo in the doubles semifinals yesterday.

Shandilya, however, faces a major test as he runs into the in-form Thai opponent C Praput, who almost singlehandedly snatched away the gold from India in the doubles final.

Geet Sethi, after displaying his brilliance in the doubles, continued in the same vein as he beat Hung Chung-Ming 150-5, 151-17, 153-7.

The 37-year-old Ahmedabab cueist warmed up with a break of 91 to claim the first frame before producing unfinished efforts of 151 and 153 in the next two frames to simply give his opponent no chance whatsoever.

Sethi, who had received a bye into the last eight stage, has the easier of the two semifinal outings on the final day of the billiards and snooker championships at the Muang Thong Thani complex tomorrow while Shandilya will have to overcome the former world amateur billiards finalist C Praput in the other match.

The Bangalore-based Shandilya got his act together to down Sirisoma 151-129, 152-44, 151-112 in a fairly close affair, but held his nerves together under pressure to string the victory.

Shandilya clinched a last eight berth without wielding his cue when his pre-quarter opponent Baldandorj Bateukh of Mongolia gave him a walkover.

Praput, who has gained from the coaching by former world billiards champion Peter Gilchrist of England — here to train the Thai team — took apart Kam-Beng-Ewin lean of Malaysia 3-0, winning 150-40, 150-74, 150-79 with an impressive break of 147 in the third and final frame in the quarterfinal after defeating Lee Kun-Fang of Chinese Taipei 3-0 at the pre-quarterfinal in the morning.

Grandea complied a century break of 118 in the first frame before running out a 151-52, 150-106, 150-40 victor over Moh Loon-Hong of Malaysia in the quarterfinal after putting out Sabdeen Shaharwardi of Sri Lanka 3-0 in the last 16 stage.



Indians eyeing hockey gold

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (PTI) — India will not only be eager to avenge the defeat against holders South Korea four years ago in Hiroshima but also aiming to gain a direct entry into the 2000 Sydney Olympics when the two teams clash in the Asian Games men’s hockey final here tomorrow.

The match assumes an added importance as the winners of the Asian Games title automatically gain entry to the Sydney Olympics, leaving the other Asian teams to battle it out through a qualifying tournament.

India, who have won the Asian Games title only once in 1966 at the Thai capital, had lost 1-3 in the 1994 final to the Koreans and settled for the silver.

Indian coach M.K. Kaushik and skipper Dhanraj Pillay are bracing themselves for the tough battle against the speedy Koreans at the Queen Sirkit Sports Complex tomorrow evening.

South Korea, who have virtually replaced Pakistan and India as the hockey superpower in Asia, beat India 4-3 in a group match in the Utrecht World Cup earlier this year.

And, as if to confirm their superior fire power, the defending champions got the better of a strangely lacklustre Pakistan 3-2 in the semifinal yesterday.

But, even the strong have a weakness somewhere and that fact was exposed by supremely confident India with a convincing 2-1 win a group B league match here.

Having done that, the Indians would now, in coach Kaushik’s words, "like to prove that the league stage victory was no fluke" and "the Koreans are not invincible."



Mann misses medal

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (PTI) — Grappler Surjit Mann missed a medal in the 69 kg freestyle class by a whisker when he lost the bronze medal bout 2-3 to Japan’s Rysaburo Katsu despite a fine comeback to finish fourth as India ended their campaign in the Asian Games wrestling competition by drawing a blank today.

Mann, a silver medallist at the Chicago World Cadet Championship in 1994, showed his mettle when he beat Igor Kupeev of Uzbekistan by a facile 3-0 margin in his third bout in extra time.

He then produced another fine effort to defeat tough Korean Kim Oun-You by a 6-0 points margin in the quarterfinal at the Thammasat University hall here.

But Maan, who beat Damidinov Ochir of Kazakhstan 4-3 in his opening bout, later went down by a huge 2-7 margin to Katsu, who spoilt his medal chances once again in the bronze deciding bout.

In the 130 kg class, Jagdish Singh faded away when he lost his second bout to end up with two defeats against a single win.

In the repechage bout he had to win to keep his chances for a medal but Jagdish lost to eventual bronze medallist G. Usukhbajar of Mongolia by a massive 0-5 points verdict to bow out.

Jagdish Singh lost his opening bout yesterday against Igor Kilnov of Kazakhstan by a fall in just 34 seconds but had beaten Korean Kim Tae Ho also by a fall to earn a meeting with the Mongolian before going down meekly.

India had fielded six wrestlers, including two in the greco-Roman class, but none barring Mann could put up a fighting display as they once again ended empty-handed as in Hiroshima four years ago.

India’s last medal was a bronze won at the 1990 Beijing Games, the lone success out of 10 competitors entered there and their last best showing was Kartar Singh’s 90 kg freestyle silver at the 1986 Seoul Games.



Chinese collapses at finish line

BANGKOK, Dec 18 (Reuters) — Chinese walker Wang Yinhang collapsed at the finish line of the Asian Games 50km road walk today after beating defending champion Sergey Korepanov of Kazakhstan in the final strides of the gruelling race.

The two men, elbow for elbow for the last laps, surged into the final straight for a sprint finish which stretched the rules to the limit.

Wang, still only 21, beat the 34-year old Kazakh by a metre. He then turned and raised his hands in victory only to collapse in a heap as the Kazakh approached him with hand outstretched to congratulate him.

Nurses and team mates took 10 minutes and repeated doses of smelling salt to revive him.

Wang was not the only casualty of the race, held in temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius in Thailand’s ancient capital of Ayutthaya, 65 km north of Bangkok.

Thai hope Samutkao Sakchai pulled out after 15 of the 25 laps declaring "my muscles don’t work anymore."

Korepanov, who won the last games in 1994 in Hiroshima by decisive two minutes, accused the winner of breaking the rules throughout the race by lifting his feet — or effectively running.

Fumio Imamura of Japan took the bronze, seven minutes behind Wang and Korepanov.



Opening day's play washed out

DUNEDIN, Dec 18 (PTI) — A heavy downpour washed out the opening day’s play of the first Test between India and New Zealand at Carisbrook here today.

The cloud cover which hung over the Dunedin skyline and drenched the city with a couple of sharp showers yesterday burst open this morning, ruling out any remote thoughts of play.

There was one brief moment when the sky had brightened and the sheets covering the pitch were on the verge of being rolled up, but the rain returned with force preventing a toss or team announcements and prompting umpires Steve Dunne and Edward Nicholls to call off play.

With met office reports suggesting threats of rain playing spoilsport in the coming days too, New Zealand coach Steve Rixon was unhappy at India’s rejection of three "test saving proposals" mooted at the team management's’ meeting last evening.

The proposals generally concerning this Test were to extend the game by a day to make up for any lost day, try to accommodate extra hours to cover the lost time on each day’s play and to use floodlights if bad light disrupts the game.

"I am extremely disappointed to say India has declined all these proposals," Rixon said. "We are looking forward to playing as much cricket as possible and this was the last thing we wanted."

Indian coach Anshuman Gaekwad, however, said, "an extra day’s play here would have meant a day less between the two Tests (the second Test starts at Wellington on December 26). It would have meant back to back tests."

"With the amount of cricket we have played in recent times, there is no reason to saddle the team with extra work-load, for Tests are pressure games," he said.

On playing under lights, Gaekwad said, "We did try with this experiment in a Ranji Trophy final (at Gwalior) a few seasons back. The reports were not too good. It was pointed out it became difficult to spot the ball, both for batsmen and fielders, once the ball lost its gloss."

"So we could not agree to this proposal as well," he said.

It remains a fact that the Indians’ itinerary is a bit tight with three Tests scheduled in 19 days. Even if it means similar conditions for the Kiwis, the home team has the advantage to call upon a replacement whenever required.

Compared to India’s tight tour programme, South Africa, the second team to visit New Zealand this summer, have a more spaced out itinerary with at least three days between the one-dayers and first class games interspersing the Tests.

Looking forward to the remaining four days of the test, Rixon said, "there will now certainly be moisture on the wicket. From what I have seen, and I am not a curator. It should encourage sideways movement since it is mostly young grass."

Though Gaekwad was still reluctant to name the team for the Test, it is almost sure now that India would play the third seamer and not a second spinner.

India have a bit of bother on Ajay Jadeja’s front after the vice-captain sprained his right ankle during the practice session yesterday.

"There are still 24 hours and I am hopeful it will improve to allow me to play," Jadeja said.

Given the conditions, the toss would be crucial and Kiwi coach Steve Rixon hoped they would have the luck with the spin of the coin.

"(New Zealand captain Stephen) Fleming has lost 11 tosses in a row — I believe Azhar won 11 in a row at one stage — and I hope it would all change tomorrow," he said.



No play for 2nd day

FAISALABAD, Dec 18 (Reuters) — Thick fog wiped out play for the second consecutive day on the second day of the third and final Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe today.

Autumn fog enveloped the Iqbal stadium, forcing umpires Doug Cowie of New Zealand and his Pakistani colleague Salim Bader to call off play at 2.30 pm local time.

Officials covered the V.I.P. Enclosure of the main building with long white sheets of cloth and painted Pakistan’s dressing room white in a vain attempt to improve visibility.

Zimbabwe lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test at Peshawar by seven wickets. The tourists are bidding to win their first overseas series.



Badminton camp at Sangli
By Our Sports Reporter

CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 — One boy and one girl each from Punjab and Haryana figure in the All-India Badminton coaching camp (under 13) scheduled to be conducted at Sangli (Maharashtra) from December 20 to January 10 next year. The camp is being organised by the Badminton Association of India under its long term development programme for budding youngsters.

The boys are; Sahil Arora (Punjab) Umesh (Haryana) Girls:- Samina (Punjab) Roma (Haryana) Mr Surinder Mahajan of Chandigarh is one of the three coaches who will be supervising this camp at Sangli.

The 20 boys and 15 girls selected from all over the country are: Boys:- Bahniman (Assam) Nishad (Maharashtra) V.V. Narain (Assam) Santosh Pandey (UP) Umesh (Haryana) Gaurav (Maharashtra) Jitendra (Arc) Javed (Asm) Shiladitya (WB) KB Gurung (Arc) Biplab (Asm) Sahil Arora (PB) Vasu Pandey (UP) Ravi Sukhwani (MP) Mohammed Khalid (UP) Bhushan (Meg) K. Deka (Asm) A. Krishna (Krl) Tarik (Krl) Anupam (Asm) R. Koch (Asm).

Girls:- MV Sarita (Ktk) Poonam Tiwari (UP) B. Talukdar (Asm) Krishna Deka (Asm) Roma (Har) Susan (Krl) Deepti (Mah) Payal (WB) Dharya (Mah) B. Srilaxmi (AP) D. Nivedita (AP) G. George (Krl) S. Sharma (Asm) Samina (Pb) Roma Patel (MP).

Coaches: Surinder Mahajan (Chd) Iqballuddin (Guj) and Sudhir Sharma (Raj).



HP volleyball

HAMIRPUR, Dec 18 (UNI) — The three-day long Himachal Pradesh Inter-Departmental Volleyball and Kabaddi Championships concluded here last evening.

AG Himachal won the volleyball championship, defeating Himachal Pradesh Police 3-0. The third place was secured by HP Power Board.

In Kabaddi, HP Power Board trounced HP Secretariat and won the championship. HP Police finished third in the championship.

PSEB games

JALANDHAR, Dec 18 (TNS) — The Punjab State Electricity Board North Zone Inter-Circle Games commenced at Hansraj Stadium here today.

Teams from Jalandhar, Nawanshahar, Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala are participating.

The Chief Engineer, Mr SK Anand inaugurated the table tennis and badminton competitions today.

MCM DAVC eves finish on top

CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 (BOSR) — MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, emerged victorious in the Panjab University Inter-College Hockey Tournament for women which concluded today on the PU campus.

The second place went to another local college, Government College for Girls, Sector 42, while Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana, and Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd finished third and fourth respectively. Today's results: Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana b Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, 1-0: MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, Chandigarh b Government College for Girls, Sector 42, 5-0.

Eves' u-19 cricket camp from Dec 21

CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 (BOSR) — A total of 20 girls have been selected for the CK Naidu Cricket Tournament for girls under-19. They will attend a training camp from December 21 at the cricket stadium, Sector 16. The trainees are:-

Nitasha, Anupama, Parul Sharma, Kusum, Anuradha, Shailja (all from Dev Samaj School, Sector 21), Anju, Sarika, Nitasha Kaushik (all from GMSSS-21), Tripat, Kavita and Ritu Chauhan (all from GMS-28), Aarti Negi and Mamta Negi (both from GGSSS-8), Lalita Bhandari (GMSSS-20) and Jyoti (GMSSS-35). Standbyes:- Manpreet (St Anne's), Tarunjot (Dev Samaj-21), Shiwani (MRA-27) and Lilita (GGSSS-8).

All the players should report to Mr Harish Kumar, cricket coach, at the venue on December 21 at 9 a.m.

SD lads go down to Bokaro school

CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 (BOSR) — SD Public School, Sector 32, went down fighting to Bokaro Ispat Vidyalaya, Bokaro, in the final of the first CBSE North-East-Zone Football Tournament for school boys, which concluded today at DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8 here.

Bokaro school won by 4-2 in the tie-breaker as both the teams could not score any goal during the stipulated period. In the dying minutes of the match, Chatte Lal of Bokaro gave a pass to Virender of the same school who failed to capitalise on the opportunity. In the tie-breaker Rajesh, Inder Modi, Chatte Lal and Brijeshwar scored for Bokaro while Satinder and Gopal, scored for SD school.

Translam Academy, Delhi, secured the third place by getting the better of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi, 1-0. The goal for the winning side was scored by Pawan.

CGA to organise golf tourney

CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 (TNS) — The Chandigarh Golf Association (CGA) is organising a golf tournament at Chandigarh Golf Club from January 10, 1999, for civil officers of Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh, and central government officers posted at Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Members of the Chandigarh Golf Club belonging to the civil services posted anywhere outside Chandigarh also eligible to participate in the championship.

Entry forms for participation in the championship are available at the reception of the Chandigarh Golf Club. The last date for submitting the entry form is January 5, according to Mr C.S.R. Reddy, general secretary, Chandigarh Golf Association.

HOA chief for incentives

CHANDIGARH, Dec 18 (TNS) — The president of the Haryana Olympic Association, Mr Chander Mohan, has demanded that the Union Government and the state government should announce incentives for medal winners at the Asian Games being held at Bangkok.

In a statement issued here today, Mr Chander Mohan said it was regrettable that the two governments had not announced any scheme so far to encourage the players who had brought laurels to the country. He said the incentives should have been announced before the beginning of the games.


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