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Sunday, August 15, 1999
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South Africa hold defensive India
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14 — India were held to a goalless draw by South Africa in a lacklustre first match of the five-Test hockey series here last night.

WV Raman bids adieu to first class cricket
CHENNAI, Aug 13 — Woorkeri Venkat Raman, the left-handed stylish batsman, who represented India in both Tests and one-day internationals, today bid adieu to first class cricket.

India to take part in Asian tennis meet
SANGRUR, Aug 14 — India will take part in the Asian Schools Lawn Tennis Championships to be held at Jakarta from September 24 to 27, according to School Games Federation of India sources.

Cindana Hartono of Indonesia raises her arms in victory after winning the Sea Games Ladies Badminton singles finals against Sujitra Eakmongkolpaisar of Thailand, in Bandar Seri Begawan on Saturday. Hartono won the match 11-5, 11-2.
Cindana Hartono of Indonesia raises her arms in victory after winning the Sea Games Ladies Badminton singles finals against Sujitra Eakmongkolpaisar of Thailand, in Bandar Seri Begawan on Saturday. Hartono won the match 11-5, 11-2. — AP/PTI
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Disastrous start by Indian juniors
BERLIN, Aug 14 — The Indian juniors got off to a disastrous European campaign as they were thrashed 5-0 by Holland in the first hockey “Test” at Amstelveen, near the Dutch capital of Amsterdam yesterday.

Graf looks forward to quiet life
BONN, Aug 14 — Steffi Graf said she felt relieved after deciding to retire from the glamorous tennis world and she is now looking forward to a quiet life outside the limelight.
Regional Sport Briefs

Mohun Bagan step in to hold tie
CALCUTTA, Aug 14 — Mohun Bagan Club has stepped in to organise the first leg tie of its opening round Asian Club Championship exchange against Muktijoddha Sangshad of Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium here on August 21 following the Indian Football Associations, refusal to bear the expenses of the visiting team.

Sasikiran, Kunte end campaign with win
SCARBOROUGH (England), Aug 14 — India’s national champion Krishnan Sasikiran and double-grandmaster norm holder Abhijit Kunte played a fantastic final round by beating their respective strong opponents to finish in the prize list of the British Open Chess Tournament here.

Players admire Steffi’s graph
MANHATTAN BEACH (California), Aug 14 — Steffi Graf, who retired from tennis yesterday after a career that included 22 Grand Slam singles titles, was the embodiment of a champion’s spirit, her rivals and admirers said.

Aussie team briefed on Lanka
MELBOURNE, Aug 14 — The Australian cricket team was fully briefed yesterday on the latest bomb blast in Sri Lanka which killed nine policemen.

Pat Rafter crushes Chang
MASON, Ohio, Aug 14 — Holder Pat Rafter crushed Michael Chang 6-2, 6-1 in the quarter-finals of the $ 2.45-million ATP Championships to complete the most powerful lineup at a men’s tennis event in six years.

Ripudaman, Ram Singh lift titles
LUDHIANA, Aug 14 — Ripudaman of Jalandhar Division and Ram Singh of Bikander Division clinched titles in the women’s and men’s sections, respectively, in the 33rd LIC North Zone Table Tennis Tournament which concluded at the Prithipal Singh Sports Complex of Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Big squad for SAF Games
NEW DELHI, Aug 14 — India will field a huge squad of 235 athletes, including 75 women, and participate in all 12 disciplines in the eighth South Asian Federation Games to be held at Kathmandu from September 25 to October 4.

Sachin’s sack irked BCCI chief
MUMBAI, Aug 14 — The Board of Control for Cricket in India President Mr Raj Singh Dungarpur has admitted that he was ‘perturbed’ when master batsman Sachin Tendulkar was stripped of his captaincy by the national selection committee in January, 1998.

National boxing dates advanced
NEW DELHI, Aug 14 — The 46th National Boxing Championship scheduled to be held at Shimla has been advanced to be conducted from October 12 to 17.

Lillees to play against Pak in October
PERTH, Aug 14 — Pakistan’s batsmen will have to grapple with an attack including fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee and his speedster son when they open their Australian tour in October.

Bangladesh to host soccer meet
DHAKA, Aug 14 — At least 11 foreign teams will take part in a soccer tournament beginning in Dhaka on August 27, the Bangladesh Football Federation announced on Wednesday.

 



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South Africa hold defensive India

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14 (PTI) — India were held to a goalless draw by South Africa in a lacklustre first match of the five-Test hockey series here last night.

Asian Games champions India struggled to cope with the cold conditions here as they played an ultra-defensive game against the speedy South Africans, who however were without several main players who were down with stomach trouble.

Both teams relied on heavy man-to-man marking and laid emphasis on defence. South African forward Greg Nicol had the hosts’ best chance in the first half, but his hit struck goalkeeper Edward Aloysius on his chest, and bounced off his glove and the crossbar.

Aloysius also thwarted a reverse flick by Steve Evans with a diving effort in the first half.

An Indian team management member attributed the poor show to the extremely cold weather which affected the players arriving from warm and humid conditions in Amritsar and Delhi.

“We will definitely have a plan for our next Test match,” he added. The second Test is slated for tomorrow.

The South Africans appeared to have taken to the field under the impression that the Indians would be “easy meat” in the first match as they were yet to get used to the climatic conditions.

But faced with the far more skilful Indians, the hosts banked on speed to wrongfoot the visitors.

India’s World Cup squad comprises mostly of players 18 and 19 years old and none of them had figured in the earlier World Cup in Milton Keynes, England, in 1997, coach C R Kumar said.

In one of its best showings, India had settled for silver medal losing to Australia in the final at Milton Keynes.

“Our boys have never played high intensity matches in India like the one played yesterday,” Kumar said.

The coach, however, said he was not unduly bothered about last night’s result since the main aim was to give the team exposure to fast-paced matches expected in the World Cup.

“Our aim is also to prepare the team for the 2001 under-21 World Cup in Australia,” he added.

India was to play three friendly matches with Holland and one with England in the Netherlands, but will now be playing only two matches with the hosts because of their delayed arrival.

The second and final warm-up match is scheduled for tomorrow morning before the Indian team leaves for Poznan in Poland for the week-long World Cup tournament, starting on August 23.Top



 

WV Raman bids adieu to first class cricket

CHENNAI, Aug 13 (PTI) — Woorkeri Venkat Raman, the left-handed stylish batsman, who represented India in both Tests and one-day internationals, today bid adieu to first class cricket.

Raman, aged 34, who announced his retirement at a Press conference here, said: “I always believed that I should not be blocking other young cricketers’ chances. There is no motivation left and I am not enjoying the game anymore. I have informed the state selection committee about my decision to stop playing first class cricket.”

A left-arm slow bowler, Raman made his Test debut as a batsman at Chennai in 1987 against West Indies and played his last match at Capetown in South Africa under Sachin Tendulkar in 1996-97 series.

Raman played 11 test matches, scoring 448 runs in 19 innings (including one unbeaten), his highest being 96 against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1989-90. Raman bowled a total of 58 overs, claiming two wickets for 129 runs, his best being 1-7 against the West Indies in Chennai in 1987-88 series.

India to take part in Asian tennis meet
From Our Correspondent

SANGRUR, Aug 14 — India will take part in the Asian Schools Lawn Tennis Championships to be held at Jakarta from September 24 to 27, according to School Games Federation of India sources. The team will be selected on the basis of performance in the last years national schools competition. Besides players from all affiliated states will be invited for trials to select the final team.

The federation has allotted National School Games venues for football (boys U 19), kho kho (boys and girls U-19) and softball (boys and girls U-19). Srinagar will host football competition from October 12 to 17. Kho Kho matches will be held at Baramula from October 22 to 27 and softball will be held at Jammu from December 7 to 12.Top



 

Disastrous start by Indian juniors

BERLIN, Aug 14 (PTI) — The Indian juniors got off to a disastrous European campaign as they were thrashed 5-0 by Holland in the first hockey “Test” at Amstelveen, near the Dutch capital of Amsterdam yesterday.

In an absorbing encounter, Holland maintained supremacy throughout the encounter and raced to a 3-0 half time lead before completing the rout.

Taeke Taekma and Karel Keller helped themselves to two goals each. While Taekma converted penalty corners, Keller came up with superb field goals.

The margin of defeat could have been lower had custodian Devesh Chauhan not let in the first two attempts, which should have been saved.

India failed to convert three penalty corners and came close to scoring only once when centre-forward Prabhjot Singh missed the target on the rebound.

The team, in preparation for the 2001 junior World Cup to be held in Sydney, comprises mostly under-19 and under-20 players.

India, who arrived for their tour in the Netherlands two days behind schedule, will play only two more matches with the host team apart from a tie against England.

Initially the Indian squad was supposed to play five “Tests” followed by warm-up matches before proceeding to Poznan, Poland for an eight-nation event starting on August 23.

“Our boys have never played high intensity matches in India like the one played yesterday,” Indian coach C.R. Kumar told PTI.

The coach said he was not unduly worried over the result since the main aim was to expose the team to fast-paced game.

“Our aim is also to prepare the team for the 2001 under-21 World Cup in Australia,” Kumar added.Top



 

Graf looks forward to quiet life

BONN, Aug 14 (Reuters) — Steffi Graf said she felt relieved after deciding to retire from the glamorous tennis world and she is now looking forward to a quiet life outside the limelight.

The finest woman player of her generation was close to tears when she announced yesterday that she was quitting immediately.

She looks clearly moved in today’s front-page picture of popular daily Bild whose main headline reads: “Thank you Steffi for all those beautiful tennis years.’’

But on the inside page she was smiling broadly as she proudly held the last trophy of her prolific career.

The picture was taken after the French Open final in which she proved she still had plenty to offer by teaching young Martina Hingis a lesson.

“That’s the way you will stay in our hearts,’’ wrote Bild, who called her “our greatest sportswoman ever.’’

After telling a packed news conference that more than 15 years at the top of a demanding sport had finally taken their toll, she tried her best to think positively.

“The decision was a relief but my new life will be exciting,’’ said the 30-year-old German, who was always uneasy with the celebrity status conferred on her by the German media. Top



 

Mohun Bagan step in to hold tie

CALCUTTA, Aug 14 (PTI) — Mohun Bagan Club has stepped in to organise the first leg tie of its opening round Asian Club Championship exchange against Muktijoddha Sangshad of Bangladesh at the Salt Lake Stadium here on August 21 following the Indian Football Associations (IFA), refusal to bear the expenses of the visiting team.

The Mohun Bagan General Secretary, Mr Anjan Mitra, told newspersons last night that McDowell, the sponsor of the club’s football team, would sponsor the tie. “This was decided at a club board meeting attended by the United Breweries Group Chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya,” he said.

The IFA, which generally bears the expenses of visiting teams for such championships, had cited financial constraints for not being able to pay the bill and asked Mohun Bagan to bear the expenses.

The second leg match between the two teams would be held in Dhaka on September 11, Mr Mitra said.

Mr Mitra said the Asian Football Association (AFC) had appointed Lok Bahadur Shahi of Nepal as the match commissioner for the first leg match, while Sri Lanka’s Crysantha Pereira would do duty in the second leg.Top


 

Sasikiran, Kunte end campaign with win

SCARBOROUGH (England), Aug 14 (PTI) — India’s national champion Krishnan Sasikiran and double-grandmaster norm holder Abhijit Kunte played a fantastic final round by beating their respective strong opponents to finish in the prize list of the British Open Chess Tournament here.

Englishman Julian Hodgson (9) played a short draw with GM Tony Kosten to engrave his name on the British Open trophy and the prize of 10,000. Hodgson was one point clear off two second placed players — Bangladesh’s Zia-Ur Rahman and Peter Wells of England — both on eight points.

GM Pravin Thipsay (6.5), who was at his best in the 10th round, lost his final round game in an interesting battle with English GM Bogdan Lalic (7.5).

Though the top three tables saw early peace treaties being signed, the other boards lower down saw fierce fights, as the number of prizes in the event were just nine.

Fittingly, there were results from board four to nine, which meant that all the winners of these games entered the prize list scoring 7.5 points.

Sasikiran and Kunte, both with 7.5 points apiece, also finished in a tie for placings from 4th to 12th, and share the prize money. Other six Indians including Thipsay had to return empty handed.

In a complicated middlegame, Sasikiran cleverly exchanged Hunt’s (6.5) active pieces to liquidate into an ending where he had the advantage of double bishops.

He created a passed pawn on the ‘A’ file, and though Hunt wove a mating net on the second rank with her rook and bishop, Sasikiran stepped aside from all the tricks and queened the pawn to win the game.

However, the British blonde WGM, won the woman champion title, as her contender IWM Jovanka Houska (6) also lost her game to GM Summerscale.

Abhijit Kunte, with black pieces, adopted the Sicilian Paulsen against IM Garry Lane of England. Though Lane (6.5) controlled the early part of middlegame with a bind of pawns, his position became weak due to the pushing of a pawn.

Kunte’s two bishops took control of the game and he won a pawn in the endgame, and finally checkmated his opponent.Top



 

Players admire Steffi’s graph

MANHATTAN BEACH (California), Aug 14 (AFP) — Steffi Graf, who retired from tennis yesterday after a career that included 22 Grand Slam singles titles, was the embodiment of a champion’s spirit, her rivals and admirers said.

“She never stopped amazing me how she got through these matches, these tournaments,” said Australian player Rennae Stubbs, a close friend of Graf. “She was the queen of playing every point, every point.”

“Champion,” said Arantxa Sanchez Vicario when asked to describe Graf in one word.

The Spaniard played Graf in seven Grand Slam finals, triumphing in two.

“It’s kind of hard to think she’s not going to be there,” said Sanchez, who counted her 1989 French Open victory over Graf as her entry into the game’s elite ranks.

“I was only 17, she was the No 1 player in the world, the way that match went — it was three hours — that was when I started to become a very good player,” Sanchez said.

She recalled the 1995 Wimbledon final, in which Graf beat her in three sets, as a showcase of Graf’s ability to come up with that little bit extra to win.

“I definitely felt I played my best, but she was just a little better,” Sanchez said.

“Toughness,” was how two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin defined Graf’s character.

“Toughness in the big points, toughness in dealing with the injuries. A perfect example of that was the French Open (this year). She dug down deep and found a way to turn that match around. That’s what Steffi Graf is all about.”

Men’s world number one Pete Sampras, who has often spoken lately of the difficulty of staying at the top of the sport, said he sympathised with the 30-year-old German’s decision to call it a day.

“She’s had an unbelievable career,” Sampras said. “She did it with a lot of class, went out and got the job done. She let her racquet do the talking. I’ve always looked up to her and the way she approached the game. She worked very hard and was a great athlete.”

“It’s not easy to win 22 Slams,” said Sampras, whose 12 Grand Slam singles titles tie him with Roy Emerson for the most among men. “That’s one number I won’t get.”

“I have mixed emotions,” said Andre Agassi, whose victory at the French Open this year put him among the handful of men who have won each Grand Slam title at least once. “It’s certainly a loss to tennis. In my opinion, she’s the best lady that has ever played.”

“She dominated on every surface,” he said of Graf, who won each Grand Slam at least four times. “On the other side, there is happiness for the next chapter in her life.

Graf’s emotional win over Martina Hingis at Roland Garros this year was her first Grand Slam triumph in three years.

Hingis admitted she would have liked a chance to take on Graf again, and she acknowledged that her precocious rise to the world No 1 ranking at the age of 16 in 1997 was achieved in the absence of the injured Graf.

“She is a great legend,” Hingis said. “I was only 14, 15 years old, she was an icon. I was trying to keep up with her. You could never count on winning against her until the last point was over.”

The French Open final, which ended with a shattered Hingis weeping in her mother’s arms and Graf weeping and smiling as she clutched the trophy, will be remembered by many as Graf’s finest victory.

Austin, whose own career was derailed by injuries, said it was particularly impressive given that Graf had battled back from career-threatening injuries just to be there.

“All-time I would say No 1, with the possibility of Martina Navratilova either in a tie or right behind her because of her doubles”.

Graf, who was forced out of a tournament in Carlsbad, California, last week with a hamstring strain, said the injury was incidental and not the cause of her retirement.

Austin said the fruitless trip to California may have allowed Graf to cement a decision that was already coming.Top


 

Aussie team briefed on Lanka

MELBOURNE, Aug 14 (AFP) — The Australian cricket team was fully briefed yesterday on the latest bomb blast in Sri Lanka which killed nine policemen. But despite the increased tension on the Island — and having refused to play a World Cup match in Sri Lanka in 1996 — the one-day squad is still due to fly to Colombo on Monday.

The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) has been kept informed of developments in Sri Lanka and will pass on its security report to the players at their training camp in Brisbane today.

At least nine police officers were killed on Wednesday when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a bomb as a convoy of buses left Batticaloa, 200 kilometres east of Colombo. A similar attack last week killed 12 police commandos and two civilians in the northern town of Vavuniya while last month a rebel suicide bomber killed a moderate Tamil lawmaker.Top


 

Pat Rafter crushes Chang

MASON, Ohio, Aug 14 (DPA) — Holder Pat Rafter crushed Michael Chang 6-2, 6-1 in the quarter-finals of the $ 2.45-million ATP Championships to complete the most powerful lineup at a men’s tennis event in six years.

Not since Wimbledon 1993 — the first title there for Pete Sampras — have the top four men in the world played in the semifinals.

Rafter’s victory yesterday insured a repeat of that rare scenario. Six years ago, the elite were: Sampras, Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker.

Double US Open winner Rafter’s win over the unseeded world number 58 Chang moved the second-seeded Australian into a shootout with Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

Kafelnikov, the world No 4 earlier dispatched Briton Tim Henman 7-5, 7-5.

“It can’t get any better,” said Rafter, who now stands 28-6 since turning around his year in May on clay. “I’m ready for a good summer. It was a matter of timing, a lot of tennis in Europe, the Davis Cup. It all came together.”

“If I can serve like I did today and hit my groundies this well, I’m ready for anyone,” Rafter said of his match with Kafelnikov. “This is good form to take into the open.”

Rafter lost just four points on serve during his rout in 66 minutes, which improves his record against the American to four wins, six defeats. “I was on serve today I couldn’t ask for more.”

Sampras and Agassi created most of the fireworks on the day at the Mercedes super 9, moving ahead into their third meeting in six weeks. Sampras won the last two, the final at Wimbledon and a title match at Los Angeles.

Sampras overcame a longtime personal demon as he beat Richard Krajicek 6-4, 6-2.

Third seed Agassi knocked out Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten, seeded sixth, 6-2, 7-6 (12-10).

Sampras and Agassi have played 25 times, with Sampras holding a 15-10 edge.

“There are no surprises in any of our games,” said Agassi. “We both know what we count on in big situations. It’s a question of who’s going to do it better.”

Agassi is under no illusions in the job he faces against Sampras.

“Pete’s got a serve that can hit all four corners with spin and pace. The guy is an explosive mover. He can cover the forehand and run better than anybody in the game.”

Sampras, who lost the finale last year to Rafter on a disputed point, was impressive in victory over Krajicek.

“It’s a big hurdle to get past,” said Sampras. “We all know he’s beaten me the last four times. When he gets his game going he feels very confident against me.”

The American added: “Today was big for me. He’s always given me problems, I feel like I’ve been playing well all week, it gives me confidence for the next time I play him.”

Kafelnikov still has an outside chance to take over the top ranking spot depending on the results obtained this weekend by Sampras and Agassi.

Kafelnikov’s win moved him into his second consecutive semi-final at the event. “The more matches I play on this surface, the better I get,” said the Australian Open Champion.

“My confidence is growing with each match that I play, no question about it. I’m just trying to focus on the important tournaments.”Top



 

Ripudaman, Ram Singh lift titles
From Our Sports Reporter

LUDHIANA, Aug 14 — Ripudaman of Jalandhar Division and Ram Singh of Bikander Division clinched titles in the women’s and men’s sections, respectively, in the 33rd LIC North Zone Table Tennis Tournament which concluded at the Prithipal Singh Sports Complex of Punjab Agricultural University here today.

In the women’s final, Ripudaman outclassed Anita Agnihotri of Delhi division in straight sets 21-16, 21-19 and 21-14 to annex the title while in the men’s section, Ram Singh fought a pitched battle against Satnam Singh of Shimla Division before emerging victorious 21-18, 21-14 and 23-21.

Mr M.S. Sidhu, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, Ludhiana gave away prizes to the winners.

Women’s single (semi finals):

Ripudaman (Jal) beat Mamta Mukhi (Delhi) 21-13, 21-16, 21-14. Anita Agnihotri (Delhi) beat Deepa Narang (Delhi) 21-9, 19-21, 21-17, 21-15.

Final: Ripu Daman (Jal) beat Anita Agnihotri (Delhi) 21-16, 21-19, 21-14.

Third position: Deepa Narang (Delhi) beat Mamta Mukhi (Delhi) 15-21, 21-18, 21-19, 21-19.

Men’s single (semifinals): Ram Singh (Bikaner) beat N.K. Jain (Bikaner) 21-12, 21-16, 21-12. Satnam Singh (Shimla) beat Ashwani Kumar (Chandigarh) 21-17, 21-12, 20-22, 14-21, 21-17.

Final: Ram Singh (Bikaner) beat Satnam Singh (Shimla) 21-18, 21-14, 23-21.

Third position: N.K. Jain (Bikaner) beat Ashwani Kumar (Chd.) 21-19, 21-14, 21-13.Top



 

Big squad for SAF Games

NEW DELHI, Aug 14 (PTI) — India will field a huge squad of 235 athletes, including 75 women, and participate in all 12 disciplines in the eighth South Asian Federation Games to be held at Kathmandu from September 25 to October 4.

India’s chef-de-mission to the Games, K. N. Kapur told a press meet here yesterday that the respective federations had been asked to submit their entries to the Indian Olympic Association by August 16 to enable the apex body to meet the August 25 deadline to send the full list to the organisers.

Kapur, who is also the Swimming Federation of India President, said coaching camps were under way at the SAI centres in Bangalore, Patiala and Delhi.

The Indian contingent will leave for the Nepal capital in three batches on September 23, 24 and 26, he added.

India, who have reigned supreme in the regional event since the first games at Kathmandu in 1984, won 183 medals in the previous edition at Chennai in 1995.

Competitions will be held in athletics (men and women), boxing, football, kabaddi, karate-do (men and women), shooting (men and women), swimming (men and women), table tennis (men and women), taekwondo (men and women), volleyball (men and women), weightlifting and wrestling.

The number of events will be one less than at Chennai after the seven members — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and hosts Nepal — agreed to restrict the disciplines to 12.

All eight venues are ready for the games. The main venue — Dasharatha Stadium — will also stage the opening and closing ceremonies.

The camps for shooting and swimming are on in Delhi, those for athletics, boxing and wrestling in Patiala, kabaddi in Jaipur, karate-do in Mumbai and football, taekwondo, volleyball and weightlifting in Bangalore.

The athletics and football squads will be the first batch to leave as both events start on September 26.

Star boxer Dingko Singh’s participation in the games will depend on his full recovery from his right wrist injury, federation Secretary Rajesh Bhandari said.

All-India Football Federation Secretary Kedar Nath Mour will be the deputy chef-de-mission.

Hockey, basketball, judo and tennis, which were part of the Chennai games, have been removed and karate and taekwondo included for the games.

The schedule:

Opening ceremony: Dasharatha Stadium — Sep 25. Athletics: Dasharatha Stadium — Sep 26-28; Sep 30-Oct 2. Boxing: Brikutimandap — Sep 27-30.

Football: Dasharatha Stadium — Sep 26-Oct 4. Karate: Tripureshwer Hall — Sep 26-28. Kabaddi: Sanogauchor Gyaneshwor — Sep 27-30.

Shooting: BIS complex Satdobate — Sep 26-30. Swimming: BIS complex Satdobato — Sep 26-30. Table tennis: Lainchour Hall — Sep 27-Oct 3.

Taekwondo: Tripureshwor Hall — Oct 2-4. Volleyball: Tripureshwor Hall — Sep 28-Oct 2. Weightlifting: Royal Nepal Academy — Sep 27-30.

Wrestling: Smrit Bhavan, T.U. — Sep 29-Oct 1. Closing ceremony: Dasharatha Stadium — Oct 4. Top


 

Sachin’s sack irked BCCI chief

MUMBAI, Aug 14 (PTI) — The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Mr Raj Singh Dungarpur has admitted that he was ‘perturbed’ when master batsman Sachin Tendulkar was stripped of his captaincy by the national selection committee in January, 1998.The board chief said at a Rotary Club of Mumbai (north) function here on Thursday that he was informed in London of the decision of the selectors to effect a change at the helm by replacing Tendulkar with Mohammed Azharuddin.

“I was very perturbed. Sachin had not got much time as skipper,” he said.

Mr Dungarpur then praised the manner in which Tendulkar, who was re-appointed the national skipper last month-end after 19 months, had accepted the selectors’ decision and got on with the job of giving his best for the team.

“I called him up, thanked him and wished him luck ahead. He said: “Sir, I have just one thing to say. I will remain as committed as I was before”. Not many, who had just lost captaincy would have said that. He is not just a great cricketer, he is a patriot,” the board chief said.

He further heaped praise on the ace batsman by saying Tendulkar was made of different stuff. “Someone who can play cricket like he did at the age of 16 and make a hundred in England when 17 doesn’t know what pressure is all about.”

The board chief felt death of Tendulkar’s father Ramesh on the eve of India’s second World Cup league match against Zimbabwe had a great effect on not just the master batsman, who flew back to Mumbai to attend the funeral before rejoining the team, but the entire squad.

“In the morning when I went to Leicester cricket ground I could see the team was just not upto it mentally,” Mr Dungarpur said before praising the squad for fighting its way into the Super Six stage.

He singled out three grey areas of the team: lack of a high level of physical fitness, lack of mental toughness and absence of a quality all-rounder and said the first mentioned weakness can be addressed to by encouraging athleticism at the under-16 and under-19 levels.

Mr Dungarpur said mental toughness must come from within and felt Mumbai’s wiry paceman Ajit Agarkar can develop into a good all-rounder while Delhi’s Virender Sehwag and Bengal’s Laxmi Ratan Shukla were showing promise in this department.Top



 

National boxing dates advanced

NEW DELHI, Aug 14 (PTI) — The 46th National Boxing Championship scheduled to be held at Shimla has been advanced to be conducted from October 12 to 17.

The championship originally scheduled from October 29 to November 3, has been advanced due to the change in the dates of the Asian meet which is scheduled to be held at Tashkent from October 23 to 31, Indian Amateur Boxing Federation Secretary Rajesh Bhandari said yesterday.

The Asian championship will be one of the three qualifiers for next year’s Sydney Olympics.

The junior nationals, originally scheduled at Bangalore from January 2 to 7 next year has been postponed and will now be held from January 11 to 16.Top



 

Lillees to play against Pak in October

PERTH, Aug 14 (AFP) — Pakistan’s batsmen will have to grapple with an attack including fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee and his speedster son when they open their Australian tour in October.

Lillee, 50, and son Adam, 25, will team up for the first time when they play for an Australian Cricket Board Chairman’s XI in a one-day tour-launching festival match against the tourists on October 26.

It is likely to be the farewell appearance by Dennis Lillee, a 355 test wicket veteran.

He retired from first-class ranks more than 10 years ago, but has made a brief comeback each summer to appear in the traditional festival clash at Lilac Hill Park, Caversham, in the heart of Western Australia’s Swan Valley wine-growing district.

Lillee said yesterday the match provided the ideal opportunity for him to play alongside Adam, a pace bowler with a fluid action similar to his father’s.Top




 

Bangladesh to host soccer meet

DHAKA, Aug 14 (Reuters) — At least 11 foreign teams will take part in a soccer tournament beginning in Dhaka on August 27, the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) announced on Wednesday.

Teams from Brazil, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan and host Bangladesh will play in the second Bangabandhu Cup International Football Tournament.

BFF general secretary Garunur Rashid said the tournament had been organised as a mark of respect to the country’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was popularly known as Bangabandhu. Rahman was killed in an army coup in 1975. The tournament will last 12 days with the final on September 7. The first tournament was held in 1996.

Rashid said Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Peter Vellappan, FIFA member from Asia Mohammad Bin Hamam al-Abdullah of Qatar, and AFC vice-president Monilal Fernando of Sri Lanka were expected in Dhaka for the tournament.Top



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  REGIONAL SPORT BRIEFS

Rahul, Harsimran enter final
From our Sports Reporter

JALANDHAR, Aug 14 — Rahul Puria of APJ School and Avish Makol of St. Joseph Public School in boys under-10 singles, Varun Arora and Harsimran in the under-13 category and Raj Kumar and Sahil Arora in the under-16 event entered the final of the Jalandhar District Badminton Championship.Over 105 players from the district are participating in the five-day long championship.Results on second day: Boys U-10:(semifinal): Rahul Puria b Kanwar Talwar 15-3, 15-2, Avish Mukol b Sameer Verma 15-5, 15-9. U-13: Varun Arora b Ranjan Yadav 15-4, 15-4, Harsimran Singh b Rahul Puria 15-7, 4-15, 15-10.U-16: Raj Kumar b Harsimran Singh 15-8, 15-4; Sahil Arora b Harjot Singh 15-9, 15-10.U-19 (Pre-quarterfinals): Suresh Kumar b Inderjit 15-1, 15-2; Ramnik Singh b Jasrobin 15-1, 15-2; Jaskaran b Nipun Juneja 15-0, 15-1; Rohit Kapoor b Maninder Singh 15-2, 15-3; Amit Kumar b Sunny Gupta 15-0, 15-1; Karan Deep Kohli b Paramjit Singh 15-1, 15-4; Harjot Singh b Paritosh by 15-1, 15-2; Sahil Arora b Rsitij Beer 15-5, 15-5.Doubles U-16 (quarterfinals): Ranjan b Karan Vishal 17-16, 15-7; Rohit, Narinder b Sudesh Vikrant 15-13, 7-15, 15-8.Doubles U-13 (quarterfinal): Sahil, Sidharath got walk-over against Amanpreet, Vivek; Anandbudh, Rahul Parmod, Kamaldeep by 15-8, 15-11.

 

Suspension revoked
From Our Sports Reporter

HISAR, Aug 14 — The Haryana Government has revoked the suspension of Dr Sumer Singh Nandal, Deputy Director (Judo) of the Haryana Sports and Youth Welfare Department with immediate effect.

Dr Nandal was suspended by the Bansi Lal Government a few months back.

Judokas of Suganami Judo Club Hansi and Hisar and Judo Training Centre at Barwala in a meeting here today hailed the decision of state government. Top



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