|S P O R T||
Monday, January 18, 1999
|East Bengal held; Mahindras beaten
BANGALORE, Jan 17 Indian Telephone Industries held fancied East Bengal to a goal-less draw in a group B match in the National Football League here today.
Kristen, Rhodes put SA
CENTURION (South Africa), Jan 17 South Africa stood on the brink of a historic 5-0 rout of the West Indies after declaring at 399 for five today to set the touring side an unrealistic target of 569 to win the final Test.
Thrilling win for England
SYDNEY, Jan 17 Graeme Hick and Nasser Hussain shared a record stand of 190 as England squeezed out a seven-run win over Australia in their high-scoring tri-series one-day match today. The pair lifted England to an imposing total of 282 for four.
MP lifts Wills trophy
East Bengal held; Mahindras beaten
BANGALORE, Jan 17 (PTI) Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) held fancied East Bengal to a goal-less draw in a group B match in the National Football League here today.
Though both the teams did not play to their potential, there was plenty of action. East Bengal missed many chances in the first half, while their opponents did so after the break.
ITI, the local league champions, put up a commendable defence, but lacked support from the midfield. Adding to their woes, the forwards were not up to the task in the first half.
Towards the fag end of the second half, ITIs Krygzystan import Alexy Drobotov erred in converting a golden chance inside the box. Bengal defender Ranjan Dev headed to clear a cross by Sergey Kaliubin to Sudhakar, but missed. Drobotov, who had all the time in the world to score, shot wide.
On the other hand, East Bengal too missed a fine chance in the dying moments off a flag kick from Bhaichung Bhutia when Ranjan Devs shot hit the horizontal bar.
Bhutia was marked well by ITIs Bheema Rao and Vijayan by Muralidharan, in turn assisted by Rishi Kapoor. ITI full-back Sudhakar was brought in place of Peter Siddiki while striker R.C. Prakash was off colour again.
An injured Emmanulo Opoku was replaced by Dipendu Biswas. Raman Vijayan too was taken out for Soraj Das. Ranjan Dev was the only player who did the bulk job for the Bengal side.
CHENNAI: Indian Bank scored their first win in four matches when they beat Mahindra and Mahindra, Mumbai, 2-0 in the National Football league here this evening.
The first goal was a gifted one following a misunderstanding between Mahindras goalkeeper Mark Masceranhas and his dependable defender Rajesh Pandey.
In the 74th minute, the bankmen were awarded a free kick from the right and a long lob by Hamilton Bobby brushed the hands of Masceranhas and Rajesh Pandey was under the impression that his goalie would collect it.
But Syed Sabir Pasha swiftly charged in to tap the ball and banks Selvakumar darted in to roll the ball inside the goalpost.
Another lapse in the dying minutes by the visitors cost them dearly as the bank duo, Bobby and Pasha, deceived Masceranhas and the two defenders, Bernard Operanozie and Ashok Sahi.
The first shot at the Mahindra goal by Bobby was well stopped by Masceranhas but Pashas athleticism proved too much for the two defenders. Pasha tricked them to put bank 2-0 up.
FC Kochin held
KOLLAM: Kerala state league champions F.C. Kochin did well to hold fancied Salgaocar Sports Club, Goa, to a 2-2 draw and split points in their match in the National Football League at the Lal Bahadur Stadium here tonight.
Defender Mir Farooq Hyder struck the first goal for F.C. Kochin in the 25th minute while Salgaocar drew parity through former India captain Bruno Coutinho in the 29th minute. Substitute Alvito Dcunha put the Goans in the lead in the 72nd minute and Kochin team got the equaliser in the 80th minute through substitute Nitin Pradhan.
Contrary to expectations, the Kochin side gave a spirited display against their fancied rivals and made best use of their experience in the ground for the last five days, where they had been practising while the Goan outfit took time to adjust to the turf.
The Kochin team dominated most part of the game and had the Goans in all sorts of problems from the word go. They could have easily won the game had their strikers been on target on most of the time.
Medio Roque Barretto
played his heart out and fed his attackers with long
diagonals and with accurate passes, but off-colour Kochin
striker Abu Jomo and Najeeb, though they were able to
take the ball into the rival penalty area, fumbled at the
Rusty Tyson rallies to knock
LAS VEGAS, Jan 17 (AP) A taunt was just what Mike Tyson needed.
Fighting for the first time in 19 months, he trailed on all three judges cards when Francois Botha started talking trash.
With 10 seconds left in the fifth round last night, Tyson shut him up with a right to the head - a punch that dropped Botha in a heap and might also have saved iron Mikes career.
He was talking a lot of smack and stuff, but I was cool," said Tyson, who hadnt fought since biting Evander Holyfields ears on June 28, 1997, an action that led to his license being revoked.
"Yeah, I was trying to bait him," Botha said. "I just walked into it."
This fight at the MGM Grand garden almost ended in controversy as well. When the bell ended the first round, the fighters were in a clinch and referee Richard Steele moved in to part them. Botha hit Tyson with a right to the head and they went at each other as security men and corner men rushed to break it up.
There was tight security at the MGM Grand because of a major disturbance that caused the casino to be closed for several hours after the bite fight.
Botha also appeared to be having the best of the fifth round when, with about 10 seconds left, he went to throw a right to the body. Tyson countered with a perfectly balanced right that crashed full into Bothas face and dropped him as if hed been hit with a hammer.
The 233-pound South African tried to get up, but fell back to the canvas. He struggled up at the count of 7, only to fall back as Steele waved the fight over. While Botha remained sitting on the canvas, Tyson kneeled down, hugged him and kissed him on top of the head.
The fight ended with one second left in the fifth round.
Tyson had said he was going to go right after Botha and knock him out, but he was wild with many of his punches and couldnt do anything with Botha on the inside.
"I had a tremendous amount of rust," said the 32-year-old Tyson, whose license was restored by a 4-1 vote of the Nevada State Athletic Commission last October 19.
Tyson was bleeding from a cut over the right eye from the first round and it seemed to bother him. He complained to Steele about butting, but it was Tyson who was penalised a point, for excessive holding, in the second round.
At the end of four rounds, judges Dave Moretti and Dalby Shirley each had Botha ahead 40-35, while Bill Graham favoured Botha 39-36.
As the fight progressed, Tyson grew increasingly frustrated. Tommy Brooks, training the former undisputed champion for the first time, told him he needed to get down to business.
"Take it easy," Tyson told Brooks. "Im going to catch him late."
While Tyson answered his critics with a victory, his performance certainly wont put an end to criticism. He was a 7-1 favourite to beat Botha and hardly anyone expected him to have a hard time with him.
"Everybody said I was losing my confidence," Tyson said.
"They were talking bogus about me. It made me angry. No one is going to disrespect me."
The 223-pound Tyson, fighting for only the seventh time in eight years, acknowledged he needs to be active.
"I just need to fight," he said. "I need to put on a better show."
Tyson is tentatively scheduled to fight April 24 at the MGM Grand, possibly against Axel Schulz of Germany, who was at ringside for German Television last night.
Before the fight however, Jay Larkin, in charge of boxing for Showtime and Showtime Entertainment Television (pay-per-view), said the quality of Tysons performance would determine the level of competition for his next match.
It also was the first of a new four-fight deal Tyson has with the MGM Grand and officials of the hotel-casino must have been holding their breath after the first round.
The first ended with about a dozen people in the ring trying to separate the fighters. Steele delayed the start of the second round for 45 seconds while he talked with Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada Commission. Steele then warned both fighters before he allowed the match to resume.
Tyson has said hed like to fight four times this year but first he has to clear up some out-of-ring problems. Tyson is scheduled to appear for sentencing in Maryland on February 5, where he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanour assault charges stemming from an auto accident involving his wife, Monica. One man accused Tyson of punching him and another man accused Tyson of kicking him in the groin. Tyson settled out of court with both men.
What happens in Maryland will influence any action taken by Indiana authorities on whether Tyson violated his parole. He served three years in an Indiana prison on a rape charge before being released March 25, 1995.
His probation is scheduled to end in March.
Tyson, whose purse was $
10 million, notched the 40th knockout on his 46-3 record.
Botha, a former IBF champion, lost for the second time
against 39 wins, 24 by knockout. His purse was $ 1.85
Pak clears cricket tour
ISLAMABAD, Jan 17 (PTI) Pakistan tonight cleared their cricket tour of India ending a fortnight-long suspense following Shiv Senas threat to disrupt the matches.
Announcing the decision, Pakistan Information Minister Mushahid Hussain told reporters that the government had decided to allow the cricket team to travel to India on the basis of assurances given by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
He said the Pakistan decision followed positive reports from its High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi in Delhi and from its cricket board special emissary Brig Saeed Ahmed Rafi, and above all assurances of the Indian government on security.
Following the decision, the cloud over the tour-slated to begin on January 21 in the wake of the digging of the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch by Shiv Sena activists and the partys further threats to disrupt the matches, lifted.
Mr Hussain welcomed the reported threat of BJP to snap links with Shiv Sena if they indulge in any activity to disrupt the tour.
Kristen, Rhodes put SA in command
CENTURION (South Africa), Jan 17 (Reuters) South Africa stood on the brink of a historic 5-0 rout of the West Indies after declaring at 399 for five today to set the touring side an unrealistic target of 569 to win the final Test.
Jonty Rhodes scored the fastest Test century by a South African off 95 balls with eight sixes, and Gary Kirsten hit 134 as the home side built a huge score in their second innings.
West Indies were 18 for one in their second innings at the close and must survive two days to avoid the first 5-0 defeat in a five-Test series in their history.
Rhodes was 103 not out when the South African innings was declared. Opener Kirsten's 134 was made at a more sedate pace in 7-1/2 hours, off 305 balls. He was one of spinner Carl Hooper's three victims in the innings.
The major partnerships were the 107 runs Kirsten and Hansie Cronje, who scored 58, shared for the fourth wicket and the 115 put on by Kirsten and Rhodes for the fifth.
The West Indies, called on to face 10 overs before the close, lost their first wicket to the fourth ball of the innings when Philo Wallace, on four, gloved a leg-side delivery from Allan Donald to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
At stumps, Darren Ganga was four not out with Shivnarine Chanderpaul on eight.
Thrilling win for England
SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters) Graeme Hick and Nasser Hussain shared a record stand of 190 as England squeezed out a seven-run win over Australia in their high-scoring tri-series one-day match today.
The pair lifted England to an imposing total of 282 for four. Hick won the man-of-the-match award with his 108. Hussain scored 93.
Their stand was an England record for the third wicket against the Australians in a limited overs match.
Australia, who had beaten England by nine wickets in Melbourne on Friday, made a gallant attempt to overhaul Englands total.
Mark Waugh scored 85, Darren Lehmann 76 and Michael Bevan 45 not out but the Australians fell agonisingly short of making a record winning score batting second at the SCG, finishing on 275 for six.
Hick and Hussain turned the match Englands way with a dynamic partnership after coming together at 39 for two.
They began by slowly resurrecting the innings, taking the total to 77 from 20 overs before going on to the attack.
Their cause was helped in no small part by an uncharacteristically sloppy fielding display. Steve Waugh spilled a difficult catch from Hick when he was on 23 while Glenn McGrath missed a chance off Hussain on 63 when the setting sun caught his eye.
Hick faced a total of 129 balls, hitting five fours and a six to reach his third century in one-day internationals and better his previous highest score of 105 not out against India in Gwalior in 1993.
MP lifts Wills trophy
CALCUTTA, Jan 17 (PTI) Paceman J.P. Yadav produced a sensational hatrick to help Madhya Pradesh script a comfortable 32-run victory over Bengal and lift the Wills Trophy for the first time at the Eden Gardens here today.
Chasing a target of 226 runs for an outright victory, Bengal were cruising along comfortably before Yadav (5/49) ripped through the middle order with a devastating spell of swing bowling to change the complexion of the game in the 17th over.
The hosts were comfortably placed at 130 for three when Yadav, introduced for a second spell from the pavillion end, consumed Saba Karim (20), Ajoy Das (0) and Charanjeet Singh (0) to notch up a brilliant hatrick and swing the match in his teams favour.
Only Rohan Gavaskar (50) and Devang Gandhi (46) stood amidst the ruins as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals for the home team on what seemed to be a good batting track. Bengal were bundled out for 193 in 36.4 overs.
Put into bat after Bengal skipper Utpal Chatterjee won the toss, Madhya Pradesh recovered from early jolts to score a respectable 225 all out in 49.3 overs with Devendra Bundela (80) and in-form Amay Khurasia (57) being the notable scorers.
The Bengal innings got off to a disastrous start as they lost their two openers Nikhil Haldipur (2) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (1) within the first two overs but Devang Gandhi and Rohan Gavaskar restored the innings with a 87-run third wicket partnership.
The hosts maintained a brisk scoring rate of over eight runs in the first 15 overs as both Gavaskar and Gandhi blasted the bowlers on both sides of the wicket much to the delight of the holiday crowd.
Paceman Bundela, who proved to be very expensive in the three overs he bowled, however obtained the vital breakthrough by getting rid of the flamboyant Gandhi who spooned a catch to Chauhan at cover.
Saba Karim and Gavaskar maintained the brisk scoring rate by punishing the loose deliveries and had taken the score to 130 when Bengal suddenly found themselves in the pit as Yadav opened up the floodgates by ejecting Karim.
Five wickets fell in quick succession for the addition of just 43 runs with many of the batsmen perishing to poor shots. The last wicket pair of Wrichik Majumdar and Ranadeb Bose frustrated the visitors by hanging around for almost half an hour before leg spinner Narendra Hirwani evicted Bose much to the delight of his team-mates.
While Yadav was the most successful bowler for Madhya Pradesh scalping five wickets for 49 runs, captain Rajesh Chauhan also bowled a tidy spell of 10-1-27-1 to put pressure on the Bengal batsmen.
Earlier in the morning, Madhya Pradesh were struggling at 69 for four before Amay Khurasia and Devendra Bundela salvaged the situation with a 68-run fifth wicket partnership.
Khurasia, who scored a half century in all the three Wills Trophy matches, was looking dangerous when he perished to spinner Devang Gandhi. He went for a mighty heave but mistimed the shot completely to offer a simple catch to Shukla at third man region.
Bundela then took over the task of accelerating the pace of scoring as he added 66 runs for the sixth wicket with Raja Ali (22) proving to be gritty customer in the lower order.
Shukla, who has been included in the 30-member list of probables for the forthcoming World Cup, finished with figures of 8-0-26-4 while captain Chatterjee chipped in with three wickets.
Extras (lb-2, w-12, nb-4): 18.
Total (all out in 49.3 overs): 225.
Fall of wickets : 1/4, 2/44, 3/69, 4/69, 5/137, 6/201, 7/208 8/220, 9/220.
Bowling: L.R. Shukla 8-0-26-4, A. Sarkar 4-0-43-0, R. Bose 9-1-37-0, A. Das 7-0-20-0, D. Gandhi 6-2-21-1, U. Chatterjee 10-0-40-3, W. Majumdar 3-0-24-0, R. Gavaskar 2.3-0-12-2.
Extras (lb-5, w-21, nb-12): 38.
Total (all out in 36.4 overs): 193.
Fall of wickets: 1/5, 2/7, 3/94, 4/130, 5/130, 6/130, 7/171, 8/173, 9/173.
Anand starts with exciting victory
WIJK AAN ZEE (Netherlands), Jan 17 (PTI) Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand started the defence of his title with an exciting win on an otherwise dour day in the opening round of the 61st Hoogovens GMS Chess Tournament last night.
Bulgarias Vasselin Topalov was the only other to score full points even as world number one Garry Kasparov of Russia, who made his debut here, was held to a draw by Vassily Ivanchuk.
Anand, the most successful player last year and the winner of chess Oscar, opened with a good 37-move win over Dutch player Dimitri Reinderman while Vesselin Topalov capitalised on a blunder by another Dutch player, Jan Timman.
Kasparovs first-game at Hoogovens chess here ended in a draw on the inaugural day which also saw four other games ending in a stalemate.
Kasparov, looking little out of touch from tournament play, had a good position in the opening in queens gambit, but Ivanchuk managed equalisation by the middle game and the players played out a draw in 22 moves.
Anands opening match fetched him 500 guilers (approx Rs 10,000) as his win over reinderman was adjudged the best game of the day. The spectators, who came to see the event at this venue, cast the vote in Anands favour.
The world number two
Indian later recalled that he had lost in the same
variation of the Sicilian defence three years ago here,
but this time he handled the situation very well after
being forced to give up castling on the 14th move.
Air-India, Churchill desperate for victory
MARGAO, Jan 17 (PTI) Air-India, Mumbai, will be looking desperately for a win when they lock horns with Churchill Brothers in the group A of the National Football League at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here tomorrow.
Both the teams are yet to taste a win from three outings. Air-India, who were flying high in the early part of last years league have found themselves grounded this year having lost to Tollygunge (3-0), Mohun Bagan (2-0), and JCT (3-2), while Churchill Brothers drew all their three matches against Dempo (0-0), Tollygunge (1-1) and Mohun Bagan (1-1) to log three points.
"We will go all out for a win as we have drawn all the three matches and too many draws will not help us in achieving our aim to remain in the first three places to qualify for the super league from this group. We also have advantage over our rivals as we are playing on home ground", Churchill Brothers coach Danny McLennan said.
"I am happy that the boys are clicking well and improving after every outing. In the last match against Mohun Bagan they played their hearts out and should have earned full points but the referee denied them goals on two occasions", he added.
"We have recruited Portuguese born striker Jose Martins in order to sharpen our striking force", he said adding Jose Martins has played for Vasco Club in earlier two seasons and has been the main goalgetter for them.
He will be playing tomorrow along with Philip Mansah. Medio Oscar Honda is also back to strengthen the team.
Churchill defence will revolve around Osumanu Husseni who has proved a hard nut to crack along with keeper Edward Ansah in the earlier matches. Somatai Shaiza who has been playing well will lead the attack from behind along with Aqueel Ansari and Mario Soares.
Air-India coach Bimal Ghosh attributed the teams defeats in the last three matches to a weak defence. "The injury to our stopper backs Jacinto DSilva, Sandeep Karat and Radakrishna Dube has affected the performance in the defence as we do not have the right person to fill the stopper back position", he said.
"Our boys who are under tremendous pressure after three successive losses will be looking to regain their lost confidence as Nehru Stadium has been a lucky ground for us and tomorrow will be the launching pad for us from where we can win the remaining matches", he said.
Godfrey Pereira will be the man on whom Air-India will depend to lead the attack along with medio Taposh Ghosh, Dennis George, Kambiton Singh and Osbern DSouza. Nitin Shetty, Abbas Ali Rizvi and Anthony Fernandes will lead the attack from the front.
Ghosh was also surprised over the AIFF decision to allow two foreign players Roshan Pereira and Ishiyaka to play against them at Calcutta after three days of registration. According to AIFF rule, a foreign player is allowed to play only on completion of seven days after his registration.
Ramesh brightens his chances of GM norm
LINARES, Jan 17 (PTI) Indias R.B. Ramesh brightened his chances of a grandmaster norm but fellow IM D.V. Prasad missed his when he lost in the ninth and penultimate round in the Linares Chess Tournament here yesterday.
Grandmaster A Minasian of Armenia beat joint overnight leader A Kharlov of Russia to grab sole lead with 7.5 points. GMS M Sorokin, A Dreev and V Bologan shared the second spot with seven points each.
Ramesh beat IM and compatriot P Konguvel. The younger Ramesh who failed to convert a slight middlegame advantage against Konguvels accelerated dragon variation cashed in on a blunder by Konguvel under time pressure after reaching a drawish rook ending. A win today will ensure him the GM norm.
However, the chief arbiter said the picture is not clear as the months FIDE rating list is yet to be published. The months ratings will be counted for FIDE reports.
Prasad, who had to win his last two games to gain the GM norm, lost under pressure to GM Rashkovsky with black pieces. Prasad played solid slav defence but the Russian came up with a novelty to claim the advantage and clinch the game easily.
Abhijit Kunte (5.5), K Sasikiran (6), C S Gokhale (4.5), S Vijayalaxmi (5), won their games comfortably while V Saravanan (5) Mrunalini Kunte (5) and Pallavi Shah (4) drew their games.
Important results and points position:
A Dreev (Rus. 7) drew with
M Sorokin (Arg 7). A Sokolov (Rus 6) lost to V Bologan
(Mda 7). Rafael J (Spa 4.5) lost Abhijit Kunte (5.5 Ind).
K. Sasikiran (6 Ind) bt G Vladimir (5 Rus). Giorgadze
(6.5 Geor) drew Burmakin (6.5 Rus) Romanishin (6 Ukr)
drew H Olaffson (6 Ice).
Sports scribe Saliwaty dead
MUMBAI, Jan 17 (PTI) Ramu Saliwaty, veteran scribe and former sports correspondent of "The Statesman", died here this morning following a massive heart attack. He was 62.
Saliwaty started his journalistic career with "The Indian Express" before shifting to The Statesman in Calcutta in 1967 where he worked as a sports scribe for nearly 30 years.
He retired two years ago and shifted to Mumbai.
Saliwaty covered several major international sports events, including the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, apart from covering cricket, tennis and golf extensively.
50 athletes named for national camp
NEW DELHI, Jan 17 (PTI) The Amateur Athletic Federation of India on Friday announced a list of 50 athletes, including 27 women for the first senior national camp in preparation for the Sydney Olympics next year and the 2002 Pusan Asian Games.
The camp will be held at NIS, Patiala, from January 20 to March 31. Names will be added or deleted and the camp will be a continuous affair till the next Asiad, AAFI Secretary Lalit Bhanot said in a release here.
The list also includes veteran P.T. Usha, who quit the Bangkok Asian Games in tears after being replaced in the 4x400 m relay squad in the wake of poor performances in the 400 m and 200 m individual events.
The 33-year-old Bahadur Prasad, who claimed the 1500 m bronze in the Thai capital for the first Asian Games medal in the brilliant long distance runner's career, has shifted to the marathon and figures with fellow railway runner Bairon Singh Lone.
A list of 15 coaches, with Bahadur Singh as chief coach, will supervise the camp which will also have the services of a masseur.
Men: 4x400 m relay: Paramjit Singh (Pol), Lijo David (RSCB), P. Ramachandran (Ker), Jata Shankar (Pol), Dinesh Rawat (Del), Prabhjot Singh K.G. Manoj Lal, Anil Mathew (All RSCB).
1500 m/5000 m/10000 m: Gulab Chnad, Arun D' Souza (both RSCB): Gojen Singh (Pol), Harish Tiwari (LIC).
Shot put: Shakti Singh (RSCB), Bahadur Singh, Navpreet Singh (both Pol), Jaiveer Singh (SSCB).
Discus: Anil Kumar (Telco), Hirdayanand Singh (Pol).
Javelin: Satvir Singh, Jagdish Kumar, Ramandeep Singh (all Pol).
Marathon: Bahadur Prasad, B.S. Lone (both RSCB),
Women: 4x100 m relay: Rachita Mistry, V. Pandeshwari, Saraswati Dey, Davinder Kaur, Jaisy Thomas (all RSCB), E.B. Shyla (Ker), V. Jayalakshmi (TN).
4x400 m relay: Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, K.M. Beenamol, P.T. Usha (all RSCB), Jincy Philip (Pol), Vinita Tripathy (Del), M.K. Asha (Kar), Sukumari (Ker).
800/1500 m: Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, Sunita Rani, K. Rosa Kutty (all RSCB), Geetha Manral, Pushpa Devi (both Pol), Sreelatha (TN), Madhuri Gurnale (Mah).
Discus: Neelam J.Singh, Sugan Yadav, Harjeet Kaur (all RSCB), Saroj Kumari, Swaranjit Kaur (both Pol).
Javelin: Gurmeet Kaur (LIC).
Coaches: Bahadur Singh (chief coach-Telco), Hargobind Singh, Jaswant Singh (both RSCB), Harbans Singh, Harjeet Singh, J.S. Bhatia, M.S. Dhillon, Renu Kohli, Purushottam Rai, Jagraj Singh (all SAI), Yadvinder Singh (Del), H.S. Shahid (Punj), R.S. Bal, Kuldeep Singh, Pritam Singh (all Pol).
11 players bidding to dethrone Sampras
MELBOURNE, Jan 17 (AFP) Any of 11 players have the mathematical possibility of taking the world number one tennis ranking off missing Pete Sampras in the Australian Open which gets underway here today.
Sampras, who finished number one for a record sixth consecutive time last year, says he is too fatigued to come to Australia and challenge Roy Emersons record 12 Grand Slam titles.
That has broken a run of 27 consecutive Grand Slams for Sampras and he has become the first number one player to miss a Grand Slam since Bjorn Borg skipped the 1981 Australian Open.
Sampras could relinquish his number one spot to any of the top 12 ranked players.
In rank order, Marcelo Rios, the top seed here, Alex Corretja, Patrick Rafter, Carlos Moya, Andre Agassi, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, Richard Krajicek, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Karol Kucera and Goran Ivanisevic all have mathematical chances of dethroning Sampras over the next two weeks.
Rios, who finished last year the highest ranked South American since Argentinian Guillermo Vilas in 1977, has the most to lose here.
He has at least 550 ranking points to defend from last years losing final appearance against Petr Korda.
The brooding Chilean is in
the same quarter of the draw as eighth-seeded Briton Greg
Rusedski, 10th seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov and number 15 Todd
Martin, who won the lead in Sydney International
Hingis the toughest player: Davenport
SYDNEY, Jan 17 (AP) Martina and Chris, Monica and Steffi womens tennis has always thrived with a rivalry between two great players.
So what about Davenport and Hingis? Not so fast says the American world number two, despite playing her seventh final in 14 months against the Swiss number two in the Adidas International on Saturday.
Rivalries such as those between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles and Steffi Graf equal great copy, but Davenport wont supply it just yet.
"Its exciting when we play but rivalries are something which just naturally develop," Davenport said after beating Hingis in straight sets to level their career record at 7-7.
"Were not rivals in the classic sense. Ever since Chris and Martina had theirs, it seems that everybody wants rivalry so bad. Maybe well be rivals, maybe we wont, you just have to see how it works out."
And the statistics back her up.
Evert and Navratilova had 18 Grand Slam titles each. Graf has 21 and Seles nine, with both looking for more.
Davenports only slam was at the US Open last year, while Hingis has won four.
The personal relationship between Davenport and Hingis hardly proves a good breeding ground for a fierce rivalry theyre good friends and sat together watching the mens final before playing on Saturday.
Hingis, who spent 80 weeks at No.1 before Davenport took over on October 12, seems to be enjoying their matches, despite being crushed 6-3, 6-4 yesterday.
"I always said shes the toughest player on tour but nobody really believed it," Davenport said. "Now shes No.1 and playing some great tennis and I always felt she was the toughest opponent of mine. When we play, nobody knows for sure if youre going to win or not."
Davenports win was her first since taking over the top spot and Hingis appeared oddly flat after a poor start. She lost the first point and then the first match when she had a double fault.
"I felt pretty okay when I stepped on the court but somehow from the first point I hit a second serve and she killed it. If you have a beginning like that its not very good for the mental state."
Hingis broke in the next game but it wasnt enough.
Nirupama bows out in final qualifying round
NEW DELHI, Jan 17 (PTI) Top Indian woman Nirupama Vaidyanathans hopes to reach the main draw of the Australian Open tennis were dashed when she lost in the final qualifying round to Sandra Kleinova of the Czech Republic at Melbourne today.
The 22-year-old, who became the first Indian woman to win a match in a Grand Slam last year, lost 4-6, 4-6 in the third round on the final day of qualifiers at Flinders Park, according to results provided by AFP.
Nirupama beat Eun-Ha Kim of South Korea 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 in the first round and then outplayed Louise Latimer of Britain 6-3, 6-1 in the next to move within a match of making it to the main draw.
The Coimbatore-born Nirupama had last year alongwith Indian mens number one Leander Paes received a wild card reserved for Asian players and did well to win a round in the Australian Open.
Hockey star Baljit ties the knot
KILA RAIPUR (Ludhiana), Jan 17 The presence of a galaxy of sportspersons notwithstanding, the marriage of a sports celebrity other than a cricketer, seldom gets any public attention. This was evident when Baljit Singh Dhillon, a star member of the Asian Games champion Indian hockey team, got married to Manjinder Kaur of this village here today. Manjinder's father, Surjit Singh Grewal, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, had been a hockey player himself and is at present manager of the Punjab Police hockey team. Baljit Singh Dhillon, who was given promotion to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police at Jalandhar last month by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for being a member of the Asian Games gold medal winning hockey team, also plays for Punjab Police.
In fact, it was the second time in little more than a month that an Olympian from the same team got married. Olympian Harpreet Singh got married at Jalandhar on December 8. He and his wife were present at the wedding ceremony today.
Among others present at Baljit's wedding included his team-mate and Bangkok Games heroes Ramandeep Singh Grewal and hockey stalwarts, both present and past, like Resham Singh, Savinder Singh, Pargat Singh, Jagdeep Singh Gill, Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Sarabjit Singh, Baljit Singh Bhullar, Hardeep Singh Grewal, Sukhbir Singh Gill, Lakhwinder Singh, Jagdev Singh Rai, and several others. Then there was boxer Jaipal Singh, cager Paramdeep Singh Teja and spiker Shamsher Singh.
The usual ceremonies, associated with a traditional Sikh wedding, were performed. The arrival of the marriage party was delayed because of fog and cold weather. On its arrival, a warm reception was accorded. The traditional "dhol" and police bands were in attendance.
Among those who joined the dance were wielders of hockey sticks, past and present, besides the friends and relatives of the bridegroom. A couple of senior police officers, including Additional Director-General of Police, Mr M.S. Bhullar, were also present in this historic village which is known the world over for the "rural Olympics" it organises every year since 1933.
Also in attendance was popular folk singer Kamaljit Neeru. After the religious ceremonies had been performed and Baljit and Manjinder declared husband and wife, it were the folk singers and musicians who took over. They made the newly weds join the dancing floor. There was none to represent either the Indian Hockey Federation or the Punjab Hockey Association but for Mr S.S. Saini of Ropar Hawks. Mr Teja Singh Dhaliwal represented both Punjab basketball and the Punjab handball associations.
The most interesting part
of the wedding was the beeline by villagers, mostly from
Kila Raipur, who wanted to wish the newly weds in person.
A formal reception will be held at Jalandhar tomorrow to
mark the end of week-long wedding celebrations. And after
the function, Baljit Singh Dhillon will be back in the
camp at Patiala to train with the national team for the
ensuing series against Pakistan starting early next
Mokaya wins Pune marathon
PUNE, Jan 17 (PTI) Zablon Mokaya of Kenya won the Pune International Marathon here today.
The 26-year-old Kenyan, on his first major international race, covered a distance of 42.195 kms in two hours 22.54 minutes, relegating Fedor Ryjov of Russia and H.A. Chinnappa of India to the second and third positions respectively. The victory made Mokaya richer by Rs 1 lakh.
Federova Lioubov of Italy claimed the womens half marathon race (21 km). She clocked one hour 29.49 minutes. Nora Moranga of Kenya and Harshada Joshi of India came in second and third positions respectively. Federova, 32, bagged Rs 60,000 by this win.
Nora, mother of two children, fell behind by three minutes to the leader.
Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi flagged off the race in which 20,000 runners participated.
City golfer leads
CHANDIGARH, Jan 17 City golfer H.S. Kang of Punjab State Electricity Board fired a par round of 70, the best of the day, to share the lead with Amrish Jaitha of Pune after the second round with a two-day aggregate of 143 in the Western India Amateur Golf Championship at the B.P.G.C. in Mumbai, yesterday.
Savraj Dhillon, another PSEB golfer, fired a two-over round of 72.
PATIALA, Jan 17 (FOSR)
The Patiala district basketball championships will
be held at the local Polo Grounds from January 19 to 21.
This tournament will be held in collaboration with the
Punjab Sports Department, according to Mr Gurbir Singh
Biru, honorary secretary, Patiala District Basketball
Association. Entries close with Mr Gurmail Singh,
assistant education officer (sports) on January 18.
| Punjab | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir |
| Chandigarh | Editorial | Business |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |