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Tuesday, March 30, 1999
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Crucial tie for India, Lanka
PUNE, March 29 — Injury-hit India, without two stalwart batsmen in their ranks, take on a resurgent Sri Lanka in a crucial triangular cricket series league clash here tomorrow which is a virtual semi-final encounter for the latter who are in a do-or-die situation.

Campbell’s ton helps Windies recover
BRIDGETOWN (Barbados), March 29 — A defiant century by West Indian opening batsman Sherwin Campbell frustrated Australia’s push for victory on the third day of the third Test yesterday.

Regional Sport Briefs
Serena Williams (left) and her sister Venus
KEY BISCAYNE, USA : Serena Williams (left) and her sister Venus, both of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, hold their trophies after the final round of the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne on Sunday. Venus defeated her sister 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 — AP/PTI


Anand clinches rapid title despite defeat
MONTE CARLO, March 29 — Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand won the rapid title despite a 0.5-1.5 defeat against Vassily Ivanchuk and finished fourth overall while Russian Vladimir Kramnik took overall honours at the Amber Rapid and Blindfold Chess Tournament which ended here last night.

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Sampras' No 1 ranking in danger again
CHENNAI March 29 — Pete Sampras, who regained world number one position from Spaniard Carlos Moya, faces the prospect of losing it again to the latter unless he decides to play in the ATP Gold Flake Open Tennis Tournament starting here next week.

India-Pak tie on schedule
SAS NAGAR, March 29 — The triangular series one-day match between India and Pakistan scheduled to be played at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here on April 1, will commence on schedule and not an hour later as proposed earlier.

Top golfers to vie for honours
NEW DELHI, March 29 — Arjun Atwal, winner of the Indian Open at Calcutta recently, is among 100 professionals who will be seen in action in the 25th SRF Open Championship at the Delhi Golf Club course from tomorrow.

Japan, South Korea gave gifts for bid
LONDON, March 29 — Senior FIFA officials were bombarded with lavish gifts from Japanese and South Koreans to influence their votes during bidding for the 2002 World Cup, a report has said.

TN, Bengal sail into semis
CHENNAI, March 29 — Holders Bengal and hosts Tamil Nadu sailed into the semifinals with impressive victories in their final quarterfinal league matches of the 55th Santosh Trophy National Football at Udhagamandalam and Chennai respectively.

AIFF releases league fixtures
GUWAHATI, March 29 — The All India Football Federation today released the fixtures for the second division National Football League starting on April 12.

Harmeet, Digvijay fashion India win
CHANDIGARH, March 29 — The India "A" duo of Harmeet Kahlon and Digvijay Singh have done it. They continued their fine display to clinch the first ever international team championship trophy here today.

 

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Crucial tie for India, Lanka

PUNE, March 29 (PTI) — Injury-hit India, without two stalwart batsmen in their ranks, take on a resurgent Sri Lanka in a crucial triangular cricket series league clash here tomorrow which is a virtual semi-final encounter for the latter who are in a do-or-die situation.

The absence through injury of ace bat Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Mohammed Azharuddin, who has been ruled out of India’s last two league matches because of a shoulder injury, has given tremendous advantage to the Lankans who are back on the winning track after a prolonged losing streak.

As aptly put by Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga to reporters after his team’s nets at the Nehru Stadium, India are definitely going to miss the class and vast experience (combined total of 500-plus one-day internationals) of Tendulkar - out for the entire series due to back injury - and Azharuddin.

India, with only one win from their first two matches, would still be left with an outside chance of making the April 4 final even if they lose tomorrow’s clash.

But for Sri Lanka, who have only two points to their credit from their first three matches, a defeat against the hosts would be a knock-out punch.

The islanders, who beat Pakistan at Visakhapatnam on March 27 for their lone win, however, are marginally ahead of India in net run-rate which would decide the finalists if Sri Lanka win tomorrow and India beat Pakistan at SAS Nagar on April 1.

India’s net run-rate at present is marginally less than the Lankans’ (-0.63 to -0.59) while Pakistan are having the best figures on this count, plus one and are also sitting pretty after winning two of their three matches.

India’s stand-in captain Ajay Jadeja will bat at number four, team coach Anshuman Gaekwad announced today, which gives chance for talented opener S Ramesh to make his one-day debut partnering fellow left-hander Saurav Ganguly.

The Indians have left out all-rounders Gyanendra Pandey and Virender Sehwag from their fourteen. The toss-up for the last spot in the eleven is between Pune-based all-rounder Hrishikesh Kanitkar, a late induction in place of Azharuddin, and another left-handed batsman in Madhya Pradesh’s Amay Khurasia.

The Indians would be bolstered by the inclusion of seasoned campaigner Robin Singh sr who did not figure in their first two matches of the series.

The hosts have to be a lot more consistent than before as their performance has oscillated between the sublime and the ridiculous in their two matches.

After rising to the occasion in splendid style on the strength of Ganguly’s superb all-round show and his record second-wicket stand with Rahul Dravid at Nagpur against the Lankans, India slumped to an ignominious defeat two days later at Jaipur against Pakistan.

The Lankans, who arrested their losing streak with a narrow 12-run win over Pakistan at Visakhapatnam, are also strengthened with the availability of fit-again left-arm pace spearhead Chaminda Vaas after missing one match.

Sri Lanka will bring in Vaas for inexperienced Hemantha Boteju while the fight for the last available berth will be between Eric Upashantha and Chandika Hathurasinghe, Ranatunga said.

The pitch for the contest, the first limited overs international here since the India-New Zealand tie in 1996-97, looks a bit grassy and is expected to aid the seamers in the first hour of play, according to curator and ex-Test player Chandu Borde. He expected it to provide good and even bounce.

Gaekwad said his team did not want to leave it (booking a berth in the day-night final at Bangalore) till the final league tie. He admitted his team would miss the experience and class of Tendulkar and Azharuddin.

India would be hoping for an improved effort from young paceman Ajit Agarkar who was hammered out of sight in Jaipur by Pakistan batsmen after setting up India’s win with a brilliant three-wicket burst against Sri Lanka at Nagpur.

The Lankan top-order would be wary of him and pace spearhead Javagal Srinath here.

Ranatunga, happy with his side’s much improved catching in Vizag, said he was not too concerned with his own form. It was important his team had started to play well again after losing 11 of their last 15 matches, he said.

Their track record at this venue, two losses in as many matches against England (1987 World Cup) and India (1990), may not be too encouraging ahead of the eighth one-dayer to be held here. India have won three and lost two of the five matches they have played at this ground.

India have beaten New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka here but have lost against England and Pakistan.

What was encouraging for the Lankans in their win over Pakistan was the determined show put up by talented youngster Mahela Jayawardene who, undaunted by the cheap dismissals of stalwarts Ranatunga and Aravinda De Silva, played the sheet-anchor role to notch up his second one-day hundred and give them a fighting total.

Lankan vice-captain De Silva is on the verge of reaching a milestone in his one-day career. He needs 35 more runs to complete 8,000 runs.

The teams:

India (from): Ajay Jadeja (capt), Saurav Ganguly, S Ramesh, Rahul Dravid, Robin Singh Sr, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Amay Khurasia, Nayan Mongia, Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Nikhil Chopra and Javagal Srinath.

Sri Lanka (from): Arjuna Ranatunga (capt), Avishka Gunawardene, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Aravinda De Silva, Hashan Tillekeratne, Ruwan Kalpage, Upul Chandana, Chaminda Vaas, Pramodaya Wickramasinghe, Eric Upashantha and Chandika Hathurasinghe.

Umpires: V.N.Kulkarni and B.K.Sadashiv.

Third umpire: C.R.Mohite.

Match referee: Cammie Smith (West Indies).

Hours of play: 9 am to 12.30 pm, 1.15 pm to 4.45 pm.
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Chance for Jadeja to prove himself
By Abhijit Chatterjee
Tribune News Service

S.A.S. Nagar, March 29 — The absence of Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin from the Indian squad which will take on Pakistan in the last league match of the ongoing three-nation tournament at the PCA Stadium here on April 1 will further dampen the spirits of the fans here.

Already, the batting strength of the Indian squad stands depleted with the forced absence of master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who is nursing a back injury. Now, the Indian skipper has been ruled out from both from the Pune-tie tomorrow, where India are to take on Sri Lanka, as also the tie here on Thursday where India are to take on arch rivals Pakistan.

India must win tomorrow's tie if it hopes to stay in contention for a berth in the final of the tournament. Azharuddin's shoulder injury could not have come at a worse time. Already, India have lost one of the two matches they have played in the tournament and any further losses can deplete their chances of playing in the final slated to be held at Bangalore on April 4. With Sri Lanka having beaten Pakistan in their last outing of the tournament, the morale of the Sri Lankan squad should be sky high.

On the other hand India, after putting it across Sri Lanka at Nagpur by a fairly big margin, surrendered abjectly against Pakistan at Jaipur. So spineless was the Indian display that many wondered whether the Indian side on that day was really of international class. To add to India's worry is the injury sustained by skipper Mohammad Azharuddin.

In any case Azharuddin's form in the current tournament was a source of constant worry for the team management. At Nagpur he could score just three while at Jaipur he could muster a solitary run before being sent back to the dressing room. But more than the runs Azharuddin has not been able to give effective leadership to the team specially when the chips were down. In fact, it is the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin which should worry the national selectors with the World Cup just round the corner. His bowling changes have often been without logic while his field placings have left much to be desired.

Former players with whom TNS interacted here today were of the view that the Indian skipper could have ignored the injury and played in the league matches specially since the performance of the Indian team in the tournament so far has been lacklustre. A shoulder injury might prevent a player from throwing from the deep but should not prevent a player from batting or fielding in the slips, the customary place where the Indian skipper generally stands.

But the forced absence of Azharuddin should give an opportunity to Ajay Jadeja to prove his leadership qualities. In fact, a former player was of the opinion that the "new look" Indian team under the leadership of Ajay Jadeja could pose quite a few problems for Pakistan here on Thursday. Jadeja, who singlehandedly waged a grim battle against Pakistan at Jaipur, where he scored 61, could provide just the right tonic India need to bounce back into contention in the tournament.

In any case Jadeja is known to be a keen and fighting cricketer. His abilities both as a batsman as well as a fielder are well known. If he can transfer his enthusiasm to his team-mates the performance of the team can well go up a notch or two.

Last year Jadeja led India on three occasions. He was able to guide India to two wins in these three outings. The first time Jadeja led India was in the Coca Cola Cup at Bangalore on May 20 last against Kenya. India won the match by four wickets. Jadeja led the team again on May 25 when India beat Bangladesh by five wickets.

Jadeja also got an opportunity to lead India against Zimbabwe at Sharjah in November. This tie was won by Zimbabwe by 13 runs.

The advent of a new captain, even if it is only for two matches, should see the infusion of new ideas and new game plans. The Indian team can pick up quite a few tips from the new captain whose cricketing talent in the shorter version of the game has never been in any doubt.
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India-Pak tie on schedule
By Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 29 — The triangular series one-day match between India and Pakistan scheduled to be played at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here on April 1, will commence on schedule and not an hour later as proposed earlier.

Mr M P Pandove, secretary, Punjab Cricket Association, disclosed here today that arrangements for the telecast of the match had been made according to the original timings of the match. Therefore, if any change in the timings was effected now, it would disturb the telecast schedule. In order to avoid this it had been decided to stick to the original timings i.e. from 2.30 pm onwards.

Mr Pandove was non-committal about the number of cricket enthusiasts coming from across the border to witness match stating that complete information about the number of tickets sold will be reaching here by tomorrow.

The PCA has booked hotels, dormitories as well as private accommodation for the stay of the visitors. The association is making concerted efforts to increase interaction among the people of the two countries through the game of cricket and wants the occasion to be a memorable one.

It has been decided that this time only the official cars of the Governor and the Chief Minister as well as the buses bringing players of both teams would be allowed to enter inside through gate No 1. Even the vehicles of senior PCA officials will be parked outside.

For better crowd management, no inter section movement of cricket fans will be permitted. The tickets belonging to different levels will have different colours so as to prohibit the movement from one level to the other.

Hectic activity was going on and last-minute touches were being given to the stadium today to make it ready for the clash between the arch rivals. The outfield seemed lush green and the groundsmen were busy preparing the top, which did not look as green, to be used for the match.

The work on the parking lot right across the road in front of the stadium was almost on the verge of completion, while the approach road to the stadium was being remetalled and the surroundings spruced up. Television sets were being installed in the 68-member media box. Comprehensive security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of the match.

Messrs SK Bansal and K Hariharan, both from New Delhi, will don white coats and do the duty in the middle, while Devender Sharma, also from New Delhi, will be the reserve umpire. Mr Vikram Patel has been appointed as the match referee.

The Pakistan team is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow evening, while their Indian counterparts will reach here one day later after the clash with Sri Lanka at Pune tomorrow.
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Malik likely to join Pak squad

NEW DELHI March 29 (PTI) — Veteran middle order batsman Salim Malik is likely to join the Pakistan cricket team and assist them in their ongoing triangular cricket series tie in India.

The 35-year-old Malik who was controversially left out of the team for the ongoing series and the 19-member list of World Cup probables is expected to join the team ahead of their final league tie against India to be held at Mohali on April 1.

But Pakistan team management was very guarded when asked about the controversial Malik, one of those indicted in the raging betting and match-fixing probe in that country.

Asked to confirm Malik’s arrival, team coach Javed Miandad stated that Malik should be joining the side but added: "It is finally upto the Pakistan Cricket Board."

But Miandad said: "Obviously we are planning things keeping with the World Cup in mind" and when queried whether Malik would arrive ahead of the Mohali tie replied "I think so".

When asked for a firm confirmation of Malik’s arrival, Miandad said due to Bakr-id holidays in Pakistan issue of visa could be delayed.

Team manager Shahryar Khan only said "I have no information at all. It is upto the board to decide".

But Khan said left-handed opener Saeed Anwar — who top scored as Pakistan won their first two matches but missed action in their 12-run defeat against Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam on March 27 — had a sore left eye and the swelling was yet to subside.

The Pakistan middle-order of Inzamam-ul Haq and Yousuf Youhana is also struggling to get going.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan team which arrived late last night on their way to Mohali, celebrated Id by offering prayers at the Pakistan High Commission and then participated in a luncheon at the residence of High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

The team is scheduled to have nets, most probably at the Ferozeshah Kotla grounds, tomorrow morning before leaving for Chandigarh in the evening.

Pakistan, with two victories in the series, have done extremely well, but a Sri Lankan victory against India at Pune tomorrow, could leave the Mohali tie a do-or-die battle.

Asked about the 1000 fans who would be arriving from Pakistan to witness the match, Miandad recalled that people had come to watch during Pakistan’s 1979 tour of India. "It is all good to improve relations between the two countries," he added.


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Anand clinches rapid title despite defeat

MONTE CARLO, March 29 (PTI) — Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand won the rapid title despite a 0.5-1.5 defeat against Vassily Ivanchuk and finished fourth overall while Russian Vladimir Kramnik took overall honours at the Amber Rapid and Blindfold Chess Tournament which ended here last night.

World number two Anand played out a quick 15-move draw to seal the rapid section with 7.5 points from the 11 rounds, a full point ahead of Kramnik (6.5), but completed a poor show in blindfold by losing to end up 10th out of 12 players with just four points out of a possible 11 in that section.

World number three Kramnik won the overall title logging 14.5 points, ahead of Vaselin Topalov and Alexy Shirov (14.0 points each), while Anand was fourth with 11.5 points.

Kramnik shared the top spot in blindfold with Shirov and Topalov with 8.0 points each.

Anand, needing only a draw to seal the rapid title, accepted the quick treaty offer after just 15 moves of a nimzo Indian defence against Ivanchuk.

But the 29-year-old Indian's poor run in blindfold continued when he lost in 36 moves of a Petroff defence game.

Kramnik, leader from the early rounds, faced some threat to winning the overall title and lion's share of the handsome pursue of $ 137,250 before he drew both his games against Joel Lautier and sealed the title.

There were some anxious moments when in rapid play, Kramnik drew while Shirov, who started a point behind Kramnik, scored a fine win against Jeroen Piket.

In the blindfold game that followed, Shirov had to win and hope for Kramnik to be held to a draw to emerge joint winner. Shirov could even have won the title outright had he won and Kramnik lost.

But Shirov had to be content with a draw against Piket in blindfold, while Kramnik played out another quick draw to retain the title.

Topalov, who was half a point behind Shirov before the start of the blindfold section, defeated Anatoly Karpov to grab a share of the second place.

The next major tournament begins at Dos Hermanas, Spain, on April 5. Anand will be the top seed and Kramnik will be ranked second there.

Results of the final round:

Rapid: Lautier drew with Kramnik, Gelfand lost to Ljubojevic, Ivanchuk drew with Anand, Nikolic drew with Van Wely, Karpov drew with Topalov, Piket lost to Shirov.

Blindfold: Kramnik drew with Lautier, Anand lost to Ivanchuk, Ljubojevic lost to Gelfand, Van Wely drew with Nikolic, Shirov drew with Piket, Topalov beat Karpov.

Final standings:

Rapidplay: Anand (Ind) 7.5, Kramnik (Rus) 6.5, Ljubojevic (Yug) 6.0, Topalov (Bul) 6.0, Shirov (Esp) 6.0, Karpov (Rus) 5.5, Van Wely (Hol) 5.5, Piket (Hol) 5.0, Lautier (Fra) 5.0, Gelfand (Bel) 4.5, Ivanchuk (Ukr) 4.5, Nikolic (Bih) 4.0.

Blindfold standings: Shirov (8.0), Topalov (8.0), Kramnik (8.0), Lautier (6.5), Nikolic (5.5), Karpov (5.5), Ivanchuk (5.0), Gelfand (4.5), J Piket (4.0), Anand (4.0), Ljubojevic (3.5), Van Wely (3.5).

Overall standings: 1. Kramnik (14.5), 2. Topalov (14.0), 3. Shirov (14.0), 4. Anand (11.5), 5. Lautier (11.5), 6. Karpov 11.0, 7. Nikolic (9.5), 8. Ljubojevic (9.5), 9. Ivanchuk (9.5), 10. Piket (9.0), 11. Gelfand (9.0), 12. Van wely (9.0).
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Campbell’s ton helps Windies recover

BRIDGETOWN (Barbados), March 29 (Reuters) — A defiant century by West Indian opening batsman Sherwin Campbell frustrated Australia’s push for victory on the third day of the third Test yesterday.

Campbell compiled a magnificent 105 as West Indies recovered from a parlous 98 for six to score 329 in reply to Australia’s first innings 490.

West Indies fast bowlers Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose then both struck in late evening to leave Australia on 18 for two at the close, an overall lead of 179.

With the second ball of the Australian innings, Walsh had out-of-form opener Matthew Elliott caught behind by Ridley Jacobs for his third duck of the series.

Fellow fast bowler Ambrose increased Australia’s worries by trapping Justin Langer leg before to leave the home side with a hope of turning the match around in the final two days.

Campbell’s innings enabled West Indies to avoid the follow-on although it was doubtful whether Australian captain Steve Waugh would have enforced it anyway on the easy-paced pitch.

It was Campbell’s third century in 33 tests, his second against Australia and the second on his home ground where he made a top score of 208 against New Zealand three years ago.

Campbell was the eighth man out, caught in the gully by Steve Waugh, cutting at paceman Jason Gillespie soon after the second new ball was taken.

Resuming on a personal score of 23 with the West Indies deep in trouble on 80 for four, Campbell batted for a total of six hours and eight minutes, faced 271 balls and hit 16 fours.

Fast bowler Glenn McGrath had plunged West Indies even deeper in trouble shortly after the start by having Carl Hooper (25) and Jimmy Adams (0) both caught in the slips.

But wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs joined Campbell and the pair enjoyed a partnership of 153 in 163 minutes before Jacobs was out for 68.

After hitting leg-spinners Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill out of the attack, Jacobs slashed a ball from occasional medium-pacer Ricky Ponting to Mark Waugh at wide second slip.

It was a disappointing end for Jacobs who topped the West Indies averages on their recent disastrous tour of South Africa where they were beaten 5-0.

A pugnacious left-hander, Jacobs took the challenge to the Australian bowlers, particularly Warne and MacGill who took just one wicket between them in an increasingly worrying sign for Australia. And that lone wicket was that of last man Courtney Walsh caught at long-off slogging at Warne after he and Ambrose had cobbled together a 10th wicket partnership of 38.
Although he bowled well at times, Warne has taken just two wickets in the series.

Once again it was the outstanding pace-pair of McGrath and Gillespie who did the damage. McGrath finished with four for 128 and remains the leading wicket-taker in the series with 19. Gillespie took three for 48 from 28 overs and at one stage bowled nine consecutive maidens.

Scoreboard
Australia (Ist innings):
490.
West Indies (Ist innings): (overnight 80-4).
Campbell c S. Waugh b
Gillespie 105
Griffith run out 0
Joseph lbw b McGrath 26
Collins lbw b McGrath 0
Lara c Healy b Gillespie 8
Hooper c Warne b McGrath 25
Adams c M. Waugh b McGrath 0
Jacobs c M. Waugh b Ponting 68
Perry lbw b Gillespie 24
Ambrose not out 28
Walsh c Slater b Warne 12
Extras (b-10 lb-3 nb-20) 33
Total 329
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-50, 3-50, 4-64, 5-98, 6-98, 7-251, 8-265, 9-291.
Bowling: McGrath 33-5-128-4, Gillespie 28-14-48-3, Warne 15.5-2-70-1, MacGill 20-5-47-0, Ponting 4-1-12-1, M. Waugh 3-0-11-0.
Australia (2nd innings):
Slater not out 14
Elliott c Jacobs b Walsh 0
Langer lbw b Ambrose 1
Gillespie not out 1
Extras (nb-2) 2
Total (for two wickets) 18
Fall of wickets: 0-1, 2-12.
Bowling: Walsh 4-2-6-1, Ambrose 4-1-12-1.
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Sampras' No 1 ranking in danger again

CHENNAI March 29 (PTI) — Pete Sampras, who regained world number one position from Spaniard Carlos Moya, faces the prospect of losing it again to the latter unless he decides to play in the ATP Gold Flake Open Tennis Tournament starting here next week.

Moya, who lost the top spot after he was ousted in the Lipton championships at Key Biscayne, is the top seed here and it would be enough if he reached the semi-final to regain the coveted rank, tournament director Brian Cooney told PTI today.

There are no other ATP tournaments on hand in view of Davis Cup matches during the first week of April, besides the Chennai leg on April 5, for which tickets have been sold out.

Sampras’ name did not figure in the run-up to this tournament, which would also feature two other top 20 players besides Moya.

Sampras’ entry even at the last minute would not be a problem as the wild cards would be decided only after spotting the qualifiers on April 3 and April 4, Cooney said.

Moya, the reigning French champion, became the first Spaniard to take the number one ranking when he bumped Sampras from the top spot last fortnight at Champions Cup tournament to end the American’s run of 29 consecutive weeks at the top.

But, the Spaniard’s success was shortlived as he was ousted by 74th ranked Grosjean of France in the fourth round of the Lipton Championships on March 22.

The Chennai leg of ATP Tour had also generated a lot of interest as the cut-off for it is 131 ATP points, just three short of a grand slam, Cooney said adding that last year it was 189 points.
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Japan, South Korea gave gifts for bid

LONDON, March 29 (AP) — Senior FIFA officials were bombarded with lavish gifts from Japanese and South Koreans to influence their votes during bidding for the 2002 World Cup, a report has said.

According to yesterday’s Sunday Times, the gifts, such as laptop computers and video cameras, were part of the aggressive lobbying’’ by the two candidates who are co-hosting the event.

It was an attempt to influence us,’’ David Will, a Scottish lawyer who is a FIFA Vice-President, is quoted as saying.

"It was small beer compared with the International Olympic Committee,’’ he said in a reference to the IOC’s Salt Lake City cash-for-votes scandal. "But it was a clear attempt to influence and for this reason we said no more.’’

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Will received a laptop personal computer worth some 1,000 ($ 1,670) from the South Koreans and a video camera from the Japanese worth 700 ($ 1,170).

Chuck Blazer, FIFA’s North American representative, was reported to have said the practice was widespread although he did not receive any gifts.

"Members of the last executive committee received laptop computers, cameras and things of that nature which were by and large products of the countries that were doing the bidding,’’ he told the Sunday Times.
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TN, Bengal sail into semis

CHENNAI, March 29 (PTI) — Holders Bengal and hosts Tamil Nadu sailed into the semifinals with impressive victories in their final quarterfinal league matches of the 55th Santosh Trophy National Football at Udhagamandalam and Chennai respectively.

Twentyseven times champions Bengal, seeking their sixth straight title win, thrashed Manipur 4-1 in group I to emerge with an all-win record while Tamil Nadu struck once in either half to beat Delhi in group four here.

Bengal take on thrice champions, Kerala, while the hosts await the winner of the Goa-Karnataka encounter in the semifinals to be played here.

Striker Syed Sabir Pasha, who has emerged the highest goal scorer with nine goals, struck in the 14th minute for Tamil Nadu and substitute Samson Selvakumar made it 2-0 in the 74th minute.

Star striker Baichung Bhutia (29th minute) drew first blood for Bengal before midfielder Amit Das (48th) and substitutes Dipendu Biswas (85th) and Jo Paul Anchery (90th) completed the rout. Wangchupler scored the consolation goal for Manipur in the 74th minute.

Against Tamil Nadu, Delhi game looked pedestrian and they could not match the sudden bursts of speed by Tamil Nadu forwards, Pasha, Hamilton Bobby, Jestus Antony and Sreekumar.

Delhi rarely entered the rival box due to a tight defence, marshalled by Anandaraj, who came up with some harsh tackles.

Delhi looked like scoring only twice, through D Kharola, he first shot over after surprising the defence with a snap shot and his sharp 83rd minute longranger was palmed away by goalkeeper Sebastian Netto.
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Punjab begin title defence in style

MANDYA (Karnataka), March 29 (UNI) — Two-time champions Punjab men and Indian Railways women started their title defence in style with thumping straight set victories over their opponents in the National Volleyball League (Group I) here today.

Punjab hot favourites in the third edition, warded off some spirited challenge from Uttar Pradesh to win 25-15, 25-22, 25-21 in 44 minutes in the six-team round robin league.

In the other match, Indian Railways men whipped Madhya Pradesh 25-19, 25-17, 25-17 in just 39 minutes.

Indian Railways women, unquestioned queens of Indian Volleyball steamrolled Karnataka 25-15, 25-9, 25-10 in 42 minutes.

The best match was between Punjab and Uttar Pradesh when the reigning champions, who are on a roll this year winning the nationals and the National Games, faced some stiff resistance from Uttar Pradesh, through scoreline could give an indication of the match being lopsided, The defending champions had to sweat out for points. The match stood out as it saw some excellent rallying and good blocking besides power packed smashes from both the teams.

Led by Indian captain Surjeet Singh, Punjab were well served by Kamal Singh. The Duo pounded smashes with force. Internationals Pritpal Singh and Ratan Lal excelled in blocking. For Uttar Pradesh, Abhijit Bhattacharya was the pick of the players, with brilliant smashes, and was supported by Ritesh Sagar.

While Punjab won the first set easily in 12 minutes. The second saw a see saw battle with Uttar Pradesh closing in on several times. Punjab clinched it in 15 minutes. In the third, Uttar Pradesh looked like stretching the game when they made 22-21 but Punjab got the required three points easily.

In the women's section, Karnataka raised hopes of an upset win when they led 8-6 in the first set, but seasoned Railways players grouped well and quashed those hopes. Though the crown supported the home team. Railway needed just 15 minutes to win the first set despite some initial resistance from the home team. The second set lasted 15 minutes and the third ended in 12 minutes.

For Karnataka, Hemalatha and Amritha played well. Railways were well serviced by Salomi Ramu and Sangeeta and Vaishali P.

Wizh Ramachandraraju, A.C Jayachandran and Venkateshwara Rao combing well in attacking and Ababucker excelling in all round play, Railways had little difficulty in scoring their first win. For Madhya Prades P.R. Uttaman and Arun Yadav were the pick of the players. Neeraj Shukla was brilliant in blocking.

Madhya Pradesh led briefly in the first set. They could not sustain the tempo and lost it in 14 minutes. The next sets lasted only 12 and 13 minutes respectively.
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Top golfers to vie for honours
By Our Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI, March 29 — Arjun Atwal, winner of the Indian Open at Calcutta recently, is among 100 professionals who will be seen in action in the 25th SRF Open Championship at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) course from tomorrow.

Atwal, in good form, will be opposed by the defending champion Shiv Prakash, who had won the competition last year with an aggregate of 271.

Twenty-year-old S.S.P. Chowrasia, who finished runner-up in the recent Calcutta Indian Open, Ali Sher, twice Indian Open champion in 1991 and 1993, Feroz Ali, Vijay Kumar and a host of other well known players will tee-off tomorrow.

The winner of Rs 7.7 lakh prize money will be presented a cheque of Rs 1.28 lakh, while runner-up will get Rs 85,460.

The course continues to be in an ideal condition and exciting competition is on the cards.

For the first time, the organisers have been unable to stage the pro-am competition as pros were busy playing at Meerut until yesterday. The course is not available after Friday.

The player returning the best card each day will receive Rs.9,625.

The inaugural SRF competition was held in 1974 under the guidance of Dr Bharat Ram, one of the seniormost golfers in the country. He still plays regularly.

Previous Winners: 1974 — Amar Singh, 1975 — Rohtas Singh, 1976 — Ram Dayal, 1977 — Rohtas Singh, 1978 — Vikramjit Singh(amateur), 1979 — Rohtas Singh, 1980 — P.Pilling, 1981 — Rohtas Singh, 1982 — Rohtas Singh, 1983 — Santosh, 1984 — P.Pilling, 1985 — Rohtas Singh, 1986 — Chini Ali, 1987 — Rohtas Singh, 1988 — Ali Sher, 1989 — Not held, 1990 — Basad Ali, 1991 — Rishi Narain, 1992 — Basad Ali,1993 — Basad Ali, 1994 — Ali Sher, 1995 — Arjun Atwal, 1996 — Amritinder Singh, 1997 — Gaurav Ghei and 1998 — Shiv Prakash.


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AIFF releases league fixtures

GUWAHATI, March 29 (PTI) — The All India Football Federation (AIFF) today released the fixtures for the second division National Football League starting on April 12.

According to a release from AIFF secretary K N Mour here, the group A matches to played at Haldia in West Bengal, are as follows:

April 13: SBT (Kerala) vs Club Team of Assam ICF (Tamil Nadu) vs Sagolband United (Manipur).

April 15: Club Team of Orissa vs Sagolband United ICF vs Club Team of Assam.

April 17: ICF vs Club Team of Orissa SBT vs Sagolband United.

April 19: Sagolband United vs Club Team of Assam SBT vs Club Team of Orissa.

April 21: Club Team of Assam vs Club Team of Orissa SBT vs ICF.

Group B matches to be played at Mumbai are as follows:

April 12: Hal (Karnataka) vs IAF (Delhi) Vasco (Goa) vs Railsima Tigers (Andhra Pradesh).

April 14: IAF vs Railsima Tigers BMFC (Mumbai) vs HAL.

April 16: BMFC vs Railsima Tigers Vasco vs IAF.

April 18: BMFC vs IAF Vasco vs HAL.

April 20: Tailsima Tigers vs HAL BMFC vs Vasco.

Group C to be played at Haldia, West Bengal are as follows:

April 12: CPT (IFA) vs Nongthimai SCC (Meghalaya) TFA (Bihar) vs Blood Mouth (Tripura).

April 14: BSF (Punjab) vs Blood Mouth TFA vs Nongthimai SCC.

April 16: BSF vs Nongthimai SCC CPT vs TFA.

April 18: Blood Mouth vs CPT BSF vs TFA.

April 20: Nongthimai SCC vs Blood Mouth BSF vs CPT.

The winners and runner up of the three groups of the preliminary round will be clubbed in two groups of P and Q in final round as follows:

Group P: winner of group A, and runner up of groups B and C.

Group Q: winners of group B and C and runner up of group A.

The final round matches to be played in Haldia is as follows:

April 23: winner of group A vs runner of group C

April 24: winner of group C vs runner up of group A, April 25: runner up of group B vs runner of group C, April 26: winner of group B vs runner of group A, April 27: winner of group A vs runner of group B, April 28: winner of group B vs winner of group C.

The final, the date of which would be fixed later, would be played between the winner of group P and group Q.
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Harmeet, Digvijay fashion India win
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 29 — The India "A" duo of Harmeet Kahlon and Digvijay Singh have done it. They continued their fine display to clinch the first ever international team championship trophy here today.

The lush greens of the Chandigarh Golf Club saw the fight for team supremacy between the India "A" and "B" teams. The Pakistani and Sri Lanka golfers finished several strokes behind to take up third and fourth positions.

Harmeet Kahlon played a consistent two over card against to finish in the lead. Digvijay Singh playing his last amateur all-India tournament before turning professional brought in the day's best card of one over 73. He was happy at the state of the course, particularly the greens which, he felt, were playing "very true".

The India "B" team comprising Amit Luthra and Amish Jaitha finished four strokes behind the champions.

The results

India "A": 303 (Harmeet Khlon 74+74=148, Digvijay Singh 82+73=155)

India "B": 307 (Amit Luthra 75+75=150, Amish Jaitha 82+75=157)

Pakistan: 317 Waqas Ahmed 81+77=158, Ahmed Ali Shah 77+82=159)

Sri Lanka: 319 (Anura Rohana 81+76=157, Lalith Kumara 82+80=162).

The individual knockout round of the Amateur Golf Championship of India began today.


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Carvalho, Negi to produce TV serial

MUMBAI, March 29 (PTI) — Former Indian hockey stars Joaquim Carvalho and Mir Ranjan Negi will produce an exclusive television series on Indian hockey.

Olympian Carvalho, in a statement here today, said: "This unique series will present the glorious past of Indian hockey, legendary players of yesteryear and the current crop of promising players along with various interesting aspects of the game".

"It will be a tribute to all those heroes of the golden era of Indian hockey (Indians were the undisputed champions for more than three decades) during which we won eight Olympic gold medals and the recent Asian Games", the statement said.

The series will be hosted by film actor and sports enthusiast, Tom Alter, while noted sports commentator, writer and film maker, Ashutosh Deshmukh, is expected to direct the series.

Carvalho would be the chief technical advisor for the programme for which the dates would be announced soon, the statement added.


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Punjab-TN Ranji tie from today
From Our Sports Correspondent

AMRITSAR, March 29 — The crucial quarterfinal Ranji trophy encounter between Punjab and Tamil Nadu will start here at the Gandhi Grounds tomorrow. Punjab playing at the home ground have an edge with former international players, including skipper Vikram Rathore, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Harbhajan Singh and Harvinder Singh and Pankaj Dharmai in their ranks.

The Tamil Nadu side had been depleted with S. Ramesh and Robin Singh having been summoned to the national squad. The winners will enter the last four stage.

The manager of Tamil Nadu team stated here that the team was fully motivated to win the match against the more experienced home side.
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  H
  REGIONAL SPORT BRIEFS

Ludhiana eves win crown

JALANDHAR, March 29 (FOSR) — Ludhiana beat Jalandhar by 63-38 to retain the women's title in the 49th Senior Punjab State Basketball Championship which concluded at Police Line ground, Hoshiarpur.

Host Hoshiarpur left the men's title by defeating Ludhiana in a well-contested final.

In women's final, Ludhiana outclassed Jalandhar by 63-38. Winner were leading by 33-26 till the half time.

In the close encounter of the men's final, host Hoshiarpur subdued Ludhiana by 70-63. Both the teams were locked 35-35 at the half time. Manpreet scored 22 points for the winners Hoshiarpur.

Tuli sparkles

CHANDIGARH, March 29 (BOSR) — A splendid performance by Arun Tuli who scored 66 runs and claimed 3 wickets for 26 runs, helped Godrej Cricket Club in beating PGI XI by nine runs to win the final of the Amartex Cup Leage Cricket Tournament here at the PGI grounds today.

Brief scores: (GCC: 203 all out in 35 overs (Arun Tuli 66, Gurinder Saini 45, MP Singh 26, Raman Sharma 3 for 36, Rajiv Dutta 3 for 37) PGI XI: 194 for 9 in 35 overs (Raman Abrol 40, Rajinder 28, Arun Tuli 3 for 26, Vinod Banta 2 for 36.)

Chattwinder bags double

CHANDIGARH, March 29 (BOSR) — Chattwinder Singh bagged two titles boys singles under 16 and 18 in the Chandigarh State Tennis Championship which concluded at the CLTA Complex, Sector 10, here today. Sunil Kumar lifted the men single's title while Neha Singh emerged winner in the girls singles section.

Results: Finals: girls (under 16) — Neha Singh b Mallika Malhotra, 6-2, 6-3: Boys (under 16): Chattwinder Singh b Anoop Anand, 6-4, 6-4; Boys (under 18): Chattwinder Singh b Aakash Sharma, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2); Men singles: Sunil Kumar b Saurabh Singh, 6-3, 6-1.

Chandigarh league cricket

CHANDIGARH, March 29 (BOSR) — A knock of 57 not out by Nagesh helped Fighter Cricket Club to beat City Cricket Club by six wickets in the Chandigarh league-cum-knockout cricket tournament being played here at the Cricket stadium, Sector-16 yesterday. In another match, Prudential XI beat ICC XI by two wickets. Brief scores: CCC 146 for 9 (Pardeep 34, Vikas 26, Sanjay 3 for 31 FCC: 147 for 4 (Nagesh 57 not out, Pardeep 2 for 18)

ICC XI 112 all out (Chandan 20, Vipin 3 for 20) Prudential XI: 113 for 8 (Balraj 33, Bhavneet 27, Sumit 2 for 14).

PSEB triumph

PATIALA, March 29 (FOSR) — PSEB won the 12th annual cricket tournament organised by Senior Cricket Club at Bhawanigarh, near here today. In the final PSEB defeated Industrial Cricket Club (ICC) by 5 wickets.

Scores:

ICC, Chandigarh: 158 for 8 in 35 overs (Rishpal Singh 37, Aman Kumar 25, Vikram 25 not out, Sanjeev Kapuria 4 for 33, Rajesh Deegia 2 for 22).

PSEB 159 for 5 (Mohamad Shahid 55, Sanjeev Kapuria 33 not out, Satnam Singh 3 for 36, Parveen Sharma 2 for 68).
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