|Thursday, February 10, 2000,
Chance for Mongia, Azhar to show
|BP win Shastri hockey title
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 A three-goal blitzkrieg in the second half saw formidable Bharat Petroleum overpower spirited Punjab and Sind Bank Academy 4-2 to win the 10th Shastri Hockey Tournament here today.
Lady Golfer of the Year
Chance for Mongia, Azhar to show mettle
AHMEDABAD, Feb 9 (PTI) India discards and young hopefuls will have a good opportunity to show their mettle to the national selectors when the four-day NKP Salve Challenger Trophy limited overs tournament begins here under lights tomorrow with India seniors taking on India A.
The absence of three leading stars India skipper Sachin Tendulkar, his deputy on the Australian tour Saurav Ganguly and pace spearhead Javagal Srinath has hit the event hard.
With the forthcoming tour by South Africa round the corner there are quite a few spots up for grabs in the national squad especially in the wake of the dismal show by the national team Down Under.
India discards notably former captain Mohammed Azharuddin, who is to lead India A in the absence of Ganguly, seasoned stumper Nayan Mongia and left-handed batsman Vinod Kambli would be eagerly looking forward to coming up with performances which cannot be easily ignored by the selectors.
The event is also important for Ajay Jadeja, left out of the Australian tour following a shoulder injury, to show that he has recovered fully. He will lead India B, the third team in the fray.
The tournament should also serve as an ideal tune-up for leg spinner Anil Kumble, who had a very disappointing tour of Australia, for the coming series against South Africa in which he is expected to play a key role in familiar environs.
The India A and B teams have a sprinkling of members of the under-19 World Cup winning team for whom this is the first big chance to showcase their talent at the national level.
Azharuddin and Mongia would be keen to prove a point or two while turning out for India A against the Rahul Dravid-led India seniors for whom Sameer Dighe would keep wickets.
The name of left-hander Vinod Kambli will definitely be coming up in the minds of the selectors if he comes up with consistent good scores here following his run of five successive centuries in Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy.
The tournament will also be important for Australia-returned batsman Jacob Martin, who is expected to be in the running for the middle-order spots with the likes of Azharuddin, Kambli and junior India captain Mohammed Kaif when the selectors meet in Mumbai on February 20 to choose the team for the first Test against South Africa.
With the selectors looking for a pair of consistent opening batsmen, the spotlight would also be trained on Karnatakas J. Arun Kumar, Bengals Nikhil Haldipur and Orissas Shib Sunder Das, besides Hyderabads Venkata Sai Laxman, who did precious little in Australia barring his blazing knock of 167 in the third and final Test at Sydney.
Another interesting one-to-one contest will be waged by Karnatakas Sunil Joshi, in India seniors team, and Railways left-arm spinner Murali Karthik, who is in India A.
Whoever bowls better in this tournament would have a head start for being considered for the Tests against South Africa despite the fact that this is a limited-overs event.
Given the need to groom young pace bowlers, the efforts of Thiru Kumaran, Dodda Ganesh, Amit Bhandari, Harvinder Singh Sodhi and Reetinder Singh Sodhi would be keenly watched in the company of the established Venkatesh Prasad and Debashish Mohanty.
There are other players too who can get into the one-day reckoning against South Africa with good displays here.
Topping the list are all-rounders Sanjay Bangar (Railways) and Virender Sehwag (Delhi) both of whom are to turn out for India A.
Salgaocar have edge on BSF
CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 Holders Salgaocar Sports Club, Goa, are all set to be back on the winning track when they take on lowly Border Security Force, Jalandhar, in their second away match of the concluding phase in the National Football League at Ludhianas Guru Nanak Stadium tomorrow.
After a rousing start in the first phase, Salgaocar gradually started losing ground and the latest upset against Mohun Bagan at Calcutta where they lost 0-2 on February 6 added to coach Shabbir Alis frustrations. However, the Goans will be keen to catch up with the front-runners once again and tomorrow provides them a good chance to log full points to narrow down the widening gap.
Amongst all the Goan soccer outfits, Salgaocar were the most impressive this season. The team made history by winning back-to-back titles in the Rovers Cup, Durand Cup and the Super Cup.
In the current league, Salgaocar have accumulated 20 points from five victories and five draws. They beat JCT (1-0), SBT (1-0), Churchill Brothers (1-0), BSF (4-0), and East Bengal (2-1). Salgaocar played goal-less draws against ITI, Dempo, East Bengal, Tollygunge and Mahindras while the three setbacks were against FC Kochin (0-1) and Mohun Bagan in both home and away matches (0-1 and 0-2) respectively.
A distinguishing feature of Salgaocar is that the team has so far conceded only five goals in 13 outings, the least in the NFL. This is largely due to some excellent goalkeeping by the dependable Juje Siddi under the bar. In fact Siddis heroics in the Durand Cup final were largely instrumental in Salgaocars title triumph against East Bengal at Delhis Ambedkar Stadium on December 4.
In conformity with the AIFF regulations, Salgaocar have recruited a couple of foreigners, including Brazilian Joao Dos Santos and Nigerians Habib Adekunle and Gbenga Lawal.
The team also boasts of several talented Indian players, including Alvito DCunha and Denis Cabral and Salgaocars solid bench strength is perhaps the envy of every participating team in the NFL.
While the defence is manned by Robert Fernandes, Franky Baretto, Roque Pereira and Francis Coelho, the midfield is controlled by Gbenga Lawal, Jules Alberto and play-maker Habib Adenkule. The presence of former India captain Bruno Coutinho is always a motivating factor. In addition, Salgaocar have promising youngsters like Dharamjit Singh, who incidentally scored both goals against East Bengal at Margao on February 2.
Salgaocars main worry is the attack which has not been sharp enough to fetch goals. So far the defending champions have been able to score only nine goals in 13 matches, including four against BSF in the home match. Among those who shared the spoils against BSF were medios Jules Alberto and S. Venkatesh and Brazilian striker Santos. Nevertheless, Alvito DCunha along with Santos can give BSF a tough time on the marrow.
The Jalandhar outfit is in a precarious position after losing nine matches in 13 outings. They have so far accumulated only six points from one victory and three draws. BSFs scoring rate is also inferior. The debutants have scored only three goals in 13 matches, including a penalty against Churchill Brothers at Ludhiana. The team has conceded as many as 15 goals so far.
Coach Shyam Kumars priority, it seems is to stave off relegation which looms large with the league past of halfway mark. Every point gained is crucial for the security men. Hence playing for a draw may be on the BSFs agenda but Salgaocar may not allow their designs to succeed, going by their current form.
The following are the latest standings of the teams in the National Football League (read under teams, matches played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against,and points):-
BP win Shastri hockey title
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (UNI) A three-goal blitzkrieg in the second half saw formidable Bharat Petroleum overpower spirited Punjab and Sind Bank Academy 4-2 to win the 10th Shastri Hockey Tournament here today.
The teams were levelled 1-1 at half time. In an absorbing final which tended to get a bit rough, the bank boys twice took the lead but failed to hold on.
Bank academy boys started in style as they surprised oil men by taking lead in the second minute of the game when right back Sharanjit Singh fired a set piece from their first penalty corner (1-0).
Bharat Petroleum team with several former and present internationals in their ranks took time to settle down but slowly started dominating the midfield with former internationals Ravi Nayakar and Sandeep Somesh calling the shots.
The oil men restored parity in the 13th minute when inside forward Amar Aiyamma set up right winger Deepak Sharma in the striking circle. Sharmas crisp shot had no answer from academy custodian Maninder.
Bharat Petroleum kept up the pressure but their rivals crowded the defence, foiling all attacks.
The bank academy took the lead again immediately after the lemon break. They struck through Lakhwinder Singh, who converted an indirect penalty corner to make it (2-1).
Stung by this reverse Bharat Petroleum went flat out on the offensive to restore parity with the mercurial Sabu Verkey creating some good openings but the bank defence stood out stoutly and foiled attempts of Amar Ayamma twice.
However repeated attacks from both the flanks enabled Bharat Petroleum to demolish the rival defence and in the 44th minute they succeeded in equalising when forward K.T. Mohan deflected a pass from Sabu Verkey into the cage.
The game became rough there after and umpire Shakeel Qureshi gave marching orders to two bank players, reducing them to nine. This was the chance for Bharat Petroleum to strike and they fully capitalised on this opportunity.
Sabu Verkey gave them the lead for the first time when he pushed the ball home in the 58th minute following a penalty corner which saw the ball in the bank goalmouth for quite a while.
The oil men consolidated their hold and the lead when they earned a stroke in the 62nd minute. Bank defender Manjit Singh deliberately stopped the ball in the circle with his foot after Sabu Verkey had set up Amar Aiyamma.
The flick by left half M.K. Prakash went high in the cage giving no chance to goalkeeper Maninder (4-2).
In the fag end of the final bank defence came under tremendous pressure but they just managed to ward off the attacks.
Andre Agassi withdraws, Chang, Courier win
SAN JOSE (California), Feb 9 (Reuters) World No. 1 Andre Agassi withdrew from the $ 375,000 Sybase Open yesterday because of a lower back strain.
But two other American warhorses, fourth seed Michael Chang and fifth seed Jim Courier, scored impressive victories in their opening-round matches.
Agassi, who suffered altitude sickness and dehydration while playing Davis Cup in Zimbabwe last weekend, told Sybase tournament director Barry Mackay that while he was flying from London to San Francisco on Monday, he began to severely cramp and experienced back spasms.
During his Davis Cup win over Byron black, Agassi threw up. He also threw up again on his way to locker room.
On Tuesday, when he attempted to practice, Agassi could barely move and cut the session short. He then underwent an examination that confirmed the back injury.
I feel rotten, Mackay said. Im very disappointed and Andre is very disappointed. I could tell when I was talking to him that his back was killing him.
Agassi was to have a magnetic resonance imaging test today to determine the severity of the injury.
Agassi, who was to face Mark Woodforde of Australia tonight, was replaced in the draw by lucky loser Scott Humphries.
Agassi also had a bizarre early exit from the tournament last year, when he was tossed out of the event for repeatedly swearing at a linesman during his second-round match against fellow American Cecil Mamiit.
Agassi wasnt the only player to pull out of the event. Third seed Vince Spadea withdrew from his first-round match against Australias Richard Fromberg with inflammation in his right shoulder.
Lucky loser Xavier Malisse replaced Spadea and overcame Fromberg 7-6 (7-5) 0-6 6-4.
Courier showed off a big first serve and employed his trademark inside-out forehand in subduing compatriot Eric Taino 6-3, 6-4. Chang took care of Thailands Paradorn Srichaphan 7-5, 6-4.
DUBAI: Australian Open semifinalist Magnus Norman was knocked out of the Dubai open 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 in the first round by unseeded Moroccan Karim Alami yesterday.
The Swedish second seed faltered on the big points and, despite breaking Alamis serve early in the second set, he was outhit from the baseline.
My victory against Nicolas Kiefer and Magnus Norman in a doubles match on Monday gave me enough confidence and it showed on the court today, said Alami.
I played sensibly to stay in the game without trying anything special. Norman was knocked out in the Australian Open semifinals by Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Top seed Kiefer met unexpected resistance from qualifier Lars Burgsmueller but he finally ground down his fellow German to win 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
Kiefer trailed 0-2 in the deciding set but broke back to level at 4-4 and then took a decisive 5-4 lead with another break of serve.
I did not pay attention in the second set but I always had this feeling I could break him when it mattered most, said Kiefer, who added he was happy to play Davis Cup for Germany next year after declaring himself unavailable for 2000.
PARIS, (AP): Defending champion and sixth seed Fabrice Santoro moved easily into the second round of the Marseille Open after beating Peter Wessels. But third seed Dominik Hrbaty crashed out at the hands of a fellow Slovak.
Frances Santoro beat Wessels, from the Netherlands, 7-5, 6-2. Slovakias Hrbaty lost 7-6 (7), 6-4 to Jan Kroslak in a closely-fought contest on Tuesday.
In the next round, Kroslak will meet qualifier Thierry Guardiola, who overcame Bulgarias Orlin stanoytchev 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
Fifth-seeded Marat Safin from Russia also fell in a sluggish display, bowing to Swedens Andreas Vinciguerra 6-3, 6-3.
Lionel Roux, one of four French qualifiers in the main draw, also advanced after German opponent Jens Knippschild quit with an achilles tendon injury when 3-0 down in the first set.
Roux now meets the winner of the all-French encounter between Arnaud di Pasquale and Sebastien Grosjean, guaranteeing a French player in the quarterfinals.
Frances Guillaume Raoux also came through the qualifiers but he failed to make it through the first round, going down to experienced Dutch left-hander Jan Siemerink in a third-set tiebreaker 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (6).
Irina Lady Golfer of the Year
CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 Teen sensation Irina Brar, a class X student of the local Vivek High School, was crowned Lady Golfer of the Year at the prize-distribution function of the All-India Amateur Ladies Golf Championship in Bangalore last week. She was awarded the Ujwal Trophy for gaining the maximum number of points in regional and all-India tournaments.
Irinas climb to the top position in the country started on her home course when she won the Punjab Open Ladies Golf Championship. This was followed by a thumping win in the Northern India Ladies Golf. Continuing her steady game Irina won the VST Junior Trophy in the All-India as well. This put her in an enviable position of being No 1 junior girl as well as No 1 Lady Golfer of the year.
She owes her success to a lot of support from her family and school. Irina, who has to take her board exam in three weeks time, says she is grateful to her principal, Mrs S.K. Singh, for permitting her to miss her pre-boards and encouraging her to play the circuit.
Her immediate plans are to study hard for the exams, and then preparing for the Asia-Pacific Junior Championship to be held from May 2. If she had a sponsor she would like to play all the ladies tournaments in the Asian region so as to get more international exposure to improve her game.
Top teams for DCM hockey tourney
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (UNI) Defending champions Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indian Navy and Western Railway (Mumbai) are among the 16 leading teams who will vie for top honours in the DCM Shriram Hockey Tournament being held at Kota (Rajasthan) from February 13 to 19 after a gap of five years.
Talking to newspersons here this afternoon, tournament committee patron Alok Shriram said due to some unavoidable circumstances the tournament could not be held after 1995, but now we are determined to make it a regular affair.
He said the tournament was started in 1945 and over the years it had become a well known sports event in Rajasthan.
Mr Shriram said the winners of the tournament, to be played on knockout basis,will receive a cash prize of Rs 25,000 while the runners up will get Rs 15,000.
He informed that 1995 runners up Bihar Regimental Centre (BRC) will not be taking part in the competition this time.
The tournament will be played on specially laid natural grass ground at Shriram Krida Kendra.
The team taking part in this edition of the DCM Shriram Hockey Tournament are: BSF, ASC, EME, Signals (Jalandhar) Indian Air Force, CRPF, Northern Railway (Delhi), Central Railway, Indian Navy, Western Railway (Mumbai) D.H.A (Kota), Rajasthan XI, Lucknow Youngmens Association, Rail Coach Factory (Kapurthala), Sikh Regimental Centre (Bihar) and SAI (Bhopal).
Giving a brief history of the event Mr Shriram said the DCM Hockey Tournament was started by the late Lala Shri Ramji in 1945. This was conducted at Delhi till 1957 and during this period, established a reputation for being one of the top most tournaments in the country which attracted the best teams.
The tournament was discontinued after 1957 due to various reasons and was revived in 1967 at Kota, Rajasthan. The public of Kota responded enthusiastically to the tournament and the All-India DCM Shriram Hockey Tournament established itself as one of the top meets in the hockey calendar of the nation.
It has been recognised by the Indian Hockey Federation as an A grade tournament of the country.
South Zone retain Vizzy Trophy
HYDERABAD, Feb 9 (PTI) Defending champions South Zone retained the Vizzy Trophy by virtue of their first innings 69-run lead over North Zone in the final of the All-India Inter University Cricket tournament here today.
South Zone, resuming at their overnight first innings score of 420 for 8, batted for 23 minutes before being all out for 452, taking an overall lead of 101 runs against Norths first innings score of 351 on the fourth and final day here.
Sangram Singh (3/75) and Aman Rander (3/122) were the most successful North Zone bowlers.
North Zone began their second innings on a disastrous note, and were bundled out for 223 in 70.2 overs with only 40 minutes play left for the end of the days proceedings.
Deepak Bhatnagar was
Norths only batsman to score a half century (51)
which came in 128 minutes off 95 balls with 8 boundaries.
For South Zone, left-arm spinner Muthu Pandiyan accounted
for 6 wickets.
Inter-varsity hockey results
KURUKSHETRA, Feb 9 On the second day of the eight-day All India-Inter-University Hockey (women) Tournament, eight matches were played and in four matches walkovers were awarded. The detailed results of second day are:
Nagpur University b Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai by 4-0, Kerala University b Purvanchal University, Jaunpur 9-0, Mumbai University b Bharthidasan University, Tiruchirrapali 2-0, Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla University, Raipur b Rani Durgawati Vishvavidyalaya, Jabalpur, 2-1, Dr RML Avadh University, Faizabad, b Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj University, Kanpur, in a well-contested match 3-2, Barkatullah University, Bhopal, b Kumaon University, Nainital, 13-0 in Lucknow University b Madras University 3-1 and Delhi University b Osmania University 11-0.
Dr H.S. Gaur
Vishvavidyalaya, Sagar, got a walkover against Allahabd
University, Manonmaniam Sundranar University, got a
walk-over against Banasthali Vidyapeeth (Rajasthan;
Amravati University got a walkover against Himachal
Pradesh University, Shimla; MJP Rohilkhand University,
Bareilly, got a walkover against University of Gorakhpur.
Uncertainty over FC Kochin ties
KOCHI, Feb 9 (PTI) FC Kochin will be at a disadvantage if their remaining home matches in the ongoing National Football League are shifted from Kochi, according to club sources.
The uncertainty has come about after the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, the venue so far, has been handed over to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for the one-day international cricket match between India and South Africa scheduled for March 9.
The NFL match between FC Kochin and Dempo, to be played here yesterday, had to be rescheduled due to non-availability of the ground. The match would be held at a later date, Kerala Football Association (KFA) sources said.
According to sources, the KFA had selected Ambedkar Stadium in the city for holding the remaining matches and work on the ground had already begun. The association is now awaiting NFL committee clearance.
Meanwhile, Mr Alberto Colaco, Chairman, National Football League Committee, had visited the Ambedkar Stadium yesterday and had faxed his report to the National League Emergency Committee which was expected to take a final decision soon.
According to NFL schedule, FC Kochins next home match is against Salgaocar here on February 14.
Bball title for Jalandhar
JALANDHAR, Feb 9 Hosts Dr B.R. Ambedkar Regional Engineering College, Jalandhar, won the third Punjab Technical University Inter-Engineering College Mens Basketball Championship which concluded at the REC here today.
In this two-day championship, nine teams of different colleges participated. Regional Engineering College, Jalandhar, won the championship by defeating Giani Zail Singh Engineering College Bathinda, by a healthy margin of 40-19. For the winning side Vikram Deep, Rajeshwar and Manjinder Singh were the key performers. For the third and fourth place, the match was played between GuruTeg Bahadur College of Engineering and Technology, Chhapianwali (Malout) and Beant College of Engineering and Technology, Gurdaspur, and Guru Teg Bahadur College of Engineering and Technology, Chhapianwali (Malout) won the match and settled at number three.
Earlier, in the opening matches Guru Teg Bahadur College of Engineering and Technology, Malout, defeated Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, by 47-37 and Engineering College, Bathinda, beat Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Ferozepore by 33-23. In the first semifinal REC Jalandhar defeated Engineering College Malout by 57-23 and in second semifinal Engineering College, Bathinda, defeated Engineering College, Gurdaspur by 30-20.
India confident for Thomas Cup
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (PTI) Fearsome opposition from top Asian teams like Korea and Chinese Taipei notwithstanding, India No 1 Pullela Gopichand is confident of pulling the country through the qualifying stages in the Thomas Cup badminton championship, starting here next week.
We will be playing some of the best players in the game but we should make it to the final play-off and enter the next stage, Gopichand told PTI on Monday at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium where the Indian mens and womens teams are undergoing a camp ahead of the prestigious tournament.
India will kick-off their campaign in the premier team championship against Japan on February 16, a clash which could prove detrimental to Indias chances in the tournament, according to coach Uday Pawar.
The match on February 16 against formidable Japan is crucial for India, said the former India player, who expressed satisfaction with the preparations so far.
Punjab eves finish second
PATIALA, Feb 9 (FOSR) The Punjab sub-junior girls team secured the second place in the National Sub-Junior Kho-Kho Championship which concluded at Badreshwar (West Bengal) recently. The Punjab girls put up a good show in the league and knockout matches but took a knock in the final of the championship when they were beaten by hosts West Bengal 2-3.
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (TNS) The Mercury golf competition was held at the Army Golf Club here today.
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