Wednesday, May 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T



Dr Ali Bacher (R) Managing Director of the South African Cricket Board and Chairman of the Development Committee of the International Cricket Council takes his seat at the meeting of the Executive Board Of The International Cricket Council along with Lord MacLaurin (L), Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board on Tuesday. They were meeting in the hope that decisive steps can be taken towards cleaning up the sport in the wake of recent allegations of match-fixing. — AFP photo

CBI starts probe into match-fixing
NEW DELHI, May 2 — The CBI has registered a case and started preliminary investigation into the alleged match-fixing and betting controversy shrouding the Indian cricket.

Prabhakar to make details public ‘soon’
NEW DELHI, May 2 — Former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar today said he will “soon” make public all details he had to back his allegations of match-fixing in Indian cricket.

Mahanama, Mendis deny allegations
COLOMBO, May 2 — Former Sri Lankan cricketers Roshan Mahanama and Duleep Mendis have denied allegations that some of their country’s players were approached by Indian bookies in the past to fix matches and called for inquiry into the charges.

Bindra’s request turned down
LONDON, May 2 — The International Cricket Council has turned down former Indian cricket board President Inderjit Singh Bindra’s request to be allowed to attend the extraordinary meeting of the world body to discuss the raging betting and match-fixing controversy.

Cronje goes into seclusion
GEORGE (South Africa), May 2 — As international cricket chiefs meet in London to probe match-fixing, disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje is living the life of a tortured recluse.



EARLIER STORIES
 
India face minnows B’desh in opener
KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — 1997 World Cup runners-up India will aim to qualify for the next edition with the title to boot when they start campaign in the junior Asia Cup (U-21) hockey championship beginning here tomorrow.

More cricket academies needed: Bedi
NEW DELHI, May 2 — Former Indian cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi has observed that the setting up of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore was a “step in the right direction”, but felt that the academy will face a “lot of teething troubles” before it really settles down.
European champion, Swedish table tennis player Peter Karlsson (2nd left) winner of the silver medal Croatian Zoran Primorac, left, and winner of the bronze medals Czech Petr Korbel (2nd right) and Swedish Jan-Ove Waldner (right) during the winner's ceremony at the European Table Tennis Championships in Bremen, Germany, on Monday
European champion, Swedish table tennis player Peter Karlsson (2nd left) winner of the silver medal Croatian Zoran Primorac, left, and winner of the bronze medals Czech Petr Korbel (2nd right) and Swedish Jan-Ove Waldner (right) during the winner's ceremony at the European Table Tennis Championships in Bremen, Germany, on Monday — AP/PTI photo

Narain 5th after third leg
CHENNAI, May 2 — India’s Narain Karthikeyan finished fifth at the end of the third leg of the British Formula 3 racing season and collected eight valuable championship points.

Gokhale struggles; Vishwesh loses
DUBAI, May 2 — Chandraselkar Gokhale of India had to struggle to maintain his concentration and obtain a crucial draw against grandmaster Asrian Karen of Armenia in a queen and pawn edging at the Dubai Open Chess Championship here late last night.

ABF tries new scoring system
SANGRUR, May 2 — The Asian Badminton Federation in a bid to win the sponsors and make the game more TV friendly has decided to experiment with a new scoring system. During the ABF executive committee meeting at Delhi, various problems affecting the development and promotion of badminton were discussed.

Mark Williams from Wales after beating Matthew Stevens
Mark Williams from Wales after beating Matthew Stevens by 18-16 frames holds aloft the winning trophy at the Embassy World Snooker Final at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, northern England on Monday. — AP/PTI photo
Williams clinches snooker crown
SHEFFIELD, (England) May 2 — Mark Williams became the first Welshman to win the World Snooker Championship for 21 years yesterday when he staged a brilliant recovery to edge out compatriot Matthew Stevens 18-16 in the final.

Dravid stars in Kent’s victory
LONDON, May 2 — Indian batting star Rahul Dravid struck six fours in his 47-ball innings after Kent had wobbled at nine for two, to complete a seven-wicket win over top-flight new boys Northamptonshire at Canterbury.

Chanu lifts gold to qualify for Sydney
OSAKA, May 2 — Aiming for a place in the Sydney Olympic Games, Sanamacha Chanu of India lifted a total of 197.5 kg to clinch gold medal in the 53kg class leaving China’s Li Zhou 10kg behind in the second place on the opening day of the Asian Weightlifting Championships here today.

Navratilova to play French Open doubles
LONDON, May 2 — Martina Navratilova will play at the French Open for the first time since 1994 when she partners South Africa’s Mariaan De Swardt in the women’s doubles.

Aswal declared Mr South Asia
NEW DELHI, May 2 — Dinesh Aswal of India struck gold in the 65 kg category at the recently held South Asian Body-Building Championships at Kathmandu besides being declared Mr South Asia.

Allan Donald hurt
LONDON, May 2 — South African fast bowler Allan Donald was carried off on a stretcher with a suspected broken rib after a freak accident in an English national league match yesterday.

Punjab basketball from May 10
JALANDHAR, May 2 — The Punjab state hot weather league basketball tournament for men and women will be held from May 10 to 13 at Kapurthala, according to the President of the organising committee for the tournament.

Isha, Harneet in third round
CHANDIGARH, May 2 — Isha Toor and Harneet Singh both of Chandigarh sailed into the third round of the AITA ranking tennis tournament being played here at CLTA courts, Sector 10.

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CBI starts probe into match-fixing

NEW DELHI, May 2 (UNI) — The CBI has registered a case and started preliminary investigation into the alleged match-fixing and betting controversy shrouding the Indian cricket.

The premier investigating agency got into the act within hours of receiving the intimation from the government to conduct an inquiry into the match-fixing and betting scandal.

“We have received the request (for conducting the probe) and have filed a preliminary case in the matter,” sources in the CBI told UNI today. “The probe into the case is in progress.”

The multi-pronged investigations would cover every aspect of the controversy. The sources, however, refused to comment on whether the help of the Interpol would be sought or whether former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, who raised the controversy in India, would be examined.

The decision to get the allegations of match-fixing and betting investigated through the CBI was taken by the government on April 28 in view of the sensitivity of the case, the complexities involved and the views aired by parliamentarians and the present and former cricketers.

The announcement was made by Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in the Lok Sabha.

With the filing of the case, the CBI is expected to closely study and monitor the investigation of the Delhi police into the match-fixing charges against some South African cricketers, including its ousted captain Hansie Cronje.

It would also be going through the Justice Y.V. Chandrachud committee report. Besides, it was likely to verify the truthfulness of the statement of former Indian all rounder Manoj Prabhakar about match-fixing in Indian cricket.

Prabhakar had created ripples three years ago with his disclosure that he was offered money by a teammate to play below potential during the 1994 Singer Cup in Sri Lanka. Prabhakar, however, had so far refrained from naming any player saying he had no legal protection in the absence of evidence.

Media reports today suggested that he had intimated to a senior government functionary the name of a senior Indian cricketer who had once asked him to perform below his potential. However, the name has not been revealed in the reports.

The investigating agency was also likely to scrutinise the documents available with the BCCI which could be of any assistance to the case. The BCCI has expressed its willingness to make available all documents and assistance to the government or any agency which would be entrusted to probe the matter.

It may also consider examining former BCCI President I S Bindra who had consented to provide vital inputs regarding the match-fixing controversy. In recent days, Bindra had repeatedly accused some players and administrators of being involved in match-fixing and betting.

Prabhakar’s allegations had forced the BCCI to institute a one-man inquiry committee under former Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud whose report was presented in Parliament earlier this month, almost two-and-a-half years after it as submitted to the board.

Justice Chandrachud had “dismissed” the allegations after hearing past and present players, including Prabhakar, cricket administrators, officials and some journalists. He had also maintained that Prabhakar had refused to come up with names despite several requests “fearing a threat to his life”.

Last week, the minister met the present cricketers, captains, coaches, managers and administrators to discuss the match-fixing issue and noted their opinion on the issue. Besides, the question of overall betterment of the game was also a subject matter of the meeting in view of the recent humiliations faced by India in international tournaments at home and abroad.

A majority of the participants at the meeting had aired their views in support of a CBI investigation into the scandal to clear the mess and save the game. After the nearly three-hour meeting, the government gave an assurance that a credible inquiry would be carried out into the affair.

The allegations of match-fixing and betting became pronounced particularly during the last three weeks since the sensational disclosure by Delhi police on April 7 that the now sacked South African captain Hansie Cronje and three of his teammates were involved in rigging matches of last month’s one-day series against India.

The subsequent confession by Cronje, turned the heat on the cricketing establishment in India which was also viewed with suspicion.
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Prabhakar to make details public ‘soon’

NEW DELHI, May 2 (PTI) — Former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar today said he will “soon” make public all details he had to back his allegations of match-fixing in Indian cricket.

Prabhakar, who has said that he had already disclosed the name of a teammate who he claims offered him a bribe during a 1994 one-day tournament in Sri Lanka, refused to name the top government dignitary to whom he had disclosed the name.

“I have given the name to whoever I have to tell. But I cannot at the moment say to whom I mentioned and what all information I gave,” Prabhakar said.

The controversial former player said he was yet to receive the protection promised by Sports Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa when he met him two days ago on the match-fixing issue.

“They promised to give security. I have not got it yet. They promised to get my benevolent fund withheld by the board released. That has also not been done. I have fulfilled my promise,” he told reporters at the launch of a new range of beauty care products by his company “Naturence”.

Prabhakar said he did not expect much to emerge from the two-day International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in London to discuss the match-fixing controversy. “What have they done in BCCI,” he said in obvious reference to the Chandrachud inquiry commission report following his allegations made three years ago.

“So far I expect the same in ICC. The ICC head (President Jagmohan Dalmiya) is the head of BCCI also,” he said.

Asked about allegations of match-fixing raised against his former Delhi and India teammate Ajay Sharma, Prabhakar said: “I played with him. We studied together. But I left cricket in 1997. I don’t know his personal affairs. He was a good, fantastic player. But he didn’t perform at the international level”.

Prabhakar said he will not “run away” from the allegations of corruption in Indian cricket that he has levelled. “We’ll sort out this problem and I will cooperate with whoever is doing it,” he said.

Prabhakar said he would lend full cooperation to the CBI probe that has been launched into betting and match-fixing in India, but said he was yet to be contacted by its officials.
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Mahanama, Mendis deny allegations

COLOMBO, May 2 (PTI) — Former Sri Lankan cricketers Roshan Mahanama and Duleep Mendis have denied allegations that some of their country’s players were approached by Indian bookies in the past to fix matches and called for inquiry into the charges.

Reacting to a report in the Sunday Times of London that he along and fellow players Sanath Jayasurya and Asanka Gurusinha were offered money by Indian bookies for match forecasts during the Aussies tour to the Island in 1992, Mahanama, who retired in huff last year, said the incident had not taken place at all.

“I am totally surprised to hear that someone offered us money to do this. It is news to me and it does not really look good. I think there should be an inquiry into the matter,” he was quoted as saying in Daily Mirror here today.

He also denied the report that the three had sought police protection following rejection of the bookie’s offer.

“There was no reason for us to make any official complaint and we did not seek any police protection during the series referred to,” he said.

The report was also denied by Duleep Mendis who was the team coach at that time. “As far as I know none of the players had anything to do with the bookies. I will welcome any inquiry,” he said.

Former Sri Lankan board President Thilanga Sumathipala, whose restaurant here has been mentioned in the report as place at which the bookies approached the players, also dismissed the report as irrelevant.

“This has no relevance and during my tenure in the board, players had never been involved with the bookies,” he said.

However, board Chief Executive Dhammika Ranatunga, brother of former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, has ruled out any inquiry saying that there was no enough evidence to prompt an inquiry.

“There is a lot of loose talk these days we have to be careful in what we do. But if there is enough substance we can look into the matter,” he said.


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Bindra’s request turned down

LONDON, May 2 (PTI) — The International Cricket Council has turned down former Indian cricket board President Inderjit Singh Bindra’s request to be allowed to attend the extraordinary meeting of the world body to discuss the raging betting and match-fixing controversy.

ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya, when asked by PTI whether Bindra would be given permission to attend the meeting, countered: “In what capacity can he attend the Executive Council meeting?”

Bindra, who had raised allegations that there was widespread corruption in the game and claimed he had prepared a document to be presented at the meeting, has written to the ICC seeking an invitation to the two-day meeting which began at the Lord’s today.

The Punjab Cricket Association President, who arrived here unannounced and claimed he would present evidence of corruption at the meeting, had said if he was denied permission he would make public his allegations through the media.

Dalmiya said Bindra could provide all evidence he had to the CBI, which is investigating match-fixing allegations in Indian cricket, or write to the ICC.
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Cronje goes into seclusion

GEORGE (South Africa), May 2 (Reuters) — As international cricket chiefs meet in London to probe match-fixing, disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje is living the life of a tortured recluse.

Cronje, sacked after admitting accepting money from a bookmaker, has gone into seclusion in one of the country’s most expensive and exclusive golfing resorts.

After changing address twice in his home town of Bloemfontein in the quest for privacy, Cronje has taken refuge in the luxury 3.2 million rand (470,000 dollars) house he bought recently at Fancourt country estate, near the town of George, on the south coast.

Despite two of the finest championship golf courses in the country and some of the most attractive scenery in the foothills of the Outeniqua mountains, Cronje has hardly been seen.

Not even the resort’s fully equipped gymnasium and health centre has been enough to entice the notorious exerciser out of hiding.

A security guard patrols the front entrance to Cronje’s luxury house to prevent unwanted visitors from approaching.

On one occasion when he did emerge from the house, Cronje was asked how he was faring. “Okay,” he replied, but the taught lines in his face and dark eyes told a different story.

“I can’t say anything. I will speak after the inquiry but I cannot talk until then. If I spoke now then I would have to speak to everyone. Until then everything must go through my attorney,” Cronje said.

But even Cronje’s Fancourt hide-away has not provided him with the privacy he so desires, lacking curtains in most rooms and with immature trees and shrubs in the garden which hide little from public view.

The only person seen less in public than Cronje since his fall from grace is his wife Bertha who is believed to be with him at the moment but has not been seen since their arrival over a week ago.

Although the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) promised an urgent inquiry into Cronje’s alleged match-fixing involvement, nothing has yet been announced.

For Hansie Cronje it is purgatory. At least when his level of guilt is decided his life can move on. With a resigned and weary face he dialled a number on his telephone as his unscheduled visitors departed. “security...please...”
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India face minnows B’desh in opener

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 (PTI) — 1997 World Cup runners-up India will aim to qualify for the next edition with the title to boot when they start campaign in the junior Asia Cup (U-21) hockey championship beginning here tomorrow.

Frontrunners along with Pakistan and Korea to seal the three qualifying spots for next year’s World Cup to be held at Hobart, Australia, India take on lightweights Bangladesh tomorrow and look assured of a smooth passage into the last four stage.

India are placed in the relatively easy Group B, which also has China, Japan, Uzbekistan and debutants Iran while Group A looks much tougher with Pakistan, winners of the 1997 edition in Singapore, South Korea and upcoming Malaysia to fight it out.

India, who lost to Pakistan in the last edition, but went on to capture silver in the World Cup held at Milton Keynes are confident they will seal a spot for Hobart at the Bukit Jalil stadium, but are keen to do it by snapping up the title.

“Of course, first I would cement my place in the World Cup, but immediately after that the team would move into the next level, of winning the championship,” a confident coach C R Kumar and skipper and key defender Lazarus Barla, said on match eve.

The Indian team has been bolstered by the inclusion of forwards Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur, permanant members of the senior side who played vital roles in the recent title win at the Perth four-nation tournament.

India have had a nice build-up, winning both their warm-up games. They beat Malaysia 2-1 and then hammered South Korea 8-2, rallying from 0-2 down to pump in all their goals.

India can more or less take their semifinal spot for granted going by the quality of opposition in their group, and can also expect to go all the way if talent in the side is any indication. Apart from Gagan Ajit and Deepak Thakur, skipper Barla, playmakers like Bimal Lakra, Prabodh Tirkey and forwards Prabhjot Singh and Inderjit Singh are all top future prospects for the seniors.

Kumar was confident there will not be major adjustment problems for the two forwards drafted in from the senior side.

“Initially there would be a certain combination problem, but I expect that to go away within the first two matches. The rest of the team starts to understand them and the play gets normal. “Even the initial tactical problems will go away once both the forwards have understood what the gameplan is. But that is not a source of worry for me,” Kumar, who has been with the team for two years, said.

Barla, who was part of the 1997 World Cup team, said winning the Asia Cup would be a dream come true and a tribute to team effort.

“I came from the senior side two months back and have trained with the team since then. So I don’t think there will be a problem for Deepak or Gagan to adjust after the initial couple of matches,” he said.
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Williams clinches snooker crown

SHEFFIELD, (England) May 2 (Reuters) — Mark Williams became the first Welshman to win the World Snooker Championship for 21 years yesterday when he staged a brilliant recovery to edge out compatriot Matthew Stevens 18-16 in the final.

The left-hander trailed 10-6 overnight and saw Stevens extend his lead to six frames in the 18th frame.

Williams finally replied with a break of 106, but he lost the next frame by a point after finding himself out of position on the pink.

Williams, who came back from 15-11 down to beat John Higgins in the semifinals, took the last four frames of the afternoon to cut Stevens’ advantage to 13-11 and set up a close final session.

A missed blue from Stevens in the opening frame of the finale let in Williams for a frame-winning break of 77.

Stevens went 14-12 up with a 67 break, but Williams won the next two frames to be level at 14-14 at the interval.

In the 29th frame, Williams missed an easy red and Stevens went on to produce a 120 clearance.

After going all-square again, Stevens looked poised to regain the advantage. But with a lead of 66-32 in the 31st frame, he missed a relatively easy red, allowing Williams in to snatch the frame 70-66 with a 38 clearance.

Stevens drew level once more, winning a scrappy 32nd frame, but Williams claimed the last two frames to seal his first world crown.

Williams, who lost to Scot Stephen Hendry in last year’s final, received a first prize of 240,000. Stevens collected 140,000.

Williams will become the new world number one next season after a highly successful campaign which also saw him win the UK championship and Thailand masters, plus second place in four other tournaments.

Terry Griffiths was the last Welsh winner in 1979.
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Dravid stars in Kent’s victory

LONDON, May 2 (PTI) — Indian batting star Rahul Dravid struck six fours in his 47-ball innings after Kent had wobbled at nine for two, to complete a seven-wicket win over top-flight new boys Northamptonshire at Canterbury.

In a low-scoring contest, Northants — put in by Kent captain Matthew Fleming — were dismissed for only 76 with Ben Phillips returning competition-best figures of four for 25.

Kent then took less than 19 overs to make their target, indebted to a third-wicket stand of 54 in 12 overs between Rahul Dravid (31 not out) and James Hockley (26).

Matthew Walker was lbw to the first ball of the innings from Devon Malcolm and then Robert Key went the same way to Darren Cousins for three.

But Northants’ pitiful total was never going to test the home side, for whom David Masters and James Golding — both on debut — picked up two for 10 and one for 18 off their respective nine overs.

Warwickshire fast bowler Allan Donald was taken to hospital in an ambulance after colliding with an advertising hoarding trying to take a catch in the 97-run win over Hampshire in National League clash.

The South African player positioned at long on bounced against the boards on the boundary line while trying to take a skier from Shane Warne and collapsed on the field.

Donald’s injury overshadowed his own formidable part in Warwickshire’s Division two victory.

He had taken three for nine in six overs, causing a middle-order collapse for Hampshire, and earning for himself the man-of-the-match award.

Hampshire lost four wickets for six runs in just 20 balls and were all out for 118 in reply to Warwickshire’s 215 for eight after being put in.

Trevor Penney was top scorer for Warwickshire with 51 while opening batsman Nick Knight struck five fours in his 46.

A Southampton crowd of more than 3,000 witnessed Warne making his home debut for Hampshire and he played his part with two for 31 from nine overs.
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More cricket academies needed: Bedi
From Our Sports Reporter

NEW DELHI, May 2 — Former Indian cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi has observed that the setting up of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore was a “step in the right direction”, but felt that the academy will face a “lot of teething troubles” before it really settles down.

Bedi fully agreed to the concept of the NCA and noted that more such academies were needed in centres like Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi, Kanpur and Chandigarh for the game to really flower in the country. The NCA, inaugurated in Bangalore yesterday, will be modelled on the lines of the Australian Cricket Academy, with 24 players who have either played international cricket, or are on the fringe of breaking into the national side.

Bedi said “It was news” to him that he would be “coaching” the trainees at the academy, as he has only received a letter from the BCCI, requesting him to visit the academy which he would be doing either in July or August. Though Bedi refused to react on the appointment of former Australian international Rodney Marsh as the “consultant” of the academy, he has his reservations since India have an abundance of former internationals with proven credentials, including Bedi himself, who very well qualify for the job.

“It’s not fair on my part to comment on such issues, but you can draw your own conclusions”, he said with a laconic smile.

But Bedi felt that in any case it was time the BCCI invested some money for the development of the game from its enormous coffers, and saw no wrong in the board investing Rs 1.5 crore in the setting up of the academy.

“It (the board) should plough back at least a fraction of the money it earns from the game for its development”, he reasoned.

He made these observations after a killing six-hour training session in searing heat with about 75 trainees from the Bishan Bedi Trust-Sports Authority of India (SAI) Cricket Academy at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here today. The trainees, drawn from all parts of the country, will undergo a three-month training stint under Bedi, assisted by former India fast bowler Yograj Singh, SAI coaches Arun Bharadwaj and Ramesh Chopra, and physical conditioning expert K. B. Dogra.

Bedi said after the three-month training camp, the expenses for which are being entirely borne by the SAI, including board and lodging of the trainees, about 15-20 boys will be shortlisted for further training. “Some of the boys are real Test class material”, Bedi averred. He said it was upto the SAI to take the initiative for necessary follow-up action.”I am willing, but the SAI should keep the ball in its court”, noted the left-arm spin wizard, whose son Angad too is among the trainees.

With Bishan Singh Bedi having set the trend, Delhi is now full of “cricket academies” and summer coaching centres, run by former Indian players. Every player worth his salt is now a “coaching expert” and we have former Indian players Madan Lal, Gursharan Singh, Surender Khanna, Yashpal Sharma running various cricket “academies” and “centres”.

Former Indian spin ace Maninder Singh too is now in the process of setting up his own “Dronacharya” cricket academy in association with veteran coach Gurcharan Singh. They are setting up their academy at a plot of land allotted to them by the Delhi Development Authority in East Delhi.

But Yograj Singh confessed that he was here on a “learning mission. I am indeed greatful to Bishan Paaji and Bharadwaji for teaching me the nuances of cricket coaching. I am now in the process of redifining my career, as I want to give something back to the game from which I have benefited a lot”.

Though Yograj’s own son, Yuvaraja Singh, has been selected for the National Cricket Academy, he hopes to use the experience gained by working with Bedi in furthering his son’s cricket career.

“After acting in about 250 Punjabi movies (with a couple of South Indian movies thrown in between), I feel I have come to a saturation point as far as my acting career is concerned,” explained Yograj Singh, adding that “I plan to do something in the coaching department, to give something back to the game”.

He also lamented the present state of Punjab cricket and advocated that Bedi and Mr Bindra should come together to lift Punjab cricket to glory, as had been done by them a few years ago.

Bedi has, however, found some of Mr Bindra’s recent statements a bit incongruous and his going to England to “attend” the International Cricket Council meeting without being invited, a “bit funny”. “Mr Bindra should disclose whatever facts he has (about the match-fixing controversy)”, Bedi said.
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Narain 5th after third leg

CHENNAI, May 2 (PTI) — India’s Narain Karthikeyan finished fifth at the end of the third leg of the British Formula 3 racing season and collected eight valuable championship points.

Narain’s overall points tally has now shot up from 12 to 20 and he is now fourth in the points table behind team mate and leader Tomas Scheckter of South Africa, Antonio Pizzonia (Manor Motorsport - Brazil), Andy Priaulx (Renault Elf -Britain) and Mathew Davies (Renault Elf - Britain).

An almost capacity crowd had gathered to watch the closely fought race on the 2.356 miles narrow Oulton Park track.

It was a reasonably quiet 18-lap race for the field of 26 cars, but for championship leader Pizzonia and Karthikeyan, who clocked the first and second fastest lap timings respectively.

Karthikeyan, starting fifth on the grid, had a sedate start and remained in that position as fourth-placed Mathew Davis never allowed the Indian ace to pass him. Karthikeyan played it safe, but kept increasing the distance between himself and the man following him, Italian Gianmaria Bruni, from half a second in the beginning to 4.5 seconds by the end of the race.

Phil Spender, Managing Director of Ford India (his sponsors), said: “I am pleased with Narain’s progress. He looks much fitter now than when I last saw him in India. We are focussing strongly at the qualifiers at Donington Park next week”.

Ford team racing manager, Bruce Jenkins said: “I am happy Narain picked up eight valuable points to go one place up the championship rankings. It is very important to continuously earn points, no matter how many”.

A press release from Karthikeyan’s team said the safety car was called in at the seventh lap when Japanese driver Takuma Sato spun off at the old hall corner, leaving debris on the track. The safety car was on till the 11th lap.

Top six finishers : 1Tomas Scheckter (Stewart Racing-South Africa) 31 min 18.772 secs; 2 Antonio Pizzonia (Manor - Brazil) 31 min 19.257 secs; 3 Andy Priaulx (Renault Elf-Britain) 31 min 20.998; 4 Mathew Davies (Renault-Britain) 31 min 21.906 secs; 5 Narain Karthikeyan (Stewart-India) 31 min 22.498 secs; and 6 Gianmaria Bruni (Fortec-Italy) 31 min 26.926 secs.

Overall positions at the end of three races: 1 Antonio Pizzonia - 56 pts; 2 Tomas Scheckter - 52 pts; 3 Andy Priaulx - 22 pts; 4 Narain Karthikeyan - 20 pts, 5 Gianmaria Bruni - 20 pts; 6 Mathew Davies - 18 pts.


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Gokhale struggles; Vishwesh loses

DUBAI, May 2 (UNI) — Chandraselkar Gokhale of India had to struggle to maintain his concentration and obtain a crucial draw against grandmaster Asrian Karen of Armenia in a queen and pawn edging at the Dubai Open Chess Championship here late last night.

The match lasted six hours and took a record 127 moves to end in a draw.

Gokhale was relieved as he had to keep a strict vigil over Asrian’s passed pawn for over 55 moves. Despite the prolonged effort by the grandmaster, Gokhale kept his cool to attain a draw by perpetual checks.

Vishweshswran Kamesan went down fighting to grandmaster Vladimirov Eveegny of Russia in 42 moves from a king pawn opening. Vishwesh was 20 minutes late for the game and this landed him in trouble early in the tie. Vishwesh exchanged queens and, in spite of the time trouble, held a good position. An untimely pawn thrust gave away key squares in the centre.

Vladimirov exploited this slip by Vishweshwaran to manoeuvre his pieces to superior squares and post a comfortable victory. Vishwesh later said, “I made up for the loss of 20 minutes as under the Fishcher system you get an additional 30 seconds per move. The pawn advance E5 was a crucial mistake which turned out to be decisive.”

Gokhale started off well against the grandmaster by creating a passed pawn on the sixth rank. With his queen and rook aggressively posted, he seemed to be heading for a smooth win.

Asrian, however, bounced back when Gokhale went astray in time trouble and lost the key pawn. From then on, it was an uphill battle to save the game and Gokhale managed to do just that in the nick of time.

“I put my king in correct corner and this enabled me to post perceptual checks”, Gokhale later said.

Grandmasters Evegny Ermenkov of Bulgaria and Nenashaev Alexander of Uzbekistan shared the lead with three points at the end of the third round of the championship last night.

In another match, IM Taleb Moussa held off the challenge of the third grandmaster in as many rounds. Taleb held his own against the highly rated Ulybin Mihail of Russia in a queen pawn opening, Dutch defence. Ulybin got the space advantage but when the major pieces were exchanged, it ended in a draw as neither side was able to make further progress.
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ABF tries new scoring system
From Our Sports Reporter

SANGRUR, May 2 — The Asian Badminton Federation in a bid to win the sponsors and make the game more TV friendly has decided to experiment with a new scoring system. During the ABF executive committee meeting at Delhi, various problems affecting the development and promotion of badminton were discussed. The members felt that no big sponsors were ready to back up the game financially, and televising the sport was a problem as the game was seen as slow and monotonous. Moreover there were no commercial breaks, the rules and conditions of the game put on too many restrictions and it take too long to finish. The Thomas Cup finals usually take six hours and some individual events take more than an hour. This causes problems for TV operators as they are unable to take satellite bookings on a fixed basis due to unspecified duration.

The federation has decided to experiment with the new scoring system first in the domestic circuit. In the new scoring system the game will be of 25 points, based on the table tennis scoring system. Each player will serve for fire consecutive points and would score points at every service. There would be no service over. At 24-all, they will have to take two consecutive points to win and the service will be with the winner who has scored the point. There will be a break of 30 to 60 seconds at 8 and 16 and a break of 120 seconds after each game. Coaching will be allowed between the games.

Mr Datuk Punch Guvalan, the honorary general secretary of the ABF has asked the affiliated limits to use the new scoring system and report to by May 10. Each association can vary the conditions and use other alternatives, like a player serving three time instead of five.


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Navratilova to play French Open doubles

LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) — Martina Navratilova will play at the French Open for the first time since 1994 when she partners South Africa’s Mariaan De Swardt in the women’s doubles.

The 43-year-old, who won seven doubles titles at Roland Garros including five in a row from 1984 to 1988, will prepare for her Paris return at the Madrid Open the week before — her first tournament since retiring 5-1/2 years ago.

Navratilova announced last month she would be playing at Wimbledon, also with De Swardt, in a bid for a record-equalling 20th title at the All-England Club.

De Swardt, a doubles finalist last year at Wimbledon, said: “I’m really excited playing with Martina at Roland Garros and at other events.

“In my mind, she is the greatest athlete. She is in better shape than 70 per cent of the women on the tour, including myself.”

The $ 170,000 Madrid Open begins on May 22.
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Chanu lifts gold to qualify for Sydney

OSAKA, May 2 (AFP) — Aiming for a place in the Sydney Olympic Games, Sanamacha Chanu of India lifted a total of 197.5 kg to clinch gold medal in the 53kg class leaving China’s Li Zhou 10kg behind in the second place on the opening day of the Asian Weightlifting Championships here today.

Chanu lifted 87.5 kg in snatch and added 110.0kg through clean and jerk on an extremely fruitful day for India which saw another hopeful veteran Kunjarani Devi winning silver medal in 48kg class.

Chanu was followed by Zhou and Japan’s Mari Nakaga both lifting 82.5 in snatch and 105 in clean and jerk for a total of 187.5kg.

Kunjarani’s effort in snatch yielded 75.0kg and 107.5kg in clean and jerk as she totalled 182.5kg for silver medal.

Japan’s world bronze medallist Kaori Niyanagi (80.0, 105.0) lifted a total of 185 kg to win gold while Thailand’s Udomporn Polsak (72.5, 92.5) settled for bronze with 165kg.
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Aswal declared Mr South Asia

NEW DELHI, May 2 (UNI) — Dinesh Aswal of India struck gold in the 65 kg category at the recently held South Asian Body-Building Championships at Kathmandu besides being declared Mr South Asia.

The championship was held from April 21 to 23. Team-mate Anil Rao also won the gold in the 75-80 kg category along with S.S. Datta (75 kg). All the winners are from the Railways.

Meanwhile, Saji of Services won the silver in the 80 kg category.

Coached by Bhupinder Dhawan, president of Indian Gym Federation, Aswal has also won gold at IGF Classic Body-Building Champion-ship on April 11.
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Allan Donald hurt

LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) — South African fast bowler Allan Donald was carried off on a stretcher with a suspected broken rib after a freak accident in an English national league match yesterday.

Donald, playing for Warwickshire against Hampshire at Southampton, successfully caught a skied on-drive from Australian Shane Warne but fell backwards on to the top of the boundary fence as he did so.
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Punjab basketball from May 10
From Our Sports Reporter

JALANDHAR, May 2 — The Punjab state hot weather league basketball tournament for men and women will be held from May 10 to 13 at Kapurthala, according to the President of the organising committee for the tournament.

Six top outfits of the state, including holders Punjab Police, Border Security Force, Punjab State Electricity Board, Rail Coach Factory, Rest of Punjab and Junior Punjab will vie for the top honours in the men’s section, while in the women’s version the participates include Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur.
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Isha, Harneet in third round
By Our Sports Reporter

CHANDIGARH, May 2 — Isha Toor and Harneet Singh both of Chandigarh sailed into the third round of the AITA ranking tennis tournament being played here at CLTA courts, Sector 10. Isha in the under-14 section made short work of Amanpreet also of Chandigarh 6-2, 6-1, while Harneet defeated Jitinder Mehlda of UP 6-3, 6-2 in the under-16 section.

The results are: (all second round): Girls under-14: Tara Iyer b Anukriti Prasad 6-1, 6-0; Isha Toor b Amanpreet Shallu 6-2, 6-1; Bhavna V b Shubhneet Sandhu 6-1, 6-1; Anjani Kant b Sanjana Kapoor 6-2, 7-6(2); Parul Goswami b Vishaka Sheoran 6-0, 6-1; Neha Rana b Bhavani Trimurti 6-1, 6-2.

Boys under-16: Ardaman Sidhu b Kinshuk Sharma 6-0, 6-0; Abhinav Grover b Dilpreet Singh 7-6, (10-8), 6-3; Jatin Bishnoi b Vivek Sheoran 6-2, 6-3; Kushagra Mahajan b Sahil Vasudeva 6-3, 6-2; Harneet Singh b Jitinder Mehlda 6-3, 6-2.
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