|Friday, May 12, 2000,
Indian eves go down fighting to
Kournikova makes dramatic exit
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 (PTI) Reigning champions South Korea, held off by a defiant India, needed the golden goal to finally win 2-1 and enter the final of the Womens Junior Asia Cup Hockey Tournament here at the KL hockey stadium here today.
At the end of regulation time, India and Korea were tied at a goal each. India had the lead through a penalty corner by Pushpa Pradhan in the seventh minute. Korea equalised in the 48th minute off a penalty corner by Hang Sung Mi. The match-winner was scored by midfielder Cho Bo Ra who deflected in a penalty corner in the 75th minute, five minutes into the first half of extra-time.
If India had their moments of dominance, they were only sporadic. A couple of chances in the first half, off which they scored a goal and three chances in the second half when they almost walked away with the match with only two minutes left.
Pushpa Pradhans direct hit deflected off a Korean defenders stick and bounced into the goal. Korean goalkeeper Jung Hang Joo had moved the wrong way. Till the break, the Koreans had seven penalty corners but couldnt convert any as the Indian defence put up a fine rearguard action in keeping the Koreans at bay.
The forward-line except for Neha Singh, Mamta Kharab and, later in the game, Pakpi Devi, couldnt move in the fluent manner as one is accustomed to seeing an Indian side. The Korean midfield under Cho Ba Ra saw to it that most of the moves were cut at the point of origin itself.
Captain Suraj Lata was off colour and really couldnt get past the Koreans with her passes in the midfield. Most of the time she delayed the ball, losing possession.
The other player to have a bad game was Meenakshi who was never in the game as an outside-left. It was surprising she was not substituted till the middle of the second half.
At the break, India led 1-0.
The Korean dominance continued in the second half as they pushed hard and earned five penalty corners in five minutes. It was off the fifth that the equaliser came when Hang Sung Mi scored after picking up the rebound and slamming in.
The Indians actually started playing well after the equaliser. Mamta suddenly picked up pace and Pakpi Devi showed a clean pair of heels to the Koreans whenever she had the ball. It was just after the Korean equaliser that Pakpi had a shot at goal but missed the target by inches.
Off Indias third penalty corner, Pushpa Pradhans shot was saved on the line by the goalkeeper after she initially had gone the wrong way.
At the end of regulation time, India and Korea were tied 1-1. A minute into the first half of extra-time, India had a superb chance to take the match but Pakpi Devis shot after the scramble off the rebound was pushed off the line by a Korean defender.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 (PTI) Qualifying to square off against world badminton powers after a gap of 12 years, a depleted Indian side led by Pulella Gopichand have everything to gain when they take on star-studded Denmark in their opening match of the Thomas Cup team badminton finals here tomorrow.
An upset win over any of the teams in their league will mark a red letter day for Indian badminton, but with Malaysia and Korea, the other two teams in the Blue Group, also boasting of highly ranked players, the Indians have a virtually impossible task at hand.
World No 1 Peter Gade Christensen will spearhead second seeded Denmarks campaign to wrest the prestigious trophy from the Asians for the first time in its 52-year history and with Olympic champion Paul-Eric Hoyer-Larsen, the third best singles player in the world, in their ranks, the Danes look in best shape to achieve their dream after dominating the European championships last month.
Though the competition will be of much higher standard, Denmark look set to top their group and take a place in the semifinals along with Malaysia, unless Korea, with two very strong doubles pairs in their ranks, manage to upset their applecart.
India will be looking up to four-time national champion Gopichand to cause ripples, but the absence of India number three Abhinn Shyam Gupta and the first choice trio of Ajit Wijetilek, Vincent Lobo and Jose George has made their position unenviable.
Guptas injury-enforced pull out will be the biggest setback for India, ranked 7th-8th with Sweden, as they hope to win at least one match unlike last time they qualified in 1988 when they lost all their matches despite the presence of the legendary Prakash Padukone, the 1980 All-England champion.
The Allabahad-based Guptas long-drawn toss-and-drop style would have been a big help in the third singles. The lanky shuttler was in tremendous form as he won three exhausting matches, the shortest of which lasted 98 minutes, which helped India finish third behind China and Korea in the Asian Zonal tournament in Delhi, and qualify for the finals.
Sidharth Jain, the third best rated Indian in the world rankings, will fill in the breach and play third singles with Gopichand and Nikhil Kanetkar, who will have to show more consistency than in qualifiers, appearing in the first two.
Jain played in a couple of matches in Delhi, including a tough one against Ji Xinpeng of China in the semifinals, and has since then shown superb form.
He won the French Open title last month, which soared his rankings from 105 to 67 in the latest list. If he manages to play consistently and with Kanetkar chipping in with his act, India could cause a minor upset by beating Korea.
Korea have two weak singles players in Lee Hyun II and Sun Ho Hwang while their top singles player Seung Mo Shon is though currently ranked higher than Gopichand, had lost to the Indian in the league match at Delhi.
for Sports Minister
NEW DELHI, May 11 Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa would be creating a precedent of sorts when he moves his office to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. He would be the first Sports Minister to have a permanent office at the Nehru Stadium, the headquarters of the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
A swanky office is being prepared for Mr Dhindsa at the Nehru Stadium at a cost of about Rs 10 lakh, and henceforth he plans to function from there, instead of Shastri Bhawan, where all the previous Sports Ministers had their offices.
During the Asian Games in 1982, then Sports Minister Buta Singh had an office at the Nehru Stadium. He used to visit it on and off even after the Asiad, as a member of the Special Organising Committee of the Asian Games.
But in Mr Dhindsas case, he has been rather forced to have his office at the Nehru Stadium because as Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, his office is located at Nirman Bhawan, while the previous occupant of the Sports Ministry, Mr Anant Kumar, who also had the culture portfolio with him, retained the portfolio, as well as the office room at Shastri Bhawan, forcing Mr Dhindsa to hunt for a room elsewhere.
And he has found a spacious one at the Nehru Stadium, where he hopes to interact with sportspersons, federation officials and SAI officials on a daily basis. Since the minister would be sitting at the Nehru Stadium, clearance of teams for international competitions would also be quite easy, as the players and officials would not have to hang around the corridors of the ministry at Shastri Bhawan, seeking an audience with the minister and the bureaucrats.
Officials at the SAI are both happy and jittery at the prospect of having the minister in their midst, as their actions would be scrutinised much more closely than before. In sports circles here, Mr Dhindsa is considered to be one of the more active Sports Ministers after Margaret Alva, who used to take a keen interest in her ministry, though she faced a lot of resistance from the sports federations when she tried to make them accountable for the grants they received from the government.
But Mr Dhindsa is considered a pragmatic minister, who adopts a carrot and stick policy to get work done. He has also realised that its a lot more pragmatic to operate as Sports Minister from the SAI citadel than from the mushy ministry office, where sports persons have to encounter a lot of red tape before they could get their work done.
the player to watch
THE clay court season in Europe is in full swing in preparation for the French Open at the end of May. The Europeans continued to dominate the surface after Cedric Pioline won Monte Carlo and the Russian Marat Safin winning two events back to back. It first shows that someone with experience like the Frenchman at the age of 30 can still be a force in international tennis. Pioline who played in Chennai in January has always been a consistent performer on any surface. His ability to serve and volley on faster courts and stay back on slower courts makes him a tough competitor. His opponents are fully aware that he very rarely has bad days. Then there is Marat Safin, the hard hitting Russian who is just twenty years old. Another player who can play on any surface.
The surface change in todays tennis is a big issue especially at this time of the year as the big move comes in mid June as they go from the slow clay of Europe to the bouncing grass of England. The players have always felt that the time needed to make the adjustment is too short especially between the two Grand Slam events, the French Open and Wimbledon.
Twenty years ago the players used the continental grip, which was certainly more amenable to change of surface. Today, due to the vast majority of the surfaces being slow, the players use Western or Eastern grips which requires a major change, when you get to the net. From the baseline, the player can hit the ball with more topspin, which keeps the ball in the court and makes them extremely consistent. Also the players today are physically stronger and taller and hence hit the ball harder, though they do use more effort.
As they head towards the French Open, which starts at the end of this month, the Europeans, seem to be the front-runners for the title. The defending champion Andre Agassi, who had an amazing year in 1999 will be hard pressed to retain the title. The other leading Americans including Pete Sampras who one never knows whether he will or will not play till the very last minute, Todd Martin Micheal Chang or Jim Courier are not really in the running for the title. Outside of the Europeans, Australias teenage phenom Lleyton Hewitt will be a player to watch, though I feel that he can do extremely well but not win it. Chiles Marcelo Rios will be another contender, assuming he is fully recovered from his injury late last year and his head holds up which has always been a problem. There will always be new youngsters making the charge as another Chilean youngster Fernando Gonzalez did in Florida last week to win the US Clay Court Championships.
Among the women, I think there will be less upsets with the favourites playing each other towards the end of the second week. Hingis continues to be the front runner, especially on clay, though the Americans Lindsay Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams might think differently.
The good news for India
is that Mahesh Bhupathi is fully fit and back on the road
again after his shoulder problem. We can only hope that
his return will bring back the duo of Leander and Mahesh,
who had such an unbelievable year last year becoming the
worlds no. 1 pair. They certainly have the ability
to do it again, the amazing record of becoming the first
pair in the open era to reach all four Grand Slam finals
in the same year. PMG
MUMBAI, May 11 (UNI) In a never ending war of words in the ongoing cricket scandal one more has been added with Siddartha Ray, Chairman of Stracon India Private Limited., a member of Doordarshans (DD) sports consortium alleging that Arun Agarwal was an extortionist and a blackmailer.
Arun Agarwal, who had conducted an inquiry into the DD sports events of the last few years, had alleged at a press conference that efforts were on to shelve the fact concerning the scams related to erstwhile sports consortium. Mr Ray, in an interview to a website cricketalk.com, here, alleged that Mr Agarwal was seeking cheap publicity.
He alleged that at a meeting called by the former CEO of Doordarshan Mr O.P. Kejriwal, in April 1998 to help resolve differences regarding the telecast of the 1999 World Cup between Stracon and Nimbus, who were then members of the Doordarshan sports consortium, Mr Agarwal had said to him (Ray) that you need to take care of some interest that I have. When I asked him whether he was talking about financial interest, Mr Agarwal replied: Woh chhod kar kya hota hai (besides that what can it be).
Mr Ray further alleged that after he declined to pay money, Mr Agarwal told him you have to take business risks, and this is your choice. If you want to take the risk it is fine, if you dont it is also fine. But then youll not be able to do the World Cup.
Mr Ray further claimed that Mr Agarwal, in the very first meeting called by the then CEO of Prasar Bharati, Mr Kejriwal, where he first met Mr Agarwal, who was very abusive, said there was a lot of mismanagement in the ICC knockout tournament in Dhaka.
Mr Ray said that he told him (Agarwal) to point out the mismanagement, chalk out the grievances, and then solve it. However, Mr Ray alleged that Mr Agarwal did not get specific. I then told Mr Kejriwal there was no point in talking to this guy. However, Mr Kejriwal said he is a financial expert and he is kind of advising me, Later came to know that Mr Agarwal was related to Mr Kejriwal.
On Mr Kejriwals appointment to the Board of Prasar Bharati, Mr Ray said he checked with some of the members of the board and came to know that the board never ratified his appointment. After, Mr Abid Hussain, Chairman of the board left for the airport, Mr Kejriwal slyly passed on a piece of paper to the government nominee K.S. Sarma saying that sign the board minutes and we have appointed this chap. However, Mr Sarma did not sign them.
On the court battles, which followed with Doordarshan, with Arun Jaitley the present Information and Broadcasting Minister representing Stracon, Mr Ray said that Nimbus tried to get in as the intervening party. When we had the adjournment, Mr Agarwal, who was in court alongwith Doordarshan officials, started abusing and using unparliamentary language as soon as Mr Jaitley came out. Mr Jaitley got very annoyed and went back to the court and got a contempt of court order against Mr Agarwal, who was subsequently relieved off his duties from Prasar Bharati.
Mr Ray said shortly after the World Cup Mr Kejriwal was removed from his position as acting CEO of Prasar Bharati and replaced by Mr R.R. Shah, who stated that all of the Doordarshan sports consortium accounts on various tournaments, including the 1998 ICC knockout were audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and found to be satisfactory.
On the Agarwal report, Mr Ray said he heard that a big report was made and the whole matter referred to Chief Vigilance Commissioner and to Prasar Bharati board members. We wrote a strong letter saying that if there are grievances then the two parties should sit across the table and try to sort out the differences. After that I understood that the matter was referred to audit of the CAG and the whole matter was cleared by the Auditor General, he added.
On Mr Agarwal reappearing in April, 2000 after such a long time, Mr Ray said Mr Agarwal reappeared because of the crises Indian cricket and he probably wanted to get some cheap publicity. The other reason he alleged is that there were people, who did not like Mark Mascarenhas of World Tel and Siddartha Ray of Stracon. They found it a good opportunity to start creating doubt in minds of people that these guys are all in collusion and it is strange because thats all they reacted on, that if we were in collusion with Mr Dalmiya there would not have been a claim of $ 2 million, which we put on Doordarshan for onward passing on to International Cricket Council.
Mr Ray further alleged
that this could be a business strategy of Nimbus to
ensure that the whole thing can get more confusing. Mr
Agarwal is definitely fronting for Nimbus in the World
Cup, thats for sure, Mr Ray alleged.
LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) Former West Indies Cricket Captain Brian Lara has pulled out of the teams forthcoming tour of England, the Independent newspaper reported today.
The left-handed batsman resigned the captaincy in February after West Indies lost both Tests and all five one-day games on their tour of New Zealand and has since been on an indefinite break from the game.
Lara, who has already missed home series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan, informed the West Indies Cricket Board of his unavailability on Tuesday. According to the independent, Lara received psychiatric counselling at a New Jersey clinic last month and was advised to stay away from international cricket until he rediscovered his motivation.
Lara, widely regarded as the best batsman of his generation, recently said that he was hurt by doubt cast over his commitment to West Indies cricket.
That sort of feedback of not giving your best for West Indies cricket, it does hurt sometimes because I think at the end of the day thats all I have done in my life, play for West Indies, Lara said.
I am not a great businessman, I am not a great golfer, I think I am a good cricketer, and I think I want to become a great cricketer, said Lara, who played in the European senior masters pro-am golf tournament earlier this month. I would love people to understand that it does not matter what the results are like, anybody that represents the west Indies, represents it whole-heartedly, and wants to do well, he added.
Laras career has
been a tale of outstanding success mingled with
controversy, abject failure and off-pitch rows. In 1994
Lara posted a Test history highest 375 against England in
Antigua and followed it with a world record first class
score of 501 not out for Warwickshire.
facilities to be ready by Oct 15
LUDHIANA, May 11 The complete infrastructure and other facilities for the National Games 2000 would be in place by October 15, well ahead of the games, schedule to get under way on November 5.
This was stated by Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, Secretary-General of the National Games Organising Committee (NGOC), here today. Talking to media persons at Guru Nanak Stadium after attending a review meeting of the regional committee, Mr Bindra said that an estimated Rs 6 crore would be spent for renovation and upgradation of sports stadia and creation of other facilities in Ludhiana.
Work for relaying the synthetic track in Guru Nanak Stadium would be allotted by the end of this month and five government agencies, namely PWD, Municipal Corporation, Markfed, PUDA and PSIEC had been shortlisted for the basework to be taken in hand soon.
Claiming that adequate funds were available for raising necessary sports infrastructure at all the five venues (Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Chandigarh and Anandpur Sahib) of the National Games involving an expenditure of around Rs 40 crore. Mr Bindra said that the State government had released Rs 5 crore and had committed another Rs 10 crore, a sum of Rs 18 crore was allotted by the central government for this purpose and the NGOC proposed to raise the balance Rs 7 crore from sponsorships.
He disclosed that the
Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had taken
up with the Planning Commission the issue of releasing
special grant for raising city infrastructure and a
demand of Rs 47 crore had been made. The money received
under this head would be divided between all the five
cities chosen as venues for the Games.
SYDNEY, May 11 (AP) International Olympic Committee vice-president Kevan Gosper is under fire from all angles Down Under.
Condemnation of Australias most senior Olympic official intensified today after his 11-year-old daughter replaced Yianna Souleles, 15, as the first Australian to carry the Olympic torch following yesterdays flame lighting ceremony at Olympia in Greece.
Gosper denied any influence on the Hellenic Olympic Committees decision to switch the relay order and promote Sophie Gosper, who would be too young by one year to carry the torch But leading politicians, the media, former Olympic champions and general public were critical of Gosper, the bulk saying he should have graciously declined the Greek offer. Talkback radio and newspaper columns were full of scathing attacks on IOC nepotism.
BERLIN, May 11 (AP) Russias Anna Kournikova made a dramatic exit at the German Open tennis tournament, falling to the ground writhing in pain as she sprained her left ankle in a loss to Spains Gala Leon Garcia.
The seventh seeded teenager, got up but Leon Garcia closed out her 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win on the next point, ending an early two-and-half-hour struggle in which Kournikova twice lay on the court and was treated for injuries.
She will undergo further examination for the ankle, but has dropped out of the doubles at the upset-plagued $ 1.08 million us event.
Trailing 4-5 in the final set, Kournikova took a backhand swing and fell to the ground clutching her ankle in front of 7,500 spectators who had crowded the Centre Court to see her play.
The 18-year-old lay on the court for a few minutes with her face covered by a towel and was treated by the courtside trainer, before resuming play and losing on the next rally.
Kournikova had already been treated once during the game, laying down on the court after complaining of stiffness in her arm. That came right after she warded off Leon Garcias first match point at 30-40 with her own backhand shot.
The injuries capped a dramatic match in which Kournikova seesawed between spectacular winners and easy errors against Leon Garcia, a clay court specialist ranked 54 places beneath her at 68th.
Punjab beat RCF
CHANDIGARH, May 11 Gurdaspur defeated Amritsar 64-52 in a closely contested match in the womens section in the Punjab Hot Weather Basketball Tournament here today. At half time Gurdaspur led 28-22. Rajni and Vijayata of Gurdaspur exhibited good three-point shootings.
In an another evenly-contested match, Rest of Punjab beat Rail Coach Factory 75-73. At half time Rest of Punjab were leading 39-33.
PSEB defeated Punjab Juniors (boys) 47-32 leading 34-22 at half time. Punjab Juniors missed five main players available as they were attending the national camp.
Earlier yesterday BSF shocked Punjab State Electricity Board 82-50 in the inaugural match. PSEB, holders of all-India electricity board championship for the year 2000, were expected to give a tough fight to the security men. BSF combined well both in offence and defence and played brilliantly. PSEB were unable to stop the BSF star shooter Mod Singh. Though the teams were level at 14-14 in the fourth minute of play, BSF changed their defensive tactics to lead 41-19 at half-time.
The second half was a one-sided affair. Mod Singh (20) and Vipin Kumar (13) were the main scorers for the winners.
In the second match in the womens section hosts Kapurthala district thrashed Hoshiarpur 24-7 in a dull match. At half time Kapurthala led 11-4. Fancied Punjab Police easily defeated Rest of Punjab 76-29.
CHANDIGARH, May 11 The School Games Federation of India has selected a ten-member Indian schools basketball team which will take part in an invitational Basketball tournament to be held at Dubai from May 16 to 20. The trials were held under the chairmanship of SGFI President CL Negi at Patiala yesterday, according to Mr PS Chhabra, Secretary General, SGFI.
The team is: Riazudin
(MP), Prabhjot (Pb), Navin (Ktk), Suresh (Raj), Ashish
(MP), Gaurav (Del), Harsimran (Pb), Amrish (Chd) &
Harjot (Chd) and KB Vinayak (Mah). Coach-Gurdial Singh,
Cricket tourney from May 14
PATIALA May 11 (FOSR) The Second Patiala District (under-14) Hot Weather Cricket Tournament will be held at MES Sports Complex here from May 14 to June 4. The tournament will be played on a league-cum-knockout basis and 12 teams will take part in it.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |