May 11, 2001,
Medal prospects gloomy:
Ashes will signal Warne’s Test
Buchanan axed as tour
Sticky wicket ahead for
Swati, Pallavi score
Rahman set to leave for
Henin shocks Venus Williams
Kirtane in semis; Ghouse
Kuerten happy with form Bixente Lizarazu, French defender of German champions Bayern Munich challenges Real Madrid's Guti (back) during their UEFA Champions league semifinal second leg match in Munich's Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. — Reuters photo
Bixente Lizarazu, French defender of German champions Bayern Munich challenges Real Madrid's Guti (back) during their UEFA Champions league semifinal second leg match in Munich's Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. — Reuters photo
IHF official in
Bathinda eves corner glory
Medal prospects gloomy: Bharti
New Delhi, May 10
“This is a realistic assessment and we have an outside chance of picking up four more,” Bharti said after a meeting with all the eight federations whose disciplines figure in the inaugural Games to be held here from November 3 to 11.
The top two of the Indian Olympic Association — President Suresh Kalmadi and Secretary-General Randhir Singh — were conspicuous by their absence at the meeting which Bharti said was called to make people accountable.
The Sports Minister expressed her surprise at their absence and said she would take it up with the people concerned.
While Randhir Singh is repotedly out of station, there was a communication gap regarding Kalmadi, according to sources in the IOA.
Immediately after the meeting, the Sports Minister provided the break-up according to which India could expect to win two medals out of 135 in athletics, three out of 45 in boxing, none out of three in football, two out of six in hockey (men and women), six out of 102 in shooting, zero out of 96 in swimming, three out of 28 in tennis and two out of 45 in weightlifting.
With some luck, she said India might win six more in athletics and one each in boxing, shooting, tennis and weightlifting.
At the meeting, also attended by representatives of all the 17 federations likely to participate in the Commonwealth Games and 27 for Asian Games next year, Bharti promised full support.
She said preparations for all the three major events were being reviewed with focus on the Afro-Asian Games. “Our long range plan is for preparing for the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and even the Olympic Games in 2004.”
Stressing on transparency and accountability, the minister did some tough talking and raised three issues with the federations.
The first was that while all their requirements would be met, they will have to be answerable for the performances in their respective disciplines.
As for the second, the minister said the government having granted 100 per cent tax exemption for donations to sports bodies, she wanted to know how much money the federations had collected and how were they spending, particularly at the junior level.
Lastly, she asked the federations for advice on boosting the National Sports Development Fund.
Claiming to be a patient person, Bharti said she had no intention to infringe on the autonomy of sports bodies. “But, the situation is that the government has to provide the necessary back up and funds and has to answer in the Parliament. So, federations had better get their act together”. “They (federations) agreed,” she said.
It was in this spirit, the minister said, she assured the sports bodies that she would cut through all red tape in getting everything ready in time for the games.
About her inspection of the various stadia, Bharti said the synthetic turf for the two hockey venues, National Stadium and Shivaji Stadium would be flown in.
The synthetic athletics track for Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium being highly inflammable would be shipped into India and to save time, a repeat order was being placed with the firm concerned, she said.
The minister said it was the Indira Gandhi Stadium with its leaking roof and falling objects that was creating all the problems.
“None of the experts have been able to spot the problem. May be some ghost is doing it,” she quipped.
She said the repair and upgradation work has been handed over to the original builders of the various stadia, DDA and the NDMC and Urban Development Minister Jagmohan had also promised quick action.
About the clash of the Afro-Asian Games with the World Doubles Championship in Bangalore, Champions’ Trophy hockey tournament in Lahore and the SAF tournament in football, Bharti said all the three were being sorted out. About the formation of the Organising Committee, the minister said it was an internal matter of IOA and she would not like to talk about it.
Goals achieved, says Pollock
Bridgetown, Barbados, May 10
South Africa’s seven-wicket victory in the fifth one-day international yesterday gave the tourists an unassailable 4-1 lead in the seven-match series, with two matches remaining in Trinidad and St Vincent.
“There were two goals for us when we came here — to win the Test series and then the one-dayers — and we’ve managed to achieve that, so all credit to the guys,’’ Pollock said. “They’ve played superbly well in the past four games and looked a class act.’’
After a gruelling tour which has already lasted almost 11 weeks and taken in seven countries, Pollock admitted that he and the team management were keen to finish the series as a contest as early as possible.
“We decided to discuss it with the guys and we said that we were going to treat this game as a World Cup final. This is where we wanted the one-day series to end and we wanted to make sure we finished it off here,’’ Pollock said.
The series has been a far less positive experience for the West Indies, but captain Carl Hooper was philosophical in defeat and determined to keep looking to the future.
Such is life — we move on,’’ Hooper said. “We’ve got to hold our heads up high and we will come through”.
“This is the best group of players that we’ve got and the point is that we can gauge from the games we’ve played against South Africa exactly where we are and where we want to go. South Africa are a brilliant fielding side, disciplined with the bat and ball and these are things we can learn.
“It’s been a tough series and we’ve tried our best. That’s all I can ask from the lads. We’ve got to keep going to the end of the series.”
“I keep telling the guys not to be embarrassed about losing to a side like South Africa, but we need to keep going for 100 overs to beat them.
“We need to keep learning from our mistakes but it’s going to be a slow, long and painful process,’’ Hooper said.
For the South Africans, the final two games are a genuine opportunity to practice the rotation system which has been much talked about but little in evidence over the past five games.
With the talent available, it is as likely to be a rotation of roles within the side as a rotation of players in the squad.
“It is nice that we can relax and enjoy the rest of the series,’’ Pollock said. “There are a few guys who haven’t played much and now we have an opportunity to give them a chance.
“There have been a lot of people on our backs about rotation and under these circumstances we can rotate.
“The nice thing is we can give guys opportunities in decent positions. To play someone and bat him at eight isn’t really rotation because he’s not going to learn much, but in the next few games there may be a chance for the guys to take on new roles and we can have a look at how they perform,’’ Pollock said.
Ashes will signal Warne’s Test future
Sydney, May 10
Statistics back the claim that Warne is the greatest leg-spinner in the history of Test cricket.
In 87 Tests he has been Australia’s highest wicket-taker with 376 at an average of 26.62. But his figures against England underline his supremacy.
In 18 matches he has snared 87 wickets at 24.28, including one 10 wicket match haul and four five-wickets in an innings.
But a series of shoulder and spinning finger injuries appear to have taken their toll on the brash blond wristspinner, who coaxes controversy, like a moth to a flame.
Warne has been far less successful in Test cricket since his shoulder operation in 1998. His bowling average in this period is over 35.
He was flogged by VVS Laxman and company in the three-Test series against India earlier this year — going for 10-505 off 152.1 overs at an expensive 50.50.
At times Warne looked impotent against the free-scoring Indians, particularly in the series-turning second Kolkata Test, even prompting team coach John Buchanan to publicly question his place in the team for the deciding Chennai Test.
Warne admitted it was torrid going on the subcontinent, but was upbeat when he returned home from India.
“I’m not reading too much into it ... We’ll have to get the Poms,” he said.
But doubts persist about Warne’s ability to cut it like he used to with match-winning regularity in the past.
This will be his third Ashes tour to England, and at 32 in September, probably his last.
On his first trip to England in 1993 he dismissed Mike Gatting with an unbelievable legbreak on his first delivery and went on to claim 34 wickets for the series.
Four years later he was a match-winner again, capturing 24. That’s 58 in two Ashes series — no wonder England hold him in some trepidation.
His mentor, former Test leg-spinner Terry Jenner, knows Warne better than most and is confident he can again be a dominant performer in the July-August series.
“I know he’s not as good as he was in 1997, but he’s still good,” says Jenner.
Some believe Warne was fortunate to be included in the Ashes squad. Not Jenner.
“Steve Waugh always used to say about Shane, form is temporary, class is permanent. He’s the greatest leg-spinner ever in the game,” he said.
“He resurrected Test cricket when it was on the wane. That ball against Mike Gatting meant that all kids wanted to be like him, but he bowled so much that the wear and tear took its toll.”
But Jenner believes that a few weeks’ rest, and the spur of winning another Ashes series may be enough to rekindle Warne’s best form.
“Maybe three or four weeks off can inspire him. The gift that God gave him is special. He loves playing for his country and the one thing he will want to do is beat England,” he said.
“If Shane Warne is fit then he doesn’t believe he has any peer — and if he’s not fit, then he comes back to the field.”
Waugh, on his fourth tour to England, is a great believer in Warne’s capabilities and says he can play another significant role against Nasser Hussain’s team.
“He’s a great bowler and I think England have got a problem against him,” says Waugh.
Some commentators believe the Australian selectors erred in not taking Stuart MacGill as a legspinning backup on the Ashes tour, especially with his record against England.
To many, MacGill, who has taken 75 wickets in 16 Tests at 25.02, is no longer considered Australia’s shadow leg-spinner to Warne.
On his last appearance against England bowling on the spin-friendly Sydney Cricket Ground pitch in January 1999, he captured 12 wickets after taking seven in the previous Test in Melbourne. So the pressure is on Warne.
Some believe this Ashes series may signal Warne’s immediate Test future — whether he goes on and plays a few more seasons, or he is forced to realise that he no longer has it.
If Warne cannot reproduce the form on pitches where he has ruled the roost in the past, then the writing will be on the wall.
Buchanan axed as tour selector
Melbourne, May 10
ACB Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said the board had taken the decision to avoid any possible conflict of interest with his coaching duties.
“What the selectors are keen to promote is they want John to be quite independent of the selection process,’’ Mr Speed said.
“I spoke to John about that yesterday. That was a decision made by the Board of Directors on Friday on the recommendation of the national selectors.’’
Australian captain Steve Waugh publicly criticised Buchanan after he told reporters during the recent tour of India that Shane Warne’s place in the Test team was in doubt.
But Waugh, who is a selector on the Ashes tour, said today he was disappointed by the board’s decision to sack Buchanan as a selector.
“I respect the decision that everyone has made but from a personal point of view, I would have liked to have seen him stay,’’ Waugh told reporters.
“I just think he does a good job and he comes from a bit of a different perspective.’’
Asked if he believed there was a conflict between the roles of coach and selector, Waugh said: “I hope not, because it means (the players) won’t be coming to me because I’m still a selector and I’m the captain. I want players to come to me.’’
Mr Speed said the national selectors wanted players to be able to approach their coach about aspects of their game “and it’s not held against them in the selection process’’.
Buchanan was not convinced that changing the normal Ashes tour policy of having the coach, captain and vice-captain select the team, in consultation with the chairman of selectors, was a good move, Mr Speed said.
Sticky wicket ahead for Laloo
Ranchi, May 10
Yadav’s election was announced in Jamshedpur in the newly created state of Jharkhand by Amarendra Kumar Singh, returning officer for the poll, after no other nominations were received on Wednesday, the last day for filing papers. Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar last November but the cricket body still remains common to both states.
Already, there are whispers of wrongdoing. “The election of Laloo Yadav is a clear violation of the rules of the BCA,” said a functionary of the association, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The BCA rules clearly say that a minimum of two years of membership of a district association is required to be eligible to contest the election,” he added.
But then, Laloo Yadav’s nomination papers revealed him to be the chairman of the Muzzaffarpur District Cricket Association (MDCA) since 1998. Said an MDCA official: “We are surprised by the sensational revelation that Laloo Yadav has been holding the post of the chairman of the MDCA for the last three years. Though Yadav has visited Muzaffarpur a number times it was never for cricketing reasons, and we are now shocked to find that he is supposed to be the chairman of our cricket association.”
Swati, Pallavi score
Colombo, May 10
Ganguly’s performance against Barua and Kunte showed the amount of confidence that he has, and the game with black against Sasikiran should well be the unofficial title match.
The day’s round saw Ganguly pummeling Amarawickrama, who is yet to open his account, in a Sicilian game.
When asked about the GM norm possibilities, Ganguly said: “Being a zonal tournament 66 per cent score should fetch a Grandmaster Norm as per FIDE rules, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.”
Moving parallel with Ganguly with 6.0 points is Barua, who overcame slight difficulties before snatching the full point against Taibur Rahman.
Breathing down the leading duo’s neck is GM K.Sasikiran.
After the midway slump, Sasikiran with a hard-fought win over the dynamic Lankan veteran T.D.R.Peiris, has kept pace with Barua and Ganguly on 5.5 points.
“I wasn’t satisfied about my win today. It looked better for black in the middlegame and I just about made it today,” Sasikiran said.
In the women’s section, the number of Indians on top was reduced to two as Meenakshi drew with her sister Vijaylakshmi, to slide down to the second place.
Pallavi Shah and Swati Ghate scored clinical wins to remain in lead with 5.0 points after six rounds.
While Pallavi scored a quick win over tailender Hasini Upasena, Swati worked hard to win over Vinitha Vijayasurya of Sri Lanka in a Sicilian game lasting 52 moves.
Three rounds remain to be played in the women’s section.
Results round 7:
Results round 6:
Rahman set to leave for pilgrimage
New York, May 10
The betting in boxing circles seems to be that Rahman will give the Briton a chance to win back the two titles he lost when the 28-year-old American underdog knocked him out in South Africa last month.
Rahman’s promoter, Cedric Kushner, said on Wednesday “negotiations are at a highly sensitive stage’’ and could not discuss them. He also confirmed the new world champion would leave for Mecca on Sunday for a religious pilgrimage.
“I will present the offers to Hasim and tell him which one I think he should take,’’ Hoffman said, adding that no announcement would be made before the champion returns.
He said he understood that Rahman would complete his pilgrimage in eight days.
A spokesman for Main Events, Lewis’s US promoter, said he was not aware that Rahman, the World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion, had made a decision on his next opponent.
Tyson has filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to force the WBC to give him the first tilt at Rahman.
Tyson’s lawsuit says WBC rules require that a non-mandatory challenger who wins the title — in this case Rahman — must fight the No 1 challenger first. Tyson is ranked No 1 by the WBC.
But WBC president Jose Sulaiman supports a Rahman-Lewis fight first.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for David Tua announced on Wednesday the New Zealander planned to sue the IBF to have it enforce its rule prohibiting contracts for world championships that contain rematch clauses, such as the one between Rahman and Lewis.
Henin shocks Venus Williams Berlin, May 10 Second seed Williams, who had walked away with the Hamburg Cup on Sunday, hit a succession of unforced errors against the 18-year-old before bowing out of the prestigious claycourt event. The 20-year-old American survived three match points before
handling her opponent a fourth with a double fault. Henin, seeded 13th in the $1.185 million event, converted it with a delicate volley to seal victory after just 73 minutes. World number one Martina Hingis had earlier recovered from a tentative start to crush France’s Nathalie Dechy 6-3 6-1 and advance to the last eight. Top seed Hingis, who won in Berlin in 1999, dropped serve in the opening game and enabled her unheralded opponent to build a 3-2 lead. But she then varied her play well with a combination of heavy groundstrokes and astute drop shots to win the next seven games. Struggling with her serve, Dechy fell apart and her nightmare ended when she double faulted on match point after 77 minutes. “She’s a dangerous player, particularly on clay, because she’s very physical, and it was not that easy,”said Hingis, who now faces Spanish baseliner Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. The three-times French Open champion, seeded eighth, overcame Slovakian qualifier Ludmila Cermanova 6-3 1-6 6-3. “I still need a bit of time to adjust to clay but it’s looking good,”added the 20-year-old Hingis, warming up for the French Open starting on May 28. “Every match helps.”
Berlin, May 10
Second seed Williams, who had walked away with the Hamburg Cup on Sunday, hit a succession of unforced errors against the 18-year-old before bowing out of the prestigious claycourt event.
The 20-year-old American survived three match points before handling her opponent a fourth with a double fault. Henin, seeded 13th in the $1.185 million event, converted it with a delicate volley to seal victory after just 73 minutes.
World number one Martina Hingis had earlier recovered from a tentative start to crush France’s Nathalie Dechy 6-3 6-1 and advance to the last eight.
Top seed Hingis, who won in Berlin in 1999, dropped serve in the opening game and enabled her unheralded opponent to build a 3-2 lead.
But she then varied her play well with a combination of heavy groundstrokes and astute drop shots to win the next seven games. Struggling with her serve, Dechy fell apart and her nightmare ended when she double faulted on match point after 77 minutes.
“She’s a dangerous player, particularly on clay, because she’s very physical, and it was not that easy,”said Hingis, who now faces Spanish baseliner Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. The three-times French Open champion, seeded eighth, overcame Slovakian qualifier Ludmila Cermanova 6-3 1-6 6-3.
“I still need a bit of time to adjust to clay but it’s looking good,”added the 20-year-old Hingis, warming up for the French Open starting on May 28. “Every match helps.”
Kirtane in semis; Ghouse ousted
Thiruvananthapuram, May 10
In the quarter-finals here this evening, national grass court champion Mustafa Ghouse was thrashed by 18-year-old Philip Harboe, seeded seventh, in just 72 minutes 6-1 6-2, while Anton Kokurin got the better of the German, Giunor Ghedina 7-6(7-4) 6-0. He was joined in the semis by countrymate Lars Uebel who scored an easy 6-4 6-1 win over compatriot Daniel Lesske.
In the first quarterfinal match, unseeded Kirtane scored an upset 7-5 7-6(7-6) win over Britain’s James Auckland.
In an all-Indian doubles finals tomorrow, second seeded duo of Syed Fazaluddin/Rishi Sridhar will take on fourth seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna/Nitin Kirtane.
In the semifinals today, Rohan Bopanna and Nitin Kirtane upset top seeded Britons, James Auckland/David Sherwood 3-6 6-2 6-2. Second seeded Syed Fazaluddin/Rishi Sridhar beat Germans Daniel Lesske/Lars Uebel 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.
Results: Singles (quarter-finals): 3-Lars Uebel (Ger) b Daniel Lesske (Ger) 6-4 6-1; Nitin Kirtane (Ind) b 5-James Auckland (Bri) 7-5 7-6(7-6); 6-Anton Kokurin (Uzb) b Giunior Ghedina (Ger) 7-6(7-4) 6-0; 7-Philip Harboe (Chl) b Mustafa Ghouse (Ind) 6-1 6-2.
Kuerten happy with form Rome, May 10 Kuerten was in blistering form last night as he dispatched another former French Open Champion Michael Chang 6-1, 6-1 at the Foro Italico in their second round match in the ATP Tennis Masters Series event, setting up a third round encounter with 15th seed Franco Squillari of Argentina. “It was a surprise to me how well I played,” Kuerten said. “I felt very proud of the way I played and am very pleased with myself,” added
Kuerten, who last December was crowned world No 1 when he won the inaugural ATP Champions Race. The victory against Chang ensures he will further narrow the gap on this year’s race leader Andre Agassi of the USA, who was eliminated in the first round here by Alex Calatrava of Spain. It also puts him on course to regain the title he won in 1999 in the eternal city and a $ 400,000 first prize.
Rome, May 10
Kuerten was in blistering form last night as he dispatched another former French Open Champion Michael Chang 6-1, 6-1 at the Foro Italico in their second round match in the ATP Tennis Masters Series event, setting up a third round encounter with 15th seed Franco Squillari of Argentina.
“It was a surprise to me how well I played,” Kuerten said. “I felt very proud of the way I played and am very pleased with myself,” added Kuerten, who last December was crowned world No 1 when he won the inaugural ATP Champions Race.
The victory against Chang ensures he will further narrow the gap on this year’s race leader Andre Agassi of the USA, who was eliminated in the first round here by Alex Calatrava of Spain.
It also puts him on course to regain the title he won in 1999 in the eternal city and a $ 400,000 first prize.
Bayern oust holders Real Madrid
Munich, May 10
Bayern Munich, who lost to Real Madrid at this stage last season, will meet last year’s beaten finalists Valencia in the final in Milan on May 23.
Goals from Brazilian Giovane Elber, his sixth of the campaign, and Jens Jeremies, who like Elber underwent knee surgery only three weeks ago, secured their win with Real Madrid scoring through Portuguese international Luis Figo.
Bayern, who in the previous round avenged their heartbreaking 1999 final defeat by Manchester United, extended their remarkable home record in European Cup/Champions League competition to just three defeats in 75 matches of left Real Madrid without even a draw at their ground in six visits.
Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who was in charge for the final when United turned a one-goal deficit into a 2-1 win in injury-time, praised his players to the heavens.
“The whole team played above themselves to accomplish a superhuman feat of beating a great team like Real Madrid twice in a row,” he said.
“We had to go forward from the start because to qualify for the Champions League final you cannot sit back and play for 0-0,” he added.
The champions had looked down and out after eight minutes when Elber nodded the ball home after Real Madrid failed to clear the ball from Mehment Scholl’s corner with Iker Casillas again failing to impose himself in his box.
Elber had had a great opportunity two minutes earlier to open the score as he latched on to a great ball by Bayern’s English under-21 international Owen Hargreaves, who had come in for the suspended Steffen Effenberg, raced clear of the ponderous Real Madrid defence but his shot was well gathered by Casillas.
Hitzfeld handed out special praise for the Canadian-born Hargreaves, whose behaviour was branded a disgrace by Wales when having trained with their under-21side he turned up playing for England.
Figo, who on the whole was marked out of the game by French international defender Bixente Lizarazu, put Real Madrid back into the match in the 18th minute when he finished off the best move of the match. AFP
Delhi triumph Chandigarh, May 10 The half time score was 2-0 in favour of the winners. Four teams advance into semi-final are: Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab. Rana Vijay Singh , scored two goals in 7th and 60th minutes, while other scorers were Devinder Singh (44th minutes), Virender Kumar (62nd minute), Budh Raj (70th minute) and Vijay Kumar (77th minute).
Chandigarh, May 10
The half time score was 2-0 in favour of the winners. Four teams advance into semi-final are: Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab. Rana Vijay Singh , scored two goals in 7th and 60th minutes, while other scorers were Devinder Singh (44th minutes), Virender Kumar (62nd minute), Budh Raj (70th minute) and Vijay Kumar (77th minute).
IHF official in Dubai
Dubai, May 10
Mr K. Dorai Swamy, an IHF national-level umpire, said he had been asked by IHF secretary Jyotikumaran to meet the UAE officials in connection with the proposed series. “After my initial discussions, Jyotikumaran will be personally arriving here to meet the UAE hockey officials,” he told Gulf News.
Mr Reze Abdi, the coordinator of the UAE hockey committee, said “we are delighted at the arrival of an IHF official for discussions. Mr Swamy will be meeting Major Saeed Al Suweidi, the honorary secretary of the UAE hockey committee tomorrow,” he added.
The hockey series is likely to attract a large number of expatriates from the two countries and may become as popular as the cricket tournament hosted by the Cricketers’ Benefit Fund Series (CBFS) at Sharjah.
Bathinda eves corner glory Bathinda, May 10 Babita Rani, won one gold and set a new Asian record in 82 kg and was declared ‘strongest woman of Asia’ by lifting 457 kg weight. Sunita Rani won one gold in overall 90 kg weight category by lifting 409 kg. Beant Kaur won one silver and lifted 336 kg in the 67 kg weight category.
Bathinda, May 10
Babita Rani, won one gold and set a new Asian record in 82 kg and was declared ‘strongest woman of Asia’ by lifting 457 kg weight. Sunita Rani won one gold in overall 90 kg weight category by lifting 409 kg. Beant Kaur won one silver and lifted 336 kg in the 67 kg weight category.
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