SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S



Portugal storm into first major final
Lisbon, June 30
Hosts Portugal roared into their first major final as goals from midfielders Cristiano Ronaldo and Maniche sealed a deserved 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the first Euro 2004 semi-final on Wednesday.


Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal as Netherlands' Edgar Davids and goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar look on
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (right) celebrates his goal as Netherlands' Edgar Davids (centre) and goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar look on during their Euro 2004 semifinal match at Lisbon's Jose Alvalade stadium Wednesday. — Reuters photo

Bruckner’s magic transforms Czechs
Lisbon, June 30
The stylish and nerve-free quarterfinal performance by the Czech Republic against Denmark, epitomised by the finishing of Milan Baros, removed any doubts that the east European dark horses have the talent to become European champions.

Greece seek fairytale ending
Oporto, June 30
Greece have punched well above their weight at Euro 2004 and now believe they can knock out the free-scoring Czech Republic to reach their first ever final. The Greeks face the beaten finalists from 1996 in the competition’s second semi-final at the Dragao Stadium here tomorrow.

Baros, Dellas in battle of surprises
Lisbon, June 30
Few would have expected a duel between Milan Baros and Traianos Dellas to be decisive to the outcome of Euro 2004 but much will hinge on their performances in tomorrow’s semifinal between the Czech Republic and Greece.

Roddick fights through to semis
London, June 30
Andy Roddick reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second straight year on Wednesday with a no-nonsense win over Dutchman Sjeng Schalken.

Top seed seed Serena Williams celebrates her victory over compatriot Jennifer Capriati Top seed seed Serena Williams celebrates her victory over compatriot Jennifer Capriati in their quarterfinal match at the Wimbledon tennis championships on Wednesday. Williams won
6-1, 6-1.
— Reuters photo





Barcelona's new Swedish recruit Henrik Larsson holds his jersey during a presentation ceremony at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona
Barcelona's new Swedish recruit Henrik Larsson holds his jersey during a presentation ceremony at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona on Wednesday. Larsson, 32, who left Scottish champions Celtic at the end of last season, is Barcelona's third reinforcement for next season. — Reuters



EURO 2004

SEMIFINAL line-up

Netherlands vs Portugal (June 30)

Czech Republic vs Greece (July 1)



Today’s match

Second semifinal

Czech Republic vs Greece
(12.15 am, IST)



EARLIER STORIES
 
Mahesh-Elena duo advances
London, June 30
Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Likhovtseva have progressed to the third round of the mixed doubles in the Wimbledon Grand Slam championships.


Martina Navratilova (left) and partner Leander Paes congratulate each other during their second round mixed doubles match against Sebastian Prieto and Emmanuelle Gagliardi at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Navratilova and Paes won the match 6-1, 6-3. —AP/PTI photo

Martina Navratilova and partner Leander Paes congratulate each other during their second round mixed doubles match against Sebastian Prieto and Emmanuelle Gagliardi

No controversy over openers, says Ganguly
New Delhi, June 30
Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly today sought to play down the raging debate on India’s opening combination, saying there was no controversy and the matter would be sorted out before the Test series against Australia gets underway. In video (28k, 56k)


Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly with his deputy Rahul Dravid, both recipient of Padma Shree, at civil investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly with his deputy Rahul Dravid

ICC institutes ‘Oscar’ awards
Former West Indies cricket captain Clive Llyod gestures during a Press conference in New Delhi
New Delhi, June 30
The International Cricket Council, in a welcome development, has instituted its own ‘Oscar’ awards to reward meritorious cricketers and cricket teams.

In video (28k, 56k)


Former West Indies cricket captain Clive Llyod gestures during a Press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.  Llyod was in New Delhi to announce the ICC 'Oscar' awards - 2004. 
— PTI photo

India look to salvage pride against Germany
Amsterdam, June 30
With their hopes of a place in the final dashed after two consecutive defeats, a demoralised India will play for pride when they take on European powerhouse Germany in their last match of the Rabobank Four-Nation Hockey Tournament here tomorrow.

Harmeet sets sights on US PGA Tour
Chandigarh, June 30
Thirtyfour-year-old Chandigarh golfer Harmeet Kahlon has set his sights on the prestigious US PGA this year He is heading for USA in the middle of next month to get valuable tips from a renowned coaching school.

Nakai, Vishwanath elected
Nagpur, June 30
Sandeep Nakai of Associated Press and G. Vishwanath of the Hindu were unanimously elected as President and secretary, respectively, of the Sports Journalists Federation of India during its annual general meeting and elections.
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Portugal storm into first major final

Lisbon, June 30
Hosts Portugal roared into their first major final as goals from midfielders Cristiano Ronaldo and Maniche sealed a deserved 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the first Euro 2004 semi-final on Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old Ronaldo headed home a Deco corner after 26 minutes and Maniche blasted in a stunning 58th-minute second to send the Alvalade Stadium and the entire nation wild.

The disappointing Dutch were given brief hope by Jorge Andrade's 63rd-minute own goal but were outclassed by the Portuguese and have now lost four of their five European Championship semi-finals.

Portugal, defeated in the 1984 and 2000 European Championship semis and in the last four at the 1966 World Cup, will play Greece or the Czech Republic in Sunday's final in Lisbon.

The victory continued Portugal's remarkable recovery from their opening day loss to Greece and they can now emulate the Netherlands in 1988 by winning the title after losing their first game.

Portugal, inspired by Luis Figo in his 109th international, took a deserved lead when Ronaldo was inexplicably left unmarked at a Deco corner to power a header past the rooted Edwin van der Sar from close range.

Striker Pauleta, who missed the quarter-final win over England through suspension, should have buried a Maniche cross after 35 minutes following a great build-up but shot straight at Van der Sar, while Figo hit the post with a superb curling effort four minutes before the break.

Dutch coach Dick Advocaat threw on striker Roy Makaay for the second half in place of the ineffective Marc Overmars and attacking midfielder Rafael van der Vaart for defender Wilfred Bouma in an effort to boost his attack.

It was Portugal who should have scored again, however, when Pauleta shot straight at Van der Sar when clean through.

Maniche showed the centre forward how to finish soon after though when he sent a wonderful 20-metre shot arcing beyond Van der Sar following a short corner.

The Netherlands got back into the game five minutes later when centre back Andrade, trying to cut out a from Giovanni van Bronckhorst cross aimed at striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, succeeded only in looping the ball over Ricardo and into his own net.

The hosts had gone out at the semi-final stage in the last four European Championships but Portugal ended that run by defending solidly for the remainder of the game to set off another sleepless night for the residents of Lisbon. — Reuters
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Bruckner’s magic transforms Czechs

Lisbon, June 30
The stylish and nerve-free quarterfinal performance by the Czech Republic against Denmark, epitomised by the finishing of Milan Baros, removed any doubts that the east European dark horses have the talent to become European champions.

Karel Bruckner and his footballers are reaching a confident level of form that has them almost irresistible favourites against Greece in the semifinal. The one man who has taken the majority of praise for the flowering of this Czech side is coach Bruckner, the man domestically known as, The Magician.

In quite paranormal fashion, Bruckner has taken a team that missed out rather dismally on qualification for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, and turned them into probably the best team in Europe right now.

He has done that by revitalising the veteran trio of Karel Poborsky, Pavel Nedved and Jan Koller, and also taking into the fold talented youngsters like Tomas Rosicky and tournament top scorer Baros.

He has a special relationship with some of the players after leading many of them in their formative years on the U-21 and U-23 team. He lead the U-21 team to second in Europe in 2000, while at the Olympics the same year his side were eliminated at the group stage with two draws and a defeat. Baros featured for both sides.

A 20-match unbeaten run to start off his tenure quieted some critics who thought that the 64-year old did not have enough experience abroad or in major club football.

A semifinal appearance at the Euro 2004 leaves Bruckner as one of the few coaches who started the tournament in Portugal guaranteed to lead his team into the vital 2006 World Cup qualifiers that begin in September.

The Czech Republic will face the Netherlands again in group 1 of the European Zone qualifying, along with Romania, Finland, Macedonia, Armenia and Andorra. The Czechs and Dutch have now played home and away in qualifying for the Euro 2004, in the finals themselves and will meet again twice on the long road to Germany 2006. And, of course, the possibility exists for a re-match in the Euro final after the Czechs remarkable 3-2 comeback in the group stage.

After victory over Holland, Nedved famously compared the white-haired boss to a 12th player on the pitch, and Bruckner has backed up that boast with several astute tactical changes through the tournament. His substitutions and positional re-shufflings were widely credited with contributing to his team’s three come-from-behind victories in group D.

As usual the coach was being secretive about any strategic plans that he had for the last four match. He did make some comments on his thoughts for the shock semifinalists Greece.

“I have seen all of their contests; particularly interesting was the match against Portugal. I think they have a very strong defensive line.”

But, he pointed out the next day that the challenge will be more than one of breaking down Greece.

“I don’t agree that they rely only on destructive play,” he said. They showed an attacking mind in the opening match.”

That shock 1-2 reverse for Portugal is no doubt fresh in the mind of the man who has had all the tricks up his sleeve at Euro 2004. He will try to make the Greeks disappear at Portos Dragao Stadium on Thursday, 1 July. — DPA
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Greece seek fairytale ending

Oporto, June 30
Greece have punched well above their weight at Euro 2004 and now believe they can knock out the free-scoring Czech Republic to reach their first ever final.

The Greeks face the beaten finalists from 1996 in the competition’s second semi-final at the Dragao Stadium here tomorrow.

Appearing in only their third tournament, the Greeks have been a revelation with wins over hosts Portugal in their opening match and defending champions France in the quarter-finals.

Many had predicted they would be flying home after the group stage, but under wily German coach Otto Rehhagel the Greek philosophy outsmarted two of the pre-championship favourites with smash-and-grab victories.

Revelling in their tag as underdogs, Greece’s success has been built on a rock-solid defence and their swift counter-attacking play has reaped rich rewards.

Midfielder Georgios Karagounis is happy to have put Greek football on the map, but having proved they can live with the big boys and confidence sky high, he now feels they can make the final.

“The Czechs have won all of their four matches and are favourites on Thursday and maybe for the championships,” said the 27-year-old Inter Milan player, a free transfer signing from Panathinaikos last summer.

“We have nothing to lose but it’s such a huge occasion we don’t want to let it pass us by. We desperately want to reach the final.”

Karagounis insisted the Greeks would not change their game plan to try and master a team that has scored 10 goals in four matches.

“We are not Brazil, we stick to what we are good at,” he said.

In their only other appearance at the European championships in 1980, Greece finished bottom of their group behind eventual winners West Germany.

In their only appearance at a World Cup in 1994 in the USA they finished bottom of their group with no points.

Veteran Czech striker Vladimir Smicer said Greece’s march to the semis reminded him of his own team’s performances at Euro ’96 in England when they took everybody by surprise by reaching the final, which they lost to Germany.

“They are like the Czech team in 1996. Nobody expected us to get to the final but we were there,” said the Liverpool forward.

“So we must be very careful, they are not just there because they had luck. They’ve played some very good games and I think it will not be easy for us.

“It is a semi-final. Greece have played very well, they have beaten France and Portugal, they must be a good team. We are the favourites, but it does not change anything on the pitch.” The Czechs will be looking for more goals from in-form striker Milan Baros.

The Liverpool marksman netted twice in the 3-0 quarter-final win over Denmark and is the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals.

Czech centre-back Rene Bolf resumed training yesterday after limping off injured against the Danes and is available for selection, but defender Martin Jiranek will miss the match with a groin strain.

Greece coach Rehhagel has a full squad to choose from with Fiorentina striker Zisis Vryzas back from suspension and midfielder Stylios Giannakopoulos fully recovered from a shin injury.

The Czech Republic have not lost to Greece in their six previous meetings, winning five and drawing the other.

Five players are walking the suspension tightrope and will miss the final if they are booked tomorrow.

They are Giorgios Karagounis and Theodoros Zagorakis for Greece and Marek Jankulovski, Tomas Ujfalusi and Pavel Nedved for the Czechs.

Juventus midfielder Nedved missed the 2003 Champions League final after receiving a booking in the semi-final against Real Madrid.

An attempt by his team to have the booking re-examined was rejected by UEFA yesterday. — AFP
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Baros, Dellas in battle of surprises

Lisbon, June 30
Few would have expected a duel between Milan Baros and Traianos Dellas to be decisive to the outcome of Euro 2004 but much will hinge on their performances in tomorrow’s semifinal between the Czech Republic and Greece.

Czech striker Baros has scored in all their four games so far and his five goals, including two in the quarterfinal win over Denmark, make him the unexpected leading scorer.

The 22-year-old could equal Frenchman Michel Platini’s record of scoring in five successive European Championship finals matches should he find the target against the Greeks.

Centre half Dellas, one of the most impressive defenders in the tournament, stands between Baros and that record and, just like his opponent, he came to Portugal after a disappointing season with his club.

Baros managed just one goal in 13 appearances for Liverpool while Dellas was left on the fringes at AS Roma featuring in only 12 Serie A matches.

While Baros is one of the few surprises in an excellent Czech side that has fully lived up to expectations, Dellas is among many unexpected successes in the Greek squad. 
Otto Rehhagel’s team have been producing surprises since the first day of Euro 2004, beating hosts and fellow semifinalists Portugal in the opening match and qualifying ahead of Spain and Russia from group A.

That was the first time the Greeks had got beyond the group stage in a major tournament but they went one better when they ended the hopes of holders France in the quarterfinals.

Rehhagel has lively striker Zisis Vryzas, whose goal in the 2-1 defeat to Russia ensured second place in the group, back from suspension and he is expected to return to the attack at the expense of Demis Nikolaidis. — Reuters
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Roddick fights through to semis

Fourth seed Amelie Mauresmo of France celebrates her victory over ninth seed Paola Suarez of Argentina
Fourth seed Amelie Mauresmo of France celebrates her victory over ninth seed Paola Suarez of Argentina at the end of their quarterfinal match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London on Wednesday. Mauresmo won 6-0, 5-7, 6-1. — Reuters photo

London, June 30
Andy Roddick reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second straight year on Wednesday with a no-nonsense win over Dutchman Sjeng Schalken.

After two tight tiebreak sets, the second seed and U.S. Open champion ran away with the third for a 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory on court one, showboating on match point with a spectacular leaping smash.

"Hey, it was a dog-fight," the American said. "I had to work for it out there. That second set tiebreak was huge, coming out straight off a rain break."

Tim Henman's Wimbledon dream crumbled in the quarterfinals for the second successive year when he was thrashed 6-7, 4-6, 2-6 by unseeded Croatian Mario Ancic.

Henman was a sorry shadow of his normal self on an overcast Centre Court and his defeat left Britain still searching for its first men's singles champion since 1936.

Ancic (20) made a name for himself in 2002 when he knocked out Switzerland's Roger Federer in the first round and his huge serve and occasional baseline brilliance was too much for the British fifth seed who subsided totally in the third set.

In the women's section, Serena Williams exacted the sweetest revenge to secure a semifinal spot on Wednesday with a humbling defeat of arch-rival Jennifer Capriati.

Having lost in the last eight of the French Open to her fellow American earlier this month, the champion and top seed dished out a 6-1, 6-1 hammering in 45 mercifully-brief minutes — the most one-sided defeat of the pair's 16 meetings.

"When you play Jennifer, you've got to come out really strong," the 22-year-old said. "So that's what I just tried to do ... really come out strong and smokin'."

She will continue her defence with a semi-final against Amelie Mauresmo — a repeat of their 2002 last-four clash — after the Frenchwoman posted a see-saw 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Paola Suarez.

"Well, it's going to be good," Serena said. "I like playing Amelie a lot ... she plays well on the grass ... she does well here, so I'm looking forward to playing her again."
— Reuters
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Mahesh-Elena duo advances

London, June 30
Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Likhovtseva have progressed to the third round of the mixed doubles in the Wimbledon Grand Slam championships.

The Indo-Russian pair defeated Chris Haggard of South Africa and Zi Yan of China in a keenly contested match in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). For a place in the quarterfinals, Bhupathi-Likhovtseva will meet Daniel Nestor of Canada and Lina Krasnoroutskaya of Russia, who recorded a facile 6-2, 6-2 victory over Michael Hill of Austria and Tathiana Garbin of Italy here yesterday.

In boys’ doubles, fifth seeds Karan Rastogi and Chu-Huan Yi of Chinese Taipei advanced to the second round with a hard fought three-set win.

Trailing by a set, Rastogi-Yi rallied superbly to beat Austrians Martin Fischer and Phillip Oswald 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-2. They now take on US-Argentine duo of Vahid Mirzadeh and Juan Pablo Amado.

However, Divij Sharan and Tushar Liberhan lost 3-6, 4-6 to top seeds Alex Kuznetsov of the USA and Mihail Zverev of Germany in the first round.

The Indian challenge in the girls’ doubles ended when Tara Iyer and Elizabeth Kobak of the USA went down to Katerina Bondarenko of Ukraine and Madaline Gojnea of Romania in the first round. The Indo-US pair lost 6-3, 0-6, 5-7. PTI
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No controversy over openers, says Ganguly

New Delhi, June 30
Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly today sought to play down the raging debate on India’s opening combination, saying there was no controversy and the matter would be sorted out before the Test series against Australia gets underway.

Ganguly, who had anointed the aggressive Yuvraj Singh as the new Test opener during the fitness camp in Bangalore recently, said a decision would be taken keeping the team’s interest in mind.

“There is no controversy (about the opening combination). Even if it is there, it will be sorted out,” he told reporters after being conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award by the President APJ Abdul Kalam at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Ganguly, the country’s most successful Test captain, said it was a great honour to receive the award.

“It is a great honour to receive this award. I am extremely happy about it,” he said.

Asked whether the award would put additional pressure on him now, the stylish left-hander said “the pressure of performance will always be there for any sportsperson”.

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid, who also received the Padma Shri, said “it is a great honour for me to receive this prestigious award”.

Athletes KM Beenamol and Anju Bobby George and Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey were the other sportspersons to receive the award.

Anju and Tirkey, however, could not make it to the ceremony because of their overseas assignments. Tirkey is taking part in the four-nation tournament in Amsterdam while Anju is in Zagreb for an athletic meet.

Ganguly, who has transformed the Indian team into a fighting unit since taking over the command in 2000, has a record 15 Test victories to his credit eclipsing Mohammad Azahruddin’s tally of 14 wins as captain.

A veteran of 73 Tests, Ganguly has compiled 4586 runs at an average of 42.07 in the longer version of the game and has 9309 runs in the one-dayers at an average of 42.12.

Dravid, nick-named ‘The Wall’, has been one of the batting mainstays in recent times with an impressive average of 58.09 in 78 Tests and 39.40 in the ODIs.

Both Dravid and Ganguly mixed freely with the invited guests after the function. Dravid introduced his wife and other family members to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Opposition LK Advani.

Anju became India’s first long jumper to win a bronze medal in the world athletics meet in Paris early this year while KM Beenamol had won two gold medals in the Busan Asian Games.

Tirkey, an outstanding defender, has led the country to victory in the Asia Cup and Afro-Asian Games. — PTI
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ICC institutes ‘Oscar’ awards
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, June 30
The International Cricket Council (ICC), in a welcome development, has instituted its own ‘Oscar’ awards to reward meritorious cricketers and cricket teams.

The awards will carry only trophies, and not any cash prizes, but the prestige associated with the award is so great that henceforth, cricketers can look forward to official recognition of their feats, at the highest level, and put an end to various ad hoc awards currently being offered by multinational companies, and other corporate houses.

ICC referees panel member and a key member of the awards selection committee, Clive Lloyd, the former West Indian cricket captain, announced here today that the inaugural awards function would be held at the Alexandra Palace in London on September 7.

Seven player-related awards will be presented in two categories — individual and team awards. The individual awards are: Cricketer of the Year, Test Player of the Year, One-Day International Player of the Year, and Emerging Player of the Year.

The team awards are — Test Team of the Year, One-Day International Team of the Year and Spirit of Cricket Award. Other awards include Umpire of the Year.

The awards have been established for all players at international level, both in Test and one-day international cricket.
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India look to salvage pride against Germany

Amsterdam, June 30
With their hopes of a place in the final dashed after two consecutive defeats, a demoralised India will play for pride when they take on European powerhouse Germany in their last match of the Rabobank Four-Nation Hockey Tournament here tomorrow.

The much-hyped specialised training in the USA seems to have borne little fruit India looking miserably out of sorts of during their 1-6 thrashing at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan yesterday.

The match against Pakistan was crucial to India making it to the final after their defeat in the opening encounter to Olympic champions Holland.

But India were thoroughly exposed against a determined Pakistan side who need to win against Holland in their last league match tomorrow to progress to the summit clash. — PTI
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Harmeet sets sights on US PGA Tour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Thirtyfour-year-old Chandigarh golfer Harmeet Kahlon has set his sights on the prestigious US PGA this year He is heading for USA in the middle of next month to get valuable tips from a renowned coaching school. Harmeet, an officer with Oil India and sponsored by India Cement, will be back to compete in the Asian PGA Tournament in China from August 19 to 22.

“This year I am planning to try for the US PGA Tour. I am examining and studying the details for the first phase of the qualifying tournaments which will be held at various venues in October-November. I will be more specific after returning from the USA after attending the one-week training in Dave Pelz Short Game School in Florida. The main emphasis on my training will be on specialising in putting and short game,” says Harmeet who turned professional in 1999 after remaining a top amateur golfer of the country for 22 years in different categories.

Another important part of his visit to the USA will to see the various golf equipment manufacturing factories in California (Santiago). Knowledge of the equipment is also very essential for a golfer.

“My wife Shalini Kahlon will be accompanying me to the USA. As she has been caddying for me in the last few tournaments, Shalini has learnt the golf terminology and has started analysing my game carefully. She will be an asset to me on the US tour and coming tournaments,” says Kahlon.

Harmeet is confident of becoming the second Indian to qualify for the US PGA Tour after Arjun Atwal had achieved this distinction last year. “At present I am resting but mentally preparing myself for the tough and testing road ahead. My present ranking in the Asian PGA Tour is 38th and my earnings at the half-way stage have already crossed $ 35,133 till today in the current season. My 2003 earning was $ 42,751 and ranking on the Asian Tour was 48th. I have noticed a tremendous improvement but I know I still have to work hard with scientific approach to achieve my immediate goal of qualifying for the US PGA. I understand that the task is difficult but not impossible,” says Harmeet Kahlon.

Giving details of his main achievements in the current season, 1998 Arjun Awardee Kahlon explains: “I have so far played nine tournaments and made the cut in seven. Four were on the European Tour where I had made the cut in three. Top ten once in Macau Open where I finished seventh, my best round on a par-71 course in Macau was 67. My average scoring in the Asian Tour was 72.04. Regarding my worst score which I would like to forget was five over 77 in the Indian Open.”

Trained by world famous golf trainer Donato di Ponziano of Italy, Harmeet Kahlon thinks a lot of Indian youngsters are shaping well.

“The future of Indian golf is very bright,” opines the seasoned campaigner who was voted for the Rookie Year Award in 1999-2000.

His first title triumph in Hero Honda Masters in 2002, a part of the Asian PGA Tour, gave him two-year exemption. Since turning professional (1999-2004), Harmeet finished once winner, four-time runner-up, thrice joint runner-up, once fourth and once tied fourth.
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Nakai, Vishwanath elected

Nagpur, June 30
Sandeep Nakai of Associated Press and G. Vishwanath of the Hindu were unanimously elected as President and secretary, respectively, of the Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) during its annual general meeting and elections.

Chandrashekhar Sant of Maharashtra Times was re-elected as the treasurer.

The 15-member SJFI executive body was unanimously elected for a two year (2004-2006) term yesterday, a note said here.

The new SJFI team: President — Sandeep Nakai (AP); vice-presidents — Sudhir Shrivastava (Nav Bharat), Manoj Chaturvedi (Sahara Samay), Nirmal Shekhar and S. Sabhayakanan (both The Hindu); secretary G. Vishwanath (The Hindu). Joint Secretary- Uday Ranganath. Executive members, — Dara Pochkhanwala (Mumbai Samachar), Rakesh Thapliyal (Hindustan), Alok Ghosh (Dainik Sambad), Suven Raha (Kalantar), Subodh Mall Barua (Dainik Asom), B. Rajamouli Chary (Eenadu) and Ikram Khan (Times of India). — PTI
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 BRIEFLY

ZAHEER BOWLING FASTER
CHENNAI:
Thanks to the advice of biomechanics and physiology expert David John from Australia, left arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan is now bowling faster. Implementing the well researched changes in his action in the last two days at MRF Foundation, he is bowling faster, former Australian speedster Dennis Lilee, who is helping the Indian, said. John, who analysed the Baroda bowler’s action on video during the tours of Australia and Pakistan, advised him to make more use of his non-bowling arm, rising it further up in his action. — UNI

MARADONA’S GIRLFRIEND
MEXICO CITY: Former football star Diego Maradona’s 20-year-old Cuban girlfriend is expecting a baby in November, a Mexican newspaper reported Tuesday. According to Reforma newspaper, Adonay Fruto is five months pregnant and is anxiously awaiting the return of Maradona, currently at a psychiatric clinic in Argentina undergoing drug rehabilitation. Maradona, (43) has two teenaged daughters in Argentina and is divorced from Claudia Villafane. — DPA

CHUCKING ROW
NEW DELHI: Celebrated cricketer and match referee Clive Lloyd today questioned the rationale behind banning the away-going delivery of Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan now when he had already played for more than a decade. “It is funny if we say now that he is throwing. The guy has already played for more than a decade and is now the highest Test wicket-taker in the world,” the former West Indies captain said when asked to comment on the ban on Muralitharan’s ‘doosra’, a ball that moves away from right-handers. Lloyd said the menace of illegal bowling needed to be tackled at an early stage so that it did not get to the Test level. — PTI
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