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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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S P O R T S

IHF sacks two coaches after Holland disaster
New Delhi, July 6
In the aftermath of India's dismal showing in the four-nation hockey tournament in Holland, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) today sacked two of the coaches but chose to retain the German experts with dubious past.

Indian Hockey Federation President K.P.S. Gill speaks to mediapersons in New Delhi Indian Hockey Federation President K.P.S. Gill speaks to mediapersons in New Delhi on Tuesday.
— PTI photo

Rathore wins gold in Asian meet
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
New Delhi, July 6
World No. 3 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s preparations for the Athens Olympics got a boost today when he won the double trap gold in the 2004 Asian Clay Shooting Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.

Don’t poach coach, Greeks warn Germans
Berlin, July 6
Greek Football Federation President Vasilios Gagatsis has warned his German counterparts against poaching German coach Otto Rehhagel, who led rank outsiders Greece to the European championship title.

Portuguese soccer star Luis Figo looks at his medal after being decorated by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio at the Belem presidential palace in Lisbon Portuguese soccer star Luis Figo looks at his medal after being decorated by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio at the Belem presidential palace in Lisbon on Monday. Portugal lost 0-1 to Greece in the Euro 2004 final on Sunday. Reaching the final of the Euro 2004 was Portugal's highest achievement ever in international football. 
— AP/PTI




 

Juan Carlos Ferrero rubs his nose after losing the first round match against Austria's Stefan Koubek at the Allianz Suisse Open in Gstaad
Juan Carlos Ferrero rubs his nose after losing the first round match against Austria's Stefan Koubek at the Allianz Suisse Open in Gstaad on Tuesday. Koubek won 7-6, 7-4, 6-4. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES
 

Euro 2004: underdogs silenced the big guns
Lisbon, July 6
Euro 2004 kicked off and ended with a one-goal victory for Greece over Portugal, with the only argument being which was the more stunning surprise. In between, there was plenty of fine football and memorable moments.

Pathan cool despite competition
Chennai, July 6
Despite the increase in the number of young fast bowlers in the country and growing competition, Indian pacer Irfan Pathan remains cool and says it does not put any pressure on him.

Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble interacts with mentally-challenged children at the Vidyasagar School for Multiple Disabilities in Chennai
Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble interacts with mentally-challenged children at the Vidyasagar School for Multiple Disabilities in Chennai on Tuesday. — PTI

Editorial: American cricket

Record looks beyond me, says Warne
Cairns, Australia, July 6
Shane Warne said today he gave himself little chance of taking the eight wickets he needed in this week’s second Test to break Muttiah Muralitharan’s world record. “It’s probably doubtful that I’m going to take eight wickets, as this wicket generally suits the quicks a lot more than the spinners,” Warne told reporters in Cairns ahead of Friday’s second Test against Sri Lanka. Warne took 3 for 20 and 0 for 61 in Darwin last week as Australia clinched a 149-run win inside three days of play in the first Test of the two-match series.

Beenamol mentioned in Railway budget
New Delhi, July 6
Ace middle distance runner and Asian Games gold medallist K.M. Beenamol, who has been honoured with the Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for her sterling performances, received a special mention today in the maiden Railway budget of the UPA government.

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IHF sacks two coaches after Holland disaster

New Delhi, July 6
In the aftermath of India's dismal showing in the four-nation hockey tournament in Holland, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) today sacked two of the coaches but chose to retain the German experts with dubious past.

The two members of the current Indian support staff — assistant coach Harendra Singh and goalkeeping coach M.R. Negi — would make way for Olympian Jagbir Singh and Dutch expert Frank Leictre, IHF president Gill told a press conference here.

"Jagbir would assist chief coach Rajinder Singh," Gill said while rejecting the view that the new staff would hardly have any time to bring about improvements in the team.

"The time is sufficient," Gill said. The two German experts, Oliver Kurtz and Gerhard Rach, who have been in the news for the wrong reasons, have been retained to assist the Indian team for the Athens Olympics with Gill saying that their past was "irrelevant."

The Germans, who were appointed by the IHF in May to overlook India's training programme, had come under scrutiny following media reports said Rach was convicted and had served a jail term for tax evasion and fraud four years ago while Kurtz was caught for a doping offence in 1987.

A defiant Gill said the duo would not only be retained till the Olympics, but would also visit the country to hold "special coaches camp" sometime after the mega event, in Athens in August.

Jagbir promises an improved team Olympian Jagbir Singh identified lack of co-ordination and tactics as India's main shortcomings while promising to mould it into a winning combination once again before the Athens Olympics next month.

"We are playing as three teams in one team — the defence, forwards and midfielders lack co-ordination," Jagbir said as India grapples to find its bearings after a dismal performance in a four-nation tournament in Holland.

"We are also holding the ball too much and dancing to the tune of opponents. We lack the tactical part," he said.

Jagbir, who played from 1988 to 1992 and represented India in Seoul and Barcelona Olympic Games, said the biggest positive about the team despite the recent lacklustre performances was the fact that they were confident of doing well in the Olympics.

"I have talked to the players. They have the energy and confidence to do something worthwhile for the country. They want to live up to the expectations of the nation," he said.

"My job is to ensure that their confidence level does not go down. The team will be in a different mould in Olympics."

A certified high-performance coach, Jagbir said he had faith in his own coaching capabilities and that is why he had taken up the job.

Jagbir would be leaving for Germany alongwith the team on July 10. India is scheduled to play a four-nation tournament in Dusseldorf starting on July 16.

The former player brushed aside suggestion that he would hardly have much to do with chief coach Rajinder Singh, two German experts and a Ducth coach around. "It would be a challenge. I am ready with my inputs," he said. — PTI 

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Rathore wins gold in Asian meet

New Delhi, July 6
World No. 3 Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s preparations for the Athens Olympics got a boost today when he won the double trap gold in the 2004 Asian Clay Shooting Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.

Rathore’s win took India’s tally to four gold and one silver medal in the July 1-7 meet. The Indian finished with a score of 132/150 (44, 46, 42) in the preliminary round shot and 43 in the final to bag the title.

Rathore went into the final in second place but eclipsed his rivals in the title round to finish ahead of Shih Wei Tin of Taipei China 174 (131 + 43) and Ruw Hamed of Kuwait, who settled for the bronze with a total of 173, after going into the final in top spot, according to a press note issued by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

Rathore’s superb show also helped the Indian team, also comprising Moraad Ali Khan (128) and Ronjan Sondhi (128), to win the gold with a total of 388/450. Taipei won the silver with 382 points and Qatar (373) earned the bronze.

Earlier, India won two gold medals in trap shooting with Mansher Singh, who will also vie for glory in Athens, picking up the individual gold. He also aided the Indian team, also including Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Anwar Sultan, to win the gold.

Manavjit won India’s lone silver, finishing second behind Mansher Singh in the individual competition. — PTI

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Don’t poach coach, Greeks warn Germans

Berlin, July 6
Greek Football Federation President Vasilios Gagatsis has warned his German counterparts against poaching German coach Otto Rehhagel, who led rank outsiders Greece to the European championship title.

Rehhagel has been tipped as a candidate to replace Rudi Voeller as the German boss following the resignation of the man who guided Germany to the 2002 World Cup final but whose side was eliminated in the first round of Euro 2004.

But Gagatsis the daily Bild that the availability of the 65-year-old Rehhagel “was out of the question” and added that the German’s contract had been extended until 2008.

“Otto has just extended his contract with us not only until 2006 but even until 2008,” said Gagatsis. “He’ll retire with us. He’s told me so.”

DFB President Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder said they intended creating a four or five-man group to agree on who should replace Voeller with a decision expected during their annual general meeting on October 23.

Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has already turned down the job.

ATHENS: Greece’s President on Tuesday joined the chorus of voices pleading with German coach Otto Rehhagel to stay on at the helm of the triumphant national team.

‘’We plead with him to stay in Greece,’’ Mr Costis Stephanopoulos said in response to media speculation that the Germans want Rehhagel, affectionately known as King Otto, to return to Germany as national coach before the 2006 World Cup.

‘’Rehhagel is not a Greek, but he has become something more than a Greek,’’ said Mr Stephanopoulos during a reception to honour the 2004 Euro champions.

Mr Stephanopoulos presented the players and their German coach with honorary national pins usually reserved for military heroes.

The team was also honoured by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. — Reuters, AFP 

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Euro 2004: underdogs silenced the big guns

Lisbon, July 6
Euro 2004 kicked off and ended with a one-goal victory for Greece over Portugal, with the only argument being which was the more stunning surprise.
In between, there was plenty of fine football and memorable moments.

After the initial 2-1 upset by the Greeks over the hosts, all of the tournament’s favourites should have considered themselves warned, but the group stage was marked by the elimination of four former champions — Spain, Russia, Italy and Germany.

And, it was the first time in the history of the tournament that the semifinals did not feature the Germans, Spanish, Italians, French or the English.

In Group A, Greece took their three points from Portugal before coming from behind to draw with Spain and take an all-important fourth.

Even a defeat to Russia in their final match was not enough to eliminate the brave Greeks, but it did allow the hosts to sneak to the top of the table after they beat their Iberian neighbours for the first time ever in the competition with a 1-0 scoreline.

France predictably claimed the corresponding spot in Group B, though they needed two injury-time Zinedine Zidane goals to defeat England in their opener 2-1, were held 2-2 by Croatia and got a late 3-1 win over Switzerland.

The English, led by Wayne Rooney’s four goals, went on to easily win their next two matches against Switzerland and Croatia.

England finished second in the group, which set them up to play Portugal in the quarterfinals, while France were happy to draw the more straightforward match against Greece.There was very little straightforward in the opposite half of the draw, other than the Czech Republics run through Group D.

The emerging favourites managed to come from behind in all three group matches, beating Latvia 2-1, scoring three to defeat Holland 3-2 and then humiliating Germany 2-1 with a team of reserves.

After being fortunate to claim a 1-1 draw with the Germans, thanks to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s late wonder strike, the Dutch overcame the trauma of losing a two goal lead against the Czechs by brushing aside Latvia 3-0 to sneak a place in the knockout stage.

Group C ended up with Sweden, Denmark and Italy all on five points, and Bulgaria the only side to finish empty-handed.

Knowing that they needed to defeat the Bulgarians in their final contest, the Azzurri fought valiantly to claim a 2-1 victory at the death. But their hearts were broken as the group’s two Scandinavian sides drew 2-2 in their final contest.

The Swedes and Danes thus both went into the last eight and were promptly eliminated by the two Group D teams, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, respectively.

The Czech Republic’s Milan Baros netted a brace against Denmark to take his tournament-leading total to five goals, while the Dutch won their first-ever penalty shootout to knock off dogged Sweden after 120 minutes of goalless action.

A penalty shootout was also all that separated the English and Portuguese in their famous Lisbon quarterfinal after regular time ended 1-1 and the teams traded goals in the extra period. The Portuguese hero was goalkeeper Ricardo, who saved Darius Vassell’s spotkick and then converted the winning one himself.

Greece, meanwhile, claimed the most startling upset of the event, and possibly in Euro history, when they eliminated fancied holders France 1-0 through Angelos Charisteas’ header.

That sent the unlikely Greeks, who had never before even won a European Championship or World Cup match, into the semifinals, where they faced another seemingly impossible task against the rampant Czechs.

Once again, however, the Hellenic defence was the star of the next round, as they held the overwhelming favourites scoreless, and Traianos Dellas headed in a dramatic silver goal just seconds before the whistle in the first half of extra time.

With Portugal apparently a team of destiny and improving in every round — they stymied Holland in the semifinal 2-1 — they had one last hurdle to overcome at their fabled Stadium of Light.

But, as had been the case throughout the finals, the determined and supremely well-organised Greeks were having none of it.

For the third straight knockout match, they managed a single goal and made it stand up. The winner in the final was scored again by the head of Charisteas. — DPA

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Pathan cool despite competition
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Irfan PathanChennai, July 6
Despite the increase in the number of young fast bowlers in the country and growing competition, Indian pacer Irfan Pathan remains cool and says it does not put any pressure on him.

Pathan said here today, “If I think too much about what I should do, then pressure will build on me. I am always focused to maintain line and length. I never get into such a situation and allow pressure to build up.”

The pacer said he loved to perform under pressure. “I guess it is a big motivating factor for any player. To get an early wicket you have to strive that much more initially. The confidence level goes on a higher level once the wickets start coming. It is the day that matters for me, not self-inflicted pressure” he said.

Pathan is among the 20 probables for the Asia Cup, who are participating in a conditioning camp here.

Though the team will be announced tomorrow, Pathan seems to be confident of finding a berth in the team.

Asked whether he was tense about finding a place in the team as there were so many fast bowlers in the camp, he said, “I do not think there is any pressure, whoever bowls well will definitely find a place in the team. I do not think there is any pressure. We learn from each other.”

His successes in Australia and Pakistan have not gone to his head and Pathan remains cool.

The teenager from Baroda said, “As far as I am concerned, my performance and the team’s victory matter the most. We all want to perform well for the team’s cause.”

Pathan acknowledged the help and guidance he received from his seniors. He said watching Zaheer Khan perform from close quarters was a big motivating factor.

He said the ongoing camp had done wonders to his confidence, adding that he would have been happy if he could participate in the recent MRF Pace Foundation Camp and gained more tips from former Australian pacer Dennis Lillee.

Pathan said advice from bowling legends like Lillee and Kapil Dev had helped him to perform better and stated that the good inswingers from him were courtesy Lillee.

“Lillee had been a great bowler and learning from him helped me a lot. I had worked with my action with Lillee and he gave me tips on how to avoid injuries,” he said

He said the way Lillee advised him to preserve his energy and direct the attack aimed at hitting the deck helped him to channel his ideas and skill and working hard on that pattern also helped him to cut short the wides.

“In one-day cricket, the wides contribute sizeably to a team’s total. The master’s advice was to prune the run-up as and when the situation warranted. There is no room for a loose delivery is the message I got,” he said.

Pathan hoped the flat wickets in Sri Lanka and similar climatic conditions at Chennai would help him to perform better than his recent exploits.

“I am really charged up to give it my best shot. The camp has been a big help, not just for fitness alone but also to get into the right frame of mind before such a competitive event,” he said.

On his batting, Pathan said he would be happy to get some important runs if the team was under pressure and he would like to evolve as an allrounder.

The Indian team had a warm-up match today and all players were brimming with confidence. The selectors have arrived here and tomorrow the Indian team for the six-nation Asia Cup will be announced.

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Record looks beyond me, says Warne

Shane Warne Cairns, Australia, July 6
Shane Warne said today he gave himself little chance of taking the eight wickets he needed in this week’s second Test to break Muttiah Muralitharan’s world record. “It’s probably doubtful that I’m going to take eight wickets, as this wicket generally suits the quicks a lot more than the spinners,” Warne told reporters in Cairns ahead of Friday’s second Test against Sri Lanka.

Warne took 3 for 20 and 0 for 61 in Darwin last week as Australia clinched a 149-run win inside three days of play in the first Test of the two-match series.

The leg-spinner has 520 career wickets, seven short of Sri Lanka’s Muralitharan. The 32-year-old off-spinner has withdrawn from the Australia tour for personal reasons.

“It was disappointing. I probably needed to get a couple of wickets in that second innings,” Warne said.

“Hopefully, the boys can hang on to a few catches and I can bowl well enough to get the wickets,” the 34-year-old Warne said.

“I don’t think anyone is going to get a chance once Murali gets back playing. When he plays he gets seven or eight wickets a game. If he plays for another four or five years he will be somewhere around a thousand wickets.”

Warne, who took 26 wickets in Australia’s 3-0 series win in Sri Lanka in March this year, said he still held the edge over captain Marvan Atapattu’s side despite taking only three wickets last week.

“I don’t think they have improved. I probably bowled a few more bad deliveries than I normally bowl,” Warne said.— Reuters

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Beenamol mentioned in Railway budget

New Delhi, July 6
Ace middle distance runner and Asian Games gold medallist K.M. Beenamol, who has been honoured with the Padma Shri and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for her sterling performances, received a special mention today in the maiden Railway budget of the UPA government.

Presenting the budget in the Lok Sabha, Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav took pride in declaring that the performance of railway sportspersons had been outstanding both at the national and international levels.

He said besides Beenamol, nine other railway sportspersons were honoured with such awards in a year and this had happened for the first time in the Railways’ sporting history. — UNI

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 BRIEFLY


England's Andrew Flintoff walks to the pavilion after being caught out for 123 against the West Indies
England's Andrew Flintoff walks to the pavilion after being caught out for 123 against the West Indies during their one-day triangular series match at the Lord's in London on Tuesday. 

US Postal team rider Lance Armstrong, a five-time Tour de France champion, flashes a victory sign before the start of the third 210-km stage of the Tour de France
US Postal team rider Lance Armstrong, a five-time Tour de France champion, flashes a victory sign before the start of the third 210-km stage of the Tour de France between Waterloo and Wasquehal on Tuesday. — Reuters photos

Maria Sharapova Sharapova up to No 8
LONDON:
Wombledon champion Maria Sharapova moved into the top 10 of the WTA Tour rankings for the first time at No. 8, while two-time Roger Federer extended his lead atop the men’s standings.
Sharapova was a career-best No. 15 before the start of the tournament, which she won by beating Serena Williams 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday. The Russian never had been past the quarterfinals at a major tournament. Serena Williams dropped to No. 14, her lowest spot since March, 1999. She was No. 1 as recently as August 4, 2003, three days after she had knee surgery. Despite skipping the grass-court Grand slam tournament with health problems, Justine Henin-Hardenne remained at No 1, and Kim Clijsters at No. 2. — AP

Record in vain
CAPE TOWN:
South African runner Phillip Rabinowitz became the fastest 100-year-old in the world over the weekend but his effort, for now, seems to have been in vain because of a technical hitch.
Usually the domain of super-athletes clad in cling suits, Rabinowitz ran the 100 metres in 28.7 seconds on Sunday at the newly-opened Kayelitsha stadium in the sprawling township outside Cape Town. The time is almost 10 seconds faster than the current record of 36.19 seconds, set by Austrian Erwin Jaskulski in Hawaii, 2002. But, the timer, which would have officially confirmed the record, did not work because of a possible problem with electricity, being run off a generator. — AFP

Uttappa selected
MUMBAI:
Opening batsman and wicketkeeper Robin Uttappa of Karnataka has been selected for coaching in Australia under the Border-Gavaskar scholarship scheme after his most impressive performance during the under-19 Star Cricket Club’s recent successful tour of England and Scotland.
The Karnataka lad, who accumulated 740 runs during the month-long tour, scoring five centuries and an equal number of fifties, was brilliant behind the stumps and was the first choice for the coaching scheme, a press note said here on Monday. — PTI

Chilled jackets
BEIJING:
China’s Olympic team will aim to beat the heat at the Athens Games next month with the help of refrigerated jackets.
With temperatures expected to soar to 40°C in the Greek capital, and Chinese athletes, who in the past have benefitted from turtle’s blood and caterpillar fungus, will take advantage of the specially designed suits. — Reuters

Selection trials
PATIALA:
Trials to select the Punjab tennis ball cricket teams for both boys and girls will be held at Government State College of Education on July 7 at 12 p.m. The selected teams will take part in the 19th Junior National Tennis Ball Cricket Championship scheduled to be held at Chennai from July 12 to 15. — OSR

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