SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

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DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Team needs consistency, says Ganguly
Chennai, July 8
Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly feels the Asia Cup is going to be tough since Sri Lanka will be playing at home and Pakistan is a good side any day but the Indian team has to be consistent and perform well.


Sachin Tendulkar catches the ball during a practice session in Chennai on Thursday. — Reuters photo
Sachin Tendulkar catches the ball during a practice session in Chennai

In graphic: Asia Cup 2004 schedule

Ganguly spends birthday with family
Sourav Ganguly
Kolkata, July 8
Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who turned 32 today, returned home to spend his birthday with his family, as sponsors, media and fans made it to his South Kolkata residence to wish him. “I’ve been working hard on my magic ball. I can say that it is an important delivery which will help me take wickets. 

Harbhajan to unveil ‘magic ball’ 
Chennai, July 8
Ace off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who returned to the Indian team after a seven-month injury lay-off, said yesterday he hoped to take wickets in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka with his new weapon — “a magic ball”.


Australia's Shane Warne balls during a training session in Cairns
Australia's Shane Warne balls during a training session in Cairns on Thursday. — Reuters 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Ice vests to keep Aussies cool
Sydney, July 8
In their effort to excel in all conditions, Australian cricketers will combat the sweltering heat of the Indian sub-continent and the Australian summer with the aid of ice vests. A product made by an Australian company, Arctic Heat, it works by cooling the skin temperature and stabilising the core temperature, mimicking the body’s natural cooling process.




Australia's Matthew Hayden sits on the pitch during a training session at Cazaly's stadium in Cairns on Thursday. Australia and Sri Lanka meet on Friday in the second of the two off-season Test matches. Australia won the first Test by 149 runs. — Reuters photo

Australia's Matthew Hayden sits on the pitch during a training session at Cazaly's stadium in Cairns on Thursday

Cricket, chess for Doha Asiad
New Delhi, July 8
Cricket and chess will be among a record number of 40 disciplines to be included in the 15th Asian Games to be held in Doha, Qatar from December 1 to 15, 2006.
In video: Cricket to make Asian Games debut in Qatar in 2006. (28k, 56k)

Record-breaking Phelps books Athens ticket
Long Beach (California), July 8
Michael Phelps booked his ticket to the Athens Olympics in style bettering his own world record in the 400m individual medley at the US Olympic swimming trials. Fittingly, the young man who has become the face of swimming in the USA became the first name down on the list of US swimmers headed to Greece with a time of four minutes 08.41 seconds yesterday. He improved on the world record of 4:09.09 he set at the world championships in Barcelona on July 27 last year and jump started his six-race programme at these eight-day trials.






Michael Phelps celebrates after breaking his own world record in the 400m individual medley with a time of four minutes, 8.41 seconds at the US Olympic trials in Long Beach, California, on Wednesday. — AP/PTI photo
Michael Phelps celebrates after breaking his own world record in the 400m individual medley with a time of four minutes, 8.41 seconds

Arti shoots bronze in Bangkok meet
New Delhi, July 8
Arti Singh Rao finally came out of the shadow of her father and three-time national skeet champion Rao Inderjeet when she clinched a bronze in the women's skeet event at the 2004 Asian Clay Shooting in Bangkok today.

Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova of Russian fixes her hair during an appearance on CBS' The Early Show in New York
Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova of Russian fixes her hair during an appearance on CBS' 'The Early Show' in New York on Wednesday. — Reuters

More money for sports
New Delhi, July 8
The maiden Budget of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government raised the allocation for Youth Affairs and Sports from Rs 428 crore to Rs 466 crore. The budget presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram at the Lok Sabha today earmarked Rs 66 crore, out of 466 crore, for the non-planned expenditure.

Kartar resigns as PWA chief
Chandigarh, July 8
In a dramatic new development, Kartar Singh, who staged a coup against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Mahinder Singh Malik, has resigned as President of the Punjab Wrestling Association (PWA). He informed of his decision to quit after “consulting all units of the PWA.” Kartar had ‘replaced’ Malik as President of the WFI. Kartar has conveyed his decision to M.S. Bhullar, chief patron of the PWA.

Chess championship from July 9
Fatehgarh Sahib, July 8
The district unit of Punjab State Chess Association, will organise Punjab state under 25 open chess championship from July 9 to July 11 at the indoor stadium of Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Video
Former hockey captains unhappy over frequent changes in team.
(28k, 56k)

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Team needs consistency, says Ganguly
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Rahul Dravid exercises with Lakshmipati Balaji during a practice session in Chennai
Rahul Dravid (left) exercises with Lakshmipati Balaji during a practice session in Chennai on Thursday. — Reuters photo

Chennai, July 8
Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly feels the Asia Cup is going to be tough since Sri Lanka will be playing at home and Pakistan is a good side any day but the Indian team has to be consistent and perform well.

Talking to reporters here today after the end of the conditioning camp, Ganguly said: “It is an important season for us. Last year was a good and successful season too. We have to follow it with another good season, that is how you become a strong and good side. Consistency is important and doing well in the coming season is of utmost importance to the team.”

Asked whether he expected the matches particularly against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Asia cup to be tough, he replied, “It is always going to be tough since Sri Lanka will be at home and Pakistan is a good side. It is going to tough for all three sides when they compete against each other.

India will participate in the six-nation tournament from July 16 to August 1 in Sri Lanka. Other than the hosts India will play against Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UAE and Hong Kong.

About the team’s prospects in the Asia Cup, Ganguly said the Indian squad was back in full strength and he hoped the team to perform well.

On the return of spinner Harbhajan Singh after a long injury lay off of six months the captain said, “Harbhajan’s return to the team is a huge bonus for us. Anil Kumble had bowled the best way in his entire career. If Harbhajan can raise his standards on par with Kumble along with Zaheer Khan, Irfan and Balaji, I am sure we will have an edge over the other teams.”

Asked whether India would be playing all four medium pacers in the Asia Cup matches, Ganguly said it would depend on the form of the batsmen. “I do not want to change the winning combination which has been the success for the team. We have won important matches with seven batsmen. To play with seven batsmen in one-day cricket is depends on how deep your batting strength is. For the start, I think, we will continue with that combination,” he remarked.

Asked about the team’s prospects against Australia at home, the skipper said that the Australians would come at the end of the season and he expected the Indian players to be in better form by then.

He said it was important to settle down quickly and get into the rhythm because just like other top teams particularly after a two-and-a-half month lay off.

“So it is a challenge for us to get into the rhythm and reach optimum levels of confidence as quickly as possible,” he added.

Regarding the role of former England captain Geoffrey Boycott as an advisor to the Indian side, Ganguly said, “I must say Boycott was a great player and has so much of knowledge about the game. He definitely helped the players with their mind set and technique. Having such great people in the camp always helps.”

Asked whether he adopted any special resolution today being his birthday, the Prince of Kolkata replied, “It is an important day in one’s life and not just mine. There is no such resolution. But, I hope we keep on playing better. Hope we can perform better as a team than what we did last year.” Ganguly is 32 today and the Indian team celebrated his birthday.

 



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Ganguly spends birthday with family

Kolkata, July 8
Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who turned 32 today, returned home to spend his birthday with his family, as sponsors, media and fans made it to his South Kolkata residence to wish him.

Ganguly, who flew into the metropolis at the conclusion of the conditioning camp in Chennai, was greeted by his parents, wife Dona and daughter Sana.

“Please spare me today. Let me spend the day differently today,” Ganguly pleaded at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, where he was accosted and offered bouquets by some mediapersons.

However, he later relented and gave news bytes to the scribes.

This is the second consecutive birthday that Ganguly will be celebrating in the midst of family members and friends after having to stay away from home for several years since his Test debut in 1996.

A local television company has already created a hype over Ganguly’s birthday by getting thousands of birthday cards from students of different schools. The cards are likely to be handed over to the Indian skipper in the evening.

The Gangulys have kept birthdays of their most famous member a strict low-key family affair over the years.

However, as per family tradition, Ganguly’s parents offered special prayers to their family deity Ma Mangalchandi and visited a local temple in the morning.

Earlier in the day, the captain said in Chennai he had not taken any birthday resolution, but hoped that the Indian team would keep on improving.

“It is an important day in everyone’s life, not just mine. There’s no resolution. But, I hope we keep on improving. Hopefully, we can perform better as a team than what we did last year.” he said. — PTI 

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Harbhajan to unveil ‘magic ball’ 

Chennai, July 8
Ace off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who returned to the Indian team after a seven-month injury lay-off, said yesterday he hoped to take wickets in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka with his new weapon — “a magic ball”.

“I’ve been working hard on my magic ball. I can say that it is an important delivery which will help me take wickets. It is very difficult to explain it and I can only bowl that,” the 24-year-old bowler told reporters here.

Harbhajan, who missed most of India’s tour to Australia and the entire Pakistan series after undergoing surgery on his bowling hand, said “it is a great feeling to be back in the side. I do not have words to describe it.”

“I will bowl to my full potential and win matches for my country,” he said.

Vice-captain Rahul Dravid welcomed Harbhajan’s return to the team, and said “he has proven his ability with his performances with the Indian team. He is a world class bowler.”

Dravid also said selectors had a tough job in chosing the 14-member squad.

“It is very hard to pick the team. Unfortunately, some people had to miss out on selection as only 14 could go. On the whole we have a lot of talent,” he said.

Asked about the bomb blast in Colombo, Dravid said “I don’t want to comment anything on which I don’t have a first hand information.”

Both Dravid and Harbhajan also wished skipper Sourav Ganguly, who will turn 32, on Thursday “a very happy birthday”. Praising Ganguly, Harbhajan said “he is a great supporter of the team.”

“He was instrumental in the team’s high status as world beaters. One great thing about him is the manner in which he encourages youngsters,” he said. “We have celebrated many birthdays in the team with him and with other members of the team,” he said. — PTI 

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Ice vests to keep Aussies cool

Sydney, July 8
In their effort to excel in all conditions, Australian cricketers will combat the sweltering heat of the Indian sub-continent and the Australian summer with the aid of ice vests.

A product made by an Australian company, Arctic Heat, it works by cooling the skin temperature and stabilising the core temperature, mimicking the body’s natural cooling process.

This prevents the body from being affected by stress due to heat, improves performance by allowing blood flow to be concentrated in the muscles where it is needed most, and reduces fluid loss by minimising dehydration.

The lightweight vest is made from a Sportwool inner which wicks moisture away from the body and transfers it to the front of the garment producing a cooling effect.

It has a micromesh outer which limits the vest to less than 1 kilogram in weight, and has pockets of gel sewn in to it which can hold temperature for long periods. The neckties work on the same principle. — PTI 

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Cricket, chess for Doha Asiad
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 8
Cricket and chess will be among a record number of 40 disciplines to be included in the 15th Asian Games to be held in Doha, Qatar from December 1 to 15, 2006.
Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) secretary-general Randhir Singh, who is also the secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), said here today the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee will work out the modalities of the Asiad cricket tournament in consultation with the newly-elected president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Mr Dalmiya, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, is reported to be very keen for the inclusion of cricket in the Asian Games, though a few years ago, when cricket was included in the Commonwealth Games at Bangkok, the BCCI and the IOA had an open spat.

Randhir Singh clarified that only national teams would be allowed for the Doha Asiad, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) was very receptive to the suggestion of the OCA. The Asiad will have a six-team cricket tournament.

Randhir Singh said Doha would be the first city to host a record 40 disciplines, encompassing 411 events, in the Asian Games, which will also include hockey. There were apprehensions of Doha including hockey among the disciplines, as the game is least popular in West Asia. On the other hand, it was very keen for cricket, which is a craze there.

The Busan Games in 2002 and the Bangkok Asiad in 1998 had 38 disciplines each.

Randhir Singh also announced that the 2010 Asian Games had been allotted to Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) in China. China had offered to host 34 disciplines.

He said India were the front-runners to host the 2014 Asian Games, the bid for which would be opened at the general council meeting of the OCA either at Guangzhou in 2005 or at Doha in 2006.

Randhir Singh said India’s bid for the 2014 Asiad had received overwhelming support from the National Olympic Committees of the OCA members, as the Asiad, though originated in India, had been mostly rotating in East and South East Asia. Even West Asia would be hosting the Asiad only for the second time, when Doha conducts the games in 2006. Tehran had hosted the games in 1974, which was memorable for India as long jump champion TC Yohannan had cleared over eight metres to hit the gold.

Though the Asiad movement took birth in India in 1951 when the inaugural games were held at the National Stadium in New Delhi, the country had to wait for 30 years to host their second games, in 1982. 

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Record-breaking Phelps books Athens ticket

Long Beach (California), July 8
Michael Phelps booked his ticket to the Athens Olympics in style bettering his own world record in the 400m individual medley at the US Olympic swimming trials.
Fittingly, the young man who has become the face of swimming in the USA became the first name down on the list of US swimmers headed to Greece with a time of four minutes 08.41 seconds yesterday.

He improved on the world record of 4:09.09 he set at the world championships in Barcelona on July 27 last year and jump started his six-race programme at these eight-day trials.

“It’s definitely exciting to be the first person on the Olympic team,” Phelps said, but he admitted he was also relieved to get a win under his belt.

“It’s a relief, I will say,” he said. “The Olympic trials are probably more stressful than the Olympics itself, to come in and get that first win is great.”

Erik Vendt, silver medallist in the 400m medley at the Sydney Olympics, claimed the second berth in the event in 4:14:09.

Despite his packed programme here — as he takes aim at Mark Spitz’s 1972 feat of winning seven swimming golds at one Olympics — Phelps said saving himself wasn’t really an option.

“In a race it’s hard to hold something back,” he said. “I was so excited tonight.”

Besides, he said, “I wanted to go into the Olympics with the fastest time in the world.”

Phelps (19) wasn’t the only Maryland teenager swimming fast yesterday.

His North Baltimore club team-mate Katie Hoff (15) posted the fastest time in the world this year in winning the women’s 400m medley, earning her Olympic berth in 4:37.67.

“I just, like, won’t comprehend this until tonight,” Hoff said. “I’ve dreamed about this since I was a little girl.”

Hoff had already swum the second-fastest time of the year at a grand prix meet in Santa Clara, California.

Her follow-up here, ahead of Olympic veteran Kaitlin Sandeno (4:40.39), showed she is poised to give world record-holder Yana Klochkova of Ukraine a challenge in Athens.

Klete Keller set an American record of 3:44.19 to win the 400m freestyle, ahead of Larsen Jensen (3:46.56).

Their times were the second- and third-fastest in the world this year, behind the 3:43.35 of Grant Hackett at the Australian Olympic trials but ahead of any that Aussie world record-holder Ian Thorpe has posted this year.

“Klete having the second-fastest in the world and third-fastest with Larsen right behind him definitely says something about the US team,” Phelps said.

Brendan Hansen was impressive in the semifinals of the men’s 100m breaststroke, leading the qualifiers for the final with a time of 1:00.13. Ed Moses, silver medallist in the event at Sydney, reached the final with the fourth-fastest semifinal time.

US veteran Jenny Thompson finds herself in the middle of the pack in the women’s 100m butterfly, the reigning world champion emerging with the fifth-fastest time from the semifinals led by Demerae Christianson. — AFP 

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Arti shoots bronze in Bangkok meet

New Delhi, July 8
Arti Singh Rao finally came out of the shadow of her father and three-time national skeet champion Rao Inderjeet when she clinched a bronze in the women's skeet event at the 2004 Asian Clay Shooting in Bangkok today.

The Indian effortlessly made her way to the final and her score of 88/100 fetched her the bronze.

Thailand's Sutiya Jiewchalermmi(92) won the gold while Korean Kim Yeun Hee(89) finished just ahead of Arti to bag the silver, a National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) Press release said here today.

Meanwhile, in the second round of the men's skeet event today, Rajpal Singh Kochhar (48/50) fared ahead of compatriots Rahoul Rai(47), Amit Sanghi(44) and Mairaj Ahmed Khan(43).

With Arti's feat, India's tally in the tournament has gone up to six -- four gold, one silver and a bronze.

Earlier, Mansher Singh had won the men's trap individual gold while Manavjit Singh Sandhu won the silver.

The trap team, comprising Mansher, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Anwar Sultan also bagged the gold.

Rajyavardhan Rathore was the other gold winner in men's double trap while the men's team comprising Rathore, Mansher Singh, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Sultan Anwer also finished with gold.— UNI 

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More money for sports

New Delhi, July 8
The maiden Budget of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government raised the allocation for Youth Affairs and Sports from Rs 428 crore to Rs 466 crore.
The budget presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram at the Lok Sabha today earmarked Rs 66 crore, out of 466 crore, for the non-planned expenditure.

While the allocation was Rs 328,71 crore in the year 2002-3, it saw a hike in the last budget, where the Finance Minister of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government Jaswant Singh allocated Rs 428 crore for the purpose.

The new budget sets its eyes on sports infrastructure, synthetic playing surfaces, dope tests and infrastructural support to universities and colleges and also the Sports Authority of India (SAI). The centre also plans to launch a number of new schemes. — UNI

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Kartar resigns as PWA chief

Chandigarh, July 8
In a dramatic new development, Kartar Singh, who staged a coup against Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Mahinder Singh Malik, has resigned as President of the Punjab Wrestling Association (PWA).

He informed of his decision to quit after “consulting all units of the PWA.” Kartar had ‘replaced’ Malik as President of the WFI.

Kartar has conveyed his decision to M.S. Bhullar, chief patron of the PWA. On the request of the PWA units, Bhullar, former Director-General of Police, Punjab, has replaced Kartar Singh as PWA President.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had restrained Kartar Singh, Prem Nath and M.P. Tiwari from interfering in the functioning of the WFI, whose president is M.S. Malik.

Twelve units of the PWA had expressed no-confidence against Kartar Singh. These units have also convened a meeting in Chandigarh on July 11 to formally remove Kartar Singh as the PWA President. In the executive and special general body meeting held in Karnal on July 3, 23 units out of 30 had expressed full confidence in Malik and unanimously authorised him to appoint secretary general and treasurer of the WFI for the remaining period up to April 2005, when the elections are due.
— UNI 

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Chess championship from July 9
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 8
The district unit of Punjab State Chess Association, will organise Punjab state under 25 open chess championship from July 9 to July 11 at the indoor stadium of Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

According to Prof. Bikramjit Singh Sandhu, General Secretary, District, Chess Association more than 100 entries from all over the state had been received. He said elaborate arrangements for the boarding and lodging of the players had been made. He said that Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, would inaugurate the championship, while Mr Ranjit Singh Libra, Secretary , College Managing Committee, would give away the prizes to the winners.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal-cum-President, District Chess Association, said that the top five players of the tournament would be given prizes worth Rs 6000 each. He said other winners would be given trophies. He said that the top chess players would also be honoured at the function.

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 BRIEFLY


Argentine players (from left to right) Cristian Gonzalez, Andres D'alessandro, Cesar Delgado, Javier Saviola, Javier Zanetti and Javier Mascherano celebrate after Gonzalez scored in their Copa America opening match against Ecuador at Chiclayo, Peru
Argentine players (from left to right) Cristian Gonzalez, Andres D'alessandro, Cesar Delgado, Javier Saviola, Javier Zanetti and Javier Mascherano celebrate after Gonzalez scored in their Copa America opening match against Ecuador at Chiclayo, Peru, on Thursday. Argentina won the match 6-1. — Reuters

4 more referees held in SA
Durban:
South African police on Thursday arrested four more football referees in connection with match-fixing in the sport.
Police have so far arrested 27 persons in their drive to curb the match-fixing menace while more arrests were on cards. “With the latest arrests, the number of referees and soccer officials arrested has reached 27 in our Operation Dribble to crack down on match-fixing in the sport,” said National police spokesperson Selby Bokaba. “We are still looking for another six people and are confident of arresting them within the next 24 hours. There is one person who is on the run but we will get him because he cannot run forever,” he added. — PTI

Golf academy
Bangalore:
The National Golf Academy is expected to be established in 2006 and efforts in this direction have already begun with the Indian Golf Union and Professional Golfers Association (PGA) training professional golf coachers in the country.
Talking to newsmen here, world famous golf trainer Donnato Di Ponziano of Italy, who is here as a trainer for first batch of 50 golf coachers, said his “vision was to give India a golf academy. It is my dream to create teaching professionals to improve the playing level.” The new system, making classification a must for taking up coaching of golfers, would be introduced from next year, he said. Bonnato, also Europe Professional Golfers Association deputy chairman, said the coaches, who had participated in the training, would be classified as ‘C’, ‘B’ and ‘A’. All the participants in the present training would be classified ‘C’ and according to their past participation in the international events they would get ‘B’ class and ‘A; class after they pass examinations. — UNI

Asian TT
New Delhi:
The 10th South Asian and Asian Table Tennis Championships will get underway at the Talkatora indoor stadium here from July 14, proceeded by a training and coaching camp.
While 21 countries, including China, Korea, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei have confirmed their participation in the Asian draw scheduled for a July 19 start, six nations have done so for the South Asian Championship, which starts five days earlier, a Table Tennis Federation of India press release said here on Thursday. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka are prominent among the nations who have already confirmed entry in the South Asian Championship entry. — UNI

Punjab handball
PATIALA:
The Junior Punjab State Handball Championship for boys and girls will be held at Government Senior Secondary School, Dakala, near here, from July 17 to 19.
Giving this information here today, President of the Punjab Handball Association said teams desirous of taking part in the three-day meet should send their entries to Sher Singh Bath, organising secretary, on or before July 15 at the Polo grounds. The championship will also act as trials to select the Punjab state teams for the junior national championship slated to be held at Chandigarh from July 26 to 31. — OSR

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