SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

India outplay minnows Bangladesh
Colombo, July 21
Sachin Tendulkar gave ample display of his all-round abilities as India showed signs of returning to top form with an emphatic eight-wicket victory against Bangladesh in the first Super League match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament here today.

Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot as Bangladeshi wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud looks on during their Asia Cup super league match in Colombo on Wednesday Tendulkar “enjoying his game as before”


Sachin Tendulkar (right) plays a shot as Bangladeshi wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud looks on during their Asia Cup super league match in Colombo on Wednesday.
— AFP photo 

Lanka crush Pak by 7 wickets
Colombo, July 21
Sri Lanka sounded a major warning to their rivals with a crushing seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in a Super League match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament here today. After bundling out the defending champions for a paltry 122, the Lankans cruised to victory with 18 overs to spare in the day-night clash at the Premadasa Stadium.

Zimbabwe rebels agree to ICC offer
London, July 21
Zimbabwe's rebel cricketers have agreed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) plan for arbitration in their dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), a spokesman told AFP here today.

Ex-Olympians’ appeal to Prime Minister
Jalandhar, July 21
Expressing shock over the removal of hockey coach Rajinder Singh and the exclusion of star players Kanwalpreet Singh and Bimal Lakra from the Olympic squad, former Olympians today sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to save Indian hockey from being ruined by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), while terming the latter’s action as arbitrary and dictatorial.


Ashish Nehra celebrates the dismissal of Bangladeshi batsman Alok Kapali
Ashish Nehra celebrates the dismissal of Bangladeshi batsman (right) Alok Kapali during their Asia Cup match in Colombo on Wednesday. — AP/PTI


EARLIER STORIES
 

Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia serves to Cara Black of Zimbabwe during their first round match at the JP Morgan Chase Open
Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia serves to Cara Black of Zimbabwe during their first round match at the JP Morgan Chase Open in Carson, California, on Tuesday. Hantuchova won
6-2, 6-4.

British soccer club Newcastle United's latest recruit Patrick Kluivert of the Netherlands holds a news conference in Newcastle on Wednesday
British soccer club Newcastle United's latest recruit Patrick Kluivert of the Netherlands holds a news conference in Newcastle on Wednesday. Kluivert, 28, was told in May by previous his club Barcelona that he could leave despite having another year to run on his contract.

Annika Sorenstam of Sweden lines up her putt at the 11th tee during the first round of the 11th Women Golf Masters in Evian on Wednesday
Annika Sorenstam of Sweden lines up her putt at the 11th tee during the first round of the 11th Women Golf Masters in Evian on Wednesday.
— Reuters photos

6 foreign teams for Indira Gold Cup hockey
Chandigarh, July 21
Six teams will figure in the international Indira Gandhi Gold Cup to be organized by the Indian Women Hockey Federation in Delhi from October 1 to 9 next year. IWHF Secretary General Mrs Amrit Bose said here today that confirmation from Australia and Malaysia had already been received.

Argentina oust Colombia,
enter final
Lima (Peru), July 21
Argentina easily ousted defending champion Colombia 3-0 and cruised into the Copa America final for the first time since 1993.

Iran thrash Thailand
Beijing, July 21
Defending champion Japan and former three-time winner Iran both won at the Asian Cup while Qatar fired coach Philippe Troussier two days after the Gulf state was beaten by Indonesia in its opening game.

Sasikiran goes down fighting
Biel (Switzerland), July 21
Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran went down fighting against former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the second round of the Biel International chess festival here.

Lewis trains kids at Bombay Gymkhana
Mumbai, July 21
American sprint and long jump legend Carl Lewis today held a sports clinic for 40 local children, including a few tennis, squash and hockey players, at the Bombay Gymkhana.

Asian cycling at Ludhiana
New Delhi, July 21
The Asian Cycling Championship will be held at Ludhiana in November 2005. Cycling Federation of India (CFI) president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said here today that India would be hosting the Asian Championship after a gap of 16 years.

Junior basketball from today
Ludhiana, July 21
The 55th Punjab Junior Basketball Championship for boys and girls is being held at Nehru Stadium basketball grounds at Ropar from July 22 to 25.

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India outplay minnows Bangladesh

Colombo, July 21
Sachin Tendulkar gave ample display of his all-round abilities as India showed signs of returning to top form with an emphatic eight-wicket victory against Bangladesh in the first Super League match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament here today.

Tendulkar snared three Bangladesh wickets before hitting up his highest-ever score of 82 not out against the minnows to help India overhaul Bangladesh's total of 177 in just 38.3 overs.

Much of the credit for setting up the win went to off spinner Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra although it was Irfan Pathan (3/32) and Sachin Tendulkar who did the maximum damage after some initial wayward bowling by the pacemen.

Harbhajan marked his return to international cricket after an eight-month injury layoff with impressive figures of 10-2-20-1 on a placid track at the SSC ground after Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bowl.

Nehra, playing his first match of the tournament in place of an injured Zaheer Khan, also did not disappoint with some disciplined bowling in the middle overs.

In their run chase, India lost opener Virender Sehwag early but Tendulkar combined with Ganguly (60) to put on 154 runs for the second wicket and take the team to a facile win.

The victory earned India six points, including a bonus point. The Indians will now take on arch-rival Pakistan in their next Super League match on Sunday.

The Indian innings was off to a spectacular start with Sehwag punishing a clueless Tareq Aziz who struggled to find his rhythm in the first over which cost him 19 runs.

But Sehwag's belligerence proved short-lived with the bowler having him caught by Alok Kapali on the fifth ball of the over for an eight-ball 16.

Undeterred by the early loss, Ganguly, promoting himself to number three ahead of VVS Laxman, and Tendulkar then went about the task in a clinical fashion.

Both started their innings cautiously before opening up to hit some delectable shots including some huge sixes.

The pair put on 100 runs off 149 balls but accelerated thereafter to show their class.

Left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique was treated with contempt by Ganguly who hit two of his three sixes against the hapless bowler.

Tendulkar also showed his aggressive instincts, reaching his 67th half-century with a four off spinner Abdur Razzaq and hitting a pulled six over mid-wicket off Rafique.

Tendulkar, who has not hit a century against Bangladesh in one-dayers, also surpassed his previous highest score of 54 in the 31st over.

The two batsmen, in the process, established a new Asia Cup record erasing the previous mark of 123 for the second wicket set by Saeed Anwar and Ramiz Raja of Pakistan against Bangladesh in Colombo during the 1997-97 edition of the Cup.

With five runs to target, Ganguly holed out to Kapali, after batting for 100 balls for his 60 runs inclusive of three fours and three sixes.

Tendulkar's unbeaten 127-ball knock contained 10 fours and a six.

Earlier, Pathan provided his usual breakthroughs at the start and Harbhajan and Tendulkar forged a spin pair which brought wickets for the Indians at regular intervals.

The troubles for Bangladesh, who lost wickets in pairs on three occasions, started in Pathan's third over when the left-arm paceman took two wickets off successive balls.

Scoreboard

Bangladesh:

Habibul Bashar b Pathan 2

Ashraful run out 35

Saleh lbw b Pathan 0

Kapali c Dravid b Nehra 10

Hossain lbw b Harbhajan 17

Mashud c Dravid b Tendulkar 12

Islam b Tendulkar 21

Rafiq b Tendulkar 0

Mahmud c Laxman b Sehwag 21

Razzaq b Pathan 22

Aziz not out 0

Extras: (b-4, lb-4, nb-6, w-23) 37

Total: all out in 49.1 overs 177

Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-10, 3-56, 4-92, 5-92, 6-117, 7-117, 8-141, 9-176.

Bowling: Irfan Pathan 8.1-0-32-3 L Balaji 7-0-32-0 Ashish Nehra 9-0-26-1 Harbhajan Singh 10-2-20-1 Sachin Tendulkar 10-0-35-3 Virender Sehwag 5-0-24-1

India:

Sehwag c Kapali b Aziz 16

Tendulkar not out 82

Ganguly c Kapali b Rafique 60

Laxman not out 1

Extras: (lb-9, nb-6, w-4) 19

Total: (for 2 wkts, 38.3 overs) 178

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-173

Bowling: Aziz 7-0-49-1, Razzaq 10-0-40-0, Mahmood 8-2-28-0, Rafique 7-2-30-1, Islam 6.3-0-22-0. — PTI
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Tendulkar “enjoying his game as before”

Colombo, July 21
Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar today took exception to criticism that he was no more enjoying his batting as he did in his early years and said those who made such comments did not understand the game.

“People who are talking about me not enjoying my batting better get it right. It’s a wrong perception. Those who understand the game wouldn’t be talking about it,” Tendulkar said with a rare bluntness after his three-wicket haul and an unbeaten 82 with the bat against Bangladesh.

Tendulkar’s batting has always caught the eye but he has been more in news in this tournament because of his six wickets and leg-spin bowling.

“Harbhajan Singh has been goading me to be more regular with leg-spins in the nets than the seam-up bowling I do. I was not bowling leg-spin in the nets because whenever I practiced it there, I never used to land it right in match situations!

“But yes, lately I have begun to practice regularly my leg-spin in the nets,” he said.

Tendulkar didn’t get any over against Sri Lanka in the last league game of group B but said it has always been the captain’s call.

“As cricketers we can all make suggestions to the captain but he is the leader in the middle and we abide by his decisions,” remarked the little master.

Tendulkar bowled his full quota of 10 overs and admitted there are times when he gets blisters in his fingers because of the workload.

“I have noticed whenever I bowl regularly I get blisters in my fingers and the skin around it peels off, that’s why I am not Anil Kumble!

“But it must be remembered that I am only a part time bowler and batting is my main occupation.”

Tendulkar chose to stand outside his crease while batting and he said he did so to meet the ball early as it was hardly coming on to the bat on a slow wicket.

“The ball wasn’t quite coming on to the bat and I stood outside the crease to try and meet it early.

“The wicket wasn’t an easy one to bat as the ball was kind of stopping and coming on to the bat.” —PTI
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Lanka crush Pak by 7 wickets

Colombo, July 21
Sri Lanka sounded a major warning to their rivals with a crushing seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in a Super League match of the Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament here today.

After bundling out the defending champions for a paltry 122, the Lankans cruised to victory with 18 overs to spare in the day-night clash at the Premadasa Stadium.

Nuwan Zoysa was the wrecker in chief with three for 29 while Farveez Maharoof grabbed two for 25 to leave the Pakistani batting in shreds.

Marvan Atapattu's men were also brilliant on the field effecting three run outs.

Inzamam-ul Haq's decision to bat first proved to be disastrous as his batsmen got out playing extravagant shots.

Only allrounder Abdul Razzaq produced an innings of some substance with a 71-ball 43.

The Pakistani pacemen bowled a tidy line and length and their control with the wearing white ball under the lights only amplified the shoddy performance by their teammates. But there were really few hiccups for the home team as the target proved to be too small to defend for Shoaib Akhtar and Co.

The hosts now have beaten both the major contenders for the title following their 12-run defeat of India in the group match on Sunday.

Pakistan take on India in another floodlit encounter on Sunday while Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh on Friday before squaring up against India on Tuesday next week.

Scoreboard

Pakistan:

Nazir c Jayawardene b Zoysa 14

Hameed run out 22

Malik c Dilshan b Zoysa 4

Inzamam b Muralitharan 9

Youhana run out 0

Younis c Jayawardene b Maharoof 1

Razzaq c Dilshan b Maharoof 43

Moin c Sangakkara b Zoysa 3

Sami b Jayasuriya 9

Akhtar run out 1

Ahmed not out 0

Extras: (lb-7, nb-1, w-8) 16

Total: (all out, 39.5 overs) 122

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-25, 3-45, 4-46, 5-52, 6-72, 7-88, 8-120, 9-122.

Bowling: Vaas 7-3-14-0, Zoysa 10-3-29-3, Maharoof 6-0-25-2, Muralitharan 8-1-14-1, Chandana 7-0-28-0, Jayasuriya 1.5-0-5-1.

Sri Lanka:

Gunawardene c Nazir b Razzaq 26

Jayasuriya c Younis b Sami 20

Atapattu c Malik b Razzaq 19

Sangakkara not out 14

Jayawardene not out 19

Extras: (lb04, nb-4, w-17) 25

Total: (3 wkts in 32 overs) 123

Fall of wickets: 1-51, 2-84, 3-88.

Bowling: Akhtar 8-1-29-0, Sami 9-0-34-1, Ahmed 8-1-25-0, Razzaq 6-2-21-2, Malik 1-0-10-0. — PTI
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Zimbabwe rebels agree to ICC offer

London, July 21
Zimbabwe's rebel cricketers have agreed to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) plan for arbitration in their dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), a spokesman told AFP here today.

The ICC had proposed that a three-man tribunal, sitting in Zimbabwe, resolve the dispute that has plagued Zimbabwe cricket for several months, an offer already accepted by the ZCU.

Most of the rebel players are currently on a charity tour of England and their manager Clive Field said: "We had a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) and we sent an e-mail to ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, who is India, saying we accepted the plan.

"From the players point of view we want this resolved as quickly as possible," Field added. — PTI
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Ex-Olympians’ appeal to Prime Minister
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 21
Expressing shock over the removal of hockey coach Rajinder Singh and the exclusion of star players Kanwalpreet Singh and Bimal Lakra from the Olympic squad, former Olympians today sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to save Indian hockey from being ruined by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), while terming the latter’s action as arbitrary and dictatorial.

“It was sheer humiliation of the coach and players Kanwalpreet and Lakra as the trio was performing well for the past four years and such an attitude of the IHF will ultimately destroy the game in the country,” former India captain Pargat Singh told reporters here today.

“If a foreign coach could bring glory to Indian hockey, then why not hand over the charge of the IHF to foreigners,” he quipped. Pargat demanded the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to save the game from getting ruined.

Another Olympian, Balbir Singh, went a step further and demanded a CBI inquiry into the assets of Jyoti Kumaran, Secretary, IHF. “Earlier, he was a clerk in a bank and now he possesses property worth crores ,” Balbir said, alleging that money had changed hands over the selection of players.

Olympian Tarsem Singh said they were planning an agitation if the decision of the ouster of Kanwalpreet and Lakra was not taken back at the earliest.

Meanwhile, sportspersons and students of the city today took out a protest march against the expulsion of Kanwalpreet and Lakra, while carrying placards with anti- IHF slogans.
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6 foreign teams for Indira Gold Cup hockey
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 21
Six teams will figure in the international Indira Gandhi Gold Cup to be organized by the Indian Women Hockey Federation in Delhi from October 1 to 9 next year. IWHF Secretary General Mrs Amrit Bose said here today that confirmation from Australia and Malaysia had already been received.

The federation had extended invitations to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Scotland, China, Japan, Korea, England and Scotland for participation. China, Korea and Japan are likely to compete. However, the teams would be selected on first-come-first-serve basis.

Mrs Amrit Bose, who is here to watch the selection trials for girls under-21 which commenced at the Sector 42 Astroturf Stadium here today, disclosed that a team from Russia had been invited. The federation had planned five Tests which would be played in Hyderabad, Chennai and Hyderabad. A Test match is also likely to be played in New Delhi. Chandigarh could also be the venue of one Test. Mrs Amrit Bose said a confirmation from the Russian federation was awaited.

Under the four-year schedule, the Indian Women Hockey Federation will send a hockey team to Australia for a one-month advanced coaching in 2005. The federation’s programme is aimed at excelling in the 2006 tournaments —- World Cup in March, Commonwealth Games in Australia and Asian Games in Doha.

“We have been conducting a series of national coaching camps. The under-21 camp being held in Chandigarh under the supervision of chief coach Olympian Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, Deputy Director in Haryana Sports Department. The camp will conclude on July 21 and the selected 24 girls out of 39 probables would report at Hyderabad on September 14 for a six-week camp,” said Mrs Amrit Bose.

During the Hyderabad camp, an Indian team would be finalised to participate in the Junior Asia Cup Women Hockey Tournament to be conducted in October/November.

The federation secretary general said that 30 girls had been invited to attend the senior national coaching camp in Hyderabad 15 prior to the under-21 camp.

The Indian Women Hockey Federation secretary general, Mrs Amrit Bose, who is attending a two-day selection trials here today, promptly dismissed a question when asked to comment on the unceremonious dismissal of chief men’s hockey coach Rajinder Singh, a few days before the Olympic Games in Athens, by the Indian Hockey Federation, by saying “no comments.”

She assured that this situation would not arise in the women’s hockey as the appointment of the women’s coaches was for a term of four years. “Moreover, they are performing well and their work is satisfactory. The coaches are giving good results” said Mrs Bose.

Mrs Bose is not against the foreign coaches. However, she sees no harm in learning the good points from the foreign coaches.

However, former India captain and selector Madhu Yadav, a Government of India nominee, could not restrain herself. She said “it would be better for the Indian Hockey Federation to be controlled by the foreigners.”
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Argentina oust Colombia, enter final

Lima (Peru), July 21
Argentina easily ousted defending champion Colombia 3-0 and cruised into the Copa America final for the first time since 1993.

Carlos Tevez scored his second free-kick goal in as many games in the 32nd minute, Luis Gonzalez hit a running shot in off a Luciano Figueroa pass in the 50th minute, and Juan Pablo Sorin knocked in an 81st-minute header to cap an unexpectedly comfortable victory yesterday.

“Argentina showed flashes of playing at its best,” said Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa. “Only rarely have we played better.”

Colombia’s 10-match unbeaten Copa streak since 2001 ended in a timid and seemingly nervous display on its Independence Day.

“We have to go out of the tournament playing as well as we can,” said Colombia coach Reinaldo Rueda. “Tonight, Argentina was too much for us. They showed personality, were dynamic, and played with precision.”

Argentina pinned Colombia on defence for most of the match, and the defending champions seemed to pay Argentina too much respect, and not take any risks until they were 0-2 down in the second half.

“We created good scoring opportunities and took advantage of them,” Bielsa said.

Cesar Delgado, Gonzalez and Sorin all took shots on goal in the opening 15 minutes as Argentina showed the attacking flair which has netted it a tournament-high 14 goals in five matches.

It wasn’t until the 19th minute that Colombia put Argentina goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri to work when Abel Aguilar’s cross forced him to come off his line to make a leaping save.

Five minutes later, Gonzalez had an even better look at goal when Figueroa’s shot left goalkeeper Juan Carlos Henao sprawled on the ground, and Luis Gonzalez’s left-footed shot was headed off the goal-line by Colombia defender Andres Gonzalez.

Tevez, starting for injured midfielder Andres D’Alessandro, drew a free kick when he was taken down by Aguilar, and scored when he curved the ball 25 metres over a six-man Colombian wall and past a diving Henao.

The goal recalled 20-year-old Tevez’s bending free-kick score which beat Peru in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Yesterday, he celebrated by running toward Bielsa before he was swamped by team-mates.

Argentina’s domination of the half was reflected by six corners and eight shots on goal at the 45,000-seat National Stadium which was, disappointingly, less than half full.

Any hope Colombia had of pegging back the goal by starting the second half with a fresh outlook was flushed away within five minutes when an unmarked Luis Gonzalez one-timed a cutback pass from Figueroa for 2-0 and put the result beyond doubt.

Colombia finally snapped out of its lethargy, however, as Edwin Congo and Tressor Moreno spearheaded the attack, albeit in vain. — AP
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Iran thrash Thailand

Iranian forward Ali Daei fights for the ball with Thailand's Surinsirirat Worachai and Surasing Nirut during the first half of their Asian Cup match at the Olympic stadium in Chongqing
Iranian forward Ali Daei (left) fights for the ball with Thailand's Surinsirirat Worachai (centre) and Surasing Nirut during the first half of their Asian Cup match at the Olympic stadium in Chongqing, southwestern China, on Tuesday.
— Reuters photo

Beijing, July 21
Defending champion Japan and former three-time winner Iran both won at the Asian Cup while Qatar fired coach Philippe Troussier two days after the Gulf state was beaten by Indonesia in its opening game.

Iran scored three times in the final 20 minutes yesterday, capped off by Ali Daei’s 95th career goal on an 87th-minute penalty, and beat Thailand 3-0. Shunsuke Nakamura scored the only goal in the 33rd minute and two-time champion Japan staved off a late push by Oman to win
1-0.

Troussier said he was “bitterly disappointed and really surprised” when told of his dismissal yesterday.

The 49-year-old Troussier, nicknamed the “White Witch Doctor” during earlier coaching stints with Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and South Africa, has had mixed results since taking over Oman just over a year ago. The team suffered consecutive losses to Jordan and Iran earlier this year in World Cup qualifying and midway through Asian qualifying is third in its four-team group.

He will be replaced by Saeid Al Misnad, who led Qatar’s under-17 team to the quarterfinals of the World Championship three times.

In Chongquing, China, second-half substitute Reza Enayati gave Iran the lead in the 70th minute off a cross from Ali Karimi and Javad Nekournam also scored to lift his country to the top of Group D.

Iran’s attack began to gel midway through the second half, and finally capitalised when Karimi sent in a ball off the touch line that Enayati directed past Thai goalkeeper Kosin Hathairatanakul.

Nekounam doubled the lead in the 79th minute with a driving header, and Daei added his contribution by converting a penalty after Nataporn Panrit fouled Karimi in the penalty box.

In an earlier game, Oman came close to scoring several times in the final minutes, nearly earning a surprising draw against Japan, which has won two of the past three Asian championships.

Nakamura scored from 15 metres, hitting a shot off the outside of his right foot as he fell, sending it just past diving keeper Ali Al Habsi. — AP
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Sasikiran goes down fighting

Biel (Switzerland), July 21
Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran went down fighting against former World champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine in the second round of the Biel International chess festival here.

Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich of Russia emerged as the sole leader in this category-18 six-player double round-robin event being played under classical time control.

Morozevich scored another emphatic victory over Etienne Bacrot of France to maintain a clean slate with two points and is now followed by Ponomariov, who has 1.5 points in his kitty.

Not far behind is Sasikiran, who is on one point along with local star Yannick Pellitier while Englishman Luke McShane, who is yet open his account, is at the bottom of the tables.

Ponomariov outsmarted Sasikiran yesterday in a keenly contested game even as the Indian tried his best defensive tricks.

From the Brayer variation of the Ruy Lopez, Ponomariov subtly obtained a miniscule advantage and slowly but surely exerted pressure on both flanks to score a workmanlike victory. — PTI
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Lewis trains kids at Bombay Gymkhana

Mumbai, July 21
American sprint and long jump legend Carl Lewis today held a sports clinic for 40 local children, including a few tennis, squash and hockey players, at the Bombay Gymkhana.

Lewis, who had equalled American Jesse Owens’ feat of winning four gold medals (100 metres, 200 metres, long jump and 4x100 metres relay) at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, imparted training for two hours — sharing his secrets of winning at the highest level.

The American star had also won a gold by default after Ben Johnson of Canada was disqualified following a positive dope test for steroids after winning the 100 metres dash at the Seoul Games in 1988. Lewis had won the long jump gold and finished second in the 200 metres sprint. — PTI
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Asian cycling at Ludhiana
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 21
The Asian Cycling Championship will be held at Ludhiana in November 2005. Cycling Federation of India (CFI) president Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said here today that India would be hosting the Asian Championship after a gap of 16 years. The last Asian meet was hosted by the CFI in New Delhi in 1989.

Mr Dhindsa said 18 countries were expected to participate in the Asian championship, which would entail an expenditure of Rs 50 lakh.

The CFI today signed a three-year sponsorship deal with TI Cycles to give improved training facilities to the Indian cyclists. TI Cycles president G Hari said the sponsorship arrangement with the CFI was aimed at promoting cycling as a sport as well as a recreational activity on a large scale.

“Our tie up with the CFI will enable us to organise a number of cycling events at the national level, and give the sport the desired aspiration level”, he said. This arrangement will also help the CFI to get a foreign coach, the latest equipment for training, and for talent hunting in a bid to groom and develop them for international events. The CFI secretary-general G S Grewal said though the country boasted of 11 velodromes spread across the country, most of them were in a state of neglect due to lack of repair.

He said despite his repeated reminders to the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India, no move has been initiated to repair the prestigious Yamuna velodrome in New Delhi.
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Junior basketball from today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 21
The 55th Punjab Junior Basketball Championship for boys and girls is being held at Nehru Stadium basketball grounds at Ropar from July 22 to 25.

The championship, being organised by Ropar District Basketball Association will be inaugurated by Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, who is also President Ropar District Basketball Association.

Mr K.P.S. Rana, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, will give away the prizes on the closing day.

In all 17 districts girls teams and 18 boys teams will take part in the championship. The championship matches will be played on two tier system (knock-out-cum-league system). Semi-finals in both boys and girls sections will be played on league system.

In all 26 knockout matches and 16 league matches will be played in four days on two flood-lit grounds at Nehru Stadium.

Elaborate arrangements for board and lodging for participants have been made.
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 BRIEFLY

Protest against security cameras
ATHENS:
Civil rights demonstrators sabotaged one of the hundreds of cameras installed on the streets of Athens in protest against security measures for the Olympic Games. Footage on private television station Mega showed a young protester standing on a ladder and daubing black paint on the camera installed on a 12-metre tall cement pillar in central Athens. Others were seen cutting the camera’s cables on the ground. Protesters fear Greece’s massive security operation for the Games will undermine civil rights. Policemen observing the small demonstration that took place in broad daylight did not intervene. — AFP

Foreign guards
ATHENS: Greece has agreed to allow the USA, Great Britain and Israel to send armed guards to protect their athletes during next month’s Athens Olympics. The New York Times had reported that Greece had relented to pressure to allow 400 US Special Forces soldiers and US, Israeli and British security officers to be armed at the Games. The agreements will not be formally acknowledged to avoid raising anti-American sentiment in Greece, Greek and US officials told the New York Times.
— AFP

Trophy unveiled
MUMBAI:
The glittering Champions Trophy, weighing close to 8 kg, was on Tuesday unveiled here at a suburban hotel by International Cricket Council President Ehsan Mani and Chief Executive Malcolm Speed. The trophy, crafted of sterling silver and consisting of a silver gilt cricket ball engraved with the world map, was designed and manufactured in London by official Crown jewellers Asprey. The trophy stands 18 inches tall and 5.5 inches at its widest point. Two of ICC’s global commercial partners, LG and Pepsi, would make arrangements to take the trophy to 18 cities in India before it travels back to England, it was announced by ICC chief Mani. — PTI

Ban on referee
MUMBAI: The Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) has imposed a one-year ban on referee Vaman Apte from refereeing or functioning in any official capacity in tournaments in Maharashtra for “misuse of authority” violative of officiating norms and protocol. Secretary-general of SRAM Mahendra Agarwal, in a press note issued here on Wednesday, said the association has also severely reprimanded Cyrus Vakil for his off-court behaviour after his match against Sandeep Jhangra in the Otters Club squash tournament. — UNI

Butcher ruled out
LONDON: Mark Butcher was ruled out of the first Test against the West Indies at Lord’s on the eve of the match. The 31-year-old left-handed batsman, who had played in all of England’s last 42 games, hurt his neck in a minor car accident on Monday. He failed to train on Tuesday and was still in discomfort from his whiplash on Wednesday. He is set to be replaced in England’s starting line-up, to be announced before Thursday’s start, by Kent player Robert Key. — Reuters
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