SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

India ready for Shoaib challenge
Shoaib Akhtar
Colombo, July 23
India have done their "homework" and are ready to face Pakistan speed king Shoaib Akhtar in the all-important clash against the arch-rivals in the Asia Cup cricket tournament on Sunday.

Rely on mental toughness, Inzamam tells players
Colombo, July 23
Faced with the threat of an early elimination from the Asia Cup, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today exhorted his teammates to keep their emotions in check and rely on mental strength in the high-pressure match against India on Sunday.

10-wicket win for Lanka
Colombo, July 23
Opener Sanath Jayasuriya cracked his 17th one-day century (107 no) and put on a record unbeaten 191-run opening partnership with Avishka Gunawardene (64) as Sri Lanka thrashed Bangladesh by 10 wickets in the second phase of the eighth Asia Cup cricket tournament here tonight.




Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya hits a shot during their Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in Colombo on Friday. — Reuters photo
Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya hits a shot during their Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in Colombo on Friday
Asia Cup

Ranji groupings finalised
Mumbai, July 23
Former champions Railways, Delhi and reigning champions Mumbai have been placed in Group-A along with five other teams for 2004-2005 Elite Ranji Trophy Cricket tournament to be held at various venues from November 7.

Giles' triple strike wrecks West Indies 
London, July 23
Spinner Ashley Giles took three wickets as West Indies faltered to 208 for four at stumps on day two of the first Test at Lord's on Friday after England had scored 568 thanks mainly to Robert Key's double century.


Spain's Fernando Verdasco returns a ball to his fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez during the quarterfinal match at the Generali Open ATP tennis tournament in Kitzbuehel
Spain's Fernando Verdasco returns a ball to his fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez during the quarterfinal match at the Generali Open ATP tennis tournament in Kitzbuehel on Friday. Verdasco won the match 6-2 6-3. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
 
England batsman Robert Key acknowledges the applause from spectators after being dismissed for 221 runs during the second day of the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's cricket ground England batsman Robert Key acknowledges the applause from spectators after being dismissed for 221 runs during the second day of the first Test against the West Indies at Lord's cricket ground in London, on Friday. — Reuters

End criticism, plead hockey players
Leverkusen (Germany), July 23
Under the scanner for various reasons, members of the Indian hockey team today appealed to critics back home to support them as they continue their preparations for next month’s Athens Olympics.

IWHF prunes probables’ list
Chandigarh, July 23
The Selection Committee of the Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF) has pruned down the number of probables to 25 from 39 during the two-day selection trials at the Sector 42 hockey stadium. The list of selected probables was made public late last night and the girls have been directed to report at the Hyderabad camp on August 14 in preparations for India’s participation in the Junior Asian Women Hockey Tournament to be organized in Andhra Pradesh in October/November this year.

Saraswathi Saha qualifies for Athens
Bangalore, July 23
Producing a surprise result, Saraswathi Saha of West Bengal today qualified for the Athens Olympics when she emerged winner in the 200m in the fourth National circuit athletic meet, held here today.

Brazil's Alex heads the ball as his teammmates Mancini and Luis Fabiano watch during a practice session in Lima, Peru Brazil, Argentina in dream final
Lima, July 23
World champions Brazil meet arch-rivals Argentina on Sunday in a perfect finale to a Copa America that has already surpassed expectations.

Brazil's Alex (left) heads the ball as teammmates Mancini (right) and Luis Fabiano watch during a practice session in Lima, Peru, on Thursday. Brazil will face Argentina on July 25 in the final of the Copa America.
—AP/PTI 

Mishra lifts golf title
New Delhi, July 23
Keshav Mishra, who carded a brilliant second round with nine-under 63 and consolidated his lead to 10 strokes on the penultimate round, kept his date with the title despite fumbling on the final day, in the Royal Challenge Indian Golf Tour’s Northern India Amateur Championship at the Army Golf Course here today.

Faridkot upset Ludhiana
Chandigarh, July 23
Faridkot sprang a surprise defeating holders Ludhiana 73-43 in the quarter-finals of boys section in the 55th Punjab State Basketball Championship for juniors at floodlit Nehru Stadium, Ropar, today. Other teams to make it to the semi-finals in boys section were Moga, Patiala and Amritsar.

Sangrur boxers impress
Sangrur, July 23
Boxers from Sangrur continue their winning spree in the Panjab State Senior Boxing Championships in progress here today. Three boxers from Sangrur have entered the semifinal in light weight, fly weight and bantam weight. Kulwinder Singh of Sangrur faced stiff resistance from Amandeep of Panjab Police in bantam wt. category.

Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany sits behind his car Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany sits behind his car as he waits for the first practice session for the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, on Friday. The German Grand Prix will take place on Sunday, July 25.
— Reuters

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India ready for Shoaib challenge

Colombo, July 23
India have done their "homework" and are ready to face Pakistan speed king Shoaib Akhtar in the all-important clash against the arch-rivals in the Asia Cup cricket tournament on Sunday.

"We have done our homework against him, we are ready for him," India's coach John Wright said about the bowler who is out to avenge his team's humiliation at the hands of India in the March-April series at home.

Shoaib has been in the news for his shortened run-up and his expressed determination to do well for his team and the clash against India would provide him the perfect stage to settle old scores.

But the task would not be easy for the 'Rawalpindi Express' with India having batsmen capable of stopping him in his tracks.

Wright, naturally, is not concerned on count of his batsmen even though some of them may have to still find their straps in the one-day competition.

"I suffer no doubts at all about our batters, but, yes, it is important for us to do well in the first 15 overs," said the former New Zealand skipper.

Even though India have won two of their three matches and run Sri Lanka's huge score close, they have not enjoyed a good start so far.

Wright was hopeful that the pitch at the Premadasa Stadium, venue of Sunday's day-night clash, would stay true for the fans and players to enjoy the full flavour of an India-Pakistan tie.

"The one thing noticeable in the last series was how good the wickets were in Pakistan for the one-day games except for the one in Peshawar.

"We would hope the same is true here though we noticed in the last game the ball was doing more in the second half of the match."

Wright was pleased about the options he had in bowling now with Zaheer Khan being declared fit and Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh making their presence felt in the previous game against Bangladesh.

"Nehra looked in very good nick the other day and it was pleasing to see Harbhajan settle in so well." However, the coach conceded that the extras were turning out to be a problem.

"We are concerned about the extras we are conceding. We gave away 23 wides in the first 100 runs the other day, we hope to set that right," he said.

Wright also had a word of praise for his Pakistan counterpart Bob Woolmer. "When I was in Kent second XI, he was playing for their first XI. He is very experienced and a good student of the game. His achievements are great." —PTI

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Rely on mental toughness, Inzamam tells players

Colombo, July 23
Faced with the threat of an early elimination from the Asia Cup, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today exhorted his teammates to keep their emotions in check and rely on mental strength in the high-pressure match against India on Sunday.

Inzamam said it was important to go into the do-or-die match with a relaxed frame of mind to be able to perform better.

“I have a theory the bigger the match, the better you perform if you are more relaxed,” said the captain whose hang-dog expression masks an extremely mentally tough character.

Inzamam admitted an India-Pakistan game is never without pressure and that his boys would be feeling more heat given the thrashing at the hands of India in a recent series at home and their poor performance against Sri Lanka in the first Super League game on Wednesday.

“I have been around for 12-13 years and admit the pressure is bound to be there. But it is important all of us remain relaxed and cool,” he said.

Inzamam said only the mentally tough survive the grind of international cricket and at a certain stage, skills become secondary.

“Mental strength is very important. It allows you to handle pressure well. International cricket is only about pressure otherwise it is not different from any other form of cricket,” he said.

Inzamam said the team realises that after the huge loss to Sri Lanka, a defeat to India would surely send them tumbling out of the tournament. But if they do beat India, they would brighten their chances for a berth in the final on August 1.

“If we win on Sunday, we qualify. If we lose, we don’t. It is as simple as that. It’s a do-or-die game for us,” said the skipper.

Following the seven-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka, Pakistan have gone back into the drawing room and the team has been subjected to some extremely searching explanations and advices by coach Bob Woolmer, who has been drawing charts and using video footage to illustrate his point.

“The boys have worked very hard but we believe it was a bad day for us and don’t want to think anything more than that,” said Inzamam.

The Multan batsman said the Indians did have a formidable line-up but he was hopeful his bowlers would be able to strike early.

“Even though we lost badly against Sri Lanka, I am very satisfied with our bowling performance. We didn’t let them get the small target easily. Indians have a very strong batting line-up. They can score on any kind of wicket, but if we bowl well, we are capable of making some early inroads,” he said.

Inzamam also expressed hope in the talent available in the Pakistan team and said his boys were capable of matching Indians as far as putting big totals on the board was concerned.

“We showed it in one-day matches in Pakistan that we can score as big as the Indians. Both this is not an individual’s game. Everyone has to contribute. It is not Shoaib Akhtar or Inzamam alone who can make a side win. All eleven of us have to be equal to the task if we are to prevail on Sunday.”

While praising coach Bob Woolmer, he said it would be unfair to expect him to deliver results right at the outset. “Woolmer is new and he needs time to understand boys,” he said. — PTI

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10-wicket win for Lanka

Colombo, July 23
Opener Sanath Jayasuriya cracked his 17th one-day century (107 no) and put on a record unbeaten 191-run opening partnership with Avishka Gunawardene (64) as Sri Lanka thrashed Bangladesh by 10 wickets in the second phase of the eighth Asia Cup cricket tournament here tonight.

Chasing a modest score of 191 for victory, Lanka scored the required runs with 16.3 overs to spare and picked six points, including a bonus point, to take their tally to 12 from two matches and virtually booked a slot in the final to be played on August 1.

Lanka, who had humbled holders Pakistan on Wednesday, will take on four times champions India at the same venue on July 27.

The 35-year-old left-hander, who was declared man of the match, scored his 17th ton in 319th one-dayer and also broke the record of 171 runs for the opening wicket set by him and Marvan Atapattu against Bangladesh at SSC ground here in 1997.

The former Sri Lankan skipper, who was going through a lean phase, struck form ahead of the match against India. He had not played against India in the first phase.

Bangladesh bowlers could not check the Sri Lankan openers who were crying for form and went after them. Jayasuriya reached his 50 off just 38 balls with the help of eight boundaries and played some exquisite pulls and cuts.

Bangladesh

Ashraful run out 66

Saleh c Sangakkara b Malinga 5

Bashar c Sangakkara b Vaas 7

Kapali run out 1

Hossein b Maharoof 1

Rana st Sangakkara b Muralitharan 43

Mashud c and b Vaas 19

Razzaq b Vaas 10

Rafique run out 5

Mahmood not out 8

Baishya not out 5

Extras (b-5, lb-11, nb-2, w-2) 20

Total (9 wkts in 50 overs) 190

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-21, 3-23, 4-31, 5-131, 6-151, 7-172, 8-175, 9-182.

Bowling: Chaminda Vaas 10-3-30-3, Lasith Malinga 9-1-24-1, Muttiah Muralitharan 10-2-26-1, Ferveez Maharoof 8-0-33-1, Upul Chandana 7-0-39-0, Sanath Jayasuriya 6-0-22-0.

Sri Lanka

Gunawardene not out 64

Jayasuriya not out 107

Extras (lb-2, w-18) 20

Total (for no loss in 33.3 overs) 191

Bowling: Tapash Baisya 7-0-32-0, Khalid Mahmud 5-0-40-0, Abdur Razzaq 6-0-41-0, Mohammad Rafique 8-0-42-0, Manjural Islam Rana 7-0-30-0, Mohammad Ashraful 0.3-0-4-0. —PTI

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Asia Cup

Colombo: Pakistan is likely to host the next edition of the Asia Cup cricket tournament. Consensus is emerging in Asian Cricket Council (ACC) that Pakistan will be the most suitable host for this championship in 2006. According to ACC chief executive Ashraful Haque India is not in a position to hold the next championship as it has a very busy an international schedule for the next few years.— UNI

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Giles' triple strike wrecks West Indies 

London, July 23
Spinner Ashley Giles took three wickets as West Indies faltered to 208 for four at stumps on day two of the first Test at Lord's on Friday after England had scored 568 thanks mainly to Robert Key's double century.

West Indies raced to 83 without loss at tea after some poor home bowling as they faced the daunting task of replying to England's highest total against the tourists at Lord's.

Giles came to the fore after the interval, however, first slowing the run rate with some neat bowling and then taking two wickets in four balls.

First Devon Smith played on for 45 and then Chris Gayle, who had looked well set, was adjudged lbw for 66 playing a sweep.

Matthew Hoggard weighed in with the wicket of Ramnaresh Sarwan, lbw for one. Hoggard was the first to utilise the famous slope and make the ball nip back.

Giles went on to remove an annoyed Brian Lara for 11, West Indies' captain given out by Daryl Harper for a faint edge to wicketkeeper Geraint Jones.

However, he could equally have been dismissed lbw as the ball brushed his pad before Jones gathered.

Giles, so often criticised for negative tactics, bowled 20 overs for 58 runs as he became England's main strike bowler for the day, upstaging world number two Steve Harmison who went for 42 runs from nine overs.

Scoreboard

England (1st Innings)

Trescothick c Sarwan b Best 16

Strauss c Jacobs b Banks 137

Key c Lara b Bravo 221

Vaughan c Smith bCollins 103

Thorpe c Jacobs bBravo 19

Flintoff b Banks 6

Jones c Jacobs b Collins 4

Giles c Smith b Collins 5

Hoggard not out 1

Jones lbw b Collins 4

Harmison b Bravo 4

Extras (b-2, lb-20, w-13, nb-13) 48

Total (all out, 121.4 overs) 568

Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-320, 3-485, 4-527, 5-534, 6-541, 7-551, 8-557, 9-563.

Bowling: Collins 24-2-113-4, Best 21-1-104-1, Edwards 21-2-96-0, Bravo 24.4-5-74-3, Banks 22-3-131-2, Sarwan 9-0-28-0.

West Indies (1st innings):

Gayle lbw b Giles 66

Smith b Giles 45

Sarwan lbw b Hoggard 1

Lara c G.Jones b Giles 11

Chanderpaul not out 41

Bravo not out 30

Extras (b-4 lb-8 nb-2) 14

Total (4wkts, 51 overs) 208

Fall of wickets: 1-118 2-119 3-127 4-139

Bowling: Hoggard 51-2-57-1, Harmison 9-2-42-0, S.Jones 7-1-39-0 (nb-2), Giles 20-3-58-3. — Reuters.

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Ranji groupings finalised

Mumbai, July 23
Former champions Railways, Delhi and reigning champions Mumbai have been placed in Group-A along with five other teams for 2004-2005 Elite Ranji Trophy Cricket tournament to be held at various venues from November 7.

Releasing the groupings after the Cricket Board’s Fixtures and Programme Committee meeting here today, BCCI Joint Secretary Prof Ratnakar Shetty said the other five teams in Group-A are Bengal, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra and Madhya Pradesh, which was promoted to the Elite division this year along with Maharashtra.

The seven teams in Group-B are Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Baroda, Maharashtra and Punjab while the Plate division has also been divided into two groups.

“Group-A consists of Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Saurashtra and Bihar while Group-B consists of Haryana, Tripura, Goa, Services (SSCB), Vidarbha and Rajasthan, which has been demoted along with Kerala”, he added.

Shetty also said that the one-day tournament to decide the national champions would be held in January.

The groupings for the under-19 (three-day) tournament to be played on the Ranji Trophy formate from this year was also finalised today with 15 teams in Elite and 12 teams in Plate division being divided into three groups in each division.

“In Elite division Delhi and Haryana are in Group-A along with Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra while Group-B consists of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa, Mumbai and Rajasthan,” Shetty said.

Group-C consists of Himachal Pradesh, Baroda, Vidarbha, Bengal and Assam.

In the Plate division, Punjab, Railways, Saurashtra and Sikkim are in Group-A while Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Andhra are in Group-B.

Group-C consists of Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad and Madhya Pradesh.

“The under-19 one-day tournament will be held from October 20 while the three-day tourney will start in December”, Shetty said.

“Champions Mumbai will play five of their seven league matches at home and the exact dates and venues of all the matches would be finalised within a day or two”, he added. — PTI

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End criticism, plead hockey players

Leverkusen (Germany), July 23
Under the scanner for various reasons, members of the Indian hockey team today appealed to critics back home to support them as they continue their preparations for next month’s Athens Olympics.

The selection of the team as well as the sacking of coach Rajinder Singh has sparked off stringent criticism from former players and fans of the game but the players urged to one and all to let them focus on the all-important task at hand.

Former Olympians, including Pargat Singh, had slammed the Indian Hockey Federation for ignoring experienced defender Kanwalpreet Singh and mid-fielder Bimal Lakra in favour of some rookie players.

But captain Dilip Tirkey, a veteran defender, tried to justify the composition of the team, saying “this is the best available squad on current form.”

Talking to PTI at the end of their training session at RTHC Sports Complex here, he said, “William Xalco and Harpal Singh relieved me of extra pressure in the Dusseldorf tournament. In Amsterdam I had to take on the additional load and work overtime as a one and a half full back.”

Star striker Dhanraj Pillay said there was unity in the team and there was no need to panic.

“For God’s sake leave us alone. We are a well-knit, harmonious and happy family now. Please let us continue with our Olympic focus,” the 36-year-old veteran said.

Two other senior forwards — Baljit Singh Dhillon and Gagan Ajit Singh — said the team was improving under the new coaching crew.

“After all, the IHF has selectors who have all been past captains and have played at least two Olympics each. How can you doubt their credentials or capabilities?” Dhillon said.

“The selectors Gurbux Singh, B.P. Govinda and Aslam Sher Khan were at Dusseldorf watching India play all the matches in the four-nation tournament.”

Gagan added: “We have had an instant rapport with the foreign coaches and are finetuning many skills. They are remarkable and we wish we had this opportunity earlier.”

Assistant coach Jagbir Singh urged former Olympians to wish the team all success at Athens instead of criticising it just days before the mega even.

“The squad is fit and fine. This is the best combination and the blend of the coaches is super,” he said.

“I don’t know why the ire is directed towards foreign coaches,” he said adding that “when we don’t do well there is a hue and cry for bringing overseas trainers, but now when it has happened and at the right time, some of my old colleagues are unhappy.”

The players, who will head to Athens for the Olympics after the training here, also appeared to be enjoying the facilities at the sports complex.

“It (sports complex) is professional and most businesslike”, said Pillay adding that “it was at Arizona that the seeds for the fitness camp were sown, but the results have started to come at Dusseldorf.” — PTI

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IWHF prunes probables’ list
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The Selection Committee of the Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF) has pruned down the number of probables to 25 from 39 during the two-day selection trials at the Sector 42 hockey stadium. The list of selected probables was made public late last night and the girls have been directed to report at the Hyderabad camp on August 14 in preparations for India’s participation in the Junior Asian Women Hockey Tournament to be organized in Andhra Pradesh in October/November this year.

The selection committee consisted of IWHF secretary general Mrs Amrit Bose, Mrs Rupa Saini, chief coach Maharaj Singh Kaushik, coach Narinder Saini and a government of India nominee Ms Madhu Yadav. IWHF president Mrs Vidya Stokes watched the selection proceedings in the morning session.

With natural flair of hockey in their blood, girls from Jharkhand, Orissa and the Railways impressed the selectors. Four girls from Haryana — Jasjeet Kaur, Prakash, Joydeep and Balwinder Kaur — are among the probables. Forward Deepika is the lone Chandigarh girl to be selected.

After making the necessary change in the eligibility date of birth criteria, Phulmani Devi, Neelima Kujur, Prakash, Joydeep, Neelan and Ramneek were later asked to attend the camp in Chandigarh.

Probables for Hyderabad camp:

Goalkeepers: Marita Tirkey (Jharkhand), Rajni Bala (Railways), SS Neelan (Karnataka).

Fullbacks: Sumitra Tirkey (Orissa), Anjana Barla (Orissa), Sushila Lakra (Railways), Neelima (Orissa).

Halves: Subhadra Pradhan (Orissa), Anjula Toppo (Jharkhand), Asunta Lakra (Jharkhand), Joydeep (Haryana), Sumitra Tirkey (Orissa), Phulmani Soy (Rlys), Prakash (Haryana).

Forwards: Jasjeet Kaur (Haryana), Deepika (Chandigarh), Sarita Lakra (Orissa), Dimple Thakur (Himachal), Amrita Minz (Jharkhand), Premsheela Kujur (Jharkhand), S Ranjita Devi (Manipur), Balwinder Kaur (Haryana), M Prasanna Lakshmi (AP), TS Ranjeeta and S Sushma ( Orissa ). 

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Saraswathi Saha qualifies for Athens

Bangalore, July 23
Producing a surprise result, Saraswathi Saha of West Bengal today qualified for the Athens Olympics when she emerged winner in the 200m in the fourth National circuit athletic meet, held here today.

The 24-year-old Eastern Railway employee, braving inclement weather, managed to find her pace on a track soaked by intermittent showers at the Kanteerava stadium to win the race with a timing of 23.07 secs.

The beaming Kolkata girl, after her successful effort to qualify for the Olympics in the last of the circuit meets, said "My confidence level was high at the start, though it was a difficult task".

Saha, coached by husband Hameed Saha and Parminder Singh, regretted that she could not better her best timing of 22.82 secs, achieved at the 2002 circuit meet at Ludhiana.

"On the drenched track, I could not get the speed", Saha, the lone participant to achieve the qualifying mark to Athens, said.

It was sheer disappointment for Shakti Singh of Haryana, who could not make the qualifying mark in shot put though he was the winner, heaving the iron ball to 19.40 Metres.

Ranvijay Singh of Uttar Pradesh, another international who had raised hopes, finished second with 18.97m. In women's hammer throw, Hardeep Kaur's (Punjab) hopes of qualifying for the mega sporting spectacle was dashed, though she claimed top honours with a heave of 59.68 metres. Rakhee Goud of Maharastra and Sashikala (Tamil Nadu) finished second and third, with throws of 47.92 Metres and 47.48 metres respectively.

In triple jump, Amarjeet Singh of Punjab could not better his earlier 16.44 M feat, as he leapt to just 16.24 metres.

In the women's 800 M, Madhuri Singh of Punjab won in 2 min 04.16 secs to claim the first place.

Hosts Karnataka's G G Pramila scored a grand double, winning the 100 Metres hurldes and long jump. Her compatriot Sahana Kumari emerged winner in the women's high jump.

Piyush Kumar of Delhi set the track ablaze in the men's 100m, clocking 10.62 seconds to bag Rs 10,000 cash prize. R Sreenivasan of Tamil Nadu was second and Arashad Hussain of Andhra Pradesh third. — PTI

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Brazil, Argentina in dream final

Lima, July 23
World champions Brazil meet arch-rivals Argentina on Sunday in a perfect finale to a Copa America that has already surpassed expectations.
The clash in Lima’s national stadium comes less than two months after Brazil’s 3-1 win in their World Cup qualifier in Belo Horizonte, when Ronaldo won and converted a hat-trick of penalties.

The Real Madrid striker will not be present this time. Along with Kaka, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos, he is one of several top players to be rested for the tournament by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira.

Yet the five-time World Cup winners have still managed to reach the final in an awesome demonstration of their strength-in-depth. “We’ve shown the magnitude of Brazilian football,” Parreira said.

Meanwhile, Argentina have almost certainly kept coach Marcelo Bielsa in a job by getting this far.

The introverted coach, who last week admitted he had trouble understanding himself, had not been expected to survive a poor tournament after a spell of lacklustre performances and unremarkable results.

Instead, Argentina have scored 14 goals and conceded four on their way to the final. Twenty-year-olds Javier Macherano and Carlos Tevez have both looked outstanding and Bielsa appears to have secured his position.

Brazil have also been unveiling alternatives to the old guard, in particular striker Adriano who is the Copa’s top-scorer with six goals in five games including a hat-trick against Costa Rica.

The two giants of South American football have not met in the final since the Copa America was re-invented in the late 1980s and it appears organisers did not intend them to clash this time either.

Along with hosts Peru, the pair were top seeds for the three first round groups and would have met in the semi-finals if everything had gone to plan and they had won their groups.

Peru, meanwhile, would not have run into either of them before the final.

However, all three teams finished as runners-up in their groups, meaning that Argentina faced Peru in the quarter-finals while Brazil fell into the other half of the draw.

Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa has refused to accept his team are favourites despite Brazil’s absentees.

“The question of favourites is a game which overloads the responsibilities or a team and lightens the load of the other,” he said.

“The obligations which we feel arise from the sentiment of wanting to win.”

Parreira said: “Argentina are a team who do everything well. They mark well, they run a lot and they play well when they’ve got the ball.

“They’re a team who can play and stop the opposition from playing.”

But he added: “There’s no reason for us to be afraid of them.”

Brazil: 1-Dida, 13-Maicon, 3-Luisao, 4-Juan, 6-Gustavo Nery; 5-Renato, 8-Kleberson, 10-Alex, 11-Edu; 9-Luis Fabiano, 7-Adriano.

Argentina: 1-Roberto Abbondanzieri; 8-Javier Zanetti, 2-Roberto Ayala, 6-Gabriel Heinze, 3-Juan Pablo Sorin; 5-Javier Maschero, 16-Luis Gonzalez, 11-Carlos Tevez; 19-Cesar Delgado, 9-Luciano Figueroa, 18-Cristian Gonzalez Referee: Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay) — Reuters

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Mishra lifts golf title
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, July 23
Keshav Mishra, who carded a brilliant second round with nine-under 63 and consolidated his lead to 10 strokes on the penultimate round, kept his date with the title despite fumbling on the final day, in the Royal Challenge Indian Golf Tour’s Northern India Amateur Championship at the Army Golf Course here today.

Keshav finished with a tournament tally of 6-under 282, after dropping five strokes today, to win by four strokes.

With the winner almost pre-decided, the rest of the field was left to fight for the second place. Vikrant Chopra, playing alongside former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev and veteran Vikramjit Singh, submitted a card of two-under 72 to end up as the runner-up.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, who at 16 is one of the leading junior players, carded the day’s best of four-under 68 to occupy the third place, along with Ranjit Singh and A.S. Lehal. Gagan Verma finished fifth, with a total of 290, while Amardip Malik and Vikram Rana were tied for the seventh place.

Keshav Mishra’s game was a mixture of caution and aggression, with the cherry-faced amateur falling prey to the latter mostly, overshooting the greens often. He was four-over when he realised his mistakes. His back nine was slightly better with only two bogeys, with a birdie thrown in on par-5 eighth.

Gaganjeet Bhullar, a class 12th student of MGN Kapurthala, played an attacking game. The result was a brilliant round of four-under 68, which was laced with six birdies and two bogies, including one on the opening hole.

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Faridkot upset Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Faridkot sprang a surprise defeating holders Ludhiana 73-43 in the quarter-finals of boys section in the 55th Punjab State Basketball Championship for juniors at floodlit Nehru Stadium, Ropar, today.
Other teams to make it to the semi-finals in boys section were Moga, Patiala and Amritsar.

In the girls section, both Faridkot and Amritsar also made the last four grade. The following are the results of matches decided today :

Boys section : Moga b Kapurthala 91-88, Amritsar b Muktsar 90-85, Ludhiana b Fatehgarh Sahib 33-17, Bathinda b Hoshiarpur 59-34, Faridkot b Ferozepore 44-24, Patiala b Jalandhar 60-42, Gurdaspur b Sangrur 65-64 and Mansa b Ropar 67-57. Quarter-finals : Faridkot b Ludhiana 73-43, Patiala b Gurdaspur 61-40, Moga b Mansa 82-76 and Amritsar b Bathinda 77-61.

Girls section : Amritsar b Ropar 22-10, Gurdaspur b Bathinda 42-23, Ludhiana b Patiala 38-11 and Hoshiarpur b Sangrur 20-10. Quarter-finals : Faridkot b Muktsar 35-17 and Amritsar b Kapurthala 35-32.

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Sangrur boxers impress
Our Sports Reporter

Sangrur, July 23
Boxers from Sangrur continue their winning spree in the Panjab State Senior Boxing Championships in progress here today.
Three boxers from Sangrur have entered the semifinal in light weight, fly weight and bantam weight. Kulwinder Singh of Sangrur faced stiff resistance from Amandeep of Panjab Police in bantam wt. category. In one of the best bouts where both the boxers were evenly matched, it was purely luck that helped Kulwinder win.

In another interesting bout in light fly wt. category, Sarabjit of Sangrur defeated spirited Gurjit Singh of Amritsar on points. Another Sangrur boxer who qualified for semis is Gurmukh Singh who defeated Ashwani of Panjab Police in a closely fought bout.

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 BRIEFLY

Overall leader and five-time Tour de France winner US Postal rider Lance Armstrong of the United States Overall leader and five-time Tour de France winner US Postal rider Lance Armstrong of the United States cycles past spectators during the 166.5 km 18th stage of the Tour de France from Annemasse to Lons-le Saunier, France, on Friday. — Reuters

Hopes dashed in Asian junior TT
New Delhi:
India’s hope of emulating Soumyajit Sarkar’s historic feat was dashed on Friday when none of their paddlers could make the quarter-finals of the Asian Junior Table Tennis Championship.
On a day which was dominated by teams from the far East, India’s medal prospects were dealt a severe blow when Soumyajit Sarkar, Subhadip Das, Aniket Koparkar and Mousami Paul lost in the pre-quarterfinal to bring the curtains down on the host’s challenge. In the boys semifinal, which will be held on Saturday’ top seed Zhang Jike of China will face World No. 8 Cho Eon Rae of Korea while Ma Long of China, who overcame his compatriot and World No. 7 Wu Chih Chi, will face Kishikawa Seiya of Japan. — PTI

National boxing
Hisar:
The 51st National Senior Men Boxing Championship will be organised here from August 3 to August 8. Preparations are in full swing for the championship, which will be organised at the local Mahabir Stadium.
The district administration has constituted 16 committees for the purpose. The event will be inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala. This was stated by an official spokesperson here on Friday. — TNS

Diet money
CHANDIGARH:
For encouraging the players undergoing training at the sports wings/sports academies in the state the Department of Sports has raised the daily diet money paid to a senior player from Rs 50 to Rs 75 and of a junior player from Rs 40 to Rs 60. By increasing the scale of diet money. — TNS

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