SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Coach considers Akhil as best bet
New Delhi, August 4
Cuban coach Blas Iblesias Fernandez feels that fly weight Akhil Kumar (51kg) would be India’s best bet for a boxing medal in the Athens Olympic Games 2004. Fernandez says Akhil Kumar packs a lot of power in his punches, and is fast on his feet too, which gives him advantage over his opponents.

Ministry drops boxing manager

Members of the Indian boxing team Jitender Kumar, Vijendra and Akhil Kumar at a get-together and send-off function before they leave for Athens Olympics Members of the Indian boxing team (from left to right): Jitender Kumar, Vijendra and Akhil Kumar at a get-together and send-off function before they leave for Athens Olympics 2004, in New Delhi on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Popat promises good performance at Athens
New Delhi, August 4
“Come what, I’m not going to consume any tablet or capsule during the Olympics unless I run the risk of losing my life,’’ asserted Aparna Popat, wise after the incident that saw her being banned for three months after consuming an apparently innocuous tablet four years back.

Indians salvage pride with crushing win over Ireland
New Delhi, August 4
The Athens-bound Indian team managed to salvage their reputation as they trounced lowly Ireland 6-2 to clinch the three-Test hockey series 2-1 at Leverkusen, Germany, last night. In the third and last Test, India trailed 0-2 in the first 15 minutes before staging a comeback by pumping four goals in five minutes to lead 4-2 at the breather.

Federer’s winning streak ends
Cincinnati (USA), August 4
Defending champion Andy Roddick saved himself from a similar fate as Roger Federer with a come-from-behind 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 win over Max Mirnyi at the Cincinnati Masters tennis.




Jennifer Capriati of the USA waves to the crowd following her win against Russian Alina Jidkova in their second round match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal
Jennifer Capriati of the USA waves to the crowd following her win against Russian Alina Jidkova in their second round match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Tuesday. Capriati defeated Jidkova 7-6(3), 7-5. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES
 
Jayawardene's ton steadies Sri Lanka
Galle, Sri Lanka, August 4
Mahela Jayawardene notched up his 12th Test hundred as Sri Lanka reached 279 for 7 at the close of play on the first day of the first Test against South Africa today. Jayawardene came to the crease with Sri Lanka wobbling at 22 for two then steadied the ship on a biscuit-dry pitch by scoring 116 not out with 15 fours and one six. Seamer Shaun Pollock starred for the tourists with the ball, whipping out the openers with the new ball before returning in the afternoon to dismiss Thilan Samaraweera and Romesh Kaluwitharana during a miserly late burst.


Mahela Jayawardene celebrates his 12th Test century, after
single-handedly resisting South African bowlers on the opening day of the first Test in Galle on Tuesday. — AFP photo
Mahela Jayawardene celebrates his 12th Test century

Agarkar rocks Gloucestershire
London, August 4
Ajit Agarkar’s love affair with Lord’s continued as the Mumbai pacer, struggling so far to find his rhythm for Middlesex, ran through the Gloucestershire top order with a three-wicket haul in a Frizzel County championship match here.

Indo-Pak XI to play Rest of World
Mumbai, August 4
Efforts are on to bring India and Pakistan cricketers, including batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and speedster Shoaib Akthar, in one team against a Rest of the World Eleven for four one-day ties to be played in Mumbai, Kolkata, England and Lahore later this year or early next year.

China overcome Iran, enter final
Beijing, August 4
Hosts China, once notoriously brittle under pressure, demonstrated their new-found resolve with their Asian Cup semifinal victory over Iran. They gave a raucous crowd of 62,000 a nail-biting wait yesterday, winning 4-3 in a penalty shootout after extra time failed to end a 1-1 stalemate in Beijing.



China's Sun Xiang (left) fights for the ball with Iran's Mehdi Mahdavikia during their Asian Cup semi-final match in Beijing on Tuesday. China beat Iran 4-3 in a penalty shootout. — AP/PTI photo

China's Sun Xiang competes for the ball with Iran's Mehdi Mahdavikia during their Asian Cup semi-final match in Beijing

Indian spikers beat China, bag gold
Chandigarh, August 4
Indian team won the gold in the Children of Asia Championship held at Yakutsk (Russia) from July 23 to 30. The team led by Sube Singh won the final by beating China with a score of 25-27, 25-23 and 25-16.

Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova eyes her return to Japan's Ai Sugiyama during their second round match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal
Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova eyes her return to Japan's Ai Sugiyama during their second round match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Tuesday. Sugiyama defeated Hantuchova 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
— Reuters

Volleyball coach faces action
Amritsar, August 4
Guru Nanak Dev University is seeking legal opinion whether action can be initiated against Ms Bhupinder Pal Kaur, a volleyball coach of the university, after her conviction for making false allegations of sexual harassment.

Robin, Ashwani register wins
Hisar, August 4
Robin Dev of Hisar outscored Manoj Rana of Meghalaya by 27-7 in the fly weight category during the ongoing Senior (Men) National Boxing Championship at Mahabir Stadium here today. Robin also won a gold medal in World Cup boxing meet held in Germany in 2001.



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Coach considers Akhil as best bet
M.S. Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, August 4
Cuban coach Blas Iblesias Fernandez feels that fly weight Akhil Kumar (51kg) would be India’s best bet for a boxing medal in the Athens Olympic Games 2004. Fernandez says Akhil Kumar packs a lot of power in his punches, and is fast on his feet too, which gives him advantage over his opponents.

India would be fielding a four-member boxing squad at Athens — seasoned Jitender Kumar in light heavy (81kg), Akhil Kumar in fly weight (51kg), Vijender Kumar in light welter (64kg) and Diwakar Prasad in bantam (54kg). The first three are from Haryana, which shows the stride the state has made in this stylish sport.

Vijender, at 17-and-a-half years, is the baby of the Indian contingent, and the youngest boxer ever to represent the country in the Olympics. He has already won several medals at the national and international levels, including a bronze in a competition in Athens some time ago, after he won the gold in the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad.

Fernandez, an experienced India hand, who had trained the Indian squads for the 1998 Asian Games at Bangkok and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, joined the Athens-bound boxing squad only on June 28. But within a short span, he has worked hard on the boys, along with chief coach G.S. Sandhu, to fine-tune them battle fit. He asserts that if the Indian boxers get a favourable draw, they would figure among the medallists.

Though Fernandez has very high opinion on all the four pugilists, he considers Akhil Kumar as the best bet. “He has speed, power and skill, which gives him a clear edge over the others”, the Cuban coach points out.

Twenty-three-year-old Akhil Kumar is the national champion and gold medallist in the inaugural Afro-Asian Games. He has won golds in Russia, Sychelles and Uzbekistan, and a silver in the second Olympic qualifying tournament in Guangzhou, China. He won a bronze in the Olympic arena in Athens some time back. That outing has given him a clear idea about how the Olympic boxing contests would be.

Fernandez notes that the major challenge for India in fly weight would come from the pugilists of Cuba, world champions Russia and Thailand, while in the bantam weight, the Cuban and Russian pugilists would be the key players. The 64kg event would be a predominantly Cuban show while in the 81kg, Cuba, Russia and Uzbekistan would be the top contenders.

Fernandez is, however, not overwhelmed by the formidable reputation of Cuba, where “boxing is a way of life, and every third man is a boxer”.

The Indian boys, he feels, can come good if they get a good draw. India were unlucky to miss a medal in Sydney as Gurcharan Singh was relegated to the fifth spot in controversial circumstances.

Jitender Kumar, a veteran of the Bangkok and Busan Asian Games, had got of the boxing block in Sydney with a knock-out victory over his Canadian opponent, but fell to a West Asian in the second round.

Jitender had featured in the 75kg bout in Sydney, but he gained body weight since then, and has now graduated to the 81kg. He made his bow in the 81kg in the Afro-Asian Games. The 28-year-old Jitender has won a number of medals at various competitions at home and abroad, and is considered as a medal prospect.

The Indians came through the tough Olympic qualifying competitions before making the grade. Three competitions were held in Asia — at Manila, China and Karachi — to select 64 boxers from 17 countries of the region.

The Indian boxing contingent will leave for Athens on Thursday. Their bouts are schedueld to be held on August 14, unless they get first-round byes.
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Ministry drops boxing manager
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, August 4
The Sports Ministry has denied permission to Rajesh Bhandari to accompany the Athens-bound boxing squad as manager.

The name of Bhandari, a former Secretary of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), was earlier forwarded by the federation. However, the ministry has refused to clear his name, forcing the federation to opt for an extra coach to accompany the four pugilists to Athens.

Bhandari was removed from the post of IABF Secretary at the annual general meeting of the federation held at Hisar on August 1, where Mr Abhay Chautala was re-elected President. In a last-minute change, Bhandari was replaced by P.K. Murlidharan of the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB). The ministry’s decision to do away with Bhandari as manager has been endorsed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The former IABF secretary has been a regular with Indian teams touring abroad. He was the manager of squads that took part in the Sydney Olympics, the Olympic pre-qualifiers held in Karachi in April this year and in various invitational tourneys held in Seoul and Bangkok.
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Popat promises good performance at Athens

New Delhi, August 4
“Come what, I’m not going to consume any tablet or capsule during the Olympics unless I run the risk of losing my life,’’ asserted Aparna Popat, wise after the incident that saw her being banned for three months after consuming an apparently innocuous tablet four years back.

Aparna was running fever during her Uber Cup matches here and had to take the ubiquitous medicine that contained phenylpropanolamine, the concentration level of which violated International Olympic Committee (IOC) norms, and the International Badminton Federation (IBF) banned the Indian for three months.

Short of match practice, Aparna turned up at Sydney, her first Olympic, and pitted against the then Commonwealth Games champion Kelly Morgan in her very first match, the Indian won the first set and was leading the second.

“I had won the first set 11-5 and leading the second 7-2. But I could not finish the game and ended up losing the match 11-5, 7-11, 2-11,’’ recalled the 23rd ranked shuttler.

Once bitten twice shy after the ban, Aparna said: “Come what be it cold, cough or fever, I’m not going to take tablets.’’

Talking about her preparation this time, she said, “I think you would see a better Aparna at Athens than what she was in Sydney. I had good preparation under coach Ganguly Prasad in Bangalore and I’m in a better shape. I’ve played more matches and I’m more comfortable with my game now. I’ve learnt a lot and the experience would come handy at Athens.’’

The last event Aparna appeared in was the Japan Open where she went down to her Chinese opponent in the pre-quarterfinals.

Talking about the Chinese, Aparna said: “They just kill you with sheer speed and you simply run out of energy.’’

Reluctant to commit anything about her performance at Athens, Aparna said: “Draw plays an important role in your performance and if it favours me, I think I can do well.’’

Talking about coaches, the shuttler with four junior and seven consecutive senior national titles under her belt, said, “I feel we have to learn a lot from the Danes, the Malaysians and the Chinese. However, if you impose a Chinese or a Danish style on the shuttlers here, it’s bound to boomerang. I saw in Denmark, they had a Dane at the helm of affairs with a Chinese helping the players pick some other aspects of the game. We have good coaches here but there always is room for learning from others.’’ — UNI
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Indians salvage pride with crushing win over Ireland

New Delhi, August 4
The Athens-bound Indian team managed to salvage their reputation as they trounced lowly Ireland 6-2 to clinch the three-Test hockey series 2-1 at Leverkusen, Germany, last night.

In the third and last Test, India trailed 0-2 in the first 15 minutes before staging a comeback by pumping four goals in five minutes to lead 4-2 at the breather.

According to information received here, goalscorers for the winners were Gagan Ajit Singh (2), Dilip Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Dhanraj Pillay and Deepak Thakur (one each).

India had beaten Ireland 2-0 in their first Test on Sunday but lost the next 2-3.

Reeling under the shock defeat in the second Test, India took time to settle down and, in the process, allowed Ireland to dominate the proceedings. The Irish took advantage of the confusion in the rival’s defence to slam two quick goals.

Rattled by the goals, the Indians got their act together and skipper Dilip Tirkey fired home a set-piece penalty corner (20th minute) after winger Prabhjot Singh was brought down in the striking circle.

In the very next minute, Deepak Thakur was checked unethically. The penalty corner that ensued was brilliantly dragflicked in by Sandeep Singh.

India scored two more goals in the next three minutes. Gagan Ajit put them ahead (24th minute) after he moved in tandem with Adam Sinclair and then Dhanraj Pillay, bound for his fourth consecutive Olympics, picked up a loose ball on the edge of the circle, before unleashing a splendid slap push to make the scoreline 4-2.

The second half was dominated by India as Baljit Singh Dhillon played a stellar role in the midfield as the feeder. He set up Gagan Ajit Singh in the 47th minute and the striker deflected the ball home.

Deepak Thakur completed the tally for India eight minutes before the final whistle as he shot the ball home following a goalmouth skirmish. — UNI
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Federer’s winning streak ends

Cincinnati (USA), August 4
Defending champion Andy Roddick saved himself from a similar fate as Roger Federer with a come-from-behind 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 win over Max Mirnyi at the Cincinnati Masters tennis.

Earlier yesterday, world No. 1 Roger Federer’s 23-match winning streak was snapped by Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia in a first-round match of the $ 2.4 million ATP event.

Hrbaty defeated Federer 1-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 to dent the Swiss player’s hopes of becoming the first player since Pete Sampras in 1999 to win 24 consecutive matches.

The loss also ends his streak of winning four consecutive tournament titles at Halle, Wimbledon, Gstaad and Toronto.

“Maybe it was one tournament too much for me,” Federer said. “I am not disappointed. No one should feel sorry for me. I had a great run and now the streak has ended.”

Roddick is looking to become just the third player to successfully defend his title here, following Michael Chang in 1994 and Andre Agassi in 1996.

Roddick has now won 22 of his last 24 matches with both losses coming to Federer — in the finals at Wimbledon and Toronto.

The match was of high quality with Roddick and Mirnyi both weighing in with 56 winners in the two-hour, 18-minute match. The difference came in the surprisingly low unforced error count with Mirnyi posting 19 unforced errors to 11 for Roddick.

Despite the defeat, Federer leads the tour with eight titles this year, dating back to his Australian Open win in January.

For the 21st-ranked Hrbaty it improves his record against world number ones to 4-2, having beaten Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Andre Agassi, Marat Safin and now Federer when they were the top-ranked players.

In another upset yesterday, 12th-seeded Sebastien Grosjean squandered a one-set lead to lose to Robin Soderling of Sweden 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.

Fifth seed Tim Henman took advantage of Younes El Aynaoui’s first appearance since the Australian Open, steamrolling the Moroccan 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes.

Mauresmo wins

MONTREAL: Top seed Amelie Mauresmo of France recovered from a poor second set to defeat Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in the second round of the $ 1.3 million WTA Montreal event.

The 25-year-old Frenchwoman, who won in Montreal two years ago, had to battle back in the third set of the one-hour 47-minute match with Tamarine, ranked 51st in the world.

Jennifer Capriati of the USA was also not at her sharpest, but she nevertheless advanced to the third round.

On a wet day at the hardcourt event, Capriati, the third seed, edged Alina Jidkova of Russia 7-6 (7/3), 7-5.

Capriati set up a third-round clash with No. 17 Mary Pierce of France, who routed Australian Nicole Pratt 6-1, 6-1.

Also advancing to the third round was seventh seed Ai Sugiyama of Japan, who rallied to defeat Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, and No. 12 Karolina Sprem of Croatia, who outlasted Shinobu Asagoe of Japan, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

In first-round action, No. 15 Chanda Rubin of the USA, beat German Antonia Matic, 6-4, 6-3.

She awaits countrywoman Mashona Washington in the next round after the qualifier beat Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

No. 14 Elena Bovina of Russia also reached the second round after despatching Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-1, 6-3. — AFP
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Jayawardene's ton steadies Sri Lanka

Galle, Sri Lanka, August 4
Mahela Jayawardene notched up his 12th Test hundred as Sri Lanka reached 279 for 7 at the close of play on the first day of the first Test against South Africa today. Jayawardene came to the crease with Sri Lanka wobbling at 22 for two then steadied the ship on a biscuit-dry pitch by scoring 116 not out with 15 fours and one six.

Seamer Shaun Pollock starred for the tourists with the ball, whipping out the openers with the new ball before returning in the afternoon to dismiss Thilan Samaraweera and Romesh Kaluwitharana during a miserly late burst.

Pollock, one of five quick bowlers rotated by South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, bowled two accurate and probing spells to finish with four for 24 from 15 overs. Jayawardene helped repair the early damage in an 86-run stand for the third wicket with Kumar Sangakkara on either side of the lunch interval.

Sangakkara, who has been relieved of wicketkeeping duties so he can concentrate on his batting, scored briskly with 11 boundaries in his 65-ball 58.

Scoreboard

Sri Lanka (1st innings):

Atapattu c Boucher b Pollock 9

Jayasuriya c Klusener b Pollock 12

Sangakkara c Boucher b Boje 58

Jayawardene batting 116

Samaraweera lbw b Pollock 13

Dilshan b Hayward 25

Kaluwitharana b Pollock 33

Chandana b Ntini 5

Extras (b4, lb1, nb3) 8

Total (for 7 wkts in 90 overs) 279

Fall of wickets: 1-13, 2-22, 3-108, 4-145, 5-189, 6-274, 7-279.

Bowling: Pollock 15-4-24-4, Ntini 13-0-42-1, Hayward 10-0-57-1, Kallis 13-3-37-0, Klusener 11-0-44-0, Boje 24-3-64-1, Rudolph 4-2-6-0. — AFP
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Agarkar rocks Gloucestershire

London, August 4
Ajit Agarkar’s love affair with Lord’s continued as the Mumbai pacer, struggling so far to find his rhythm for Middlesex, ran through the Gloucestershire top order with a three-wicket haul in a Frizzel County championship match here.

The rain-truncated match saw Gloucestershire finishing day one on 133 for four.

It was the same venue where Agarkar had scored his maiden Test century two years ago.

In the absence of Middlesex’s strike bowler Glenn McGrath, it was Agarkar who came up with a sparkling show that included a fiery spell of three for nine in 19 balls at one stage.

Replacing Paul Hutchison, Agarkar first removed Mike Hussey(43) who perished at cover and then had rival captain Chris Taylor leg before. After a two-hour rain delay, the Indian castled Alex Gidman with a reverse-swinging yorker to finish the day with figures of 15-4-41-3. — UNI
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Indo-Pak XI to play Rest of World

Mumbai, August 4
Efforts are on to bring India and Pakistan cricketers, including batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and speedster Shoaib Akthar, in one team against a Rest of the World Eleven for four one-day ties to be played in Mumbai, Kolkata, England and Lahore later this year or early next year.

“Though the players, including Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who will turn out for the Rest of the World, have agreed to play, we are still to get permission from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and respective cricket boards,” the founder of the company managing the event, Sanjay Jha, told reporters here today. — PTI
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China overcome Iran, enter final

Beijing, August 4
Hosts China, once notoriously brittle under pressure, demonstrated their new-found resolve with their Asian Cup semifinal victory over Iran.

They gave a raucous crowd of 62,000 a nail-biting wait yesterday, winning 4-3 in a penalty shootout after extra time failed to end a 1-1 stalemate in Beijing.

‘’We played better football than Iran and so we deserved to win,’’ said German-based playmaker Shao Jiayi, who put China ahead in the 19th minute.

China were rewarded for their relentless industry and willingness to take risks in attack, setting up a final against bitter rivals Japan on Saturday.

The Chinese, who had not beaten Iran since 1994, have now gone 19 matches without defeat — a run stretching back to last December, when they lost to South Korea.

Harder to break down under Dutch coach Arie Haan, China showed steely determination after Sayyed Mohammad Alavi equalised for Iran eight minutes before halftime.

Shao fell theatrically after a shove from Iran defender Sattar Zare three minutes into the second half. China, who have never won the Asian Cup, now face a serious test against Japan after the holders beat Bahrain 4-3 after extra time in Jinan.
— Reuters
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Indian spikers beat China, bag gold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
Indian team won the gold in the Children of Asia Championship held at Yakutsk (Russia) from July 23 to 30. The team led by Sube Singh won the final by beating China with a score of 25-27, 25-23 and 25-16. Sube Singh was appointed in the HSIDC as Assistant (Sports) and is the only volleyball player in India who has been selected simultaneously for Indian senior, Indian Junior and Indian youth volleyball teams, an HSIDC press note here said.

Before his appointment in HSIDC, Sube Singh had not participated in any tournament even at state level he had been selected to the team purely on merit. Om Parkash, the HSIDC volleyball coach, informed that tremendous performance of Sube Singh during such a short span of time was a result of his hard work.

Three players of the HSIDC namely Sanjay Kumar, Dinesh Kumar Singh and Jitender Singh are members of Indian team which is representing the country in the 8th Rashid International Volleyball Tournament at Dubai.
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Volleyball coach faces action
Our Sports Reporter

Amritsar, August 4
Guru Nanak Dev University is seeking legal opinion whether action can be initiated against Ms Bhupinder Pal Kaur, a volleyball coach of the university, after her conviction for making false allegations of sexual harassment.

The case was filed by a former Director, Sports, Dr Kanwaljeet Singh, Professor, Department of Physical Education, Guru Nanak Dev University, against whom allegations of sexual harassment were levelled by the coach.

Dr. Kanwaljeet Singh, in a communication to the Vice-Chancellor, demanded disciplinary action against Ms Bhupinder Pal Kaur after she was convicted by the court.

Dr. S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said he had forwarded the letter to the panel of legal experts to take their opinion and the needful would be done after taking their advice.

Dr Kanwaljeet Singh alleged that the volleyball coach had levelled false allegations against him to the then Vice-Chancellor in 1998. Due to the allegations, he was forced to relinquish the additional charge of Director, Sports, he added. He alleged that she even filed a case in the court, which in its judgment on August 17, 2001, found the complaint as false and dismissed the case and discharged him of all allegations.
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Robin, Ashwani register wins
Sunil Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Hisar, August 4
Robin Dev of Hisar (Haryana) outscored Manoj Rana of Meghalaya by 27-7 in the fly weight category during the ongoing Senior (Men) National Boxing Championship at Mahabir Stadium here today.

Robin had also participated in the Cuba world championship and won a gold medal in World Cup boxing meet held in Germany in 2001.

He had also won silver medals twice in World Cup matches held in Germany in 2002 and 2003.

In other bouts held today, Tauseef Khan of Jharkhand defeated Subhas Debnath of Bengal by 22-19 in the fly weight category. In another close contest, Ashwani Sharma of Chandigarh got the better of V. Durga Rao of Andhra Pradesh by 33-25. In the bantam weight category, Sujit Biswa of Assam Rifles outscored Prahalad of the CISF.

Bijendra Singh of Haryana managed to defeat Suresh Kumar of the CISF by a narrow margin in the fly weight category. In the same category, Abhishek Sah of Delhi scored an emphatic win over Mohammad Arif of Orissa.

Results of the matches played last night are as following:

Light flyweight (48 kg): Ali Qamar (Rly) b Dharminder (Chd); Kaleem Ahmed (AP) b Ghulam Ghaus (Jhar); Sonu (Har) b Diganta Nath (Assam); Jonathan (SSCB) b Khemanand (CISF); L. Zuala (Mizo) b S.B. Thapa (AP); Arun Singh (AIP) b Shailendra Singh (UP); Balbir (Delhi) b Surapati Chinna (AP).

Fly weight: (51 kg): M Nashir Kurashi (UP) b Santu Aley (Assam); M.D. Tarique (Bengal) b Gaurav Singh (UP).

Bantam weight: (54 kg): K.K. Bansingh (Orissa) b K. Satish Kumar (K’taka).
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 BRIEFLY

Lee working on shorter run-up
SYDNEY:
The sight of Brett Lee charging down the track was enough to send shivers down the spine of rival batsmen. But that could well be a thing of the past with the injury-prone Australian speedster working on a shorter run-up.
Lee, out of action since the ankly injury in Sri Lanka in February, plans to travel to India next week in his comeback bid with two one-day matches with the Centre for Excellence. The Age quoted the Australian as saying that he had developed this new option while working on his trademark long run. “I think when you get the run-up perfect, it can increase your pace,” Lee said. — UNI

Sania advances
HYDERABAD:
India’s tennis sensation Sania Mirza on Wednesday defeated Rebecca Lewellyn of Great Britain 6-2, 6-7 and 6-2 in the $ 10,000 International Tennis Federation Women’s Tournament being held at Wrexham, United Kingdom.
With this win, Ms Mirza has entered the pre-quarter finals of the tournament. — UNI

Dist badminton
CHAMBA:
In the district badminton championship held here this week, Manoj Thakur was the winner while Itul Gautam stood second in the under-19 category. In the senior group, Vishal Kapoor defeated Rajesh Kamroy to lift the title. In senior (doubles), Rajesh Kamroy and Bani Bhushan beat Itul Gautam and Navneet Gautam in the final. — OC

TT tournament
AMRITSAR:
Life Insurance Corporation of India will hold a two-day LIC north region (men and women) table tennis championship from Thursday. The tournament will be played at Municipal Corporation Indoor Stadium, Gol Bagh. — OSR

Polo team wins
NEW DELHI:
The Indian team continued its victory run in the seventh World Bicycle Polo Championship in Vancouver, defeating hosts Canada in an exciting match.
Sohan dazzled as the top scorer with seven goals for the visitors as India won 13-7 against world champions Canada, according to a press note issued by the Cycle Polo Federation of India. India, who had earlier defeated Germany and Belgium in the opening matches, will next face Mexico. — PTI

Badminton meet
CHANDIGARH:
A women’s badminton tournament was organised at Military Station, Beas, on Wednesday. In senior women’s singles, Mrs Rita Kullar defeated Mrs Chaba. Mrs Mahua Singh won in the senior women’s novices category, defeating Mrs Ratna Pant. The women’s novices singles title went to Mrs Anu Grewal, followed by Mrs J.K. Rao, Mrs R. Chandel and Mrs Veena Raman.
In the women’s singles category, the winner was Mrs Kavita Bhalla and the runner-up was Mrs Ratna Pant. In mixed doubles, Mrs Rawat and Capt R. Nair lifted the trophy and the runners-up were Mrs Bhavna Kukreja and Capt Manoharan. — TNS
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