SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

countdown to Olympics

Indians getting acclimatised
Athens, August 10
With just three days to go for the opening of the 28th Olympiad, Indian athletes are undergoing rigorous training sessions here to acclimatise themselves to the conditions.

Will India taste success?
Sandeep hurt during practice
Athens, August 10
Will India improve upon its last two Olympics performances of a bronze medal each in the home of Olympics here? The Indian contingent, minus the wrestlers, are here.

Australians Nicole Sanderson and Sydney Olympic gold medalist Kerri Pottharst train during a practice session at the Beach Volleyball Centre in Athens Monday Australians Nicole Sanderson (left) and Sydney Olympic gold medalist Kerri Pottharst train during a practice session at the Beach Volleyball Centre in Athens Monday. — AP/PTI

Zero tolerance for doping, says IOC chief
Athens, August 10
With the Athens Olympics set to open this week, the International Olympic Committee today reiterated its ‘’no tolerance’’ stand on doping and corruption in sport.

Europe keen to crush Africa’s dream
Athens, August 10
Football’s old guard sets out on its quest to crush Africa’s dream of a third successive gold medal and restore the balance of power as the Olympic tournament kicks off tomorrow.





An orangutan and a chimpanzee cheer for South Korea's success in the Olympics
An orangutan (left) and a chimpanzee cheer for South Korea's success in the Olympics, at a zoo in Yongin, near Seoul, on Tuesday.
— Reuters


EARLIER STORIES
 
A swimmer dives into the water during a free practice session at the Olympic Aquatic Centre in Athens
A swimmer dives into the water during a free practice session at the Olympic Aquatic Centre in Athens on Tuesday.

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe smiles during a news conference of the Australian swimming team in Athens on Tuesday
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe smiles during a news conference of the Australian swimming team in Athens on Tuesday. One of the biggest battles of the Olympics in Athens is set to be contested in the pool between Australian swimming sensation Ian Thorpe and American teenager Michael Phelps.
— Reuters photos

Justice Pathak heads IOC tribunal
Athens, August 10
Whatever may be the performance of the Indian sportspersons in the Olympics, one Indian is bound to hog the limelight in the games. Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court R.S. Pathak is here as the head of the International Olympic Committee’s powerful body — Court of Arbitration for Sports. The CAS has been empowered by the IOC to settle all disputes arising during the Olympiad.

Blow for Lanka as Jayasinghe pulls out
Colombo, August 10
Sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe Sri Lanka’s first-ever Olymic medal-winner will not run at the Athens Games due to a recurring leg injury, dashing the South Asian country’s medal hopes, newspapers reported today. Jayasinghe, who won bronze in the women’s 200 metre at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, waited until she arrived at the athletes village in the Greek capital before revealing that a fracture in her right leg would prevent her from competing, the Daily Mirror reported.


SA fancy chance to win series

Colombo, August 10
South Africa go into the second and final Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground here tomorrow with a chance of winning another series against Sri Lanka. South Africa have won four of their previous five-Test series with honours even on their three-Test tour here four years ago, which ended at 1-1.

Sri Lankan pacer Farveez Maharoof bowls to Sanath Jayasuriya during a practice session in Colombo on Tuesday. The second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa begins on Wednesday. — AP/PTI photo

Sri Lankan pacer Farveez Maharoof bowls to Sanath Jayasuriya during a practice session in Colombo



ICC hails Muralitharan.
(28k, 56k)

Agarkar shines for Middlesex
London, August 10
Ajit Agarkar, who got the Indian selectors nod before the Holland tri-series shone with the ball and his three-wicket haul helped Middlesex beat Leicestershire by 17 runs in a rain-truncated Totesport National League Division Two match here at the Lord’s. Put into bat after the starting was delayed by rain, Middlesex put on 215 for nine wickets with Kamie Dalrymple top scoring with his 40 off 44 balls.

‘The Virender Sehwag Story’ is out
New Delhi, August 10
Virender SehwagVirender Sehwag is too young for his biography to be written about. But he has achieved so much in his short cricket career that he has become a national icon, and a perfect material for a bestseller. Leading cricket writer Vijay Lokapally has come out with an eminently readable book on the boy from Najafgarh, who has made it big in the rough and tough world of international cricket.

A dream come true, says Karthik
Chennai, August 10
For India’s latest wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik “it is a dream come true” to become part of the national cricket team for the three-nation tournament in Holland, also involving Pakistan and Australia.

Vahanvati to probe racism charges
London, August 10
India’s Solicitor-General Goolam Vahanvati has been appointed by the International Cricket Council as one of the members of a two-man panel to look into the allegations of racism in Zimbabwe cricket.

Adam Scott of Australia hits chip shots on the sixth green during a practice round for the 86th PGA Championship
Adam Scott of Australia hits chip shots on the sixth green during a practice round for the 86th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, on Monday. — Reuters

Bhutia to lead team for
LG Cup
Kolkata, August 10
Star striker Bhaichung Bhutia has been retained skipper of the 20-member Indian soccer team announced today for the LG Cup in Vietnam later this month and the World Cup qualifying match against Japan here on September 8. Naming the side, chief national coach Stephen Constantine was confident that the team would win the title in the LG Cup slated to begin on August 22, in a repeat of its historic triumph in the tournament in 2002.

IA to sponsor Ranjit hockey
New Delhi, August 10
The Indian Airlines Sports Board has entered into a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to sponsor the Maharaja Ranjit Singh International Hockey Tournament. The MoU was signed here today between chairman of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Trust K.S. Bains and former Indian hockey captain Zafar Iqbal.

Ex-hockey player Rajasekharan dies in mishap
Chennai, August 10
Former hockey international V. Rajasekharan died in a tragic mishap after he slipped and fell on the railway track at the Egmore station here this morning. His brother, former Indian captain Vasudevan Bhaskaran, said 55-year-old Rajasekharan fell on the track while getting into a train and sustained a serious head injury.

Chautala, Bhadu re-elected
Chandigarh, August 10
Mr Abhey Singh Chautala and Mr HS Bhadu have been unanimously re-elected as president and secretary of the Haryana State Athletic Association at the general body meeting held at Dabawali, Sirsa.
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Indians getting acclimatised

Athens, August 10
With just three days to go for the opening of the 28th Olympiad, Indian athletes are undergoing rigorous training sessions here to acclimatise themselves to the conditions.

Most of the Indian contingent members, who have checked into the games village here, have not only visited the competition venues but are also spending considerable time training under the supervision of their coaches.

The shooters, boxers, weightlifters, sailors, the lone swimmer, table tennis players and the badminton players, who were the first to check in at the village two days ago, have made good use of the practice facilities available at the venues.

The Indian hockey team also reached this ancient city last night after undergoing a training programme in Germany.

After a light breakfast, the team left for a practice session at the Helliniko Olympic Complex, venue for the hockey competitions beginning on Saturday. The training was held under the watchful eyes of new German coach Gerhard Rach.

The Indians, who are placed in the tough Group B, will open their campaign against the defending champions, The Netherlands, on Sunday.

The tennis duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, one of the main medal contenders, joined the contingent today after they were received by Indian Olympic Association officials at the airport.

Sydney bronze-medal winner Karnam Malleswari and shuttler Nikhil Kanetkar also checked in later in the afternoon.

The athletics contingent, barring ace long jumper Anju Bobby George, was expected to reach here in small batches from their various training bases in Europe in the next few days.

Chef-de-mission of the Indian contingent Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi and IOA President Suresh Kalmadi will reach here tomorrow.

There has been speculation about Anju’s health after reaching Athens, but a top IOA official categorically denied reports that she was down with fever.

“Anju is fine and is practising. She has no fever. She is totally focused and is enjoying her stay here”, the official said.

Indian sportspersons have been asked to return to the village by the evening so that they can be present at the flag hoisting ceremony, a special moment during mega events like Olympics and the Asian Games.

The official said ceremonial attires for the Indian contingent for the opening ceremony on Friday had arrived from New Delhi.

The sportspersons and officials will come out in a “Bandgala” Jodhpuri suit complete with the traditional headgear “safa”.

“Many of the participants tried out their outfits during the day. They are all excited to be a part of the opening ceremony,” the official said. — PTI
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Will India taste success?
Sandeep hurt during practice
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Athens, August 10
Will India improve upon its last two Olympics performances of a bronze medal each in the home of Olympics here?

The Indian contingent, minus the wrestlers, are here. The only damper has been injury to young drag flicker and fullback Sandeep Singh, who while training in Germany, ran into the railing and received a cut on his left hand. He will hopefully be fit for the country's opening match later this week.

The experts give the Indian contingent chances of winning more than one medal here, raising hopes of our sportsmen and women getting on the victory podium in athletics, boxing, tennis, wrestling, weightlifting, shooting and may be hockey also.

There may not be many stars in the Indian contingent but the local people appear to have a special affinity for the Indians. "We want them to do well. We hope India and Pakistan play the final in hockey so that we can watch the wizardry because of which they reigned supreme in world hockey for so long," remarked a local hotelier.

The arrival of the Indian contingent has enthused the local Indian population which is small and scattered. Most of the Indians in general and Punjabis in particular, are either into trade running corner or general merchandise shops or doing jobs in farm houses, hotels, business houses and industrial houses.

When the hockey team arrived yesterday a good number of Indian supporters had gathered at the airport to accord them a welcome. In fact the whole of Athens is adored with banners and hoardings "welcoming all Olympians back home".

Will "home coming" bring luck to India or not will be seen when the competitions start on August 14. Sandeep's injury is not serious, says Mr Hardeep Singh Dhillon, manager of the team, who had arrived here ahead of the team.

The team is in high spirits and is rearing to go, says Mr Dhillon, holding that it has focussed on its weaknesses witnessed during its recent international matches and the new management has worked closely with the players.

The Indian wrestlers are expected here tomorrow after their last training session ends in Bulgaria.

Tennis duo Leander and Mahesh hope for a favourable draw to be in the medal round. Leander had won a bronze in singles in the Atlanta Olympic Games. Another major hope for India has been its star jumper Anju George who can get India its first ever athletic medal in the Olympics after Roger Pritchard who had won a silver in the 1900 Olympic Games by representing British India.

India also hopes to do well in shooting where young Abhinav Bindra, who had been training hard for a year in the Europe besides attending a special concentration camp in the USA is a medal hopeful. Abhinav's event on August 16 will surely be keenly awaited back home in general and Chandigarh in particular. Anjali Pathak and Manavjit Sandhu are other shooters expected to do well here.
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Zero tolerance for doping, says IOC chief

Athens, August 10
With the Athens Olympics set to open this week, the International Olympic Committee today reiterated its ‘’no tolerance’’ stand on doping and corruption in sport.

“Unethical behaviour of some individuals should not reflect on the whole organisation,’’ IOC President Jacques Rogge told his 120-plus members ahead of the August 13 to 29 Olympics.

He acknowledged: ‘’No organisation is perfect.’’

Rogge’s comments came three days after the IOC backed up its tough stance with action.

On Saturday, Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov was suspended following allegations of corruption in a television documentary broadcast last week.

Slavkov’s accreditation to the Athens Games was immediately withdrawn. He has vowed to fight to clear his name and that of his country.

“This (action) shows the resolve of the IOC to have zero tolerance of corruption,’’ Rogge said at the time.

I am angry with the behaviour of some people...I am angry because the behaviour of some is harming a beautiful movement... a movement of volunteers who love sport.

“I can assure you, under my leadership, the IOC will be 100 percent respectful of the rules.’’

Slavkov and Serbian sports agent Goran Takach were shown in a BBC programme last Wednesday discussing ways to secure votes for choosing the site of the 2012 Games with undercover journalists posing as business agents.

Three other agents close to the Olympic movement and familiar with the bidding process also featured in the documentary.

Takach, Gabor Komyathy, Mahmood El Farnawani and Muttaleb Ahmad were also condemned by the IOC.

“They are `persona non grata’ within the Olympic movement,’’ Rogge said. — Reuters
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Europe keen to crush Africa’s dream

Athens, August 10
Football’s old guard sets out on its quest to crush Africa’s dream of a third successive gold medal and restore the balance of power as the Olympic tournament kicks off tomorrow.

Just as in previous years, football’s Olympic competition gets under way well before Friday’s formal opening of the games, with eight matches taking place across Greece — and none in Athens.

Both men’s and women’s teams will be in action on Wednesday, with the host nation hoping for strong starts as their respective teams seek to follow in the footsteps of Greece’s victorious Euro 2004 squad.

Greece’s women face an imposing tie against 1996 gold medallists and former world champions the USA, while their male counterparts take on a powerful South Korean side.

Other women’s matches see world champions Germany face China at Patras as Australia meet Brazil in Salonika while Sweden meet Japan in Volos.

The focus of the men’s tournament will be on whether Europe and South America’s entrants will be able to stop Africa from making it third time lucky following Cameroon’s victory in 2000 and Nigeria in 1996.

Nigeria’s victory in a pulsating final over Argentina eight years ago broke a run of European successes stretching back to the 1936 Games in Berlin.

But both the Nigerian Super Eagles and Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions failed to qualify for this year’s Olympics.

Instead, Africa have four representatives in Ghana, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia but it is the likes of Italy, Portugal and the hosts Greece who are expected to be pushing for gold in August 28 Olympic Stadium final.

Former World Cup winning hardman Claudio Gentile believes his young Italy team has the makings of a gold medal performance.

“This is a great team. I’m really delighted because they played some tremendous stuff in the European championship. I’ve always believed in them, and we deserved the triumph,” said Gentile, part of 1982 World Cup-winning team.

The Portuguese will also be amongst the favourites but their squad has been weakened by the late withdrawals of new Chelsea signing Tiago as well as striker Helder Postiga.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo remains in the Portuguese line-up however, much to the chagrin of manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

“Playing in the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the career of a football player,” said the winger known as ‘Mr Twinkle Toes’, who starred for Portugal in their run to the Euro 2004 final.

“When you cut up a cake too many times there is nothing left. Next season the boy may be exhausted,” was Ferguson’s response.

Cameroon and Nigeria’s failure to qualify this time around proved once again how hard it is for champions to mount a successful defence of their title.

Only Hungary (Tokyo, 1964 and Mexico, 1968), Uruguay (Paris, 1924 and Amsterdam, 1928) and England (London, 1908 and Stockholm, 1912) have managed to win two successive gold medals in the 20 football tournaments held.

Professional players were only allowed to take part from the 1984 Games in Los Angeles; before that the amateur competition was the domain of the Eastern bloc.

But times have changed and the Olympics is attracting more and more pro players. — AFP
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Justice Pathak heads IOC tribunal

Athens, August 10
Whatever may be the performance of the Indian sportspersons in the Olympics, one Indian is bound to hog the limelight in the games.

Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court R.S. Pathak is here as the head of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) powerful body — Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

The CAS has been empowered by the IOC to settle all disputes arising during the Olympiad.

Justice Pathak will head the 12-member body which will provide all participants with free access to “justice rendered within time limits that keep pace with the competition.”

The other member of Indian origin in the CAS is Sharad Rao of Kenya while Matthieu Reeb is the secretary-general. — UNI
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Blow for Lanka as Jayasinghe pulls out

Colombo, August 10
Sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe Sri Lanka’s first-ever Olymic medal-winner will not run at the Athens Games due to a recurring leg injury, dashing the South Asian country’s medal hopes, newspapers reported today.

Jayasinghe, who won bronze in the women’s 200 metre at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, waited until she arrived at the athletes village in the Greek capital before revealing that a fracture in her right leg would prevent her from competing, the Daily Mirror reported.

Jayasinghe told Sri Lanka’s state-run Daily News that she would not take part in the 100 metre — the only event she qualified for — but that she would remain in Athens as Captain of the national Olympic squad.

“I will be OK in a few months and will direct my energy toward the South Asian Games”, the Daily Mirror quoted Jayasinghe as saying. — AP
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SA fancy chance to win series

Colombo, August 10
South Africa go into the second and final Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground here tomorrow with a chance of winning another series against Sri Lanka. South Africa have won four of their previous five-Test series with honours even on their three-Test tour here four years ago, which ended at 1-1.

A comfortable draw in the opening Test in Galle came as a boost to the visiting side’s morale as Sri Lanka were expected to go one-up on the turning pitch at the southern coastal town.

“We are going into the second Test with all that more confidence,” said South African captain Graeme Smith, who slammed 74 in their second innings score of 203 for 3 after being set a target of 325.

South Africa’s batting will be fortified by the return of opener Herschelle Gibbs, who has been declared fit after missing the first Test with an ankle injury.

Sri Lanka’s only Test win against South Africa came four years ago, when ace off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan took 13 wickets in Galle. But Muralitharan, barred from bowling his controversial away-going ‘doosra’ delivery, struggled to get important breakthroughs at the same venue this time, taking just one wicket in the second innings.

“We are disappointed with the result in Galle,” said Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu. “We were expecting to win the first match and have to sort some things out.”

Smith, on the other hand, fancied his chances. Seamer Shaun Pollock picked up four wickets in the first innings, left-arm spinner Nicky Boje got a five-for in the second and batsmen Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis and Smith himself were all among the runs in the first Test.

South Africa have won one of their previous two Tests at the Colombo venue, in 1993, and drew the other on their last tour in 2000.

Sri Lanka otherwise have a good record at the ground having won 11 of 24 matches and lost six with seven draws.

Muralitharan also has a superb haul of 111 wickets in 17 matches at the SSC ground but his form has been worrying Atapattu. “Muralitharan was unimpressive at Galle, which was quite unusual, but we hope to see him taking wickets very soon,” he said.

The teams: Sri Lanka (from): Marvan Atapattu (capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillaka-ratne Dilshan, Upul Chandana, Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan, Nuwan Zoysa, Thilan Samaraweera, Rangana Herath, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Ian Daniel.

South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Mark Boucher, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Martin Van Jaarsveld, Boeta Dippenaar, Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje, Mornantau Hayward, Lance Klusener, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel, Robin Peterson, Andrew Puttick. — AFP
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Agarkar shines for Middlesex

London, August 10
Ajit Agarkar, who got the Indian selectors nod before the Holland tri-series shone with the ball and his three-wicket haul helped Middlesex beat Leicestershire by 17 runs in a rain-truncated Totesport National League Division Two match here at the Lord’s.

Put into bat after the starting was delayed by rain, Middlesex put on 215 for nine wickets with Kamie Dalrymple top scoring with his 40 off 44 balls.

Meanwhile, hostile weather saw the Duckworth-Lewis system coming into play and Leicestershire were given a victory target of 135 in 25 overs.

However, with Glenn McGrath and Agarkar working in tandem Leicestershire batsmen had a difficult time.

Agarkar was the pic of the Middlesex attack and he had his first scalp when he trapped Darrel Stevens plumb in front. John Saddler perished to McGrath off Agarkar while the Indian pacer’s third victim was Jeremy Snap who was caught by Ben Scott.

Agarkar finished the match with the figure of 4-0-22-3. — UNI
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‘The Virender Sehwag Story’ is out
M.S. Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, August 10
Virender Sehwag is too young for his biography to be written about. But he has achieved so much in his short cricket career that he has become a national icon, and a perfect material for a bestseller. Leading cricket writer Vijay Lokapally has come out with an eminently readable book on the boy from Najafgarh, who has made it big in the rough and tough world of international cricket.

“The Virender Sehwag Story”, brought out by UBS Publishers, traces the evolution of Sehwag in simple prose, without resorting to cliques and rhytorics. Vijay, who has closely followed Sehwag’s cricket career from all corners of the cricket-playing countries, has made judicious use of the wealth of information in his possession to showcase Sehwag in a presentable manner.

“Sehwag has brought about a distinct change to our batting approach with his own brand of strokeplay. I have rarely seen a batsman launch an assault on the bowlers with such confidence. This self-belief is Sehwag’s strongest point, and he stands out for his never-say-die spirit”, Indian captain Saurav Ganguly has observed in his foreword, adding that “watching his triple century at Multan was a lifetime experience”.

Sehwag has disclosed that there was no pressure on him while compiling those mammoth 309 runs at Multan, to help India score their first-ever Test victory on Pakistan soil.

“There was no pressure at all this time. I had done well in the one-day series and I knew the first hour of the Test match was crucial. I was timing the ball well, and I told myself that I had to last the first hour. I had aimed at getting a hundred as I kept connecting my shots and runs kept coming at a fast pace. Believe me, I did not even realise I had reached my double century. May be, my shot selection was perfect that day. May be, I was mentally prepared better to face the bowlers”.

Sehwag has explained that he had “vowed not to repeat the mistake of Melbourne” as he neared the triple century mark. “Of course, I still would have lashed out had the ball been poor. But I concentrated on lasting the day, and returning afresh the next morning. I gave the entire credit to Sachin. He kept telling me not to throw my wicket away. He would show his displeasure whenever I played a loose shot or lapsed in concentration”.

The 139-page book will be formally launched in Delhi by Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid on August 13.
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A dream come true, says Karthik

Chennai, August 10
For India’s latest wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik “it is a dream come true” to become part of the national cricket team for the three-nation tournament in Holland, also involving Pakistan and Australia.

The proud youngster said he hoped to play to his potential to cement a permanent place in the Indian team.

“I am not worried whether I will get to keep wickets. I am eager to play to my potential right from the first chance and the rest will not bother me,” the 19-year-old said on his return from Harare.

Karthik was doing duty with the India ‘A’ team in Zimbabwe when he along with left-hand batsman Rohan Gavaskar were included in the senior team.

Karthik, who has made giant strides during the last couple of seasons with two hundreds in the Ranji Trophy semifinal and final to pull his team out of dire straits, would become the fifth player from Tamil Nadu to don the Indian wicketkeeper’s gloves after S.V.T. Chari, M.O. Srinivasan, T.V. Parthasarathy and Bharat Reddy. — PTI
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Vahanvati to probe racism charges

London, August 10
India’s Solicitor-General Goolam Vahanvati has been appointed by the International Cricket Council as one of the members of a two-man panel to look into the allegations of racism in Zimbabwe cricket.

The ICC today confirmed the appointment of Vahanvati and South African High Court Judge Steven Majiedt as the panel to carry out an independent review into the allegations.

They will investigate the racism allegations that were raised during a dispute between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and some of its players in April this year. — PTI
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Bhutia to lead team for LG Cup

Kolkata, August 10
Star striker Bhaichung Bhutia has been retained skipper of the 20-member Indian soccer team announced today for the LG Cup in Vietnam later this month and the World Cup qualifying match against Japan here on September 8.

Naming the side, chief national coach Stephen Constantine was confident that the team would win the title in the LG Cup slated to begin on August 22, in a repeat of its historic triumph in the tournament in 2002.

“I am 100 per cent satisfied with the team. The progress has been very good in the ongoing camp. We’re going to win the tourney,” Constantine told a press conference here.

Team:

Goalkeepers: Sangram Mukherjee and Naseem Akhtar.

Defenders: Dipak Mandal, Debjit Ghosh, Mahesh Gawli, Habibur Rahman, Vinu jose, Sameer Naik and Debabrata Roy.

Medios: S. Venkatesh, Climax Lawrence, Jatin Singh Bisht, Rennedy Singh, Steven Dias, Jerry Zirsanga and Tomba Singh.

Forwards: Bhaichung Bhutia (capt), Abhishek Yadav, R.C. Prakash and Asim Biswas.

Standby: Prashanta Dora, Covan Lawrence, Surkumar Singh, Gourmangi Singh and Bijen Singh.

Constantine said the present team was better than the one which won the LG Cup in 2002.

“These boys have tremendous spirit. They are all very capable,” the 41-year-old Anglo-Cypriot said.

The coach, in a shift from his earlier derogatory comments about the new selection committee, said the appointment of the four selectors had given him four pairs of extra eyes to scout talent. — PTI
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IA to sponsor Ranjit hockey
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, August 10
The Indian Airlines Sports Board has entered into a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to sponsor the Maharaja Ranjit Singh International Hockey Tournament. The MoU was signed here today between chairman of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Trust K.S. Bains and former Indian hockey captain Zafar Iqbal.

“It will be another feather in the cap of the Trust”, said secretary-general of the trust Vikramjit Singh Sahney.

The Trust had installed a 24-feet high equestrian statue in bronze of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the Parliament Annexe last year.

Mr Bains said the cost of organising the hockey tournament would be around Rs 15 lakh, out of which Rs 7.5 lakh would be contributed by Indian Airlines evey year.

Indian Airlines have also agreed to provide adequate number of complimentary tickets for the two teams from abroad from whereever Indian Airlines operates its flights.

The first edition of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh International Hockey Tournament will be held in February next year.
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Ex-hockey player Rajasekharan dies in mishap

Chennai, August 10
Former hockey international V. Rajasekharan died in a tragic mishap after he slipped and fell on the railway track at the Egmore station here this morning.

His brother, former Indian captain Vasudevan Bhaskaran, said 55-year-old Rajasekharan fell on the track while getting into a train and sustained a serious head injury.

The former centre half was rushed to Government General Hospital, where he also suffered a heart attack.

He is survived by wife and two daughters.

Rajasekharan, a contemporary of former captain Ajit Pal Singh, had represented India against the all-star Asian team, the Netherlands and France in international matches.

He had also played for Tamil Nadu for three years and the Railways for nine years.

Rajasekharan was also a “university blue” in hockey, football and athletics. He excelled in the high jump but chose to be a hockey player.

Condoling his death, Indian Hockey Federation Secretary-General K. Jyothikumaran said he was a great player and an able sports administrator. — UNI
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Chautala, Bhadu re-elected

Chandigarh, August 10
Mr Abhey Singh Chautala and Mr HS Bhadu have been unanimously re-elected as president and secretary of the Haryana State Athletic Association at the general body meeting held at Dabawali, Sirsa.

The other office-bearers of the association are: sr. vice-presidents — Mr Anurag Rastogi; vice- presidents — Mr Balraj Singh; Mr Gokal Chand, Mr Bhupender Singh; and Mr ID Kamboj; treasurer — Mr SS Bura; sr joint secretary — Mr HK Kundu; joint secretaries — Ms Raj Yadav; and Mr Chand Ram; and members (executive committee): Mr Duli Chand, MrAmer Singh, Mr VK Verma, Mr Mewa Singh, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Chander Singh Chauhan, Mr Satpal Singh, Mr PS Bajwa, Mr Harphool Singh, Mr Dalip Singh and Mr CS Rathee. — TNS
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 BRIEFLY

‘Tainted’ athlete to compete
PARIS:
American sprinter Bernard Williams will compete at the Athens Olympics despite testing positive for a metabolite of cannabis at a meeting in Seville in June.
According to the BBC website, Williams, a gold medal winner in the 4x100m relay at the Sydney games, only received a warning despite testing positive for the banned substance. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which claims that it alone has tested Williams a total of 16 times since 2001, had committed a first offence and was thus only handed a warning. — AFP

Cyclist quits
ZURICH:
Former world cycling champion Oscar Camenzind has quit the sport after testing positive for a banned drug, the Swiss rider said on Tuesday.
It is likely he would have been suspended from all competition by the cycling authorities in any case. The 1998 world road race champion, who tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin (EPO) was notified of the results of his test on Monday, prompting him to withdraw from the Olympics. He was also fired by his professional team Phonak. — Reuters

T-shirt row
ATHENS:
A German International Olympic Committee member called on the IOC’s athletes’ commission on Tuesday to check athletes’ T-shirts after spotting one with a reference to a Nazi war tactic.
‘’I saw an athlete in the Olympic village wearing a T-shirt that said ‘’Blitzkrieg — it’s only a game,’’ an angry Walther Troeger told an IOC meeting. Nazi Germany used the blitzkrieg — lightning war — attack tactic to surprise enemies in the early days of World War II. ‘’The athletes’ commission should do something about it. We should stop such a thing in the Olympic Village,’’ Troeger told former pole vault champion Sergei Bubka, who heads the commission. — Reuters

Ministers barred
ATHENS:
Greece has barred the sports ministers of Myanmar and Zimbabwe from the Athens Olympics as part of the European Union’s sanctions against the two countries for human and civil rights violations, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe’s Aeneas Chigwedere and Myanmar’s Brigadier General Thura Aye Myint are already barred from entering the European Union as part of the bloc’s political sanctions against the two countries. “We are just complying with EU rules,” a senior Greek official said. — AFP

Hunters’ offer
ATHENS:
Greece’s Public Order Minister Yiorgos Voulgarakis on Monday formally accepted an offer from the country’s hunters to help — for free — with the massive security effort being made for the Olympics. The hunters will monitor rural venues, where they know the terrain well, for intruders and forest fires, Mr Voulgarakis said after meeting Mr Nikos Papadodimas, head of the hunters’ federation, four days before the start of the games. — AFP
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