SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S



Hockey: India no match for mighty Dutch
Athens, August 15
Unable to match defending champions, the Netherlands, India made a disastrous start in the Olympic hockey competition losing their opener 1-3 here tonight. In fact, it was a winless start for Asian teams.



The Netherlands’ Taeke Taekema (right) fights for the ball with India’s Gagan Ajit Singh during their Olympic Games hockey match in Athens on Sunday. — AP/PTI photo

The Netherlands’ Taeke Taekema  fights for the ball with India’s Gagan Ajit Singh during their Olympic Games hockey match in Athens

Australia whip New Zealand 4-1
Athens, August 15
Australia fired the first salvo in their quest to win an elusive men’s hockey gold today, outplaying rivals New Zealand 4-1.

Paes-Bhupathi duo keen to be third time lucky
Athens, August 15
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi face a tricky first round match against the American pair of Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish in the men’s doubles tennis as they begin their quest for Olympic glory here tomorrow.

Kunjarani’s dream shattered
Athens, August 15
Amid nerve-wracking tension and high drama, veteran N. Kunjarani Devi’s dream of an Olympic medal was shattered as she ended fifth in the 48 kg category on the opening day of the weightlifting competition at the Nikaia Hall here last night.


India's Namecrakpam Kunjarani lifts 82.5 kg during the women's 48 kg event at the Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall in Athens, on Saturday. — AP/PTI photo
India's Namecrakpam Kunjarani lifts 82.5 kg during the women's 48 kg event at the Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall in Athens

Jitender loses in first round
Athens, August 15
India’s cup of woes was brimming as boxer Jitender Kumar crashed out of contention losing to Andriy Fedchuk of Ukraine in the first round of the 81 kg category event in the Olympic Games here last night.






Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps of the USA competes during the men's 400-m individual medley final at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday. Phelps won gold with a time of 4.08.26 and set a world record. — Reuters


EARLIER STORIES
 
An Argentina fan cheers on her team
An Argentina fan cheers on her team during the preliminary rounds of the beach volleyball competition at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday. — Reuters

I need a break, says Anjali
Athens, August 14
Her dreams of an Olympic medal having met a tragic end, Anjali Bhagwat said yesterday she was “shattered” and would need a break to rethink her career in shooting. Anjali, who finished a disappointing 20th in the women’s 10m air rifle event, shied away from the media after her performance but mustered enough courage later in the day to talk to the Indian journalists. “I’m shattered. It was my best chance to win an Olympics medal.

Army out to salvage pride in Olympics
A
country of a billion people, but India is left to bite the dust even when facing competitions from countries like Moldova or Ethiopia at international arenas. Lack of proper training, infrastructure, planning and crass callousness of those at the helm have combined to ensure lacklustre performance by Indians in the competitions as competitive as Olympics. Indian hockey team dominated the world stage and won a clutch of gold medals in Olympics, but the golden era ended long back.

Games hit by crisis over Iran-Israel contest
Athens, August 15
Iran's world judo champion Arash Miresmaeili refused to compete against an Israeli today, triggering a fresh crisis at the Olympic Games where race, creed or colour are not allowed to interfere with sport.

South Africa ruin Phelps’ medal quest
Athens, August 15
South Africa ruined Michael Phelps's dream of winning a record eight gold medals at the Athens Olympics with a stunning victory in the men's 4x100 metres freestyle final on Sunday.

Ian Thorpe of Australia shows his gold medal after winning the 400m freestyle at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday Thorpe fastest in 200 m freestyle heats



Ian Thorpe (C) of Australia shows his gold medal after winning the 400m freestyle at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday. On the left is Australian silver medallist Grant Hackett and Klete Keller (R) of the USA, who finished third.
— AP/PTI 

Romanian gymnasts edge out Americans
Athens, August 15
Daniela Sofronie displayed all her athleticism to edge Romania ahead of the USA in the Olympic women’s gymnastics team qualifying round today. With all six members of each team putting in high-calibre performances on all four apparatus, the defending champions grabbed the top spot on the last rotation with a combined score of 152.436.

Reena Kumari of India is congratulated by coach Ivan Yotov Ivanov Weightlifter Nurcan Taylan of Turkey kisses the national flag on her jacket
Reena Kumari of India is congratulated by coach Ivan Yotov Ivanov after she defeated Kristine Esebua of Georgia in the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens on Sunday. — AP/PTI Weightlifter Nurcan Taylan of Turkey kisses the national flag on her jacket after winning the gold medal in the women's under 48-kg category at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday.
— Reuters

Hearing on Kederis, Thanou today
Athens, August 15
The International Olympic Committee confirmed today that it would conduct a hearing tomorrow against Kostadinos Kederis and Ekaterini Thanou on why they failed to show up for a doping test.

India's Aparna Popat returns to South Africa's Michelle Edwards during their first round Olympic women's singles badminton match at the Goudi Olympic complex
India's Aparna Popat returns to South Africa's Michelle Edwards during their first round Olympic women's singles badminton match at the Goudi Olympic complex in Athens, on Saturday. —Reuters 

Venus, Roddick win openers
Athens, August 15
Defending champion Venus Williams of the USA opened the 2004 Olympics today with an easy win over Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1, 6-2. Andy Roddick also started with a win in his first match, edging Flavio Saretta of Brazil 6-3, 7-6 (4) in his Olympic debut. Roddick had 12 aces and 16 service winners.

Argentina cruise into last eight
Athens, August 15
Argentina booked a quarterfinal berth in the Olympic football competition with a dominating 2-0 Group C win over Tunisia here yesterday. The Argentines scored two delightful goals through Boca Juniors striker Oscar Tevez in the first half and Barcelona ace Javier Saviola 17 minutes from the end to wrap up a conclusive victory.

US eves beat Brazil

Afghan eves happy to discard ‘burqa’
Athens, August 15
Afghan sprinter Robina Muqim Yaar can clearly remember the day when she stopped wearing the ‘burqa’, the all-encompassing garment that the repressive former Taliban regime required all women to wear.

Athens Diary
Greek habits and attitudes common with Asians
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fter a few days in this birth place of the Olympics, you start getting a homely feeling. There are several Greek habits and attitudes which are common with those of Asians in general and Indians in particular.

A Welshman, believed to be the father of former world champion rider Nicole Cooke, has been arrested for painting his daughter's name on an Athens street A Welshman, believed to be the father of former world champion rider Nicole Cooke, has been arrested for painting his daughter's name on an Athens street where she was due to ride past during Sunday's Olympic women's road race. Cooke waits for the start of a training session for the women's cycling road race in Athens in this file photo. — Reuters

Cameroon boxer disqualified
ATHENS:
Cameroon’s welterweight boxer Willy Bertrand Tankeu was disqualified from the Olympic competition after failing to weigh within the limits of his category, organisers said on Sunday. Tankeu became the third boxer to be dismissed from the tournament.
Fans cheer for victorious American swimmer Michael Phelps in the 400m individual medley at the Olympic Games Fans cheer for victorious American swimmer Michael Phelps in the 400m individual medley at the Olympic Games in Athens on Saturday. — AP/PTI



Vaas powers Lanka to big win
Colombo, August 15
Left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas bowled a lethal spell to take six wickets today as Sri Lanka crushed South Africa by 313 runs in the second Test to clinch the series 1-0 — its first-ever Test series win against the visitors.

Kapil wishes team good luck
New Delhi, August 15
Former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev wished Team India all the best and signed an eight-feet huddle poster, which has already been signed by thousands of cricket lovers, including political figures, police officers and defence personnel.

Sasikiran beats world champion
New Delhi, August 15
Continuing with his fine form, Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran outsmarted world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan to win the eighth Hogeschool Zeeland tournament in Vlissingen, The Netherlands.

Sania MirzaSania wins two titles in UK
Hyderabad, August 15
Sania Mirza scored a grand double by winning the singles and doubles titles in the $ 10,000 ITF women’s tennis event in Hampstead, London, today. The Indian teen tennis sensation defeated Jaslin Hewitt of Australia 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to win her second successive singles title following her victory in Wrexham last week.

Haryana team for sub-junior hockey
Hisar, August 15
The Haryana State Women’s Hockey Association has announced the state team for the Sub-Junior National Girls Hockey Championship to be held at Kapurthala from August 17. Trials for selecting the players were held at Shahbad yesterday.

Football trials
Chandigarh, August 15
Trials for the selection of probables for the Punjab under-16 team for the Sub-Junior National Football Championship (North Zone) will be held on Thursday from 9.30 am onwards at JCT Football Stadium, Phagwara.

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Hockey: India no match for mighty Dutch
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Athens, August 15
Unable to match defending champions, the Netherlands, India made a disastrous start in the Olympic hockey competition losing their opener 1-3 here tonight.

In fact, it was a winless start for Asian teams. While Asian champions South Korea split points with Spain, both India and Pakistan lost to their European opponents. Pakistan went down fighting to Germany 1-2 while India remained clueless against the strategic Dutch. They had to wait till the last minute for their only goal of the match.

A good winning start is what has been eluding India for the past several Olympics.

If the Dutch could not run a bigger tally it was because of Indian goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, who executed a couple of brilliant saves, including one in the 66th minute when Teun de Noojier, who scored the second goal for his team, was locked in one-to-one with Adrian. His rising shot was deflected by Adrian.

India’s gamble of playing young Sandeep Singh in the deep defence proved disastrous as in the third minute, his failure to clear a free ball cost the team not only a goal but a setback from which it could not recover.

Sandeep was withdrawn, and Harpal Singh partnered skipper Dilip Tirkey in deep defence. Tirkey, too, had a mighty blow on his body when he took a full blooded drag flick of Taekema from the fourth penalty corner. The subsequent award gave the Dutch their third goal after Dilip had gone off the field.

Two of the three goals India conceded today were because of defence lapses. The third goal, too, was gifted away as Teun de Noojier was left unmarked after Marten Eikelboom had lobbed a sitter for him.

As Sandeep failed to stop the ball cleanly, Ronald Brower picked it up, moved down into the circle and set the ball for Marten Eikelboom to send it home. Marten, after a fumble, glided it past sprawling Adrian D’Souza to the great dismay of the Indians.

Though Indians tried to put everything back into the game, forcing their opponents on to the defence, yet their inability to score proved to be their undoing. Without conceding any further goals in the first half, India did force a penalty corner from which Sandeep Singh’s powerful drag flick was deflected into orbit from a defender’s stick.

Gagan Ajit Singh gave India their only goal of the match with a whipping grounder just a minute before the hooter. Against three by India, the Dutch had five penalty corners from which they could score only once, and that too midway in the second half when Taeke Taekema found the target with a neat flick past Viren Rasquinna in the goal.

India had their chances but poor finish deprived them of any success.

The results (men)

Australia b New Zealand 4-1

South Africa b Argentina 2-1

Korea drew with Spain 1-1

Germany b Pakistan 2-1

Great Britain b Egypt 3-1

Holland b India 3-1

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Australia whip New Zealand 4-1

Athens, August 15
Australia fired the first salvo in their quest to win an elusive men’s hockey gold today, outplaying rivals New Zealand 4-1. Australia have made the Olympic semi-finals seven times and won six medals — three silver, three bronze — but despite having one of the strongest teams on the circuit, have never pushed through to gold.

Ranked third in the world, the Aussies put on a strong display of running hockey with Jamie Dwyer finishing off their relentless attacks with three flying field goals off both sides of the stick.

The 25-year-old only returned to international hockey in May after nine months out with a knee injury but showed not a twinge as he covered the length of the field time and again.

The other goal came from a well-timed drag flick by Troy Elder off a penalty corner.

New Zealand fought hard and found space towards the end of the game but Australia’s deep defence kicked in hard and only allowed them to convert one penalty corner out of three.

In another match, Greg Nicol struck twice in two minutes as South Africa returned to Olympic men’s hockey with a 2-1 win over Argentina in a group B match here today.

Argentina led 1-0 at half-time following a 10th minute goal by Mario Almada with a superb reverse hit from the top of the circle.

Nicol, however, drew level four minutes after the interval and then hit the winner soon after by deflecting in a pass from the left.

Argentina, the Pan-American champions, launched a last-ditch attempt to share points but were kept at bay by the spirited South African defence for the last 15 minutes.

South Africa, who finished 10th in the Atlanta Games in 1996, were withdrawn from the Sydney Olympics by their home association after the government demanded more coloured players be included in the side.

Nicol’s men earned a place for Athens only because the International Hockey Federation refused to grant hosts Greece direct entry in their own games.

“We are just delighted to be back in the Olympics,” said the 29-year-old Nicol, a veteran of 194 internationals.

South Africa will play India on Tuesday, while Argentina clash with Australia the same day. — Reuters, AFP 

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Paes-Bhupathi duo keen to be third time lucky

Athens, August 15
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi face a tricky first round match against the American pair of Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish in the men’s doubles tennis as they begin their quest for Olympic glory here tomorrow.

The “Indian Express”, seeded fifth, reunited on the professional circuit after more than two years recently to prepare for the games, would have to negotiate the 200 mph serves of world number 2 singles player Roddick.

Between them, Paes and Bhupathi have won 13 Grand Slam titles, but both have acknowledged that their sporting career would not be complete without an Olympic gold.

In Atlanta, they were too raw to make an impact. And in Sydney, they were too estranged to produce a winning combination. The pair then would be determined to make it third time lucky in Athens.

If they see through this first round challenge, Paes and Bhupathi might run into world number 1 Roger Federer and his Swiss partner Yves Allegro in the second round before a potential semifinal showdown with second-seeded Australian pair of Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge.

The other half of the 32-size draw features top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA, French duo Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra, and the Czech Republic’s Martin Damm and Cyril Suk.

“Roddick is one of the leading singles player in the world. Although they are not seeded here, they will be tough. But we are confident. We'll give our best shot,” Bhupathi, ranked fifth in the world in doubles, said talking the tough draw.

But the Indians must be drawing confidence from their stunning victory in the Toronto Masters two weeks ago in their first event together in 27 months.

Bhupathi has maintained that the natural bonding and chemistry between Paes and him has always been there and a few tough matches as preparation would get them into the groove.

The former world number one pair, who split in 2002, have been coming together for team events like the Busan Asian Games where they won the gold two years ago and have not lost a match in Davis Cup play.

For Paes, who won the singles bronze in Atlanta in 1996, playing in his fourth Olympics is by itself a promise fulfilled. And, considering his six-month layoff from a brain lesion last year, merely being back on court is an achievement. — PTI

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Kunjarani’s dream shattered

Athens, August 15
Amid nerve-wracking tension and high drama, veteran N. Kunjarani Devi’s dream of an Olympic medal was shattered as she ended fifth in the 48 kg category on the opening day of the weightlifting competition at the Nikaia Hall here last night.

Kunjarani, 36, the most decorated lifter in the country having won 21 international medals, signed off with tears and disappointment as she could not earn the Olympic medal she so richly deserved and wanted.

“I gave it my best but destiny had something else for me. I cherished the dream of a podium finish here but my hopes were dashed and it was simply not to be,” lamented Kunjarani.

The veteran lifter seemed at the crossroads about her future and said,”I’m undecided about my future. But one thing is clear that it won’t be possible for me to maintain the same focus and dedication.”

The highly competitive field also took her by surprise, she admitted.

Turkey’s 20-year-old Nurcan Taylan set two new world records by snatching 97.5 kg and then totalling 210 kg to claim the gold.

China’s Li Zhuo not only lost her world record for snatch and total, but also ended with just a silver. She, however, still holds the clean and jerk record at 115.5 kg, which even if she had equallied yesterday would not have sufficed for gold.

Zhuo finished with a total of 205 kg. Kunjarani asked far too much in jerk, as she managed only 82.5 kg in snatch, way below her potential and what she has been achieving in training.

She opened with a no-lift at 82.5 kg and from there on, there was far too much pressure. And then after managing 82.5 kg in the second attempt, she failed at 85.0 kg.

The poor snatch session left Kunjarani in sixth place. There were three lifters —Taylan (97.5 kg), China’s Li Zhuo (92.5 kg) and Thai Aree Wiratthaworn (85.0 kg), and there were three with 82.5 kg, but of the three, Kunjarani’s bodyweight was the highest, pushing her to sixth place.

There was lot of excitement as the lifters and their coaches made tactical changes in an attempt to nose ahead of the close rivals.

It was obvious that the battle for gold was going to be fought between Taylan and Zhuo, but there were as many as four who looked to be in the running for the bronze.

In the end, Aree of Thailand made it a virtual no contest for the bronze, as she lifted 115.0 kg for a new Olympic record in jerk.

Meanwhile, Kunjarani lifted 107.5 kg on her second attempt and then failed at 112.5 kg in her final shot at glory.

In the ultimate analysis, even that may not have helped her get onto the podium, as she would then have totalled 195.0 kg, which was way short of the Thai’s girl total of 200 kg.

For Kunjarani, this may well be the end of a long and fine career during which she won more than 75 international medals. And when Kunjarani is spoken of, there will always be a feeling of what she could have done, if only she had been chosen for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when she was younger and had a greater chance.

In the end, it was heart break for her. The valiant lifter left the stage virtually crying, looking despondent and shattered.

“She did her best but the field was too good and strong. But still the credit goes to Kunjarani that she was in the medal hunt till the last lift,” said coach Pal Singh Sandhu.

“It would have been great if she had won the medal, which I think she deserved but it was not to be. Her performance, however, was good and it was not a letdown,” the coach added. — UNI

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Jitender loses in first round

Ukraine's Andriy Fedchuk guards as Jitender Kumar throws a punch during the light heavyweight boxing preliminaries at the Peristeri boxing hall in Athens
Ukraine's Andriy Fedchuk (L) guards as Jitender Kumar throws a punch during the light heavyweight boxing preliminaries at the Peristeri boxing hall in Athens on Saturday. Fedchuk won the match. — AP/PTI photo

Athens, August 15
India’s cup of woes was brimming as boxer Jitender Kumar crashed out of contention losing to Andriy Fedchuk of Ukraine in the first round of the 81 kg category event in the Olympic Games here last night.

Incidentally, it was Fedchuk who had stopped Indian pugilist Gurcharan Singh from a podium finish in the Sydney chapter of the Games in 2000 on his way to bag the bronze.

Meanwhile, in the first round contest at the Peristeri Boxing Hall here last night, Jitender could not withstand the barrage of punches from a much superior opponent who had the Indian at his mercy.

The Ukrainian toyed with his Afro-Asian Games gold medallist Indian opponent and was engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with him.

Towards the end of the second round of the contest, Fedchuk’s straight punch left the Indian with a cut just above his left eye and referee had to stop the contest because of Jitender’s injury. — UNI

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I need a break, says Anjali

Anjali Bhagwat Athens, August 14
Her dreams of an Olympic medal having met a tragic end, Anjali Bhagwat said yesterday she was “shattered” and would need a break to rethink her career in shooting.

Anjali, who finished a disappointing 20th in the women’s 10m air rifle event, shied away from the media after her performance but mustered enough courage later in the day to talk to the Indian journalists.

“I’m shattered. It was my best chance to win an Olympics medal. Now, there is going to be nothing but sad memories,” said Anjali who had managed to reach the final of the event in the Sydney games four years ago.

“I had worked so hard these past two years. Now I need a break. I have to get away from it all - maybe for a year -and think about my career in shooting,” she said.

Anjali said her poor show in the first series ruined her chances of making it to the final.

“I missed my first shot and thought that my muscles were not really relaxed. I took the second shot in the same manner and missed again.

“I suddenly realised that the alignment was not right. And I knew there itself that my chance was gone. At this level, it is very difficult to come back from there,” she said.

Anjali got a poor 96 in that first series and could never recover from that. “I tried to focus hard and even had a 100 in the second series. But it was not good enough. It was gone,” she said. — PTI

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Army out to salvage pride in Olympics
Gopal Sharma
Tribune News Service

A country of a billion people, but India is left to bite the dust even when facing competitions from countries like Moldova or Ethiopia at international arenas. Lack of proper training, infrastructure, planning and crass callousness of those at the helm have combined to ensure lacklustre performance by Indians in the competitions as competitive as Olympics.

Indian hockey team dominated the world stage and won a clutch of gold medals in Olympics, but the golden era ended long back. KD Jadhav, hailing from Maharashtra, bagged a bronze at Helsinki Olympics in 1952. Leander Paes won a bronze in the 1996 Olympics, but the success came 44 years after Jadhav's sterling effort. Karnam Malleswari ensured that India had a medal in the next Olympics, when the Andhra weightlifter clinched a bronze in Sydney.

Three bronze medals in the history of Olympics spanning more than 100 years! No wonder, in a country where success at the highest level is so rare Olympians are spoken of as highly as the Olympic medal winners elsewhere.

But the Indian Army is serious about changing the dismal scenario.

Under "Mission Olympics" mooted after the Sydney Olympics 2000 by Gen Padmanabhan, former Chief of the Army Staff, the Army took it upon itself the responsibility of producing players good enough to win medals at the Olympics. Though there are a couple of players from the Army in the Indian squad in Athens, the Army is focussing on the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"In the current scenario, only the Army has the capability of fulfilling the dream of the nation to win medals at the Olympics", observed the Army top brass. The Indian Army, one of the most professional in the world, has its inherent strengths which are highly result oriented. It works strictly on certain principals which are:

— Any task assigned to the Army is undertaken as an operational mission

— Since failure of any mission is not acceptable to the Army, no stone is left unturned to make the mission a success

— Army has the unique advantage of accountability

— Army has huge organisational support and does not have to depend upon any outside agency

— existing coaching is system good if not comparable with the best.

Keeping these strengths in mind, the Army chalked out a plan, envisaging setting up of an Army Sports Institute (ASI), a modern sprawling sports training centre at a cost of whopping Rs 24 crore at Pune. The institute, which is nearing completion, will be handed over to the Army in October. An advanced shooting range (indoor and outdoor) costing crores of rupees and a sports medicine centre are also coming up.

Brig GS Sandhu (retd), Chairman of the Army Sports Control Board from 1989 to 1993, disclosed that athletics, boxing, swimming, diving, archery and weightlifting have been identified to train potential medal winners. The thrust is on producing individual medal winners and not the team events like football, volleyball or handball, Brig Sandhu, twice decathlon national champion, stated.

Brig Sandhu, who was recently in Pune, revealed that the ASI, when completed would have state-of-the-art facilities like a synthetic track for athletics, a warm-up cinder track, a swimming pool with diving board, indoor and outdoor archery ranges, a weightlifting hall, a boxing rink and a wrestling centre. A mess to accommodate 400 players will also be there.

As many as 10 foreign coaches from South Korea (archery), Cuba (boxing and weightlifting), Belarus (wrestling) and Russia (shooting) are already engaged in training youngsters. An advanced sports medicine centre is in the process of coming up. A novel system providing conditions serving the purpose of high altitude training will be in place.

The setting up of the ASI was necessitated after the Armed Forces Sports College (AFSC) established as a centre of excellence for sportspersons in Pune in 1990 failed to produce the desired results. Under the AFSC, sportspersons from three Services wings—Army, Navy and Air Force—were supposed to be trained. As it failed to produce the desired results, the AFSC was disbanded in 1999-2000, Brig Sandhu, who was associated with the Indian athletics team as coach and former vice-president of the Indian Hockey Federation, said.

There was a time when a major chunk of medal winners for the country was from the Army. "Flying Sikh" Milkha Singh, who narrowly missed a medal in Rome Olympics in 1960, is a product of the Army. Nearly half of the total medals won by the country in various Asian Games were won by the Army. The trend continued up to seventies after which the flow of medal winners from the Army virtually dried as Boys Companies in which youngsters were recruited at a young age and given rigorous training for 4 to 5 years in the Army were disbanded.

It was after they were disbanded the value of the Boys Companies was realised. With a view to arresting decline in the standards in the Army, Brig Sandhu as the chairman of the Army Sports Control Board, put up a proposal to revive Boys Companies before Gen KV Krishna Rao, the then Army Chief, in 1981-82 which could not materialise. Brig Sandhu then suggested to Gen SF Rodrigues, the then Army chief, to send the proposal to the Ministry of Defence. When it was not accepted due to various reasons, it was decided to approach the SAI, which readily agreed to the proposal.

Under the agreement, the SAI agreed to finance the project and provide coaches, while the responsibility of providing infrastructure and board and lodging was taken by the Army. Thirteen Army centres for coaching each having three disciplines were opened by the Army. Eight such centres are still working, Brig Sandhu said.

If determination, dedication and discipline are the pre-requisite of success, the Indian Army has these in abundance. Besides, the Army has the advantage of accountability. So faith will not be misplaced if it is reposed in the Indian Army to win Olympic medals for the country.

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Games hit by crisis over Iran-Israel contest
Douglas Hamilton

Athens, August 15
Iran's world judo champion Arash Miresmaeili refused to compete against an Israeli today, triggering a fresh crisis at the Olympic Games where race, creed or colour are not allowed to interfere with sport.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) failed to agree how to deal with the politically explosive issue at an emergency meeting and said it would hold further talks on Monday.

The burning issue was whether any penalty would hit Miresmaeili alone or the entire Iranian team.

''There has been no decision and we are considering this situation very carefully,'' said IJF spokesman Michel Brousse.

''This has not been brought to us as an issue and until it is, we would not have any comment,'' said a spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which pledges to uphold the ideal of sport transcending national barriers.

The official reason for Miresmaeili's non-appearance was failure to make the weight but judo chiefs were questioning how such a seasoned athlete, who carried Iran's flag at Friday's opening ceremony, would have made such a basic error.

A statement by the Iranian National Olympic Committee in Tehran suggested the real reason had nothing to do with kilos.

''This is a general policy of our country to refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime and Arash Miresmaeili has observed this policy,'' it said.

Iran has refused to recognise Israel's right to exist since Islamic fundamentalists toppled the Shah in 1979.

Right after the draw was made last Thursday there were reports that Miresmaeili, 66kg world champion in 2001 and 2003, might pull out because his opponent was an Israeli, Ehud Vaks.

The games were rocked last Thursday when Greece's top two athletes, Olympic 200 metres champion Costas Kenteris and 100 metres silver medallist Katerina Thanou, missed a dope test.

They were dropped from the host nation's team yesterday pending an IOC disciplinary hearing tomorrow.

On the second day of full competition at the Olympics, Athens was blasted by a hot, hair-dryer wind that threatened to spook the horses at the equestrian events and may have blown some arrows off course at the archery.

The rowing regatta had to be stopped, prompting some told-you-so comments from critics who said it was in the wrong place to begin with.

But the gusting winds could not stop Russia's Alexei Alipov winning gold in the men's trap shooting with a near-flawless performance on a range carved into a mountain top.

The 29-year-old from Moscow scored 149 out of a possible 150, including a perfect 25 in the final round. ''The weather conditions were having a great effect on everyone,'' said Alipov. ''We managed to find conditions similar to this in Cyprus and trained there for quite some time before the Olympics. That helped.''

Swimming again grabbed most attention as Australia's Ian Thorpe won round one of a duel with American Michael Phelps, qualifying fastest for the 200 metres freestyle.

Thorpe showed no signs of fatigue from his titanic struggle with Grant Hackett in Saturday's 400m freestyle final victory as he cruised through his heat in one minute 47.22 seconds.

The archery contest returned the Olympics to their birthplace in Athens's Panathinaiko Stadium, 108 years after the first games were held at the classical marble amphitheatre.

This is the setting for the finish line in the marathon on the closing day, when the games can expect to see scenes of jubilation much like in 1896, when 100,000 Greeks greeted their marathon-winning hero Spiridon Louis.

Attendance at the first Summer Olympics since the September 11

attacks on the USA three years ago has disappointed in the first two days, but organisers hope it will soon pick up.

Athens has spent 1 billion euros $ 1.23 billion on security, four times more than Sydney in 2000, and security personnel outnumber athletes seven to one.

So organisers were swift to play down a British newspaper's charge that security at the games was a ''terrorist's dream''.

Sunday Mirror tabloid reporter Bob Graham said a job as a driver allowed him to wander round the main stadium close to world leaders during Friday's opening ceremony.

Organisers said the undetected packages he planted round the stadium did not reveal any security flaws.

Contrary to his story, a background check was conducted on Graham before he got the job and the ''suspicious packages'' were not detected precisely because they were harmless, the organisers said. — Reuters

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South Africa ruin Phelps’ medal quest

Athens, August 15
South Africa ruined Michael Phelps's dream of winning a record eight gold medals at the Athens Olympics with a stunning victory in the men's 4x100 metres freestyle final on Sunday.

The South African quartet of Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling wiped half a second off the old world record set by Australia at the last Olympics in the first major upset in the Athens Olympic pool.

The USA, hot favourites to win the gold, could only finish third after the Netherlands pipped them for silver.

Phelps had made a perfect start to his bid to better Mark Spitz's record of seven golds at a single Olympics when he broke his own world record to win the 400m individual medley on the opening day of competition.

But his dream ended with the relay loss and his hopes of at least equalling Spitz's 1972 haul also seem to be sinking fast after he only qualified third fastest for Monday's 200m freestyle final.

Both Dutch defending champion Pieter van den Hoogenband and Australian world record holder Ian Thorpe were quicker than him in qualifying for what has been dubbed the "race of the century".

While Phelps's dreams were shattered, Australia's Petria Thomas continued her fairytale in Athens by collecting her second gold with a surprise win over Inge de Bruijn in the women's 100m butterfly final.

Japan's Kosuke Kitajima and French teenager Laure Manaudou won their first golds.

Kitajima added the Olympic 100m breaststroke title to the world crown he won last year when he edged out American favourite Brendan Hansen.

Manaudou set a European record to win the women's 400m freestyle and provide France with their first female Olympic swimming champion.

Thomas (28) almost quit swimming after the Sydney Olympics when she needed a full shoulder construction but decided to soldier on in the hope of winning a gold medal.

Dutchwoman De Bruijn was the star of Sydney, winning three gold medals, and she had seemed to have a tight grip on her title when she reached the halfway stage under world record pace before fading as Thomas, then Poland's Otylia Jedrzejczak, surged past her with Thomas winning gold in 57.72.

Jedrzejczak returned to the pool less than an hour later to win silver in the 400m freestyle.

Kitajima had beaten Hansen, who turned 23 on Sunday, at last year's world titles but the American was favourite to win in Athens after breaking the world record last month.

Hansen, who had been hoping to celebrate his birthday with a golden present, set out at a cracking pace and was in front halfway down the last lap but Kitajima glided past to win in the last stroke. — Reuters

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Thorpe fastest in 200 m freestyle heats

Athens, August 15
Australia’s Ian Thorpe won the first round of swimming’s heavyweight battle with Michael Phelps when he posted the fastest qualifying time for the 200 metres freestyle at the Athens Olympics today.

Thorpe showed no signs of fatigue from his titanic struggle with Grant Hackett in yesterday’s 400 freestyle final victory as he cruised through his heat in one minute 47.22 seconds.

Thorpe’s time was more than three seconds outside the world record he set at the 2001 world championships but still enough for him to book his place in tonight’s semi-finals as the fastest qualifier for the most anticipated race of the Olympics.

Phelps, who broke his own world record to win the 400 individual medley on the opening night of competition, won his heat in 1:48.43 but was fifth overall.

“I felt pretty tired after last night, I didn’t get to bed until about midnight,” Phelps said.

“I wanted to come in and have a strong swim this morning to be in a good position tonight.

“Last night definitely motivated us and fired us even more. After tonight hopefully it will be even better.”

Pieter van den Hoogenband, the flying Dutchman who upset Thorpe in Sydney four years ago to win the 200 gold as well as the 100, was second fastest overall in 1:47.32 after swimming in the same heat as Thorpe.

Italian Emiliano Brembilla was third in 1:47.95, just 0.02 ahead of American Klete Keller, who took the bronze in the 400 freestyle. Hackett was seventh overall in 1:48.90.

Brooke Hanson led an Australian one-two in qualifying for the women’s 100 breaststroke.

Hanson’s time of 1:07.35 was a third of a second quicker than her team mate and world record holder Leisel Jones.

American Tara Kirk was third overall with Chinese world champion Luo Xuejuan Sixth.

Laure Manaudou of France led the qualifiers for the women’s 100 backstroke when she won her heat in 1:01.27.

Japan’s Reiko Nakamura was second quickest in 1:01.39 with American world record holder Natalie Coughlin third in 1:01.45.

British world 200 backstroke champion Katy Sexton scraped into the semi-finals in 11th place with a moderately slow heat time of 1:02.01. — Reuters

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Romanian gymnasts edge out Americans

Athens, August 15
Daniela Sofronie displayed all her athleticism to edge Romania ahead of the USA in the Olympic women’s gymnastics team qualifying round today.
With all six members of each team putting in high-calibre performances on all four apparatus, the defending champions grabbed the top spot on the last rotation with a combined score of 152.436.

They edged out the Americans by just 0.588 of a point while early trailblazers Russia slipped to third place on 149.420.

The Romanian-American duel set an intriguing showdown for Tuesday’s team final.

American Carly Patterson gained a psychological edge for the all-round competition when she edged past Sofronie to lead the standings with a total of 38.337. Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina trailed in fifth place.

Patterson’s Arabian double front balance beam dismount earned her 9.725 and sent her coaches into raptures as they exchanged high fives off the podium.

A botched vault by Khorkina had earlier failed to stop Russia from taking the early lead. — Reuters

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Hearing on Kederis, Thanou today

Athens, August 15
The International Olympic Committee confirmed today that it would conduct a hearing tomorrow against Kostadinos Kederis and Ekaterini Thanou on why they failed to show up for a doping test.

IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies also said the IOC had so far received no official notification that the two star sprinters had been withdrawn from the Olympic team by the Hellenic Olympic Committee until the IOC had ruled on the issue.

The HOC issued an according statement yesterday.

The 2000 Olympic, 2001 world and 2002 European 200m champion Kederis and Thanou, a 2000 Olympic silver medallist and 2002 European champion, did not show up for a doping test in the Olympic village on Thursday night.

The IOC launched an investigation through its disciplinary committee. A hearing was originally scheduled for today, but was postponed after both reportedly had a motor cycle accident, were hospitalised and told by doctors to stay there until Sunday.

The two face disqualification from the Olympics and a two-year ban if they are found guilty of having deliberately missed the test, which under doping rules is rated like a positive test.

Greek officials said a communication breakdown had been the reason why they didn’t show up. —DPA 

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Venus, Roddick win openers

Athens, August 15
Defending champion Venus Williams of the USA opened the 2004 Olympics today with an easy win over Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1, 6-2.
Andy Roddick also started with a win in his first match, edging Flavio Saretta of Brazil 6-3, 7-6 (4) in his Olympic debut. Roddick had 12 aces and 16 service winners.

In other first-round matches, No. 11 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina was upset by Max Mirnyi of Belarus 3-6, 7-6 (0) 6-4, No. 8 Ai Sugiyama of Japan outlasted Zheng Jie of China 4-6, 6-3, 8-6 and No.10 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat Petra Mandula of Hungary 6-3, 6-4.

Williams, seeded sixth, was playing her first match in three weeks. “I had so much fun at the last Olympics and so much success, and then to be here is amazing,” said Williams, who also won the doubles title in Sydney. “I’m playing well, I’m playing smart, and I’m also really happy because I’ve been doing everything my coaches asked me to in the last week.”

Action on all courts was affected by swirling winds that occasionally made balls dance oddly or caused courtside umbrellas used for shade to tumbled over. While the breezes helped keep players and spectators cool, they might also have contributed to Williams’ high unforced error count: 33, one more than Czink.

After several miscues, Williams heaved a sigh or covered her face with her palm or rested her hands on her hips. And she questioned at least three calls, something rarely done by Williams or her younger sister Serena, who pulled out of the Olympics last week.

Her wrists both were heavily taped against the 103rd-ranked Czink, and her left knee carried two strips of white bandage that met to form a “V.” If the four-time major champion and former No. 1 was in pain, though, it didn’t show.

She wound up with a staggering 22-3 edge in winners, many punctuated by grunts that echoed through the arena.

Roddick set the tone in his first two service games, hitting hard shots the 81st-ranked Saretta couldn’t handle.

But Saretta started to get the measure of Roddick’s serves in the second set, making for more intriguing play. The second-seeded Roddick is tough in tiebreakers, however, and he got to match point with a service winner (Saretta questioned the call), then ended it with a forehand winner. — AP

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Argentina cruise into last eight

Athens, August 15
Argentina booked a quarterfinal berth in the Olympic football competition with a dominating 2-0 Group C win over Tunisia here yesterday.
The Argentines scored two delightful goals through Boca Juniors striker Oscar Tevez in the first half and Barcelona ace Javier Saviola 17 minutes from the end to wrap up a conclusive victory.

Argentina, following their 6-0 rout of Serbia and Montenegro in Wednesday’s opening game, will finish top of their group, irrespective of the outcome of their final game against Australia on Tuesday.

The Tunisians, who were held 1-1 by Australia in their first game, doggedly stuck to the South Americans in the first half.

The deadlock was broken by Tevez in the 39th minute, netting with a superb diving header after a wicked cross swung in from the left flank by Inter Milan star Kily Gonzalez.

Argentina made the game safe in the 73rd minute when Saviola, a 56th-minute substitution, clinically finished off a sparkling piece of skill by Gonzalez.

Gonzalez put his foot on the ball and deftly spun his marker on the edge of the Tunisian box to play Saviola in on goal and give the goalkeeper no chance.

Australia will need a draw against Argentina to ensure they go through to the last eight after cruising past Serbia and Montenegro 5-1 with Spanish-based striker John Aloisi and Ahmad Elrich each scoring twice after Everton midfielder Tim Cahill opened the scoring.

South Korea virtually made sure of a place in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Mexico in Athens.

But they were indebted to a fine performance from skipper and goalkeeper Kim Young-Kwang, who pulled off a string of fine saves to guarantee the three points which put them on top of Group A with four points from two matches.

They share the top spot with Mali, who beat hosts Greece 2-0.

Korea and Mali meet in the final group match tomorrow.

The Koreans are making their fifth successive appearance at the games and went into the match under pressure, having squandered a two-goal lead in their first match when they were held 2-2 by Greece in Salonika.

But Kim Jung-Woo gave them a spectacular lead after just 16 minutes with a 30-yard piledriver set up by Kim Do-Heon.

Mexico, held to a 0-0 draw by Mali in their opener, would have felt aggrieved to have still been down at the break after Diego Martinez and Omar Bravo had both brought saves out of Kim Young-Kwang.

Israel Lopez also went close with a shot which just drifted wide of the target.

The Koreans pressed for a second goal after the break and Lee Chun-Soo was unlucky to have a fierce, long range drive deflected behind for a corner by Aaron Galindo.

But back came the Mexicans and once again Kim Young-Kwang needed to be alert to push an Antonio Zinha drive around the post and the goalkeeper then denied the same player in injury time to ensure Korea’s three points.

Mali beat Greece with first-half strikes by Mamadi Berthe and Teneman Ndiaye.

US eves beat Brazil

Abby Wambach of US fights for the ball against Daniela of Brazil
Abby Wambach (R) of US fights for the ball against Daniela (L) of Brazil during the Olympic preliminary women's soccer match at the Kaftanzoglio Stadium in Thessaloniki on Saturday. — Reuters photo

Former world champions USA qualified for the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games women’s football tournament yesterday after beating Brazil in an ill-tempered clash.

A second-half penalty from skipper Mia Hamm and a superb individual effort from striker Abby Wambach secured a place in the last eight for the Americans, who beat Greece 3-0 in an earlier Group G match.

Elsewhere, Greece were eliminated from the competition as they were beaten 1-0 by Australia. In other games China were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Mexico in Group F and Nigeria beat Japan 1-0 in Group E.

Brazil had the better of a bruising first half against 1996 Olympic gold medallists USA, which saw players from both teams flying into tackles.

US midfielder Shannon Boxx was lucky to escape punishment for one wild two-footed challenge that left Brazilian skipper Juliana writhing in agony.

Brazil twice hit the woodwork in the first half and carved out several goalscoring chances.

Two of them fell to inspirational striker Marta, who tested Briana Scurry in the US goal with a firm low drive on 18 minutes before having a curling free-kick comfortably gathered. — AFP

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Afghan eves happy to discard ‘burqa’

Athens, August 15
Afghan sprinter Robina Muqim Yaar can clearly remember the day when she stopped wearing the ‘burqa’, the all-encompassing garment that the repressive former Taliban regime required all women to wear.

“It was liberating, marvellous. I was very happy. The ‘burqa’ was not me, it was forced on many people by others,” Yaar told AFP here today.

The Taliban-ruled Afghanistan with iron rods and fists between 1996 and 2001, usually beating women who did not conform to its strict laws, quickly becoming a pariah state suspended from the International Olympic Committee.

Afghanistan did not receive an invitation to the Sydney Olympics but, following the collapse of the regime in government, the country is back.

It has women on its team for the first time, after 10 previous men-only appearances at the Olympic Games, which date back to 1936.

“I am here to give hope to the women of my country. They can look forward to the future. Sports like athletics cost nothing to do. I would like to see many more Afghan women competing in sport,” added Yaar.

Yaar (18) admits that although there have been radical changes in attitude during the last three years, Afghan society is still deeply conservative.

She trains in long baggy tracksuit trousers in order not to offend local sensibilities and the photograph on her accreditation shows her still wearing a headscarf.

However, in the Olympic village, Yaar could easily be mistaken for a modern European woman, dressed in shorts with sunglasses perched on top of her uncovered head, although she intends to run in full-length skin-tight running tights in order not to display any bare flesh to a worldwide audience.

Yaar’s appearence in the Olympic stadium next Friday will be historic, but sadly it will also be short.

She is the holder of the Afghan women’s 100m with a time of 15.06 seconds, but that is nearly four seconds slower than what will be required to even make just the second round.

Last summer, her compatriot and fellow sprinter Lena Azimi was sent to the world championships in France and Azimi’s time of 18.37 sec was the slowest ever recorded in the event.

The slowest runner in the Sydney Olympics four years ago was Cambodia’s Ouk Chan Than with 14.13 sec and Yaar will be the main contender for that unwanted accolade this time around.

“But I was beating Lena in trials over the last few months so I have come instead,” explained Yaar, who helps out in the family business of a tailor shop and beauty salon when she is not training.

Yaar stayed in Kabul during the Taliban regime, unlike her female team mate Friba Razayee who competes in the judo under 70 kgs event on Wednesday, the other woman among Afghanistan’s five competitors.

Razayee’s family fled to neighbouring Pakistan, where she was inspired to start training after seeing Jackie Chan movies, which were forbidden at home.

The two women walked side-by-side in Friday’s opening ceremony, an occasion which brought some nervous moments and unhappy memories for Yaar.

“When the fireworks went off, it seemed like the fighting again. It was like the time the Americans arrived in Kabul and it also reminded me of all the years we were frightened during the Taliban,” said Yaar.

The truth is that there will probably not be any more fireworks when Yaar gets on her marks on Friday but she is just happy to be alive, in Athens, and free of the burqa. — AFP

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Athens Diary
Greek habits and attitudes common with Asians
Prabhjot Singh

After a few days in this birth place of the Olympics, you start getting a homely feeling. There are several Greek habits and attitudes which are common with those of Asians in general and Indians in particular.

Like in India, there is no such thing as a queue here when it comes to using public transport or getting a refill of your glass of beer. One has to be prepared to struggle with other people to board a bus or a train.

Time tables, like in India, are only on paper. Punctuality is unknown. Late arrivals by five to 30 minutes are common. If one has to reach a destination on time, one must allow “extra time”.

It is not only Indians who pride in defying traffic laws by not wearing helmets or stopping at red lights .Greeks, too, leave no opportunity in defying the law for compulsory wearing of protective headgear. And the common violators here, like in India, are policemen. Obeying traffic lights in the absence of a policeman is as rare as in any Asian country.

Footpaths or pavements are hardly used for the purpose for which they have been made here. Parking of vehicles is the common use to which pavements and footpaths are put to here.

For pedestrians, crossing the road, even when there is green light, may not always be safe. Any vehicle can ram into you. So one has to be alert and careful while walking on the roads in Athens.

Back home, if an autorickshaw driver in say Chandigarh takes you on a tour of the city even if you want to go only a few sectors away from the Inter-State Bus Terminus or the PGI, the same can happen here. But the difference is that if you ask for a receipt from a taxi driver, he won’t dare overcharge you. Here the police acts fast in case there is a complaint against a taxi driver either for taking longer detours or for overcharging.

While in Greek do as Greeks do. But why? Greeks take their own sweet time — whining about it will get you nowhere. Here, in the city of the Olympics, night life is great, though alcohol isn’t. Many places downtown serve adulterated drinks which the locals call “bombs”. They may not give you an immediate kick but the hangover next morning will definitely give you an idea what hit you so hard the night before.

Greeks have little or no history of volunteerism. But this time both Olympic and volunteer spirit is overflowing here, indicating a dramatic change in the attitude of the local populace. “This is likely to turn my countrymen totally into pleasantly reformed characters,” remarked a French-born Greek who is here to volunteer for the games.

There may not be any power cuts here, but bare-chested men sitting on the roadside waiting for a whiff of fresh air is as common as it was in Punjab before the onset of monsoon early this month. Rain in summers is unheard-of in Greece.

Meanwhile, while the Indian community organised flag hoisting ceremonies, distributed sweets and held competitions in kabaddi and other sports to mark Independence Day, the Greeks, too, had a day of celebration. A number of civic receptions were held in the city on Sunday.

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Cameroon boxer disqualified

ATHENS: Cameroon’s welterweight boxer Willy Bertrand Tankeu was disqualified from the Olympic competition after failing to weigh within the limits of his category, organisers said on Sunday. Tankeu became the third boxer to be dismissed from the tournament.

Ukrainian light-welterweight Ihor Pashchuk was disqualified on Friday after failing a medical examination. Kenya’s David Munyasia was thrown out of the games on Saturday after testing positive for a recreational drug. — Reuters

 Sprinter out

KINGSTON (JAMAICA): Jamaican sprinter Steve Mullings, who tested positive for a banned substance at his country’s national trials, won’t compete in the Olympics, a team official said.

A medical panel of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association was scheduled to hear Mullings’ case last Thursday, but the meeting was called off due to Hurricane Charley.

The appeal will now be held next week, which is too late to allow Mullings to attend the Athens games even if he’s cleared, said the head of Jamaica’s Olympic mission, Don Anderson.

Mullings, 22, tested positive for testosterone at the Jamaican national trials in June. A second sample also came back positive. — AP

Racing cancelled

ATHENS: Monday’s racing at the Olympic rowing regatta was cancelled on Sunday due to expected bad weather, organisers said. Racing ended early on Sunday after the first round heats were completed. Organisers had warned of bad weather for Monday.

There have been concerns about Schinias as a choice of venue for the rowing and canoeing after a 2003 test regatta was thrown into chaos when strong winds traditional in August sank several crews. — Retuers

Champion’s tips

ATHENS: Audley Harrison, who captured a super-heavyweight boxing gold in Sydney four years ago, has been drafted in to help fellow Briton Amir Khan achieve his own Olympic dream.

Harrison has been passing on tips to the 17-year-old lightweight, the only British boxer taking part in the Athens games and who opens his 60kg campaign against Greece’s Marios Kaperonis on Monday.

But the title favourite is world champion and Sydney gold medal winner Mario Kindelan, the tricky Cuban southpaw.

“I’m a southpaw and so is Kindelan. I’ve told Amir tricks he can use to win,” said Harrison who worked with Khan at the team training base in Cyprus. — AFP

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Vaas powers Lanka to big win

Colombo, August 15
Left-arm seamer Chaminda Vaas bowled a lethal spell to take six wickets today as Sri Lanka crushed South Africa by 313 runs in the second Test to clinch the series 1-0 — its first-ever Test series win against the visitors.

Chasing a massive victory target of 493 runs, the South Africans were dismissed for 179 runs on the final day at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club ground.

South Africa began the final day at 21 for two wickets and Sri Lanka’s pacemen rattled their top order in the morning session to leave the visitors struggling on 129 for five wickets at lunch.

Vaas struck in the very first over of the day when he had overnight batsman Jacques Kallis caught by Tillekeratne Dilshan at second slip with a rising ball of three runs.

Skipper Graeme Smith departed two overs later when he was caught by Thilan Samaraweera at short square leg off pacer Lasith Malinga for 17, leaving the visitors four down for 36.

The fifth South African wicket fell without any addition to the total when Jacques Rudolph mistimed a pull shot to a Vaas delivery and was caught by Malinga in the deep for one.

Boeta Dippenaar and Mark Boucher negotiated the Sri Lankan bowlers cautiously to 101 runs for the sixth wicket in 252 balls.

But Vaas again broke through in the seventh over after lunch when he forced an edge off Boucher’s bat to wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana for 51 runs.

Scoreboard

Sri Lanka (Ist innings) 470

SA (1st innings) 189

Sri Lanka (2nd innings) 211-4 decl

South Africa (2nd innings)

Smith c Samaraweera b Malinga 17

Gibbs c Samaraweera b Malinga 4

Van Jaarsveld b Vaas 2

Kallis c Dilshan b Vaas 3

Rudolph c Malinga b Vaas 1

Dippenaar not out 59

Boucher c Kaluwitharana b Vaas 51

Pollock c Atapattu b Dilshan 3

Boje lbw b Vaas 16

Ntini c Kaluwitharana b Vaas 0

Hayward c and b Malinga 1

Extras (b 6, lb3, nb12, w1) 22

Total (all out, 67 overs) 179

Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-18, 3-24, 4-36, 5-36, 6-137, 7-140, 8-163, 9-163.

Bowling: Vaas 18-8-29-6, Malinga 13-1-54-3, Jayasuriya 9-3-22-0, Herath 8-5-13-0, Chandana 7-1-26-0, Dilshan 12-6-26-1. — AP, AFP 

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Kapil wishes team good luck
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, August 15
Former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev wished Team India all the best and signed an eight-feet huddle poster, which has already been signed by thousands of cricket lovers, including political figures, police officers and defence personnel.

The poster is to wish the Indian cricket team good luck as they embark on their one-day tournaments in Holland, the NatWest Trophy in England followed by the Champions Trophy in September.

The digitally painted posters of the entire Indian cricket team, as part of an exhibition titled “Cricket Beyond Boundary”, jointly put up by leading cricket photographer Kamla Sharma and Additional Commissioner of Delhi Police Manoj Lall, impressed Kapil so much that he asked for the autographed print of the team photograph.

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Sasikiran beats world champion

New Delhi, August 15
Continuing with his fine form, Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran outsmarted world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan to win the eighth Hogeschool Zeeland tournament in Vlissingen, The Netherlands.

The second highest rated Indian after Viswanathan Anand, Sasikiran scored 7.5 points out of a possible 9 and romped home with the winner’s crown thanks to a much better tiebreak score than the Dutch duo of Sergei Tiviakov and Daniel Stellwagen, who were all tied for the top spot, according to information received here.

Surprisingly, Kasimdzhanov, also the defending champion here, could muster just six points in the tournament and stands to lost around 15 important rating points.

The last round was quite exciting after overnight leaders Tiviakov and Stellwagen arrived at a deadlock after 71 moves. When the second and third board matches were also drawn, it was left to Sasikiran to deliver the goods.

The interesting thing about Sasikiran’s victory was that it came with black pieces. Playing the Sicilian Classical, the Indian obtained the dynamic balance he had hoped for in the pre-game preparation and following an erroneous plan by white in the middle game, the Indian went for a direct attack against the king that reaped high dividends.

The world champion’s king came under mortal danger once it was forced to come out in the open and the Uzbek allowed a simple trading of pieces leading to a lost endgame before calling it a day on the 41st move. — PTI

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Sania wins two titles in UK

Hyderabad, August 15
Sania Mirza scored a grand double by winning the singles and doubles titles in the $ 10,000 ITF women’s tennis event in Hampstead, London, today.
The Indian teen tennis sensation defeated Jaslin Hewitt of Australia 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to win her second successive singles title following her victory in Wrexham last week.

It was the 10th career singles title for the 17-year-old Sania, according to information received here.

She then paired with compatriot Rushmi Chakravarthy to trounce Anna Hawkins of Great Britain and South African Nicole Renchen 6-3, 6-2 to take the doubles crown. — PTI

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Haryana team for sub-junior hockey
Tribune News Service

Hisar, August 15
The Haryana State Women’s Hockey Association has announced the state team for the Sub-Junior National Girls Hockey Championship to be held at Kapurthala from August 17. Trials for selecting the players were held at Shahbad yesterday.

The team: Nancy, Harmanjeet, Sandeep, Bhagwant, Meenakshi, Monika, Anshul, Ramandeep, Ritu Rani, Gurwinder Kaur, Suprit Kaur and Ranjana (all of Kurukshetra); Renu of Yamunanagar and Monika, Darshan Kaur and Anupriya of Sirsa.

Azad Singh Malik will be the coach and S. Deshwal the manager of the team. 

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Football trials

Chandigarh, August 15
Trials for the selection of probables for the Punjab under-16 team for the Sub-Junior National Football Championship (North Zone) will be held on Thursday from 9.30 am onwards at JCT Football Stadium, Phagwara. Those born on or after January 1, 1989, are eligible for the trials. Players should bring their date of birth certificates.

The championship will be held at Haldwani, Uttaranchal, from September 9 to 19. This was stated in a press note by Mr J.C. Sodhi, senior vice-president, Punjab Football Association. — TNS

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COUNTRY

G

S

B

T

China

5

1

1

7

Australia

4

1

3

8

Japan

4

1

0

5

Italy

2

1

0

3

Ukraine

2

0

1

3

USA

1

4

3

8

Russia

1

3

2

6

France

1

2

2

5

Hungary

1

1

1

3

Thailand

1

0

1

2

South Africa

1

0

0

1

Turkey

1

0

0

1

Poland

0

2

0

2

Netherlands

0

1

2

3

Germany

0

1

1

2

Britain

0

1

0

1

Georgia

0

1

0

1

Indonesia

0

1

0

1

Portugal

0

1

0

1

Serbia & Montenegro

0

1

0

1

Slovakia

0

1

0

1

Belgium

0

0

2

2

Bulgaria

0

0

2

2

Cuba

0

0

2

2

Argentina

0

0

1

1

Colombia

0

0

1

1

Czech Republic

0

0

1

1

South Korea

0

0

1

1

Mongolia

0

0

1

1

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India at Athens today

Archery: Men's individual events (Tarundeep Rai, Sawaiyan Majhi, Satyadev Prasad)

Badminton: Men's singles (Abhinn Shyam Gupta, Nikhil Kanetkar)

Sailing: Double-handed Dinghy 49er (Malav Shroff and Sumeet Patel)

Shooting: Men's 10m air rifle (Abhinav Bindra)

Tennis: Men's Doubles (Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi).

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