SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S



India seek to plug loopholes against SA
Athens, August 16
India will seek to plug the defensive loopholes when they clash with South Africa in their second Group B league match in the Olympic hockey event here tomorrow, with the pressure to deliver bearing heavily on the mind of the players.

Defence lapses cost India the match
T
he irony of India’s game against the Netherlands in the Olympic opener was that all three goals scored by the Dutch were not an outcome of great display of hockey but due to the lethargic defence lapses of our players.

Aussie eves outplay South Africa
Athens, August 16
Australia finally put some points on the board in their defence of the women’s Olympic hockey title today, recovering from a sluggish start to beat South Africa 3-0.

Archer Prasad in second round
Athens, August 16
Seasoned Satyadev Prasad provided the only happy news for India in men's archery sqeezing into the second round as two of his compatriots bit the dust in the men's individual archery comepetition at the Olympic Games here today.

Indian boxers lack strategy: ex-coach
New Delhi, Aug 16
Indian boxers’ performance in the past two days has exposed their lack of strategy and vision needed to compete on such a stage, former national coach Om Prakash Bharadwaj said here today.

India's Vijendra throws a punch at Tunisia's Mustafa Karagollu India's Vijendra, right, throws a punch at Tunisia's Mustafa Karagollu during the light welterweight boxing preliminaries of the Olympic Games at the Peristeri Boxing Hall in Athens on Sunday.  Karagollu won the bout. — AP/PTI photo



Australia's Sara Carrigan reacts after crossing the finish line to win the gold in the women's Olympic cycling road race in Athens on Sunday. Germany's Judith Arndt and Russia's Olga Slyusareva won silver and bronze, respectively. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
  Corporates not keen to sponsor Olympians
New Delhi, August 16
Corporates like Samsung and LG may be spending over Rs 100 crore annually to sponsor Indian cricket players, but they have shown no interest to sponsor or support Olympians.

China, Australia dominate
Athens, August 16
China and Australia overcame wind-blown conditions on a mountaintop range outside of Athens today to add to their gold medal totals early on the third day of Olympic competition.

Winds play havoc at ancient stadium
Athens, August 16
Arrows flew badly off course and some even missed the target altogether at the Olympic archery today when strong gusts of wind disrupted the first round of the men’s individual competition at the Athens Games. In a sport where the elite expect to fire a handful of perfect 10s on the bull’s eye and scores on the outer rings of five or below are rare, total misses are extraordinary. Fortunately, the 122-cm (48-inch) diameter target is placed on a larger board so that misses do not fly behind the mark.



Majhi Sawaiyan (L) of India in action against his opponent Vic Wunderle (R) of the USA at the men's archery individual event elimination round at the historic Panathinaiko Stadium on Monday. Sawaiyan was defeated by Wunderle in the elimination round. — AFP photo
Majhi Sawaiyan of India in action against his opponent Vic Wunderle (R) of the USA at the men's archery individual event elimination round

Carlos Moya of Spain jumps in air after defeating Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in a three-set match in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Moya tames wind and Enqvist, Dementieva out
Athens, August 16
Spanish third seed Carlos Moya tamed a swirling wind and dogged Swedish opponent Thomas Enqvist to reach the second round of the Olympic men’s singles with a 7-6 6-7 9-7 victory today. But Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva, the 2000 silver medallist, suffered a surprise 4-6 6-0 6-3 first round loss to unseeded Australian Alicia Molik.


Carlos Moya of Spain jumps in air after defeating Thomas Enqvist of Sweden in a three-set match in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games on Monday. Moya beat Enqvist 7-6, 6-7, 9-7. — AFP photo

Gong marches into badminton semifinals
Athens, August 16
Chinese number one seed Gong Ruina marched into the semifinals of the Olympic women’s singles badminton here today with another ruthless display of speed and power.

Australia's Petria Thomas is congratulated by Dutch Inge de Bruijn Michael Phelps of the USA congratulates Ian Thorpe of Australia
Australia's Petria Thomas (R) is congratulated by Dutch Inge de Bruijn after winning the women's 100-m butterfly final at the Olympic Games in Athens on Sunday. Thomas finished the race in 57.72 seconds. — Reuters Michael Phelps of the USA congratulates Ian Thorpe of Australia after Thorpe finished first and Phelps second in a qualifying heat of the 200-meter freestyle at the Olympic Aquatic Centre in Athens on Sunday. — AP/PTI

Iraq enter last eight, Japan out
Volos (Greece), August 16
Iraq beat Costa Rica 2-0 to reach the Olympic soccer quarterfinals while Italy and Portugal recovered from shock results to win their second games and stay in contention.

Iran defiant on boycott of Israelis
Tehran, August 16
Iran today said its athletes should boycott any contest against Israelis, confirming that judo world champion refused a bout at the Athens Olympics on political grounds.

Mutlu wins third Olympic gold medal
Athens, August 16
Showman Halil Mutlu of Turkey joined the elite group of weightlifters who have won three Olympic gold medals with an explosive display yesterday. Mutlu, who stands just 4 foot 11 inches tall, clinched the men’s 56kg division with a master class in power lifting despite missing out on two world record attempts.



Turkey's Halil Mutlu celebrates on the podium after winning the gold in the men's under 56kg category in the weight lifting in Athens 2004 Olympics on Sunday. Turkey's Halil Mutlu muscled into the Olympic record books on Sunday, claiming a third gold medal to confirm his place among weightlifting's all-time greats.—Reuters photo

Turkey's Halil Mutlu celebrates on the podium after winning the gold in the men's under 56kg category in the weight lifting in Athens 2004 Olympics

Greek sprint duo’s hearing postponed
Athens, August 16
A disciplinary hearing into missed dope tests by Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou was adjourned two days until Wednesday so that the athletes could present their case in person.

Ethiopia drops two champions
ATHENS:
Ethiopia have dropped women’s 10,000 metres world champion Berhane Adere and men’s defending Olympic marathon champion Gezahegne Abera from their Olympic line-up. Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials said the pair were struggling for form following injuries.

India's Dola Banerjee takes aim Argentina's swimmer Georgina Bardach poses with her bronze medal
India's Dola Banerjee takes aim during the women's individual archery at the Olympic Games in Athens on Sunday. Argentina's swimmer Georgina Bardach poses with her bronze medal at the Olympic Village in Athens on Sunday. Bardach won the bronze medal in the women's 400-m individual medley final, with a time of four minutes 37.51 seconds. Reuters photos



Key guides England to series victory
London, August 16
Robert Key's unbeaten 93 guided England to a seven-wicket win over West Indies on the final day of the third Test today and gave the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. Key steadied his side after a poor start as they chased 231, a record fourth-innings winning total at Old Trafford. It was England's ninth win in 10 Tests. Andrew Flintoff (57 not out) hit two sixes and Michael Vaughan (33) also batted well on a deteriorating pitch after Steve Harmison's four for 44 had helped bowl out West Indies for 165.

England's Marcus Trescothick has a stump and bail removed by a ball from West Indies Corey Collymore during the third Test between England and the West Indies in Manchester, England, on Monday. — AP/PTI photo
England's Marcus Trescothick has a stump and bail removed by a ball from West Indies Corey Collymore

John WrightWright gets extension
Kolkata, August 16
The BCCI today extended national coach John Wright’s tenure till the end of the 2004-05 season. Contracts for trainer Gregory King and physiotherapist Andrew Leipus were extended up to and including the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies at the meeting of the board's working committee here.

Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany sprays champagne
Ferrari Formula One driver Michael Schumacher of Germany sprays champagne on the podium after winning the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix in Budapest on Sunday. Schumacher won the race ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello of Brazil and Renault's Fernando Alonso of Spain. — Reuters

New payment system okayed
Kolkata, August 16
The cricket board today approved the restructured graded payment system proposed by the players but rejected their request to increase the non-players’ match fee by 20 per cent.

Jayasuria aims to reach 10,000 runs in ODIs
New Delhi, August 16
Former Sri Lankan captain and dashing batsman Sanath Jayasuria has set his sight on scoring 10,000 runs in one-day internationals (ODIs). “I know I am almost there and it is a small goal I am setting for myself. I don’t set big goals. If you don’t get there, you feel discouraged.

Bobby Fischer to marry supporter
Tokyo, August 16
Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer, in detention in Japan fighting deportation, has decided to marry a longtime supporter, the head of the Japan Chess Association, his lawyer said today.

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India seek to plug loopholes against SA
M.R. Mishra

Athens, August 16
India will seek to plug the defensive loopholes when they clash with South Africa in their second Group B league match in the Olympic hockey event here tomorrow, with the pressure to deliver bearing heavily on the mind of the players.

The Indians showed glimpses of their old rhythm in the lung opener against defending champions the Netherlands but a few defensive lapses cost them the match 1-3. The players, however, will have to pick themselves up for the game against South Africa who have already caused a major upset by beating Argentina 2-1 in their first hurdle.

The new coach, Germany-born Gerhard Rach, said after the match that the Indians did commit some defensive lapses which led to their downfall. But he promised an improved show by his wards who desperately need to win the match against the South Africans to keep their semifinal hopes alive.

“We made some silly mistakes. We also had some problems in passing which upset the rhythm. The boys are young and they will learn from their mistakes. Hopefully we will not repeat those mistakes in the remaining matches,” Rach said.

“It was not such a bad game, we did manage to create openings. But our forwards did not have enough patience to convert the opportunities. There are some things that we need to sort out,” he said.

While the forwards failed to provide the finishing touches, the defenders were also guilty of periodic lapse of concentration which made the task difficult for the team.

The South Africans have already proved to be the surprise package in the Olympics by launching their campaign with a stunning victory over Argentina and coach Rach conceded his team could not take them lightly.

“They have a different approach and they have done well to beat a team like Argentina. So we have to play well, there is no question of being complacent,” he said

The failure to convert the chances by the forwards has been a worrying factor for the Indians, an area which needs to be taken care of if the eight-time gold medallists wished to add another medal to their Olympic tally.

Gagan Ajit Singh, Prabhjot Singh and Deepak Thakur looked nippy at times and managed to penetrate the defence but just could not find the net for a variety of reasons.

The failure of the forwards to deliver upfront put considerable pressure on the defenders, a fact acknowledged by captain Dilip Tirkey himself. “Our forwards could not capitalise on the chances. If the forwards miss the opportunities, it puts pressure on the defenders,” the skipper said.

“All three goals we conceded against Holland came off counter-attacks. We have to be more careful in the remaining matches. But our goalkeeper Adrian did a fantastic job to save so many attempts.

The Indians have no worries on the injury front with young Sandeep Singh, who played the game against Holland with a bandaged hand, showing no signs of any discomfort.

Tirkey, who was hit behind the ear during the late stages of their opening match, was also fit enough to take part in the crucial encounter to be played under floodlights at the Helliniko hockey ground.

“It is okay. I had some ice treatment and the swelling is less now. I am fortunate that I was not hit on the face,” he said.

The South Africans are known to play a tough game and the Indians will have to be ready to counter their on-court aggression. The defenders have their task cut out while the midfield will have to keep the supply line active if the Indians wish to put pressure on their opponents in what promises to be a keenly contested encounter.

The Indians had played against some relatively weak opponents in the build-up to the mega event and the match against the Netherlands showed where they stood in terms of standard and they can now go back to the drawing board for their strategies.

Rach has not changed the basic style of the Indians but there is certainly a change in the strategies and the functioning of the defenders and the midfielders.

“They are a talented lot, but results cannot come overnight. We have to work on it.

“But I am positive that they will keep improving and we can be a major force in hockey again.” — PTI

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Defence lapses cost India the match
V Bhaskaran

The irony of India’s game against the Netherlands in the Olympic opener was that all three goals scored by the Dutch were not an outcome of great display of hockey but due to the lethargic defence lapses of our players.

The Indian team, playing for the first time under a foreign coach, fielded Adrian D’Souza as goalkeeper in place of the regular Devesh Chauhan. Truly, this change was welcome and D’Souza proved to be up to the task.

But the same cannot be said in favour of the young drag flicker Sandeep Singh, who had a nightmare of a match. His costly lapses will not permit him to sleep peacefully for many nights.

His inaugural appearance at the Olympics cost the Indian team dearly in the first two minutes when he gifted a pass to the Netherlands forward Matren Eikelboom, who readily devoured the chance to give his team the lead.

This error by Sandeep put pressure on the other newcomer Harpal Singh and Ignace Tirkey. This helped the Netherlands tighten the noose on India as they increased the lead to 3-0 by the last 15 minutes before emerging 3-1 winners and taking the vital three points from this match.

It is easy to criticise our team’s performance but the facts and figures have to be revealed so that the players quickly rectify the errors and go into the rest of the four games with a positive frame of mind.

As in the past, the same kind of mistakes are being repeated again and again by the defenders, costing us the medal at the Olympics.

The question is who should accept the blame for the simple basic errors which even a schoolboy learns immediately from. It is high time the players, especially the midfielders and deep defenders, become sure about their trapping which is the basic quality needed in present-day hockey.

If you are not sound in this aspect, however good your team is, it will not be successful and I would say one should not be called an Olympian if he does not know the basics of the game.

On the contrary, the Dutch defenders were very sound in reverse tackling and almost all defenders challenged the Indian forwards whenever the situation demanded.

Our wing-halfs, especially Ignace Tirkey and Sandeep Singh, were not positioned properly and allowed the Dutch forward line to dominate all moves and create many openings which put captain Dilip Tirkey under great pressure.

The wing-halfs should have played much deeper in defence and should have stuck to man to man marking as was exhibited by their counterparts.

Also, our mid-fielders — Vikram Pillay and Viren Rasquinha — tried hard for a breakthrough. But I fail to understand why frequent substitutions were made in the midfield. The coach should have gone in for permanent midfielders rather than shuffling them frequently. This caused more space, especially in the second half, which could have been avoided.

The only bright spots for India were the performances of Adrian D’Souza, Vikram Pillay and Dilip Tirkey.

The Indian team management should quickly look into the loopholes and start afresh for the next four games. This team still has a lot of fire and can bounce back to stake claim for the elusive medal. — PTI

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Aussie eves outplay South Africa

Athens, August 16
Australia finally put some points on the board in their defence of the women’s Olympic hockey title today, recovering from a sluggish start to beat South Africa 3-0.
The Australians are going for their third gold in a row but suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat by Germany in the first round.

“Those were three points we desperately needed but we can still, without a doubt, improve our performance. The first half was a very ugly game,” coach David Bell said.

Earlier, world champions Argentina took a while to wake up after an 8.30 am start but eventually pushed through Japan’s neat defence 3-1 for their second victory, staking their claim to a first Olympic gold.

Australia got off to a messy start, mispassing and regularly allowing South Africa into the circle. It was only thanks to the quick reactions of goalkeeper Rachel Imison that South African striker Pietie Coetzee did not find the back of the net.

Ball control was made much harder by a squally seaside wind whipping around the stadium but towards the end of the first half, Australia settled down and set up a field goal from Julie Towers and a penalty from Suzie Faulkner.

Their third came from Peta Gallagher, who tapped in a cross.

Argentina, known as Las Leonas (The Lionesses), were under pressure for the first 20 minutes against Japan until they smacked the ball diagonally across from deep left field, through a stunning midfield run by Luciana Aymar to scorer Ines Arrondo.

Rika Komazawa scored Japan’s first Olympic goal to level but Argentina kicked into gear, wore down the midfield and set up two more goals.

“We struggled to begin with but we’re Argentine — we find it hard to get up that early,” Marina di Giacomo said. — Reuters

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Archer Prasad in second round

Athens, August 16
Seasoned Satyadev Prasad provided the only happy news for India in men's archery sqeezing into the second round as two of his compatriots bit the dust in the men's individual archery comepetition at the Olympic Games here today.

The 25-year-old Prasad, who had finished a lowly 48th in the ranking round on Saturday, raised his game by several notches to get the better of higher-ranked Yuji Hamano of Japan 155-150 in a close opening round match at the Panathinaiko stadium.

Majhi paid for a sloppy start to go down tamely to USA's Vic Wunderle 128-145 in the morning session before the promising Tarundeep Rai was shown the door by Alexandros Karageorgiou in the evening's last fixture.

Rai faltered after a bright start when he picked up 28 points in the first series to ultimately go down 143-147 in a highly contested 19-minute encounter against the 18-year-old from the host country.

Prasad showed good concentration and hit four ten pointers, maintaining a consistent lead from the start against the 23-year-old Japanese, who had finished 17th in the ranking round.

Prasad, a key member of the Indian team that bagged the fourth slot at the world championship in New york last year, would now take on Hoff Ron Vander in the second round tomorrow.—PTI

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Indian boxers lack strategy: ex-coach

New Delhi, Aug 16
Indian boxers’ performance in the past two days has exposed their lack of strategy and vision needed to compete on such a stage, former national coach Om Prakash Bharadwaj said here today.

“Jitender had got a very good draw. If he had tackled his opponent in the first round, his next opponents were rather easy,” according to Bharadwaj, a Dronacharya Awardee.

The lightheavy weight pugilist ended his Olympic campaign in the first bout itself after losing to Ukrainian Andriy Fedchuk in the second round of the bout which was stopped by the referee after consulting the ringside doctor.

“I would say Jitender was unlucky,” said Bharadwaj, who watched the bout on television, adding that Indian boxers lacked the “killer instinct” and “determination” needed to succeed internationally.

“Jitender is an orthodox boxer and had an advantage of scoring points against the southpaw Fedchuk. He did well in the first round but was trailing by one point. He realised in the second round that he should use right and left hooks and tried to do the same which was taken advantage of by his opponent who turned aggressive to attack Jitender with a flurry of punches, which opened a wound above his eye”, Bharadwaj pointed out.

“Vijender surprisingly lost against lowly Mustafa Karagollu of Turkey who, I am sure, would lose in the next round itself,” the former coach said about the lightwelter weight bout yesterday.

“Vijender was defensive from the beginning when he should have been aggressive. He turned attacking only in the last round but the damage had been done by that time.”

Bharadwaj said in competitions like Olympics you need to have a “do-or-die” approach and should always try to put your opponent on the defensive.

He criticised chief coach G.S. Sandhu for not being around for his boys and refreshing the boxers during breaks.

“Sandhu should have been with the boys during the breaks. How can you expect a Haryana villager to communicate with Belarussian expert I.B. Fernandez in such a pressure situation,” he wondered.

“Now I have some hopes on Akhil Kumar in the fly weight but cannot say anything about Diwakar Prasad, who will contest in the bantam weight.”

Akhil will face Jerome Thomas of France and Diwakar will take on Hamid Ait Bighrade of Morocco in their first rounds.

Bharadwaj was also critical about not using the facilities for success and taking things lightly.

“They have got sponsors, who are providing all the facilities. They have attended a number of international training camps and competitions. If they still do not deliver, then who will?” he said.

Meanwhile, an Amateur Indian Boxing Association official denied that the referee had stopped Jitender’s bout prematurely.

“Jitender was unlucky. The referee was correct in stopping the contest as he was bleeding profusely,” he said.

“In the Olympics there is no scope for wrong decisions,” he added.

He, however, said Vijender could have won the bout had there been some way to alert him in time about the fact that he was trailing badly after the second round itself.

“He rightly went on an all-out offensive in the final round, but by then it was too late”, he said. — PTI 

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Corporates not keen to sponsor Olympians
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 16
Corporates like Samsung and LG may be spending over Rs 100 crore annually to sponsor Indian cricket players, but they have shown no interest to sponsor or support Olympians.

Members of the Lok Sabha have also expressed concern that despite adequate representation in the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF), the private sector has not “contributed a single penny” to support players who are now competing in the Athens Olympics.

The fund was set up in 1998-99 by the government with a seed money of Rs 2 crore to provide assistance to the best national players, who have the potential to represent the nation in the Olympics and other international tournaments. The government had promised that for every individual or institution contribution, the government would provide a matching grant.

The fund has so far attracted only 23 individuals and institutions, mostly public sector banks and undertakings, who have contributed about Rs 1.81 crore over the past five years. It also includes a contribution by Kapil Dev of Rs 1.21 crore (including interest), that he had deposited in the National Welfare Fund for sports. The amount was later transferred to the NSDF.

The Union Minister of State (Independent charge), Ministry of Non-Resident Indian Affairs, Mr Jagdish Tytler, today told the Lok Sabha that though contributions to the NSDF were totally exempted from payment of income tax, the corporate sector had shown no interest in making contributions to the fund.

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China, Australia dominate

Athens, August 16
China and Australia overcame wind-blown conditions on a mountaintop range outside of Athens today to add to their gold medal totals early on the third day of Olympic competition.

Zhu Qinan won the men's 10-meter air rifle for China's sixth gold of the Games. Earlier, Suzanne Balogh won the women's trapshooting to give Australia its fifth gold, one ahead of third-place Japan in the gold-medal count.

Off the playing fields, Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou got another reprieve from an IOC panel looking into their missed drug tests while police intensified an investigation of the purported motorcycle accident that left them hospitalised.

The IOC hearing will now likely be held Wednesday, when both should be out of hospital and be able to attend the meeting.

Elsewhere, international judo officials canceled a meeting to investigate whether a two-time champion from Iran who reportedly said he would not fight an Israeli opponent deliberately avoided the first-round bout by showing up overweight.

Arash Miresmaeili, a favourite in the under-66kg class, was declared overweight at the morning weigh-in and disqualified for his first-round bout against Ehud Vaks. Iran does not recognise Israel and bans any contact with the Jewish state.

A member of Denmark's sailing team was arrested on charges he struck and killed a British pedestrian while speeding in his car on the way to see his country's handball team play.

The sailor, Niklas Holm, hit the man, identified as Errol Strachan, on a suburban Athens street Sunday night, police said. Holm was released by a court after being charged with manslaughter and speeding. — AP
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Winds play havoc at ancient stadium 

Athens, August 16
Arrows flew badly off course and some even missed the target altogether at the Olympic archery today when strong gusts of wind disrupted the first round of the men’s individual competition at the Athens Games.

In a sport where the elite expect to fire a handful of perfect 10s on the bull’s eye and scores on the outer rings of five or below are rare, total misses are extraordinary.

Fortunately, the 122-cm (48-inch) diameter target is placed on a larger board so that misses do not fly behind the mark. For added protection at the Panathinaiko Stadium, birthplace of the modern Games, a three-metre high barrier runs the width of the range, blocking any badly stray arrows from reaching the busy road that runs past the open amphitheatre.

India’s Majhi Sawaiyan made the worst possible start, missing with his first two shots as he lost to Vic Wunderle of the USA, a silver medallist in Sydney four years ago.

“There is some problem with the wind but this is part of the game,’’ said Wunderle.

“The main problem was that wind was coming from different directions and I had to keep adjusting my aim,’’ said Chen Szu-yuan of Taiwan, a first round victor.“At the same time I think the wind is an advantage as it helps show who the better archer is. Of course, you also need a bit of luck.’’

Similar conditions yesterday saw the women archers also put on a display of wayward shooting not seen before at an Olympics.

Archers have been bracing for the swirling conditions at the hillside venue, fully aware of Athens’ seasonal August winds.

Organisers have said the strong winds are not reason enough to postpone the competition. Only lightning can stop the action.

Magnus Petersson, the Swedish second seed and silver medallist in the men’s individual event in Atlanta in 1996 scored a 63-point victory. Third seed Marco Galiazzo of Italy hit 156 out of 180 points to book his place in the round of 32.

Only a few hundred spectators were at the magnificent all-marble stadium for today’s first round 18-arrow shootout, but the significance of the Olympic homecoming to the 1896 venue was not lost on Wietse van Alten of the Netherlands. — Reuters

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Moya tames wind and Enqvist, Dementieva out

Athens, August 16
Spanish third seed Carlos Moya tamed a swirling wind and dogged Swedish opponent Thomas Enqvist to reach the second round of the Olympic men’s singles with a 7-6 6-7 9-7 victory today.

But Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva, the 2000 silver medallist, suffered a surprise 4-6 6-0 6-3 first round loss to unseeded Australian Alicia Molik. All the players had to cope with difficult conditions created by the gusting wind in the morning session at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

Moya saved three match points in the final set before

prevailing, sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner after nearly three hours on a sparsely attended centre court.

The 1998 French Open champion had two match points in the second set tiebreak but in a see-saw decider Moya broke decisively for 8-7.

Dementieva, one of four Russians in the top nine seedings for the women’s singles, was in control against Molik in the first set but the French Open runner-up’s game deserted her as the Australian took command thereafter.

“It was pretty horrible out there,’’ Molik said of the conditions.

Russian ninth seed Nadia Petrova, meanwhile, disposed of Slovakia’s Martina Sucha 6-3 6-3 but Sweden’s Joachim Johansson upset men’s 12th seed Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand 6-2 6-3.

Israeli 13th seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi, only competing after a last-minute compromise over a sponsors clash, lost 6-2 6-1 to unseeded Tathiana Garbin of Italy.

In the men’s doubles Americans Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish lost to experienced Indian pair Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes 7-6 6-3. — Reuters

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Gong marches into badminton semifinals

Athens, August 16
Chinese number one seed Gong Ruina marched into the semifinals of the Olympic women’s singles badminton here today with another ruthless display of speed and power.

The 23-year-old world number one, making her first appearance at the Olympics, dropped just six points in her merciless defeat of Taipei’s Cheng Shao-Chieh and will now meet the winner of the quarterfinal between Dutch fourth seed Mia Audina and British number one Tracey Hallam.

Cheng caused a major upset in the last round when she knocked out South Korean sixth seed Jun Jae-Youn, but the 18-year-old was unable to produce another upset and was hopelessly outclassed 11-3, 11-3 by the more experienced Gong.

Gong’s compatriot, second seed Zhang Ning, also sealed a place in the last four, but her path was far from straightforward.

The reigning world champion was pushed to the third set for the second successive match, but she eventually overcame Hong Kong fifth seed Wang Chen.

Wang led 7-5 in the decider, but she ran out of steam and failed to take another point as Zhang wrapped up the match 9-11, 11-6, 11-7. — AFP

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Iraq enter last eight, Japan out

Volos (Greece), August 16
Iraq beat Costa Rica 2-0 to reach the Olympic soccer quarterfinals while Italy and Portugal recovered from shock results to win their second games and stay in contention.

Unable to play any of its qualifying games on home turf because of the war and subsequent violent conflict in its own country, the Iraqi team scored its second victory of the Olympic Competition yesterday coming after a 4-2 triumph over star-studded Portugal.

Iraq now have a maximum six points from two games and does not have to win its third game against Morocco in Patras on Wednesday.

Both goals came in the last 23 minutes, Hawar Mulla Mohammed putting Iraq ahead at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens and Mahdi Karim heading the second five minutes later.

Each goal sparked wild scenes among the Iraqi fans, some of whom ran onto the field. “This success is very important for our people and our country because we are facing a difficult situation,” Mulla Mohammed said.

“We had no facilities and fields to train for a long period but we managed to qualify for the next stage of the Olympic tournament.”

Portugal recovered from its shock defeat by beating Morocco 2-1 to stay in contention for a place in the last eight. Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Costa scored for Portugal, who must avoid defeat against Costa Rica on Wednesday.

Alberto Gilardino scored twice as Italy beat Japan 3-2 in a thriller in Volos to revive its chances of winning the gold medal for the first time in 68 years. Japan were knocked out after two high-scoring and thrilling losses.

The result eliminated the Japanese, who had also lost 4-3 to Paraguay in another entertaining game, but Masakuni Yamamoto’s team, who had some 2,000 blue shirted followers in the stadium, made many friends with their enterprising soccer.

Daniele de Rossi scored the first with an acrobatic overhead kick while Yuki Abe Curled in a 25-meter free kick for Japan and Daiku Takamatsu scored an injury-time second.

The second goal sparked a violent melee in the Italian goal as the Japanese tried to grab the ball away from goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli.

Ghana came from behind to beat Paraguay 2-1 in Thessaloniki with Stephen Appiah, who plays in Italy for Juventus, scoring the winner six minutes from the end.

All goals came in the last 14 minutes with Carlos Gamarra putting Paragua ahead but William Tiero levelling five minutes later. Appiah’s winner means that Italy and Ghana are tied with four points at the top of the group and Paraguay has three. On Wednesday, Italy meets Paraguay in Athens and Ghana faces the eliminated Japanese in Volos. — AP

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Iran defiant on boycott of Israelis

Tehran, August 16
Iran today said its athletes should boycott any contest against Israelis, confirming that judo world champion refused a bout at the Athens Olympics on political grounds.

The comments by government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh set Tehran on a collision course with Olympic officials, who could punish Iran for letting politics intrude on its sporting ideals.

Asked about Arash Miresmaeili’s failure to fight Israeli Ehud Vaks after turning up overweight for yesterday’s 66 kg bout, Ramazanzadeh told a press conference: “Our policy is not to recognise the Zionist regime in any international event. “We cannot accept the presence of anyone in international events under the flag of that regime.”Miresmaeili was quoted as saying that he refused to fight out of solidarity with the Palestinian people and an Iranian Olympic official said today he had been ordered not to take part. Ramazanzadeh, however, described the double world judo champion’s action as voluntary: “We thank all our athletes who voluntarily follow our policy in international events and consider them our real national champions and heroes of peace.’’Asked whether the boycott could harm the Olympic ideal of athletes meeting in peace and free of politics, he said Israel could show a spirit of peace by ending its occupation of Palestinian land, a familiar call by the Islamic republic.

“The spirit of peace and friendship suggests that occupation must end and international organisations should help to end it,’’ the government spokesman said. “Those who have occupied land despite the will of its residents should not be given the opportunity to take part in official events.’’ — Reuters

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Mutlu wins third Olympic gold medal

Athens, August 16
Showman Halil Mutlu of Turkey joined the elite group of weightlifters who have won three Olympic gold medals with an explosive display yesterday.
Mutlu, who stands just 4 foot 11 inches tall, clinched the men’s 56kg division with a master class in power lifting despite missing out on two world record attempts.

The tiny Turk, who weighed in at 55.93kg after winning a battle to lose a kilo in three days, was in irrepressible form as he edged aside the opposition.

He took the gold with a total of 295kg with China’s Wu Meijin, the reigning world champion in the 56kg weight category, lifting the silver medal with 287.5kg.

To round off a great night for Turkey, Sedat Artuc took bronze with 280kg.

“I expected Wu to challenge me and I trained on the basis of what kilos I thought he would lift,” said Mutlu.

“There may come a moment when my co-athletes do better than me — then I will stop lifting.

“I lift with my whole soul, my heart, my whole self really. I love competing and I love weightlifting.”

It was a remarkable comeback for Mutlu who missed the whole 2002 season while recovering from surgery after a bad injury.

A place amongst the legends of the sport drove him on and his victory at the 2003 World Championship, where he competed in the higher 62kg division, underlined his intentions. — AFP

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Greek sprint duo’s hearing postponed

Athens, August 16
A disciplinary hearing into missed dope tests by Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou was adjourned two days until Wednesday so that the athletes could present their case in person.

Asked whether his request for an adjournment had been successful, Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said: “Yes. We have won the first fight.”

The disciplinary commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had interrupted their meeting today to consider the request and subsequently approved it.

A delegation was sent to the hospital where the two athletes have been since a motor cycle accident late on Thursday night to get a medical certificate on the
state of their health.

“I have asked for a postponement for Wednesday because these top athletes who fight for their history and their name have the right to be there in person,” their lawyer said earlier. — Reuters

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Ethiopia drops two champions

ATHENS: Ethiopia have dropped women’s 10,000 metres world champion Berhane Adere and men’s defending Olympic marathon champion Gezahegne Abera from their Olympic line-up. Ethiopian Athletics Federation officials said the pair were struggling for form following injuries.

The 31-year-old Adere will be replaced by All-Africa champion Ejegayehu Dibaba, who had been earmarked for the 5,000 metres but now will run only the longer event.

Ethiopia’s three-woman team for the 10,000 m will be completed by defending Olympic champion Derartu Tulu and world silver medallist Werknesh Kidane. — Reuters

British protest

ATHENS: British team officials are to protest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after swimmer Sarah Price gashed her legs minutes before the start of her 100 metres backstroke semifinal on Sunday.

Price, sporting cuts on both shins, finished last in her race having jumped on to what British team officials said they thought was an underwater camera while warming up in the main pool 35 minutes before her race.

The British team appealed unsuccessfully to have the schedule changed to give Price time to recover. — Reuters

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Key guides England to series victory

London, August 16
Robert Key's unbeaten 93 guided England to a seven-wicket win over West Indies on the final day of the third Test today and gave the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series.
Key steadied his side after a poor start as they chased 231, a record fourth-innings winning total at Old Trafford. It was England's ninth win in 10 Tests. Andrew Flintoff (57 not out) hit two sixes and Michael Vaughan (33) also batted well on a deteriorating pitch after Steve Harmison's four for 44 had helped bowl out West Indies for 165.

The fourth and final test starts at the Oval in London on Thursday with England looking for their second clean sweep in two series after beating New Zealand 3-0.

West Indies (Ist innings): 395-9 dec

England (Ist innings): 330

West Indies (2nd innings):

Gayle c Hoggard b Giles 42

Joseph c Vaughan b Flintoff 1 5

Sarwan c Trescothick b Harmison 60

Lara c Strauss b Flintoff 7

Chanderpaul c Vaughan b Flintoff 2

Bravo c Flintoff b Giles 6

Baugh c sub b Harmison 3

Mohammed c Key b Giles 9

Collins b Harmison 8

Collymore not out 5

Edwards c Flintoff b Harmison 0

Extras: (b-2 lb-4 w-1 nb-1) 8

Total: (all out, 59.4 overs) 165

Fall of wickets: 1-41, 2-88, 3-95, 4-99, 5-110, 6-121, 7-146, 8-152, 9-161, 10-165

Bowling: Hoggard 7-0-21-0, Harmison 13.4-3-44-4, Flintoff 12-1-26-3, Giles 22-6-46-3, Anderson 5-1-22-0

England (2nd innings):

Trescothick b Collymore 12

Strauss c Chanderpaul b Collins 12

Key not out 93

Vaughan c Lara b Gayle 33

Flintoff not out 57

Extras (b-7 lb-3 nb-14) 24

Total (3 wkts, 65.4 overs)231

FoW: 1-15 2-27 3-111

Bowling: Edwards 11-0-51-0 (nb-6), Collymore 16-7-33-1 (nb-3), Collins 8-2-24-1 (nb-5), Bravo 12-3-41-0,Mohammed 6-0-25-0, Gayle 8.4-0-32-1, Sarwan 4-0-15-0. —Reuters

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Wright gets extension

Kolkata, August 16
The BCCI today extended national coach John Wright’s tenure till the end of the 2004-05 season.
Contracts for trainer Gregory King and physiotherapist Andrew Leipus were extended up to and including the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies at the meeting of the board's working committee here.

The working committee also decided to turn down the request of Maharashtra cricketer Abhijit Kale to reduce the ban on him by a month.

Kale was banned from all levels of cricket till December 31, 2004, for trying to bribe his way into the Indian team for the tour of Australia in 2003-04.

The committee also decided to convene a special general meeting of the board on September 12 in Chennai to consider the amendment of rules to facilitate the affiliation of new associations and bring about some changes in the tenure of office-bearers.— PTI

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New payment system okayed

Kolkata, August 16
The cricket board today approved the restructured graded payment system proposed by the players but rejected their request to increase the non-players’ match fee by 20 per cent.

“As proposed by the players, the new grades will be Rs 50 lakh, Rs 35 lakh and Rs 20 lakh for the players who will be graded in three categories under the new contract system,” BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya said after a meeting of the working committee here.

Dalmiya, however, said the board turned down the players’ request to raise the match fee of non-playing members of the team from 50 to 70 per cent of that money payable to playing members. “The non-playing members will get 50 percent of the match fee,” Dalmiya said. — PTI

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Jayasuria aims to reach 10,000 runs in ODIs
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, August 16
Former Sri Lankan captain and dashing batsman Sanath Jayasuria has set his sight on scoring 10,000 runs in one-day internationals (ODIs). “I know I am almost there and it is a small goal I am setting for myself. I don’t set big goals. If you don’t get there, you feel discouraged. I aim for smaller goals and when I get there, I move on to the next goal”, Jayasuria said in an interview on ESPN Star Sports, to be telecast on August 17 (Tuesday) at 9.30 p m.

Jayasuria said he had not thought of the next World Cup. “World Cup is almost three years away. I haven’t thought of that. I go series by series”, he observed, adding that “I still have a few more years in international cricket”. Jayasuria said he had enjoyed his stint as captain for five years, and abdicated the throne to give chance to somebody else.

“I did my best as captain for five years. I led the team in the World Cup, and gave it up after that, thinking that somebody else should do it for the next World Cup. It’s purely a personal decision, and nothing else”, Jayasuriya explained.

The devastating all-rounder said he was “a little worried” about his poor performance during the last 15 months. “But I knew I could come back. I worked hard in the nets. Confidence is the key”, he added (Jayasuriya had been adjudged as the man of the series in the recently-concluded Asia Cup, in which he has scored two centuries—against Bangladesh and India.

Jayasuria said to begin with, he was a left-arm bowler, and used to bat at No 7.

“The idea of scoring quickly in the beginning was thought of by Arjuna (Ranatunga), Duleep (Mendis) and Dave. They wanted to capitalise on the fact that there were only two fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the first 15 overs. They asked me to open. I was told that I should just go out and hit and not worry about getting out. I got the opportunity in Colombo against Pakistan, and in three ODIs, I scored three fifties,” explained the master blaster. 

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Bobby Fischer to marry supporter

Bobby Fischer Tokyo, August 16
Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer, in detention in Japan fighting deportation, has decided to marry a longtime supporter, the head of the Japan Chess Association, his lawyer said today.

Fischer has also appealed to US Secretary of State Colin Powell and the US Embassy in Tokyo to accept the renunciation of his US citizenship, Masako Suzuki said in a statement.

“Fischer and Miyoko Watai, acting president of the Japan Chess Association, have been living together since 2000 and are in a state of common-law marriage. They have decided to take steps to legally marry,” said the statement.

The couple have already signed by the documents necessary to marry, and they would submit them to the authorities, Suzuki said, without giving details of where the marriage would be registered.

Little is known about Watai, although she claims to have been a friend of Fischer for over 30 years and maintains an Internet website supporting him.

The announcement said Watai would explain details later. Neither Watai nor Suzuki could be reached for comment.

The announcement came as Fischer, 61, remained in detention. He has been held by immigration authorities since July 13 while Japan decides whether to deport him to the USA.

Fischer, who was last week moved to a long-term detention center in eastern Japan, was detained after trying to board a flight to the Philippines using a passport which US officials said had been revoked. — AFP

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COUNTRY                                               G                  S                   B                 T
China 10 4 1 15
Australia 6 2 4 12
Japan 4 1 1 6
United States 3 4 5 12
France 2 2 3 7
Italy 2 2 1 5
Turkey 2 0 1 3
Ukraine 2 0 1 3
Russia 1 5 2 8
Germany 1 1 1 3
Hungary 1 1 1 3
Korea 1 0 2 3
Thailand 1 0 2 3
South Africa 1 0 0 1
Netherlands 0 2 3 5
DPR Korea 0 2 0 2
Poland 0 2 0 2
Slovakia 0 1 1 2
Austria 0 1 0 1
Georgia 0 1 0 1
Great Britain 0 1 0 1
Indonesia 0 1 0 1
Portugal 0 1 0 1
Serbia & Monteneg 0 1 0 1
Spain 0 1 0 1
Zimbabwe 0 1 0 1
Cuba 0 0 3 3
Belgium 0 0 2 2
Bulgaria 0 0 2 2
Argentina 0 0 1 1
Brazil 0 0 1 1
Canada 0 0 1 1
Colombia 0 0 1 1
Czech Republic 0 0 1 1
Greece 0 0 1 1
Mongolia 0 0 1 1

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India at Athens today

Archery: Women's individual events - Reena Kumari v Tohering Chhoden (Bhutan); Sumangala Sharma v Jean Kirstin (USA)

Badminton: Men's 2nd round - Nikhil Kanetkar v Peter Gade (Denmark).

Boxing: Fly weight (51 kg) - Akhil Kumar v Jerome Thomas (France).

Bantam Weight (54 kg) - Diwakar Prasad v Hamid Ait Bighrade (Morocco)

Hockey (Men): India v South Africa

Tennis: Men's Doubles - Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi v Roger Federer/Yves Allegro (Switzerland)

Sailing: Double Handed Dinghy 49er - Malav Shroff and Sumeet Patel

Shooting: Men's Double Trap Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.— PTI

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