SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S



India face Kiwis in must-win match
Athens, August 20
Having jeopardised their chances of an Olympic semifinal berth, India’s perennial problem of conceding late goals will have a bearing on the players’ minds as they go into the crucial Group B hockey league match against New Zealand here tomorrow.

IOA panel to probe doping scandal
Athens, August 20
Red-faced Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today swung into a damage control exercise and announced the setting up of a two-member commission to probe into the doping scandal, which brought shame to the country.

HC directive on drug use
New Delhi, August 20
The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to ensure that the guidelines prohibiting the use of banned drugs by sportspersons are strictly implemented.

Greece hit by another positive test
Athens, August 20
Greek pride was dealt another blow on Friday when one of their athletes failed a drugs test at the Olympics just 48 hours after its two top sprinters pulled out of the games in a doping scandal.

Women archers lose by a whisker
Athens, August 20
Luck deserted Indian women at a crucial juncture as they missed the semifinal berth in the Olympic archery team event, losing to France by a solitary point here today, even as shooter Anjali Bhagwat gave another disappointing performance to miss the final in the women’s rifle 3 event.

Dola Banerjee  and Reena Kumari  watch Sumangala Sharma during their women’s archery quarterfinal against France at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens Dola Banerjee (L) and Reena Kumari (C) watch Sumangala Sharma during their women’s archery quarterfinal against France at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens on Friday.
— AP/PTI
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Italy’s Ivano Brugnetti crosses the finish line to win the gold in the 20-km walk in Athens
Italy’s Ivano Brugnetti crosses the finish line to win the gold in the 20-km walk in Athens on Friday. Brugnetti won the race in one hour 19.40 minutes, ahead of Spain’s Francisco Javier Fernandez and Australia’s Nathan Deakes. — Reuters

EARLIER STORIES
 

KM Binu sets new 400 m national mark
Athens, August 20
KM Binu broke the four-year old national men's 400m record while finishing third in his first round heat in the Olympic Games here today. Binu clipped the previous record of Paramjit Singh set in 2000 by eight hundredths of a second when finishing in 45.48 second, behind heat winner Carlos Santa of Dominican Republic (45.31) and second placed Lewis Banda of Zimbabwe (45.37).

Heptathletes produce personal best
Athens, August 20
India's J J Shobha and Soma Biswas returned their personal best performance but were way behind the leaders after two events on the first day of the heptathlon competition here today.

Athens Diary
Greeks dance to Punjabi tunes
“M
undean to bach ke rahein “(be careful with boys) — a Punjabi MC remix of Labh Janjua’s folk song — is a big hit in Greece. So much so that at hockey venue, this song is played everyday to the great enjoyment of Olympic revelers who have come here not only from all over Europe but also from North America, Asia and even Australia.

USA level with China in gold race
Athens, August 20
The first athletics medals of the Olympics went up for grabs today as week one of the Athens Games ended with organisers hoping to have seen the last of drug scandals and ticketing problems.

Somalia's Fartun Abukar Omar runs in the wrong lane during a qualifying heat of the women's 100 metre sprint Somalia's Fartun Abukar Omar (third from left) runs in the wrong lane during a qualifying heat of the women's 100 metre sprint at the Olympic Games in Athens on Friday. The other runners are (from left to right): Heather Samuel of Antigua and Barbuda, La Verne Jones of the Virgin Islands, Gail Devers of the US and Zhanna Block of Ukraine. — AP/PTI

Japan boost record gold haul
Athens, August 20
Japan landed double gold in the judo hall at the Olympics today to take their final medal count for the tournament to a record eight gold medals and two silver medals. Maki Tsukada was the first to strike when she won the women's over 78kg category, beating Cuba's Dayma Beltran in the final.

Phelps chases 8-medal record
Athens, August 20
Forget about Mark Spitz. Michael Phelps is chasing Aleksandr Dityatin now. The Soviet gymnast set an Olympic record in 1980 by winning eight medals, but the mark — and Dityatin — is not well known in the USA because the Americans boycotted the Moscow games.

Argentina eves in semis
Athens, August 20
Top-ranked Argentina booked their berth in the women’s hockey semi-finals at the Athens Olympics today but defending champions Australia now face an obstacle course to qualify for the medal matches.

Katrina Powell of Australia (R) leaps to avoid a hit from Kim Yun Mi of South Korea during their hockey match in Athens on Friday. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. — Reuters photo
Katrina Powell of Australia leaps to avoid a hit from Kim Yun Mi of South Korea during their hockey match in Athens

Henin enters last four
Athens, August 20
Women’s world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, who has spent most of the year battling a debilitating virus, overcame France’s Mary Pierce 6-4, 6-4 to set up a semifinal with French Open champion Anastasia Myskina. The Russian third seed trounced Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-1, 6-2.

Veteran photographer Andreas Kalogeropoulos holds his Rollei camera which he used to cover his first Olympics in 1960
Veteran photographer Andreas Kalogeropoulos holds his Rollei camera which he used to cover his first Olympics in 1960, in Athens on Wednesday. Kalogeropoulos, 75, who has covered every Summer Olympics since 1960, says the Athens 2004 Games will be his last.
— AP/PTI

Brugnetti wins 20-km walk
Athens, August 20
Ivan Brugnetti of Italy pulled away over the final 2,000 metres today to win the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 20-km walk. Brugnetti won in a personal best 1 hour, 19 minutes, 39 seconds, five seconds ahead of silver medallist Francisco Fernandez of Spain. Nathan Deakes of Australia won the bronze in 1:20.02. Favourite Jefferson Perez of Ecuador, the event’s 2003 world champion, world holder and 1996 Olympic gold medallist, was fourth at 1:20.38, nearly one minute behind the winner.


Door open for Iraq to reach final
Thessaloniki, August 20
A year ago, any suggestion that Iraq would win the Olympic soccer title would have been dismissed as unthinkable. Because of the war, the soccer federation had been disbanded, the team couldn’t play any games at home and had no money. In any case, Iraq’s Olympic status had been suspended by the International Olympic Committee.

Shooting event to be shot down
ATHENS:
Manfred Kurzer of Germany won gold in the 10-metre running target shooting on Thursday but will not be able to defend his title because the event is being axed as part of a drive to trim the Olympics.



Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq bats during a practice session at the SV Kampong training ground in Utrecht, Holland

Harbhajan, Nehra ruled out
Amsterdam, August 20
India will go into the opening match against Pakistan in the cricket tri-series commencing here tomorrow saddled with injury woes but determined to avenge their recent loss to the arch-rivals in the Asia Cup by getting back to their winning ways.



In graphic: The report card
Videocon Cup ties on DD

Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq bats during a practice session at the SV Kampong training ground in Utrecht, Holland, on Friday. Pakistan play India in the first match of the tri-nation series, which also features Australia, in Amsterdam on Saturday. — Reuters photo

TN eves rout Vidharbha 10-0
Kapurthala, August 20
Tamil Nadu tasted their first victory as they routed Vidharbha 10-0 in an inconsequential group E match in the 17th Dhanoa Sub-Junior National Women Hockey Championship at the Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

Ace Indian swimmer Bula Chowdhury being escorted by officials after she etched her name in the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first woman to cross the seven seas
Ace Indian swimmer Bula Chowdhury being escorted by officials after she etched her name in the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the first woman to cross the seven seas, after she successfully swam the Palk Straits from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi of India, on Friday. — PTI

SN Vohra subjunior hockey from today
Chandigarh, August 20
Rock Rovers Hockey Club, an affiliated unit of the Chandigarh Hockey Association, is organising the third S.N. Vohra Memorial Subjunior (U-14) Hockey Tournament from August 21 to 26 at the Sector 42 hockey stadium, here.

Sponsor for PGA Tour
New Delhi, August 20
Sahara India Parivar has acquired the title sponsorship rights for the Indian PGA Golf Tour. The golf tour will now be known as the Amby Valley Professional Golfers’ Association of India (PGAI) Tour. Sahara have replaced Hero Honda as the title sponsors of the golf tour.

15000 children for Rajiv Marathon
New Delhi, August 20
Over 15000 boys and girls will participate in the 11th edition of the Rajiv Gandhi Marathon Run, to be organised by the National Sports Club of India (NSCI), under the aegis of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, in Delhi on August 22. The marathon run carries a total prize money of Rs 80,000, which will be distributed among the winners.

Real Madrid's new British recruit Michael Owen relaxes next to his team-mate and compatriot David Beckham Real Madrid's new British recruit Michael Owen (left) relaxes next to his team-mate and compatriot David Beckham during his first training session with Real Madrid in Las Rozas, near Madrid, on Thursday. Owen, a former Liverpool player, signed a five-year contract with the Spanish giants.— Reuters

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India face Kiwis in must-win match

Athens, August 20
Having jeopardised their chances of an Olympic semifinal berth, India’s perennial problem of conceding late goals will have a bearing on the players’ minds as they go into the crucial Group B hockey league match against New Zealand here tomorrow.

The Indians, desperately looking to secure a berth in the semifinals, conceded a goal in the dying seconds yesterday to go down to Australia 3-4, a verdict which has made their passage to the last-four stage extremely difficult.

The Indians played some brilliant attacking hockey in spells to hold the formidable Australians 3-3 till the last-minute reversal completely spoiled all the good work.

Ironically, India’s semifinal fate will largely hinge on the performance of the Australians in the remaining matches. No team likes to leave its fate in the hands of other teams but the Indians have no option because they have not performed to the desired level on the hockey turf as yet.

Defending champions the Netherlands were atop the points table in Group B with nine points from three matches while Australia were placed second with seven points. India, South Africa and New Zealand have three points each while Argentina have just one point to their credit.

India must win their next two matches against New Zealand and Argentina and hope that Australia either lose or draw with South Africa to keep their semifinal hopes alive.

The South Africans have proved to be the surprise package of the tournament and, going by their current performance, are quite capable of springing a surprise against any fancied team.

Indian captain Dilip Tirkey and his men will be praying that the South Africans continue their giant-killing acts to revive their semifinal hopes.

Indian coach Gerhard Rach has every reason to feel disappointed with the result of the last match which in the end could prove to be the turning point for an Olympic dream going haywire yet again.

“We should have drawn the match against Australia, but we could not prevent them from scoring in the last minute. It is an area where we have to work on. We were the underdogs, we did our best but may be it was not enough,” Rach said.

“We again missed a lot of chances, particularly from the right flanks with Tirkey’s shots going without anybody intercepting. These small mistakes should be rectified,” he said.

The coach said the yellow card to Dhanraj Pillay proved quite costly for the team as they were reduced to 10 players in the last seven minutes during which they suffered the jolt of the last-minute goal scored by Michael Brennan.

“It was a huge blow, it upset everybody. The card to Pillay upset everything. But we have to pick ourselves up for the remaining two matches and hope for the best,” Rach said.

The Indians have also been hit by an injury to defender William Xalco who has fractured his left thumb and has been ruled out for the remaining part of the tournament. — PTI

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IOA panel to probe doping scandal

Athens, August 20
Red-faced Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today swung into a damage control exercise and announced the setting up of a two-member commission to probe into the doping scandal, which brought shame to the country.

Shell-shocked IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi said those found guilty — players or officials — would face a life ban.

IOA sports committee chairman K.P. Singh Deo and chairman of the IOA medical commission Manmohan Singh are the members of the committee which has been asked to submit its report within a month.

Lifters Pratima Kumari and Sanamachu Chanu tested positive for doping and both of them have been suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation.

While Pratima was found positive for anabolic steroid testosterone in a pre-Olympic dope testing, Chanu tested positive for a diuretic after her event.

Kalmadi expressed surprise and shock over the developments.

“Both Pratima and Chanu were tested in Minx (Belarus) in July by the World Anti-Doping Agency as well as at the Sports Authority of India laboratory in Delhi in the first week of August and they returned with a negative test all the time,” he said — UNI

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HC directive on drug use

New Delhi, August 20
The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to ensure that the guidelines prohibiting the use of banned drugs by sportspersons are strictly implemented.

The direction came from a Division Bench of Chief Justice B.C. Patel and Justice B.D. Ahmed which asked the Sports Ministry, Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India to ensure that the 1997 and 2002 anti-doping guidelines are implemented in letter and spirit.

The court on Tuesday had disposed of a PIL filed by Health Fitness Trust for framing of guidelines to check the use of banned drugs by sportspersons. — PTI

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Greece hit by another positive test
Paul Majendie

Athens, August 20
Greek pride was dealt another blow on Friday when one of their athletes failed a drugs test at the Olympics just 48 hours after its two top sprinters pulled out of the games in a doping scandal.

"We won't be able to reveal the identity of the athlete until the results of the B sample are with us," a Greek team spokesman said.

A high-ranking official of the International Weightlifting Federation said a weightlifting bronze medallist had tested positive for an illegal substance.

The official would not name the lifter but a source close to the Greek team said Leonidas Sampanis, who won a bronze medal in the weightlifting on Monday, had failed a test.

Greece's 200 metres Sydney Olympics champion Costas Kenteris and his training partner, 100 metres silver medallist Katerina Thanou, pulled out on Wednesday in a scandal over missed dope tests that shamed the host nation.

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Women archers lose by a whisker

Athens, August 20
Luck deserted Indian women at a crucial juncture as they missed the semifinal berth in the Olympic archery team event, losing to France by a solitary point here today, even as shooter Anjali Bhagwat gave another disappointing performance to miss the final in the women’s rifle 3 event.

The Indian archers, who had beaten Britain 230-228 in the pre-quarterfinals this morning, lost to France 227-228 in a nerve-wracking quarterfinal at Panathinaiko Stadium.

France, who have a world ranking of six, were placed 13th in the ranking round with a total of 1847. Dola Banerjee, who had topscored against Britain, again led from the front and emerged the main scorer for her side with a contribution of 78 points. Sumangala scored 72 points while Reena Kumari added 77 points to the team’s kitty.

Alexandra Fouace,76, Berangere Schuh,78 and Aurore Trayan, 74, scored for France.

Dola displayed remarkable consistancy and fired 24 (9,7,8), 28 (9,9,10) and 26 (10,8,8) in her three efforts to give India a good start of 78/90.

Alexandra Fouce shot two points less than Dola in her three attempts of 23 (8,9,6), 28 (9,10,9) and 25 (9,8,8), fetching France 76 points.

Sumangala could not sustain Dola’s efforts and lead as she fired 72/90. She had rounds of 24 ( 7,9,8), 22 (10,2,10), and 26 (9,10,7) to take India’s total to 150/300.

Schuh not only wiped out the Indian lead but put France ahead by four points with rounds of 25 (8,8,9), 25 (8,10,7) and 28 (9,10,9) to take her team’s total to 154.

In the crucial third match between Reena and Trayan, the Indian started poorly by hitting 22 in the first round (6,8,6) but her second round was superb in which she shot 29 (10,9,10) and completed the effort with a round of 26. She just needed to shot her last arrow slightly better because even one more point would have made all the difference.

Trayan hit 26 (10,9,7) but had poor next round of 22 (10,7,5) but shot 26 in the last (9,7 ,10) to pip India by a solitary point. She unlike Reena stayed on course and off her last arrow shot a perfect ten and that was the winner.

Rifle shooter Anjali Bhagwat’s poor show at the Olympics came to an end when she finished 13th in the 50m rifle 3 event.

Anjali, who finished a poor 20th in her pet event 10m air rifle after being touted as a bright medal hope, put up another below-par performance to finish joint 13th with a tally of 575 points in a field of 32.

The second Indian in the fray, Deepali Deshpande, was 19th with 572 points. The top eight finishers led by Olga Dovgun of Kazakhstan (588 points), qualified for the final.

Swimmer Shikha Tandon’s finished 40th in the preliminaries of the 50m freestyle event.

Tandon, the lone Indian swimmer to qualify for the Olympics, could only clock a timing of 27.08 seconds and finished sixth in heat number 6.

The heat was won by Lara Heinz of Luxemburg, who clocked 26.35 seconds, while defending champion and world record holder Inge de Bruijn of The Netherlands recorded the best timing of 24.66 seconds. — UNI, PTI

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KM Binu sets new 400 m national mark

Athens, August 20
KM Binu broke the four-year old national men's 400m record while finishing third in his first round heat in the Olympic Games here today.
Binu clipped the previous record of Paramjit Singh set in 2000 by eight hundredths of a second when finishing in 45.48 second, behind heat winner Carlos Santa of Dominican Republic (45.31) and second placed Lewis Banda of Zimbabwe (45.37).

Paramjit Singh had set the previous record of 45.56 at Chennai by breaking a four-decade old record of Milkha Singh set in the Rome Olympics of 1960.

Prasad bows out

The Indian challenge in the boxing arena came to an end when the country's last pugilist Diwakar Prasad bowed out in the second round of the 54kg bantamweight category.

The referee stopped the bout in favour of Prasad's opponent, Nestor Bolum of Nigeria, in the third round as the Indian trailed his opponent by 20 points.

J J shobha and Soma Biswas returned their personal best performance but were way behind the leaders after two events on the first day of the heptathlon comeptition here today

After the first two events of the day — 100m hurdles and high jump — at the Olympic Stadium Shobha and Biswas tallied 1864 and 1853 points, respectively.

In the day's first event, the high hurdles, Shobha got the third place in heat No 3 clocking 13.53 seconds, her personal best, to cull 1046 points.

Biswas, on the other hand, put up a dismal show, finishing seventh and last in heat No 5 with a timing of 13.86 seconds to accumulate 998 points.

But she produced her career best, lunging 1.70m in high jump with her fifth effort, but that fetched her only a 13th place and 855 points in group B.

Shobha did even worse, managing a leap of on1y 1.67m in her fourth attempt to obtain the 16th spot, with only wooden spooner Anzhela Atroshchenko of Turkey finishing behind her.

Shobha bagged 818 points from the event to take her total tally to 1864 points.

Carolina Kluft of Sweden put up an impressive show to lead the pack after the end of the two events holding a 112-point lead over her nearset rivals Karin Ruckstuhl of the Netherlands and Briton Kelly Sotherton, who are both on 2100 points.

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Heptathletes produce personal best

Athens, August 20
India's J J Shobha and Soma Biswas returned their personal best performance but were way behind the leaders after two events on the first day of the heptathlon competition here today.

After the first two events of the day — 100m hurdles and high jump — at the Olympic Stadium Shobha and Biswas tallied 1864 and 1853 points, respectively.

In the day's first event, the high hurdles, Shobha got the third place in heat No 3 clocking 13.53 seconds, her personal best, to cull 1046 points.

Biswas, on the other hand, put up a dismal show, finishing seventh and last in heat No 5 with a timing of 13.86 seconds to accumulate 998 points.

But she produced her career best, lunging 1.70m in high jump with her fifth effort, but that fetched her only a 13th place and 855 points in group B.

Shobha did even worse, managing a leap of on1y 1.67m in her fourth attempt to obtain the 16th spot, with only wooden spooner Anzhela Atroshchenko of Turkey finishing behind her.

Shobha bagged 818 points from the event to take her total tally to 1864 points.

Carolina Kluft of Sweden put up an impressive show to lead the pack after the end of the two events holding a 112-point lead over her nearset rivals Karin Ruckstuhl of the Netherlands and Briton Kelly Sotherton, who are both on 2100 points.

Sailors fail to make waves

At the half-way stage of the 49er (double handed dinghy open) regatta, India's sailing duo of Malav Shroff and Sumeet Patel continued to bring up the rear in the 19th place after eight races with a net penalty of 134 points.

Wild card entrants Shroff and Patel, who had finished no higher than 17th in the first six races, continued to cut a sorry figure in light wind conditions and warm weather to take up the 18th and 19th positions in the seventh and eighth races during the day. — PTI

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Athens Diary
Greeks dance to Punjabi tunes
Prabhjot Singh

“Mundean to bach ke rahein “(be careful with boys) — a Punjabi MC remix of Labh Janjua’s folk song — is a big hit in Greece. So much so that at hockey venue, this song is played everyday to the great enjoyment of Olympic revelers who have come here not only from all over Europe but also from North America, Asia and even Australia.

“This remix has been a great hit not only in Greece but also in rest of Europe, says” Sajjan Singh, himself a folk singer but now working in a shipping company here. He says that compact disc of this remix was sold for as high as 80 Euros.

Another hit with Greek audience has been a folk song by Mohammed Sadiq.

“Every time I listen to this song, I just cannot help dancing,” remarked a Greek, who is a volunteer at hockey stadium revealing that he does not understand a word of the song but “its music is excellent”.

Many youngsters in Greece play this song on the stereos of their cars and at parties.

Besides this remix, a few other Punjabi songs were also played at Jaipur Palace, most popular Indian restaurant here, which is run and owned by an Australian-based Greek. It was at this restaurant that the Indian Olympic Association organised a party to felicitate Major Rajvardhan Singh Rathore for winning a silver medal.

Yesterday, I met two Punjabi boys who run a call centre and also bring out Greece’s only Punjabi weekly newspaper, Indo-Greece Times. They come from the Doab belt and have been living here for a long time.

Punjabis have special affection for Athens. It is why parents of a number of Punjabi players are here to watch how their wards perform in the Olympics.

Dr A.S. Bindra was accompanied by his wife and daughter where his son Abhinav Bindra, not only rewrote Olympic qualifying mark in 10 m Air Pistol event, but also became first Indian male shooter to qualify for an Olympic final. Unfortunately, Abhinav could not end with a medal.

India, however, had the consolation when next day Major Rajvardan Singh Rathore shot the country’s first ever individual medal in men’s trap event.

Now Mr Sukhchain Singh Cheema, himself an Olympian and international wrestler, is here to watch his son Palwinder Cheema in the wrestling competition which gets underway on August 27. Palwinder had at one stage threatened to walk out in case his father was not allowed to accompany the contingent as his coach. Better counsel prevailed and Palwinder accompanied the contingent to Bulgaria where it is still training and will arrive here on August 24.

Also here is Mr Sardara Singh Gill, father of runner Rajwinder Kaur. Both Mr Sardara Singh and Rajwinder Kaur arrived here yesterday, but from different directions. Rajwinder came from Ukraine after her final camp there while Mr Sardara Singh flew in from New Delhi.

After Sansarpur, now it is the turn of Sabhra in Patti tehsil in Amritsar district to be on the Olympic map. Sansarpur had sent eight hockey players to Mexico Olympic Games in 1968.Two girls from the Amritsar village, Rajwinder and Harwant Kaur, will be representing India in the track and field events here. Harwant Kaur is a thrower and Rajwinder, quarter-miler. Harwant’s event is scheduled for late this evening.

Besides, Leander’s father, Dr Vace Paes is here as the doctor of Indian hockey team. Parents of Mahesh Bhupathi, too, are here.

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USA level with China in gold race

Athens, August 20
The first athletics medals of the Olympics went up for grabs today as week one of the Athens Games ended with organisers hoping to have seen the last of drug scandals and ticketing problems.

Italy’s Ivano Brugnetti won the first of two gold medals due to be settled on the track today after he sped away to victory in the men’s 20km walk at the sun-baked 70,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.

A total of 20 goldmedals were to be settled today on a day of competition that will see Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie attempt to become the first man to win three 10,000 metres titles.

Gebrselassie is nursing an injured achilles, however, and is expected to come off second best to his protege and raining partner Kenenisa Bekele.

In swimming meanwhile, US prodigy Michael Phelps will attempt to win his fifth gold medal of the Olympics in the 100m butterfly.

Phelps started the Olympics being hyped to equal or even better Mark Spitz’ record 1972 Olympic haul of seven gold medals.

That feat is no longer possible but the 19-year-old could still be left with an incredible six gold medals when the swimming draws to a close tomorrow.

As day seven got underway today, the USA were level with China on 14 gold medals each, with Japan third on nine golds.

After an opening week of the games dominated by stories concerning sluggish ticket sales and doping scandals, Olympic organisers said they believed a corner had been turned nearing the halfway point.

Michalis Zacharatos, a spokesman for games organisers ATHOC, said 3.2 million tickets had been sold so far, a figure that outstrips the total number sold at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.

“With the coming weekend we expect to see that figure increase as the track and field begins and many other events reach their final stages,” said Zacharatos.

As weightlifting reeled from news of six positive drugs tests, International Olympic Committee officials were adamant there was no question of the sport being kicked out of future games.

Five lifters were yesterday named as testing positive for muscle-building anabolic steroids while a sixth, Indian woman weightlifter Sanamacha Chanu, was later confirmed as showing traces of a banned diuretic.

The failed tests took the total number of lifters to have failed drugs tests to seven following the expulsion on Monday of 48kg class lifter Nan Aye Khine, Myanmar’s lone entrant.

The scandal has revived memories of the 2000 Sydney Games, which saw three Bulgarian lifters test positive in a weightlifting competition overshadowed by drugs controversies.

The IWF has come down hard on drug cheats after the sport’s future in the Olympics was threatened, an approach that the IOC believes should be praised not punished.

“As far as we are concerned, the International Weightlifting Federation goes above and beyond the normal requirements for drug testing,” said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies. 

“Every single competitor is tested and there is stringent out of competition testing. It would be inappropriate to penalise the sport for taking a zero tolerance approach,” Davies said.— AFP

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Japan boost record gold haul

Athens, August 20
Japan landed double gold in the judo hall at the Olympics today to take their final medal count for the tournament to a record eight gold medals and two silver medals.
Maki Tsukada was the first to strike when she won the women's over 78kg category, beating Cuba's Dayma Beltran in the final.

A few minutes later Keiji Suzuki beat Russia's Tamerlan Tmenov in the final of the men's over 100kg division.

The victories meant Japan easily surpassed their previous best judo gold medal haul of four achieved both in Sydney and Los Angeles.

In the battles for the minor placings today, Dennis van der Geest of the Netherlands produced a superb throw to defeat Iran's Seyed Miran Fashandi to take a bronze medal.

Estonia's Indrek Pertelson also landed bronze after defeating Italy's Paulo Bianchessi.

In the women's contest, Russia's Tea Dongouzashvili, a world championship bronze medallist last year, beat Insaf Yahtaoui of Tunisia for bronze.

World champion Sun Fuming of China also had to settle for bronze, beating Ukraine's Maryna Prokofyeva in less than a minute with a shoulder throw. — Reuters

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Phelps chases 8-medal record

Athens, August 20
Forget about Mark Spitz. Michael Phelps is chasing Aleksandr Dityatin now.
The Soviet gymnast set an Olympic record in 1980 by winning eight medals, but the mark — and Dityatin — is not well known in the USA because the Americans boycotted the Moscow games.

Phelps may have failed in his quest to match Spitz’s mark of seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich games, but he still has a shot at matching Dityatin, who won three gold medals, four

silver medals and one bronze medal 24 years ago. “I can’t get away from numbers. Yes, I saw it online,” Phelps said. The teenager set an Olympic record (1:57.14) yesterday in winning the 200 m individual medley, giving him his fourth gold of the games. He also has two bronzes and is a top contender in the 100 butterfly. Tomorrow, he should pick up his final medal as part of the 4x100 medley relay, which the Americans have never lost at the Olympics.

Just 30 minutes after winning the 200 m medley yesterday, Phelps dove back into the pool and set an Olympic record in the 100 m butterfly semifinals, setting up a showdown with teammate Ian Crocker in the final.

Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman was impressed at how well he handled the tight schedule. “I was standing next to another coach and he said that he’s the only swimmer in the world that can do that — the physical demands are so great,” Bowman said.

“He just handles himself so well and is able to get over the high of a gold medal and come back and race.”

Eight athletes have won seven medals, including Spitz and Matt Biondi in 1988. But don’t mention any more numbers or records to Phelps. He just wants to enjoy himself now.

“I’m having so much fun,” he said. “I’m at the Olympic Games, it can’t get much better than this.” — AP

Games over for Thorpe

Swimming superstar Ian Thorpe's games are over after his Australian team-mates crashed out of the 4x100m medley relay in the heats.

Matt Welsh, Jim Piper, Adam Pine and Michael Klim failed to put Australia in the final, posting the ninth-fastest time of the morning.

That means Thorpe, who would have swum the relay final tomorrow, will finish his Olympic campaign with two gold medals - in the 200m and 400m freestyle, a silver in the 4x200m free relay and bronze in the 100m free.

Even without a medal from the medley relay, Thorpe's accomplishments in Athens made him Australia's most successful Olympian. With his fifth career Olympic gold in the 200m freestyle,Thorpe surpassed athlete Betty Cuthbert and swimmers Murray Rose and Dawn Fraser for the most by an Australian.

Australian cyclist Anna Meares set a new world record to win the Olympic 500m time trial, becoming the first woman to go under 34 seconds.

Meares, who might not even have been competing had it not been for an injury to her elder sister Kerrie Meares, completed the two laps of the velodrome in 33.952 seconds.

China's Jiang Yonghua, who had set the previous world best of 34.000 seconds, took the silver medal in 34.112. Natallia Tsylinskaya of Belarus, three times a time trial world champion, took bronze in 34.167.

South Korea's invincible women archers won their 11th straight Olympic gold medal in Athens but only with a deciding arrow when they beat China 241-240 in the teams event final. — Reuters

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Argentina eves in semis

Athens, August 20
Top-ranked Argentina booked their berth in the women’s hockey semi-finals at the Athens Olympics today but defending champions Australia now face an obstacle course to qualify for the medal matches.

Argentina had a good workout against New Zealand, practising their whole range of tactics to take the match 3-0.

“We’re getting better by the match but we still have China to play and they’re the toughest in our group. But our defence is very strong, as are our minds,” said captain Magdalena Aicega.

“There’s still a little way to go so we’re not going out to party just yet.”

Luciana Aymar got Argentina going by being perfectly in place to net the ball as it bounced off the keeper’s pads. A cross deflected by Vanina Oneto and a great tactical shot from Soledad Garcia put Argentina top of Pool A.

They now meet China, who have also qualified for the semi-finals but have an inferior goal difference.

In Pool B, the Netherlands were assured of a semi-final spot when Australia and South Korea drew 2-2.

Australia are looking for a third gold in a row but have notched up just four points in three games and only have the Netherlands left to play.

The top two of each pool go through to the semi-finals so it will be a battle between Korea and Australia, who are equal second, and Germany who play South Africa later on Friday.

“Now we’re left having to watch other people’s results which is not a great place to be,” said Australian captain and double gold medallist Katrina Powell.

Friday’s match had players regularly running the length of the field as Australia scored and Korea fought twice to level. But despite setting up seven strikes at goal in the last 20 minutes, the ‘’Hockeyroos’’ failed to make the leap forward. — Reuters

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Henin enters last four

Athens, August 20
Women’s world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, who has spent most of the year battling a debilitating virus, overcame France’s Mary Pierce 6-4, 6-4 to set up a semifinal with French Open champion Anastasia Myskina. The Russian third seed trounced Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-1, 6-2.

Henin-Hardenne broke Pierce once in each set to win in 1hr 10 minutes.

Pierce, the 1995 Australian Open champion and 2000 French Open winner, now ranked 28th in the world, knocked out Venus Williams, the Sydney Olympic gold medallist, on Wednesday.

French women’s second seed Amelie Mauresmo overcame stubborn Russian fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-2 and now plays Australia’s Alicia Molik for a place in the final.

Molik, who captured her second career title last week in Stockholm, powered her way into the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Japan’s Ai Sugiyama.

The Australian beat Mauresmo 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round in the San Diego tour event three weeks ago after losing to her in the Australian Open in January. — AFP

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Brugnetti wins 20-km walk

Athens, August 20
Ivan Brugnetti of Italy pulled away over the final 2,000 metres today to win the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 20-km walk. Brugnetti won in a personal best 1 hour, 19 minutes, 39 seconds, five seconds ahead of silver medallist Francisco Fernandez of Spain. Nathan Deakes of Australia won the bronze in 1:20.02.

Favourite Jefferson Perez of Ecuador, the event’s 2003 world champion, world holder and 1996 Olympic gold medallist, was fourth at 1:20.38, nearly one minute behind the winner.

Brugnetti pumped his right fist in the air as he entered to the cheers of the half-full Olympic Stadium on the opening day of the track and field competitions in Athens. He waved a No. 1 sign as he neared the finish line, Fernandez closing on him but too late.

Brugnetti, 27, was in a pack with Fernandez, Deakes and Perez through 16 km. The Italian and Fernandez remained together at the 18-km mark, with Deakes just behind and Perez fading. — AP

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Door open for Iraq to reach final

Thessaloniki, August 20
A year ago, any suggestion that Iraq would win the Olympic soccer title would have been dismissed as unthinkable. Because of the war, the soccer federation had been disbanded, the team couldn’t play any games at home and had no money. In any case, Iraq’s Olympic status had been suspended by the International Olympic Committee.

If Iraq beats Australia in tomorrow’s quarterfinals, the dream will move closer to reality. Back in the Olympics, Iraq’s beleaguered soccer players will be within touching distance of at least a bronze. With traditional soccer powerhouses Argentina and Italy in the other half of the draw, the door is wide open for Iraq to reach the final at the Olympic Stadium on August 28.

A victory over the Socceroos would mean facing either Paraguay or South Korea in the semifinals. In the other semifinal, either Argentina or Costa Rica faces Italy or Mali. — AP

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Shooting event to be shot down

ATHENS: Manfred Kurzer of Germany won gold in the 10-metre running target shooting on Thursday but will not be able to defend his title because the event is being axed as part of a drive to trim the Olympics.

Diana Igaly, a 39-year-old bookbinder from Budapest, won gold for Hungary in the day’s other shooting final, the women’s skeet.

Kurzer’s event, in which shooters fire air rifles at targets moving along a channel 10 metres away, is being axed from the Olympic shooting programme along with the women’s double trap. — Reuters

Worst job

ATHENS: It’s the worst job at the Olympics but somebody’s got to do it. It turns out that Peter Marlow, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England, has got to do it.

Imagine the scene today. The men’s 20-km race walk is drawing to a close. The leader enters the Olympic stadium, just metres short of the finish line.

Exhilarated, he inadvertently breaks that wafer-thin line between a legal fast walk and an illegal slow run. Then he spots Peter Marlow. — Reuters

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Harbhajan, Nehra ruled out

Amsterdam, August 20
India will go into the opening match against Pakistan in the cricket tri-series commencing here tomorrow saddled with injury woes but determined to avenge their recent loss to the arch-rivals in the Asia Cup by getting back to their winning ways.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm paceman Ashish Nehra are down with viral fever and have been ruled out of the opening clash. At best the two bowlers would be available only from the next one-day game against world champions Australia, who complete the line-up in the series, on August 23.

It leaves India with 13 fit men and, with the likes of young Dinesh Karthik and 15th man Rohan Gavaskar being unlikely starters, the selection of the playing eleven is a foregone conclusion.

India have limited bowling options, but nevertheless a good pace combination in Irfan Pathan, Laxmipathy Balaji and Ajit Agrakar, besides seasoned spinner Anil Kumble.

The size of the short VRA ground, the venue for the match, can only accommodate deep mid-on and mid-off and no long-on and long-off as the front boundaries are small and spinners can expect heavy pounding in the match which promises to be a batsman’s show.

The Indian batting line-up would thus have to provide cover to the bowling and must bloom to the full if it entertains any chance in this tournament.

They must revise their mindset as a score of 300 or even 350 does not quite look safe on this ground. If the batsmen can get going, even a total of 400 is a possibility in these conditions.

In this battle of the batsmen, Pakistan does not suffer in comparison. They have the willowers who can explode in shorts bursts to seize the initiative from the opposition.

Young openers Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed are aggressive and like to get on with the job. Inzamamul Haq and Yousuf Youhana are old pros and the likes of Moin Khan and Abdur Razzaq are extremely dangerous customers in one-day cricket.

Adding an element of dash in all this is the re-induction of the flamboyant Shahid Afridi, who still holds the record for the fastest century in one-day cricket, not to forget the stylish Shoaib Malik whose last innings against India was worth 143 in the Asia Cup last month.

Pakistan’s bowling is in better hands than India and the likes of Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Sami and Shabbir Ahmed could be potentially lethal in heavy weather.

The organisers and cricket fans can at best expect a cloudy day as thundershowers are predicted over the weekend.

Orchestrating the match from the sidelines will be two well-known international coaches, Bob Woolmer — the former South African coach — and John Wright. It would be interesting to see the strategies the two work out given the size of the ground and the prevalent conditions. — PTI

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Videocon Cup ties on DD

New Delhi, August 20
Doordarshan will telecast live the “Videocon Cup Super Challenge 2004” to be played between India, Australia and Pakistan in Amsterdam in Holland from tomorrow to August 28.

All the four matches will be telecast live on National Channel (DD1) starting from tomorrow’s Indian-Pakistan tie from 1.55 pm to 10.15 pm (or till the end of the match).

India will take on Australia on August 23 while Pakistan will meet the world champions on August 25. — UNI

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TN eves rout Vidharbha 10-0 

Kapurthala, August 20
Tamil Nadu tasted their first victory as they routed Vidharbha 10-0 in an inconsequential group E match in the 17th Dhanoa Sub-Junior National Women Hockey Championship at the Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

Tamil Nadu could log only three points from one defeat and one win. Haryana, with six points from two wins, have already made the quarterfinal grade from this group.

The goal scorers for Tamil Nadu were Ramaiaha (15th and 24th minutes), Kaliayavani (25th and 37th minutes), Jyanthi (32nd and 33rd minutes), Rasna (12th minute), Kirti (17th minute), Shamanthi (23rd minute) and Shanti (48th minute).

A fine hat-trick by centre-forward Ashwani was the highlight of Maharashtra’s 5-0 win over Bihar in a group H match. Sonali had given Maharashtra the lead with a goal in the 13th minute. However, the outcome of the match will have no bearing in the group position as Manipur with two wins have already made it to the quarterfinal. — UNI

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SN Vohra subjunior hockey from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Rock Rovers Hockey Club, an affiliated unit of the Chandigarh Hockey Association, is organising the third S.N. Vohra Memorial Subjunior (U-14) Hockey Tournament from August 21 to 26 at the Sector 42 hockey stadium, here.

The tournament will be held on knockout-cum-league basis. Top teams, including, CHA, Rock Rovers, St Stephen’s School, Sukhchain Academy Faridkot, Hawks Academy Ropar, PAP Academy Jalandhar, Namdhari Academy Ludhiana, Friends Academy Doraha, Gopal Academy Kurali and Chinna Academy, Batala have confirmed their entry.

Besides individual prizes, a cash prize of Rs 8,000 for winners and Rs 5,000 for runners-up will be awarded. Special prizes for the best goalkeeper, best fullback, best halfback, best forward and the most well-behaved team will also be awarded.

The inaugural match will be played between Chinna Academy, Batala, and Rock Rovers Hockey Club, Chandigarh, tomorrow at 3 p.m., according to Mr Anil Vohra organising secretary.

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Sponsor for PGA Tour
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, August 20
Sahara India Parivar has acquired the title sponsorship rights for the Indian PGA Golf Tour. The golf tour will now be known as the Amby Valley Professional Golfers’ Association of India (PGAI) Tour. Sahara have replaced Hero Honda as the title sponsors of the golf tour.

The tour will include a minimum of 20 tournaments with a guaranteed sum of Rs 3.05 crore as prize money, and will be played not only in India, but also in neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The tour, operating under the aegis of the PGAI, will be managed by the Tiger Sports Marketing (TSM).

Sahara India Chairman Subrata Roy said, “After being emotionally associated with cricket and hockey, we are now proud to be associated with golf.” He said the association of Amby Valley with the PGAI was yet another step towards the Sahara group’s commitment to sports. Amby Valley also boasts of the required infrastructure as it has a world-class 18-hole floodlit championship golf course.

The PGAI Tour is the richest domestic circuit among all sports in the country, and attracts players from foreign countries. 

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15000 children for Rajiv Marathon
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, August 20
Over 15000 boys and girls will participate in the 11th edition of the Rajiv Gandhi Marathon Run, to be organised by the National Sports Club of India (NSCI), under the aegis of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, in Delhi on August 22. The marathon run carries a total prize money of Rs 80,000, which will be distributed among the winners.

NSCI president Subhash Chopra said that the response to the marathon has been soaring with every passing year and over 15000 entries have been received for the run this time. Mr Chopra said the top 25 finishers in each age group will be given monthly scholarships to pursue their education till they pass out.

Mr Chopra said so far, Rs 1.29 crore have been distributed as prize money and scholarships to 900 children who could pursue their education only because they did well in the marathon.

The purpose of the run which has become an integral part of Delhi’s sporting calendar, has been not only to foster sporting excellence, but also to help the winners pursue their education through the scholarship scheme introduced by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

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COUNTRY

GOLD

SILVER

BRONZE

TOTAL

China

17

11

11

39

USA

15

11

10

36

Japan

11

4

2

17

Australia

8

5

8

21

Italy

5

6

3

14

France

5

3

5

13

Ukraine

5

1

1

7

Russia

4

9

11

24

Germany

4

4

7

15

South Korea

3

9

3

15

Greece

3

0

1

4

Turkey

3

0

1

4

Netherlands

2

5

5

12

Hungary

2

3

1

6

Slovakia

2

2

1

5

Romania

2

0

2

4

Britain

1

4

4

9

Poland

1

2

1

4

Belarus

1

1

2

4

Georgia

1

1

0

2

South Africa

1

1

0

2

Bulgaria

1

0

2

3

Thailand

1

0

2

3

Switzerland

1

0

1

2

UAE

1

0

0

1

Austria

0

3

0

3

North Korea

0

2

1

3

Spain

0

2

0

2

Cuba

0

1

5

6

Czech Republic

0

1

2

3

Zimbabwe

0

1

1

2

Indonesia

0

1

0

1

India

0

1

0

1

Kazakhstan

0

1

0

1

Portugal

0

1

0

1

Serbia & Montenegro

0

1

0

1

Azerbaijan

0

0

2

2

Belgium

0

0

2

2

Brazil

0

0

2

2

Denmark

0

0

2

2

Argentina

0

0

1

1

Canada

0

0

1

1

Colombia

0

0

1

1

Croatia

0

0

1

1

Israel

0

0

1

1

Mongolia

0

0

1

1

Slovenia

0

0

1

1

Trinidad and Tobago

0

0

1

1

Top

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