SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Akhil lands boxing gold
Melbourne, March 25
Akhil Kumar landed India its second ever Commonwealth Games boxing gold while two other pugilists had to be satisfied with silver medals at the Commonwealth Games here today. Akhil outpunched Louis Richard Bruno Julie of Mauritius 20-12 in the 54kg bantamweight final category, riding on an initial blitzkrieg when he opened up a big 6-0 lead.


Akhil Kumar in action against Louis Julie of Mauritius during the bantamweight (54 kg) final at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Saturday Akhil Kumar (right) in action against Louis Julie of Mauritius during the bantamweight (54 kg) final at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Saturday. Akhil won the bout to clinch the gold.
— AFP photo

Pistol snag shoots down Jung’s dreams
Melbourne, March 25
A malfunctioning pistol dashed shooter Samresh Jung’s hopes of getting into the Commonwealth Games Hall of Fame alongside two other sporting greats for the most number of gold, as leaders India had their only medal-less day from the event here today. Jung, who had created three new games records on way to winning a bounty of five gold, one silver and a bronze, lost out in the medal race in the 25m standard pistol final at the Lilydale ranges to finish way down at the ninth spot on the concluding day of the shooting competition.




Australia’s Mathew Helm performs a dive during the men’s 10m platform preliminary round at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday
Australia’s Mathew Helm performs a dive during the men’s 10m platform preliminary round at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday. — AFP

EARLIER STORIES
 

Hockey eves go down fighting
Melbourne, March 25
A spirited Indian effort went in vain as hosts Australia today snatched a narrow 1-0 win in the final to bag the gold in women’s hockey event at the 18th Commonwealth Games here.


Indian women’s hockey players pose for a group photograph during the medal ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday. India lost 0-1 to Australia in the final. — PTI photo
Indian women’s hockey players pose for a group photograph during the medal ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday. India lost 0-1 to Australia

Sharath storms into TT final
Melbourne, March 25
India’s top paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal played a fiery attacking game to upset the higher-ranked Nigerian Segun Toriala and storm into the men’s singles finals at the Commonwealth Games here today. Sharath played with a mission against the second seeded Nigerian to avenge the defeat in the quarterfinals of the team event as he pulverised Segun 11-6, 15-13, 11-8, 11-3 to raise hopes of a second yellow metal in table tennis after the one in the men’s team event.

Achanta Sharath Kamal gestures during his singles semifinal table tennis match against Segun Toriola of Nigeria in Melbourne on Saturday. Achanta won the match to enter the final. — AFP
  photo

Achanta Sharath Kamal gestures during his singles semifinal table tennis match against Segun Toriola of Nigeria in Melbourne on Saturday

India get silver after England disqualification
Melbourne, March 25
Amidst high drama, India were elevated to the silver medal in the women’s 4x400m relay at the 18th Commonwealth Games when the original winners England were disqualified.

Canada’s Alexandra Michel Orlando performs the rope routine during the all-around final in rhythmic gymnastics on Saturday
Canada’s Alexandra Michel Orlando performs the rope routine during the all-around final in rhythmic gymnastics on Saturday. Alexandra won the gold. — Reuters

Coach let me down: Simple
New Delhi, March 25
Another controversy has hit Indian weightlifting with woman lifter Simple Kaur Bumrah alleging that the coach at the ongoing Commonwealth Games prevented her from winning a gold.

Hearing in dope case adjourned till today
Melbourne, March 25

The hearing in the dope case involving weightlifters Tejinder Singh and Edwin Raju was adjourned till tomorrow after India put forth its arguments before the Court of Arbitration for Sports here today.

Gymnasts bow out
Melbourne, March 25
India’s women rhythmic gymnasts were eliminated in the qualification rounds of the all-round team event at the Commonwealth Games here. The trio of Komal Ishwer Nahar, Surekha Rana and Rajni Sharma finished 24th, 25th and 26th, respectively, with totals of 21.875, 21.250 and 21.225.

Chetan wins bronze
Melbourne, March 25
Fourth seed Chetan Anand took sweet revenge for his defeat in the team event, outplaying England’s Aamir Ghaffar 21-17, 18-21, 21-13 to win the bronze in men’s badminton competition of the Commonwealth Games here today.

Mathew Helm dashes Despatie’s hopes
Melbourne, March 25
Australia’s Mathew Helm dashed Alexandre Despatie's hopes of completing a clean sweep of Commonwealth Games diving titles today. Despatie had won an unprecedented three gold medals in Melbourne but some uncharacteristic errors from the normally ice-cool Canadian cost him in the 10 metres platform final.

Orlando eyes six gold medals
Melbourne, March 25
Canadian teenager Alexandra Orlando has set her sights on winning four gold medals on the last day of competition to equal Ian Thorpe and Susie O’Neill’s record haul at a single Commonwealth Games.

Closing ceremony on DD Sports
Medals tally

RCA XI shock England
Jaipur, March 25
Mohammad Kaif slammed an unbeaten 119 as Rajasthan President’s XI pulled off a narrow five-run win in the practice match against England here to seize back some of the initiative for the hosts ahead of the one-dayers.

Tendulkar leaves for London
Mumbai, March 25
Sachin Tendulkar today left for London to undergo a surgery on his shoulder. The master batsman, who was accompanied by his doctor wife Anjali, is expected to go under the surgeon’s knife on Monday.

CAG report slams SAI’s ‘reckless’ purchases
New Delhi, March 25
The Indian shooters might have made a killing in shooting at the 18th Commonwealth Games, but each medal has come at a steep price to the government, and perhaps no other sports discipline belonging to the Olympic fold gets such pampered treatment from the Sports Authority of India as does shooting

Kallis, De Villiers stand firm for South Africa 
Durban, March 25 
acques Kallis and AB de Villiers shared a defiant century stand to boost South Africa on the second day of the second test against Australia in Durban today. South Africa were 140 for two in reply to Australia’s first innings of 369 when bad light ended play 8.4 overs early.

Bangladesh sweep series
Narayanganj (Bangladesh), March 25
Rajin Saleh slammed a maiden century as Bangladesh thrashed Kenya by seven wickets in the fourth and final one-dayer to complete a 4-0 sweep here today.

Anand back in joint lead
Monaco, March 25
Defending champion Viswanathan Anand came back strongly to score a splendid victory over Grandmaster Peter Leko of Hungary in the sixth round of 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament here.

Fresh trouble brewing in IHF
New Delhi, March 25
The Indian Hockey Federation appears headed towards a fresh controversy with some selectors and a top functionary threatening to quit the rift-ridden sports body if current coach Rajinder Singh Junior was not shown the door immediately.

FCI wins cricket match
Patiala, March 25
FCI Patiala beat Chandigarh District Office by 189 runs in the FCI inter-district cricket tournament match played at Budha Dal School ground here today.
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Akhil lands boxing gold

Melbourne, March 25
Akhil Kumar landed India its second ever Commonwealth Games boxing gold while two other pugilists had to be satisfied with silver medals at the Commonwealth Games here today.

Akhil outpunched Louis Richard Bruno Julie of Mauritius 20-12 in the 54kg bantamweight final category, riding on an initial blitzkrieg when he opened up a big 6-0 lead.

Akhil went all guns blazing as he landed left and right hooks and a punch to the Mauritian’s head.

Though Julie put up a valiant fight in the next three rounds, the initial deficit was too large for him to make up and the Indian’s defences were too sound for him to breach.

The second, third and fourth rounds were much closer as scores of 5-4, 6-4 and 3-4 would suggest but the Indian, who turns 25 in two days’ time, always had a comfortable lead.

The only previous Commonwealth Games boxing gold to come India’s way was bagged by Mohammad Ali Qamar in the light-flyweight category at the previous edition in Manchester.

However, the other two Indian pugilists on show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre had to be content with silver medals as they went down in their championship bouts.

Vijender lost to Bongani Mwelase of South Africa in the 69kg welterweight category 26-33, while Harpreet Singh found local favourite Bradley Michael Pitt too tough to handle in the 91kg heavyweight category and gave way 10-25.

At the end of the boxing competition, India came out with a haul of one gold, two silvers and two bronze medals which put it in third place in the ring behind England and Australia.

It is an improvement over their performance four years ago when they returned with a gold, a silver and a bronze.

The result in the welterweight title bout was a repeat of the one at the Commonwealth boxing championship in Glasgow (Scotland) last year where Vijender failed to get past his South African opponent. — PTI 

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Pistol snag shoots down Jung’s dreams

Melbourne, March 25
A malfunctioning pistol dashed shooter Samresh Jung’s hopes of getting into the Commonwealth Games Hall of Fame alongside two other sporting greats for the most number of gold, as leaders India had their only medal-less day from the event here today.

Jung, who had created three new games records on way to winning a bounty of five gold, one silver and a bronze, lost out in the medal race in the 25m standard pistol final at the Lilydale ranges to finish way down at the ninth spot on the concluding day of the shooting competition.

India, with a rich haul of 16-7-4, remained far ahead of second-placed Australia (9-8-6).

The Indian shooters performed even worse in men’s skeet with Amit Sanghi tallying 113 for the 14th place and Baba Prithiviraj Singh Bedi mustering 112 points for the 17th slot.

Jung, eyeing to equal the six-gold hauls of Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe and Susie O’Neill, ended up with 553 (194-179-178). His pairs partner Ronak Pandit (557) was sixth.

Right from the second shot, Jung’s pistol malfunctioned and he could not decipher whether it was an equipment problem or ammunition fault.

“I did not know which was creating problem. I opened the barrel and cleaned the area, poured oil inside and tried to resume shooting. The problem continued and then we changed the ammunition from a different batch. Still, it was misfiring and I lost a lot of ground and could not recover from then on,” he said.

Champion shooter of England, Mick Gault and Pakistan’s Irshad Ali tied for the gold medal with identical 568 points but in the shoot-out, Ali was able to score only 41 against Gault’s 44. Australia’s Bruce Quick settled for the bronze with a tally of 562.

In the men’s skeet, the last of the event, Cyprus’s George Achilleos claimed the gold with a new Games record of 148 points, while second placed Clive Barton of Australia was also credited with a new mark at 147. The old mark stood in the name of Clayton Miller of Canada (146-Manchester 2002).

India reaped a rich haul of medals in shooting events that ended today. — PTI

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Hockey eves go down fighting

Melbourne, March 25
A spirited Indian effort went in vain as hosts Australia today snatched a narrow 1-0 win in the final to bag the gold in women’s hockey event at the 18th Commonwealth Games here.

A late goal by skipper Nicole Hudson enabled the Hockeyroos to dethrone reigning champions India, who had to be satisfied with the silver.

England won the bronze prevailing over New Zealand 3-1 in a penalty shootout. The game rolled into the tie-break after the teams finished goal-less in regulation time and 15 minutes of extra time also failed to break the deadlock.

In contrasting styles, India and Australia fought neck and neck to exhibit some entertaining hockey at the State Netball Hockey Centre.

The Indians gave Australia a tough time before Hudson’s 62nd minute strike helped the Australians maintain their winning run.

Despite conceding an early penalty corner, India maintained their stranglehold on the hosts in the first 15 minutes with better ball possession, good interception and excellent coordination.

They made several raids on the Aussie post, learning two penalty corners, but lack of finishing proved their undoing.

Saba Anjum muffed up a golden opportunity when she failed to put the ball into the open goal after getting a nice and powerful cross from Surinder Kaur from the right.

This blunder proved costly as the flamboyant Hudson shot home a similar goal in the second half to seal India's fate.

Late into the second half, Sarah Taylor sent a blinding cross from left and Hudson latched on to the opportunity and drove home for the hosts.

The first half was evenly fought with both the teams running on par with number of chances created. Apart from several moves by both the teams, Australia had four penalty corners while India got three during this period.

But Australia gained control of the proceedings quite subtly in the last 20 minutes when they launched several attacks putting pressure on the Indian defence.

But Kanti Baa and Subhadra Pradhan were confident in thwarting the Aussies, who got three more penalty corners in the second half.

The other factor that stood between the Hockeyroos and an easy win was Indian custodian Helen Mary Innocent who came up with a superb performance to the utter frustration of the Australian women.

The Indian girls got a few good opportunities in the second half but could not garner benefits off those.

The best of the chances came when a good hit by Asunta Lakra was well deflected by Anjum. But to the disappointment of the Indian camp, the ball went over the post.

After getting the all-important lead, the Australians showed maturity to play possessional hockey and consumed time to deny the Indians any chance of a comeback. — PTI 

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Sharath storms into TT final

Melbourne, March 25
India’s top paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal played a fiery attacking game to upset the higher-ranked Nigerian Segun Toriala and storm into the men’s singles finals at the Commonwealth Games here today.

Sharath played with a mission against the second seeded Nigerian to avenge the defeat in the quarterfinals of the team event as he pulverised Segun 11-6, 15-13, 11-8, 11-3 to raise hopes of a second yellow metal in table tennis after the one in the men’s team event.

The third seeded Indian is now the favourite to take the gold medal when he takes on William Henzell of Australia, who is 52 spots below him in world rankings.

Henzell defeated Adam Robertson of Wales 11-5, 11-9, 13-11, 11-2 to make a place in the final.

The big-hitting Segun, ranked 40 places above Sharath in the charts, could not handle the Indian’s offensive game and gave up easily.

Commonwealth champion Sharath has been in sparkling form in Melbourne and has beaten higher ranked players like world number 55 Yang Zi, who went down to the Indian in the final of the team event.

In today’s encounter, Sharath was quick off the blocks and took the first game in convincing fashion.

The 111-ranked Nigerian regained his touch and forced Sharath on the backfoot in the second game taking a 10-8 lead. The Indian, however, rallied hard and notched a 15-13 to take a stranglehold on the match.

Sharath continued to dictate terms as he kept the Nigerian away from the table and forced him away from his natural offensive style. — PTI

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India get silver after England disqualification

Melbourne, March 25
Amidst high drama, India were elevated to the silver medal in the women’s 4x400m relay at the 18th Commonwealth Games when the original winners England were disqualified.

The quartet of Rajwinder Kaur, Chitra Soman, Manjit Kaur and Pinki Parmanik, who came home in 3:29.57 seconds, had initially finished third but profited after the English team of Kimberly Wall, Nicola Sanders, Natasha Danvers and Christine Ohuruogu was thrown out for lane crossing.

The Australian team of Jana Pittman, Caitlin Willis, Tamsyn Lewis and Rosemary Hayward claimed the gold while the Nigerian foursome of Kudirat Akhigbe, Joy Eze, Folashade Abugan and Christina Ekpukhon, who had initially finished fourth in 3:31.83 seconds, were promoted to the bronze medal.

England had themselves profited from a slip-up by the then runaway leaders Jamaica, when they dropped the baton on the second exchange between Novlene Williams and Shellene Williams. Jamaica finished fourth in the end. — PTI

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Coach let me down: Simple

Simple Kaur Bumrah New Delhi, March 25
Another controversy has hit Indian weightlifting with woman lifter Simple Kaur Bumrah alleging that the coach at the ongoing Commonwealth Games prevented her from winning a gold.

Kaur won the silver in 75-kg category in which compatriot Geeta Rani clinched the gold with a games record. But the Punjab girl claimed that she could have done better if not for a “situation” created by the coach.

“I am not happy with my silver medal performance. A situation was created where I could not do better,” Kaur said on her arrival from Australia here last night.

Later when asked who was responsible, she said, “I could not win the gold because of the coach.” Kaur did not name the coach but Hansa Sharma and Amarnath Kanaparti were in-charge of the team at Melbourne. She also did not elaborate on her allegation.

On the doping case involving the men lifters, Kaur said “it doesn’t make any difference to me. We are working hard. Those who are taking recourse to such acts, let them do that.”

The women’s team arrived to a low key welcome last night at the Indira Gandhi International airport. The men’s team had landed a day earlier.

Women’s team manager and Weightlifting Federation of India Vice-President Harbhajan Singh said he was happy with the girls’ performance.

“They have won three gold and two silver. I hope we can do better at the Asiad,” he said.

Kunjarani Devi, who won the gold in 48-kg category, attributed the narrow margin of her victory over the nearest contender to recent rule changes.

“There have been some rule changes recently which has made competition at the international tough,” she said.

Harbhajan Singh was bombarded with questions about the positive dope tests of Edwin Raju and Tejinder Singh. The manager for his part put up a brave front.

“I don’t think anybody would be such a fool to take drugs when tests are strictly done. Our lifters were tested by WADA before we left for Melbourne,” he said.

“But if it has happened, it is unfortunate because it will have adverse effect on all the (Indian) lifters,” he added referring to the possible four-year ban on the federation that could be sanctioned under the rules for three or more positive tests by a country.

Geeta Rani hoped to raise the bar in the next edition of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. “All of us did well. I am hopeful of doing better in the 2010 games.” On the dope scandal, she said “at times people make mistakes”. — PTI 

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Hearing in dope case adjourned till today

Melbourne, March 25
The hearing in the dope case involving weightlifters Tejinder Singh and Edwin Raju was adjourned till tomorrow after India put forth its arguments before the Court of Arbitration for Sports here today.

With the two disgraced lifters having returned to India after failing the dope tests, Indian contingent’s Chef-de-Mission H.J. Dora represented the duo before three CAS judges.

Dora, who appeared along with a doctor, presented some documents to corroborate the Indian version of the events.

CAS Secretary-General Matthieu Reeb said after hearing the preliminary arguments that the CAS had agreed to adjourn the hearing at the request of Indian authorities.

“They wanted more time to prepare their defence. There is still enough time for the panel to render a decision before tomorrow’s closing ceremony,” Reeb said. — PTI 

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Gymnasts bow out

Melbourne, March 25
India’s women rhythmic gymnasts were eliminated in the qualification rounds of the all-round team event at the Commonwealth Games here.
The trio of Komal Ishwer Nahar, Surekha Rana and Rajni Sharma finished 24th, 25th and 26th, respectively, with totals of 21.875, 21.250 and 21.225.

The gold went to Alexandra Michel Orlando of Canada ahead of Durratun Nashihin Rosli of Malaysia and Canadian Yana Tsikaridze.

In the team rankings, India brought up the rear in seventh position with a total of 54.725.

The team gold went to the Canadian team of Carly Orava, Orlando and Tsikardze. who aggregated 128.775. — PTI 

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Chetan wins bronze

Melbourne, March 25
Fourth seed Chetan Anand took sweet revenge for his defeat in the team event, outplaying England’s Aamir Ghaffar 21-17, 18-21, 21-13 to win the bronze in men’s badminton competition of the Commonwealth Games here today.

This was India’s second bronze medal in badminton, having earlier won in the mixed team event. At the Manchester games, India had won only one bronze through Aparna Popat in women’s singles.

However, in the women’s section, the Indian pair of Saina Nehwal and Trupti Murgunde lost the match for the third place to second seeded English pair of Donna Kellogg and E Gali Emms 14-21, 9-21.

Saina and Trupti were playing together for the first time in any international competition but still managed to give a good account of themselves. They had earlier beaten the third seed pair to reach the semifinals. — UNI

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Mathew Helm dashes Despatie’s hopes

Melbourne, March 25
Australia’s Mathew Helm dashed Alexandre Despatie's hopes of completing a clean sweep of Commonwealth Games diving titles today.
Despatie had won an unprecedented three gold medals in Melbourne but some uncharacteristic errors from the normally ice-cool Canadian cost him in the 10 metres platform final.

Helm, who won gold in yesterday’s 10m synchro with Robert Newbery, took full advantage, posting three perfect 10s on his final plunge for a big winning total of 987.00 points.

England’s Peter Waterfield took silver with 939.30 and Despatie, who shot to fame after winning the 10m platform at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games as a 13-year-old, bronze with 920.05. — Reuters

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Orlando eyes six gold medals

Melbourne, March 25
Canadian teenager Alexandra Orlando has set her sights on winning four gold medals on the last day of competition to equal Ian Thorpe and Susie O’Neill’s record haul at a single Commonwealth Games.

Orlando picked up her second gold today with a dazzling display to win the rhythmic gymnastics all-around title.

The 19-year-old from Toronto also won gold in the team event for Canada the previous day and is now eyeing a clean sweep of Sunday’s four individual apparatus finals — ball, clubs, ribbon and rope.

O’Neill won six gold medals in swimming at the 1998 Games while Thorpe won his six in the pool at Manchester four years later. — Reuters

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Closing ceremony on DD Sports

Melbourne, March 25
The closing ceremony of the 18th Commonwealth Games would be telecast live on DD Sports at 2.30 pm tomorrow.
The repeat telecast of the ceremony will be aired at 11.30 pm tomorrow. — PTI 

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RCA XI shock England

Mohammad Kaif of RCA XI raises his bat after scoring a century during a one-day warm-up match at the Sawai Mansingh Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Saturday
Mohammad Kaif of RCA XI raises his bat after scoring a century during a one-day warm-up match at the Sawai Mansingh Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Saturday. — AFP photo

Jaipur, March 25
Mohammad Kaif slammed an unbeaten 119 as Rajasthan President’s XI pulled off a narrow five-run win in the practice match against England here to seize back some of the initiative for the hosts ahead of the one-dayers.

Put in to bat, the local team made a competitive 260 for 6 in their stipulated 50 overs before bowling out the visitors for 255 in 49.5 overs for a thrilling finish at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Kaif starred in President’s XI innings, hitting 10 fours in his 136-ball knock before spinners, Piyush Chawala and Ramesh Powar, entrapped Vikram Solanki’s men in a spin web.

Ian Bell made a fine 71 and wicketkeeper Matt Prior stroked 51 but the tendency of the English side, playing without their key players, to lose wickets at regular intervals meant they were left with a stiff run chase at the death.

Needing 25 runs in the final over, Kabir Ali hit a six and a four off Piyush Chawla but at the other end Gareth Batty holed out to R.P. Singh and James Anderson was run out with just one ball to spare.

The slow bowlers did the trick for India while Suresh Raina’s all-round contribution also played a crucial role in shaping RCA XI’s win.

Raina, who made a quickfire 49 off 46 balls, excelled with the ball as well, dismissing top-scorer Bell and also effecting two run outs, that of the aggressive Kevin Pietersen (28) and Paul Collingwood (34).

Credit should also go to skipper Ajay Jadeja for marshalling his bowling resources well in the match which is the only practice game ahead of the start of the seven-match one-day series beginning in Delhi on March 28.

Chasing 261 for win, England lost two early wickets including that of their captain Solanki for a duck to paceman V.R.V. Singh in the third over.

Left arm paceman R.P. Singh got rid of Owais Shah, who had impressed in the third and final Test against India, which England won by 212 runs to draw the series 1-1, for two.

Matt Prior and Pietersen steadied the innings with the latter increasing the tempo by hitting three consecutive fours off R.P. Singh to fetch 13 runs from his over.

Prior also took a cue and hit four fours to extract 17 runs from another over of the UP bowler who ended up conceding 42 runs in his seven overs. The duo put on 45 runs before Powar bowled Prior.

Reduced to 163 for five in the 34th over, Bell resurrected the innings with a 56-run partnership with Ian Blackwell and put his side on the victory course but a crucial run out, that of Blackwell by Jadeja, marked the turnaround for the hosts.

Brief scores: RCA President’s XI: 260 for 6 in 50 overs (Raina 49, Kaif 119 not out; Collingwood 2-28); England: 255 all out in 49.5 overs (Prior 55, Bell 71, Raina 1-28). — PTI

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Tendulkar leaves for London

Mumbai, March 25
Sachin Tendulkar today left for London to undergo a surgery on his shoulder. The master batsman, who was accompanied by his doctor wife Anjali, is expected to go under the surgeon’s knife on Monday.

The operation, which will rule him out of action for at least two months, would be conducted by noted surgeon Dr. Andrew Wallace.

Tendulkar was diagnosed with a posterior labrum tear of the right shoulder during the third cricket Test against England this week, subsequently ruling him out of the seven-match one-day series against Andrew Flintoff’s men, which begins on March 28.

Indian team’s physiotherapist John Gloster said the ace batsman had been experiencing problems in throwing since the Test series against Sri Lanka last December.

The problem had aggravated of late, necessitating the surgery.

The batsman, who holds the record for scoring the maximum number of centuries in Tests (35) and one-dayers (39), was earlier sidelined for six months after undergoing surgery for tennis elbow in May 2005.

It was Dr. Wallace who had operated on Tendulkar’s tennis elbow. — PTI

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CAG report slams SAI’s ‘reckless’ purchases
M.S.Unnikrishnan

New Delhi, March 25
The Indian shooters might have made a killing in shooting at the 18th Commonwealth Games, but each medal has come at a steep price to the government, and perhaps no other sports discipline belonging to the Olympic fold gets such pampered treatment from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) as does shooting.

The SAI imports ammunition and equipment costing crores for the shooters, though some of the equipment end up as mere junk in the store rooms. Such reckless purchases have been a major drain on the budget of the SAI, and this practice has been questioned in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for 2006.

The audit scrutiny of the records of the SAI’s equipment purchase, between 1988 and 2004, brings out shocking revelations. For instance, the SAI imported a machine costing Rs 20.76 lakh, with a capacity for manufacturing 14,400 clay pigeons per day, for installation at the world-class Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in Delhi, without assessing the actual requirement of the range and the financial viability of manufacturing vis-a-vis import of clay pigeons.

The CAG report notes that “only 3.13 lakh clay pigeons were manufactured between 1991 and 1995, the machine was kept idle thereafter, and that no action has been taken to dispose it of”.

The SAI response to audit observation was that “this machine was not found economical in comparison with imported clay pigeons”. The CAG report has made a scathing remark: “Apparently, this aspect was not considered at the time of the purchase of the equipment”.

Another instance of gross misuse of funds pertains to the purchase of an electronically-operated Conventional Target Box System to replace the existing manually operated one, for the Afro-Asian Games in 2003.

“However, due to non-availability of target paper rolls, which were required to be imported, these machines could not be used by the shooters for practice during coaching camps”, the report reveals.

And several lakhs went down the drain yet again. But the SAI had a ready-reckoner for this goof-up too. It stated that “a source for manufacturing indigenous target paper roll has since been developed”, though it did not specify where and when.

But still, the equipment remained unutilised since the date of procurement, i.e from October, 2001, to November, 2005.

The CAG has unearthed several such instances of SAI squandering money for purchase of equipment which either fall short of the requirement or expected standard, or are simply condemned to rot in store houses across SAI centres.

Giving details of a few such cases, the CAG report noted that sports equipment costing Rs 23.82 lakh procured between April, 1993, and August, 2003, were lying idle at a sub-centre at Guwahati (Assam) for “periods ranging from 10 months to 10 years”; the Southern Centre of SAI, Bangalore, purchased sports equipment costing Rs 25.02 lakh from 2001 to 2004 and distributed them to various sub-centres even though there were either no coaches for the relevant disciplines or such disciplines were not part of the training schemes in these centres.

And the equipment has remained idle, though the SAI has assured the CAG that “these items would be utilised at the earliest”.

This matter was referred to the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for its reaction, but CAG got no reply from the ministry till February, 2006 (when the report was finalised).

But a SAI source, trying to steer clear of these revelations, said the controversial purchases were made well before the present Director-General Rattan P Wattal and Secretary Dr B.K.Sinha took charge. So they have been absolved of any wrongdoing. But then, who will own up such mindless squandering of public money?

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Kallis, De Villiers stand firm for South Africa 

Durban, March 25
Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers shared a defiant century stand to boost South Africa on the second day of the second test against Australia in Durban today.
South Africa were 140 for two in reply to Australia’s first innings of 369 when bad light ended play 8.4 overs early. Kallis was 72 not out with De Villiers on 48 in a stand of 130 for the unbroken third wicket. They started their partnership after South Africa had slumped to 10 for two in the fourth over.

Earlier, Australia claimed two early wickets after Michael Hussey guided them to a competitive total.

South African captain Graeme Smith’s poor form against Australia continued when Brett Lee had him caught at third slip for nought off the first ball of the innings.

Herschelle Gibbs was dropped by Australian captain Ricky Ponting at second slip off Lee two balls later but made only nine before he had his off stump knocked out of the ground by Michael Kasprowicz.

Hussey held the Australian innings together, making 75 as the world champions added a valuable 141 runs to their overnight total of 228 for five on a pitch which Ponting described as two-paced with variable bounce.

Hussey and Shane Warne added 56 for the eighth wicket, with Warne the aggressor in making 36 off 31 balls with six fours and a six, then Hussey was the dominant partner in a last-wicket stand of 42 with Stuart Clark, who made 13 not out.

It took Hussey 135 balls to reach his fifty but he faced only 20 more deliveries in adding another 25 before he was last man out, leg before wicket to Jacques Kallis when he padded up just outside his off stump.

Hussey hit 10 fours and a six. He seldom looked like getting out, although his hooked six off Makhaya Ntini only just cleared Shaun Pollock on the fine leg boundary. — AFP, Reuters

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Bangladesh sweep series

Narayanganj (Bangladesh), March 25
Rajin Saleh slammed a maiden century as Bangladesh thrashed Kenya by seven wickets in the fourth and final one-dayer to complete a 4-0 sweep here today. Opener Saleh (108 not out) was involved in a record 175-run stand for the unbroken fourth wicket with skipper Habibul Bashar (64 not out) as Bangladesh surpassed Kenya’s total of 232-9 with more than eight overs to spare.

Their stand was Bangladesh’s best in one-dayers, the previous highest being 170 for the opening wicket between Shahriar Hossain and Mehrab Hossain against Zimbabwe at Dhaka in 1999.

Bangladesh were struggling at 62-3 in the 14th over before man of the match Saleh and Bashar steered their team to an emphatic victory. Saleh struck 16 fours in his 113-ball knock while Bashar hit one six and five fours in his 88-ball innings.

Earlier, Kenyan skipper Steve Tikolo top-scored with a quickfire 81.

Left-arm spinners Mohammad Rafique and Abdur Razzak, and seamer Mashrafe Mortaza each grabbed two wickets. Bangladeshi batsman Shahriar Nafees was named man of the series. — AFP

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Anand back in joint lead

Monaco, March 25
Defending champion Viswanathan Anand came back strongly to score a splendid victory over Grandmaster Peter Leko of Hungary in the sixth round of 15th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Chess Tournament here.

Anand, who lost to Grandmaster Alexander Grischuk in the previous round, thus, regained joint lead in the combined standings of the unique event that features one blindfold and one rapid game in each round.

Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich of Russia shares the lead with Anand at the half way stage with 6.5 points. In this round, Morozevich drew with Grandmaster Peter Heine Nielsen of Denmark to continue his supremacy in the Euros 216,000 event.

The rapid game still remains in the sixth round. Leko is next in line having six points in his kitty.

Anand put the loss against Grischuk behind him and went about doing the demolition act on Leko’s position quite nonchalantly.

Anand showcased his class first in the middle game by maintaining a vice-like grip on the position with his better knight against the Bishop and slowly improved his position to knock down one of black pawns.

Leko went for a pure minor piece endgame soon after but there was little respite for him as Anand clinched the issue after 67 moves. — PTI

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Fresh trouble brewing in IHF

New Delhi, March 25
The Indian Hockey Federation appears headed towards a fresh controversy with some selectors and a top functionary threatening to quit the rift-ridden sports body if current coach Rajinder Singh Junior was not shown the door immediately.

The call for Rajinder’s head comes in the wake of the team’s dismal sixth-place finish in the Commonwealth Games at Melbourne.

“A few selectors and an important IHF functionary have decided to put in their papers to protest against President K.P.S. Gill’s continued patronage of coach Rajinder Singh,” sources in the federation told PTI.

“They have been consistently demanding that Rajinder be sacked for the team’s poor performances. But Gill has been in favour of retaining Rajinder and that’s the problem,” they said.

Ever since Rajinder took over from German Gerhard Rach in April last year, the Indian team has failed to deliver the goods.

In the first tournament under Rajinder, India ended fifth among seven teams at the Azlan Shah hockey tourney in Malaysia in May last year followed by another lacklustre performance in eight-nation Rabo Bank Trophy.

Last December, the Indian team finished with the wooden spoon at the six-nation Champions Trophy in Chennai and lost the recent hockey series to Pakistan 1-3.
— PTI

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FCI wins cricket match
Our Sports Reporter

Patiala, March 25
FCI Patiala beat Chandigarh District Office by 189 runs in the FCI inter-district cricket tournament match played at Budha Dal School ground here today.

Gaurav Sharma, who scored an unbeaten 161, was declared the man of the match. Mr S.P Sood, Manager, FCI, Patiala, gave away prizes.

Scores: Patiala FCI: 315 all out (Gaurav Sharma 161 n.o., Sukhwinder Singh 82, Om Parkash 22, Anil Verma 2 for 48) Chandigarh District Office: 126 all out (Anil Verma 26, Ramesh Rana 16, Prince 4 for 15, Om Parkash 3 for 26) 

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