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S P O R T S

Sandeep’s injury a big blow for India

Chandigarh, August 22
Injury to drag flicker Sandeep Singh just a fortnight before the start of the World Cup in Monchengladbach (Germany) has jolted India’s preparation for the World Cup as the country has been struggling to get back in the top six bracket of world hockey.
Considered as one of finest drag flickers, hockey coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran had pinned high hopes on him, who after making his debut at Athens Olympics two years ago, has been shaping well as a replacement for Jugraj Singh.

A file photo of Sandeep Singh

A file photo of Sandeep Singh

Hockey fraternity shocked
Chandigarh, August 22
With drag-flicker Sandeep Singh getting injured, the Indian Hockey Federation is looking for his replacement. They are left with four choices - Jugraj Singh, Raghunath, Arjun Hallappa and u-19 captain Vikramjeet Singh.

Mysterious art of reverse swing
London, August 22
The mysteries of “reverse swing” has baffled even the most knowledgeable cricket fans for years.

Indian gold rush continues
Colombo, August 22
Marksman Navnath Fartade created a new meet record in men’s 10m air rifle event as the Indian paddlers, shuttlers and other athletes continued their gold rush in the South Asian Games here today.



Ana Ivanovic of Serbia holds the winner’s trophy after beating Martina Hingis of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3 in the Rogers Cup final on Monday. — AP/PTI 

EARLIER STORIES




Shilpi wins British Open
Patna, August 22
Seventeen-year-old tennis player Shilpi Jaiswal has become the first Indian to win the British Open for the deaf. She won the under-18 title recently at Nottingham, England. Shilpi defeated Sweden’s Fatima Tebibel 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

US through as China face early exit
Sapporo, August 22
The United States turned on the style to blow by Slovenia 114-95 and reach the last 16 of the world basketball championship today. Olympic runners-up Italy joined the US while European champions Greece virtually assured they would also be involved in the knockout stages. However, China’s hopes of progressing suffered a huge blow with a 90-87 overtime loss to Puerto Rico despite 29 points from Yao Ming in Sapporo.

India maul Lanka 9-1
Colombo, August 22
Along with the drizzle, it rained goals and a simply irresistible Indian team toyed with Sri Lanka before crushing the minnows 9-1 to continue their winning spree in the 10th SAF Games at the Nandimithra Ekanayake grounds at Matale today. The V Raja led side pumped in six goals in the first half and added another three in the second and conceded just one goal in the process.



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Sandeep’s injury a big blow for India
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Injury to drag flicker Sandeep Singh just a fortnight before the start of the World Cup in Monchengladbach (Germany) has jolted India’s preparation for the World Cup as the country has been struggling to get back in the top six bracket of world hockey.

Considered as one of finest drag flickers, hockey coach Vasudevan Bhaskaran had pinned high hopes on him, who after making his debut at Athens Olympics two years ago, has been shaping well as a replacement for Jugraj Singh.

Indian hockey is replete with instances when key players got serious injuries on eve of a major international tournament. The unpleasant memories of our previous best drag flicker, Jugraj Singh, getting injured in a road accident just some months before the 2004 Olympic Games are still fresh.

It was not only Jugraj who had to drop out of the Olympic Games because of a crippling injury, even centre-forward Sukhvir Grewal had to skip the 1980 Olympic Games because of a nagging slip disc injury.

In 1982, Rajinder Singh Senior almost missed the New Delhi Asian Games because of a knee injury. Timely intervention and surgery by a visiting British surgeon, Professor Bentley, at the PGI enabled him to play in the Delhi Asiad.

Even former Indian goalkeeping coach, Charles Cornelius had to hang his boots because of a knee injury he incurred while training in a national camp at NIS, Patiala. And many would still remember because of a hand injury, late Udham Singh had to miss the Olympics. Otherwise, he would have been the only hockey player in the world to have played in five consecutive Olympic Games.

So, serious injuries on the eve of major tournaments have played a crucial role in shaping the destiny of Indian hockey. After finishing 10th in the last World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, the Indian team was preparing itself hard this time to come back to the top six bracket putting lot of hope on the young and reliable shoulders of Sandeep Singh as its scoring trump card.

But the unfortunate accident has put Sandeep Singh not only out of the World Cup but also the sport for the time being. It would take him a while to return to the sport. It is Sandeep’s good luck that his team-mate, Rajpal Singh, was with him and medical help came instantaneously after the unfortunate accidental shooting.

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Hockey fraternity shocked
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
With drag-flicker Sandeep Singh getting injured, the Indian Hockey Federation is looking for his replacement. They are left with four choices - Jugraj Singh, Raghunath, Arjun Hallappa and u-19 captain Vikramjeet Singh.

Pargat Singh, Director Sports, Punjab, said, “ It is definitely a great loss to the Indian hockey team at this juncture when the team was proceeding for the World Cup in Germany next month.”

Chander Shekhar, vice-president of the Indian Hockey Federation, said, “ It was a shocking news for all of us. Sandeep has improved his game by leaps and bounds and his absence will be a big loss to the team”.

Former Olympian and advisor to the hockey team Harmik Singh said, “We are looking at other options though at the moment we have no other drag-flicker who can match Sandeep’s ability.”

N.S. Sodhi, an ex-Olympian and ex-Assistant Coach of the team, under whose coaching Sandeep played in PHL, said this incident will be a blow to the morale of the team as Sandeep was really an asset to the team.

Ironically, when Jugraj got injured, Sandeep took over as his substitute and now Jugraj is being looked upon as his substitute.

“It is really a great loss to the team. Sandeep is good in both ground and on-air shots which is a rare combination you find in a player”, said Y.P. Vohra, general secretary, Chandigarh Hockey Association.

Meanwhile, Jugraj Singh, who was at Jalandhar, got a call from IHF President K.P.S. Gill to reach Delhi. Reacting to Sandeep’s injury, Jugraj said, “It is a shocking moment for all of us, I am not in a position to say anything about Sandeep’s condition but I wish that he should recover soon and appear as per schedule.”

Jugraj, recuperating from his injuries sustained in a near fatal road accident in 2003, was now confident to doing well if asked by the federation to play in place of Sandeep in the next month’s World Cup.

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Mysterious art of reverse swing

London, August 22
The mysteries of “reverse swing” has baffled even the most knowledgeable cricket fans for years.

Take a brand new, highly lacquered cricket ball, throw it at 145 kmph and it will usually go straight, deviating very little in the air.

Many fast bowlers can, by the way they grip the ball, make it swing in the air away from a right-handed batsman, making it difficult as he may tip the ball and be caught behind or in the slips.

As the ball gets older and is hit by the bat, smashed onto the ground or even into boards at the side of the ground, it loses its shine and takes on a battered appearance.

If the fielding team keeps one side of the ball in as pristine a condition as possible by rubbing it on their clothes or adding sweat to it, keeping it bright red, shiny and smooth, the ball will start to do interesting things when it is bowled.

The science is easily explained. One side of the ball is now slick and shiny and meets little wind resistance when it is thrown.

The other side of the ball is battered and has bits of leather protruding.

Because of the bigger surface area of one side, a bowler can make the ball deviate either inward or outward depending which side of the ball is facing out.

As the ball gets more battered, it becomes possible to swing the ball inward toward the batsman — the famous reverse swing. A batsman does not know the ball is suddenly going to swing in toward his stumps until it either crashes into his stumps or his toes.

“Encouraging” the ball to take on the qualities it needs to swing inward is where the cheating comes into it.

Soaking one side of the ball in water, picking holes in it with a bottle top or a finger nail, rubbing in grit or dirt or even applying lip gloss or hair wax have been reported as bowlers seek an unfair advantage.

Letting the ball age naturally means that it will often, when it is 60 or 70 overs old, start to reverse swing.

Umpires become suspicious that players are tampering with the ball if it starts to swing in the 40th or 50th over of an innings.

On Sunday, the ball was 53 overs old when umpire Darrell Hair demanded to see the ball and penalised Pakistan for ball tampering. — AP

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Indian gold rush continues

Colombo, August 22
Marksman Navnath Fartade created a new meet record in men’s 10m air rifle event as the Indian paddlers, shuttlers and other athletes continued their gold rush in the South Asian Games here today.

Chetan Anand and Trupti Murgunde completed their personal double as India blanked Sri Lanka 3-0 in both the men and women team event finals to bag both the badminton gold up for grabs at the Sugathadasa Stadium here today.

The wristy Chetan, who had earlier won the individual gold, dropped a game before managing a 21-11, 8-21, 21-17 win against Sri Lankan No. 1 player Niluka Karunaratne to set India one up and then the Sanave Thomas-Rupesh Kumar duo tamed Tushara Eidiresinghe and Duminda Jayakody duo 21-12, 21-8 to set the tone. Nikhil Kanetkar’s clinical 21-10, 21-16 decimation of Dinuka Karunaratne completed the formality as the Indian men team pocketed the gold.

In the women’s team event, Trupti added another feather to her cap as the Indian eves beat the hosts by an identical margin. Trupti handed Thilini Jayasinghe a straight game 21-10, 21-11 defeat to set the ball rolling and then B.R. Meenakshi downed Renu Chandrika 21-12, 21-7 to fetch a 2-0 lead for India.

In the third singles, Krishna D. Raja, however, was stretched before the Indian shuttler sealed the issue with a 21-14, 15-21, 21-17 win against a gritty Nadeesha Gayanthi.

Meanwhile, in the table tennis doubles events, India swept all three gold medals in the finals all of which were all-Indian affair.

In mixed doubles, Achanta Sharath Kamal teamed up with Poulomi Ghatak to beat the Soumyadeep Roy-Mouma Das pair 3-1 to win the Gold while the women’s doubles, also an all-Indian affair, saw Mouma-Poulomi overcome compatriots Kasturi Chakraborty-Nandita Saha 3-1 for the gold. In men’s doubles, Soumyadeep-Sharath Kamal pair beat compatriots Subhajit Saha and Pathik Mehta 3-1 (11-7, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8) to win the Gold.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Nilmini Illangarathna spoiled Indian shooters’ party by winning the 50m Rifle Prone gold with a total of 588. Indian duo of Meena and Raj Kumari won the silver and bronze, respectively.

Navnath Fartade, however, continues to shine and he fired 591 in qualifications and 104.1 in the final to total 695.1 for the Gold in the men’s 10m air rifle setting a new SAF Games record in the process.

The other shooting gold of the day came in 10m Air Rifle team event where the Indian trio of Fartade(591), Raghunath (591) and Fulchand Bangar (583) totalled 1765 to finish ahead of teams from Bangladesh(1760) and Pakistan (1743). — UNI

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Shilpi wins British Open

Patna, August 22
Seventeen-year-old tennis player Shilpi Jaiswal has become the first Indian to win the British Open for the deaf. She won the under-18 title recently at Nottingham, England. Shilpi defeated Sweden’s Fatima Tebibel 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

Shilpi, who is deaf by birth, was also the first Indian girl to participate in the championship.

Her coach, Kunal Aikat, said despite her hearing problem, she had been passionate about tennis since her childhood.

Earlier, Shilpi had won the All-India Ranking Super Series at Delhi and Jamshedpur. — TNS

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US through as China face early exit

Sapporo, August 22
The United States turned on the style to blow by Slovenia 114-95 and reach the last 16 of
the world basketball championship today. Olympic runners-up Italy joined the US while European champions Greece virtually assured they would also be involved in the knockout stages. However, China’s hopes of progressing suffered a huge blow with a 90-87 overtime loss to Puerto Rico despite 29 points from Yao Ming in Sapporo.

Dwyane Wade led the US with 20 points and fellow co-captains LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony scored 19 and 14, respectively, in another comfortable win for the favourites.

However, US coach Mike Krzyzewski quickly dismissed talk that his team were the dominant power in the 24-team tournament. Houston Rockets centre Yao again led China in scoring but fouled out with almost five minutes left in a bad-tempered Group D clash.

China have yet to win a game and must now beat Senegal and Slovenia in their remaining games to have any chance of survival.

Puerto Rico moved closer to the last 16 with Elias Ayuso scoring 27 points and Carlos Arroyo 25 to secure a second win for the Central America and Caribbean Games winners.

Meanwhile, Italy proved more clinical down the stretch as they beat winless Senegal 64-56 for their third straight win in Group D. Greece won their third game in Group C as guard Nikos Zisis hit a three-pointer one second before the buzzer for a 72-69 win over Australia, leaving the Boomers at 1-2. Turkey beat Brazil 73-71 while Lithuania beat Qatar 106-65. — Reuters

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India maul Lanka 9-1

Colombo, August 22
Along with the drizzle, it rained goals and a simply irresistible Indian team toyed with Sri Lanka before crushing the minnows 9-1 to continue their winning spree in the 10th SAF Games at the Nandimithra Ekanayake grounds at Matale today. The V Raja led side pumped in six goals in the first half and added another three in the second and conceded just one goal in the process.

Gurvinder Chandi (7th, 20th minutes) completed a brace, as did penalty corner specialist Raghunath(4th, 38th), while Gurbaz Singh (2nd), Birender Lakra (21), Senthil (31st), Sandeep Michael (49th) and William Xalco (53rd) also sounded the board. India had beaten arch-rivals Pakistan 2-0 yesterday and they play Bangladesh tomorrow.In another match, Pakistan beat Bangladesh 5-2. — UNI

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 BRIEFLY

Sania holds on to 44th spot
New Delhi
: Despite a first round elimination at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Sania Mirza managed to hold on to 44th place in the latest WTA world rankings.
The Hyderabadi teenager, who has been in action in singles and doubles for several weeks on the trot, went down in three sets to Italian qualifier Alberta Brianti in Canada, but the reversal did not seem to affect her ranking adversely. Though Sania and her Polish partner Marta Domachowska lost in the first round as well, the Indian saw her doubles ranking climb a notch to number 28. — PTI

Boxing meet
New Delhi
: Talkatora Indoor stadium has been finally decided as the venue for the women’s World boxing championships to be held from November 17 to 24.
The tournament, earlier slated to be held at Hyderabad and then shifted to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on request of the participating nations. — PTI

Waugh backs Hair
Melbourne:
Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh has come out in support of umpire Darrell Hair’s decision to abandon the fourth Test between Pakistan and England and award it to the hosts, saying no one is bigger than the game.
Though Waugh said Hair could be “stubborn and a bit hard-nosed,” no team could get away with not turning up on the ground. “I definitely agree with that (Pakistan forfeiting) — if they don’t go back on the field the Test is over,” Waugh told the Daily Telegraph. “That’s quite simple. Sunil Gavaskar tried that one on the umpires in Australia (in 1981). No-one is bigger than the game,” he said.

Snookers shine
New Delhi:
Indian cueists appeared unstoppable as they returned with glorious results on the third consecutive day at the World Snooker Team championship in San Jose, USA.
India A team of Pankaj Advani, Yaseen Merchant and Manan Chandra had a cake walk against USA ‘A’ 8-1 while another team comprising Rafath Habib, Siddhartha Rao and Aditya Mehta, thrashed Scotland by an identical margin in the Group B. — PTI

Saina wins
Seoul
:
Saina Nehawal and Aditi Mutatkar scored wins in contrasting fashions in the opening round of women’s singles while there male counterparts disappointed and only Arup Sridhar could survive day one of the men’s singles at the Yonex Korea Open here on Tuesday.
While teenage prodigy Saina struggled against Sook Yeo Yoon of South Korea before winning 21-12, 19-21, 21-18, Aditi routed her Pole opponent Kamila Augustyn 21-10, 21-9 to book a berth in the next round. In the men's singles, Arup Sridhar beat Yu Li of China 22-20, 17-21, 21-19. — UNI

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